The following letter was transcribed the original, which was found in an old dresser in Statesboro, GA in 1990.
The letter was sent from A. W. Perry of Ohio to Miss Leah Bessey of Chauncey, Georgia. The letter is postmarked 5 PM, June 12, 1898 at Tampa, Florida. A. W. Perry is thought to be Wilson Perry of Covington, Ohio.
Perry and Bessey had apparently not met, so it is unclear how they came in contact with one another. As for the the regiment literally "missing the boat" to Cuba, it is not likely that the 3rd was forgotten. According to Army records, the regiment was never assigned to the 5th Army Corps, which was the corps sent to Cuba. Camp scuttlebutt may have indicated that the regiment was to join the invasion force, but this was not true.
Transcription follows, exactly (occasional punctuation missing—spaced
appropriately) as written by Mr. Perry, in his well-written penmanship.
Tampa Fla June 10-98
Friend Miss Leah,
I received a letter from you some time ago. I ought to have answered you sooner as you was kind enough to write but I have had so many letters to write that I have neglected it. You said something of one of the soldiers wearing one of the girl’s bonnets when they went through your town. I remember about it. It was one of the boys in our company. You wanted to know about the war. I don’t know as I could tell you much of anything new. We were to sail for Cuba Tuesday but through a mistake the transports left us, now it is very uncertain when we go or indeed whether we (the Ohio troops) go or not. We will at least stay two weeks yet. I stick to my original opinion for myself which is. I don’t think we will see much, if any actual service I think that Spain will surrender soon as they have had many serious losses lately. You seem to take a somewhat pessimistic view of the war. I think this war is for principle more than anything else of course it is partly based on revenge for “The Maine” I decidedly you are wrong when you say you think The Spaniards will whip. I left a very pretty place large nice large house with big lawn in front situated 1 ˝ miles in the country from Covington, Ohio. I have three brothers and a sister, I was the only one at home now Father hires another hand since I am gone. I will be twenty years old July 24th I have fair complexion (or had before I came down here) blue eyes dark brown hair large straight teeth 5Ft 9in tall and weigh 150 pounds If I had a picture I would send you one If you send me your picture (a small one I could not carry a large one) I will get some and send you one. You asked me to promise to always do right in all things, now that is a pretty hard thing to do, “I will try” that is all I can promise I thank you for your letter I think you are a pretty nice kind of a young lady by your letter and hope you will write again, I beg your pardon for this scribbling, I have no suitable place to write here. Well with “good wishes” to you I will say Good-Bye to my unseen but kind friend From your Friend
3rd Reg Co. A O.V.I.
P.S Did you not send me the address of a Miss Cross
I received an address in an envelope and I thought It was your writing.
Write soon A.W. Perry
Greg Cummins Collection