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Emery McColley: Civil War

A Letter from Emery McColley to His Parents

"For the surrender of Lee's army, we fired two hundred rounds to a fort." Written April 1865 by Captain Emery McColley, Company F, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery

April 12, 1865

Dear Father and Mother.

It is with pleasure that I improve these few minutes in writing to you to let you know that I have not forgotten you. My health is good and I hope to hear the same from you.

Father, you can do, as you think best about buying any timber. You can pay it towards the farm if you think best. You are there and can tell what to do there better than I can here.

We are having good news now. I suppose you knew that Lee had surrendered his whole army and Richmond is taken. When Richmond was taken, we fired a salute of one hundred rounds at each fort and in the night the city was all lit up with gas as they threw sky rockets all night.

The Capitol was illuminated all night and so was the Seminary. It was a grand sight to see it. Washington is eight miles from here and you could see it as plain as if it was within two miles of us.

Father, we get the news every day and if there is any of any importance we get it within four hours, for we have a signal corps at Headquarters so we can get the news within six hours from the front and I guess within four hours.

For the surrender of Lee's army, we fired two hundred rounds to a fort. They fired sixteen in a minute. Don't you think that they was firing pretty fast? Well father, I will have to stop fore I want to write some to mother, so good bye dear father.

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