clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

General Andrew Luck’s final dispatch from the Trans-Mississippi Theater

As Civil War General Andrew Luck prepares for battle on the Kansas-Missouri borderland, he writes home to Abigail with some troubling news.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Andrew Luck Civil War general

Dearest Abigail,

The depths of winter find us campaigning again. It has been a spell, but the men and I find ourselves riding as if we had not left. There is a comfort in continuing this fight and we are thusly resolved to carry it out for as long as the heavens allow. I dare say that should be a good long time too.

Do forgive my absence in the post of late. We have barely had a moment to collect ourselves and feed the horses as we roll up victory upon victory. Know that the time spent convalescing at your side in the months prior to this current campaign have carried me well, renewing my vigor.

I have much to tell about our recent and looming engagements. But first, I am afraid that I must advise on a more serious matter. It has come to my attention that I have an imposter. Someone has purloined my good name and appropriated a tintype of my visage to defraud many an otherwise fine person in desperate need of a ray of light amidst these terrible times.

I am not so much aggrieved that my name and portrait are being used to that end, but I do bear some concern that perhaps this scoundrel would pursue more nefarious ends to besmirch my name to their own self interest.

Further, they write letters to mother. I do not doubt it would deeply concern her to know they are fraudulent. They would also make my rank that of a captain, whereas I have honestly earned the star of a general officer on my lapel.

This will not go unremedied. I am of a mind to settle this in a manner consistent with the population here on the Missouri-Kansas borderlands — with the butt end of my pistol. That, however, is inconsistent with our grand cause.

We fight this civil war to right the evils of slavery. We must save our harshest punishment for the wretched men who defend that system and their false god of, as they would say, “states rats.” Beyond that we are creating a country governed by laws and ruled justly, so that no man or pernicious party of politicians may corrupt our system to their own ends rather than that of the entire citizenry.

As satisfying as heavy cavalry boot to this imposter’s hind quarters would doubtlessly be, we are all better served if this wretch were dealt with before he is allowed to continue to defraud rubes on the frontier with his traveling snake oil show.

As for our campaign in the borderlands, we are confident that victory awaits us. These irregulars do not adhere to the norms of campaigning. They strike fast and disappear quickly before we might respond in kind with overwhelming force.

When faced with an opponent such as that, there is but one way to respond. We take inspiration from Gen. Thomas Ewing here, who has taken his fight to the rebel sympathizers in Missouri. We too can strike quickly and quite by surprise, a disguised shot from Sgt. Mack, a Floridian who has acquitted himself well in spite of his home state. Col. Hilton can sneak behind lines as well as, if not better than, any guerrilla. And Lt. Ebron has proven to be a master at the kill shot.

We are further reinforced from outside of our own ranks, a fatal flaw in our opponents’ tactics. These irregulars in red can do little in the way of defensive effort. Time and again we have seen reports that these so-called Chiefs can do little to stop a concerted push from an offense.

I am further encouraged by the ability of our defensive works. Fighting in January has so far underscored the importance of one’s own bulwark. A fast-moving attack will find it hard going when they run against our ramparts.

Another matter that bolsters our favor is that Commander Reid’s outfit has always fought poorly in January. We know this from our own experience when last we met in January some years back.

I believe the elements will also be on our side. Biting wind and snow implies a war of attrition, and we much better suited to win such a fight.

My optimism is boundless.

Please give my best to the children. Comfort mother and let her know that I am well and not be fooled by this dastardly imposter. The thought of you, my darling, steadies me in these difficult times. I look forward to our eventual reunion.

Write when you can and a long letter as I am very anxious to hear from you.


Gen. Andrew Luck