Bad Bad Jim the Naughty Boy Soldier!!!!!
This is fun! A letter sent from New York City in 1863 to Miss. Rebecca Robinson at the State Normal School in New Britain, CT. It contained a picture of this slightly sinister Union officer, and her reply letter that states she does not know any Jims, except a common coachman, and says she'd not reply to unsolicited advances anyway. Please do not write again!!!! (Maybe he shoulda asked her "What's your sign?")
Click to Enlarge
1862 Missouri Soldier Letter with stunning Letterhead
Look at the letterhead on this 1862 soldier's letter. the vignette shows a soldier dreaming of home and presents a haunting poem. Think how many men saw these words on their own letters and never returned from the nightmare of war to the sweet reality of their wife and families.. Fames Sherry writes to his sister from New Florence, Mo. in February of 1862. It mentions shooting some rebels the other night and a big fight at Fort Henry.
Click to Enlarge
Sister's Letters to a Soon-Dead Brother!!!
This is very interesting yet sad: These three very colorful patriotic covers clearly demonstrate the patriotic verve with which such envelopes were actually used during the Civil War. Two of them bear the common carmine-colored three-cent George Washington stamp that was so-coveted by soldiers wishing to write home. As is typical, they are hand stamped or crossed-off using ink-pen by the postmaster because there was no automatic machine-cancelling at that time in U.S. history. Soldier Jesse B. Rice a 24-year old Private who enlisted in Co.D. of the New York 88th Regiment as a private on 8/26/62 sent two of these envelopes back to Miss Rachel A. Rice (sister?) at Wallace Station in Steuben County, New York. One is cancelled with the date Dec. 16 1862. A return letter from Rachel to Jesse is annotated "Stephens Mills Dec 22/62" and addressed to him at the "Mount Pleasant Hospital" in Washington D.C.. It was crossed out and forwarded to another hospital "Ward Y of the U.S. Hospital in West Philadelphia, Penn.. Sadly, records show that Jesse B. Rice "died of disease" on 1/13/1863 in that hospital. No doubt, Rachel kept these symbols of her brother's supreme sacrifice for many years afterward as a fond yet bittersweet memory. Real men, real women, real war. (BY the way, I used to live across the street from where the current V.A. Hospital now stands on Baltimore Avenue in West Philly... there is a regal old graveyard full of awesome Civil War tombstones beside it...)
Click to Enlarge
Bullet Lead used as a Pencil to Write!
Soldiers wrote many letters home to sweethearts, acquaintances and family. If a standard pen or pencil was unavailable, the trooper could fashion a functional replacement from a piece of lead. If pressed hard enough, it would leave a readable scrawl on paper. These elongated pencils were crudely made from lead scraps of hammered-out bullets and artillery shell sabots. They are found in Civil War camp areas and are pictured in the major Relic Books about this conflict. Never was the old saying more true: "Necessity is the Mother of Invention."
Click to Enlarge
Inkwell with Iridescence
Sometimes the chemicals in the ground give strange iridescent effects to the glass which gets buried there for years... As an example, observe this very cool and attractive "umbrella ink" glass bottle... it almost looks like a pearl shimmering with superimposed green and pink accents... like the nacre inside a muscle shell or oyster. This type of construction is generally from around the CW period. Early Hinge Molded. Smooth Base, 3"H x 2 1/2"W, With a crudely sheared-off lip, American, C. 1860s. It came from a double barrel-lined privy on Baltimore's west side, the house having been built in 1860. This is an unusual color for this kind of bottle, as these were usually made of an aqua-green glass. Soldiers often used glass shear-tops and crockery bottles to carry their ink during the Civil War.
Click to Enlarge
Log Cabin Shaped Ink Bottle
A nice square-shoulder little ink bottle in aqua glass with small inclusion air bubbles from the mid-Nineteenth Century. It is mold poured (not hand-made so no pontil) marked "Lyons Ink." The lines of the design are oriented to rest a pen across the top of the bottle. The top is a "snap top" design. 1 3/4 wide by 2 1/4" high. These were commonly discarded into trash pits and privy wells during the period of the Civil War. No breaks.
Click to Enlarge
TWO LETTERS from soon to die New York Troop
These are two handwritten letters sent from a very unusual location: Key West, Florida. John W. Hendrix, was a 19 year old private from Otego, New York who mustered into Company E of the 90th New York Vols. Nice Key West, Fla. post-marked envelopes from August 14th and September 2nd. Yellow Fever was ravaging the Regiment at that time as described in his lines. He acted as a hospital steward for his own company due to short staffing. And Sadly, he was to die of disease himself just two days after the second of these letters was posted to a Mr. Bundy in Otego, NY. August 14th Letter's Text in ink: "General Hospital, Key West Florida, August 12, 1862. Dear Friend Sir, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessing, For I consider it a great blessing to have my health in this climate. The troops are a droping away very fast with the billious fever and the yellow fever. The two Companies that are stationed at Fort Taylor have got only thirteen men reported for duty. The rest are in the hospital. So you can see that we have to work in the hospital. General Terry is on the island and inspecting the troops and hospitals. He is in command of the island. He was the hero of Fort Pulaski. He is a very smart looking man. He leaves for Hilton Head South Carolina and also Wm. F. Cornick medical director of Key West and Arnold B. Striks hospital steward. So it leaves us with only one doctor to Doctor about one hundred men. Besides he has to visit all vessels that arrive to see that there is not any Disease on board and if there is any Disease then they are not allowed to land. This month is the worst month there is in the year for yellow fever. I do not think of any news worth writing now. I want you to send me a county paper once in a while and I will send you some of the New Era that is printed in Key West. Write as soon as you can. Give my respects to your family and also janices folks. from your friend . Sergeant John Wm. Hendrick, General Hospital, Key West Florida. (added on back of page) I have just heard that they are going to Draft all of the able bodied men in the north. So I think that some of the men in Otego shake in the news. Dont you. J.W.He. Key west." SECOND LETTER TEXT in pencil: "Key West Florida. Gen. Hospital. August 26 (62). Dear Friend Sir, I take this opportunity to write to you to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you enjoying the same. I have been a looking for a letter from you for about a month but have not got it yet. I want you to send some along. I have not heard from Otego for over four weeks and it is getting kind of lonesome. There is a great deal of sickness on the island. There was twenty two died in the last week. the most of them with the yellow fever. There is twenty nine sick with the fever in the hospital that I am in. I have been sick one week with it. Mr. F. Roe of Franklin died last week with the fever. We have just received news that General Mc Clellan had moved his army back to Washington and that General Banks had got another whipping and had to retreat. I am in the hopes that there will not be any more yellow fever after this month. Some days there will be ten new cases. then others there will not be any. I do not think of anything more to write. Give my respects to all and write asw soon as you get this and as often as .... From your Friend and humble servant, John Wm. Hendrix... If you see.... tell him to answer the letter that I sent him." THESE LETTER WERE A SOLDIER'S LAST WRITINGS TO HIS HOME BEFORE HE DEPARTED EARTH.
Click to Enlarge
Heavy Interesting Inkwell, dated June 4, 1861
This is a very interesting looking desktop inkwell bearing a patent date of "June 4, 1861" on its pewter flip top section. There is a neat ribbed dome of blown glass permanently mounted into the top of the brass body, acting as a window down into an inner reservoir for the ink supply. The base is weighted within to keep it well-set on a desk. The blue cloth underside material is moth nipped. In the past, there was likely a raised pair of metal cradle-holders for pens set to either side of the pewter flip top. These are now gone. It is a heavy, interesting-looking item due to the domed glass viewer and cool shape of pewter flip top. In fact, the patent date is just after the start of the American Civil War.
Click to Enlarge
Young Will Vanauken's Last Letter Home!
Shortly after this letter was written Sgt. William E. Vanauken would be killed near Dallas, Georgia on the evening of May 25, 1864. His father was nearby and I will include that grief-stricken letter next for your consideration of the anguish and horror of war...
(Text of Letter is below):
Georgia (Close to Dallas)
May the 25th, 1864
Dear Brother and Sister,
I received your letter two days ago but could not get time to answer it. We have been in line of battle every night and we don't get any candles and so we have to do our writing in the day time. The letter found me well. I am well now. Frank is (well). I guess Drake is with me yet. We are within 20 miles of Atlanta & hard go. Only 20 minutes to write this in and I can't write much. We lay in the line of battle all night. The Johnies are making a stand 3 miles from here but we will have them over run before night. We have just --- them over a run---. And then if the 13 Iowa could do as well as we are doing then in a --- little time. This is all at present. From your Brother. I have wrote since the Battle and so has Drake. That letter that Drake sent you I took out of a Dead Reb's pocket.
Brother, Will E. Vanauken
Click to Enlarge
Will Vanauken's Father Expresses Sheer Grief!
Union Sergeant William E. Vanauken was killed near Dallas, Georgia on the evening of May 25, 1864. This letter is from his father to their relatives back home expressing his powerful grief at the loss of his beloved only son.
(Text of letter below:)
Near Dallas, Ga
Dear Bro and Sister,
I will now try and give you a short history of myself and the regiment for the last month.
One month ago this morning we started from Shelbyville. We had a very hard march until we reached this side of the Cumberland Mountain. We came by the way of Bridgeport - Chattanooga - Lookout Mountain and Ringgold. There we turned over all surplus baggage taking nothing but a change of clothes and some did not have that. Then all of the wagons were loaded and we started for the front last taking the main Army that had five days the start at Tunnel Hill where they had got the Rebs on the run. There we joined our brigade - here I will say our Regt was left back at Shelbyville for a train guard - Then the Rebs took for a place called Ringgold. There we were put on the left flank and drew the Rebs from their strong hold by the flank move, a trick that saves many lives that would be lost in taking breastworks. Then we kept them on the run to a place called Resaca, where they made a stand and we whipped them, they leaving their killed and wounded in our hands. They retreated in the night and we after them as soon as we could replace the bridge they burned.
The next place they made a stand was Cassville. There did not engage our forces long before we had them on the run, and our men had the village of Cassville. We stayed 3 days, our brigade bringing up the rear of the 1st Division of our Corps.
The next place we find them is where I am now writing you and where my trouble begins. On the morning of the 25th we started at daylight on right flank but about noon "Gerry" got himself in a snap and we were called back to support him - got there just at night and time to be stuck in the fight, our Brigade being in the 1st line of battle. The Regiment loss is 179 killed and wounded, and worse than all of this to me is my Dear boy Will was killed and now no one but God knows what my feelings have been for the last five days, for Will was all to me for I loved him better than any person living.
Oh it does seem as though I could not give the boy up after staving with him as I have been watching him night and day as mother would an only child. I am afraid I loved and thought too much of the boy but that's one of mv weak points and couldn't help it. The poor boy is now out of trouble and I have wished more than once I was with him. I pity anyone if they ever had a friend nearer and dearer than he is to me.
I got his body and had I buried but not until it had been robbed by some heartless wretch of even-thins he had in his pockets. They even took the rings I had given him from his fingers.
They had buried him or rather thrown him in a hole with two other men before I could get him. They could not get the bodies from the field because they were under such a heavy fire the night he was killed. If this is not enough to break ones heart, what is?
I had the body taken up and buried over in a more pleasant place and way but not as I would liked to of done. Oh, the way things are done in the Army is enough to drive one mad. And here tell me boy, never you come is my advise.
I have nothing now to keep me only Whale owing me and I concide that a small affair. If we were only back to Shelbyville we were a month ago, I making my hundred dollars a week and Wil's with me perfectly happy. How can one account for this change? It is more than I can. I would like to see home and you all but not until I am happier than I am now.
The Regt is in line of battle and has been night and day since the night of the 25th. We were released and fell back 1/2 mile from where Will was killed.
The Rebs are very strongly fortified and they are trying to flank them out and that is the reason we are so long in a place. They keep up fire all the time. The line is in the shape of a horseshoe. We are in the center. McPherson on right and Schofield on left. Our line is about a mile long, that is our Division and we have over 500 pieces of artillery ready and playing most of the time. So you see we have some faring as well as a noise.
When you read this you will think it looks as though the writer is badly frightened, but I am not. I am with the Regt in line and writing on an old tin plate on my lap. This living in the woods and under fire is a big thing but I can't see it.
Excuse all blunders and give me all the news from home.
your Brother Nal
Direct - 107th N Y Vols
1st Division 2d Brigade 20 Army Corps
via Nashville, Tenn
Click to Enlarge
A Bold Love Letter to a Soldier
This letter to Ephraim E. Brown, 64th NYSV, is from his girlfriend, Mary D. Babcock, North East, Erie Co. PA. Ephraim has been discharged and is staying in Washington D.C. as he thinks he can find a job that pays better than he can get at home. The letter is dated February 26, 1865.
Mary tells Ephraim that both she and her sister, Delilia, have been sick. She states, "it is very sikly around here there has been a number of deaths since you was up here & there is a great minny sick now."
She mentions that she has been dreaming about him. "I have dremp five Nites about you they was all good dreams I think. one was that I was hugin you & kissing you & I waked up & you wasent with me but it wasent nothing but a dream but if I could see you it would not be a dream if I could reach you I would kiss you. now I tell you I wont tell you enny of the rest till I see you."
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter from James Dunn who died Andersonville
LETTER FROM JAMES DUNN, 19TH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY, APRIL 10TH, 1864.
4 Page Letter. In Very Legible Pencil. To his 'Dear Sister Mary Jane'.
"Camp 19th Mass. Vols. April 10, 1864
(written upsidedown above greeting: "I am afraid I cannot get a stamp for this as they are hard to be go here. Money will not buy them at times here.")
Dear Sister Mary Jane. I have received your kind letter of March 29. I am glad to hear that you are all well. I am in good health, thank God for His goodness to us all. I am glad to know that you are seeing to them things which I would like to see too, but I have not a chance now. I hope I will live to get home, then I will try and fix things right. I mean about that grave stone and Jim Sinclair. I don't think Patrick acted very clever about it but he knows best himself. I have been more uneasy about them things since I left home then when I was at home. Mary Jane, I believe I have little news today to tell you. Everything seems very still here. If it had not been so much rain lately, I think we would of been on the move by this time. We are having lots of rain here now. We have just had 24 hours solid rain and it is thundering for more, I suppose. But I think we must soon have dry weather. Then we expect to have some thing to do. I think we are just waiting for the roads to dry. Then we have a big job to do. I hope they will give us help enough to do it. It seems to me West Newbury don't strain herself very much towards helping us out here. At least the boys out here think so. I would like to know who is going to fill their quota. We are having some reinforcements come to us, but they don't come along so fast as they should. I think them that is coming should be out here to help us to take these breastworks. I suppose we have got to try them the first thing. I hope we may be successful. I have not time to write much more today as I must soon go on guard. Remember me to Edward, Rebecca and the little ones. I feel for them very much on account of their troubles. Well, it has commenced raining again. So I will have a little more time as we don't have to stand guard when it rains. But we have a fellow tied up by the hands and feet because we wouldn't have his hair cut. He has to stand out in the rain. Such is a soldier's life. I wish the war was over and us returning home unto our wives and families we left behind. If I live to get out of it I would like all hands was going home with me. That is more than some wishes. There is some don't seem to care how it goes, so they get out of it. There will soon be a good many getting of it. Their times will be out and unless they send us some men to take their places here there will be a good many of us wish we was out of it. For when the Johnnys know we are getting weak, that will be the time for them to strike. The papers may talk about the recuits they are sending us, but they don't come here, many of them and them that does is nothing but drummer boys or cripples mostly. Now I suppose, Mary Jane, that this letter will not be very interesting to you. But I had not much else to write about. There is a good deal of my mind in it. Tell James Oakes I am ready to receive another letter from him. Though if they get moving the regiment I might not answer letters so prompt as I would like to. I think they will be likely to get us started about the first of May. Well, we must make up our minds for a hard summer's work. Those of us who live to see it. We will do all we can and if we fail, they need not lay the blame on our Generals or men in the field. But keep the blame where it belongs if they do not give us men. They need not expect us to gain victory. So that is about all I have got to say about that. Write when you have a chance. Let me know what the neighbors are about. Give my respects to Mrs. Oakes and family. Remember to all inquiring friends. No more at present from your Brother, James Dunn."
JAMES DUNN was an Irish-born resident of West Newbury, Massachusetts and a 29 year old shoemaker when he enlisted on December 9th, 1861 as a Private. On December 10th he mustered into 'A' Company, Mass. 19th Infantry. He was wounded on May 6th, 1864 in the Battle of the Wilderness; was a POW on June 22nd, 1864 at Petersburg, Va.; was confined on June 24th at Richmond; and was sent to Lynchburg on June 29th, 1864. Dunn died of disease at Andersonville Prison, Andersonville, Georgia on July 19th, 1864, and is buried at Andersonville National Cemetery, Gravesite 3570.
THE 19TH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY was organized at Lynnfield on August 28th, 1861. They became part of the 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps for the remainder of the War. The unit saw action at the battles of Ball's Bluff; the Siege of Yorktown; West Point; Fair Oaks, Seven Pines; Oak Grove; White Oak Swamp; Malvern Hill; South Mountain; Antietam; Fredericksburg; Chancellorsville; Salem Heights; GETTYSBURG; Bristoe Station; Mine Run; Rapidan River; Wilderness; Po River; North Anna; Totopotomoy; Cold Harbor; Petersburg; Jerusalem Plank Road; Deep Bottom; Ream's Station; Boydton Plank Road; Hatcher's Run; Dabney's Mills; Fall of Petersburg; Sailor's Creek; High Bridge and Cumberland Church; and Appomattox Court House. They took part in the Grand Review of the Union Armies in Washington, D.C.
Very Interesting Letter from a young Soldier fated to die at the infamous Andersonville Prisoner of War Camp.
Click to Enlarge
Touring with Daddy & Robbing the Secesh during War
Interesting letter written by daughter of a Union officer who fights nearby at the 1863 Battle of Wlliamsburg. It is written on an engraving stolen by this young miss from the abandoned home of the President of William & Mary College!!!
Text reads: Yorktown, Hotel St. Nicholas, March 29, 1863. Dear Annie, I suppose you perceive I am writing this on Sunday but there is great excitement here. Williamsburg only ten miles from here, was taken this morning by the Rebs. Luckily however we were there on Friday and got a good many secesh things. We went to a house occupied by the Provost Marshall and formerly by a Mr. Saunders a sessessionist, and was President of the William & Mary College at Williamsburg. I got thirteen letters, two drawings, three engravings (one of them is Queen Victoria) an Opiscopal Prayer Book and a shell (these I got myself) Mr. Rorke the proprietor of this house got a Bible and needlecase for me. I have not yet told you who were of the party. Father, Lt-Col Low. Q-Master Spencer, Adjutant Hathaway, Chaplain Wallace. Mr. Williams. Mr. Rorke. Mrs. Spencer. Mrs. Low. and myself. Father got a deed of 1722. He has just come in to dine with us. Oh! Dear, the men are talking so, I can hardly write, that is, Father, Lt-Col, and Q-Master. I have to stop about every second to get my senses. Mrs. Spencer & Mrs. Low went up to the camp yesterday but from the dreadful ride of Friday, I could not go. We had a rain storm yesterday, but it cleared off in the night. Did Miss Phillips get my letter? When you answer this, if you have your canvas home with you, please send me a small piece to finish my slippers. I have one of them finished but have not enough for the other. The men have not yet done looking for the city of Yorktown. I tell you there is not much city about it. The house we are staying in was the one Jeff Davis's Adjutant General occupied as his head-quarters when here. I have a room by myself with Jeff's name on the woodwork, and a secesh flag by the side of it. The men have just gone out to take a horseback ride to Williamsburg. Thery will be in a great deal of danger. If I had known what was going to happen I would have taken a great deal more than I did from Williamsburg. I have just been in my room to make up my bed and a....so tired again. But I will have to stop soon for I can not tell you all I have seen on paper. If you could see the roads you would not wonder why the army does not move. I can write no more only that I am your loving Friend. Lillie. P.S. Write soon as you can. When is that paper coming. I have not had a letter since I have been here. Father, Lt-Col & Q-Master have come back from Gen. Busteed's where they went to get permission to go to Williamsburg, and said that the town was shelled by us, and the pickets back in their places. They have concluded not to go. The Rebels have evacuated Williamsburg. Where you see the number 168 is where our camp is situated. The men have got it all adorned with flowers and pine trees."
Click to Enlarge
1861 Soldier Letter from Missouri
This is a Civil War letter written on a patriotic letterhead from soldier Jacob Ford in Jefferson City, Missouri. It mentions fighting. The eagle in blue ink is very large and dramatic.
Click to Enlarge
Soldier Shot through hip and leg left useless Letter
This is a cool letter from a Union soldier in Campbell Hospital, Washington, D.C. It reports to his father a wound through his left hip/ groin going through bone to back and immobilizing his leg! He signs it "your son, Warner A, Saulsbery."
There is a listing for Warren A. Saulsbury (sic) in the Index to Federal Service Records as serving in Company D 190th PA Infantry. However, the Pennsylvania Adjutant General’s Report states for Companies B, C, D and E of the 190th the following: “No muster-in or muster-out rolls for these companies are on file in the Adj’t General’s office.” Thus, he is not easily found in CW Databases. But based upon this letter, his name using Warner is being added to data. The empty bottom edge of back of letter was torn off in past, possibly to make a note. No writing missing. No envelope. Good penmanship in legible ink. Full text follows: "July 12th, Campbell Hospital. Dear Father. I received your letter of the 2nd and was very glad to hear from you. Mr. Culver tells me that Isack Summers has got home. So he is all right. About my wound the ball trapped in near the groin in my left hip going through the bone. I have no use of my leg. It has to be lifted off & on the bed whenever I want to move. About sending me some things. If you could send me some blackberry or raspberry wine it would be very acceptable for I think it would help strengthen me very much, a few strawberry preserves would not be bad to take and what ever other little notions you see fit to send would be thankfully received. there is a great deal of excitement in washington at present for the rebs are within five or six miles of the Capitol. with quite a heavy force estimated at 20,000. Our troops are on hand for them. they are having quite an engagement today. i can hear the booming of the artillery quite plain to day. The old Six Corps are thare fighting them and they are a hard lot of men to whip, that has been proven. I forgot to tell you that I have first rate care taken of me, the Nurses are all good boys and do the best they can but for all that I think my fighting is done up for the two or three years to come, the Doct says I wont be apt to have the use of my thigh for a year or two if ever I do. Well I can think of no more this time so I wil close by subscribing myself your son, Waren A. Saulsbery. Please accept of my best respects and write again as soon as you can conveniently, My Address is: Campell Hospital, 9th Ward, Doct. Sheldon in charge. Washington, D.C. H.F. Culver."
Click to Enlarge
1863 Henry Marshall who later dies at Chancellorsville
Letter from Harvey Marshall of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company H. Datelined 16 January 1863, Camp Pitcher, Virginia
This pencil letter reads in full: "Dear Wife / I send you these few lines to let you know that the regt is going to march tomorrow morning we don't know where we are going to yet we have not got any pay yet nor god knows when but I am out of money and the sooner it comes the better for us all You must excuse the shortness of this I will give you more particulars in my next if god spares me to write again give my love to the children and all any every friends No more at present but remain your Husband Harvey Marshall."
Marshall mustered into Company H on 22 August 1862. He was among the 114th Pennsylvania's many wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville, and died of his wounds in an Alexandria hospital on 9 July 1863. Before his death, the regiment also had duty at Fort Slocum and fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Single page letter measures 5.25" x 8". Fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
1863 Letter after Capture of Raider Morgan
Letter by Henry G. Sherman of the 23rd Michigan Infantry, Company D. to Brother William in Watsonville, Michigan. It is accompanied by its envelope postmarked Labanon, Ky, but without its stamp. Sherman writes shortly after the pursuit and capture of the infamous Rebel raider John Morgan. Text as Follows:
"Lebanon, KY. Aug. 5th, 1863. Brother William. Having just arrived here and finding two letters in readiness for me which you had wrote one of July 12th and one of the 26th, I have wrote you a letter but a short time ago but you said that you were lonesome and I thought I might cheer you up… You said if you were able you would like to come and see me but I would never advise you to come if you had thousands of dollars while we are on the march all the time for there is no telling when we stop to day in one place where we shall strike our camp on the morrow, since the 4 th of July we have marched over one thousand miles by water and byrail besides we marched from Tompkinsville to Mumfordsville. You will remember that we were after John Morgan the Rebel. But I guess he will not bother us very soon again…but I am getting away from my subject what I was a going to say was that you must be aware of that disease called melancholy because it is one of the worst diseases in my opinion that the human family can have therefore be cheerful under all circumstances borrow no more trouble about my wellfare because you know the bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgements. so you see if I should be killed in this context while in the prime of life I should be contented if I only had lived a Christian life before the hours of death came. there are some things that makes me desire to return home again alive and they are these. if I should die while in the service my relatives would not receive receive the intelligence as I desire they should. I never want one single tear shed for me at my death and I do not want my friend to express such anxiety about me for I am but human and liable to die in a thousand different ways. but let them put their hopes in God who is able for any emergency but I must close this time. we shall leave here tomorrow I explained that sugar matter in my other letter. please direct as before. I am enjoying the blessings of healtyh and hope these lines may find you the same. this from your affectionate Brother, H.G. Sherman."
Sherman mustered into Company D on 12 September 1862 and mustered out on 28 June 1865 as a Sergeant. John Hunt Morgan, whom Sherman discusses in his letter, led a series of raids across the Ohio River into Indiana and Ohio. Following a devastating counterattack by Union gunboats at Buffington Island in mid-July, Morgan and his remaining men surrendered on 26 July 1863 near Salineville, Ohio. During the following two years, the 23rd Michigan Infantry saw action at Kennesaw, Atlanta and Nashville. Ink letter, measuring 5" x 8", runs 3pp. Smudges and light toning. Near fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
Letter from 2 Ohio Cavalry Soldier in Hospital to Mom
Letter from Corporal Enoch Leavitt of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, Company H. Accompanied by envelope to mother in North Fairfield, Ohio. Written in ink and datelined "Newton, General Hospital, Baltimore, Md. March 15, 1865." Letter reads in part: "Dear Mother…I made out to get out to the Dentists and got my teeth all fixed…two roots pulled out, my front tooth filled with Gold, the rest with tin foil. it cost in all twelve dollars…There is evidently a great deficiency in the present mail system especially about these hospitals…there is known to of been a great deal of thieving…there is now coming in to this hospital a lot of paroled prisoners, who are just released from their southern prisons. they look as if they had seen hard times. they have suffered all the horrors of actual starvation. they are now released many of them but to accept a lingering death. may those barbarous monsters yet be brought to justice for inflicting such horrible suffering upon those men. Mother I now have good prospects for getting into business in the clerks office of this hospital. I have obtained the influence of some prominent ones now in the office to work in my favor…We are still hearing good news from our armies. God speed on the good cause till every traitor shall be brought to submission…May the mercies of the widows God be with you…your unworthy son Enoch…"
The 2nd Ohio Cavalry fought in Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Sheridan's Raid from Winchester to Petersburg, and in the Appomattox Campaign that paved the way for Lee's surrender shortly after this letter's writing.
Enoch Leavitt mustered into Company H on 8 October 1861 and mustered out on 25 May 1865 at Baltimore, Maryland. Letter measures 7.5" x 10" and runs 2.5pp. Minimal foxing, otherwise near fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
1861 Letter of a New York Soldier
This is a four page letter from Thomas J. Walker of the 26th New York Infantry. Accompanied by envelope to cousin in Adamsville, N.Y. Written in ink and datelined "Elmira Barracks June 5th 1861," Text reads: "5th, 1861, Elmira Barracks June. Dear Cousin Albert. After a long long abscene I have taken this opportunity of writing to you. I suppose that you have forgotten me by this time but if you have I have not forgotten you althought I must own that I have been slack in writing to you. I will do better after this. Albert, I have joined the volunteers and are a going to fight for the Stars and Stripes and are at the rendevouies in Elmira I have been here four weeks now and like it first rate in our rough soldiers life I don’t know but you have done the same…If you do I hope that you will write and let me know wich regiment you are in and where you are staying. When I left home the family was all well and getting along first rate. Father has moved his store to Utica and is living near the Catholic Curch. He is doing very well I suppose that you did not know that Mary was married to ... They were married the 14th of April, 3 days before I came away and are keeping house down street. She sent me a box of provisions last week and I receive letters from home twice a week. Manty Jones is the same old girl she was when you was at our house I get a letter from her every week and have got her picture in my trunk and would not part with it for any money. Mary Williams is not married yet. Bailey is working three miles from Utica. Mary is in Jersey City to work. …Uncle Samuel is still in Watervill. I received a letter from him and it is a very kind one to when I left he gave me a very good revolver as a present wich will be put to good use in the South…as I was getting on the cars to come here I was presented with another very nice one by the hands in the Factory it will cost 12 dollars and if I should ever get a chance at Jeff Davis, I pity him… Albert I wish that you and Silus could come up here and see me in our camp. I should write to him if I knew where to direct. You must send me his adress so that I can before long. Give my best respects to Sarah and the rest of the folks down that way. Albert, I don't know whether you will get this or not as I have forgot where to direct. But I hope that it is right as I am very anxious to hear from you. and if you will write whether you get the particulars of this place in the papers if you dont I will send you a description of how we oldiers live. If you should get this before Sunday write on that day. It will get here sooner. I think that we will leave this place for the south about two weeks from now we have got our uniforms and arms and under marching orders. Albert I don't think of any more now, please remember me to Cousin Sarah and tell her that I should be happy to receive a few lines. I will write more next time. So good bye. Yours for his country. Thomas J. Walker. Ps. direct to thomas walker, Core of Capt. Brendle, Christman's Reg."
Thomas Walker mustered into Company E on 21 May 1861 and mustered out on 28 May 1863 at Utica, New York. Before mustering out, Walker and the 26th were engaged in battle at Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Letter measures 5" x 8". Fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
Sergeant Major 16 New York shot in Salem Church
An original CW letter from WIA soldier Henry Sweeney of the 16th New York Infantry, Company E. Accompanied by envelope to sister Sarah in Cooperstown, New York. (Where baseball hall of fame now is located). Datelined "1st Division Hospital 6th Corps Near Potomac Creek Bridge Station, Va…May 8th 1863."
Sweeney writes while recovering from a wound received at Salem Church just days earlier. Text: "Dear Friends. I wrote you Wednesday afternoon and will write you again this afternoon. The shoulder has been very comfortable yesterday and today. It rained Wednesday afternoon. Sprinkled some today. Andrew has not got back yet and I think that he must have got sent to Washington. 65 of the wounded men here were sent there yesterday and I suppose that more will go tomorrow. I haven't heard anything different about the regiment. I believe there are about 200 wounded and missing. It was reported that the 6th Corps was all back in their old camp, and that those that wished could go to the regiment. I had a notion to start out but Bently thought I better not go. He went over to see and the lot of us were going back to the old camp this morning, but Bently did not find anything of the regiment at the camp so we did not go. It is reported again today that the regiment is back in camp but I do not suppose that it is so. I haven't heard anything more from Andrew or any of the rest of the boys that are not here and we can not find out what is going on over the Rappahanouck. We get along rather comfortably here though we are rather short on rations.but we shall have enough soon as they get straightened out, had such a sudden increase in the family here that they were not prepared for it, but Bently makes a first rate Nurse, and is a good fellow. They keep our wounds wet all of the time with cold water. Kline has got a pretty bad arm. It swelled badly but we any of us haven't got the blues. Wm. Kline is cracking jokes all the time and keeps us tough. He has got the worst wounds in the tent. At present there are eight wounded men in a tent built for two. If you could hear us laugh and carry on, you would not think there was much the matter of us… We would like to hear from some of the boys and know how it is with them and where they are. The Doctor has been around examining the wounds. He thinks the ball is in my shoulder, but thinks that it is nothing serious. I don't know when they are going to try to get it out. The doctor has amputated several legs and arms today. Bently takes good care of us and we are getting along as well as can be expected. It is getting so dark that I can't see to write. We have candles here. I must mail this soon as to have it go this eve. Much love to all. Henry.
Henry Sweeney mustered into the 16th New York Infantry on 27 August 1862. Shortly after writing this letter, he transferred into the 121st New York Infantry, Company B, and eventually was discharged for wounds on 2 November 1863.
Click to Enlarge
1862 Letter of Connecticut Troop mentions Gen Burnsides Sword
This is a four letter from Corporal William L. Norton of the 10th Connecticut Infantry, Company B. to "Mother" in North Manchester, Conn. He was later wounded in action at Deep Bottom. Accompanied by patriotic envelope with New York cancelled stamp. Written in pencil and datelined, "Newbury N C / June 21st 1862," Text reads: "Newbury, NC. June, 21st, 1862. Dear Mother. I have just received your letter and was glad to hear from you & am glad to hear that you are a going to send me a box and if that letter that I sent does not reach you before you send the box I hope you will have the forethought to send me some lemons and sugar for there are darkeys around here every day with pails of lemonade to drink… and it looks tempting but it is to much 5 cents a glass but it makes a very good drink for the water here is not good for much without something in it. If we had a plenty of money we could get a great many things that would be good to put in to water such as strawberry syrup and rasberry and lemon syrup which costs 75 cents to a $1 a bottle. You say you want to know what kind of a climate we are in. Well the climate here I don't think is very good for the sun will be shining very hot all day and in the afternoon there will be a heavy thunder shower come up and be cold and chilly rain all night, sometimes to be cold and chilly att next day then the next day will be hotter than July at home but then I have had very good health since I have been here. The people here as a general thing are a pale sickly looking set as I ever saw except the negroes. They are healthy looking set of fellows and the reason why is because they work out in the open air and all the white men that work out in the open air have a healthy look and are healthy as can be expected for the state of the climate. They say that in order to live here any way they have to take quinine all the time. Last Friday there was a great review of the armey under Gen Burnside + an eight hundred dollar sword presented to him… Our regiment started about 4 o'clock and marched over to the review. it did not last long after the sword was presented to him. all of the different regts give three cheers for Burnside and the drums rolled. Then we marched by the stand (that he was on) by company and then we marched home. After we got across the river in to the city . it had rained very hard this side of the river but it had not rained a drop where the review, When we passed up through Pollack street I saw Dick Berry a standing there but I did not have a chance to say anything. Only to ask him how he was getting along. He has just come in here with his gun boat I suppose. Gov Stanly made a good speech to the rebbels up to Washington of this state. He is doing all he can to bring the state back in the Union. I suppose but I do not like some of his proceedings here in showing the collerd schools… Gen Burnside + Foster were in favor of the schools + gave there sanction towards it to but when Mr Stanly came here he put a veto on it + said it was against the state law of South Carolina…they had better wait untill NC comes back in to the Union before they begin to inforce the laws. But I can not do anything about it so I might as well close this letter. Give my respects to Parkhurst and the rest of the folks. Let me know how Mrs. Shone is getting along. Give my love to Father and Alice and tell them that I am all right. With much love I remain your son. Willie"
Norton mustered into Company B on 9 September 1861 and mustered out on 7 October 1864. He was wounded on 14 August 1864 at the Second Battle of Deep Bottom, in which General Grant made a feint at Richmond in an attempt to draw General Lee’s troops out of Petersburg. Although the maneuver ended in disaster for the Union forces, nine months later the 10th Connecticut Infantry participated in the assault and capture of Petersburg. It also saw action at Whitehall and Secessionville. Letter measures 5.25” x 6.75”. Colorful letterhead of patriot holding US Flag on paper. Very minor soiling, otherwise near fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter 9 th New York Cavalry Sergeant
Letter from Sergeant John Trusler of the 9th New York Cavalry, Company F, shortly before his capture as a POW. Datelined "Camp 9th NY Cavalry / Culpepper VA," 17 April 1864
letter reads: "Camp 9th N. Y. Cav. Culpepper, Va. Sunday evening April 14, 1864. Friend Lina, I secured your kind letter last evening and was glad to hear from you and hear you are all well as thank God it leaves me at present. Lina I think this is about the time you go to meeting at the School House if there is any there today. If you go I hope you will be good Gurl and not laugh in meating. It dont mean much like Sunday hear. the Brass bands are a playing all a round us I wish you hear them play thay sound first rate. thare is no news to write now but I think thare will be before long for I think the army will move us now as the weather will pirmit then we will have sum tall fighting to do that wont be quite so nice. do you think it will lose sum of us…I would like to of been at that Sugar party just long anuf to eat a few pounds of suger…and sea if I could find a good looking Gurl to go home with. Well I will have to stop writing as it is getting dark. Give my Best respects to your Father& Mother and expect the same yourself. Yours Truely, J. C. Trusler, Sergt. Co. F. 9th Cav. Write soon."
Letter written shortly before the 9th New York Cavalry fought at the Wilderness, 5 May to 7 May 1864. During its three years of service, the regiment was also engaged at Chancellorsville, Beverly Ford, Brandy Station, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Sergeant Trusler mustered into Company F on 2 October 1863 and mustered out on 17 July 1865 at Clouds Mills, Virginia. He was one of 300 Union soldiers taken prisoner at Cedarville, Virginia, in the battle of Guard Hill, 16 August 1864. Written in red ink, letter measures 5" x 8" and runs 3pp. Light scattered soiling and pinholes to creases, otherwise excellent condition. On back blank page, someoine was practicing their penmanship writing dates and "dear brother" in blue ink.
Click to Enlarge
1863 Penn Man bails on Woman then the Army!
Letter from Pennsylvania resident Louis Koch to former lover Miss Kate Greozinger in Reading, PA. Accompanied by cover. Written in ink and datelined "Scranton Dec. 13 1863, Dear friend Kate! I am realy ashamed, for having waited so long before sending a few lines to you but I will tell you how it come. I arrived at home on Friday the 20th of Nov. and on Sunday next I wrote a long letter to you, but I did not quiet finish it that day, nor have I finished it since, and so I have kept it in my pocket till today, and I have it set. When I came home I had a great many things to look after, I had that half finished letter in my pocket and I was always thinking about closing and sending it, although it would have taken but a few minutes to do it, I could not get at it, not that I was to lazy, nor that I did not have time, but several things happened which made me feel bad and unhappy. I have two Barkeepers and I have found out that one of them took some monaie out of the drawer, but I could not tell which one, so I discharged them both, and I got a young man from Philipsburg last nique. This and some other things bothered me a great deal, but I am getting over it now. I have thought of you every day, yes I can say every hour, I have seen you setting at home thinking sometimes: why don't Louis Koch write to me? But now, I wish you would write to me very soon and tell me what you were thinking of me and what you was doing since I have left you…Tell me how is your mother & sister, and when is your Brother going to be married, and other news of reading. After this I shall write often to you, and hope that you will excuse me that I left you wait so long. I have bought myself a substitute for $290 and am now free from military duty for three years. I have to close my letter for it is two o clok in the morning…Leter I will write you more. Give my best respects to your mother, sister & brother and hoping that you will write to me very soon. I remain your friend, Louis Koch."
Letter measures 5.25" x 8.25" and runs 2.5pp. Slight separation at folds, otherwise near fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
101-st Pennsylvania Regiment Soldier Letter
Letter from Sergeant James A. Johnson of the 101st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company F. Undated pencil letter reads in part:
"George, I am looking forward to a Brevet Lieutenancy, in which I can take a good position and a good salary, the same as that of a Second Lieutenancy. We have been exempt from guard duty, from appearance in Dress Parade and Camp Duty of all kinds for upwards of ten days, yet we will have to go on tomorrow. Several companies of our regiment have gone on to day. George, tis awful muddy here, worse than any of the Public Roads in Beaver Co… Our streets are awful and Heaven grant that it may soon snow- and stay frozen until we leave this camp for some place more pleasant. Shall give you a list of our Subordinate officers - Orderly, Thos. S. Nash, First Sergt, J.A. Johnson…Fourth Sergt M.W. Elliot, Commissary Sergt Will Hall, First corporal D.M. Ramsey, Second Thomas M. Barclay, Third James J. Wyman, Forth Jo F. Warwick, Fifth James Ramsey, Sixth Jacob Mininck, seventh Clark A. Hunter. Cal Morgan-Eighth. Private Secretary D. & D. Johnson to the Colonel. I do not think it all improbable that J. F. Warwick will be Regimental Post muster. I hope he will. I am studying hardat the Tactics and looking forward to a full commission. We have now gone through the schools of the squad of soldiers, the company, and the Battalion and we are now rapidly reviewing the same. My Love to Jennie & Milo. Regards to Rob & Son. And to you & Uncle. Special & affectionate regards. J. A. Johns."
James A. Johnson mustered into Company F as a Sergeant on 19 November 1861. He was discharged for promotion on 8 December 1862 and commissioned into the 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before mustering out on 1 August 1863 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Letter measures 5" x 8" and runs 2pp. Mild edgewear and slight separation to vertical crease. Near fine condition. No envelope.
Click to Enlarge
Children die , husband enlists 13 Michigan Mechanics
Civil War Letter with a neat Union patriotic cover dated 11 Sept 1864. Letter reads: "Sunday evening, September 1864. Dear Uncle, I sit down this evening to write a few lines to you. I presume you have heard of our affliction in losing our little ones. O, what a trial for a parent. to pass through two dear ones taken in 4 days. it sometimes seems a dream. but it is a sad reality. I miss them so much. But I know that our loss is their gain and I pray God to give me grace to be reconciled to his will. I am, going slowly. The rest are as well as anybody is here. There is a great many sick yet and a good many that cannot possibly get well. I never saw a time in all my life there has 40 persons died here in this little place…since the first of last January. You can hardly see a smile on any face you meet. It has taken all ages from one year up to 85 years old. I hope I may never pass through another such scene. And now I will tell you something that you have not heard of: Orin has enlisted he goes in the 13 Michigan mechanics & engineers regt. it is stationed on lookout mountain. They don’t have any fighting to do, they are building sawmills and other government buildings. He thought he had rather enlist that to stand his draft. He was pretty sure he would be drafted and now he gets 4 hundred dollars town bounty besides his government bounties, and he gets $19 a month, and I get 6 or 8 dollars a month from the relief fund. Now Uncle I want to ask a little of your advice. Now the children are gone and Orin is going next Wednesday. I shall be left almost alone and it seems as if I could not stay here any longer and I think some of coming back to York State. Now if I should come and should not go to housekeeping would you like to have Wally come and stay with you awhile, he could help you a good if you have no one, I would like to have him live with you a while. He ought to be on a farm. It would be so much better for him than it is in a village but I don't know how the times are there. If he could do enough to pay for his board, I would ask no more. I think I would be more contented there than I can be here alone. Will you please to write to me as soon as you get this and let me what you think of it. Orin wants I should come and thinks he will not come to Mich when he comes back from war. Aunt Mary what do you think of my coming back. I am not coming to be an expense to my friends for I can pay my way, but if I can get anything to do you know I shall be willing to do it. (On back) Dear Cousin Libbie. I can not write to you to night but I send my love to you all. O, how sad and lonely it is; it don't seem as if I should ever be my self again. but I hope I shall see you soon. Write to me as soon as you get this. Now Uncle do not forget to let me hear from you as soon as you can for I want to know what I shall do. So good night. From your Niece. To Uncle & Aunt Esty."
The cover features bold, colorful artwork, with an image of drums, an eagle holding arrows, two flags, muskets, cannons, and 13 stars above the eagle and reads: "The Star Spangled Banner must be Upheld." 4pp. 5" x 8" with staining on the first page. Otherwise, in fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
A letter JH Rutledge 60 Georgia WIA Fredericksburg
This is a hand-written letter in ink by J.H. Rutledge of Whitfield County, Ga who was wounded in action at bloody Fredericksburg in 12/1862 and later died of disease in service at Richmond in 1864. This letter is dated 1861 and sent to ramily member in Chatanooga County, GA. Poor spelling in ink on light blue paper. The envelope is neat: sent from Danville, Va with "10 Due." The envelope lists his name, regiment and the receiver too. Text as follows: "December 22nd 1861" (Only three more Christmases in his life!) Dear... I now seet my self to write you th few lines to let you know theit I Am well it present and hope these few lines may. Rebeckah and find you enjoying the same like blessings. I have nothing of imfortance to write to you but I must write something. I receive your kind letter dated the 10 1861 with likely received into .... with pleasure. I was glad to hear from you all. I very thankfully received those things you sent. I weint you to sent me them chestnuts if you have not ett them up. I went you to sent mee ... me into other things tha you see... I ...of shoos or boots the health of the company is improving. I learn that you got the money I sent to you. the boys got here... unhurt so no one at present. but received your tonight. Brother. So farewwell. T.J. Rutledge. Dear Sister. I seet myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. hope these few lines by Rebecah will find you all well. I learn that G. Ms Rutledge is sick. I have nothing of interest to write to you so I quit when this you see.../. mer throiugh many miles we must be. write soon. write all the news that you know it/ I must quit. I sent my best respec to you till I write you to tell. I bid you all farewell. T. J. Rutledge sent me those things when you get it a good to sent them."
You know, we see a lot of Union letters with plain mediocre writing skills, but this letter makes it clear how some really poorly educated young farms boys from down South fought the war and died for the CSA cause!
Click to Enlarge
1862 Letter to handsome whiskered Cousin Thomas
This is a letter dated January 31st, 1862 by female cousin at home telling her soldier relative of her sheer joy at receiving a handsome photograph of said bewhiskered Thomas. She states she is not wise or capable of writing a good letter, but I sure as heck think she is a perceptive and eloquent person! Yes, what an inspired, poetic young lady, infatuated by life, war and her sweet-eyed Soldier Cousin Thomas! What feeling lurk there! The large sheet in yellowed yet easy to read, well-penned ink on it. It has separated at three of its folds. But otherwise sturdy. I might suggest future owner has it mounted with archival tapes to preserve it. (Sadly, no envelope to assist in determining who these two people were. Just two young explorers in the thread of life...) )Text is long but here it goes! Text: "January 31st, 1862. My Dear Cousin Thomas. Oh! Cousin Thomas! What shall I say to thee? How shall I ever thank thee sufficiently for the pleasure that I now feel? I am glad! glad! Glad! And thee has made me so. Before me lies a picture of a youth, a rather handsome youth, I judge, clad in the habiliments of One who has relinquished all the pleasures of Home and the Society of friends for the cause of his country. His face is one that one glance at does not satisfy you. But you turn to it again and again, never tiring. Those eyes so full of meaning seem to have an irresistable attraction. There is something swo earnest, so deep and so calm and composed, and withal a scarcely perceptible tinge of sadness in the look with which they regard you. So you could gaze on and on and on and never become weary of studying them. And what pretty whiskers and moustache he has! I'm glad he had this picture taken with that ornament upon his chin and upper lip. I do so admire whiskers and moustaches that is when they are pretty. I don't admire ugly ones! And these are pretty in the picture at least. Well, this picture which I'm talking about, and which I stop to look at about every half minute came last evening, all safe & sound so far as the picture was concerned, but the glass was cracked clear across toward the lower part- but that makes no difference now, for I have got it all fixed up. Thee will probably not think of doubting my word when I say that I have several other pictures of persons belonging to "the bearded fraternity" well, I took one of these out of the case and after changing the glasses and putting one what wasn't broken over cousin Thomas' face I deliberately & maliciously put him in the case and left 'tother feller's out. with a broken glass over him too. I wonder what he would think if he knew how I have dealt with that pretty picture he gave me! There is nothing wrong in the way I have done though! I think that even he would have to acknowledge that. I look at it in this light. He is not my cousin, nor any relations whatever! This is Consideration No. 1. (Consideration No. 2 is Charity begins at home. Putting that and that together I can but come to the rational conclusion that I must serve my relations first, and then if there is anything left serve others. So, there being a broken glass, and no case left, after supplying my cousin Thomas with the appendages requisite for forming a perfect picture! I have served my friend to no case and a broken glass! Now, is not the verdict "Served him right?" So the picture lies before me all "did up" in style as I write. And I write a word or two, and then look at it, and then look at it, and I write a word or two, and so on... at this rate I expect I'll soon get a long letter written. And suppose I should kiss the picture of my cousin sometimes. And suppose Emily should laugh at me just a little as she sits by and sees all my motions and maneuvers! Well suppose I do! And suppose she does. Whose business is it~ nobody's, he's my Cousin! And now, Oh Cousin of mine with thy calm eyes gazing earnestly, truthfully into mine, thy soldier-like apparrel reminding me constantly of the life of peril, danger and uncertainty that is thine to lead. Let me tell theee now lest in the dim uncertain future my hand may be powerless to write it. I thank thee! I thank thee, I thank thee a thousand times, and that does not half exress all that I feel, but we'll let the subject drop here. and I'll go and lie down to rest my weary brain and body for I'm still weak. I suppose thee will have heard ere this reaches thee that I have been sick. I'm very tired having written all this without stopping to rest any length of time. So I will have to take a big rest now. Saturday morning. I wrote the above yesterday forenoon. when I stopped to rest. I fully expected to write some more in the afternoon but I found I had already written quite as much, and a little more than my head could bear patiently. So I did not dare to write anymore yesterday. But I accomplished a great feat of another description~ I walked out some twenty yards perhaps from the house and back again all myself! which was the first time I had been out on the ground for between four and five weeks! The girls wrote to thee a week ago and I suppose they told thee that I have had the fever. I wanted to write some when the wrote but I did not feel much like it. and it was better for me not to try. I have been improving since then as fast as I could conveniently. I expect I will soon be able to do most anything. Go to war for instance, and march about forty miles a day without anything to eat, and sleep on the ground at night with a stone for a pillow, and the sky for a covering, and a little rain falling on me to keep me from sleeping too soundly. Rather a hard picture of Soldier's life that, isn't it? I hope not a very true one though~ O, when will this war end, I wonder? So all "our boys" can return home and lead a happier life! Pretty soon, I hope, though there has been but little cause to hope for it yet. Though of late there has been some appearance of having something done. There has been one good thing done in Kentucky! That of sending (General) Zollicoffer to his long home. We received a letter from a Cousin in Ky, day before yesterday in which he said he had seen Zollicoffer dead. Our cousin was not in the battle. He was a little too late getting to the scene of action to take part in it. So I suppose there is not doubt but Zollingcoffer is really dead. Sometimes I think these rebels are men and maybe it is wicked to rejoice in having them killed but I do not see what else is to be done with them, and besides, they'll all have to die sometime, and they might as well die now and be done with it. Oh, this is a great mess of stuff I am writing, isn't it? I do wish I could write a decent letter, don't thee? I expect it would please thee almost as much as it would me, for I know thee would much rather have good letters than those that are not good. (Anybody would and I don't expect thee is so different from other people that thee would prefer a different kind of letter.) Oh, Cousin Thomas, I would like to see thee! When the wasn't a soldier and talked of coming here, I had a curiosity to see thee. but I did not care particularly about it for I did not take any particular interest in thee. Didn't know anything about thee. And did not know I ought to want to see thee. But now~ I feel just as though I was pretty well acquainted with thee, and had seen thee many a time but had not seen thee for a good while, and wanted to awful bad! And I'm very impatient for this war to be finished up, so thee will come and see us! I know thee would have come long ago if thee had known what nice cousins thee has here. Now that's so, thee knows it is! After all, we are not very exceedingly nice girls though a great many people think we are. Oh, yes, Emily & Lizzie are very nice and very smart too. especially Emily. She is swful smart, indeed she once had the name of "Papa's smart daughter" given her by a young man who had never seen her, but I had told him a great deal about how smart she is. And we frequently call her by that name. Lizzie and I are quite lacking compared with her, though Lizzabeth is a right smart girl when Emily is not about. And then, Lizzie is good looking but I have outgrown that long ago. And I never was smart. Nobody ever accused me of that. Whatever else they might lay to my charge. I have got a long tongue in my head, and in that I would rather do something that would be of some use to somebody. But it so happened that I was neither "useful nor ornamental" except I might as well go to war if some nice young man would only come round, getting up a company of girls. There was a young man who formerly resided about five or six mile4s from here and who is in the Army, at home recruiting in October. He came here and said they wanted a Regt. of girls and he was going to get up a company about here. He asked me to go, and I told hiim I would. and then he~ I do not know what you soldier folks call it! I called it "sweared" me in~ but he did not take me, I expect he knew I would not be of any use. The same young man, I hear, is out recruiting again. I do not know whether he is coming home or whether he is going to recruit in some other direction. If he comes home maybe he will take me this time. and then I will go down and help take... (second page missing for there is no conclusive line or signature)
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter from 18 New Hampshire Soldier home
Letter from Corporal Dwight L. Herrick of the 18th New Hampshire Infantry, Company C. Accompanied by cover. The letter text itself reads thus: "City Point, VA. December 13, 1864. Dear Sister. I now seat myself to answer your welcome letters. Was not aware it had been so long since I see in need of yours, until looking at it to day. As for myself am getting nicely. am well with the exception of a bad cold, the first one that I have had since I came to VA. am getting better of it. I recieved my things all right. that pie was splendid but the pickles rather went ahead. they were just the thing. you can tell them the rest that is the expressions of gratitude better than I can put it on paper. How do you get along with your school. that was sad about Tolman. I pity his wife but not him a bit. I supose you see what his hart was. that led her to place so much confidence in him. you selected the letters she wrote to you that you showed me while he was in the army(you can't always tell. at least she found it so as ... we are still at work with the pick and shovel. recieved a letter from home this morning also one from Julia. I should think New Boston was trying to see what they coulod do. it won't be able to hold all of them much longer. But I must close as I think of nothing more that would be of interest to you. Hope you will excuse my pen write. yours Dwight. ... a word of Frank and the rest. that Chicken was bully it was very kind in you to remember me… The inside was what took the sag off Seansa one of our Serg. had a bite at that cake. I think O have got him trapped. shall bring him home with me so look out but you must excuse this paper as this morning I had 8 letters to answer and am pretty much used up in the writing line. Write soon all hands. Your Dwight."
The 18th New Hampshire assisted in repulsing the attack on Fort Steadman, and participated in the assault of Petersburg. Herrick mustered into service on 31 August 1864 and mustered out on 10 June 1865.
Click to Enlarge
1864 E.S. Elliot Letter to wife from US Hospital
This is a one page, two-sided letter written on September 17th, 1864 by E.S. Elliot to his wife. He was recuperating in a "U.S. General Hospital." Here is the letter text. His crammar is not very good: " U.S. General Hospital, Sept. 17 th, 64. Dear Wife. I again attempt to sentence my thanks to you for your kind favor of the 11-th which I received last night. It found me as well as common and still in the same place I was & was pleased to heare that your health was good again and your gritt good. I was quite uneasy yesterday for fear you was worse. My not getting my letter as soon as common. The Wether is very plsent and I started cooking very well. Better than I thought I should. We are not having quite as much to do as we did. They have sent a good many off but we expect lott soon from the frount. We had had another battle. I am glad your pig is growing to suit you. I hope nothing will befall him. Also your gardeing bids fare to help you through the last winter. We will err be separated from euchother until death. This is my mind. We must be patient. Take all things cool. Keep up the best of courage and time can ony tell. I am sorry to hear of so many deaths up there among you. Fear Wife, I know you are lonsum away there alone as we might say alone. And if I thought it should not make you worse... I would after my opinion of those meatings but I can not see anything in them with theas few poor remarks I will enclose my love in this and ask you to receive it, for it is all I can send you at present. Give my best respects to all enquiren friends. Good Bye to you all. I remain as ever your true and kind E.S. Elliott."
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter from Lusie to Arlon Sabin Atherson 3NH
This is a 4 page letter written from Lusie M. Caldwell to Arlon Sabin Atherton who was a First Lieutenant in 3rd New Hampshire. Wounded 8/16/1864 at Deep Bottom, VA and made a prisoner till paroled 9/15/185. Became Captain in May 1865. I wonder why Lusie asks him at end of this letter to please destroy all her letters after reading them??? Text follows: "Warwick, Dec. 4th, 1864. Dear Friend Arlon, I received your letter of last Sunday on Thursday afternoon and was very glad that you reached Annapolis in safety and also that your arm is gaining. And I hope it will continue to. I sent a letter to you the same day that I got yours but did not put on "Officers General Hospital", but perhaps that will not make much difference about your getting it. I have been to meeting all day. Mr Humphrey of Winchester is expected to preach in two weeks. I am real glad for I like to hear him very much, I wish Mr. Blanchard would exchange a great deal oftener than he does; Your Grandmother Addie and William were at church. Abbie Goldsbury staid with Addie last night and came down with them today. I believe I wrote in my letter that Mary Morgan was going to be married on Thursday but she told me today that she will be married on Wednesday instead. I have heard that I was going to have an invitation to the wedding but have received noe as yet. She and her intended called here last Friday. He is rather good looking, I could not tell much about appearance as they made a very short call. Nellie scalded her left hand pretty bad on Friday so she has not done much work since. I tell her it was lucky it was not her right as Warren would have to go without his letters or else she would have to learn to write with her left. What king of Thanksgiving did you have? You speak of the Paroled prisoners. I should think it must be a heart rending sight to see most of them. I have read accounts of them, their sufferings. And in the papers, it does not seem as though men who are civilized could be so cruel to our brave soldiers. They may repent of it sometime. I suppose you get plenty of papers to read, do you not? Do you think there is any probability of you getting another furlough? I expect to teach this Winter, but Mr. Cook said I might have the school if I wanted and so I concluded to take it. Julia was at home today, she likes teaching very much, has a very pleasant boarding place. Gracie says she wishes Arlon was at home for she wants to go up and see him for he asked her to when he was here. While I was at Athol, I went in and sat for some photographs but I don't expect it took good, for he said he would send proof on Thursday and I have not received it yet so I conclude they were not good. I hope you will write whenever you can and not wait for me as I suppose I shall not have very much time. Nellie sends her regards to you and says whenever you can make it convenient, if you choose, to answer her letters which she wrote before you came home she would be very happy to hear from you. There was a benevolent meeting at Mr. Abbie's Wednesday~ though I believe I wrote in my last there was one. Nellie and I went. There were not many out, but one had a pleasant time; Alvan came back from Boston yesterday. I have written about all I can think of, I guess, for this time and will close by saying good night. Please accept my best wishes for your health and prosperity. A remain as ever, Your Sincere Friend, Lusie M. Caldwell. I shall expect to hear from you again soon. Please not show my letters and I would like to have you destroy them after you have read them. Pleae excuse the mistakes in this. Lusie."
Click to Enlarge
14 NH Soldier 1864 Civil War Letter Carrollton, LA
Very interesting 4 pp. original letter dated Carrollton, Louisiana, May 3 1864, from CPL Daniel C. Currier, Company "I," New Hampshire 14th Infantry Regiment, who is in the hospital at the time, to his parents in Grantham NH, reads: Dear Parents, I send you a letter to day but I thought I would pen a word more to day and finish this at another time. I have just been over to the store a few rods off to get me some honey. It is twenty-five cents a pound. I have has four or five pounds. I have it to eat on my bread. It goes pretty well. Then I buy ail to drink; that costs twenty-five cents a canteen full. I have bought four or five canteens full. So you see it costs me something to be sick. But I had as ...pay it out for that as anything else. We have no news here. We can't get it as readily, as when we were in Washington. I guess I won't write any more now. May the 6th 1864. I will pen a word this P.M. It is pleasant and fair. The G[rantham] boys are all well, as usual. I am on the gain, but slowly. I have have heard it rumored that Gen [Nathaniel P.] Banks was going to be superceded by Gen [Daniel E.] Sickles. They are doing about the right thing in some of the Western States, going to risk a hundred thousand men for a hundred days. That looks like doing something before long. I expect we shall have a mail tonight. I shall look for a letter any how. I sent a letter out in the last mail. They have had some pretty hard talk in Congress, I should judge by the papers. Such men I call Rebels. Such talk is fit only to be uttered at Richmond. If such men are suffered to remain in the Halls of Congress, Jeff Davis and his herd had better be invited to sit there also, for they are the most honorable of the two. But enough of that, for this time. It is quite cool and comfortable this P.M. Boats go up and down the river, now and then. I would like to be in N.H. Election Day "Indeed I would now." Perhaps I would call up to Gratham and see the folks. We get no war news here and finally no other. So I don't know what to write. I guess I will stop here until I can find something to write. I guess that would be best way. May the 7th 1864. It is pleasant and fair. I am still on the gain. I have just been sweeping around the Hospital for exercise. One steamer came up with soldiers this morning. Our Reg't are going to have a battalion drill today, they say. The Major is in command. He is pretty strict. They all have to have white gloves to wear on duty. They are doing guard and picket duty now; and they know [how] to do that, I reckon. At least they think we do down to the city. The boys are all as well as usual. We did not get any mail last night but expect some to night. There is no news here that I know of. I will close now for this time. So good bye. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Write as often as you can. From your son, Daniel C. Currier. This sprig is annece, the roots are what the essence is made from (no
longer present. No envelope. Excellent condition.
Daniel C. Currier of Grantham NH enlisted at age 21 on Aug 20 1862, as a Corporal, and was mustered six days later into Company "I," New Hampshire 14th Infantry Regiment. Currier was reduced to a Private on Jun 17 1864 because of disability, and reinstated to his original rank on Oct 1 1864. He finally was mustered out of the Service on Jul 8 1865 at Savannah, Georgia. The 14th NH had been stationed at Washington DC and Virginia until Mar 1864, when they were ordered to New York City, where they sailed on Mar 20 1864, for New Orleans, Louisiana. From there his regiment saw duty at Camp Parapet, Carrollton, Jefferson City and along Lake Ponchartrain, until Jun. On Jun 7 1864, they were ordered to Morganza LA, to be transported to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, then to Washington DC. From Washington the regiment travelled to Virginia, then joined [Union GEN Philip H.] Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, subsequently fighting at the Battle of Winchester, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, eventually returning to Washington in Jan 1865, and from there were sent to Savannah, Georgia, where they provided occupation duty until May 6, with a short side tour at Augusta GA from May 6-14 1865, returning to Savannah in Jun, and being mustered out there on Jul 8 1865. CW Database printout on soldier included. Excellent condition.
Click to Enlarge
54 Ohio Soldier to brother who later dies in War
Letter from Sidney Hewitt of the 54th Ohio Infantry, Company B, to his younger brother Smith Hewitt, who had recently enlisted in the 123rd New York Infantry. Letter is written in ink and datelined "Camden Oct 19 1862." Text:
"Dear brother I received your letter last nite which brot me the news that you was in the service of you country, and it was news to me as I have not heard from home since the middle of may last. I guess that father and mother has forgot that they have got such a son for I have write four or five letter and have not got but two since I left there last fall. We are all well but I have the rumatis so bad some days that I cannot hardly git up. when I am down I have been doing my own work ever since I got home last fall. Now Smith as you are in the armey try and take care of your self the best that you can and ceep yourself clean and nice for that is the best way to preserve your health and above all do your duty at all times and obey all of your Officers and by that you will gain the good will of them. James Robert talks about you often and says he went to see you. Smith if you live to come out of the service I want you to come and see us. I hope these few lines may find you enjoying good health. so good bye for this time. rite as soon as you get this and I will answer. This is from your brother and friend. Sidney Hewitt. Smith Hewitt. N.B. Write to me who is your captain and officers. Sidney Hewitt served in the 54th Ohio Infantry, which was organized in 1861 and mustered out of service on 15 August 1865. His brother Smith Hewitt, 11 years his junior, mustered into the 123rd New York Infantry on 4 September 1862 and died just three months later, on 18 December 1862, at a Hospital in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Letter measures 5" x 8" and runs 3pp. The letterhead shows an image of girl crying as soldier leaves her "The Girl I left Behind." There are verses in light red beside it: He turn'd and left the spot. O do not deem him weak; For dauntless was the soldier's heart, though tears were on his cheeks; Go, watch the foremost ranks to danger's dark career; Be sure the hand most daring there has wiped away a tear."
Click to Enlarge
1863 Pennsylvania Cavalry Soldier Letter
Letter from Lewis Koch of the 20th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company D. Datelined "Great Cacapon Depot / Oct. 4th 1863," Koch writes of a post-Gettysburg cavalry chase of Lee's invading army. Text as follows: Dear Miss, It with the greatest pleasure that I am seated here to day to let you know that i am well at present and hoping those few lines many find you enjoying the same. I am sorry to say that I did not sooner. Further I will state to you about my soldiering. Playing soldier is not what it is cracked up to be although I like it very much. I saw more than ever I expected to see. the time the rebels made a raid in Penna. we were in Harrisburg at Camp Couch. before they left the state our Regiment was sent after them. we took them through Greencastle double Quick & on to Williamsport. there they crossed the river and at the place called falling waters there they had a pontoon bridge across the Potomac. when we got there they had not all crossed yet. We cut the bridge loose on this side, drownded most all men and horses that was on. We encamped on the banks of the Potomac. there we had neither feed for our horses and rations for our selves. we stayed there two days. took up line of march…and marched to the place called Clear Spring in Maryland. there we encamped and stayed 6 weeks then took our line of march for Sir Johns Run, Va. they detailed our company as provost guard. Our company is stationed 4 miles above the former place, the place called Great Cacapon Depot…it very fine place. it is we have winter quarters now. Nine of us bonks in one tene. it very comfortable in there. F. lt. Hershy is cooking for the company. I tell you Mary, the girls are very shy in this part of the world, not like in Slabtown if you mind. Yet we have only 2 month and a half to stay yet, then we will be free. if we get back to Pennsylvania again, wont I have a fine old time then. We go out Scouting. Still most ever ever other day. Start in the afternoon and march all night. Souting here is not like at home after the girls. When you write tell me when you heard of Sammy last and Martin and all the news aqbout home. I wrote a letter to Susan and have no answer yet whether she got it. I can not tell. I must bring my letter to a close for this time. Excuse all blot and mistakes. write soon. don't fail. By so doing, you will oblige your friend Lewis Kook. I sent my love and best respects to you and all inquiring friends. Direct your letters to: Lewis Koch. Great Cacapon Depot, Morgan Co. Virginia via Balto. Com. D. 20th Penna. Cavalry. From L. Koch to Mary & Lizzie Ginter. Good Bye. /Remember me, When this you see, So many miles apart we be. Louis Koch."
During Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, detachments of the 20th Pennsylvania Cavalry served on scout and picket duty at the fords of the Susquehanna and along the roads to Carlisle, York and Marysville. Koch mustered into Company D on 23 June 1863 and mustered out on 6 January 1864 at Harrisburg, Virginia.
Click to Enlarge
1861 Letter of Illinois Soldier about Patriotic Fervor
A nice four page letter from James D. Walden of the 19th Illinois Infantry, Company K. He references the Battle of Lexington which helps to date this letter to the Fall of 1861. Text as follows: "Mr. Samuel Black. Dear Remembered friend. I am exceedingly glad to find by your very kind letter that you remember an old friend in absence as well as present. I often wonder if all our old students have forgotten us and what is the reason that they do not often write to us. There is nothing that makes the soldier's heart throb with patriotic emotions so high as to receive the encouragement of those he holds to be his friends at home. If they get the idea once ... that those who are enjoying the sweet blessings of home and friends of fathers mothers sisters and wives, and darling little ones, do not care for them they will soon relapse from the proud daring chivalrie Soldier to the machine without spirit or life to impel them to deeds worthy of names of the great Revolutionists of '76. but with letters teeming with good wishes and kind regard the boys rally and seem like giants who are willing to dare and die to make or leave a name of which their living friends will be proud to speak. and cherish as long as the word liberty shall have a chord. Sam you must excuse me for writing no news; for the reason that there is nothing new here. We are worried to death about the Lexington affair and if that loss is not quickly retrieved, our men will lose confidence in their leaders and this whole summer's work will be lost. That affair told sadly on the "morale" of our Regiment. We are gradually getting over it, hoping to hear some great good news soon. The 17th Regt. is incamped with one Cavalry Com. and part of an Artillery Com. guarding the Ky. Shore just below Cairo. We have a battery here of 2 32-pounders and 2 24 prs and 2 6 pr field pieces. It is thought that the rebels intend to all attack this and Birds Point soon. If they do you will hear from Com. K in honor dead or alive. I want you to rout every vestige of "Sesech" in your diggins, or if we find it there when we return, the rallying cry will be down with the traitors and off with their Sympathizers. They are now skirmishing over on the Missouri shore as is frequently the case. I hear a volley of musketry and now all silent. The rebel pickets grow bolder every day. I must close as it is after Midnight. Remember me to all who profess to be my friends. Give my best wishes to your wife, and ask Buncham why he did not answer my letter. Write soon and give us the news. You need not be uneasy about letters reaching us. If they are directed to Co. K, 19th Ill. Vol. they will surely reach us some time. Good night. Believe to Ever Remain your friend. Jas.D.Walden."
James D. Walden mustered into Company K on 17 June 1861 and mustered out on 9 July 1864. The 19th Illinois Infantry saw action at Stone River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Resaca, Dallas and New Hope Church.
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter4 New York Heavy Artillery Soldier
Four page letter from First Lieutenant Henry Richmond of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery. Written in ink and datelined "Fort Marcy, Va. February 10th 1864," letter reads: "My Dear Hamet, Yours of the 4th & 5th came to hand in due time Monday 8th affording me much pleasure, as I had been writing with anxious expectancy for two or three days. I dont know whether I can answer all your questions or not~ but will try to answer in order to gratify your curiosity. I enjoyed the 'ball' or 'hop' in a high degree…I danced to figures ony, the Lady was a Miss Amanda Crocker brought there by Mr. & Mrs. Church and introduced to me for protection during the evening. I found her to be highly social abnd very interesting~ was good looking~ light complection, auburn hair, large blue eyes~ in form & size, small and a perfect figure; on the whole a 'polished Diamond.' The supper was discussed in a genteel manner and elicted much praise & compliment from the little miss. On ascertainting that I was a married man with '11 children' she seemed much disappointed. Yet she said I was 'very much of a gentleman' and didn't care if I was married. I will tell you the rest some other time, if this does not satisfy your curiosity. In regard to money, I can get along pretty well until next pay day by letting my board run behind until that time which I can do just as well as not. Still if you should succeed in getting any of the .... and have it to spare you may do so. Have Carver bring you 5 cords of wood and have Hadley put the pump in. I am sorry you did not get my letter I sent by Sergt Bruce Herrington on the 28th of July> Addison contunes to feel contented and is in the enjoyment of good health~ if he does not think to speak of our health dont be concerned on that score, if anything is the matter it will be mentioned. Hayford gets no worse~ his name is forwarded for discharge. I am sorry you begin to feel 'old age' creeping upon you. I feel myself as if the 'poetry of life' was giving place to 'stern reality' why should not I, when I think of "Bloomers" and the like. I hope you can soon begin to ease up on your labors, at all events I would occasionally get help to do a large washings and big jobs of heavy work. I cant bear the idea of your growing old. as for myself, I know the years are creeping on with their contributions of cares and pains and disrupting influences~ this I expect with the changes incident to my life. A well ordered life will do much to prevent a .... premature old age. this shall be my study & aim~ but to lose the ideal of my youth and manhood in a rheumatic old woman in un-fashionable "Bloomers" is horrifying~ excruciatingly mortifying. Let use both then aim at a youthful outward appearance: and with hearts still untouched by gloomy tiding of dispair or ugly hues of jealousy, we can be ever young~ ever hopeful~ ever happy. You will see I have enclosed my Valentine, expressive of my real sentiment. How do you like it? Tell me in your next. I have not had an opportunity to get anything... for the children. It is possible ... will find one tomorrow so as to send in time. He has a good many letters to read and does well in answering them all. we both are feeling tip top. Tell grand mother her cake has just given out. "Ad" gets along first rate without ... or whining. the coffee is good. enough bread & meats, beans & soups; on the whole he is agoing to stand the fare well. I offewred to let him board with the Sergt. when they take the rations & cook them in good stile for .... her week, a vey good table. But he is too saving to do it. said he had rather have his $6 every pay day than the board. I dont know of his spending a cent at the Sutlers' yet. I appreciate the advice of yourself & Sarah to him. It serves to nerve him up and make him helpful. Continue to do so. Give this ten center yo Saul to but the "Nick Nack" or use as he pleases. Tell him to not misuse the cow but take good care of her. Sarah let me hear from you. Your letters are always acceotable. My love to you all. Addison wishes to be remembered to all in love. Good night. A kind good night as ever. Henry. P.S.~ Excuse jokes & my play."
Richmond served in the 140th New York Infantry from 30 August 1862 to 21 January 1863, when he was discharged for disability. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the 4th New York Heavy Artillery on 21 June 1863 and rose to the rank of Major before mustering out on 26 September 1865 at Washington D.C. The 4th New York served as heavy artillery and infantry in and around Washington D.C. and as artillery reserve in the Army of the Potomac.
Click to Enlarge
1863 Confederate Gal writes about Family & War
This is a four page letter from a Confederate gal named Bella who writes to her aunt from Spring Valley in 1863. Nice condition paper but some splits along the old folds. Oddly, the paper is embossed with a "U.S. Eagle"! Minor stains. Text as follows: "Spring Valley, March 9th, 1863. My very dear Aunt, I suppose you received a letter from my son after you wrote last, as I wrote you a short line before its recption. If that letter reached you, you know why I did not write more promptly, and I hope you felt inclined to excuse me. Your last I should have answered sooner had I not waited till the time of my return to E. Va. could be ascertained, which depended upon Mr. Js. purchase of a farm in Hanover which was adjacent to his circuit. Had he thought weas here to go to it the first of April, but he wrote me a few days ago that he could not get possession of the place till January and declined buying it. So we will board again, though I suppose I will remain till the first or middle of May, at any rate till the roads become dry, and the weather pleasant. Mr. J left left last Tuesday after spending a week with me. He will be up againin two weeks. He and Ray agree in thinking there were stronger indications of peace than at any time since war commernced. They think the dissatisfaction that has been so plainly exposed, will result in good to us. Agreat many soldiers have been staying within the bounds of Mr. J's. circuit, and have completely gleaned it, of nearly everything as any could assume. Not enough was left for the use of the citizens. My brothers are both at Culpepper C.H. John wrote that his health is better than he could have expected it to have been in camp. Willie has recovered from the heart of which I believe I wrote you. He and John volunteered to go with Gen. R.H.Lee (about two weeks ago) on a scout near Fredericksburg. The party made up of volunteers from differenr companies, they were told that they might hold as private property what they captured from the Yankees. Willie got a fine young horse, with bridle and saddle, as well as a pair as pistols. He seems well pleased with the result of the trip, for besides the booty they captured a hundred and fifty prisoners. When Willie wrote John had gone with the prisoners to Richmond; there he expected to have seen one of the men Pa sent to work on the fortifications, who was sick in the hospital, but he died before John got there. He was about twenty three, or four, and a very valuablke man. The other that Pa sent returned a few days ago not having been seriously sick during his absence. A number have died who have gone from this county, and we are all hoping necessity will not again call them out. How did cousin Thomas Green succeed with his substitute? I shall be sorry to hear that he himself has .... the serive, with his disability to those had sore throats, I think it would be hazardous for him to return to camp. I was glad to learn that Willie was so much better tha when I left Patrick. Does Cousin Joe keep bachelor's hall? I was sorry you did not write the "nonsense" that he sent in the form of a message. I expect it was some of his mischief, and I think I would have enjoyed it. Please don't refuse next time. Has brother Bailey favored you with a call since conference. Ask cousin Joe if he finds he improves on acquaintance. Does Fannie like him any better than she used to? I was somewhat surprised that Mr. Harrison had sold his family farm, but I suppose it is better for his children, and then Cousin Eliza's presence would make any home pleasant. Are they living in Henry now? I beliewve if it were not for the loss Hannie sustained in the death of poor Will, Pa would offer his farm for sale, and relieve himself of a great deal of care he now has, while the boys asre gone, and he has no one to assist him. If Pa should sell I would be glad for Mr. Hainston to try it, if you do not think it too far from them to move. I should be sorry to see strangers in possession of a home that has been so long held by the family. I expect Uncle and cousin Joe Hennewrty remember cousin Harriet George. She was a daughter of Uncle Rueben Kennedy's and has been for many years a widow. She died almost suddenly last summer, leaving two sons, the eldest has been in California for three years, and of course has not been heard from since the war commenced. Hoarace (the younger) has been here for the last two weeks. He is deeply grieved, says he feels as though he had no earthly lie. I have known him naturally since childhood, and have seldom seen so ... affectionate a son. He has been for several years his mother's chief support and he provided for her a comfortable home and always engaged in business where he could spend his evenings in her room, was with her so much that it makes his loss seem the heavier. Pa's health is very good, though he suffers a good deal with his arm which is stiff in the shoulder joint. I think I told you he got it hurt while out hunting one night last fall. We are well except colds. My little Lula has a might bad cold, but grows very fast. She is quite good little thing that we all think is pretty. I wish you could see her. How is Cousin Jennie now? Ask her if I may hope ever to get the letter that she owes me. How are Cousin Martha and Mr. Zenmeyer and their little folks. How glad I would be to see them all. I suppose Cousin Lu's little boys are growing and making her very happy. My love to Cousin Sarah and all the others. I do hope she will be able to raise her little babe. Has Cousin Peter gotten well? Remember me to him and Sallie, in short my heart is full of love for you all. Give a portion to Mary Fisher, and keep a great deal for yourself in which the family join me. Write soon if you please, Bella."
Click to Enlarge
1864 Brandy Station New York Artilleryman Letter home
Four page ink letter from Captain Henry E. Richmond of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery to his wife Harriet. Datelined: 30 April 1864, "Camp near Brandy Station, Va," This letter references Richmond's 15-year-old son, Addison, who served alongside him in the regiment. Text: "My Dear Harriet. Yours of the 23rd was received on the eve of the 28th with the slip from Sarah acknoweledging the recipt of Express matter, but failed to mention in particular the arrival of the Gold Watch. I presume however you have rec'd all. Your letters are truly gratifying to us~ the only fault I find with them is~ there are not enough of them. I was surprised to hear of the deaths & marriage. "Bully for Samantha!" I would not buy a large hog but only enough young pigs to eat. I think you do well to have Lawby to make the improvements spoken of, around the time when the lot is plowed so that there will be no need of getting them by close ploughing. Enclosed find an Italian Chestnut which Sam'l may plant in a hill protected by sticks and see what it will do. Plant it just as it is~ I think it will make a fine tree if successful. I hope you will be able to get the cow pastured this Summer~ It will be much less trouble to the boys~ less damage to trees and more profitable in the end. I hope you will take good care of the dwarfs this Summer as they will soon be very ornamental. Dont use my absence "cut down the cherry trees" in front of the house~ good deal danger of that? I am gratified to say that we both are well now~ myself about an average~ and A tip-top~ the "orderly" is now having a time with him in their tent (he tents with the Orderly) and I guess by the sound the Sergt is spanking him. They have a good time together. A is quite a pet with the Co., and much comfort to myself, you may be assured. We mustered today for 2 months pay but when we shall receive it is more than any of us can tell; with Good Luck perhaps in May or June. I shall not be bashful in availing myself of your kind offer in means or Services if required and can be made available. I am quite tired tonight having closed up all company business~ Muster Rolls~ Mothly Returns~ Reports preparatory to a man. We only have one return to make of clothing, camp garrison equippage and our co. business was never more completely closed. I have labored hard to accomplish this. Our own affairs seem to be assuming a more cheerful aspect. The $120 note~ the $80 a/c and $200 now due us, with what I can earn, is blessed with good luck this Summer, will place us far beyond the importunities and unpleasant doggings of creditors. Let us therefore be hopeful & happy~ animated with the hope of meeting again and enjoying happy years together with our children. But Harriet~ should the coming campaign prove unfortunate to us~ should I ever be brought home to you for burial, I desire to be buried under the Masonic Order, with the emblems, or representation of the 'Broken Column' etc. inscribed upon the slab that marks my resting place. This may seem unbecoming in me, but I can not approach coming events without being thus mindful. Billings will explain the language of the "inscription"~ ther "virgin weeping over the column, the book open before her, the Sprig the.... with Time standing behind her, with folded hands in the ringlets of her hair" if such an occasion should require it. We expect orders now, every day & hour & hence I avail myself of this evening to write you…If opportunity is offered I will write again tomorrow eve or before we march. Accept a Husbands prayers for your own & our childrens well being & happiness in life and in death. As I retire to dreaming, home and its loved inmates. Henry."
Richmond served in the 140th New York Infantry from 30 August 1862 to 21 January 1863, when he was discharged for disability. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the 4th New York Heavy Artillery on 21 June 1863 and rose to the rank of Major before mustering out on 26 September 1865 at Washington, D.C. His son, Henry Addison Richmond, served in the 4th New York from 14 January 1864 to 26 September 1865. The 4th New York was stationed as heavy artillery and infantry in and around Washington D.C., and as Artillery Reserve in the Army of the Potomac. Letter measures 5" x 8". Fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
Letter : Shooting Rebs at Breakfast Soldier needs pants
AQ four page letter, 5 x 8, in ink, on a full color patriotic letter sheet with vignette of soldier holding a musket and American flag.
Berlin, Nov. 18th/61
Dear Father and Mother,
I have been looking for a letter from you for several days back but none came. I wrote to you for boots &c. If you have not sent them, I want you to get me a pair of pants made out of that gray cloth made over that pattern that my red ones was made over. Want you to make them as soon as you can for I am in need of them. I wrote to Martha to make me two flannel shirts. You can send them all at the same time. Send them as soon as you can. I shan't get any more clothes of the government than I can help for they are so poor that it will pay to have them made at home. I want you to send me a little money. I will send it to you as soon as I get my pay which I think will be some time this month. I want you to write as soon as you get this and tell me about it and send me the money. Pay the Express on the box before you send it and send me the receipt in a letter. Put a little butter in & apples, &c for I can not get it down here & some candles. The gloves I want to be long ones to cover my wrist. Cloth ones if you can get them. I have to have gloves so to shoot with them. It is middling cold here now. I will tell you about a little fight we had last Friday morning. On Thursday night we went over into Virginia. We went about 5 miles to a little town where there is 30 cavalry comes to breakfast every morning, but they did not come all together as they usually do. There came 4 at first and the others came behind. We was waiting for to get them all in and the 4 found out that we was there and they put spurs to horses and ran by past our men before they could get out of a barn. We fired about 50 shots at them but did not kill any of them. Wounded one. It was a middling dangerous job to go over with so few men, about 40. The best men in the camp, Jes, Ed & myself all went. I want you to get them pants made & send them things all together if you can. Send it as soon as you get this. You need not send the gloves for the captain is a going to send to the city for the whole company. I am enjoying good health. Getting fat every day. My love to all the family. Callie sends his best respects to you.
From Your Obedient Son,
To Willing P. Jacobs
Click to Enlarge
April 1861 Ohio 4 Regt Letter President & French Admiral
This is a letter sent by two soldiers in the 4-th Ohio Infantry from Ludy, Virginia. It is on a great multi-colored patriotic stationary. It is signed to both J.V. Culp and James Elliot of Company H. Parts are in pencil and others in ink. No envelope. Text: J.V.Culp and Jas. Elliott, Ludy, VA. June 4, 62. Camp near4 Ludy, VA. June 4th, 1862, J. Wintermuth Sir, Yout letter was received a short time ago but we were on the march at the time of its receipt and ultimately we have not had the priviledge to answer. S8ince leaving the place we last wrote you we have been on a march hurry marched about one hundred and fifty miles over some awful roads. We left New Market about three weeks ago but last Monday marched to the little towen we now occupy as ...next day marched about nineteen miles, Company moved five miles into the town of Front Royal situated on the ....Road. We lay at this place one day, on the road again marched about nine miles the next day marched about eighteen miles encamped within eight miles of the town of Warrenton. The next day moved into town, encamped about three miles beyond that place. the next day marched about five miles. encamped next to station on the Orange & Alexandria Rail Road. The next moved in the direction of Fredericksburg. marched about fifteen miles. the next day marched about sixteen miles. came to the town of Faolmouth opposite Fredericksburg. We have joined General McDowell's forces number8ing near seventy thousand. We lay to or three days in the mean time were received by the President, Secretary of War, The French Ministers and French Admiral. Left Sunday 25th, began to retrace our steps. Marched on the Road to Warrenton at night. Encamped in the same spot we did when on the march. Again marched back to the Station and on the road to Manassass Junction. Encampted about six miles below the station. The next day reached the Junction. Were joined by a large part of McDowell's force. Marched through the Junction on the Road to Front Royal. Reached the town after two days marching on the ... the Rebels from the place after shrimishimg by our Cavalry. Captured a large number of theim. They mostly belonged to the 12 th Georgia Regiment. Six or seven of the Cavalry were killed,. We now hold the place. Have a large force here..... Please answer as soon as received. Yours. J.V.Culp/ J.S. Elliott. PS. I have written a very ...letter and the next time I will do better."
Click to Enlarge
Excellent Flip-Top Travelers Ink Well
This is a leather covered "flip top" inkwell which has fine engraving to inner brass cap and body. Both outer and inner catch mechanisms work. Ink bottle intact. Usually leather is lost from outside of brass body and/or lid, but in this case, all leather present. This is in extra fine condition.
Click to Enlarge
Rare Colonial Pike Head Charleston SC
This is a rare hand-forged Colonial/ Revolutionary War Period pike head from Charleston, South Carolina area. Very unique. From era when soldiers still carried ceremonial pikes. It is about a foot long.
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter to Husband in Military Hospital
This is a one page letter from wife, Phoebe C. Ireland to husband R.F. Ireland in Eruptive General Hospital in Louisville, KY. She writes in 1864 from Wapakanetta, Ohio about family matters. Has nice envelope addressed to him with a CW period 3 cent stamp. Text: Dear Husband, I have set down to drop you a few lines in haste again. Jimey has writen home for us to make him a couple of Calico shirts, for the miles had eaten his shirts up. We want to send them this afternoon. He says the officer threatened arresting him for satriping to wash the one he had on. He is Forrage Master. George is at Hashville.... When Fuller last wqrote he is about seven miles from Atlan.. and James had been to him and took dinner with him. Fullwer says he has not much to do in the day time, at night he builds bridges & forts. Richard, you say in your last, your time will expire in five months. I thought it was six months from the sixth of this month. I was over on Two.... yesterday. Br. Fryer preached a very good sermon from Revelation 3rd Chap 20 verse. I think I shall return home one week from tomorrow. You may direct the answer to us here. We are all well except the three younger children have sore eyes and Rachie has taken cold. She is now nurse to sleep as I am writing. Manerva's Little Phoebe is very much afflicted with sores, her face and neck is covered with running sores. I* will send you Aunt Lizzie's letter and you may return it in your next. Your loving wife, Phoebe C. Ireland. PS: Preacher Drury has stopped here to dinner, we are all in our bair feet and morning dresses. Herve slipped upstairs to dress but I tell Dell it is her he is after...." There are two Richard F. Irelands listed as serving Ohio. One is 19. (He was not discharged until 1865) I doubt he'd have a brood of kids, with younger children. The other was 37. He was discharged for disability in February. More likely, this is him: Enlisted on 2/6/1862 as a Private. On 2/6/1862 he mustered into "B" Co. OH 17th Infantry. He was discharged for disability on 3/16/1863 at Cincinnati, OH. But date on letter seems off. More research needed, but we are close to finding him!
Click to Enlarge
Nov 1863 Wife to Soldier in General Hospital 3
This is a letter from wife Phoebe C. Ireland (Franklin, OH) to husband Richard F. Ireland in the Branch 19, General Hospital 3 of Louisville, KY. It is dated Nov. 15, 1863. (Another letter shows him in a hospital in August) There are two Richard F. Irelands listed as serving Ohio. One is 19. (He was not discharged until 1865) In other letter, wife referenced a group of his children. Unlikely a 19 year old. The other man was 37. He was discharged for disability in February. More likely, this is him: Enlisted on 2/6/1862 as a Private. On 2/6/1862 he mustered into "B" Co. OH 17th Infantry. He was discharged for disability on 3/16/1863 at Cincinnati, OH. But year on letter seems off. More research needed, but we are close! Letter text follows: Dear Husband, Through the mercy of a kind providence we are all in our usual health. Julia has gone to Sabbath school; the children are playing about the room. Yesterday & today are rainy unpleasant days. Manerva started home yesterday; her children were sick & troublesome; so she did not enjoy her visit. She would have been glad to stay with me this winter if her children had kept well. Brother P. brought me a letter from you to him, saying your bother George & Stege had gone to their Regiments. Well I fear the consequence of the news to Almira, her health is so poor and she greives all the time because of his absense. When I read the news I had to weep. I am not very brave and perhaps as patriotic as I should be. I know it would not be best for me to write you my feelings always. I may be mistaken But I think very likely Steve will never see his wife in this world. Therny Kinder was buried last Tuesday, there is some Typhoid fever in town. Richard, I never feel in a writing mood any more. I think sometimes I will persuade Julia to do all the writings. My head troubles me. I can give you no idea. I feel incapable for what is before me. Lillie has seen someone over to Mr. WSchencks who reminds her very much of her father. She has told me a great many times that he has as much hair on her head as her father. She has just thought again about him, and has been telling me, "Oh Mother, that man over to Mr. Schencks was as big as my father and had as much hair as my father and his head was like my Father and he said who's little girl is that and Mrs. Schenck said it was Phoebe's little girl.
Monday noon: Julia just brought yours (letter) of the 12. I am glad to hear your health is good. I think strange you still have such a desire to go to the Reg't, but you are as-usual uneasy when well off. Richard, if you send money at any time, I think it will be safe to send it by Mail- $5 or $10 at a time, but you can use your own judgement about it. My love to you, Dear One. Phebe C. Ireland. (ON rear page is letter from daughter, Julia Ireland to him:)
Dear Father, I was to Baptist Sunday School this morning and to Methodist this afternoon. There were not very many there this morning, it being a rainy day. Master Butler got up and spoke about what he thought of the Sabbath School. He said they could make neat little bags, make a little needle & pin cushion, put in buttons, thread, etc. Write a letter he said. It would go to some soldier. not just any soldiers name. sometimes put a tract (religious book) and call them Comfort bags. And this afternoon Lt. Gilessina was at the Methodist sunday school. His wife is my tracker. he made a great speech about the poor little ragged children down South whose fathers were forced in the Rebel Army, About their not having any Sunday School to go to. He told about Gen. Burnside coming through there with his men. How the children shouted for joy when they saw that Beautiful Flag of their country. They called Burnside the father of their Country. He talked about the old secessionists and about how good Mr. Lincoln was. Mrs. Dickey was there. Her face flushed and she looked mad. Well father, I guess I must close. Do not forget to send those and oblige your affectionate Daughter Julia Ireland."
Click to Enlarge
1863 Letter Soldier Winter Quarters and Bad Ladies
This is a letter by Union soldier J.N. Bryant who was stationed at Fort Lincoln outside Washington, D.C. with Battery M., 112 th Regt.
TEXT: Jan. 22 nd, 1863. Fort Lincoln, Washington, D.C. Mr, Harvey B. Brother Harvey, Your letter of the 14 just came to hand in due time. I was very glsad to hear that you were prospering so well. Was glad to hear that Whitimes Cavalry is all right. I heard that your Capt. E.W. Rogers has returned home sick. Is it so? How do you like him as a Capt. For a day or two past we have been having a tremendous storm of wind and rain. Night before last, several of our tents were blown down. Fortunately ours stood the storm. Yet, some of them who occupied the upper bunks had to get up in consequence of the water that run through the canvass. I was in a middle bunk and slept until my usual hour of rising. But got quite a sprinkling. Our tents are stockaded and contain 18 bunks, nine on each side, and three tiers high. The process of stockading a tent is this: Logs 9 or 10 feet long and from 10 to 18 inches through are split through the middle, and hewed straight on the flat side. Then, a circular ditch 2 feet deep is dug. These posts are then placed upright in the ditch and made firm by filling up the ditch with dirt and tamping it thoroughly. The tent is then placed upon the top of these posts and made fast by nailing. Then the crevices between the posts are filled with morter. Our quarters are nice and comfortable. Last Tuesday our company received two months pay. The boys are feeling well. Some are so foolish as to get most beastly drunk. The pie cake and apple women are making money very fast just now. Also many other very accomodating ladies whose profession I will not mention, fearing irt would make you blush. ... I have not been on guard for over a month but have drilled pretty much all of the time, either with pick and shovel or guns. I like a change.... Give my regards to all the boys. J.N. Bryant.
Click to Enlarge
1864 Soldier Letter New York Regiment
An interesting letter from a New York soldier. Great "Excelsior" letter head. Not signed. Text in ink is very legible. Text: Camp Sullivan, Washington, D.C. July 9th, 1864. My dear La'stes: It was with pleasure that I received your last letter from home. I need not say it gives me pleasure to here from our friends. You will see I was writing a letter home as the mail which brought yours arrived. One of the soldiers in Co. H told me that there was a letter for me. As I received this news I sprung to my feet and took a dribble quick to the officers tent where they are distributed and fell to reading the contence. Those flowers were very acceptable. They retained their odor though smashed as flat as a sheet of paper. I shall keep them. I have visited a place on a hill near our camp where there is a nice glass house filled with all kinds of rare plants and flowers. The house formally standing on the farm and belonging to a Union man was burned down last fall near the commencement of the sessession trouble, probably by a rebble. The chimney and other parts of the ruins stand in full sight of our camp. The place is occupied only by his negroes whos quarters with the barns were left standing. This morning I with two others took a stroll from the camp and passing through two camps one of Mass. and one of N.Y. troops, reached the grounds of a rich Southener where we found as nice a place New England can afford. We found an artificial pond surrounded with a nice gravill walk and shaded with evergreens, near which there was a fine spring of water used by one of the Regt. and as usual in all such cases under strict guard to prevent the poisining of the water as has sometimes been the case. Close by the spring was house to keep butter in and between there and the cow yard a milk room containing a marble table to work butter on and drains of stone to course water around the room to keep it cool. The house was built of brick and painted cream color. Situated on a rise of groung and surrounded with trees and patches flowers. The stables and fields will knock Dea. Breffrem shy high. I have not had the pleasure of seeing Old Abe or Scott as yet. When our regt was reviewed I was on guard. I have not eat much lately expecting to buy now and then a pint of milk and cream in a hard cracker called in the army jilet bread. I have an appetite for salt junk in this hot climate. I hope soon to have my usual strength and appetite. This weakness and loss of appetite is caused by the sudden change of climate. Nearly all of the troops from the North are affected this way at the first. It is now very warm and dry here, By the inhabitants of this place I understand that the Col. says we shall march tomorrow night. Where to we know not. We have had our rations cooked up some time and have been expecting marching orders some time whether we start the or not remains to be seen. The papers had us started yesterday but I do not see it cricking around as the boys say. There is not much to be known by the papers. I intend to send home a map of the seet of war that you may know our position wherever we may be stationed. Our present position is near the letter T or O. In the Washington we can look over to Arlington heights across the city and river. I have one sad accident to relate. This morning one of the magazines connected with the battery of howitzers in the Mozart Regt exploded killing one mqan and seriously wounding 4 others. It is thought they will die. This seems worse than to be killed in battle. I would like to go to Church with you next Sunday and take tea with you at home. How pleasant it would be to walk over that hill or down to the pond. (Unsigned)
Click to Enlarge
1861 Letter a Finger Shot Off and Wants Letters
8”x5” original Civil War letter on patriotic letterhead with large colorful American flag and Liberty cap, written in ink. I have corrected some misspellings and punctuation to make it easier to read but have not changed the content. (Text)
Arlington Mills, Va
August 6, 1861
You will excuse my abrupt letter although we were once friends, but now are not as near friends as I would like to be. Nevertheless, I will write believing you are sufficiently posting in the rules of etiquette and hospitality to answer it. Your cousin Washington is here, it is rather unfortunate for him as he has of late lost one of his fingers by the accidental discharge of his gun. I have a great regard for him as he is young in years and far from home, inexperienced not accustomed to hard fare or the ways of the world. Shall try to be a friend to his as longs as he remains in the regt. Will you inform his father as your earliest convenience. I should be proud to have a letter from you, give me the general details of news of the boys and girls and all the news of interest, who is married and who would like to be and so on. We are but a short distance from the enemy, see them every day. You’ll excuse my bad penmanship as I have no table to write upon, my table is the ground. Direct you letters if you write, Washington DC, 24th Regt NYV, care of Col. Sullivan. Your with proper filial respect, H. Mattison
Click to Enlarge
1864 Union Soldier Letter with Outright Erotic Content
This is a Letter from a Civil War soldier stationed in Washington in 1864. He works for Navy Department/ Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. Letter is to Adelia in Pigeon Cove, Massachusetts. Here is the daring text: "Navy Department. Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting. Washington. July 14th, 1864. My Dear Adelia. Yopur letter has been received although it was partly by chance of the confounded rebels had the pleasure of reading the letters that were to come in the mail the day before. Had they got some of my letters they would have been edified in reading them. However they didnt and I take pleasure in knowing that they were read by the person intended for. What do you think of our scare during the past week? Thirty thousand rebel troops around the city, their guns plainly heard and houses burned within five miles of us. We had no troops to defend the city and had they made the attack last Monday, might have captured it without doubt. Clerks and everybody else able to bear arms were sent to the rifle pits and a more general excitement never fore prevailed. It is a disgrace that rebel cannons should now shake the very Capitol of our Union. But how are you enjoying yourself this season in your quiet seaside home? Who is there to help kill time? Has Miss Stowell returned and does she stop with Frank often? How are you fifty four? About my vacation I hardly know. The chief clerk has told me I could not go home and I felt as if I would like to have~ (A good cry)~ If I do go I will ride horse back and do all sorts of riding, for being in this city seven months makes me feel almost like a horse. Your programm will undoubtedly satisfy me and since it grants me all but one thing I shall be false to my nature if I dont take some liberty myself and although it is possible that I may not accomplish much you may bet high that I shall try darned hard. By the way I have taken some fancy lessons lately and Washington ladies make grand teachers~ "a la mode" This city is becoming like Paris, where the people work for their own pleasure, and feel little reserved when asked questions which would bring a slap from our New England Buxoms. You see as civilization progresses and as people know what is in this world of ours, they have a natural inclination to taste of the fruit that Eve did when she fell- into the arms of Adam. That fall has brought sin into the world, and it has since brought something else in, in the shape of ten .... and sometimes b7y bracelets. If I dont have a vacation I think I can make arrangements to be off one week when I will meet you somewhere if you say so. I wish you would answer this letter so that I can get it within a fortnight for I am going to Baltimore then. Won't you? I will send you a paper which contains an exposition of the affair which took place in the Treasury Department, showing you a little of Washington life. The best part is where the blank occurs, and I will explain it that you may understand. Two couples were together in private rooms and a dispute arose how they should distribute themselves~ it was finally agreed that the ladies should measure the gentlemen's~ and he who could present most should have the choice~ certainly, a very novel but good way. It is a good piece and should be well studied by those who anticipate ever coming to Washington. I dont know as you can read this letter for I have hurried it and it looks like fury. I can only account for poor writing by telling you that it was so warm last night I slept without clothes on excepting my~ ~ ~ of course and today I am Stiff All Over. Accept much love. I remain of course. With respect, Liander."
Click to Enlarge
1864 Letter Wounded William Barrows 33 Mass Regt
This is a letter home from Corporal William A. Barrows of 33rd Mass Infantry while recovering from wounds received at Dallas, Georgia. This is in pencil. Signed "William" but last name known from other letters found together. No envelope. Text is interesting: "Nashville, December 20th, 1864. Tuesday PM. Dear Mother, Sister and Cousin. Your letters have just been received and I will hasten to answer them. I was very much pleased to hear from home. Also to hear from Cyrus. I have written to him since I came back. I am well. My wounds are about well. I am more improved now and have been very bust today cleaning up the tent, scrubbing the floor, etc. We have had a good deal of rainy weather here the past week and some pretty hard battles with the Johnies. I suppose you have all the news in regard to them. I sent father a Nashville paper. I could stand here at the hospital and see fighting going on. It is the first time that I ever saw a battle going on when I did not have a hand in it. It seems very still here since the battle is over. There were two days of very hard fighting. Old Hood has got an awful whipping. He told his men if they would take Nashville he would give each one a new suit of clothes. This some prisoners told to a man I saw. They said they had got Nashville but did not know about the new suit. The prisoners were very destitute of clothing. A great many of them barefooted and almost staved. They said all the had to eat was raw corn. (Family chat follows) I must close now. It is about time for the mail to leave. Please write me another company letter. They are kind. Love to all. Wm. A. Barrows. Direct Sect 6 instead of 4. Have changed the number of Section to Six."
Click to Enlarge
1862 Zeigler Boys Go to War Letter.
This is one of three letters from the Zeigler boys: T.J, W.H. and Philip who all apparently went to war. This one is from T.J. to sister Julia. In it, he inquires about the Little Gal he left behind... On a nice patriotic letter sheet sowing two pretty maids with logo: "None but the Brave deserve the Fair." Ink. No envelope. Text is: November the 27th, 1862. My Dear Sister. I will now write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you are all the same. Dear Julie I have not got my picture taken yet. But I intend to get it taken as soon as I can and send it home to you that you may all see your kind brother who left home the 2nd day of April last. I have takin quite to journey all alone by myself. I have got friends every place I go: bravery and honesty and good countenance will take a man just where ever he wants to go. I found out I have not got an enemy in the Regiment. If I have it is unknown to me. I enjoy myself wherever I be. But much do I wish that I were at home this night. Oh, it would be glory to me and to you all to set up to Father and Mother's table to partake of the good things sat before us. Well I must give you a small history of our living. WWe eat on the ground. We have no table to set up to now. No soft bread to eat. No butter to spred. We have got dry crackers to eat. Meat buns nice and potatoes plenty and also coffee and sugar. Our crackers are five inches square and half inch thick. I have got some crackers that I could not break with my hands. So I would edge one up to 'gainst a stone and take an other stone and sledge it to pieces. It went mighty awkward to me at first but I have got used to them. I can set down and break one to pieces without ever thinking of home but with all this it is very holesome bred when it is broken up and soaked in coffee. Dont eat bad as long as we have plenty. There is no danger of us starving. We have got plenty of good warm clothing to warm well. Julie I think I will close by sending my love to you all. Direct as before, T.J. Zeigler. Answer soon. And let me know perticularly the perceding of the Little Gal I left behind me.
Click to Enlarge
New Years 1862 Soldier Letter on a Program
This is an ink letter written over the surface of a New Year's 1862 Patriotic Program from an Illinois newspaper. It is scribbled all over, round and round in the margins, like a maze to unvravel, by a playful young trooper at camp to his relative at home: "Jan 18th/62. To Maria Bacock. Camp Butler, Ill. I take the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope that when these few lines come to hand, they will find you all enjoying the same state of health. I got a letter from Nancy Jane. She said you wasn’t well. But I hope you are at this time. I should like to come home but I can’t get back enough. There is talk of disbanding the Regiment. But I think it is all hokes. Tell Nancy Jane that I got a letter from her but I wrote to her last and I shall expect I am answered from her before I write any more. Well Bie. I have pretty much written this side of the sheet. I can’t hardly think of anything to write. All the boys are well at the present. A great many got sick furloughs and gone home (Edges) I will get a good long letter from you. So good bye. Write soon and often. If you send word been word. I think that is on this sheet of paper. (Corner) I send you this posting as a New Years present. Being I couldn’t get anything else in camp. Good bye. (Other side edges) If you can find out how to read this you will be as sharp as a Philadelphia lawyer. No more at this time. Good bye. XCuse goodby so often."
Click to Enlarge
Soldier Philip Zeigler softens his biscuits & Farts
The three Zeigler boys went to war. They each wrote home to sister Julia and Father. This is a letter from Camp Robison,Ky from Philip to Julia. Ink on lined paper. No envelope. Text is: "Camp Robison, Ky. January the 14th, 1863. Dear Sister Julia. I seat myself down this morning to survey your most recent letter which I received last evening just about dusk. I was hery glad to hear from you. Your kind letter found me in good health as this still leaves me the same this morning and I do sincerely hope that these few lines may find you all the same well fully. You said that you had all wrote to me and got no answer. I dare say Sister Julia I have answered every letter foremost that came from home. I have not got a letter since I left home that remains un-answered and if they all rote to me that you mentioned in your letter, they have got some stopping place before they reach me. Well Julia 9turn over page) you thought that perhaps becauseyou got no letter that I was out of paper and envelopes but there is lots of paper and envelopes here. We have got a store close to Camp that we can get all the paper that we want. Well Julia we have got quite a wet and muddy time here for the last two weeks. We went out to drill this morning and it commenced to rain. So we were marched back to Camp. It is just more than raining now. Our winter here is pretty much like your winter in Old Penny but not as cold. When it is not raining here it is very pretty and warm through the daytime. But at night it is sometimes awful cold. Will now for something else you wanted to no matter. I found out how to soften my biscuits. I have. It wasnt long after I wrote to you about the hard crackers until I found it out. Well it is not quite the same way that you said that Bill Miles said, but the way I work them is to soak them in Cola water and then dry them at the fire. They get tolerable. Like well as for that, it is very kind of you to tell me. I would-of liked very much to-of saw friend Bill Miles before he went home, but if you write to him, send him my best respects and well wishes and tell him that I am well and enjoying good health and in good spirits. And also give my love to Miss Linda Haines and wordes gals and all the rest of the young Ladies. I wonder whether Martha Wods ever thinks of the time that she fell in the culvert and skinned her leg coming from O.T. Kein party. I believe that Bill Miles fell in for one and if I dont mistake Martha fell in the same nite. If you have forgot Harvey will know well now. For some thing else I got a letter from Mrs. J. Troup and she ask me whether I remembered the nite that she and Theodore was at our house and you and I went along with them to the Bridge. I remember that time almost darned well. If you remember I left a most a full of a big fart. I felt awful. But that is dead and gone and I am kicking yet down in Kentucky/ Well July, I must close for this time but dont forget to rite and back your letters in haste and then they will not lay over any place along the road. Well Julia those two postage stamps that you sent to me come very good to me for I was just out. Well now I close. Good By, Dear Sister Julia. Dont forget to rite to your Brother Philip Zeigler. I entered to direct this letter in haste. Oh yes, if Father has rote me a letter three weeks ago, I have not got it. Tell him."
Click to Enlarge
Homemade envelope from the front
This is an envelope made from folded sheets of paper. It was sent home by a soldier to his family in Indiana from Nashville. Whatever was inside is long gone. Was it money, a souvenir of war, or his photo? But it took two standard three cent stamps to get it back home. It is a cool reminder of how soldiers interacted with their folks back home.
Click to Enlarge
Letter about Scotch and Sech Girls Down South
This is a letter from a soldier John S. in Company D of the 18th Michigan stationed in Tennessee. He writes his cousin back home about the naughty adventures of a young Union trooper: "Mc' Minnville, Tennessee, Jan. 31st. 1864. Respected cousin, I seat myself once more to pen a few lines to you, to let you know that I am well at present and hope that when you get this it will find you all enjoying the same blessing. Lucy I have written you a letter once before since I have had one from you I think that that one must've been miscarried and you did not get it. I will write you another here today. James Cole, Samuel Curtis is on picket duty today. From my tent Sheppard is writing with me. We are having full .... of the tent. They are good boys. They make good soldiers. Brother Dan has just come in from picket. He is going to have a furlough to come home in a little while. We are to work on a railroad bridge. Tis hard work for poor living. Well how do you enjoy yourself this winter. Is there any dances this winter for you to attend. I hope so. Shure for it now that if I was there I would have good times myself. I attended a dance last week. It wast of in the Southern Style. The girls down here "dips". Perhaps you don't know what that is. Tis to take a small stick and sliver one end of it and then dip it in Scotch.... and then suck it. That is what they call dipping. Great many of them chews tobacco. They think as much of tobacco as the men. There is some very pretty gals down here but they cant come-in with our Michigan gals. They are strong "Sech" The most in .... and them is the ones for me..... Well Lucy I guess I have written all the news for this tome and the mail is about to go out. So I will bring this to a close for this time. Give my respects to uncle and aunt and the rest of the children. My love to you and all pretty girls. Please address to: Mc Minnville, Tenn. Co D. 18 Mich. Infantry. From your cousin. John S.Dity To Lucy Runisey."
Click to Enlarge
1862 Letter 37 Georgia Confederate later killed
This is a November 1862 from Confederate soldier John C. C. Walker of 37 th Georgia. He writes from Lenior Station, Tenn, telling her of soldiers' hard times marching without water or something to eat. He would be wounded at Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19, 1863, and die of his wounds two days later. This ink letter on light blue paper came accompanied by a stack of records pertaining to John, including post-War payments to family and correspondence regarding return of his belongings to his mother. This page actually bears the written words of a person wgho fought and died for the cause of The Confederate States.
Click to Enlarge
Letter to Iowa Cav Soldier "Anit Poke Nose Society"
This is an original Civil War era letter and envelope cover sent to Captain Lot Abraham of Company D, 4th Iowa Cavalry. There is a 3 cent postage stamp with a rare blue cancel stamp over it. The letter accepts a new member into the "Anti Poke Society into other peoples business Lodge No. 1, Baltimore Township, Henry Co., Iowa". This was a "secret society" of cynics and pragmatists in the mis-1800s. The letter is signed by other members of the society, as well as Lot Abraham.
Captain Lot Abraham (1838 - 1920) - Civil War soldier, Iowa State senator, and farmer from Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Captain Lot Abraham was born in Butler county, Ohio, on the 18th of April, 1838. After the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he enlisted for three years' serving as a private of Company D, Fourth Iowa Cavalry. Within six months, however, he had been promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, having passed through the intermediate grade of orderly sergeant. At the end of the year he had become captain. The regiment first went with Curtis through Missouri and Arkansas , and later participated in the siege of Vicksburg and was with Sherman on the Meridian expedition in February, 1864. In 1864 Captain Abraham was on active duty under Generals Sturgis and Smith, and in the fall of that year made a trip after Price through Missouri . He then re-enlisted with his company for three years more and from there received his veteran furlough, and in 1865 returned to Nashville , but was too late for the battle there. His command was then attached to Wilson's cavalry corps, and from that point started on the Georgia campaign. Captain Abraham was prominent in his command, and General Upton in his report says of him: “The Fourth Iowa Cavalry, dismounted, under Captain Lot Abraham, passed through the breach, turned to the right, charged the redoubt, capturing ten guns, and then sweeping across the bridge with the flying rebels, captured two howitzers loaded with canister. Mounted companies from the same regiment followed in the rear of Captain Abraham, and after crossing the bridge turned to the right and charged in flank the works at the lower bridge. * * * Captain Lot Abraham, Company D, Fourth Iowa, for his gallantry at Columbus, Georgia, April 15, 1865, and at Selma, Alabama, April 2, 1865, is recommended for brevet major.” These extracts are from pages four seventy-one, four seventy-five and four seventy-seven of volume forty-nine of the official reports of the war of the rebellion. On page four eighty-two of the same volume General Winslow says: “I respectfully recommend that the rank of major by brevet be conferred on Captain Lot Abraham, Company D, Fourth Iowa Cavalry. This officer has frequently displayed great courage, handled his command in a very gallant manner at Columbus and Selma , captured a four-gun battery at Selma repulsing the enemy in his attempt to recover it.” Also complimentary mention is found in other places of the war reports concerning Captain Abraham's service. Following the close of hostilities he was sent to Washington , Georgia , where he paroled Wheeler's cavalry, spending two months there in charge of the government property. He also had charge of the archives of the Confederacy and sent car loads of such material to Washington, D. C. He was discharged at Atlanta , August 8, 1865. Captain Abraham was married in 1865, soon after his return from the war, to Miss Sarah C. Alden, a sister of John B. Alden, a well known publisher of New York city. He was nominated and elected in 1881 to the Iowa State Senate, serving fromm 1882- 1884.
Click to Enlarge
1862 Letter 112 th Illinois L. Matthews to wife
This is a long pencil written letter from Lemuel Matthews to his wife from Lexington, KY in 1862. He served with 112-th Illinois Inf. He was badly wounded in Resaca in 1864 by shot to shoulder that developed gangrene. He survived. This is an interesting letter to wife "Gishie" about rebel prisoners, arresting a Secesh, sleeping on floors in overcoats, the weather, wanting to hold wife in his arms again, sending clothes, and Union officers having "6 to 8 darkies" as servants! It is on embossed paper, about 9 3/4" by 7 1/2".
Click to Enlarge
Feb 1865 letter about axes, negroes
This is an ink letter on a large sheet of paper. Sent in February 1865 from F.E.Shultz to John A. Hunter in Half Moon, Pennsylvania. It talks about some cool issues: Jane was visiting the hunters and came home on a late train, having missed her connection. They gave her a gun that she hid under her coat and an axe. She was not molested on the trip! The Southern Sympathizers were banished from that part of state and have moved to other states. The Negroes were set free but they were pushed out of county because they were pilfering turkeys. An interesting civilian letter during close of the Civil War.
Click to Enlarge
Civil War letter Rebel gal gives Yank her melons
An original CW letter from Frank P. Thompson, stationed at Lake Providence, GA. on July 14th, 1863. He writes to Amelia Grover of Dodge County, Wisconsin. Thompson enlisted on November 1, 1861 and was mustered into “C” Co. 16 th Wisconsin Infantry. The 16th saw service in many major battles, including the Battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Bentonville as well as the Vicksburg, Atlanta and Carolinas campaigns and March to the Sea. 4 Pages, 8” x 5”, with its original envelope.
“…We are having very warm weather at present. The most of the boys are sick. There is not hardly well men enough to take care of the boys buried within the last three weeks. But the boys that are in the hospital now are on the gain or at least most of them. The fevers are raging very high here now.
“The Rebs are getting fits all around the block lately…I am going home this fall or at least I want and I guess that all the boys that live to see six months, they will live to see the end of the rebellion.
“All Amelia, I wish you could help me eat this big watermelon that a Secesh gal gave me this afternoon. It is good and it tastes better I suppose than if I had bought it. All the girls around here are turning union. We have been here so long that they say we seem like brothers to them. I went out in the county the fourth and had a grand dinner with an old Planter’s family. It seemed like home.
“There was three of us…and the other day we went out in the country and met with five hundred rebs, the first that we saw of them, they were half mile off and their skirmishers saw us and made for us and we started and ran us about eight miles. They hollowed halt to us several times but it was never kind of halting that we done at that time. I tell you we came to Providence and reported to the general and he sent out one regt of cavalry and they ran them back as fast as they ran us. They came very near catching us. They were mounted on horses and we was on mules…”
Click to Enlarge
Patriotic Envelope says Negroe is cause of all troubles
This is a Union "patriotic envelope" from the CW era which shows a colorful image of a Negro with the sentiment: "The cause of all our troubles." Since these were printed in the North, it seems clear that not all Northerners were enamored with fighting to the death for slaves. Many just did it to preserve the "Union".
Click to Enlarge
Confederate Civil War Envelope Letter Stamp
Click to Enlarge
Colorful Magnus Letterhead When Johnny Comes Home
This is an original colorful chromolithographic battle scene on a letterhead songsheet by Charles Magnus of New York. It has verses to song: "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." About 8" by 5".
Click to Enlarge