Army Drunk: “Long May You Live To Ride a Horse."

Lt. Berry, 4th Infy, USMA 1841 to Lt. Love. It appears possible that while writing these letters Berry may have been drunk, stringing together his words, which have been separated here for ease of reading:

Jefferson Barracks Mo

Jan 18th 1843

My Dear John

What with parties and every other thing of that kind I have neglected writing to you before. I got your letter brought by Major Walker. I was really glad to hear from you and about Major Graham. I have forwarded your letter to Jenkins who is at Fort Atkinson near Prairie du Chien, Iowa Territory.

John how do you enjoy yourself at Fort Scott? I know that you cannot not enjoy yourself anywhere. Noble and Stanton stopped with us a few days and then left, Noble for a Post somewhere near Council Bluffs[,] Stanton for Fort Leavenworth. Longstreet lives next door to me. We have been passing a very pleasant time so far, on (and in one or two cases) or two parties a week. Capt. Turner was very glad to hear about you, he desired me to remember him kindly to you.

Do you ever hear anything of Nelson[,] Buford[,] and [Leilck?] Garnett. John[,] Old Murray has been promoted at last I believe. I think I was told Ewell is at your Post if so remember me to him John. John remember me kindly to Major Graham. I will always be glad to hear from you John. How many Buffalos have you killed John since you have been out west?

Sincerely,

Benj. A Berry

P.S. John Love my Jo [sic] John how many times have we been together. How long is it since we met each other in [sporter?] and ever merry together in that old place West Point, scribbling, and nibbing and sweeping, eating hashes and getting late at Roll Call. God Bless you John[.] Long may you live to mount a horse.

Envelope:

Postmarked JEFFERSON BARRACKS MO; JAN 26, 1841

Lt. John Love

1st Dragoons

Fort Scott

Near Little Osage P. Office, Bates County Missouri

Jenkins, Nelson, Buford, Garnett [the Lielck? seems to be a garbled nickname], and Murray were fellow members of Love—and Berry—USMA Class of 1841, all now 2nd lieutenants (even Murray). Longstreet was Class of 1842, also 4th Infantry at JB at the time of the writing. Noble and Stanton were also Class of 1842, assigned to the 1st Dragoons with Love (and Buford). Turner was much older, Class of 1834, also 1st Dragoons. I have not identified Majors Walker or Graham, although it may be that one or both were Indian Agents (always given the rank of Major as an honorific).

In 1845, Lt. Berry was dispatched with the 4th Infantry to Texas to serve as part of the Army of Observation. He was killed that August when the Steamboat DAYTON blew up.

Nile National Register 69.49, 9/27/45
Steamboat Disaster—On the 12 inst.[August 12, 1845– this is a copied story] the steamer Dayton, when half way between Corpus Christi and St. Joseph’s island, having, including crew, between 30 and 40 persons on board, exploded a boiler. Ten persons were killed on the instant, including Lieuts. Wiggins and Berry, of the 4th reg. of  infantry. Seventeen were wounded, one of whom died next day. Capt. Crossman, quarter master, was blown to the distance of a hundred yards, but the next day, though somewhat bruised, was able to walk and attend to business. The boat sunk in fifteen minutes after the explosion. As she went down, another boiler exploded, with a moat terrific report.

Steamboat Disaster”On the 12 inst.[August 12, 1845] the steamer Dayton, when half way between Corpus Christi and St. Joseph’s island, having, including crew, between 30 and 40 persons on board, exploded a boiler. Ten persons were killed on the instant, including Lieuts. Wiggins and Berry, of the 4th reg. of  infantry. Seventeen were wounded, one of whom died next day. Capt. Crossman, quarter master, was blown to the distance of a hundred yards, but the next day, though somewhat bruised, was able to walk and attend to business. The boat sunk in fifteen minutes after the explosion. As she went down, another boiler exploded, with a moat terrific report. 9/27/45

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