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John Cato - Civil War Letters

John A. Cato was born February 06, 1836 in Mississippi to Lewis Cato and Mary Ann Galbreath. He married Martha E. Newman December 24, 1861 in Franklin County, MS.[i] John served with the  7th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry, Company E, Franklin Beauregards.[ii] He died July 14, 1864 during the Battle of Harrisburg. John is buried in the Union Church Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Jefferson County, Union Church, MS.[iii]  

The Catoís letters are held by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in Jackson, Mississippi. Cato (John A.) Letters and Papers, Z/367f


Letters are transcribed as written.

Transcribed by Linda Durr Rudd



January 5th 1862


My Dear Wife,


I take this occasion to inform you of my safe arrival in camp. I landed last night. I was detained in Brookhaven until Thursday evening on account of Pink Harrington horse. I waited for three trains of cars to pass down but neither of them had a stock car. I left the horse in care of a friend who was to have sent him the first opportunity but when I got to the city I happened to meet with Pink and also ascertained that none of the gun boats would be going over to Shieldsboro for three or four days. As we did not care to stay in the city on expenses, we telegraphed to my friend Frank Larkin to not

send the horse but to send old Mr. Harrington word to have him sent by some of the boys that was coming a land route. We came over on a Schooner, and had a nice ride. It was rather slower than I like to travel, the wind was not strong enough. I knew it was all a hoax about all communication being cut off between us and New Orleans. It was true the gun boats have not been running for several days. Two of them are being prepared to take more guns and the other has been aground ever since Kyle went over until Thursday last. Schooners have been passing all the time which is just as safe as a steamer but do not run as fast unless a strong breeze is blowing. It is all together owing to the wind whether we travel fast on any vessel that runs by sail. We left the City on Friday at 5 p. m. and landed there on Saturday about the same hour. We only had a gentle breeze the whole way. I understand the gun boat Arrow will be here tomorrow. I know not how often they will be allowed to come over. The mail came today by same way. I know not how. I was not in town when it came. I guess we will have a chance to send letters back and forth occasionally. You must write to me as often as you can and tell me all the news. I found nearly all our days well. Orin left for home on Saturday morning. I did not get to see him. I suppose he has camp fever. Ike Havis went home went him, you must send me a letter by Ike. I intend sending some money home by the first trusty man that goes, I wish you to take care of it for me. You can use as much as you want to pay your expenses when you and Aunt Liddie makes that trip down the river. I intended leaving some silver with you to pay postage on letters but forgot it. I also forgot to say anything to Ma about that coat. I told Pa of it in Brookhaven. If you do not have a chance to send it by Kyle, you can send by Ike Havis. I will send you some postage stamps as soon as I can get a supply. You must excuse haste, I will make amends when next I write. Give my love to your parents, brothers and sisters, also to Aunt Liddie.


From your devoted husband.

J. A. Cato

Goode night




Jan 12th, 1862


My Dear Wife,


I received your letter of Jan 8th through the politeness of Mr. Kyle, also the coat and box containing the candy. I also got my cap cover. The above articles were all gladly received. I am happy to know that you are in good health. I was uneasy for fear you would be sick after dissipating so much Christmas. My coat is as good a fit as I ever got. I am very much obliged to you all for making and sending it to me. As for buttons, I will send by Lieut. Bethea to the City, and get military buttons, and I can put them on as good as any body else. tell Mary Ann I will give Alvarado his piece of candy. I think it extremely doubtful about Mr. Nevels going into the Service. I wish to send a note to Oscar in this letter. Please forward it to him as soon as possible. Julius told me this morning, that Miss Joe Deford was the cause of Oscarís and Miss Jennie Harvisís falling out. He said Jane wrote to him that Joe wrote a very insulting letter to Oscar and signed Janeís name to it. I cannot vouch for the truth of it. I guess it is not of much importance. Please do not say anything about it. Oscar wishes to join our Company again. There is a vacancy now and the first one get here will get in. There was two other vacancies since I came back but they were filled by the time the others were discharged. You can tear this note off and send it to Oscar. Write soon. From your affectionate and devoted husband.


J. A. Cato


[i] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,  FamilySearch,

[ii] Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System,

[iii] Union Church Cemetery,