I (firstname.lastname@example.org) acquired this letter, as well as four accompanying letters (written by three different individuals), from a Lafayette, Indiana estate in 2001. I believe they originally were in the possession of the Jack Family, who resided in and around Fountain County, Indiana in the 1860's.
My research indicates Musician John H. Young (who probably played the fife), residence of Chambersburg, Indiana, mustered into active service with Company I, 72nd Indiana Volunteer Infantry on 24 July 1862. John H. Young's tenure with the regiment was eventful--from all appearances he participated in most, if not all, of the engagements fought by the 72nd Indiana (particularly after it was folded into Colonel John T. Wilder's "Lighting Brigade" of mounted infantry in early 1863). John H. Young was subsequently discharged from active service for medical reasons effective 21 April 1864 and he does, in fact, refer to his medical problems in this missive!
Here is a rough translation of Musician John H. Young's letter for your perusal:
Dechard Station Tenn
December 3d 1863
I take this opportunity of addressing you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I have been very much under the weather since last sunday monday & Tuesday I could not leave my Room I was then at Nashville Tennessee. I would not go to a Hospital for I knew I would be put into the Invalid Corps & I did not want to go there, so I put up at the "St Cloud Hotel" my Board was $3.00 per day but I would have paid $10.00 before I would have went to the "Invalid Corps" Wednesday evening I got a [almost illegible-pass?] and went to the Depot and got upon the Train determined to leave Nashville if it killed me. I traveled until morning When we arrived at this station here feeling una=ble to Travel I got off and Reported to the sur=geon of the post. he gave me a surgeons certificate certifying that was not able to travel farther. I then requested an ambulance to take me to my Old friends Mr "John Moors" some two miles East of the station. he granted my Request and I am here now. I wish you could see my sallie moor I know you would say she was the pret=tiest little girl you ever saw. she takes as much care of me as if I was her brother. I have taken a very bad cold and it has fell into my legs so I had to resort to the aid of crutches the surgeon says he fears I never will walk without them again But I think I will as the swollen is going out gradually you must write soon and tell me what Aleinda says But dont let any one else know any thng about it Let that rest entirely between you & I. Tell her just what I told you to & find how she stands and then "Report" to me immediately give my Respects to your folks and ours allso and everybody else that wants any Write soon Direct to Co. I. 72d Ind. Vols. Wilder's Brigade of M'td Inft
Department of the Cumberland
Your Friend til Death
John H Young
Head Quarters Co. I 72d Camp Moorsville Ala
March 24th 1864
Respected and esteemed Friend
I seat myself this morning to let you know that the snow is about seven inches Deep it fell Last Night But it is pleasant this morning and the snow is Rapidly Leaving us. I hope it will soon disap=pear for I cant walk scarcely at all through it. it throws me Down every "ten feet." I am Well and enjoying myself finely. havent Been Sick since I got well of the "yellow jaundice" about 8 weaks ago. Sincerely hope this may find you Well and as fit as ever would love to bee [with] you now and talk on Some things that Transpired in that Country since I left and other things that will Transpire Before I Return again. things that Concern me of which you are not yet aware of. But as I consider you a Confidential friend I will make them Known to you at some future Period. but as they are still at Present we will let them Remain so. Times have been very good here with us for some time past hope they may Remain So. Plenty to eat, plenty to wear, But Nothing to get "Drunk" on. There is not a sick man in Our Regt. and I hope there Never Will Be an other as long as I Stay with it. At Least You Understand those marks If you dont you will before Long "else I'm fooled." Well I saw a man yesterday that Wants a Lady Correspondent he is formerly from Lafayette [Indiana] Was Rail Road Agent on the Ind=ianpolis and Lafayette R. R. and Also Collector of three of the Lar=gest firms (farms?) in Lafayett[e]. I re=ferred him to you as he is about your age and is a gentleman of the highest Repute in our Regt. he is about as Large as I am good Looking and has a heavy Crop of Black Whiskers and Mustache Which adds to his manly Appearance. if you recieve a Letter from a man who signs himself Robt. Shofstall [Private Robert C. Shofstall, Company D] I suppose it will be him Who Writes it. Well I guess I will hav[e] to Bring this thing to a final termination by asking you to Write as soon as you get this as Probably I wont be here Direct as be=fore I Remain Miss Jack your true friend