Philip Henry Rutter served in the Civil War in Company K, 12th Iowa Volunteer Regiment from March 28, 1864 to July 1, 1864. His parents, Emerson and Mary (Nichols) Rutter, both applied for pensions based on his service. Found in the pension file were five letters Philip wrote home during May 1864. Each letter provides a window into life in the army during the Civil War and details of Philip's unique experiences.
This is the second letter, see the Intro, Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3.
May 16, 1864
Camp 12th Iowa
Memphis Tenn May 16th
I received yours of the 7th and[crossed out] in due season, and was glad to here from you once more. I am as well as ever I was in my life. we are having very pleasant weather here now but the nights are very cold though we expected to be be rerieved from Duty but we was grandly mistakened we went out yesterday morning on Picket expecting to be relieved today but when we got into Camp an order came for six Companys to prepare to go to white river but we dident happen to be A one of the Companys so thare is only 4 Companys left in the regiment, and we have the same Duty (with the exceptions of getting up in the morning at 4 oclock) we had before in regard to being Vacinatid. I can say that I have been and it is working very well. I expect I will have a pretty sore arm before it is through with. but that is beter than to have the Small Pox. thare is three cases of it in the Regiment but they are getting along very well. that man that was shot last week is dead he died yesterday and was bureyed today he left his fami-ly very destituite. Jubal was over here the other day he said that they received Orders to go up to St. Louis to leawse thire Horsses & Ecnteamnets but the Order was Countrmanded. I don't think that I will get out of practice of milking while I am in the Army for if any cows come around the Pickets they generly get milked I am glad you have received the money that I sent for I began to be uneasy about it but it is safe now. and let it be used to the best advantage. that Blue Bell that you sent made me think of the Garden I suppose Peas onions Potatoes and such thing are up but they are big enough to eat down here. it is nice to go along and see the gardens with the flowers all bloomed out. I will send you a sample of some of the rosies in this letter Keep them and when you look at them think of Philip. . well Dear Mother I must close for now Keep up good spirits and all will turn out well in the end so good by for this time rite soon and often
From your Dear son
 Philip Rutter to "Dearest Mother" [Mary (Nichols) Rutter], letter, 16 May 1864; Mary E. Rutter, mother's pension application no. 223,150, certificate no. M.O.C. 193,691, for service of Philip H. Rutter (Pvt., Co. K, 12th Iowa Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications ..., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.