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John G. Boles volunteered for service in the Mexican War, he enrolled on May 28, 1847 at Alton Illinois. John served with Compny B, First Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Captian J.M. Cunningham. Corporal John Boles was discharged at Alton Illinois, October 11, 1848. Below are two letters from John to his father Swancy Boles, the first letter was written by John while at camp in Fort Leavenworth Kansas on July 4, 1847. The second letter was provided by Sandee Hanahan and was written while John served on the frontier Janurary 29, 1848, post marked Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

 

Leavenworth July 4/47

Father and Mother,

	I embrace this opportunity of informing of the condition of health and situation, 
otherwise as to my health it is improving and I think I will be able to leave on tomorrow,
where it is said we will leave this place and try the route to Santa fe. I have been sick 
about four weeks and am weak, but think I will be able to march with the company if they go 
and I think they will. I was able to go to parade grounds this morning for the first time 
since I was taken sick but am mending very fass and all the boys of the company that was 
sick is getting well except for 3? And I think they will have to be left and they will be 
home as soon as they will get able and then  and then you can have a full detail of our trip. 
This for as the route we will go from this place is not settled for some think we will go by 
the way of N orleans and others think we will go strate from this place to Santafe but it is 
uncertain as to my part? I would rather go by N Orleans than to face the sand plains of 
Santafe for they are a horible thing to think of sand from 6 to 10 inches and it is true that 
the southern route is much more the - - - - - ss?, but the hardships not half so bad nor 
tedious and I think there will be a great many of the boys that will not be able to pack their 
baggage for the weight of our bundles is 45 to 50# and there is water to pack principll part 
of the way. As to the situation of this country it is the puriss? I ever see and the Ranges is 
as before? Illinois as Illinois is before? T- - - - - - ? and you will see the high and dry 
praries making up  to the River of thousands of acres and not a track to be seen and all the 
inhabitants Indians and nothing on earth to prevent a man from making a fortune in a few years 
it is said to be the bess country to grow wheat in the world and corn grows fine too. 
I want you to pay close attention to this for I will be home sometime and then I will make 
the - - - - -  - -  girls think Hell? is pay. I want you to write me if you can and  let me 
know how you are coming on for I haven't recieved a silible from any of you and know how you 
am getting along and of all the deaths and marriages that has occured since I left. If you have 
no paper to write I will send you a sheet in my note so you will lose nothing by the favor and 
you will please give my bess love to all inquiring friends and particular 
Mr. T?- - - - - - - -  and tell him to keep the girls strate and hold on to my favorite until 
I come back. So I muss close by subscribing my self your dutiful son. J(T?)G Boles 


The above letter was transcribed by Bailey Williams



Sante Fe N.M. Jan 29th 1848 Dear Father & Mother, I am hopes to inform you of my good health & the good health of our Regiment & all the troops in New Mexico as far as my knowledge extends. I received your letter dated Aug 18th on the 26th of January a few minutes before I went on guard. I read your kind letter on my post 200 miles south of this place on the RioGrande. This is the sheet of paper you sent me & it came in good time for paper is almost as scarce as chickens teeth.On the 27th 5 companies were ordered to ElPaso, ours among the rest on 30th Oct we camped on the Rio Grande on the 14th of Nov we crossed the RioGrande to the western shore where J.H. Pike died on the 17th of Dec. Marion Gaines died on the 20th Dec. Major Donalson received orders to halt & wait further orders, on the 27th orders were received for Maj Donalson to repair immediately to SanteFe the orders which was by no means welcome news to us for all our hopes were blasted of gaining a victory by retaking Chihuahua & returning home by the way of the gulf of Mexico. The batallion was divided Camps B, J, V & H, commanded by Captain Cunningham moved on and the 2 remaining camps followed one days march behind us where we kept them until we arrived at this place. We arrived here on the 13th of this ... after long and hard marches through deep sand but in good health and fine spirits we are now in quarters for the first time since we left Fort Leavenworth. I received a letter from WMenece & John Hill and one from brother James. Give them my best respects tell them to excuse me for not writing this time for the chances for writing are slim here. Tell John Hill that A. Tipy is as fat as a bear. You wished to know how long we was mustered in for it was my understanding that we was in for the scrape long or short. Tell ...? hugh that he will find it a long winding walk by the time he gets here. Tell mother I should like to take supper with her any night for I have not eat with a woman or on a table and not in a hous until a five days ago since we left the states. Tell Jake Perry to look sharp and to love his place before I get home & to Lane (?) Monez to ? have on for breaking open that better for I have got plenty of it. I will make him stand at the Bar & look Blacker then ever if possible. But, give Sarahann my best respects give Jack Perry my compliments; give my respects to James Hoffman tell him that Wesley is well; give my love to all my brothers and sisters and receive to yourself the love and warmest affection of your good son. J. G. Boles. The above letter was submitted and transcribed by Sandee Hanahan.


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