Each month, The Kentucky
Explorer magazine receives literally scores of letters from
our faithful readers. Whenever possible, we try to publish as
many of them as possible in the 12 pages we have set aside for
"Letters to the Editor."
Here are actual letters from October
Soldier Writes Letter
Ed Perkins, Jr. (1932-2004), was born in Pendleton County, Kentucky,
to Ed Perkins, Sr., and Annie Gillespie Perkins. He was a paratrooper
during the Korean War. Following is a transcript of a letter
he wrote on June 22, 1951, to his sister, Bertha Knecht, in Covington,
Ken-ton County, Kentucky:
"Dear Bertha: Yours is the first letter I've got since I've
been here on Koje-do Island. When I got to Japan I got three
letters from Grace, one from Mom, and one from Jimmy Mardis.
Right now I am on Kojedo Island where we have 80,000 Chinese
and North Korean prisoners of war to guard. Maybe we'll be back
in Japan about the first of each month. The POWs don't make much
trouble now. I am still with the paratroopers. I am in the 187th
Airborne Regimental Combat Team as an assistant automatic rifleman.
Later on, when the automatic rifleman gets discharged, I will
take the job myself. There is not much to do here, but the 187th
headquarters at Camp Chikamauga, Japan, is a nice place. I will
be glad when the outfit gets back there.
"The lights are going out soon, so I'll have to bring this
letter to a close. Write to me. Your brother, Junior."
I thought readers might find this letter interesting. Bertha
Knecht was my mother, and I found this letter among her papers.
3216 Decoursey Avenue, Apt. 2
Covington, KY 41015
Old Letter Written During
The Civil War
In the June 2010 issue of The Kentucky Explorer, the article
titled "Lighter Aspects of the Civil War and Its Colorful
Characters" brought to mind a letter from the Civil War
which I have in my possession.
A copy of this letter was obtained from the Lenawee County, Michigan,
Historical Museum. They graciously gave me a typewritten copy
of the content of the letter.
I was born in Edmonson County, Kentucky, where most of Mammoth
Cave is located, and this letter was written from the Cave City/Munfords-ville
area in March 1862.
The letter will take one back in time and reveal the thoughts
of a Northerner on how the people in our area lived at a time
of great upheaval.
Sadly to say, another letter in the aforementioned museum dated
June 1861 from Nashville, Tennessee, from Private Hoagland's
regimental officer notified his parents that Lyman Hoagland had
died from an illness at the hospital there.
The letter (printed as written) reads as follows:
"Cave City, Ky.
March the 1st
"Dear Folks at home:
"I take this opportunity to write you a few lines. I am
doing well at present.
"I have received but one letter from home scence I left
Camp Douglas and that was from Loss and Cinda dated the 10th,
so I begin to feel kinder anxious to hear from there.
"We are about ten or twelve miles south of Munfordville.
It rains so today that we are laying still. We are encamped close
by a small cave and about eight miles from Mammoth Cave. I hope
that I will get a chance to go and see the Mammoth Cave, but
I am afraid I shan't.
"The cave here is quite a hole, there is a kind of winding
steps down about a hundred feet, and then you come to the mouth
of the cave. It runs about 40 rods under the ground. There is
a nice little stream of water down there.
"This is a very hilly country and looks like a good farming
country. Some of the farmers here have commenced plowing. They
raise wheat, corn, oats, and tobacco. The slaves here appear
to be well fed and well clothed and don't have to work very hard.
"Yesterday we past where there was some of them threshing.
They had one of their old-fashioned machines with only the cylinder.
One of them would not believe it when I told that up where we
lived, we had machines that clean the grain ready for the market,
and stacked the straw. It is the honest truth that the slave
states are 100 years behind the free states.
"It is getting quite warm here, a good deal such weather
as we have there in April.
"Do you hear from Tommy anymore? I have not had a letter
from him sence I left home. I have written to him twice.
"The general opinion here is that the war won't last long,
the Captain told me this morning that we should be home before
harvest, if we had good luck. I spose we leave here for Bowling
Green. I think the fighting in this part of the country is almost
"You must direct your letter to Bowling Green, Kentucky.
You must write me a good long letter and send me all of the news.
Direct to Co. A - 13th Reg. of Mich. Inf.
829 Nutwood Street
Bowling Green, KY 42103
just samples of the many letters in each issue of The Explorer.