Be of good cheer I overcame the world saith one who is mighty
Camp near NewbernN.C.
103rd Reg’t, Co., A. U.S.A.,
Friday, April 3rd 1863
Dear Father And Mother,
With pleasure I write to let you know that I still am on the land of the living, And still occupy our barrack at Old Newbern. We have been laying almost inactive since returning from our Hyde Co. Expedition. If I were to tell you the reason we lay here inactive was on account of the drifting sand you would think it strange, for I suppose the mud covers the surface of the ground around my old native home, this time in the year. But here the soil is a fine sand and if it rains the water soaks through and the wind from the rivers and plains soon dries off and begins to drift like our snow used to do in old Penna
When writing my last letter I neglected or rather forgot to till you of the Rebels comeing here to Newbern while we were on our march to Hyde Co. On the morning of the 14th of March our boys tell us the Rebel Gen. Petigrew came here or near with a force and demanded a surrender. Gen Foster “would’ent” The rebels got their Canon in range and threw shot Shell and Grape at the 92nd N.Y.V. entrenchments. (92nd is posted on the other side of the river from us, their fort, or entrenchments are between two swamps Consequently there is only one road for that enemy to come in) the 92nd was the only Reg’t that was on that side of the river they lay close behind their breast works and the showers of Iron hail did not much damage, the Gunboats getting [rang] the enimy thought It prudent to retire. I suppose they had an Idea that they could come in and take possesion after our forces having possesion for one year. that morning one year ago, Gen Burnside took possesion of this City.
We have had the most pleasent time soldiering since coming here in the first place we have had good barracks, and what makes it far pleasenter for me, I can go to Newbern to preaching. on last sabbath I was to a sabbath school. It looked quite natural. I almost fancied myself seated in old Kuhns-School House. here were Southern Children in place of our little Pennsylvanians. There is also a Colored Sabbath school. The superintendent of the white sabbath (which was a major of one of our Regts here) remarked at the close of the school that there were teachers wanted for this negro sabbath school. If I live and keep my health and were permitted to stay here, I will go to this sabbath school and learn these poor little negroes all I can, and think it an honerable position in the army of my Lord and Savior. I would attend this black school regular, but the time of school comes at the time of an inspection (9 Oclock)
As I am writing I hear the boom of the Canon at little Washington about 40 miles from here by land. the Rebels are trying to take it. they will hardly succeed for our Gunboats from here went to lend a helping hand.
A soldier almost feels like yielding to discouragements betimes, But when I begin to fell discouraged, take the good old book, and I see I am carried on flowy beds of ease to what some poor Christians were before me. when I read and see what Gods people have come through, I fell to say.
“Let Cares like a wild deluge come.
“And storms of sorrow fall.
“So I but safely reach my home
“My God, my heaven, my all.”
If I never should meet you on this side of the grave, weep not for me I’ll meet You in Heaven.
Your son Jno. T.E. [V.D.?] Rupert
Written in folds:
Give my Respect to all my brothers, and sisters and tell them to be good little folks.
Give my Respect to James Kline and family.
Source: Union soldier, Johnathan Rupert, letter to his parents. Tryon Palace Collections, New Bern, NC. Accession # 2008.006.002.