January 21 1864 – John J Haun to Mollie Burns

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John Haun writes to Mollie, acknowledging the receipt of letters from Maggie Webb and J.P. Kinsley, and explaining the reason for his long silence toward his parents.

Prison 1, Mess 9
Camp Chase, Ohio

January 21st 1864

Dear Friend,

Your welcome letter of the 7th1 was received the evening of the 18th containing one of inquiry from my friend in Pennsylvania2. You may imagine I was surprised receiving a letter from that quarter concerning the lost babe, myself. I immediately seated myself and responded to it.

I also wrote one to my dear mother and father concerning my whereabouts. No doubt you will consider me very negligent for not so doing before, or still worse, think that I care but very little for my parents, but such is not the case. I have been led to believe from time to time I would soon be released when I could write giving more fully an account of my “sojourn in Tennessee” and likewise that at Camp Chase. Thus the time has passed to the present. I think Mrs Webb a very warm friend of mine, but she, like a great many others, knows but little of the difficulties that prevent a person from getting a release from Camp Chase. I have tried almost every means within my knowledge but as yet have been unable to gain my liberty on any terms and I am not alone in this endeavor as friends are unable to accomplish much at home.

I requested some of my friends to write to my parents when I left home telling of my whereabouts, but it seems they have not complied with their promises, or their letters have been miscarried.

Mollie, Mrs Webb asked me some very funny questions regarding yourself once upon a time, but I did not commit myself as I thought such questions out of place. I can certify to you being a truthful young lady.

I cannot say I did not suffer during this cold spell but I’ve done very well considering the circumstances. It was the coldest weather I ever experienced in my life but I hope the worst is over for this winter. Mollie I am very fond of mince pies particularly when “mam makes ‘em.” Tell your ma to preserve me one in vinegar so as it will keep until I can get it.

Just consider my meaning regarding George Jackson like everything else I say—a pack of nonsense with no meaning particularly. I am well a ware he never waited on you. I am very sorry for poor Evan Cannon and for Sallie, should she lose her husband too early in life, but such things will happen. Mollie, you are a busy little woman ain’t you? As for taste, I always know you possessed that qualification to perfect—hence the cedars. I flatter myself I would make some poor girl a good husband—if you consider starving by degrees good.

If I do not appreciate you, please, just show me the lad that does, as brass buttons are valuable here. As for you not allowing another theft, I do not see how you can prevent it, for rogues do not generally ask permission to steal, so I will not. Bear in mind this is leap year and I will answer all questions required of me. I must hasten to close. Do as I have done by writing soon,

Your friend,


Metadata: Recipient’s location: Camp Chase, OH | Sender’s location: Georgetown, KY
  1. Included in the packet of correspondence between December 31 1853 and January 7 1854.
  2. J.P. Kinsley who traveled east from California with John two years before.