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 fifth letter, see the Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4.
May 28, 1864
This letter is my favorite. Philip talks the happenings in his home town and the family he left behind, sharing news from his sister-in-law Mary [(Finch) Rutter, wife of Alonzo]. He shares bits of news from the two brothers, Hollis and Jubal, he keeps running into, including the fact that Jubal took his extra pair of boots for himself. Philip he mentions he got a letter from his other brother Lon [Alonzo]. And yet a war is still going on around them and Philip is apart of it every day.
Camp 12th Iowa
Memphis Tenn May 28th 64
Dear Mother & Father
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand at this time to rite a few lines to you. we are still in our old Camp and on Pickit as usual. I have been trubled with the Liaree a little but am getting over it a little[crossed out] now, Hollis came down this morning but I have not seen him yet, one of the boys was down Town and see him and he gave the letter to him you rote and it aforded me much pleasure to here from home I had not had a letter from home in a week before. I rote you a letter day before yesterday which I hope you will get. you rote in your letter that you had got your planting done and that you had painted the Citchen and the Poarch. and I expect it makes the house look a great deal biter than it did before I was glad to here that those Goosboyes were doing well this summer for they were such nice bushes I am in hopes that by the time they bare again I will be at home to eat some of them and if Grant is sucesesfull in taking Richmond we will be at home by this time next year. I am glad that you have pleanty of milk now for it is so good to use in the family. we have a consiterable milk in the line of toal ant on Picket and it comes in good play in over Coffee. I would like to be at home to work in the Garden this ummer but you must do the best you can and mabe I will hoe it next summer at least I am in hope I will
Hollis said he would come up here on Monday he would come up tomorrow but the felow told him that we would be out on pickit Jubal was up here yesterday he came up to get my boots for hisen was all worn out. I received a letter from Mary yesterday she is well she says the children are going to school this summer she did not rite much. Jub received a letter from Lon the other day they are still on the Island yet they have got 5 forts built and are still at work building more he says they are busy all the time at work on drilling but I dont think they have any more Duty to do than we have for we have all we can do at any rote as much as we want and expect to get pay in a few days but I dont now as I will get any or not if I do it wont be much nut if I can spare any I will send it home. and when we are paid off again we will get some more of out Bounty and then I will send about fifty Dallars home for it to be. I mite keep all of my money and spend it and when I had spent it I would not feel as well as if I had sent it home. and of I send it home I will have some thing to show.
Well I don't now as I can think of any more to rite at this time rite as soon as you get this and tell me all the news I will rite as often as I can and that is all I can do.
I send my love to all the folks and a good share to yourselves so good by for this time.
from your Dear son
 Philip Rutter to "Dearest Mother & Father" [Emerson and Mary (Nichols) Rutter], letter, 28 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.