September 5th 1864
My dear and beloved companion
I shall embrace this opportunity of writing to inform you that I am at the hospital. I am not very well, but I hope that I will get better soon. I hope this will find you and family well. I received a letter from you not long ago but have had no chance to write until now. I lost all my paper and envelopes by a cannon ball. It cut off my cartridge box, tore my knapsack all to pieces from off my back, tore my coat on the elbow and on my side. I was not hurt, only bruised a little on my side. Everything in my knapsack was lost. David Glen was kind enough to give me paper and envelope to write this letter. I had no money to buy anything.
This was done in the last charge we made last Thursday. Was a week ago on Sunday before we charged the Yankees from their breastworks. We lost two killed and several wounded. We lay in their breastworks from morning until after dark in water about knee deep. We retreated back that night about one mile and was put on picket that night. The next day the Yankees charged our picket line and drove us back. We formed a line in the woods and kept firing on them until dark. I stood behind a tree and shot until I was about out of ammunition. I then started back when a ball tore my pants about my ankle but did not touch my skin. I feel thankful to God that he has kept me through so many dangers. I don’t like to charge the Yankees, but they have taken the railroad between Petersburg and Weldon, and they had to be driven from it between the two places that we charged them. They have a fort built that we cannot charge them out of.
I have nothing more particular about the fight. My legs are swelled and I have a boil on my knee that I can scarcely walk. My hands are also swelled and tender. My appetite is tolerable good. I would be glad to be at home and help you eat something better than bread and meat, I think I would soon get well. I still hope through the blessing of God to get home some time to stay.
I want you to send me a little paper and some envelopes. You can send them in your letters. Write to me how the children are getting along. I would like to know whether my little boy grows much or not and if he thinks much of his cap that I sent him and if my girls think much of their books that I sent them and whether they are learning much or not. I want them to learn all they can. They will find learning worth more to them than thousands of gold and silver as far as that is concerned.
Myself and brother Daniel are at the hospital together. Daniel had been at the hospital and was sent back. We went to the hospital together yesterday morning. Daniel is very poorly with the diarrhea. You wrote to me that Daniel Whisenhunt wanted me to write to him but there is no chance of me doing that now as I have lost all my paper and envelopes. I want you to let him read this letter as soon as you have the chance. I want him to send a letter to me.
Nothing more, only remain your affectionate husband until death
Andrew Rink to Emeline Rink.
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1.