FFftPP – The Letter

There it was. You could see the corner of the folded yellowed parchment sticking out of the torn lining of the battered book.

The relief I felt was all consuming. I couldn't believe I had finally found it! This letter had been lost for years and I wondered if maybe it had been stolen. The letter was written by my distant cousin while he was fighting in the American Civil War at Ship Point, York County, Virginia in 1861. He died later in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and this letter is a very treasured family heirloom.

I carefully placed the letter in my safe. I won't take the chance of losing it again!


This is my submission for the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner, kindly hosted by Roger Shipp. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. For more information, click HERE

To read all the wonderful stories, click HERE.

This story is partially true. I do have a letter written by my distant cousin while he was in battle during the American Civil war in 1861. He was stationed in battle at Ship Point, York County, Virginia. He was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. The letter is a treasured family heirloom.





97 thoughts on “FFftPP – The Letter

  1. Great take on the prompt. I’m enjoying everyone’s posts this week a lot. Such interesting takes and historical and anthropological themes. A letter from the civil war would indeed be a treasure. Glad your character found it!

  2. “That is a wonderful treasure you have there,” she commented.
    “It’s priceless to you, but going by Antiques Roadshow, it’s amazing how much somethings are appraised/sold at!,” she mentioned.
    “It made for a great response to the prompt,” she added.

    • Yes, I know!! He wrote it from the battlefield and in the letter described things going on around him and also what they had to eat (mostly fish and sweet potatoes). He said they would trade some of their food for bacon. They had a hard life on the battlefields. He was telling his mother that he had a bad case bilious fever (whatever that is). And asked her to send him blankets and writing paper. Very interesting!

      • Wow! We have one from the 1800s Ireland….talking about how bad it is over there. And numerous love letters of my Grandfather to my Grandmother.

        Can you image the scene of him in the conditions he wrote that letter that you have? And the hands that touched it over and over again????

  3. That certainly is a treasure. My mother has worked tirelessly on our family history and so little tangible evidence exists from our ancestors. A letter like that is priceless. How wonderful that you have it. Great story, PJ.

    • Thank you! It is wonderful to have this. I also did a lot of genealogy. Having something like that makes you want to know more. I know that my cousin that was in the Civil War died at Gettysburg in 1863 and he had a sister and a brother who also died in 1863. I have not been able to find what caused their death.

      • History has always fascinated me, but to tie oneself to events like Gettysburg has to be exciting. I always tried to explain to my kids that history isn’t a bunch of names and dates in a book. It was real life for real people.

        Eh, they never really got it…lol.

        • When I was in grammar school, history did seem to be only a bunch of names and dates. When I got older those names and dates became more significant. Family history makes it even more real and significant.

  4. That is such a wonderful and treasured letter and it is great that it is in the hands of someone in the family that really cares about it. Some people may have just thrown it out like it was nothing. It will be a wonderful thing to pass on to other generations in your family. Your story is very special, Joy and I enjoyed reading it.

  5. Wow that’s amazing. I love how you follow-up your stories with true facts, it’s really fascinating! Great story PJ!! Hope your evening is going well and you are relaxing!! I’m watching my ghost stories as usual…going back to work tomorrow as I only made a small dent in all the I have to do!! Oh well…it won’t last forever!! ((HUGS!)) xo

    • Awww darn it. I’m sorry you are having to go back to work tomorrow. Hopefully, this is the last weekend you have to work. Sure is going to make it a loooong week! You are probably in bed now. I have been watching Discovery ID. Pretty good serial murder show is on for the last 4 hours.

      • I’m still up but am getting ready to go to bed…I like watching those Discovery ID shows they’re interesting. Yes let’s hope this is the last weekend!! Guess what I never was able to download Windows 10 so I did some research, actually alot of research, but I think the problem was my Norton security, it said it had to be right up date and apparently there had been an update since the last time I updated it which was June. So I did the update and my computer is currently downloading Windows 10 right now…so let’s hope it makes it this time! Well my last load of laundry just finished so I’ll go fold that and then hit the hay!! Sweet Dreams…and thanks for the ((HUGS!!)) xoxo goodnight!! πŸ™‚

    • Keith, that is wonderful! That would be a wonderful thing to have. Of course, I did not know this young man. I only know through genealogy he is a distant cousin. I treasure this letter as I know how dearly you treasure your grandfather’s diary.

  6. I have to say Wow cause I am really bad at keeping or holding onto things, same with my mum so it’s amazing to see you’ve such a treasure for so long!
    Aw, pJ, this was a sad story but seeing that his letter is going to be treasured makes it all better. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Ameena! I try to find out all I can about this person. Little by little I am getting more information about him and his family. He died in the Civil War, the first day of the battle of Gettysburg in 1863. He had a sister and a brother that also died that same year. So tragic!

      • Oh my, that’s tragic. It’s wonderful of you PJ, trying to found out more about a relative separated by almost a century. Memories and memorabilias are a Treasure.

        • Thank you Ameena, He wrote the letter in 1861, 145 years ago. He died in 1863, on the first day of the Gettysburg battle. (It lasted 3 days and had the most casualties of any of the battles of the Civil War). It is very endearing to have something like that from one of your distant relatives.

  7. The story is great, but what makes it even better is that it is based on truth. Funny, I just came across a newspaper from June 6, 1944 in my grandfather’s belongings. D-Day. It’s yellowed and dried out and I want to get it preserved somehow, too. If you find someone, please let me know and I will do the same for you. Thanks.

      • PJ, on a side note. There was a writing challenge last week that had 3 sentences you had to use. One of them was “Almost everything I’m going to tell you is true”. Do you know who’s challenge that might have been?

  8. Wonderful story, and how wonderful to have that piece of your family history. I know very little about my family history and any letters would be in Italian and I wouldn’t understand it.

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