John C. Hackhiser was killed at the Battle of the Crater on 30 July, 1864. He was the Captain of Co. E., 28th U.S. Colored Troops. His father’s name was George. John is listed as a clerk for the Boston Store in Indianapolis prior to the war, and a former lodger in Mrs. Maria W. Kinder’s Boarding House. Sarah A. Kinder, daughter of Maria Kinder and the recipient of this letter, never married.
Camp White House Landing, Va.
June 11th 1864 Four o’clock in the Morning.
Miss Sarah [Kinder]
I hope that you will excuse one for not writing sooner, but I had so much to do that I could not. I joined our Regiment at Camp Casey Va. and was assigned to Company E and I had to work day and night to get the Books and Papers in proper shape. From Camp Casey we moved to Camp White House Landing on board the Steamer George Weems, and I have been on duty everyday since we came here superintending the bilding of our fortification for artillery and infantry.
I am well and doing well. The health of our men is good, but it is hard work to make good soldiers of the Negro. It takes time and patience. We are not far from the Rebles lines and hear the cannonading every day. We are to go to the front this day and I thought that this would be the only chance to write you a letter, so I took the morning for it and I hope that I will hear from you soon (and often). And I hope that we all be in Richmond by the fourth of July. I would like to be there on that day to take a National dinner in the Capitol City of the Rebles and I hope that I will live to see the day when it will be our City and this war ended. And I think that whenever we take Richmond Va., that this war is about over, and I hope that I will have the pleasure of enjoying the peace of our country after this war is over. I do trust in Him that is above who knows all things best, and His will is the best in all cases, and —-.
Miss Sarah, when I was at Indianapolis last winter I did not visit your house as often as I would like to, but I had my reasons for not doing so. I know that I was nothing but a soldier in the ranks of our Army, and I never came to your house but what I found some Officer there, and I know the feeling between both Party’s, Etc. Your house has been a home to me ever since I entered it, and I always will remember its inmates, and my wish is that I may be able to repay my depth some of these days, in some way. At present, I wish you all the best of health and give my best respects to your Mother and also to the rest of your Family and tell them that I am in good health and doing well.
I will have to bring my letter to a close for I must go to the river with a party on some duty this morning. My best wishes to you and Fannie and all the rest of your family. In the hopes that I may hear from you soon, I still remain your friend — that is, if I am allowed that privilege.
Yours with respect, — John C. Hackhiser, Cpt. Co. E, 28th U.S. Col’d Troops, Washington D.C.