The Robert Caldwell Papers consist of a series of Civil War era letters,
primarily from Robert Caldwell of Elmore,
Robert H. Caldwell was born on June 14, 1841, the son of William and Jane (
The Civil War correspondence of Robert H. Caldwell consists of 114 letters
TRANSCRIPTION OF CORRESPONDENCE
ROBERT H. CALDWELL
Sept 15, 1861-Jan 14, 1863
A series of 114 letters to members of his immediate family, while he served with the 21st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company I, during the Civil War
Jan 18-Feb 23, 1863
A series of six letters from members of the Caldwell Family, expressing sympathy for the death of Robert
Dear folks at home
Thinking that a letter from
I enjoy cam life very much but our things are not cooked quite as nicely as I have been in the habit of having things but what of that we must get accustomed to eating some dirt. Last night the boys had a dance on our parade ground in front of our tents one of the boys played the Jews harp while the rest tripped the light fantastic toe most of them barefoot. They kept it up until about ten oclock when the musician becoming tired of playing the dance broke up and all turned in for the night with the exception of Barnes, ands a few more who were detailed for guards. To day G. Claghorn, E. Rice, R. Rice and Ingraham are detailed ads guard my name not having been called as yet ad it comes near the lower end of the list. I have just finished eating my dinner we had boiled beans, fried and boiled beef, boiled ham, potatoes good bakers bread, and what is more we have as much as we want, we sleep warm as our tent floor is covered with good new straw to the depth of about four inches and with the addition of our blankets it makes just as goods a bed as one could wish for The boys drew each one single blanket and as soon as we are mustered in we will each draw a double one. This forenoon George Smith and I went down to Finlay and took a look about town it ids a place of about 2500 inhabitants. The buildings are very much scattered and consequently the town covers a large extent of territory. There is to be divine service in camp this afternoon at 2 oclock I expect to attend. Yesterday noon we elected our commissioned officers they consist of Captain Gibbs, first Lieut Vantyne 2nds Woods we are to elect our noncommissioned officers as soon as we are mustered in which we expect will take place tomorrow. There are at present about 600 men in camp parts of companies a large number having returned home on furlough. I must close as I have no more room. R.H. Caldwell
Thinking that a letter from the above named place might not be unacceptable
I thought that I would improve the present opportunity by giving you some
particulars in regard to my camp experience. Last Friday myself in company with
about sixty others started for this place arrived at Fremont, exchanged cars by
getting aboard of the train on the F.& G. R.R. destined for findlay arrived
at our destination at about 11 oclock formed the company in the street marched
through town, halted in front of the Reed House, the principal hotel in the
town when most of the boys started for the groceries for ginger bread and after
each one had stowed away a sufficient amount of that article we took up our
march for the camp which is situated about 1 ½ miles from town upon a fine rise
of ground. We received our tents and the rest of our equippage which for a whole
company consists of 12 tents the same number of camp kettles, one plate, knife,
fork, spoon & cup to each man besides we draw one blanket apiece for the
present until we are mustered in when we are to receive a double blanket to the
man. Perhaps you would like to know how I like Camp life well I can say I am
satisfied, to be sure we have to eat a little dirt but that makes no difference
with those who don't care and as for me I never was very particular and for
that reason I can get along very well. There are about ten men in my mess the
most of whom are good boys such as George Claghorn, Ezekiel Rice, Russel Rice,
M. Runells, &c &c. We have just returned from dress parade (a parade of
the whole regiment) the first in which I ever participated
it was a very fine and imposing. The brass band is still playing while I am
writing. In dress parad the different companies form in line of battle, that is
the whole regiment forms across the grounds in two ranks or two lines when the
Colonel puts them through some moves then the band plays marching up and down
the lines. The Colonel then gives the command present arms when the whole reg
raises their right hand to the shoulder then the
Care Captain Gibbs
21st reg O.V.
When I wrote last Sunday, I forgot to state several things which I had
thought to say, and among others I wished to say that Alfred Price asked me to
send his guitar to him by somebody going to
We have fine times in Camp, last night it rained very hard and the guards
were called in on that account and as a matter of course the boys took
advantage of it and went visiting. About 200 of the boys went promenading and
among the rest several from our mess and this morning about two oclock a goose
came into our tent which had been disturbed in its slumbers and as a matter of
course we took compassion on and kept it from the rest of the mess but the poor
fellow died some time in the night just because one of the boys out of mere
sport placed the head of the winged biped in one place and his body in another
and as we don't like to see anything go to waste we caused it to take the place
of the beef with which we are supplied. This is a mere sample of what is taking
place all the time in camp. Yesterday we had our Dress Parade of the whole
regiment and we were put through the regimental drill for the first time. That
is we were marched A round the grounds by plattons some of the plattoons being
composed of whole companies it was a very fine sight there being about 600 out
on parade the rest of the reg being home or on furlough. The colonel is
endeavoring to make arrangements so that he can take fourteen compys into the
21st regt. I don't know how soon the regt will leave here but as near as I can
find out I expect it will take place in about two weeks[.] I expect to make a
visit home before we move. Just about five minutes ago a guard was put in the
guard house for allowing a man to pass his beat without a pass from a
commissioned officer[.] At this minute while I am writing there are a lot of
boys singing campmeting hymns in the tent next to ours. We have dances, foot
racing, wrestling, jumping &c going on nearly all the time. Sunday eve
Martin Bowland threw the Capt of Compy D. the officers mix with the privates at
all times and taking everything altogether we have very fine times. Last Sunday
morning a company came in from
You can direct
R.H. Caldwell Findlay Ohio
Care Capt. Gibbs 21st Regt O.V.I.
(P.S.) I wrote to Juliet last Sunday. Please tell me how you get along with the mile. Give my love to Father, Mother, Willie, and all enquiring friends. R.H.C.
It is now ascertained beyond a doubt that we are to leave this place early tomorrow morning via Carey We have received orders to pack up and be ready to start by 2 o'clock.
We are all glad to think that we are going to move. I heard with pain that
our respected Captain was worse again and that it would impossible for him to
meet us at this place, but that it was possible he might overtake us at
Dear folks at home
You must excuse me for neglecting for so long a time to answer your letter
but the fact is I have been so busy moving for the last few days that I have
hardly had time to think about writing to any person. Last thursday morning we
left Camp Vance for this place had a very fine ride through the finest country
I ever saw arrived at Camp Dennison about 2 oclock friday morning and remained
in the cars until daylight when we were marched to our quarters which consist
of shanties capable of accomodating about 20 men each, ours has a butry, two
large bunks and three tables, besides a writing desk and several benches. I
think they can be made more comfortable than the tents[.]
There is at present about six or eight thousand men in camp and I doubt if
there is a sick man among them. The camp is situated among a lot of high hills
and is in as picturesque a place as the most romantic individual could wish
for. On the outskirts of the camp the is a hill from
the top of which a very fine view of
Thinking this a suitable opportunity to let you know what is doing and what
has been done in camp I seize the present time for so doing. I wrote last
friday upon arriving at camp but as all was confusion and disorder upon our
arrival that it was almost impossible to collect one's ideas but at present the
condition of things is greatly improved. Our camp (that of the 21st) is
situated upon the eastern side of the C.C. & C. R.R. it is very finely
situated entirely surrounded by high hills there is one hill close by the camp
from the top of which a very fine view of Kentucky may be had, distant about
five miles from this place. There are at present about six or eight regiments
in camp at this place. I wrote in my last that close to our regiment an
artillery company was encamped. I could not think of the Captain's name who was in command but have since learned that his name is
From your son, Robert Caldwell
(P.S.) I will write to mother next time when you
write direct it to
Nicholasville K.Y near
Oct. 4th 
Dear folks at home
Since named camp Norton
Saturday Morning Oct. 5th
Dear folks at home
I have just been relieved from duty and hasten to finish writing. I have
been acting as corporal of the guard for the last 24 hours. We left
I am well
You had better not write until you receive another letter from me. When you
write direct to me in care Lieut Vantine 21st
When we get settled once more I will write and let you know . From Robt Cald
Love to all we are in the best of spirits
Camp near Nicholasville K.Y.
Oct 9th 
Hearing that one of the officers was to return for the purpose of recruiting I thought that I would embrace the present opportunity to say something in regard to the clothing that I have sent home, When we received our knapsacks we no longer had any need of our satchels and concluded to box them up and send them home in connection with our superfluous clothing and accordingly we did so and directed the box to James Easterly, according to his request and he promised to see that the different things reached their destination. I sent one of my old shirts home as I have no need of it as I have three others which will be sufficient under any circumstances. I find that the less weight a person has to carry, the better a he is off. If I were to choose my own clothing I could not be better suited I have my oiled cloth blanket besides a blanket that I have drawn and no matter how cold the night I can sleep as warm as I could choose to sleep. You can tell Mother that when we left camp Vance I lent that comforter to Higgins, a relation of Unkaters, who had no blanket and he has used it ever since and used it so roughly that it is not worth sending home and as he has not yet drawn a blanket I let him keep it. I will gie it to some person who needs it better than I.
Direct to Co. I. Nicholasville K.Y.
I received that money, for which I am very thankful
Camp near Nicholasville K.Y.
Oct 11th 
Thinking that you might be anxious to know what I have been doing all the
time since I last wrote to you I concluded to improve the present time by
giving you an account of our travels since leaving Camp Vance. We left that
place thursday Sep 26th travelled all day and arrived at Camp Dennison next
morning at about two oclock remained in the cars until daylight and were then
marched to our quarters which were wooden barracks built in rows with streets
between, they were quite comfortable we remained at the above place until
Wednesday of october third when we were ordered to K.Y. Packed up and were
marched to the cars and started for Cincinnati at which palce we arrived at
about three oclock were ferried across the river into Newport K.Y. formed and
were marched through the city to a vacant lot, situated in the rear of the town,
where we were allowed to lie down or otherwise make ourselves as comfortable as
possible, we remained at this place until 10 oclock at night when we took
passage on the Kentucky Central R.R. for the interior of the state. When we
were about three miles from Covington we passed through a tunnel about a half
mile in length and indeed nearly all the road in below the surface of the
ground from three to fifteen feet as the country is so hilly that it is
necessary to dig through the hills in order that the track might be level.
Between Canp Dennison and Cincinnati on the route of the C.C.&C. R.R. we
passed hills that must have been at the least calculation 200 feet high and
that of the condition of the country throughout nearly the whole of southern
Ohio and northern Kentucky. We travelled all night and in the morning arrived
We left Lexington after staying at that place about 2 hours and arrived at
Nicholasville the termination of the Railroad were marched through the town and
encamped in a large field where we have remained ever since. Our camp is
situated on the side hill and is a very fine place. This is the finest country
I ever saw. It is no wonder that Daniel Boone was delighted with this secgtion
of country. I expected when we arrived in this state to see a large number of
secessionists but I find that the
From Robt Caldwell (P.S) I will write from our next (camping?) place
Oct 13th 
As it is Sunday and all is quiet in camp I concluded to embrace this
opportunity to let you know how i make the time pass while in the service of
Uncle Samuel. In the morning at precisely five oclock reveilee is sounded on
the bugle which is a very unwelcome sound to a large number of the boys as it
is the signal for the opening of eyes and the turning out of the boys for roll
call and you had just ought to see the commotion when that time arrives, boys
falling out of the tents and boys falling over each other and everything but
falling into line in order, and when at last order is restored, the roll is
called by the Orderly and if any unlucky fellow has failed to awaken at the
sound of the bugle and fall into line in order that he may answer to his name
he is marked for extra duty or elected for the guard house[.] At six oclock the
breakfast is sounded upon which occasion you may be sure that none allow
themselves to be marked as delinquents. at half past
eight the call for guardmounting is sounded when the guards that have been
detailed from each company are marched to an open space in front of the tents,
formed in line, arms inspected &c, when they are marched down to the
guardhouse where they are to start from. (the guards are divided three reliefs
1st 2nd & 3rd and each relief takes its turn in standing guard, there are
in all about 60 guards detailed each day each relief consisting of about 20
men, they are posted around the camp and also placed over the camp stores.
After guardmounting comes the drill call, when the different companies are
called out for drill they are obliged to drill two hours in the forenoon after
which call for dinner is sounded. At half past one the call for drill is again
sounded, when we have Comp drill and also noncommissioned & commissioned officers
drill for the space of two more hours, when a short time for target practice is
allowed, each company is allowed one round and as a general thing most of the
boys are satisfied with that as the kick of a two year old colt is as nothing
compared with the recoil of the musket. The first time that I fired mine I had
quite an astronomical view consisting mostly of stars we fired at targets
distant about 30 rods and I believe my ball struck the ground at the distance
of about 25 rods from me and consequently my ball came within just about 5 rods
of the mark which I consider pretty good shooting for the first trial. I wrote
to father that I had received the position of Color guard in the regiment which
is considered a much more desirable poition than corporal in the company as I
retain the rank of corp and have much less duty to perform. Yesterday we had
quite a stir in camp on the announcement being made that General Anderson was
to make a visit to the 21st whereupon the regt was called out and formed
receive the General and Col Neibling had us give the hero of fort Sumter three
cheers and then the General responded very briefly saying that nothing but the
poor state of his health prevented him from going with us. We then gave him
nine counts and (as Col Neibling says) a great big tiger,
and he then left the ground. But I am digressing, where was I? Oh! yes firing my musket. Well after target practice we return
to quarters and at precisely four oclock dress parade is sounded and the rest
is formed in line of battle and the preliminaries having been gone through with
Battallion drill commences, that is a drill for the whole regt which generally
occupies us until evening when at six oclock the supper call is sounded and we
all pitch into Uncle Sam's (provender?) with a relish. At nine oclock the call
is sounded for roll call and we are obliged to turn out for that purpose. And
immediately after we have what is termed taps, that is the measured strokes
upon the base drums, which is the order for all lights to be extinguished in
the regiment, and thus you see everything is done in order. We have a certain
kind of call on the bugle to represent each order, and the bugle can be heard
at any part of the camp and as a matter of course no excuse can be take on
account of not hearing the call. But perhaps you would like to know how I spend
the sabbath, well today in the forenoon I attended
terian church in the town of
Give my love to Father, I wrote to Julie yesterd
Dear folks at home
We arrived at this place this afternoon and have not had a fight either, as
I told you in my last letter might be the case. But the 2nd
From your son Robt Caldwell
Direct 21st regiment camp near
Hazel Green &c &c
If you could have been up to the Capt tent just about 10 minutes ago, you
would have thought I had gone crazy by the manner in which I acted but perhaps
you may ask what could have occassioned this grand gymnastical display upon my
part, well the fact is I had just read a letter from home. You can hardly tell
in what good humor it places a person situated as we are, to receive a letter
from the ones at home. Why as for myself I believe if any person but a secesh
had struck me in the face I could have forgiven him. You wish to know how camp
life agrees with me, well I can say that if I were
unwell and were asked what I thought would be beneficial to my health I would
answer, a dose of camp life by all means. You appear to be apprehensive that
some of us have not a sufficient... [torn page] ...
overcoat furnished by the same fatherly gentleman. I also have a good supply of
shirts and socks and in fact I have all that I could wish for at present. In future if our company should be in need of anything in that line
our Captain will make application to the good people of our town who no doubt
will promptly respond to the call. We were all very sorry to hear that
that box of varieties which you sent us was detained on the route as it would
have been very acceptable. But as it now is, it would cost it weight in silver
to send it and consequently we shall be obliged to do without it. But we are
willing to take the will for the deed and are just as thankful as though we had
received it. I was very glad to hear that Aunt Mary was with you and that she
was going to stay with you all winter. I was glad to receive a letter from her.
She expressed the desire to be the wife of a General tell
her if she was in the army she would at once find the romance taken off if she
had to travel through the
Father wrote that he had had an offer for his mill and wishes to know what I think of it. Well I do not know the condition of the land that he was offered whether it was improved or not but father knows all about that doubtless[.] He says that he is not able to run the mill and as he is offered what I think a middling fair price considering the times, and that he might be able to get into something that would be easier for him until I get back to take hold once more I think that he had better accept it, that is if my opinion is worth anything. The frame will need considerable repair if he keeps it, and sawmilling at the present time is not a very paying business to say the least, and if there is any kind of business that ought to pay, considering the amount of work to be done, it is sawmilling. I was much pained to hear that our good old Grandfather had departed this life, but it was what I had been expecting to hear, as he was so infirm at the time that I was at home. But let us hope that he is better off now than when he was with us. But I must close as our cook is called to stand guard and I must take his place and cook the supper just think of that will you. imagine me cooking supper is it not laughable. Give my love to all, tell Aunt Mary and John Vetter that I will write to them shortly.
(P.S.) Indian Summer is in full blast among these mountains, the finest of weather
Prestonburg Nov 13th 61
As I have written two letters to Father since arriving at this place I thought it no more than fair that I should now write to you and let you know how the 21st in general and Co. I in particular were fareing at the present time. Well as I wrote to Father there had been a skirmish between our forces and those of the enemy at a place a considerable distance up the river in which the rascals were routed. Mr George Jones of Co I was present during the brush and received a ball in the calf of one of his legs, he was the only man of the 21st that was wounded He says that the 21st was ordered round the hill to take the enemy in the rear and he says that about the time they arrived at their position the firing ceased and probably that accounts for the small number of our boys being wounded We cannot get the correct report yet as our boys have not yet returned to this place but we are looking for them daily.
In the letter that I wrote to father I explained the reason why I was not
with our regt. At the time of marching I was sick with the chill fever
contracted by exposure and over exertion, the last day that I marched we were
put on a forced march of over 23 miles and I was sick the day before but my
mottoe is to never complain as long as I can lift a musket to my shoulder, I got
wet that night as it rained after our arrival at the river and we were about
two hours crossing as we had but one flatboat upon which the whole regt had to
cross. But I am now about well once more, I have an appetite like a bear, but I
am very particular about what I eat. I received a letter from father last night
dated nov 2nd and was very glad to hear from home. I
also received one from the same source while we were lying in a camp some
distance this side of Hazel Green it was dated Oct 27th and I received it upon
the evening of the first of November He spoke of N. Willsons Co in that letter.
I immediately answered it. I also received a letter from you while we were
lying in H. Green in which I reed the news of Grandfathers death I also
answered that within 15 minutes after receiving it. I wrote several letters
home while we were at the above named town, and when we were at the Licking
river I sent two letters to Father and (as I said before) I have already sent
two, since arriving at this place and this will make the third. And taking it
altogether I think I have done pretty well in the writing line, and if you fail
to receive my letters the fault is in the mail[.] I am
quite certain that I don't get all your letters as I am confident that you
write oftener than I receive, however I shall not complain as I have been over
the roads and know what they are and it is no wonder if the mail fails to make
a connection now and then. When you receive this letter and find yourself
obliged to pay the postage don't be surprised and think that I am out of money
for such is not the case. But the case is this, hitherto the rules have been
that we could pay the postage with money, but of late the orders are, that if a
person has no postage stamps to place upon their letter they will have to get
it marked soldiers letter and it will go free until its arrival at its
destination when the postage can be paid by the one receiving the letter. But
as I shall need my money to purchase writing material it will still be very useful[.] When you write I wish you would send me four or
five stamps to be used on special occassions. It is not known positively where
we shall go after leaving this place, but is rumored that we are to go either
love to all
Prestonburg Floyd Co
Ky nov 15th __61
This is to let you know that I have lately received two letters from you one dated the 2nd and the other the 5th and I was very glad to hear from home.
I was sorry to hear that Nat Willson was obliged to give up his Co as I
should have liked very much to have had Nat turn out a full company I was glad
to hear that Bucklands regt was prospering so finely. I am in hopes that Al
Rice will succeed with his
I was sorry to hear that the man who was going to buy the mill failed to come but there may be better chances yet for selling
I was glad to hear that business was in such a prospering condition in
Elmore. You say that the ladies of Elmore have formed themselves into a
soldiers aid society, may they meet with good success. James Bumpus is not 2nd
Lieutenant of Co I. As has been reported Wood is still Lieut and as far as I
can judge will remain as such. There was some talk of putting Bumpus in his
place while we were lying at
When I last wrote I wrote that I had been sick, but I am now almost a(s)
well as ever. Our regiment is still at a place called Piketon a place situated
about 25 miles up the river, they are to remain at that place for a few days I
believe, and in the meantime we (that is those who were left at this place) are
to remain here until they come down, we have once more taken up our quarters in
I hardly know what to write a(s) news is very scarce with us at present. I should like to know something in regard to the movements of the army on the Potomac we have heard but little news since leaving Lexington You wish to know if I would like to have you send me the Leader occasionally, do so by all means as we receive no news of any account in these mountains and a paper from home would be a treat indeed. As the Postmaster will take nothing but postage stamps in payment for letters and it is impossible to get stamps I send my letters in future as Soldiers letters and you will find it necessary to pay for the postage upon the receipts of them
You may still direct to
&c &c &c
R H Caldwell
We have received orders to leave this place for some point upon the Ohio river, probably
The rumor is now prevalent that we are going to Lexington by the way of Cin, and we are to stay at Lex until we are recruited sufficiently in point of health, when we are to go to Camp Dick Robinson and join another Brigade when we are to commence active operations against the rebels.
Another rumor, which I think the most probable, is that we are to go into
winter quarters not far distant from
This is the poorest place in the world for news and consequently I shall be
obliged to cut this letter short. I guess you had better still direct to
This is the fourth letter that I have written home from this place and as I said in my last, I received two letters a few days ago dated the 2nd and 5th of this month, but I must close
From Robert H. Caldwell
We are all happy as larks on account of receiving orders to leave these mountains, which I can truly say we have never yet fallen in love with
Nov 20th __61
Hurah! We are once more within sight of old
When we arrived here we were without rations, and no means for drawing when
a citizen of the place brought the boys of the 21st a good warm supper
consisting of warm bread and butter, chicken, jelly and applebutter warm coffee
and tea and now perhaps, things in general and the chicken in particular did
not take to themselves wings and fly away, just ask the boys of the 21st. And
this morning the same good man brought down a plentiful supply of warm Steak
mashed potatoes good warm rusk with the best of coffee with milk and sugar in
it. We all felt as though we could not do enough for that man. Shortly after
this we drew our regular rations with a few additions and we are going to live
like kings, you never saw a happier set of boys in your life than we are, We
expect to lie at this place for a few days when we will be joined by our regt
and proceed in boats down the river to Cincinnati, and there my information
stops but I think in all probablility we shall go from that city to Lexington,
as all indications of late seem to point to that conclusion, However I am as
happy as a lark no matter where I am just so long that I keep my health. I have
not yet seen the time that I could truly say I was homesick, I cannot account
for it. It must be caused by the never failing excitement of cam life, the
looking ahead and expecting one hardly knows what, the ever varying scenes
which present themselves to ones view, these and a thousand other things taken
together tend as the French would say to keep one on the gui vive and serve to
keep off the blues, I think if any person should get homesick that person ought
to be myself, as I left the best home that God in all his seeing wisdom ever
provided any person with, and was blessed with parents that I believe were
never willing to place a (burden?) upon my shoulders that they were not willing
to carry for me should they think it best for my welfare. I often think of
these things and they make a deep impression upon my mind, and i now see that I
never full appreciated the endeavors of my parents to promote my welfare, and I
believe that if there is any one thing that is calculated more than another to
keep one steps from the paths of vice and immorality, it is the memory of that
home that I cheerfully left, to take up arms in defence of the best government
the World ever knew. Tell Aunt Mary to not get tired waiting for that letter
(there goes a steamboat right past our door, and here comes another) as I
intend to write her a long letter when I get into a place where we have
accomodations for writing. I am writing this letter sitting flat upon the floor
with my knapsack lying across my knees and my paper lying upon it, I have
written a large share of my letters with my paper lying upon the bottom of an
inverted tin plate, such as we use in eating, but who would not be a soldier,
From this point we can see three states Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, they all
three center on this point.
Give my love to all from Robert H Caldwell
Dec 3rd 
Since writing my last letter I have received three letters from home, on
from Juliet with Wm letter enclosed and one from Aunt Mary, also one from you.
We have had a fine snow storm, or rather two of them since arriving at
Louisville it snowed about two inches deep a few nights ago and last Sunday
night and Monday morning it snowed again and while it was snowing, we received
orders to strike tents and prepare to move to a better camping ground situated
about two miles from the city as the one in which we have been camping for the
last week had become almost untenable on account of the wind and consequently
while it was snowing violently we struck tents and took up the march for our
new quarters where in due time we arrived and found it necessary to take
shovels and clear the ground of the snow where our tents were to be pitched,
which was finally accomplished, when the boys [s]tarted for the straw piles and
rail fences, the once to furnish bedding and the other fuel, as Nelsons Brigade
always makes it a point to not allow a fence or straw stack to stand within its
reach. Our present camp ground is very finely situated upon a dry piece of sod
ground, with water handy by to be used for cooking purposes. You wrote that
there was a considerable amount of improvements going on in town,
I was glad to hear of it, I was also glad to hear that John Ryder was going to
build and that he had given Father a bill of lumber to save. The health of the
21st is fast improving. But I have some news to tell you, the paymaster is
around and we are to receive our pay in a few days. This morning George
Claghorn and myself were detailed to report at
Headquarters for the purpose of making out the payrolls, there is two men
detailed from each company for that purpose. There is at present near this camp
about 20 regiments of infantry artillery, and cavalry. It is not positively
known how long we are to remain at ar present quarters, but it is thought we
will remain at this place something like 10 days. Our destination is not
positively known but rumor says we are to go to
Love to all
R H Caldwell
Dec 4th 
I write this letter to let you know that I received a letter from Mother
last evening and enclosed I found one dollar which
proved very acceptable as I was just out of postage stamps having placed the
last one upon the letter that I sent to Mother by this mail. The one great
topic of conversation in camp at pressent is the arrival of the paymaster, I
worked nearly all yesterday afternoon on the payrolls of Co I. and it will take
the greater part of to day to finish them, and when that is accomplished we are
to receive our pay. But I suppose that some great lover of his country who makes it a point to stay at home and continually
urge others to fight the battles of the
I have not yet received Mr Vetters letter but am looking for it by every mail, I answered Aunt Marys letter the other day, but I must close give my love to all
From Robert Caldwell
Since I finished my letter I have heard the order that we are to start upon
a? march for, goodness knows where. We are to? Start
at eight in the morning, we have drawn? Three days rations, I suppose our
(destination) is to be
I suppose you have heard that Gen (Nelson) has? Been promoted to a Major
Generalship and ???
When I arrive where I can get a chance I will write. But it is bed time and as the boys want to go to bed I must close
From Robert Caldwell
[Note at top of page]
I answered Mr Vetters letter at
I received a letter from you while at the above named place that was directed to Catlettsburg
I received your letter last night of the 7th and was very glad to hear from
home. I wrote to you last Sunday from Louisville and stated that we had just
received orders to march early in the morning destination not known, but we
found out after starting that we had been ordered to Elizabeth town distant
about 40 miles. We left Louisville Monday morning at 8,oclock and that day we
marched about 16 miles and encamped for the night on a farm belonging to the
notorious Buckner the General in command of the rebel troops stationed at Bowling
green[.] It is situated upon the bank of the
Morning broke in
&c&c&c, Love to all R H Caldwell
Christmas has come, and gone and I now propose to give you a description of the manner in which some of the boys of the 21st passed the day.
On the afternoon of Dec 24th while on dress parade, an order issued by Gen Mitchel was read, in which the Gen had kindly given us the ensueing day off for a holiday. We were to be allowed the privilege of leaveing camp for the purpose of visiting our brother soldiers in the neighboring camps, also the privilege of visiting the different natural curiosities in this vicinity. Accordingly very early in the morning of the 25th in company with seargt M. Rice I left camp for the purpose of visiting a noted cave situated about a mile from camp. We had provided ourselves with matches and candles before starting. Having arrived at the place where the cave was situated we proceeded to strike a light and after that was accomplished we commenced the work of exploration. The place of entrance is situated upon the side of a bluff of high rocks which form the high hill under which the cave extends[.] We had no guide with us but concluded to trust to providence and our own common sense to guide us through for through it we were bound to go. Perhaps I should have informed you that this subterranean passage led completely through the above mentioned hill a distance of about 500 yards. At its entrance we were obliged to bow the head and bend the knee slightly, but after proceeding a short distance we found ourselves in that portion of the cavern where the ceiling rose to a considerable height and we were once more able to hold our heads up as good soldiers of Uncle Sam should always be proud to do. The walls presented a very uneven appearance as there were several small rooms that made off from the main passage. We endeavored to explore some of the rooms, but were forced to desist, on account of the roof which in some places came in contact with our bodies as we were crawling upon all fours. The roof of the main cavern was studded with stalactites formed by the constant dropping of water and in some instances they reached from the ceiling almost to the floor[.] Some of them were of a milky color while others presented a darker appearance doubtless caused by the nature of the soil through which the water had passed on its route to the cavern. In some places the action of the water had formed pillars upon the floor, which made quite comfortable seats upon which the adventurer might recline for the purpose of resting himself. The water was constantly dropping from the roof which mad[e] it somewhat disagreeable on that account, the water stood in pools in every direction and on account of our poor light we found it necessary to keep a sharp lookout, but notwithstanding our vigilance I managed to get into one of the numerous pools that beset our path. After having gone about half the distance through, we heard shouting on our front and presently we saw a light and several soldiers comeing toward us who, like ourselves, were not satisfied with a description of the place, but had concluded to give it a personal inspection. We at last arrived at the opposite side of the cave and once more found ourselves above ground and well satisfied with what we had witnessed. After remaining outside of the lines nearly all day we once more passed the guard and found ourselves subject to military rules, the privileges and immunities to which we had been subject during the day all taken away, but such is the experience of a soldier. I received a letter from Mother this afternoon for which you may believe I was very thankful. You also wrote in the same letter as also did Willie. Your disposition of the money that I sent you meets with my hearty approval and I will send all that I possibly can, which you can apply in the same direction. I myself would be glad to be able to say that we did not owe one cent[.] If you meet with an offer for my cutter you may sell it and apply the money the same direction, or any other that you may see fit. I wish to do all that lies in my power to clear up our debts, as I am aware that you put yourself to a great deal of inconvenience when you allowed me to enlist[.] I trust that I properly appreciate the sacrifice and hope that I may be able in part to repay you. Tell Mother that I will answer hers & Willies next love to all Robert
As we have just returned from Battallion drill and we will have about a two hours rest before we are called out again I thought I could not employ my time better than to answer your interesting letter which came to hand a few days ago. We have been having some pretty wet weather for some days past, but today the sun is out bright and clear with a fair prospect of remaining so for the remainder of the day.
I wrote to Father yesterday and gave an account of the manner in which I spent my Christmas, but as my paper gave out before I was through I did not give him the whole particulars. I gave or endeavored to give a description of a cave that I visited during the day[.] I also visited a noted hill situated within about two miles of camp called Frenchman's Knob, from the top of which a fine view of the surrounding country may be had. The hill rises far above any other in its neighborhood and from its top I saw the finest sight that it ever was my privilege to behold[.] This portion of the State of Ky is quite mountaineous and one could behold range after range of mountains each one farther off and rising above the one in its front, until nothing was to be seen in the distance but one blue line with peaks rising one above another until they reached almost into the heavens, as it seemed. Oh! it was the grandest sight I ever witnessed and I shall never forget it if I live to be a thousand years old. Descending from the hill, we next visited a large and deep sinkhole which some people in this neighborhood pretend to say has no bottom, a statement which I very much doubt. The place is known by its name of blue hole and after I arrived at its brink and peered into its depths I concluded that it had been very appropriately named. The hole measures about 30 feet across and gradually decreases in size until it is about 15 ft in diameter when it descends almost perpendicularly to a depth of about 150 feet and then branches off in different directions and probably forms the main entrance to some extensive cave. There was a tree across its mouth that had been placed in that position several years ago by an adventurer who by means of a rope had descended into the hole to a depth of about 160 feet, when he arrived upon a large pile of stones in its center and after ascending gave the above description of its interior.
But as I looked into the black and dangerous looking (concern?) I concluded to be satisfied with that, and not risk my valuable neck in an attempt to explore it[.] I threw in several large rocks and after descending perpendicularly for quite a space of time they would strike against some projecting rock and after breaking into a thousand different pieces would go crashing on its way, until the sound died away in the distance. After satisfying our curiosity Seargt. Rice and myslf started for camp, on our route we came across a farmer with a yoke of oxen and a cart, and as every man that drives a team in this country has something to sell to the soldier, we marched up to his cart and found he had turkey and chicken for sale, they were finely cooked and stuffed and after purchasing a fine chicken and a price of corn bread Mike and I proceeded to partake of a Christmas dinner. You would have laughed could you have seen us sitting in the grass by ourselves walking into that devoted fowl. I have often heard of chickens taking to themselves wings and flying away, but never before had I seen a chicken legs and wings fly as did those of the above mentioned fowl. I had my overcoat with me and as you are aware, they have got quite a long ____ ( I am very modest) story, well after spreading that part of my coat upon the ground for a tablecloth we just imagined that there was a table underneath and as before mentioned put things away as fast as possible. I shall always remember that Christmas dinner as being the first that I had partaken in this state[.] But you see I must close. love to all from Robert.
I received your very welcome letter a few days ago, and you cant imagine how much good it does me to get a good letter from home. I wrote to Father two days ago, also to Mr Vetter and Willie yesterday and consequently I shall be somewhat bothered for ideas, but as Father, in one of his letters told about His and your trip to Fremont and visit to the Fremont camp and of your feelings when he saw the filthy manner in which some of the boys lived in their tents, for fear that I might be living in the same style, I will endeavor to quiet your fears that nothing of the kind is allowed in the 21st[.] Each mess is required to have an orderly whose business it is, to see that his tent and grounds around his tent are thoroughly policed every morning and oftener if necessary. As I am the orderly of my tent I do not wish to brag on it, but I will say that it has the reputation of being an a no. 1 mess, in point of cleanliness and order. Mr Barnes is the cook and if you could only see some of the meals that he is in the habit of getting up you would wonder that he had never hired out as a cook in some restarant instead of comeing to war, we live top top. Yesterday, by order of the Coronel all drill was suspended for the purpose of allowing us time to ditch our street that runs between our tents, a squad of boys was sent ot the wood to get our puncheons and the remainder of the Co was set to work on the ditches two long ditches were dug the whole length of the street and covered with puncheons which mad a good and substantial sidewalk we run our tent ditches into the main ones and that keeps the ground round our tents nice and dry. Co H. had plank to cover their ditches their street made the very best appearance, but the Surgeon gave Co I the credit of having the neatest quarters.
We have got our stoves and they are just the thing. they cost each man from 25 to 30 cents a piece they keep our tents as warm as we could wish for, and often we are obliged to fling open our tents on account of the heat. Doubtless you have heard by the letters of some of our boys that we are not allowed a sufficient amount of food. now in regard to that, I merely wish to say that there has been times often and often when we refused the crackers that we were allowed, on account of having several barrels on hand at the time[.] There was a time when we had 4 1/2 barrels on hand. The only time that I know of where the boys could not get enough to eat was when we were comeing down the Big Sandy, the way of it was that the boys drew their rations for one day and started on the march and the provisions were put aboard the boats to go by water, with the expectation that the regiment would overtake the boats at night and be able to draw rations but on account of the boats starting in advance and the troops being detained they were short of rations for one day. In my estimation that is the only time that the boys could find fault about their rations. I wrote in the forepart of this letter that Co H. had the credit of having the best street. I was mistaken. I have just returned from dress parade, where a notice was read giving the praise to Co I of having the best looking street there what do you think of that.
I guess that we will remain at this place 3 or 4 weeks until the bridge across Green river is repaired[.] it was blown up some time ago by the rebels. it is built of iron and is 1000 feet in length. the piers are 150 feet high[.] but I must close.
Camp Jefferson Bacon creek
K.y Jan 3rd
I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you yesterday and I need not tell you that all of your letters are truly interesting and welcome
We are still in camp at the above named place awaiting orders which we
expect in a few days, when in all probability we shall move on
You spoke of the Mason Slider case as giving great dissatisfaction to the people of the North, well we must take some insults from old England during our present difficulties, no matter how galling they may be, but just wait until the present war is ended, and I know of one that would not be backward to enlist for the purpose of giving her a sound thrashing for her meanness for interfereing at this time[.] I recd a letter from Aunt Mary short time ago which I will answer in turn.
Love to all[.]
Bacon creek K.y Jan 10th
I received your letter last night and was truly glad to hear from you, as it was the first letter that I have had since Lieut Vantine arrived in camp.
We have been lying in this camp for so long a time that I find it very difficult to write anything that would be calculated to interest you[.] you wish to know whether we had a cold day on the fifth, well it rained nearly all day and the mud was almost over shoetop,
In this portion of the State we generally have rain, about the time that it is snowing finely in your pleasant town and while you are listening to the chime of sleighbells we are wading through the mud, but that is not always the case, as we sometimes have the roads frozen pretty solid.
We have got our new tents and they are much better than the old ones were[.] Those that we have now have are called the Sibley
tent and are calculated to hold 20 men, however we have but 15 men in ours I
believe the Fremont regt has the same kind. Last New years
day, I went out into the country and took dinner at the house of a
While dinner was being prepared I entered into conversation with the old gentleman but of course my eyes and thoughts were directed toward the aforementioned young lady while I appeared to be very much interested in the conversation of the Farmer. But dinner being over I was obliged to start for camp and did so casting many a lingering look behind. I have never heard whether I created an impression or not, but if I failed, it cannot be charged to me. But as I wish to write a few lines to Willie I must close,
I received your long and interesting letter and was glad to hear from you. I think you are a pretty good scholar to do that example as there are lots of boys older than yourself that would have been puzzled with it. You wish me to give you a harder one here it is, How many men are there in the 21st regt there are 10 companies and each Co has an average of 90 men, besides 3 commissioned officers each, and there are also 5 field officers 2 surgeons one commissary one quartermaster and one wage master, now if you get this one right I must say that you are a good scholar indeed.
But I must close when next I write I will write you a longer letter.
give my love to all
Well I declare, what shall I write, I hardly know what would be most interesting to you, but thinking that you will be glad to hear that I am enjoying good health I make the remark and back it up by telling you that I weigh just 170 pounds and never enjoyed myself better in my life, than I do at the present time.
There is hardly a man in Co I but what weighs more at this present time, than he did at the time of enlisting, notwithstanding the poor board that some of its members have been obliged to put up with, poor fellow [trails off] But Tattoo is just sounding and I must close for tonight.
Yesterday morning we received to pack knapsacks and be ready to march at
half past eight oclock, and the camp was all on the quivive to know what was
up, some said that we were going to cut off a train of supplies that was being
sent to the rebels, and some said one thing and some another, but the time
arrived and we all marched out, with the artillery in advance of us and after
going about a mile we came to a large field, and we then found out that we were
to have a sham! battle. Our whole Brigade finally
arrived and one company of Cavalry from the 4th
Day before yesterday it blew up cold and rained and toward night it commenced snowing and fell to the depth of about one inch, when it held up and remained cold for the remainder of the night and a part of yesterday but, the wind shifting the snow went off and as it rained last night we are once more in the mud. I recd a letter from Juliet last Sunday, and yesterday one from Al Rice their regt is almost full,
But I must close, love to all from
Camp Jefferson Bacon creek Jan 19th
Thinking that you might be anxious to know how I am getting along at present I improve the present time by writing a few lines to let you know that I enjoy the best of health, I weigh 170 pounds at present, which is about 15 pounds heavier than I was at the time of enlistment, so much for scant rations and hard living that some of our boys have taken delight in telling of so often in their letters that they have from time to time sent home. Such persons are to be pitied, as they are forever making themselves miserable, and never willing to contribute to the happiness of others. I received a joint stock letter last Friday from yourself, Mother & Willie, and in it Mother stated that you had lately, or rather Elmore had parted with a young! lady that used to be known by the name of Ella Ryder. Well I suppose the above named lady was born to be Lucky at some period in her life. That they may pass a long and happy life together is my wish.
I know not what kind of weather you are having but last night our camp was
visited by a fine thunder storm it thundered and lightened the same as though
it were an april shower that had burst upon us, For the last week or two we
have had nothing but rain and mud with an occasional skift of snow, but I guess
that our winter is about gone in this part of the State at least that is the
opinion of those who are considered to be competent judges. I wrote to Wm as
soon as I received your letter. The
Our drill ground is so cut up that all drill has been suspended for the present, and consequently time passes rather heavily on our hands, The health of the regt is improveing, there is but little sickness in camp at the present time, compared with the fore part of the winter. Please tell Mr Vetter that I should like very much to hear from him. Give my love to all
From Robt Caldwell
(P.S) It appears that Ely Eoff is tired of singe life. Perhaps he has taken
a hint from Jim Luckey.
Camp Jefferson Bacon creek K.y Jan 21st 62
I have just received a letter from Juliet and, as I have a little leisure time I propose to improve it by giving you the news of the camp.
Yesterday morning a member of Co A. accidentally shot himself dead, while attempting to remove a loaded gun from his gun rack, eh had been out on picket the day before and yesterday morning returned to camp and very carelessly neglected to remove the cap before putting his gun away, and when the old guard was ordered out, to fire off their guns, in attempting, (as I said before) to remove his gun from the rack, the hammer was caught in some manner or other, and the piece was discharged, the ball entering his breast, and he fell dead without uttering a groan. I am in hopes the rest of the regt may profit by this sad accident, so that we may never be called upon to chronicle another such event. The most staple article now in camp is, mud, mud, mud, the wagons are covered, the horses are covered, the drivers are covered, and in fact everything about camp is deluged with the same sticky substance. It is almost impossible for those with shoes to get about. Yesterday, Gen Mitchel ordered out 800 men to work the roads, between the Depot at this place, and the 2nd Ohio's camp distant about one mile from this place, He had a new road graded and puncheons go out, and made a Cordurouy road, and they are to work on it still and intend to keep at it until they make a road, upon which teams can pass without miring, you have no idea how muddy the roads are in this vicinity. Last Sunday night, (or rather Monday morning) at about three oclock, our camp was visited by a most terrific Thunder shower and J__e__h__w how it rained, tent number 4 of Co I was flooded insomuch that the mess pans were floated out of the tent and the boys were obliged to climb upon the boxes and everything that was above water, in order to keep dry, The reason that no 4 suffered more than others was on account of our having thrown up a ridge in the middle of the street and neglected to dig a ditch through it, and as no 4 happened to be in a low place the water backed up into the tent to the depth of six inches.
Very early this morning we received the joyful intelligence that Zollicoffer & Co had been completely whipped and routed by Gen Thomas, and that the old thief of the world had received his quietus, which he has richly deserved for a long time, Hurah only think of it, 12 pieces of cannon, 80 wagons all their horses camp eqippage. Commissary and Quartermaster stores why it is the greatest victory yet won on our side since that is only the prelude to still greater achievements to be made by our forces, It may be that it will have an effect to hasten our departure from this place, which is greatly to be desired as we are all anxious to have a hand in, I have found it necessary, on account of the wet weather and bad roads to buy a pair of boots for which I am to pay when we receive our next pay, they are a good pair and come almost up to my knees, I am to pay $5.00 for them. I bought them one of the boys, and they are the same kind for which the Sutler charges $7.00[.] I considered my health to bed much more consequence than the price of the books, I can now have dry feet which is a very desirable thing, Juliet said in her letter that she and Mother had a discussion in regard to a certain oyster dinner, Well tell Juliet that Lieut Wood gave Co I. and oyster dinner something like four weeks ago, of which I had the pleasure of being present at, and last Newyears, day my mess had oysters for dinner but I was not present to help eat them as I was better employed, taking dinner at the house of a Farmer. There it is and now you may figure it up and if you find any difficulty in getting the answer, just ask Willie and I will warrant He can give it to you. Please tell Willie that I will write to him next time but I must close
from Robert Caldwell
(P.S) I forgot to say that my mess kept perfectly last Sunday night during
I have just received your letter of the 19th and was surprised to hear that you failed to receive my letters. I write regularly two or three times a week and if you fail to receive them, the fault is in the mail line. You appeared to that I had been sick and that perhaps on that account I had delayed writing but when you have received my last two letters that I have already written, you will see at once that I am enjoying the best of health, You wish to know when we are to advance upon Bowling green, well I declare that it is hard to tell, at one time, appearances will indicate a speedy movement, and we will think that the doom of Buckner is about to be sealed, when, presto the indications of a forward movement are immediately reversed, and the aforementioned Scoundrel is once more allowed a new lease of life, We, that is the members of Mitchels Division are not allowed the privilege of knowing what is going on in the inner Sanctuary, and therefore we are obliged to draw our inferences from what we see going on around us, and to judge from present appearances, I should say that the prospects of a speedy forward movement, are rather limited[.] Gen Mitchel is having all the camps of the regts in his Div thoroughly ditched, and he has also lately been engaged, in roadmaking in this vicinity, He has had a Corduroy road of two miles in length, constructed, running form the Depot at this place, (Bacon creek) to the camp of the 2nd Ohio, He had a force of 800 soldiers at work for several days, which shows that in case of an emergence the indomitable Yankees can handle an ax or spade equally as well as that of a musket, But you may rest assured that when Gen Buell orders an advance, that it will be with the determination to keep his army in motion toward Dixie until the last vestage of treason shall have been removed from our once happy and beloved Country. Gen Mitchel has the confidence of every man in his Division, you can see him at all times upon his horse riding through the various regts of his command, superintending the drill of his men &c&c&c, and this forenoon He took command of the 21st while on Battallion drill and put us through sever new movements, he gave us great praise, for the promptness and accuracy with which we performed these new and difficult manouvres, He is a strict disciplinarian and insists upon having everything done in a soldierlike manner
But I will close upon a different sheet of paper.
(To yourself and nobody else)
You said that you had heard, by the way of Lieut Vantines letter that Capt Gibbs had resigned and was comeing home in a few days, &c &c &c. Well as to his resigning his commission, I guess it is true. Capt Gibbs has not in reality made a very efficient Commander, on account of not having confidence in himself, and also on account of his voice which is very poor for a commander, and most of the boys, also thought that He did not take sufficient pains to inform himself in regard to the tactics which doubtless is true in a measure, but the fact is He was not cut out for a military man as he don't appear to take an interest in military matters. About two weeks ago Lieut Wood and some others of the Co got up a petition to have the Capt resign and circulated it through the Co and got I believe 66 signers, which was nearly all that was in camp at that time, and Wood presented it to the Capt when, comeing over A.W. Luckeys favorite phrase he put it into the fire, I took a very lively part in opposing the measure and took the part of the Capt to the last, as I thought it would be a very serious matter to send him home in disgrace as I thought would be the consequence if carried out, and I also thought that if someone would go to him and tell him plainly what his actions were bringing him to, that he would take hold and take more interest in the affairs of the Co &c&c, but I could do nothing with them, and it turned out as I have told you. And ever since that occurrence he has been or appeared to be rather downhearted, which I cant blame him for, as a man in his position is in a very unpleasant situation indeed. But if the boys had acted fairly in this matter I think that the result would have been far different. Now I will just give you my opinion to this matter, and I know full well that you will not say anything about it, to anybody[.] Lieut Wood is very anxious to be first Lieut of Co I and Bumpus also anxious to wear the Shoulder straps of a second Lieut, and Bumpus and Lieut Wood and also Vantine have got a favorite by the name of Veon a corporal of our Co and I believe it is their intention to promote him irrespective of merit, as he was one to suddenly turn against the Capt and make great demonstrations in favor of the above named gentlemen (1st & 2nd Lieut & Bumpus) for which he will doubtless receive his reward, as soon as Vantine is elected Capt, which will certainly take place as soon as Capt Gibbs resigns. Lieut Vantine is a general favorite with all the boys, and I must so say that there is not a better Officer in the regt than Charley. But I believe that the love of promotion is at the bottom of it all, and therefore if I stand any kind of chance I shall be very much surprised as I was not carried off to drill with the popular tide. But never mind, there will be a day of retribution when Cap Gibbs will stand as high as some others in the estimation of men of Judgement, when some of the members of Co I, will be ashamed to look Capt Gibbs in the face. Yesterday the box that was sent to the 21st regt by the citizens of Elmore arrived and was taken to the Hospital where it was opened, and Capt Gibbs went and got the things that were sent to Co I which consisted of a jar of plumbs sent to Capt, by Mary Luckey and two jars for Mike Rice, and a box of hickory nuts, which was divided among the Co. I got the Weeklies...[page tear]... we had a fine time with them, but I don't believe that Co I got its...[page tear]...after all the apples were nearly all rotten.
But I will write more of it next time.
As I have a few moments to spare I propose to improve them by writing to you. As we expect ere long to march from this place or are liable to, at any time, and as we have got more clothing than we stand in need of, we concluded to send our spare clothing home, in Lieut Woods trunk. It is to be sent in care of G. Wight, of whom you can get mine by applying to him.
I send my blouse, one shirt and one pair of drawers. I do not need them in the least, and don't wish to carry any extra clothing, through the comeing campaign. I send some crackers to be divided among a few of the girls, you will see the names of these, to whom the crackers are to be delivered, written upon the crackers, Perhaps you may be led to sympathies with us, on account of the toughness of our bread, but I don't want you to be concerned about us, as our teeth are good and we are all getting fat upon them, I hear that the Fremont regt has left, good luck to them. I wrote to Aunt Mary last Sunday and yesterday I wrote to Uncle Ezekiel Rice, I also wrote to Father a few days ago, and taking it all together I think that I am doing my share in regard to letter writing I am now sitting close by a large box of crackers, and this evening at supper, I intend to place myself outside of about a dozen of them. But I must close, give my love to all. Lieut Vantine sends his respects to all, from Robert.
Oh! Yes, I almost forgot to speak of that large box, that the citizens of Elmore sent to the 21st, about two months ago, by some mistake or other, the box did not arrive, until a few days ago, It was sent to the Hospital of the 21st and Capt Gibbs went up and got a can of plumbs that was sent to him by Mary Luckey and Mike Rice received two jars of canned fruit. There was also a box of hickory nuts, which were divided among the boys, The apples had become rotten, with a few exceptions, The papers have proved quite an acquisition as we have but little reading matter in camp. Please tell Mr Vetter that I should like to hear from him.
Bacon creek, Feb 2nd 62
I wrote to Juliet day before yesterday and promised to write to you today, and here I am endeavoring to fulfill my promise, but what shall I write, that would be likely to interest you, I declare I hardly know what. Oh that I had a patent letter writer and then I should not be obliged to send so many prosy and stale letters home, but as I have not such an article I am willing to do the best I can believing that you are ready to give me full credit for all that I do be it ever so little.
The weather to day is cool and bracing and the everlasting mud has had to
dry up for once during the last month, I hear by the different letters that I
receive that you have been for some time having good sleighing, and Father
stated in his last letter that he was waiting for the frost to leave the
timber, when he was going to commence sawing. I seems so curious to hear you
tell of sleighing and frozen timber, when for the last month we have had
nothing but rain instead of snow, and sunshine in lieu of frost, and indeed
when you were enjoying a fine sleighride, the boys of the 21st were in some
cases, running round barefoot, and very comfortably too at that. Thus you see
the difference of climate between the two places. We accasionally have thunder
showers, when it will thunder and lighten equal to any april
I have never yet written anything in regard to the inhabitants of this section of country, and I will endeavor to describe them the best I can, but I am afraid that by reading the description alone, you will be unable to form a correct opinion of them.
In the first place, they are as a general thing very ignorant as the free school system is not very well patronized in this vicinity and since the war has broken out, the schools have been discontinued entirely. Perhaps, you may have read, that the poorer clap of the South on account of being brought up in company with the slaves, have adopted their brogue and in common conversation talk very much like to the colored population, well that is just the case, with the inhabitants of this district[.] They all, both high and low, dress in K.y jeans which gives them a very rough appearance. The boys say that the men all look alike, as they generally wear a straw hat during summer and winter, The men in going round the country, as a general thing are mounted, and I must say that they have some splendid horses. If you should go into one of their houses and ask the occupant the distance to a certain place you would in nine cases out of ten receive the answer, w-e-l-l, it's a right smart peace down thar I reckon. or if you were to ask the size of a certain town you would receive the answer, w-e-l-l it's a right smart town, I reckon, and thus you see, they never appear to be sure of a thing, but always reckon. But a I wish to write a few lines to Father, I will close. from Robert
I received your letter of the 26th which you sent at the time Juliet last wrote. and since that time we have been having some stirring times in Co I. Capt? Gibbs left for home yesterday afternoon, without so much as bidding us goodbye, I at least expected to see him and speak to him before he left, but he did not so much as say bad luck to you. I had intended to send word home by him, and left my dinner for that purpose, and the first that I saw of him he was least 20 rods from our quarters going almost on double quick to the cars, and when the train left, we were out drilling and he stood on the the platform of the car and saluted us, which was returned by myself and a few others, I was a little vexed, as he had almost an hour to spare before the train left. After drill we held an election of commissioned officers, and the result stood, for Capt Charles Vantine, unanimous first Lieut A E Wood unanimous then came the tug of war, Bumpus was to run for 2nd Lieut and some of the boys were determined to defeat him if possible, and consequently Mack Reynolds was put up in opposition, and after a due amount of canvassing on both sides the election came off, and the result was that Bumpus received 46 votes and Reynolds 25, which of cours gave Bumpus a majority of 21 votes, which was sufficient to elect him over anything his opponents could do, and Bumpus was declared elected 2nd Lieut, and then the place of the Orderly being vacant the 2nd sergeant was promoted to fill his place and so the different non commissioned officers were all raised a notch Corporals as well as sergeants and a corpl was elected by the Co to fill the place of 8th Corpl and resulted in the election of a man by the name of Brett. Ezekiel rice being first Corpl of course became 5th sergeant and I being 3rd became 2nd corpl. I am in hopes that we will have no more trouble with our officers in the future. George Claghorn received a telegram last Friday evening announceing that his wife was very ill an desiring him to come home immediately, and consequently after getting a furlough of 48 hours, from Gen Mitchel, which was the greatest length of time that Mitchel could give him one for without the consent of Gen Buell he started for Louisville to get the furlough extended if possible and as we have not yet heard from him, I cannot tell whether he obtained it or not, but as dinner is ready, I must bring this letter to a close, from Robert[.]
Bacon creek, Feb 5th __62
I write to let you know that I received a letter from home to day, in which
you stated that William had come home, with the intention of going into the
service, and that he intended to leave for Camp Chase upon the following
monday, and consequently he must have arrived at camp before this. Doubtless it
caused quite a sacrifice of feeling on the part of you all, to have William
enter the service also, as without doubt it will be quite lonesome after Mr
Vetter leaves, but I think it was about the best thing he could do, considering
the circumstances under which he was placed, as he will now have the practice
as well as theory. In your letter you did not state where the destination of
the 72nd would be but I suppose, as a general thing, that the
The opinion is gaining ground that we will soon be ordered forward, and I
judge from the workmanlike manner in which our new Secretary of War has taken
hold that something will soon be done on the side of the Union forces, both
I received a letter from Juliet yesterday. I wrote to Juliet a few days ago in which I stated that I had sent my Blouse, a pair of drawers, and a shirt, home in Lieut Woods trunk, which was correct, with the exception of the trunk not being sent, as Wood agreed to do, and I will keep them until I get an opportunity to send them.
I wrote to you last sunday and gave you the result of the election in Co I. which in one respect did not result as I anticipated, that is in unfairness about appointing non commissioned officers, it was all fairly and honorably done and no person I believe has reason to complain of partiality on the part of Capt Vantine. I intend to do my duty in all respects and endeavor to merit promotion if I fail to receive it, Capt Vantine and myself are on the best of terms contrary to my expectations. I will pay attention to your instructions that you gave me in regard to taking advantage of circumstances &c, &c, &c
I should like to hear from Mr Vetter.
love to all, Robert
Bacon creek, Feb 8th 1862
Dear folks at home
Feeling in pretty good humor, to night I concluded to improve a few moments
by writing to all the folks at home at the present time. Matters and things, go
on in about the same ration as ever, Roll call early in the morning, then
breakfast, after that comes Guard mounting, Drill, then dinner, then dinner, a
little more drill, then Dress Parade, and so on day after day, with no
excitement whatever if I except a camp rumor now and then of an impending
battle between the Such and such forces, and that we are to be immediately
ordered forward &c. but a large Camp without an occasional rumor of that
description is almost a moral impossibility. Speaking of drilling, puts me in
mind of the fact, that Major Strong 21st O.V has undertaken the task of making
a model Co of Co I. and to that effect, he is taxing all his energies to
perfect us in the drill, and I may say that he is meeting with pretty good
success. I don't wish to boast, but Gens Sill and Mitchel, both declare that
the 21st has no superior in his Division, which is saying a good deal, as the
I have just received a letter from you, and as you say, a good letter from home is a sure preventive against the blues. Yesterday I received a letter from Mother, and you also wrote in the same letter, which was very gratefully received, and taken in place of blue pill, Yesterday I went up to Division Headquarters (Genl Mitchels) on business for Capt Vantine, for the purpose of procuring a discharge for Andrew Harrison who is to be sent home shortly on account of disability for duty.
While there I had the pleasure of seeing a dog, that was brought from The Arctic regions by the celebrated Dr Kane, the dog is owned by Dr Swift, Div Surgeon of our Division[.] he was recently offered, (it is said) $300,000 in gold for the animal and refused to sell it for that amount[.] It was without an exception the finest animal of the canine species that I ever saw, the hair was about five or six inches in length, and of a black and white color. He had a very intelligent look and in fact, was just such a dog as I should like to have, and he looked as though he was capable of drawing a very heavy load.
In your yesterday letter you spoke of a certain young man by the name of Kelly, that ahd lately made his appearance in E. by the description that you gave of him, I should judge that Keightsly had better keep his eye open or fall behind.
I was sory to hear that old Sols fierce rays had cheated the young folks of
E out of that contemplated sleighride, but never mind winter is not yet over,
and there may yet be a plenty of chances for pleasure trips ere the spring
arrives. George Claghorn was just now in our tent taking the names of those who
were in need of knapsacks, canteens, &c I ordered a canteen as I lost mine
while at Prestonburg and shall need one on the march. Col Norton says that the
bad condition of the road is the only thing now that delays our march, and as
soon as the roads will permit, will pull up stakes and march for
Yesterday we recd the news of the fall of
Give my love to all. When you write direct to
The Advance Divisions of Buells army
Camp in the woods one mile in advance
Feb 10th 1862.
Last night just after having gone to bed, and as I was lying on my back, talking to some of the boys, We heard tremendous cheering in the upper end of our Division and while we were wondering what could be the matter, the cheer was caught up by the neighboring Regts and as the sound was borne along on the breeze, it extended to the 4th Ohio Cavalry as well as both of the Artillery Batteries, and it appeared to be contagious as, the next moment, the 21st broke out into one long, loud, hearty, ringing cheer, by this time I had grown quite curious to know what was up, and got up for the purpose of ascertaining, when in rushed one of the boys, explaining, boys have you heard the news? Marching orders for Mitchels Div. be ready to strike tents at 7 oclock tomorrow morning, so there at last the cause of the commotion was explained, now perhaps there was not some stirring about, rations were to be cooked and all things put in order for an early start in the morning. Morning at last came and we marched out of camp, the 2nd Ohio leading and the 21st immediately behind the 2nd and the remainder of the Div bringing up the rear, We arrived at Munfordville at about 12oclock and after stopping about half an hour or so we started to cross the river[.] We crossed upon the top of the R.R. Bridge which had been crossed over with plank. the Cavalry crossed over on it, as well as the teams and wagon. There is a low rail of of about two feet in height up both which prevent on accident by falling over the edge, which would prove a very dear fall for a person, as the track is about 125 feet above the water. How shall I describe that bridge, I am aware that I cannot do justice to it and therefore will not attempt a description of it, but will merely say, that the bridge is mainly constructed of cast iron, but when it was rebuilt, the new portion was constructed of wood. The main part of the bridge is 1100 feet in length and I believe there are three piers and two abutments, built the whole way up. I should say there was about250 or 300 feet rebuilt, the new portion of it, looks rather slim, in comparison with that portion that is constituted of iron, but I suppose it is strong enough for all practical purposes. After crossing the river we marched about one mile and a half and camped in a very fine spot in the woods. We are about one mile from the river. The pickets of one of Gen McCooks regt are stationed but a few rods from our camp, but I think after this they will be pushed a little farther as we are now encamped upon the ground lately occupied by them. It is said that one of the pickets was shot dead about forty rods from our camp, a week ago last Sunday, and since that time the pickets have been doubled. I saw the place where the soldiers of the german regiment were buried, that were killed about (four?) weeks ago during their engagement with the Texan Rangers, there were ten graves, and there was a nice picket fence built round their graves. We passed over the ground where the fight took place. The U.S. troops have thrown up fortifications on this side of the river for the about a half mile in length, for what purpose [I] know not, as I don't believe Gen Buell intends to move before he is ready and I don't think he intends to make a backward movement either after starting. I don't know how soon we are to be called away from here it may be tomorrow, or it may not be fore a week or month, but I think in all probability we shall start southward before long, as every thing at present is tending that way. Munfordville is a small town of about 200 or 300 inhabitants I should say, and does not possess a very prepossessing look, but I must close
Love to all I will write to mother next time I would write to night but it is almost time to turn in and after 1/2 past eight we are not allowed to have lights burning. Direct to Munfordville camp,care Capt Vantine &c
We have just received marching orders once more, awe are
to leave in the morning, I suppose it is to be an advance upon
Bowling Green Feb 16th 62
As a train of wagons is to leave for Bacon creek in a few minutes I seize
this opportunity to let you know that we are at present on the banks of the
barren river, directly opposite
Bowling Green, Feb 16th 1862 [17th?]
I wrote you a short note yesterday and on account of not having sufficient
time I was obliged to cut it short, but I now propose to give you an account of
what has taken place since we left
You spoke of Capt Gibbs having arrived at home &c.&c. well I must
not omit saying that Co I. Has of late been rapidly comeing up, in point of
strength and discipline and Col Norton now rates our Co as second to none in
the Regt. About a month ago to do our best, we could not get out more than 35
to 40 men on drill or parade when we now are able to turn out from 60 to 70, quite a change is it not, in the short space of four
weeks. The boys all declare that it is all owing to having a commander that
possesses their confidence. I understand by some of the letters that have been
received by our boys that Cat Gibbs has been misrepresenting Co I most
woefully, if such is the case or not the boys are all well satisfied with the
change that has been wrought in it. I have just received three letters by mail
one from home, and one from Wm and Lieut Rice from
Doubtless, long before this letter reaches you you will have heard of the
capture of the famous
Father, I wish you could send me a few postage stamps as I am out and there
are none to be had in this part of the country
[Camp] Andrew Jackson
Last Friday I received another letter from home dated march 2nd and I cannot describe the feelings with which I behold one of thos yellow envelopes with that heavy plain direction of Fathers as it is handed to me, as I know full well, that I have once more received a letter from my dear home, I am glad to think that you are so punctual
[GAP (Torn page?)]
you spoke of X(?) Captain Gibbs intentions I make
the assertion, that he will be entirely broke, at the end of one year from this
time poor man, he should have acted differently[.] I have lost all confidence
in him, since his arrival at Elmore, and the assertions that he has made in
I begin to think that the back of Rebellion is broken and that a few more
victories on the union side will terminate the struggle[.]
The main body of the Rebels has fallen back upon Chatanooga Alabamma, distant
from this place about 100 miles, doubtless wee will be called upon to advance
upon them ere long. There is a small force of Secesh Cavalry in this vicinity
in command of the notorious Morgan that are constantly putting us to a great
deal of trouble, by firing upon our pickets and committing all sorts of
deprectations, and, and yesterday afternoon while a number of horses and wagons
were out on the road about two miles from camp for the purpose of foraging
Morgans men made a dash on them and succeeded in captureing 100 horses and a
number of teamsters, the wagons they undertook to destroy by fire but could not
make them burn, Genl Mitchel came very near being captured himself, but got to
camp and immediately ordered out the 2nd and 33rd Ohio and 10th Wis in pursuit
of them, besides a large force of the 4th Ohio Cavalry they pursued them and
succeeded in recapturing all the horses and teamsters besides getting 3 of the
seces, and they are still after them with a fair prospect of capturing the
whole of them. You can appreciate the audacity of the rascals when I inform you
that our Cavalry pickets extend a distance of four miles from camp, and
consequently they had to pass our pickets in order to surprise our men, but
never mind they will run their head into a halter one of these times or I am
much mistaken The country is now being scoured for miles in the direction from
whence they came. Mother, as you say, I have seen the Elephant and have had an
opportunity of viewing him in his different positions and can say that it is
well worth the price of admission. The prices of everything in
whenever I need postage stamps I will write for them as they are not to be had in the Southern Confederacy
Camp Andrew Jackson
Thinking you might be anxious to hear from me, I seize this opportunity to inform you that I am still in the land of the living, and with the exception of sore feet, occasioned by blisters caused by marching, I am enjoying the best of health. I have not received a letter from home for some time, but expect a letter to day, I received a letter from Juliet yesterday, she wrote from Oberlin. You will remember, in my last, I spoke of the notorious Morgan, that was prowling round in this vicinity, committing all manner of depredations, Yesterday afternoon, quite a force of our troops were sent out in pursuit of him, Genl Mitchel had a large number of wagons ordered out for the purpose of carrying our boys, the plan was to proceed up the road to a point some 20 miles from this place, where it was supposed the scoundrel would be overhauled, Well after proceeding about 10 miles, they were met by Morgan and 20 of his rangers bearing a flag of truce, Morgan gave Mitchel to understand that he wished to see Gen Buell and have a conversation with him, whereupon, in company with Gen Mitchel, he went back to the headquarters of Buell, Mitchel leaving the wagons and soldiers in the road to remain until he should return, in due time they returned (Mitchel and Morgan) and the troops were ordered back by Genl Mitchel and arrived in camp this morning at one oclock I have not yet heard what disposition they have made of Morgan, but doubtless they will hold him prisoner[.] Day before yesterday, Genl Nelson moved up the road with a Brigade and it is thought he will have an engagement at a place distant from this place about 20 miles[.] That affair of Morgan's is enveloped in mystery, this same fellow has been cutting round in this vicinity ever since we arrived, and it is said he daily enters our lines, in the guise of a citizen and spies out everything that is calculated to forward his cause and hinder ours should he act upon information gained, I am in hopes Gen M___ will not allow the rascal to outwit him, We have received the news of the evacuation of Manassas and the defeat of Price, in Arkansas our affairs are still gaining in brightness and I look for a speedy reinstatement of Uncle Samuel's authority in what is termed the Southern Confederacy I know not how soon we are to be ordered from this point but I am of the opinion that our stay is to be of short duration, I think our next move will be to occupy Chatanooga and take possession of the R. Road at that place. Genl Buell's whole force is concentrated at this point, said to consist of upwards of 100000 men. But you see I must close as I am going to commen[ce] working on our pay rolls I have been detailed by the Capt to make them out.
In my next I will write to Willie
[March 14th 1862, to Sister (Juliet)]
I received your kind letter of the 6th inst, it came to hand last evening, and I can assure you, it was a truly welcome visitor, you can hardly imagine the amount of good that a good long letter from home! does me. home, did I say. well I suppose you call Oberlin your
to a great extent, as doubtless you are aware, in
this vicinity the rule is, that a mans respectability is measured by the number
of Slaves owned by him. During our late march a large number of contrabands had
from time to time joined our army, with the intention of leaving their (much
loved!) masters, when these facts became known to these afore mentioned amiable
gentlemen, they immediately saddled their horses and started in pursuit, and
without a single exception, they were returned to their lawful! masters. I pitied the poor fellows, as they appeared to feel
so bad, doubtless anticipating a a score or two of
lashes upon the bare back. But the Capt of Do D. is in possession of a fine
little fellow, that he captured in
We are now in the midst of Secessionists of the most violent character, the
Camp Andrew Jackson,
My Dear Mother
I received your long and interesting letter last Friday, dated the 6th and
7th, and I was truly grateful, on the receipt of it. I also received those
Postage Stamps that were in it. I also received those stamps that were sent in Juliets last letter, that she wrote before she left for
Oberlin. I mentioned the receipt of them in one of my former letters I will not
be in need of any more for some time but when I do I shall not hesitate to
write for them, as they are not cometable in the Confederacy. We have been
having considerable rain for the past few days, but it has concluded to dry up
for a short time, and I am in hopes we shall have better weather as the Spring advances. I suppose to judge from the tenor of your
letters that you are still having cold weather in your region, well as for this
vicinity I must say that the weather is rather on the summer order, we, as a
general thing are having very warm weather, the boys run round in their shirt
sleeves, and barefoot and very comfortably at that. The plumb trees and peach
are out in blossom and present a very fine appearance This is the finest
country I ever saw, it is just hill enough to make it dry, and pleasant, and
then the climate is delightful during the winter months, but I am of the
opinion that we will get singed next summer if we remain south during the warm
months. We are encamped upon a high hill, overlooking the valley, and the
country is cleared up in most part, and there are some splendid residences
within sight of camp. The Cedar grows wild on the hills, and the Planters can
furnish their dooryards with the finest kind of shrubbery at small expense. The
State Lunatic Asylum is located at a distance of about three miles from camp, we passed it a few nights ago, when we were rallied
out for the purpose of reinforcing the Cavalry at the time they were attacked
by the Rebels. It is a very large and fine building, The
principle part of the building is four stories high and it is built of brick,
it is the finest building of the kind that I ever saw. I have received a letter
from William and answered it, he wrote from
I suppose Ephrain Rice has got home. if he has, mention it in your next
Camp Van Buren,
My Dear Parents
Thinking you might wish to know something of my whereabouts &c and
thinking I had better keep a letter written, so as to be ready in case an
opportunity occurs for sending I write. The arrangements have not yet been made
for sending mail, but I thought I might possibly have an opportunity of sending
During the march, we passed several cotton fields The cotton had been picked, but the stalks were standing, it is planted in rows, about two or three feet apart, and hilled up, something like corn, A field of growing cotton must be a very fine sight indeed, as the plants are planted in perfectly straight rows, and not a weed is left standing, I saw several cotton Presses I don't know whether you have ever seen such a thing or not, but I will endeavor to describe one.
In the first place, a large and strong box, the size of a cotten bail, is placed upon timbers and a frame is erected over it, with a large crop beam, and through this beam a hole is cut, with a thread cut in it, and a very lage upright shaft runs through this, also with a thread cut upon it, and on the top of the shaft, there is a long sweet reaching down to the ground, where I suppose a horse, or probably , a gang of Negroes is hitched and after the cotten is placed in the box, the whole thing is screwed down, and thus the cotten Is packed into bales, The whole thing is clumsily gotten up, but answers the purpose very well.
Give my love to all, from Robert
Camp Van Buren
My dear Parents
I seat myself to inform you that I received a good long letter from Mother
today, and that I also had the pleasure of receiving 3 day before yesterday,
one from Aunt Mary dated the 17th, one from Father of the 13th and also one
from Juliet of the 13th. I received all of those stamps, in four different
letters nearly $3.00 worth in all, I acknowledged the receipt of a part of them
in former letters, I disposed of $1.00 worth of them as you wished me to do. Mothers letter of the 23rd was written upon (Foolscap?), and
you wished me to excuse you for not writing upon note paper, I would just say,
that in future have no scruples in regard to writing upon Foolscap, as I had
rather have long letters written than short even if the paper is not quite so
stylish. You cant imagine how much good a good long
letter does one. I am glad to think that you are all so punctual about writing.
In several of you last letters, you have mentioned that you were having very
high water, and one of Fathers letters stated that that pile of white ash
lumber had capsized, which caused me to fear that he might lose some of that
Sycamore, but in Mothers last, she stated that the water was falling, and I am
in hopes that the lumber is out of danger, for the present. Capt. Vantine
received a letter form his wife today, that stated that you lost about 2000
feet of Walnut, but it must be a mistake as you mentioned nothing about it in
your letters, I was sorry to hear that the fence went off, but it can be again
replaced. I suppose the engine is very badly rusted, if so, there is a good job
for somebody to clean it up once more, I shall expect to see the engine bright
and shining upon my return home. I received that three cent piece and intend to
keep it and probably give you a chance of overhauling it once more, I was glad
to hear that there was a prospect of business opening briskly in the spring.
The 3rd O. Cavalry is this side of
My dear Parents
We arrived at this place this forenoon, and I hasten to acquaint you of it.
We broke up camp 8 miles this side of
Somewhere in the vicinity of
between March 30th and April 12th, 1862
Dear [TORN PAGE]
There is little going on in camp at this time, and I hardly know what to write, that would be likely to interest you. The R.R. Bridge at this place is completed, and I believe the one situated 5 miles from this point, upon the same stream is about, if not quite finished. I am of the opinion that we are to move on in a few days, as I...
...all leafing out, and present a fine appearance, and no doubt for one to
come from the North, to this point at the present time, he would be quite
surprised to see the forwardness of vegetation. The Planters are having their
land plowed and some of them have had their corn planted for nearly two weeks.
We are quite anxious to hurry on and bring this fuss to a final settlement as
soon as possible, we are afraid of the hot weather. This part of the State,
that is, that portion lying immediately in the vicinity of
You will see by the heading of this letter that we are at last on the last
tier of States and consequently in one of the
My dear Sister
Thinking you might possible feel anxious in regard to my welfare I seat myself to let you know that, although we have been for some time past doing some pretty tall marching yet I am happy to inform you that I am still in the land of the living, not yet having run my legs off, in pursuit of the fleeting rascals
If you will consult a map of the Southern States you will see
Give my respects to all my friends
I read your letter
My dear Parents
As I have some spare time I propose to improve it by writing to the dear ones at home. I wrote day before yesterday and gave you an account of our late march and arrival at this place. Those expeditions that I spoke of in my letter effected considerable. The expedition that went east proceeded some 60 miles and captured 5 locomotives and 20 cars and returned safely to camp. That one going west proceeded as far as Decatur 20 miles from this point and drove 2000 of the enemy from town they having set fire to the town before leaving it, our forces (beat?) the flames out for the citizens.
We have received the news (since I write last) that Corinth has fallen into our hands and that the Rebels have been whipped out completely with great loss of life on their side, it is also stated that our loss was very severe, I have heard that the Lieutenant Colonel of the 72nd was killed[.] I am afraid that when we receive the particulars, we will hear of the death of some of our friends. I heartily hope that such may not prove to be the case. Oh that our Regt. Could have been in that fight, it must have been glorious. We no longer apprehend an attack at this point, since receiving the late news
We also heard of the surrender of
The last time I received a letter from home was while we were lying at
My dear Parents
I have not yet received any word from home since leaving Murfreesboro, and
am getting quite anxious to hear from home, of course the fault lies in the
Mail arrangements not yet having been completed as I know full well that you
write regularly, and I don't know whether or not you receive my letters, but I
endeavor to keep you posted in regard to our movements[.]
We are now getting to be quite a long distance from home but every march we
make brings us still nearer the end and that thought cheers us up, and nerves
us to endure the fatigue of long marches, and exposure of all descriptions The
Town of Huntsville has been placed under Martial Law and Col Norton is Provost
Marshal, and of course our Regt is used as Provost Guards, that is they act in the
capacity of Policemen, and constantly patroll the Streets picking up all unruly
persons, who are then brought before Col Norton to be examined, and if found
guilty of any misdemeanor, punished accordingly[.] Genl Mitchel hearing that a
force was collecting at Florence for the purpose of surprising us at this point
took it into his head to turn the Surprise in a different direction, and
consequently he sent a force by R.Road consisting of 4 Regts of Infantry and 3
Batteries of Artillery[.] The 2nd
You will not have to strain your imagination much to believe that we are in
a Secesh community, when I tell you that five different Churches in the city
gave up their Bells to the Southern Confederacy for the purpose of having them
cast into cannon, and hereafter I suppose they will, (after they have been
transformed) give a much louder and sharper sound. It was said that they would
furnish a sufficient amount of metal to cast two Batteries of cannon. They were
Love to all
April 21st /62
My Dear Mother
At last I received a letter from home it came to hand yesterday, dated apr
6th. You can imagine how much good it did me as I had not heard from home for
more than two weeks. You stated that you received five letters from me that
week I thought they would arrive at some time or other. I have been informed
that we have only a weekly mail, although the mail leaves the Regt every
morning, yet it goes no farther than town until the Division mail leaves. I
have written several letters since arriving at this place. I wrote to William
yesterday. I have heard that the 72nd was among the first to receive the fire
of the enemy, I am anxious to hear from Wm. I also received that letter of Wms
enclosed in yours. He is kept busy enough to judge from his letter. I do wish I
could meet with the 72nd and I think such a thing is possible, as a portion of
our Division now occupies
Today (Sunday) is easter if I am not mistaken. It is a wet, rainy, day, and it may be that you are having snow, as we generally have a snow storm upon easter. Eggs are an expensive luxury just at this time, as I have seen them sell at 30. and some of the boys have even paid as high as 60 cents per dozen, so anxious were they to obtain them, that they were willing to pay even 5 cents apiece. I suppose Willy is just about killing himself eating eggs today, I am of the opinion that Government will not discharge any of her volunteers until the close of the war, as the Government is in as much need of Soldiers at present as at any other time, and a volunteer is equivalent to a Regular in my eye, so far as fighting is concerned. The Rogues are not all in the Army it appears, as John Ryder can testify.
From late accounts I am brought to believe that Genl McClellan has already
taken dinner in
Love to all
Camp Taylor Huntsville
To day being a rainy day, I concluded to improve the time by writing to the dear ones at home. And now for Ideas wherewith to make a letter interesting. A few days ago (as I wrote in a former letter) a Capt and Private were fired at and wounded, by a concealed Rebel, at a place about 30 miles to the east of camp and that one man was taken prisoner and that another escaped, Yesterday Co. I. was ordered to take the cars and proceed to the place and institute a search in the neighborhood and if possible effect the capture of the rascal.
In due time we arrived at the place, and switched off at the town of Woodville, (The boys declareing it was a shame that they could not be allowed to visit home, when within four miles of it) A squad of men was detailed as Scouts to scour the country, and while they were out the remainder of the Co loaded some cedar Telegraph poles[.] After the poles were loaded we waited for the train to arrive on which we were to be taken to camp[.] In the mean time the Scouts returned without having effected anything of importance, and while we were waiting for the cars, several of the boys ransacked some old Groceries that had been deserted by the owners, not many valuables were found however and the cars arriving we all piled in once more and were soon whirling in the direction of camp, I say whirling because we did go whirling on account of the numerous short curves in the Road. We passed through several deep cuts excavated through the solid rock. also crossed several large Bridges that the Rebels in their haste had neglected to burn.
The Road ran through the Mountains, or rather through the valleys, and
through some of the finest country it was ever my fortune to travel through.
There is any amount of wheat raised in this vicinity, and some fields that I
saw were already headed out, The cotton crop will be
rather short this year, as the Planters sow wheat, and plant corn instead. The
Planters hold quite a large amount of old Cotton I have seen several large
piles of it stored in sheds and some lying out in the weather, which does not
appear to spoil it. This is a poorly timbered country, and of course a poor
place for Saw mill. I suppose you have heard of the promotion of Genl Mitchel he having received the appointment of Major General as the
papers say, for gallant services in
I am in the best of health and Spirits
The mail arrived yesterday, but I did not receive a letter, I was very much
disappointed, as I was almost certain that the arrival of the mail would bring
me at least one letter. I have received but one since leaving
He will be missed very much in Elmore.
In my last letter I informed you of the promotion of General Mitchel, I understand he is to be placed in command of two Divisions, and assigned an independent command, that is to use his own judgement in regard to his movements, and be subject to the orders of no other General with the exception of the Secretary of War. It is rumored that he will soon move in the direction of Chatanooga, if so, I suppose we may at once get well shod preparatory to climbing the Cumberland Mountains once more, after the style of Eastern Kentucky, but who cares, or what would it avail us to care, Genl Mitchell is bound to make another strike in some direction, but he Lord only knows where it will be or how soon it is to take place if we once turn our faces in that direction, that land of Hills, Mountains Burned Bridges, Secessionists, and rascals of every known description and color. But I have almost any amount of confidence in our Commanding Genl.
Genl Mitchel in now concentrating his forces at this point preparatory to moveing upon Chatanooga. We expect Genl Wood's Division to day, who is to join us and be subject to the orders of Genl Mitchel
Dumonts Brigade has had a little Skirmish in the direction of Tuscumbia, but is now comeing in this direction. He succeeded in capturing one Parrot Gun at Tuscumbia a 10 pounder it is now laying in camp adjoining ours, Capt Somonson captured it, and it is now attached to his battery.
You would be surprised to see what expedients the Southerners resort to, to
make change, Each Business house, or in fact any person that posses capitol
enough can issue tickets of any small denomination subject to be redeemed by
the person issueing them, when a person will present a sufficient number of
them to amount to one dollar and upward That was the only kind of change in
circulation in Huntsville upon our arrival, But since our advent silver has
become quite plentiful, I saw a Citizen in camp a few days ago, endeavoring to
exchange Southern money for U.S. Script, they seem to think a great deal of the
Green Backs, notwithstanding it comes from what they term the Abolition
Government. They are gradually acknowledgeing their Greater and confessing
their sins, Well as Dow says, So more it be
Give my love to Aunt Mary and all the rest and tell her I would like to have
her answer my letter that I wrote to her some time ago
My dear Parents
Since sending my letter that I wrote today, to the office, I noticed a piece
Co. I . 21st
Genl Mitchels Division
To be forwarded
We have just received orders to cook rations and be ready to take the cars at 7 oclock tomorrow morning, we go in the direction of Chatanooga The Division that we were expecting to arrive today did not make its appearance..
Gen Mitchel has built a floating bridge of (Cotton?) across one of the
rivers in our route, but it is so dark I must close,
To be forwarded
My dear Parents
I hardly know what to write as I have lately written so many letters home,
and as yet, received but one since arriving at this city, which occurred nearly
one month ago, but that Confounded Morgan is the cause of all our trouble in
regard to our Mail matters[.] He lately captured our mail that was going north,
and as I had several letters on the way at that time I presume they were all
read by other persons than I intended should peruse them, And as I wrote in my
last the enemy, burned a whole Division Train of ours upon the R. Road, a few
miles to the west of us, and all of the mail for Mitchells Division was
destroyed and of course I have been cheated out of one or two letters but the
worst of all is that that Prince of Rascals Morgan lately captured 265 men of
our Division, who were on their way to join their respective regts, they were
principally Convalescents that had been lately discharged from the Hospital, I
am somewhat inclined to doubt the Statement in regard to the number captured,
but Capt Ewing of Co D. 21st Ohio was taken prisoner, and released in Parole of
Honor, also Fred Mitchel Aid to Gen Mitchel was a son of the Genls and was
immediately exchanged We having a brother of Morgans in our possession [.] Capt
Ewing had been home on Furlough and was returning to his Regt. There was also 11 of Co Hs boys of the 21st captured, so you see
they have been dipping into the 21st pretty extensively of late. Capt Ewing is
now with our Regt waiting I suppose to be exchanged. It is feared that Capt
Cating Co H 21st
In my last I gave you a description of our late movements in the direction of Chatanooga, and of the Prisoners captured, and of our hasty return to this city in anticipation of a big fight and also of our disappointment in not getting sight of the enemy, he having commenced falling back before our arrival. The notorious Price had a force of several thousand with which he made great calculations upon retaking this point, but the result shows that Genl Mitchel is not to be surprised and that with one Division he is capable of controlling 100 miles of R. Road in the very heart of the Confederacy to say nothing of the country for several miles in other directions. I don't see why that other Division has failed to arrive that I had been informed was comeing for the purpose of reinforceing us at this point.
One of our boys received a
My dear Parents
Hearing that one of the boys of the 21st leaves for home in the morning I
take this opportunity of sending a letter to the outposts of Civilization in
order to have it mailed. I am afraid that you have failed to receive several of
my last letters owin got the capture of our mails by the notorious Morgan, I am
somewhat puzzled to know what to write on account of having written all that I
thought would be anyways interesting to you In my former letters I gave yo an
account of our recent trip to Stevenson, a town situated upon the M. & C.
R.R. distant from this city about 60 miles. Genl Mitchel had sent an expedition
in that direction consisting of five or six Regts and our was among the number,
but our Regt did not arrive in time to take a hand in the grab for prisoners
that took place, The advanced Guard had a slight brush with the forces of Gen Ledbetter,
but of course as might have been expected, the Secesh Skedaddled as soon as
they received our fire, we captured quite a number of prisoners a part of whom
have been sent to this point, the remainder being yet back, some 44 of them
have arrived here. The Rebel retreated across the
The route for the most part led through a great Swamp the water being almost
a foot deep upon an average. We had an eight mile march to make after night,
and I tell you it was gloomy enough, it was so dark that we could hardly get
along, and with no music but the song of the frog, and whippoorwill, it was
what I call dismal marching, but as everything must have an end so had our
march, After staying at Stevenson for a day or two, we received orders to
return to Huntsville as Price was then advancing upon the city with a large
force, and driving our forces before him, when we arrived we found the tables
turned, Price in turn being obliged to fall back, our forces following with a
prospect of captureing a large number of his forces[.] I have not yet heard
what success they met with but I presume Price has escaped with his force. The
Citizens of Huntsville were quite jubilant over the prospects of our forces
being driven from the city, and openly proclaimed that now they had the Yankees
just where they had long wished to have us, anticipating that we were all going
to fall into their hands, but now imagine the length of their faces, when they
still see a Yankee Guard placed at their doors, The Screws are now drawn even
tighter than ever upon them[.] The Women even spit
upon our soldiers, I consider it quite a lucky thing for them that they have
never used me in that manner, there is a point beyond which I cannot control my
temper, and that would be quite a piece beyond that point. I hear that
My dear Parents
Knowing that a letter no matter how old, will be acceptable to you, I will, although there will be no chance to send it until the Division Train arrives, and departs once more, which in all probability will not occur for at least one week[.]
I sent two letters by the last mail and doubtless you have received them by this time. I also received a letter from home about ten days ago, which brought the pleasing intelligence that you were all well. Father mentioned that some certain men that had taken the mill, were running it and that they were well satisfied with it[.] That being the first intimation that I had received of Fathers disposing of the mill in any manner I am rather curious to know what disposition has been made of it. In your next, please explain the whole matter, as I am confident you have already done in your former letters, that I failed to receive an account of that rascally Morgan's band of Marauders. But never mind there is a plan on foot to capture him and his whole command[.]
An expedition consisting of 1000 Infantry a considerable number of Cavalry, and 4 pieces of artillery left this point last Sunday morning for some purpose or another I could not exactly find out Genl Mitchels intentions and its point of destination &c. but we are daily expecting to hear from it. I was very glad indeed to see by your letter that William was save, as I have borrowed considerable trouble on his account but now it is all set right once more.
I hear good news from the Eastern Armies and expect that ere this reaches
I suppose Juliet has once more taken up her residence in Elmore. I want her and Aunt Mary to write to me also Willie. Excuse this short letter. I will write more at length when I hear from home. Your last letter that I received was dated April 18th more than a month ago. R.C.
May 23rd/62 friday
My dear Parents
The Mail arrived yesterday but brought me no letters. You can imagine my disappointment _________ If there is one thing more than another that is calculated to cheer one up when far away from all that he holds dear, it is the receipt of a good long letter, announcing that all goes well with the dear ones at home.
The last letter that I got from home was dated Apr 18th and what might not have happed at home during that long intervening month.
Only think what good fortune has attended our arms during that time[.] Yorktown,
I believe I have never yet given you a description of
It is situated in a valley enclosed surrounded by high mountains or hills, that are covered with a growth of quite heavy timber. The city is watered from the finest Spring I have yet seen, it bursts from underneath a high ledge of rocks just at the edge of the city. The water is then elevated by means of water power (obtained from the Spring) into a Reservoir and then distributed by means of pipes through the city. There are numerous Fire plugs at the corners of the streets, piped in such a manner that in case of fire a hose can be attached and water thrown to a considerable distance. The dwelling and business houses are lighted by gass. before the rebellion broke out the streets were also lighted but that has been discontinued[.]
There are several large business houses in the city also a large Seminary, that usually accommodated from 100 to 200 Ladies
students, but I believe it is closed for the present.
The houses are literally imbedded in trees and flowers, and such roses, I thought I had seen some roses in our front yard at home, but that is as nothing compared with some of the yards in this city although I would give more to see our pleasant front yard, than to own all the flowers in the South. And such evergreens they are trimmed to grow in all sorts of shapes and present quite an odd yet pleasing appearance Strawberries and cherries have been in market for some time, also new potatoes. Peaches will be ripe by the latter part of June, and then wont we live on peaches they grow wild one might say, in this country. The R.R. line is almost covered with peach trees how they came there I cant say, but they all hang full of fruit. And not being fenced are free to all, and for that matter they would be free to us if there were fourteen fences round them, we confiscate all such property, our onions, radishes, &c. cost us nothing, draw your own conclusions
Hurrah for our side, we are bound to live well, Officers as well as
Love to all
I have received no letter from William since the
Please tell Mose Willson to write me.
Don't forget that
I received your letter last night containing that poetry, I must say that
the poetry was first the thing, and takes well among the boys, it reflects
great credit upon the author. I think that as I can detect some familiar
phrases in it, that I can come pretty near guessing the name of the author it
will be the most popular song of the Co for some time. I suppose you are aware
that Co I. Turns out some good singers. Co I. Is at
present guarding a large R.R. Bridge, 8 miles from Athens, it is the largest
bridge upon the line of the Decatur & Nashville R.R. it is 70 feet in
height and 500 feet in length and spans a deep gully between the hills. We have
got the finest kind of quarters, built of boards and rails,
we are upon a high hill overlooking the bridge. We have fell timber around one
side of the hill, and are engaged in constructing a Rifle pit and have got it
almost finished, it is to be 30 rods in length. The
ditch is about 3 feet deep and the bank about the same height which brings it
up to an ordinary sized mans shoulders the bank is encased with rails and
timbers and is from 3 to 4 feet in thickness, which is considered bullet proof.
The Bridge is of great importance as there is only one that at present is
destroyed between this point and
In your letter you stated that the peach trees were in bloom, and that there
was a prospect of a good crop &c well speaking of peaches puts me in mind
of telling you that I never in
My dear kind parents
You can hardly imagine how overjoyed I was to receive a large number of
letters from the loved and loving ones at home. I received one day before
yesterday four yesterday and four to day. also from
home and from Wm I also received one from G. Wight. They were dated Apr 13th,
16th, 13th, 30th, May 7th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 18th. a
part of them were from Juliet, some of them written from Oberlin. Oh you cant tell how much better I feel now that I have heard from
home. next to seeing ones friends is to hear from them
in the shape of letters. You will see by the heading of this letter that we
have named our fort, we named it after the man on
whose farm we are at present encamped upon. day before
yesterday I wrote to you and informed you that our Co was at present guarding a
My dear Brother
I received your long and very interesting letter this morning and need I say
that I was much pleased to hear from you. I take all back that I said in my
former letter about some certain things relating to the conduct of your Div[.] Immediately after sending it I was sorry that I did
so for fear that I had judged too hastily, The first reports that came in were
not very complimentary for some of the Ohio Regts but later reports
contradicted the foul slanders, and went on to state that those very Regts
mentioned so disapprovingly had done some of the very best fighting of those
memorable days, and the 72nd was mentioned in particular as acting the part of
heroes in that struggle. all honor to the brave 72nd I
have since read of the part taken by your Div. and Brigade Commanders and must
say that it reflects great credit upon them they deserve it all. I am inclined
to think that it will not be the good fortune of the 21st to meet the 72nd at
We hear that
Your Brother Robert
(P.S) I received that Fremont Journal, and read it with interest R.C
I received your kind letter of May 29th and was very glad to hear from home.
The weather as you seem to think, is quite warm, but
our Co is located upon a high hill, and we have a fine breeze nearly all the
time. You seem to fear that the health of the Regt is not good and that there
is danger of our not standing the heat of summer &c Now I am glad to be
able to inform you, that the health of the Regt at present, is excellent, there
are very few in Hospital at and near Huntsville to be sure there are quite a
number back in hospital at Nashville but they continue to form the Regt from
time to time, there are very few getting sick and so you need have no fears on
account of sickness. Our Regt of late has generally succeeded in secureing a
good camp ground with good water, which is always a very important matter The warm weather makes the sweat run pretty freely, but you
know that it is healthy to sweat. You will remember that I have been accustomed
to a pretty warm place in the mill, and I have now no fears for the result. The
weather is not so extremely hot down here, but the season is of greater length.
the nights are quite cool sometimes uncomfortable so.
I suppose somewhat similar to the nights in
The best thing that can be done with that Beuch is to ride the coward on a rail. he is unsound timber he has not got a discharge. Geo Claghorn has not yet arrived at the Regt the Capt received a letter from him written at Pittsburg Landing, he did not know when he could get to his Regt[.]
I was glad to gear that you received the $20.00 and glad to hear that you had almost cleared up you old indebtedness, a few more payments will clear it up entirely. The Pay master will be hear in a few days. I don't know what kind of a chance I shall have to send money this time, but will not risk it by mail unless you say so, probably somebody will be going home before long. I shall seize the first good opportunity of sending it.
Hereafter my pay will be somewhat larger than it formerly has been, I now receive a Sergeants pay to date from the 7th of this month. The Capt has kept his promise. I was raised over the head of the 1st Corpl. I don't know how he likes it, but it matters not.
Lieut Wood sent you a $5.00 Confederate note it is worthless in this locality and that is the case with the trash wherever our Army has a foothold Greenbacks go at par in this vicinity
Capt Vantine sends his respects to yo[u]
You cant tell how glad I was to receive your short but interesting letter as it is so seldom that you write, that I am So glad to see that ever welcome fine hand writeing that I could tell at a glance among ten thousand letters.
You need have no fear about the sun and warm weather affecting my health, the only effect it has is to make me sweat, and that I was used to at home. If I should happen to get very sick if it is your wish, although it will be quite expensive I shall if possible obtain a furlough and visit Elmore, but I am inclined to think that I shall have no occasion to apply for one. it is quite difficult to procure a furlough unless there is something very urgent pending. I dont expect to see E__ until this little family quarrel is settled. God speed the day that sees its settlement. According to your advice, I have commenced bathing regularly every other day. There are several large springs in this neighborhood that form quite a stream, the water is as clear as crystal and cool as any spring water. I mean to be very careful in regard to what I eat. I get my washing done by the negro women nearby. I had been troubled some with the headache but not much of late, Green Tea cannot be had at any price here Black Tea is not fit to drink, consequently I drink but little coffee as I prefer good water. I change shirts at least once a week and sometimes oftener. Mother positively I dont sweat as much as I used to when firing in the mill, I have less work to do, but when it comes to marching I expect to perspire pretty freely. I don't blame you for feeling so solicitous in regard to my welfare, I wouls not be natural if otherwise and my only wish is that I may merit all your kind wishes. I am much pleased to hear that William is so well situated and suited.
We have received news of the evacuation of Corinth and of Gen Halleck being
in pursuit of the fleeing rascals, we have also heard that our forces succeeded
in capturing 10,000 prisoners, pretty good that[.] We also received news of the
defeat of the rebels before
Capt Vantine lately made me a present of a nice set of what do you call it,
a knife, spoon & fork, made so that you can close them like a knife. they are of German Silver, there is also a nice case to put
them in and I can carry them all in my pocket just like a pocket book[.] They
cost $4.00 in
Do you know that I will be 21 next Saturday, feel age creeping on very
...ha, ha, ha good for 80 years yet I hope
My dear Sister
Your welcome letter of June 5th was received on the 12th and I can assure you, read with interest. You need have no fears about my failing to receive your letters in the future, as the mail now arrives regularly three times a week.
I guess that I have received all of you back letters now, as I have received several. Shortly after arriving at this place, the back letters commenced arriving and continued to do so until I have now had something like 15 in all. You know how much good it does one to get good letters from home.
I am glad to hear of the continued prosperity of Elmore, and hope it may
continue until it becomes the chief town of that section, which it is bound to
do, if it continues to improve in the same ration that it has for the past two
years[.] Ryders block will indeed look grand and imposing, but you had ought to
have been with me at
Ah. ha. new house. Mary White. Just what I have expected of Eli, good luck attend them.
I was much pleased to hear that Mose was having blinds put on his house, just tell him if he don't answer my letter, that when I get home I will be under the necessity of putting a blind on his eyes, just tell him that, hell know what I mean. Tell him to set out lots of strawberries as I intend to wade through his patch next Spring. Strawberries are all gone here, so are cherries, plums are ripe. Oh how I wish Mose was with me, if the sacrifice would bring him I would be willing to go barefoot, the rest of the campaign for the pleasure to be derived from his company. Other folks as a general thing are dull in comparison with him, his company would be such a good antidote for a tinge of homesickness or anything of that nature. don't forget to tell him to write a good long letter, as he knows so well how to do.
Don't indulge the thought that I am homesick as I am not, as dearly I would love to be at home but not until this fuss is settled, but the fact is I am 21 to day, and that thought sends my mind back so many long years, imagination pictures in my mind the scenes of early childhood passed on the farm, when without a thought or care for the future I whiled away my childhood days, never for a moment allowing any thing to mar my happiness. and then a change came I was sent to school to the H.E. Clark in Fremont, and I distinctly remember those feruleings that I received at his hands, merely for wishing to continue in my practice of idleness, but I cant blame him in the least, and only wish he had put it on a little more frequently, if I was really to derive any advantage from its application. Next came the most momentous period of my existence, I who had always remained at home surrounded by the influence and good teachings of a kind Father, Mother Brother & Sister and who had never for a moment been thrown upon my own resources, I say I was in a moment to break all those fond ties and throw myself in the seething maelstrom that was at that moment threatening to engulf our own beloved Country, if happily by my sacrifice the blow might be warded off and our divided and distracted Union, once more be brought within the folds of peace and happiness
Oh can I picture the intense anguish with which my very Soul was racked when the parting moment arrived, and for the last time probably for years, and perhaps forever I seized those loving hands that had ever done their utmost to promote my welfare and as I wrung them in silent grief I was obliged to turn my head to hide my emotions, for fear that this outward show of grief might add to theirs, but enough, the deed was one of my own free will, and I am thankful that through the long intervening months, Surrounded by toil, exposure, and danger I have never for a moment regretted my choices, and I am thankful that I had a brother, in whose bosom burned the fires of Patriotism to such an extent, that he too forsook everything dear to his heart, and became a wanderer, in support of the same holy cause, and again I am doubly thankful that I am possessed of parents that were willing to make the sacrifice, how noble and good in an aged Father and Mother to cheerfully send their only sons, that doubtless they had often looked upon as the staff upon which to lean, when their steps should become feeble, Oh if any body is worthy of praise it is that Parent that willingly offers his children upon the Altar of his Country. Who can tell of the sleepless nights that are passed by them thinking of what might be the fate of the absent ones. Then do not wonder that I am in a thoughtful mood to day, and that this letter may appear somewhat lifeless, but let me hope that another anniversary of my birthday may find our family once more united.
I am enjoying the best of health
My dear Sister
Your welcome letter came to hand to day, dated June 9th. I can assure you
that it received a warm welcome, as do all of your letters. I am happy to state
that I am enjoying an almost fabulous amount of good health in fact I just more
than enjoy myself down here in Secessia, the land is flowing with milk an d
honey, I was almost going to say, but it is a fact, honey costs 12 ½ cents per
pound, and the milk, well_______ we don't trouble anybody for that, we are all
adept in the art of milking. I cant say that I have
any great or important news to communicate, sufficient to say that
Oh you had ought to see and taste of some of those almost magic pies that I made to day, We had drawn flour, and as the country round about camp is teeming with berries of all kinds, some of the boys went out and gathered some whortleberries & blackberres and with a slight turn of the wrist, I brought forth some of the most delicious pies that have yet been eaten in the Confederacy[.] I took four out of the Capts oven but a few moments ago, and positively I do wish that you could reach down here and get one of them, but doubtless the effect would be to make you ashamed of your own baking and that would be cruel indeed. I also made some biscuit for dinner, they were amazing fine ones, but I will own that I forgot to salt them, however that difficulty was overcome by Salting the gravey that I ate upon them. hurah for me I get along where others will complain of starving Mr Rogers is eating one of my pies at this moment, and declares that they cant be surpassed. John Anderson is looking on and just now made this quaint and characteristic remark, well I tell you boys laying jokes all on one side those pies are just a leetle the nicest thing that I have yet seen in the South, I am sufficiently flattered[.] Well I declare I shall have to leave some white paper this time. I received letter from Father to day and propose to answer it in a few days, (next Sunday) I will look for Mothers letter every day, I am sorry Aunt Mary has left, she was so good and kind and such good company. I received those roses in Fathers letter, was much pleased to see them. In my imagination I can see that bush of yellow roses in the front yard, I hope I may see those dahlias before the frost cuts them
Well I believe I am done.
(P.S) Please tell Mary Luckey that it is also a very pleasant day down in Alabama, also that I am well, and do as my Superior officers tell me to do, Tell her that I received a letter from her dated apr 23rd and a few days ago, and almost immediately answered it. Please present my compliments with this message. from your loving brother
Thinking that a letter from the land of Secessia might not prove uninteresting to you, I propose to occupy a few moments by glancing it some of our recent movements in Northern Ala, and also note the effects produced by the advent of Genl Mitchel among the fire eaters of the above mentioned district. In order to take a comprehensive view of our operations since that important event took place, it becomes necessary for me to go back for a period of something like nine weeks, which will bring us up to the time that the famous Lincolnites first menaced the Sacred soil of Ala[.] You will remember that in one of my former letters, I stated that we crossed the Tenn & Ala line upon the morning of Apr 10th I shall never forget what my sensations were, upon that lovely spring morning, We had been hurried from our slumbers at midnight to enter upon a long and tiresome forced march. our way led through swamps and over some of the worst roads imaginable, we were also obliged to ford streams and undergo all the different privations, incident to the life of a soldier, all of which was cheerfully met, as we had been informed that there was fun ahead[.] Daylight found us emerging from this dreary waste and entering upon one of the finest countries that it has ever yet been my fortune to witness. Extensive and will tilled plantations, met the eye upon every hand, with the splendid and majestic residence of the wealthy planter rising from a pleasant knoll, surrounded by natural and ornamental trees of every known variety. Cast your eyes a little beyond, and you will see what at first light strikes the beholder as being a fine and flourishing village, upon questioning some of the knowing ones, you will receive the information that you are gazing upon the negro quarters of a well regulated plantation. there are perhaps 25 huts in all, built in regular order, of one story each, all whitewashed and producing a very pleasing appearance, in the morning sunshine. In the distance are seen the everlasting hills, with the different ranges rising above each other and piercing the very clouds that are seen circling around the summits, each successive range farther in the distance, and growing more indistinct, until nothing is to be seen but one uneven, blue line outlined against the heavens, with here and there a sharp peak shooting up __ up until its summit is lost to human observation among the morning mists. It was indeed a grand sight but in this case distance lent enchantment to the view when I called it to mind, the many weary miles that I had traveled over the Cumberland mountains in Eastern Kentucky during the famous campaign of Genl Nelson in that locality. We continued on in our rapid march, passing on through some of the finest scenery imaginable, until the church spires of Huntsville began to be visible in the distance, but the particulars in regard to the capture of that beautiful city are familiar to all, and it is needless for me to occupy space by repeating them here, suffice it to say that by this master stroke of his, Genl Mitchel was placed in possession of what might properly be termed, the great Artery of the Southern States, namely the M. & C. R. R., the route by which the Rebels had been constantly engaged in conveying troops and munitions of war, between their two great armies, By this movement of our worthy General, communications were completely severed between their Eastern and Western forces. By the aid of the rolling stock captured, He was enabled to control a larger amount of territory than he otherwise should have been.
Mitchel now entered upon several brilliant and successful movements, by which he became possessed of much valuable information, relative to the designs of the enemy[.]
An expedition was sent against a large force of the enemy concentrated at
Communications by telegraph are established between Buell & Mitchels lines There is considerable speculation going on among the knowing ones relative to the future movements of the former Genl
There is a class of men in the army known as Grumblers, who are disposed to find fault with everything that does not exactly suit them They appear to never enjoy themselves so well, as when finding fault, either with the quality of their rations or the quantity allotted to each man, and frequently over that they are just on the verge of starvation &c when it is a known fact that we are supplied most liberally with everything necessary to our comfort and well being Too be sure there are times when by a chain of circumstances unavoidable, rations will for a time become a little short but I have never yet seen the time when I could not obtain a sufficient amount of food. There are others that are continually imagineing themselves to be sick, and who, are hardly ever ready to do duty, when ten chances to one there is nothing ailing them but homesickness to such I would say better stay at home, the army is no place for men that are not ready and willing to undergo the privations that are at all times incident to the life of a soldier. Now as for my self I believe that I can truly say that although I left one of the best homes that man was ever blessed with, surrounded with everything calculated to make life pleasant, blessed with kind Parents, a loving brother and sister yet I forsook all willingly, to battle in the cause of my Country and I have yet to see the time when I can say that I regret having done so, and look forward with cheerfulness to the time when we shall once more be a reunited and happy family
I write to let you know that I am in the employment of good health, with a fair prospect of it continueing so for some time to come, I read a letter from Juliet to day dated May 29th it had been delayed as also had one that I got from William dated Apr 2nd. We were payed off to day for three months receiving $39.00 apiece I don't know what kind of an opportunity will present itself for sending money home but I shall avail myself of the first good opportunity It is very much with me as it was with the woman that bought the new handirons and so on through until she had a new set of furniture throughout, but I hope not quite so bad. After being to the post of Sergeant I found it necessary for me while on duty as Sergt of the guard, to keep the exact time, in order to know when to post the reliefs, it all falls to the duty of the Sergt to see that the reliefs are posted at the proper time, and in order to do so I found it necessary to have a watch, and I soon found out that very few men were willing to keep a good watch to lend to others, so I was obliged to make a purchase of a watch, and as such I regretted it, as I have always been very anxious to send as much money home as I possibly could. I did not wish to buy a cheap one as that would be the most expensive in the end, so I bought an American Lever Hunters Case watch for $20.00 such an one as A.W. Luckey paid $35.00 for that he gave to James, the watch has been running for about four months and given the best of satisfaction I bougt it much cheaper here than I could have done in Ohio. If I am to pay for it so that I would feel it so very heavily, I can send about $25.00 home this time and as I now receive $17 per month, when we draw our next two months pay I can send about $20, and after that I shall be even once more. You may do as you think best with that letter I never was cut out for a letter writer.
My dear Sister
I received yours of June 15th this morning and hasten to answer. I am really glad that you are so prompt, in writing, as there is nothing under the sun, does me so much good as letters from home, Yes indeed I did enjoy myself reading those letters, when they came, it matters not how long a letter may have been upon the road, so long as it conveys the tidings that all goes will with those at home, it is interesting to me.
Your last letter indicates that you have your hands full with your large family of Young Americans. u_g_h_ I am glad that I am not in that branch of business, teaching the young ideas how to shoot, but perhaps I did not better myself in comeing to a place where we are taught to engage in shooting of an entirely different character. but I like it much better. every one to their taste you know.
That was a very characteristic answer of yours that you made to that Port Clinton Home Guard, and one that he merited, if he had half an eye, on the welfare of his Country, during the last twelve months, he would never have made the enquiry that he died. You used him just right, I like your spirit.
Speaking of that Boquet of roses that was presented to you, puts me in mind
of Huntsville, beautiful City, I can never tire praising its beauties, I don't
mean its confounded female population, no, not by any means, I can never admire
anything in the shape of a Secesh, be it ever so comely. Darn the tribe, how
many, many, weary miles over mountains and glen, have I helped to chase them,
consequently I cannot look with the least degree of allowance, upon any of the
Genus homo Quite a breeze disturbing the Methodist wing of your society at
present, never mind a large portion of the Angels fell from their exalted
position, once upon a time, which but had the effect to render the remainder
more pure, a thorough purging now and then would be a good thing for all the
different branches of the Church, there are black sheep in every flock. You say
Mother has a new bonnet, well I am even with her, I have bought a bran new
McClellan Cap, you had just ought to see it, they are all the rage now nearly
all the non commissioned officers of Co I have bought them. We have been having
delightful weather for the last few days, very warm with a cool breeze blowing
which makes it very comfortable in the shade, we have as yet experienced no
evil effects from the heat, all that is necessary is to keep within the shade
and you are all right. There is a white Sulphur Spring close to camp. This used
to be a Summer resort, a few years ago. The ruins of
an extensive hotel are yet visible destroyed by fire a few years ago, but you see
I must subside or more (but gaily?) speaking, dry up[.]
How is Willie, please have him write, I like his letters, they are so good and
honest, perfectly characteristic of him.
I forgot to mention that I stand in need of a few stamps, don't send many at a time they are liable to miss carry.
I am well and hearty
Wishing to hear from you, in the shape of a good long letter, I thought the only Sure method to insure such a desirable thing, was to write to you to let you know that tour letters are just as welcome as ever, and Oh how welcome they always have been[.]
We have lately just more than been in luck, the 3rd O, Cavalry lately
arrived at Decatur, and the other day, as I returned to camp, after a shooting excursion,
judge of my surprise and pleasure to stumble over Wash. Boggs, Yes, the
immortal Washington, looking just as natural as ever, only a great deal
rougher, why I caught him by the hand and almost twisted it off, in the
exuberance of my joy at seeing a new Elmore face although He had been absent
from that place almost as long as myself, yet you know how I felt, as it was a
change, and he also could tell me all about William, having lately seen him. Wm
was tough and rugged he said. Wash staid until evening, and Capt Vantine, Mike
Rice, and I took the train with him and started for
Genl. Buells Grand Army is now lying in this vicinity, preparatory to
Last tuesday Genl. Mitchel started for
They will catch it in both front and rear at once, and then it will be fight or surrender and most likely both, on one side, or the other.
I saw Genls Nelson & McCook yesterday old Nelson looks as natural as ever.
There are 4 Divisions now moving upon Chattanooga, Nelsons, McCooks, Woods, Thomsons and very likely a part of ours will bear a hand[.]
We are not doing much in the way of celebrating to day, but I heard a salute
being fired down at
In your letter tell me how you passed the 4th it will interest me very much last 4th passed o very pleasantly to me, but to day proceedings in this direction are very dry.
no Basket Picnic, nor smiling faces, of the female
persuasion, but a Soldiers life is variable you know, sunshine one day, clouds
the next. Hurrah news has come of the surrender of
I got a letter from Juliet a couple days ago will answer it soon[.]
got those stamps in Juliets letter
My dear Brother
Your interesting letter of June 21st was received last Sunday and I was very glad to hear of your good health, as I have had some fears for you on account of the unhealthiness of our late camping grounds[.]
You spoke of our tardiness about writing to each other &c . well I also plead guilty to the
charge, and promise to do better in future, but by the way you write, I am
confident that you have failed to receive all of my letters. I have written to
you several times since we came to
The 3rd O Cavalry is camping not far from Huntsville had a visit from Ed Haines & Wash Boogs I also visited their camp while they were at Decatur had a good time I can assure you[.] I don't know when I have felt so bad as when I heard of the death of Lieut Devere and I felt as though I had lost a brother, poor fellow
My dear Mother,
I had the pleasure of receiving the letters, day before yesterday, one from
Juliet, one from Father, with one of Wms enclosed, and one from Mose Willson. I
was glad to hear of the good health of the Elmore friends. We have been very
much excited for the past week, relative to the news from
Craiglorn, it appears, got as far as
Give my love to all. from your affectionate son
My dear Sister
You must forgive me for neglecting your letter so long, but the fact is, letter writing is getting to be a stale business on account of the scarcity of news to communicate. You must not think that I find it a hard task to write to the loved ones at home, far from it, it is a pleasure to me and a task that I am ever willing to undertake, but when I write to you I do it with the wish to furnish something pleasant and profitable, but as matters stand at present in this vicinity I fear I shall be able to do neither, so if you don't get a long and interesting letter this time, please overlook it.
Capt Vantine and Co is well and in a flourishing condition. I never enjoyed better health than at present, owing no doubt to the healthy location of our camp. It was rumored yesterday that Genl Crittenden and Staff were taken prisoners at Murfreesboro, Tenn. on the day before, I dont know how true it is, but upon the receipt of the news, Genl Nelson started (it is said) with his whole Division for that place I cannot say as I believe that Nelson took his whole Div. to Murfreesboro, as I am of the opinion that such an expedition would terminate in a wild goose chase, but I think he has his eye on some other point, but I am certain that he moved with his Div to some point or others, as he left Athens with it, (where it has been encamped for the last three weeks) day before yesterday[.] Probably we shall hear from him in a few days.
Peaches are ripe and you had ought to taste of some of the pies that we
make, they are perfectly delicious, but I need not tell you what a peach pie is
you are perfectly competent to judge for yourself[.] There are several large
orchards in this vicinity and of course we are no ways backward about wading
in, Roasting ears are becoming quite plenty but I intend to be quite shy of
them, and not endanger my heath by over indulgence. There is a large amount of
corn, and but little cotton raised down here this season. Craiglorn did not
come to the Regt he went as far as
McClellan has lately been doing some hard fighting with but little
punishment to the Rebels, although our Chief claims a victory, its results appear
rather barren to me. Gen Mitchel has gone to
I will answer Mothers letter next time I write. I wrote to Mother a few days
ago. I am glad you got the money that I sent. You must excuse me for writing on
this soiled paper, but my paper was short I will get some better, before
writing again. I get a letter from William a few days ago and answered it. He
was within 30 miles of
I got all of those stamps 8 in one and 10 in another letter.
My dear Mother
I received your kind and interesting letter last tuesday, and I think I need not say that I was glad to hear from you.
Juliet also sent a letter in the same envelope, and I answered it as soon as it came to hand. It appears you have failed to receive the letter that I wrote to you some days ago.
I suppose you have heard of the death of Wills. Willson he died at (Tuscumbia?) several days ago. Poor Mose, what will he say when he arrives and hears of his death, it is so hard. I suppose that supper and dance on the 4th was a grand thing, should liked to have been on hand myself to shake my foot and partake of some of the refreshments.
Washington Boggs told us all about the death of Ralph Devere (aw.?). I have not heard any news that affected me half so much as the news of Ralphs death.
I was much in hopes that the citizens of Elmore would effect something lasting and beneficial in their pursuit of the Liquor sellers. I should have enjoyed that
of the full articles. You wish to know if Geo Claghorn
arriving would make any difference with me. not in the
least. I took the place of Ezikiel Rice. In case Geo Claghorn gets a discharge
(which he is anxious to get) I will stand a good chance to get his position, that is if Capt Vantine keeps his promise with me.
I wrote to William a few days ago, his letter was written from Moscon. I
believe dated 22nd June. He was well. I was pleased to hear that he had a horse
to ride as marching afoot during the warm weather is not very pleasant to say
the least of it. I got a letter from Moze Willson a few days ago. I was much
pleased to get a letter from him. News is very scarce at present consequently I
shall be under the necessity of quitting with a short letter this time. The
Rebels have been cutting up some capers lately by tearing up a portion of the
R.R. track beyond Pulaski. I don't know whether or not the mail communications
are cut off, but I intend to risk this letter any way. Genl Michel is needed in
these parts once more very much it takes him to keep them down[.] Tell Father I
will write to him next. from you affection Son
July 21st 1862
There is but little news to write to day, but thinking a few lines might be
interresting to you, I propose to occupy a few moments by writing. Lieut. Wood
Our Brigade lies at
How does recruiting go on in the North. I
understand 40,000 is
There was quite an excitement at
There was quite a number of boys from the 21st in
hospital at that place, at the time of the capture. W. Barnes of
in regard to sending any of my letters to the Editor of your County paper, you will act in accordance with your won judgement if you think that any of my scrawlings are worthy of publication you may do so. I don't possess quite so high an opinion in regard to my humble merits however.
I will answer Juliets letter in a day or two, I got a letter from William to day of July 12th. he was well. give my love to all. I read and answered Mothers letter the other day.
Your interesting letter of July 20th was received this morning, and I think
it is needless to state it met with a warm welcome from one that knows how to
appreciate the worth of letters comeing from far distant, but loving friends. I
am still in the enjoyment of good health, with a fair prospect of a
continueation of the same, and he who has ever had the misfortune to be put
upon a diet of sheet iron crackers and salt pork, can fully appreciate the
blessings of good health. Your letter indicates that in view of the recent
movements of that audacious scoundrel Morgan, in K.y. and
When will this Lavender water policy of our commanders be done away with, I declare I am heartily sick and tired of it, Oh for some General, that while in the discharge of his duties, will entertain no pious notions in regard to harming the sensitive feelings of some of the high bred sons of the chivalric South.
Only think of our commanders furnishing soldiers for the purpose of guarding
the property of the very men that heretofore have been our most bitter enemies
and it is often the case that they take that very opportunity to wound the
feelings, of and insult our brave boys, by tauntingly mentioning some Rebel
victory and chuckling over it in high glee, and openly proclaiming their
sympathy with the rebellion, and the cases are of frequent occurrence wherein
the guard, in direct disobedience to orders has left his post, and went to his
company, because he possessed too much spirit to allow himself to remain in a
position where he was openly insulted without a prospect of redress of
grievances. I admire the spirit of such a man, and blush for that officer who
can so far demean himself as to attempt to curry favors with the contemptible
puppies who style themselves one superiors in
everything relating to moral worth. Good God has it come to this that Federal
officers have allowed themselves to become the tools of these miscreants, and
are willing to sell their men merely to obtain the good will of these hemp
deserving villains? excuse me for allowing myself to
use such strong language, but my feelings get the upper hand of me and I cannot
control them. It appears that our leaders are endeavoring to win back the
traitors, by acts of kindness, and in repay for acts of the most vindictive, and uncalled for cruelty committed on the part
of the rebels, are literally smothering them with roses, so to speak. and their plea for such conduct is that they are gaining
friends for the cause much more rapidly than they otherwise should by pursueing
a more rigid policy. I need not state that the experiment has proven a failure
in every case where this lavender water policy has been resorted to, Our past
experience in Ky. and Tenn. speaks for itself, Guerrillas consisting of the
citizens whose very property has been so zealously guarded by Union soldiers,
have ever hung upon our rear doing an almost uncalculable amount of damage to
the cause. Halleck made short work of that call of men, during his occupation
There are rumors to day of important changes in high places,
we hear that
from your affectionate son
My dear Sister
Today is a rainy day and the gloom of the weather, casts a corresponding gloom over my spirits, and consequently you must not expect a very interesting letter this time. I have been somewhat elated for the last few days, but it is all over now and a reaction has taken place which puts me in quite a bad humor, The case stands this way. It appears that Gov Tod has recommended recruiting for the old Regts in order to fill them up to their maximum number, and Lieut Col Neibling sent for an order for recruiting for the 21st there was to be two commissioned officers, and four Sergeants, sent home in the capacity of recruiting officers. also, in the first place it was said that a Sergt. was to be sent from Co. I. and I was picked on for that purpose, but alas for human hopes Neibling changed his mind and when he sent for the order, there was no mention made of our Co. and so my hopes were immediately blasted wasent it too bad, I had counted so much upon seeing you all once more, When I was told by Lieut Wood that they had concluded to send me home, my expectations ran up to an amazing height, but when I learned how it was to terminate, they fell in a corresponding ration. The order has not yet come and we are almost in hopes that it may not come at all, so angry are all of Co Is men because I could not go. The most of them had some little article to send, such as miniatures and letters, but the game is up and I have lost. but never mind better luck next time there is nothing to gain by repinning, but much to lose.
I suppose you will soon return to Oberlin once more to pursue your studies is it your intention to take a Ladies course at the Oberlin Institution? I suppose when I return home at the close of the war, I will find you quite an accomplished Lady, well, success attend you,
(P.S) I forgot to mention that my health is excellent
My dear Brother
Your long and interesting letter of July 12th came to hand a day or two ago and I must say that I was glad to hear from you. The 21st is stationed at this place but no one knows how long we are to remain here, but in all probability all summer. The Regt. has again been called together, and our Co. had to leave its pleasant quarters at Fort McDonald, and come to the more busy scenes of Athens, The force now stationed here consists of several Companies of Ky. Cavalry, a Battery of Steel guns, and the 21st O.V. all under commend of Lieut Col. Neibling, Col Norton having gone to Washington City to be exchanged, and not yet having returned Col. Neibling of course assumes command he being Sen. officer at this place[.]
There is a mystery attending the conduct of Col. Norton. It appears that he had not been lawfully exchanged, but serving in the U.S. army all the time notwithstanding all that , and about four weeks ago he left for Washington City to be exchanged, and there are rumors of foul play on his part, it is said that he has never yet reported to Washington City, but gone somewhere else, and an order has been issued instructing any officers to arrest him wherever he may be found, The citizens of Athens appear to know of his whereabouts, they say they have heard from him and that he is now at Richmond.
It is thought that Col. Norton has been figureing for the position of military Governor of Alabama. he is very popular with the citizens having shown them more lenity than he does his own men. it is the opinion of all, that Norton is a used up man (rumor says all this)[.]
All of Buells Army stores pass through Athens and are all reshipped here,
being brought a part of the distance by wagons, and being put abord of the cars
at this point, it makes quite lively times as a large force is required to handle
them. I should not be at all surprised if the enemy should watch their
opportunity and make a clash at this point, as the large amount of Gov property
now lying here, might tempt them You wish me to give you a history of Co I.
from the time of it organization to the present time. Well the Co organized at
Camp Dennison the result being thus, For Capt. D. Gibbs, 1st Lieut G. Vantine,
2nd A.E. Wood, Orderly James Bumpus, 1st Sergt G. Claghorn 2nd Michael Rice 3rd
Russel Rice, 4th George Smith, 1st Corpl Ezekiel Rice, 2nd Maxwell Reynolds,
3rd R. Caldwell, 4th John Rice, 5th W. Barns, 6th J. Frederick, 7th W. Perse,
8th A. Veon. The
During the course of events we found ourselves at Fort McDonald , a place on the R. Road 80 miles north of Athens, while at that place one of our men Shoemaker by name died very suddenly, his death supposed to have been caused by eating too much fruit that being the first death by disease that our Co had sustained since its organization. While we were yet at that post Ezekiel Rice, (having taken sick at Nashville and at that time at home on sick furlough) was reduced to ranks and I was appointed to take his place, Private Joshua Rogers was then appointed 2nd Corpl in my place, and J. Frederick being sick and absent was put into the ranks and Mathew Culican, appointed to his place. That is all of the changes
(Excuse me for leaving this white paper, I made a mistake in calculating about the amount of news that I should have to write, R C)
that have taken place. The health of the Co is excellent, there being but few sick, and those are old cases, non behind in hospital all doing well. I forgot to mention that G. Craiglorn and S. Beach have applied for discharges with very fortunate since entering the service, most of the other Cos averaging about 3 deaths to the Co ours only losing one, We report 65 men for duty at present[.]
Our Regt musters over 800 effective men I came very near obtaining a chance
to go home in the capacity of recruiting Sergt. but
was disappointed in my expectations. Give my respects to Lieut Rice also Mj.
Rice, I hear that Lieut Rice has tendered his resignation how is it.
Your affectionate brother
(P.S) I forgot to mention that Private Logan Mizner of our Co was taken
Your letter of July 27th came to hand to day, and it brought the welcome news of the good health of all.
I also got those two numbers of the Cincinnati Gazette. They were very interesting indeed, especially that account of the recent actions of Col Norton, we have been kept in the dark somewhat, in regard to the true state of affairs concerning our Col we were told that he had gone to Washington for the purpose of being exchanged, but now the true facts of the case are out, and we can only pity our over ambitious Colonel, and hope his example may prove a warning to others, that expect to further their own aggrandizement by endeavoring to undermine the well earned popularity of others, We are all very sorry indeed that the thing occurred as it did, as little Jesse was beloved and respected by all his men as a commander. No one can say when or where he will again turn up.
I am pleased to hear that Lieut Luckey is getting along so finely, it is
possible that I may have the pleasure of seeing him, if he should come by this
route, in going to rejoin his Regt[.] I was much pleased to hear of the
continued prosperity of your brisk little city and cannot help compareing its
marks of improvement with the villages of the South. We will take the town of
It is what may be denominated a finished town there are no improvements whatever, going on, and the buildings for the most part look very much weather beaten and decayed, the streets are covered with filth of every description and it is a wonder to me that the Cholera has not broken out among the citizens and soldiers long before this, There are a few fine buildings in the place, principally, the residences of wealth planters, who prefer town life to that of the country.
A great many of the dwellings are deserted, and with the yards growing up to weeds, and fences broken down they present a very dismal appearance, taking it all in all it lacks the freshness, and thrift of our northern towns[.]
There is considerable cotton purchased at this point[.]
I noticed a considerable quantity piled round the Square consisting of
something over Five hundred Bales, and was informed that it was the product of
one plantation for one season, it brought the owner
the snug little sum of $45000 in gold but a few days ago. The average
production of cotton in this vicinity is, about one fourth of a Bale to the
acre, and when we consider that the staple commands from 23 to 30 cents per
pound I consider the raising of it to have been quite a profitable thing for
the planter, The cotton burners have lately been scouring the country in this
vicinity endeaving to commit their deviltries under the very noses of our
forces an dhave succeeded in burning a considerable amount, notwithstanding the
vigilance of our men, There will be but little cotton raised this season, owing
to the small amount planted, the farmers preferred putting their ground to corn
which yields about 10 bushel to the acre, the average yields of wheat is about
4. Lieut Col Neibling has just received a despatch to have three days rations
cooked and hold his command in readiness to march at that notice,
I don't know what is in the wind, in my next you will hear. Love to all your
affectionate son Robert I wrote to Juliet a few days ago, also to Father We are
once more on full rations having been on half rations about 15 days,
communications are now open by R.R. to Nashville
I have just received your kind letter of July 28thand hasten to answer it. It is extremely warm to day, the sun is almost melting to a person that is obliged to be out of doors. You don't know what warm weather is in the North, and could you but come down here and be present upon, what we call a tolerable warm day, your first exclamation would be Oh get out South, give me the cool and invigorating North[.] We that have be come accustomed to the climate stand it very well. but there is one article of luxury that we miss very much. that is Ice Oh what would ent I give for a glass of ice cool lemonade just at this present time, or even a Palm leaf fan would be quite an acquisition, but us poor fellows are obliged to take just what is given us and be contented with it and most happy is he who is the best Philosopher[.] Oberlin is doing well in sending recruits, but I think little Elmore surpasses even that loyal city in sending strong armed defenders, of your country to the field,
You say that your fellow! has enlisted as a private, well so much the better for him, if he is worthy he will certainly rise and if he is not, he don't deserve to, thems my sentiments,
Now a days commissions can be obtained by merely sending for them, that is while at home, but once in the service and how different, a man has got to work his way up by degrees, the progress is slow, but if persevereing, in he efforts, he is bound to succeed in the end, The service tries what a man is made of, if he is a natural born rascal he will no be long in showing it to his comrades, but if on the other hand he proves himself what I call a man he will not be with out his reward, you said it was a pity that all could not be Generals now I don't agree with you, exactly, although Genls are very good in their place, yet I am of the opinion that, did our Commanding Genls but receive the pay and rations of a Private, this war would not last one month, it is to the interest of those receiving large salaries to prolong the contest all long as possible[.] We have to many Genls already, just light some of them out and put men in their places, and Jeff Davis will soon sing another tune,
Why confound your little Elmore what a magic news box it is I never thought of you or any body else for that matter getting married, well curious thing will sometimes happen
Oh I had liked to have forgotten to tell you of a little matter of a rather
romantic nature that occurred in our Regt lately, one of the boys of Co C was
engaged to be married to one of the blackeyed Susans of Athens and yesterday
was the day that was to witness their nuptials. the
music was already engaged for a grand dance at the house of the lovely Bride,
quite a number of Blue Jackets had been honored with an invitation to be
present at the festivities, and all were counting on a grand flourish of
trumpets, when lo! a cloud appeared to darken the summer heavens, and the cloud
assumed the proportions and shape, of Lieut Col Neibling who at once forbid the
baus and of course upset all calculations for a big time in Alabam I believe if
it had been my case, I should have then married the lady for mere spite, to
show Neibling that some things might be done as well as others you know. Your
description of Miss Murray, just suits me, I should like extremely to become
acquainted with her please present my respects to her.
from your loving brother
Juliet you never told me who Miss Murray is, did she drop from the clouds to fascinate the young men of E_ or is she a loyal member of Uncle Sams dominions,
Tell Mother to look for a letter next time,
My dear Brother
You will doubtless recognize my writing at a glance, and wonder at the
heading of my letter, but the fact is I am now in the pleasant village of
Elmore, surrounded by all of the dear ones at home, Think not that I have
deserted; far from it, I have come home in the capacity of a recruiting
officer, In accordance with a late general order issued by the War Dept. there
has been a non com sent home from each Co for the purpose of recruiting for
their respective Regts, and I was the lucky fellow that was sent from my
Company. I left
I met Juliet at Fremont, she had just got aboard of the train when I espied
her, and you can imagine what followed, as it had been eleven long long months
since I had seen her, We had a thousand things to talk about, and you may be
sure, that we made good use of our vocal powers, When the train stopped at
Elmore Juliet got off first and who should she meet there but Mother, who was
there waiting for Juliet (Juliet having gone to Fremont in the morning) She
broke the news to Mother as gently as possible, but when I stepped from the
train, and Mother saw me, I thought she would go crazy almost, but as joy never
kills, she survived it, and after our first meeting was over we started for
home, and Juliet went in and told Father, and he got up (he being in bed at
that time) and I can assure you that we had a joyful meeting, Oh how good it
seemed to be under our own roof once more, we remained up, talking until almost
midnight, and our joys would have been complete could you have been with us,
but that pleasure was denied us. I found Father Mother, and Juliet all well,
and doing well, Fathers beard is about six inches long, it is quite grey and
makes him look older than he otherwise would. Cousin Martha, and Aunt Rice came
I found Elmore altered very much in appearance from what it was when I left
home, John Ryder has built quite a brick building upon his lot, it is two
stories high and the upper room is left full size to be used as a hall, for
dancing, lectures, &c .&c , The mill looks as
natural as ever, Father has shipped his Whitewood plank. He only had three or
four culls There was something over 23000 feet of it.
The sycamore has not yet been moved, I don't know how soon Head intends moving
it. I cant say how long I am to remain here
recruiting, but in all probability until the first of September. Alfred Rice is
Elmore Aug 31st/62
Father and Mother having written to you I thought best to send a few lines, after commencing, how to write anything that would be likely to interest you, but you must take the will for the deed. Last night we had a Picnic given to the Soldiers of this vicinity, It was a decided success in every particular, there was perhaps in all about thirty soldiers present, and then the Ladies, it was truly refreshing to see them. The supper was given in Ryders hall, and the Ladies had trimmed the room with flags, which made a very pretty appearance, and then those tables there were two of them, one extending the whole length of the hall, and another about twenty feet long, They were literally bending with every thing eatable, and I assure you that no person went away hungry, there was enough for all and to spare, and the remnants are to be distributed among the poor of this neighborhood. I got your letter day before yesterday, it was on the way only six days, quick travelling, I agree with you in regard to the effects, that will be seen immediately after those 600000 men are brought into the field, and it is my opinion that if nine months from this time don't witness the downfall of the boasted Confederacy, we will never live to see it. it has got to be accomplished speedily or never, and I am one of those that is willing to believe that Government is going at t he work in earnest at last. I really hope so at least.
from your Brother
I arrived at Columbus Tuestay noon and proceeded immediately to business I made out the necessary papers, and drew the uniforms for the boys, and now they are well pleased, There is a great deal of business to be attended to yet before I can come home, and it is possible that I may not get permission to come home at all, as Wash Bogg went to the office of Capt Dod for transportation home and he was told that all recruiting officers were required to remain with their recruits as fast as they arrived at camp, but I don't believe all that Wash says, and to day I will go and see for myself. I should feel very sorry indeed if I cannot get home as I left all of my things lying round loose and there is my trunk if I cant get home. Some arrangements will have to be made so that I can get it, but I will go and see Capt Dod to day and I think I shall be able to get through. I have been taking that medicine, but I don't need to take any more of it, as I am about well, once more
If possible I will be home tomorrow night. I believe I have no news to write the boys are all well and doing well.
Your affectionate son
Elmore Sept 14th/62
What, still at home, you exclaim, yes, still at home, and yet not so still either as I am on the go, most of the time attending to business connected with the recruiting Dept
I have been in
I leave for Columbus again next tuesday for the last time, as we are expecting to join our our Regt in a short time, We will in all probability be in Columbus one week, and from there we go to Cincinnati and so on to the Regt Col Norton is exchanged and is again to take his old command.
I hardly know where the 21st is, on account of Buells
late Crawfish movement, but I think it is not far from
Mother has made three shirts for you and is going to send them to you by Capt Poe Chaplain 72nd O.V. I t would make such a large package by sending you the drawers also, that Poe would not like to take them as he had expressed a willingness to take a small package to you, and Mother thought you would rather have the shirts than the drawers and so she acted upon it. If you need the money to buy the drawers Father will send it to you, in your next let him know.
When I get to the Regt I will write to you once more.
All are well. You[r] affectionate Brother
I arrived here to day and have commenced soldiering once more, I feel very well indeed, as good as I ever felt in my life. The boys are all well and enjoying themselves finely. I must cut this note short as there is a man waiting to take this to the office,
Care Capt Sage
write and let me know if Father has got home yet
Columbus Sept 19/62
Since writing yesterday, I have been told that we are to leave to day for
When you write let me know if Father has got home
As we are to leave in about an hour everything is in confusion and I wont write a very long letter. I will write as soon as I
But pishaw! I have heard so many camp rumors that I don't quite believe this rumor, however if we go, I will write as soon as we arrive,
I will also write to Juliet from there, as I have got a great deal of business to attend to before leaving I must cut this letter short
Your affectionate Son
Here I am once more in Camp Denison after an absence of twelve long months,
Just about one year ago to day, the 21st took quarters in this camp, We numbered
at that time about nine hundred and fifty effective men, and now here are about
one hundred and twenty fine recruits destined to fill the decimated ranks of
our once full ranked regiment. The question very naturally arises, where are
those absent men? the answer comes back mournfully enough, the plains of
Tennesse, the crowded grave yards of Alabama, if they could speak doubtless
they would say, here lie countless number of brave and loyal men that willingly
forsook their pleasant and happy homes, to sustain the Government that had so
long protected them. Yes, an hundred noble men have fallen from the ranks of
the 21st within the last year, and I cant help asking myself who, and how many
are to be the victims of the comeing year, These men now in camp, left home
with high hopes, but how few may ever return, I declare it almost makes me feel
melancholy to think of the probably chances of (liar?), but poshaw what's the
use in feeling bad, it wont help the matter in the least. We left
We live very comfortably and enjoy ourselves amazingly. I don't know how long we are to remain at this point, but in all probability for several days, we are not yet mustered into the service, but expect to be in a couple of days.
I wrote to you twice while at Columbus and in my last, I stated that it was rumored that we were to start for Camp Dennison that day, the rumor proved correct, for once, Washington Boggs has not yet got back, neither has the rest of the boys that left for Elmore on furlough, but we are expecting them tomorrow. I heard that Wash was in Columbus, in company with several ladies, I did not learn their names, but suspect that Mary Boggs and Mary Luckey are with them I should enjoy very much being with them my self, but that is impossible[.]
I have written to Lieut Rice and am looking for him down here, on a visit, if he comes we sill have a good time.
I will write to Juliet to day, My health is excellent
The old camp looks quite natural once more, we are in about the same position that the 21st occupied last fall
If Father has got home tell him to write also, and let me know how he relishes soldiering
but I must close
Your affectionate Son
If any letters come to me, please forward them to me at this place
Hurrah! once more in old
How are you getting along in Oberlin, guess you are having a rather dry time, as I understand there are but few students attending the institution this fall.
I suppose Father has got home by this time. I hope he enjoyed his visit to
Oh _______ pishaw there is no news to write There is about 3000 troops in camp at present, mostly recruits for old Regts
I wrote to All _ yesterday and expect to see him down here on a visit in a few days[.]
I enclose a friends photograph I got it in
I declare I shall have to leave some white paper this time, will try to do
better next, dirct camp
Care Capt Sage
Your affectionate brother
I saw Washington Boggs to day, and he told me that you had got home once more from your squirrel hunting expedition.
Well, how do you like soldiering, as a general thing is it not a fine thing?
lying out without tents, exposed to wind and rain? I
have often found it so, so very fine that I could not see the point of the
joke. however I am proud to be able to say, that the
I see by the papers that Genl Buells army is in Louisville, also that the 21st is there, so we will have no trouble in joining the regt I am quite anxious to do so as I had much rather be with the boys than in this camp. I wrote to Mother soon after we got here but have got no answer as yet. when you write simply direct
don't direct in care of any officer, as in that case there are a great many preliminaries to be gone through with before a person can get his mail, as he will have to get an order from the Commanding Officer before the P.M. will deliver it to him.
I believe the 3rd Cavalry leave for Louisville tomorrow morning, at least so says Wash who is going back to Columbus where his wife is now staying[.]
There is no news to write so please overlook this white paper. tell Mother to write also, as I am quite anxious to hear from home.
I have written to Juliet I am enjoying the best kind of health
I received your letter of Sep 24th day before yesterday and seize the first opportunity to answer it. I have not yet got the letter that you wrote immediately after arriving home, but it will be forwarded, no doubt.
Washington Boggs is married and was down here last friday
and returned to
I have not yet got that letter that you wrote to me giving a description of your adventures while in K.y. I have had but the one letter since leaving home, but expect to get them more regularly in future. You state that Wash Boggs told some of his friends that all recruiting officers were to be sent home again there has been some such talk and a few have been sent back to their respective stations, but I am of the opinion that the officers of the 21st are to remain in their present quarters for the present.
You say that you have once more commenced sawing, I am in hopes that that man may come on that spoke of taking the mill. I don't think I shall stand in need of any more money as I still have enough to carry me through, if the 21st is not too far distant, however if I should stand in need of any I will borrow it as there will be considerable risk in sending money by letter, as there is no telling how soon we may leave here, The Pay rolls of the recruiting officers of the 21st are made out, and we expect to draw our pay in a few days.
The 115th O.V arrived in camp to day. I cant see why it is o lie in this camp while its presence is so much needed in the field
I have been told that the 21sst is in
When you write, direct to
Camp Denison Ohio
don't direct in the care of any Officer as it takes too long to get mail when it is so directed. as I have to get an order before I can get my mail
I enjoy good health, and to day am going to eat an oyster dinner with Lieut Wiley Give my love to Mother and Willie
(P.S) I sent a letter by Wash Boggs he said he intended to visit Elmore
(will?) away from
I received you letter of Sep 28th in which you ackowledged the receipt of
one of my letters written on the 21st I also got that letter containing a
letter from Capt Vantine. I have just finished writing a letter to the Capt I
was very sorry indeed to leave home before first seeing you, but it was
unavidable, and I had to obey orders. I don't think I shall be able to make
arrangements to make you a visit, as I understand we are to leave for
The men are mustered in and will receive their pay to day or tomorrow, Vandyke went home on account of being rejected by the examining Surgeon, Daniel Wight accidentally shot himself in one of his great toes a few days ago, he was playing with a loaded revolver and it went off wounding him as I have state. He is now in Hospital and doing well, will be left behind if we move from this camp at an early date,
I will take your advice in regard to securing the good will of my officers
and men, it is as you say, there is policy in war as
well as politics. I have been in the service just long enough to see, and
understand it, and as I said before, I shall endeavor to cultivate the esteem
and good will of both privates and officers, as it is all depending upon that,
I shall be very careful about expressing any thing derogatory to the character
of Col Norton, I believe He also intends to pursue an entire different line of
policy, in future, as he cannot continue to uphold the conduct of Buell. Of
course you take the papers, and they in a great measure express the sentiments
of the people, and I see b the papers that there is a growing dissatisfaction
among the masses so far as the continueing of Buell in command is concerned. It
is the opinion of most men with whom I have conversed on the subject, that
Nelson received his just deserts, at the hads of Davis[.] If
Love to all, from
Your long looked for letter came to hand yesterday, dated Sep 28th for som unaccountable reason it has been detained on the road some time and that accounts for my not answering it sooner, as doubtless you have been looking for an answer long before this.
You will oblige me very much by saying to those (Lady) admirers of that photograph, that I have always considered the Ladies of Oberlin as being good, and just critics, and of course any decision made by the fair inhabitants of that city immediately becomes orthodox. Oh
No doubt you are just more than enjoying yourselves in O. only think of it, fourteen gentlemen and eleven ladies boarders at one house, it isnt every house that is so blessed with the sterner sex. Ask Jennie if she intends making her cousin Jeff Davis a visit this fall, perhaps she may have mistaken the man it may turn out that the Indiana Jeff is her cousin instead of Jeff of Richmond although our Indiana Jeff has lately proven himself quite as blood thirsty as his rebel namesake, although by that one act he has proven himself worthy of the esteem of every true Soldier, and had he acted otherwise upon that occasion would have deserved their their unmitigated contempt instead
You certainly have quite a number of correspondents, seven letters in one week. You surely have some correspondents in the Army, well no lady should hesitate to write to one of Uncle Samuels adopted, so long as he conducts himself properly.
It has been rumored that we leave for
Having some spare time I propose to write and let you know what is
Then thinking enough had not been done to show their generosity, they raised $140.00 for the purpose of purchasing a set of colors (a flag and banner) for the 21st, they will be perfectly splendid when finished! there is no end to their generosity, the recruits, 109 in number furnish one dollar apiece, and us recruiting officers, 10 in number, the remaining 31 dollars, it will please Col Norton very much, to say nothing of the Regt we have been carrying an old three months colors, heretofore[.] and the new set will be a great aquisition to the Regt
It is reported that Genl Morgans Cumberland Gap army is comeing to Camp Denison to morrow I cant vouch for the truth of the statement, Morgan has about fifteen thousand men, He is bringing his men here to recruit up once more, before entering upon another campaign
I wrote to Father the other day, I received his letter, in which he gave a
description of his adventures in
I also received a letter yesterday from Juliet written Sep 28th I answered
it to day, It is reported that we leave for
I have heard that the 21st is in Nashville, I am just going to eat an oyster dinner There I have just finished that oyster dinner, it was splendid I opened a can of that honey and we had bread and honey, we enjoyed it hugely I can assure you.
I fear I shall have great difficulty in getting through with my trunk and sachel, as Gen Buell has prohibited the transportation of trunks, or anything larger than a valize, and when I get to Louisville I will learn something definite in regard to it, if I cant get it through, I will have to send it back home, and have the contents given back but I shall take it through if possible. The Officers in this camp talk of sending their trunks home and buying valicas instead
Love to all, your affectionate son
I am happy to inform you that this fine morning finds me enjoying good health and spirits. I received your kind letter a few days ago, with a short note enclosed from Father, and I wrote to Father, with the promise of doing the same by you, and I am now doing my best to fulfill my engagement
We are still nailed to this camp unable to get away
why it is so, I cannot find out, but there appears to be a screw loose somewhere, and that (too?) of pretty good dimensions by the manner in which things swing round in this camp.
O, I am so anxious to start for the Regt! I declare I get so tired lying in camp I hardly know what to do with myself, but I am still encouraged with the thought that perhaps tomorrow, or next week at farthest, will find us on our way. I am anxious to see Capt Vantine and the Company once more, I wrote to Capt a few days ago, but am fearful that the letter will never reach him.
The recruits of Gov Tods are coming in quite plentiful and the prospects are that he will soon be able to form a Regt in this camp. if not a Brigade, I believe Genl Despondency is to command the Brigade. Col Draft, the Regt now in this camp. The other Field officers are, Lieut Col Substitute, and Major Bounty. The whole command to be under the supervision of Quarter Master Hard Bread.
Great calculations are being made upon the fighting qualities of the laid Brigade as it is composed of a hard looking set of fellows, doubtless its members will be able to endure a large amount of hard marching &c .&c .
I have just received the news of the late battle in
I have got a great deal of writing to do for Lieut Wiley and I must close, Give my love to all, and write often
Your affectionate Son
P.S. If we leave this camp I will write from our first stopping place
Your interesting letter written on the 12th, came to hand to day, and I was much pleased to hear of you continued good health. I am still in the enjoyment of good health, and expect no change for the worse.
I received Mothers letter last saturday, just after I had sent my letter to the office I suppose you are having some exciting times to day, as it is election day. what a pity it is that I could not be at home to day to poll my vote, declare it makes me feel insignificant to think that after having lived in this country upwards of 21 years, and one year of that time spent in the service of Uncle Samuel himself[.] I say it makes me feel as though I were small potatoes. It appears to me that there ought to be some arrangements made whereby the soldier, absent from home, could send in his vote, what a shame, here I am two things at once, and good for nothing either side. namely, a voter and yet not a voter, never mind if our Generals will do as well by us as we are willing to do by them[.] I will be at home in time to help the six hundred thousand more to send Father Abraham back to his chair again.
Mother wishes me to send her a copy of my speech delivered upon the occasion of the Sword presentation. Well I dont know as I can get it in, world for word, as it was an extempore affair and I have no copy of the wonderful and flaming address, but it was something after this style,
In behalf of the Recruits of the 21st Ohio, I take great pleasure in presenting to you this beautiful Sword & Sash, as a slight token of their regard and esteem for you, and if I may be allowed to judge of the future by the past, I hesitate not in saying that I believe it is to be given into good hands that the wearer will never yield it up to an insolent foe, without first baptizing its bright blade in the blood of that foe, then in the name of the recruits of the 21st, I present to you this sword and Sash, that you may long live to wear them with honor and credit to yourself, and Country, is the sincere and heartfelt wish of the donors.
Lieut Wiley then made a short and pithy reply, when the boys all gave the cheers, nine counts and a tiger and dispersed, it was quite interesting to me at least, who had never before been placed in a like situation, but I am just vain enough, to say that after the affair was over, I received the congratulations of all the boys, they thought it was splendid, but I didnt tell them what I thought[.] O no, papers scarce and I must close, will write to Mother in a day or two
I wrote to Father day before yesterday and I promised to write to you in answer to your letter that was thankfully received, You wished me to send you a copy of that presentation speech that was made upon the occasion of the sword presentation.
I did so in the letter that I wrote to Father. I am well and was gratified to hear that you were all getting along so finely. I have not had a letter from Juliet for almost two weeks, and in fact only one since I arrived at this camp. I wish when you write to her you would mention it to her[.]
The boys that I recruited have decided to send home for some nice things to eat such as butter &c &c or anything that their friends might think fit to send[.] I told them to have the articles brought to Fathers house and he would put them in a box and have them sent by freight. We will pay the freight upon receiving the box. You may have the box directed to me, and I will get it for the boys. If you send the box, write and let me know so that I will know when to look for it.
We dont know how soon we may be ordered to the Regt and we may remain here a
month. there is no telling how the thing may turn out.
We have received election returns and are overjoyed to know that that arch
traitor Vallandingham has at last learned the true sentiments of the Union
loving men of his Dist. three groans for the old villain. The papers state that
Negley has had quite a little brush with the enemy at
You must excuse me for writing with a pencil but the pen that I commenced with was good for nothing and that is my excuse.
You[r] affectionate son
I yesterday had the pleasure of receiving a letter from Mother, with a short note from you, and it is needless for me to state that I was much pleased to hear from home[.]
I was pleased to know that you had engaged the services of Mr. Crane, as sawyer,
I should like very much to hear that you and Dr White had gone into partnership in the hardware business, but it would be much more satisfactory if you could start business entirely upon your own hook as you would in that case be entitled to the entire profits. however I leave it to your judgement to say.
So Wash Boggs is to have a commission in the 9th Cavalry. pretty
Mother appears to think that
Mother wrote that William sent you and Willie something that came from Helena, I could not quite make out what it was, it has excited my curiosity somewhat to know what it really is the name of the article was blurred in Mothers letter, and that is why I could not make it out.
The drafted men have commenced comeing into
I seat myself to inform you that I am still in the land of the living, and
that we have about made arrangements to leave the
This lying in camp and doing nothing to benefit the Government is not what I enlisted for, and I am happy to see that my recruits are in the same mood
I wrote to Mother a few days ago, and told her that several of the boys had sent home for some nick nacks in the shape of eatables, You may send the things and in case we are not here to get them we will leave word with the Post Surgeon (Dr Prentice) that he can take the box and make use of the contents in the Hospital, but possibly we may be here to get them, as we may be unable to get off. The boys instructed their friends to take the articles to our house and that you would then put them into a box and send them to me I will receive the box pay charges and collect the same from the boys. There is nothing of interest transpiring in camp at present. I will write more at length, when receive a letter from home. We have got that set of Colors, and they are perfectly splendid. they are the finest thing of the kind that I ever saw. and if we get them safely through and into the hands of and under the protection of the 21st, I have no fears for them, as I feel satisfied that no other Regiment would do more to protect them than the 21st O.V. At Cincinnati a day or two ago, he resigned the day after the fight at Nashville, and in coming home was captured by the enemy, and parolled Adjutant Band 21st O.V. has been missing since the fight, and it is supposed he was killed or taken prisoner
Yours of the 20th has come to hand, announcing the agreeable news that you
are going to send our boys a box of eatables, We will
be on the lookout and ready to overhaul those nice things as soon as they come.
We have been disappointed in regard to getting off from this camp, as soon as
we expected to and now there is no knowing how long we may remain here, Noah
Jones brother came to camp, yesterday, with several Recruits for the 57th. We
were much pleased to see him, I am having my hands full of business now a days,
it is just write, write, write, all the time and no end to it. I have to do all
of the writing for Lieut Wiley, and there is a great deal of it to do. There is
no news of importance to write. I saw Alfred Rice yesterday, he was going
through here on his way to
Your letter was received a day or two ago, and I seize this as the first good opportunity to answer it. It was written on the 14th and I got it on the 21st it was delayed in the office at Oberlin almost a week
It snowed here last night and this morning the snow is 2 ½ inches deep quite an introduction to winter I think
There is nothing interresting transpiring in camp at present and this lying still within the friendly lines of Ohio is not exactly what I volunteered for, and don't just come up to the mark
There is some prospect of getting away from here before long, but it is rather slim
O, if I could but see the Regt once more, it seems as though I would be
satisfied but that pleasure is denied me for the present and I must be satisfied
with whatever falls to my lot. I received a letter form Father, in which he
stated that he was going to send a box of eatables to us here at camp, we are
looking for it every day, but it has not yet come. perhaps
it will be here tomorrow, if it does come wont we have a time? perhaps not. I had taken a trunk full of articles along with
me for the boys of
The boys will be somewhat disappointed but I cant keep it[.] How soon are you to return home from oberlin, and when are you going to commence your school
I have heard that Jennie Rice has gone home, it
didn't take her long to get her education, what a curious girl Jennie is. I saw
Lieut Rice at the Depot the other day, he had been ordered to
Camp D. Oct 28/62
I read your letter of the 26th and hasten to answer. In one of my former
letters I told you that we expected to leave this camp in a few days, well we
have again been doomed to disappointment, as we failed to get transportation
for our men, and now, I cant tell you when we will
leave. Lieut has written to Col Norton who is Provost Marshal at
I was some what surprised to hear that the Helbing Bros had gone into the Hardware business in E. that stroke will as you say cut you out completely for the present, but perhaps there may yet be a chance, when you may advantageously step in.
Tell Mother that I have got a couple of Woolen Shirts also two pair Drawers, and that I shall be comfortable in point of clothing, I am going to try and get some of my boys to carry those shirts through for the boys that I had in my trunk, but I am afraid that I shall be obliged to send the heavier articles such as boots &c home, however I will do the best I can to get them through, the trunk I will send home, at any rate, as it is impossible to get it through. I will take the shirt for Capt Vantine, also his tea the tobacco I will send home in the trunk[.] I will label the articles so that you may deliver them to the proper owners. I enjoy excellent health.
Camp D. Oct 30/62
The box came this morning, and four of us went up to bring it down, We went into the Freight office and was rather surprised to see its dimensions, but when we took hold of it we could properly realize its weight, it was just as much as four of us could do to carry it out of the office
I went after a Dray and had it hauled to our quarters where it was soon opened and the contents brought to light and such a light, the boys just fairly jumped up and down when those fine apples were exposed to their admiring gaze and going deeper into the box we were more and more pleased as each article was raised. Such butter I declare I never saw its equal, and those cakes and cheese, but when I came to those Sweet potatoes well there is no use in attempting a description of my antics. I told the boys long before we got the box, that I knew I should get some of Fathers Sweet potatoes, and sure enough there they were, that jar I have not yet opened, the bread, we had for dinner and when I say that I recognized it as Mothers baking I have praised it sufficiently, as you know full well that I have always been able to do justice to your good bread[.] That paper of Nuts that Willie sent are just the thing and I want you to thank Willie for me. Most of the boys got something, and we have made common stock of the whole contents of the box, There was one lot of articles in a Pillow slip that had a name on, but it had become obliterated and we could not make out the name, however the contents were just as acceptable, and it went into the general stock.
I got that large apple with my name pinned to it, and now it is among the things that were, I got that note of yours, and I will get a pair of boots. the shirts I have already drawn and am prepared for winter weather.
Lieut Wiley got a letter this morning from Col Norton, He wrote from Cincinnati, he was on his way home from Frankfort K.Y. where he had been on duty under Gen Dumont Col thought we could move for the Regt in a week or ten days I have not yet sent that trunk but will before we leave.
I wrote to Father Yesterday and to Juliet Sunday
Your Son Robert
Camp D. Nov 6th/62
I have not heard from home this week but am looking for a letter to day. I expressed my trunk home this morning. I did not pay the express charges on it ($1.00) on account of being a little short[.]
I have purchased a pair of boots, good ones, I paid $5.50 for them, I have also bought a Rubber Blanket for $3.00 and am now prepared for wet weather. I could not get a pair of boots at this place that suited me, and had to go to the city for them. While there I visited the Gunboat that is building there. It is to mount ten guns four eleven inch Columbiads and six 24 pounders.
Those guns were some, the round shot weighs 180 pound I thought I could lift one with ease, but upon trial had to let out the job. The plating for the sides is 3 inch wrought iron, the decks being covered with one inch plating.
The side wheels are driven by two powerful engines. In addition to the side wheels, there are two Propellers, driven by two propeller engines. Those engines were splendid.
The propeller engines were about two foot stroke, and 18 inch bore. There was three boilers about the size of our boiler in the saw mill. The Smoke Stacks are about 10 feet high above decks. The whole concern is protected by plating with the exception of the Wheelhouses. I also visited the Waterworks. The machinery is driven by four engines.
Two, perpendicular ones of about Six feet stroke and three feet bore, they were the most splendid engines I ever saw. The other two were horizontal, and twelve feet stroke by two feet bore, they were of the old style of Steamboat engines, but very powerful. The works are being extended, and another engine of still larger dimensions erected[.]
There was a fire in the city and I had an opportunity of seeing those famous
Steam Fire engines work. There were five of them on the ground and all read
with steam up by the time that they arrived on the ground. The fire caught in
an Oakum house, and spread to a Lumber yard, and destroyed a large amount of
lumber, it was finaly subdued, as what fire could withstand the deluge of water
that was thrown by those engines. Enclosed find the key to that trunk, those
check shirts are mine, the tobacco Capt Vantines, the Tea is Bumpuses, those
cants of fruit, Mrs Paynes the empty cans speak for themselves, I got the boys to carry the rest of the articles. We will
probably leave in a few days as the way is now open to
[FIRST PAGE MISSING]
notice the Flag pole that stands in front of Head Quarters.
Those long dark buildings to the left of Hd Qrs are the Quartermaster & Commissary buildings[.] That cluster of small ones contingent to the Pole, are the Officers of those belonging to Hd Qrs. That two story white frame building in the background is a boarding house, and that long low one to the left of the boarding house is a stable for the horses used in camp by Government.
You will notice the Guard House a little to the right of the pole with the
cross on it. You know what a guard house is used for and I will not have to
explain its use. It takes four pictures to complete the set, but I only got
two, the others are very much like the two that I send you, with which you can
form an imperfect idea of
The Hospital Wards, are being plastered so as to be comfortable during cold weather
Your affectionate Son
(P.S) I wrote to you in a former letter that the box had come
Your long and interresting letter was recd yesterday afternoon, I had about made up my mind that I should not get a letter that week (as yours was the only one I got during the week) but yesterday afternoon the mail came and I was fully rewarded for my patience by receiving your long and very interresting letter. I am so glad that you and Father intend having your pictures taken to send to me, as I always wanted them. Yes indeed that is news in regard to the marriage of Fred & Lizzie A good match indeed in my opinion neither will be much the gainer by the operation.
That was truly an awful affair. The murder of those two young ladies. The gallows was cheated of its lawful victim by his committing suicide[.]
Lieut Wiley has gone home to Perrysburg, and we are looking for him back tomorrow. he sent word by one of our boys that had been home on furlough, that we would leave for the Regt next wednesday, but I dont place much reliance in the report. however I am both ready and anxious to be moving but you may still continue to direct your letters as before and they will be forwarded if we have gone.
I was glad to hear that Father was getting along so well with his sawing. I am still in hopes he may be able to sell out to Mr. Crane.
Yes the Country will suffer greatly in the loss of such a General as was Mitchel and it will be difficult to replace him. Oh how glad I am that old Buell has been removed from the Dept of the Ohio and a good fighting General put in his place, and one that we know is a loyal man.
Now don't fail to have your pictures taken and sent to me.
I expressed that trunk home the trunk belongs to Mrs Vantine
Dress parade and I must close
Camp D. Nov 12/62
You must excuse me for writing with a pencil but the pens are all employed and for that reason I use a pencil.
I recd your letter containing Yours and Mothers likeness and I can assure you I was very glad to get them, They are very natural and I prize them very much indeed[.] I shall take good care of them
You wish to know if I get any letters from William. Not since I left home I
have not even had an answer to the letter in which I sent William my Photograph
and I think it is no more than fair that he should write first. That likeness
of yours it is lying before me, and I can hardley keep my eyes off from it. those spectacles of yours look so natural, and Mothers
picture is just as natural as can be. I see that
The 4th Tenn Regt came into C. Dennison this morning
The Regt is an Infantry Regt and is going to be turned into Cavalry so I am
told. The Colonel of the Regt is a Son of Gov Johnson of
Lieut Wiley is at
Camp D. Nov 15th/62
I seat myself to acknowledge the receipt of your two last letters.
One of them was one of Williams letter with a few lines from you
What a good letter that was of Williams I wrote to William last and he owes me a letter, but I wont wait for him to write first but will write to him. I read that letter containing $5.00 for which receive my thanks[.]
I am happy to be able to announce at last that we leave
When you write you had better direct Nashville, Via Louisville, if there are any letters on the way for me they will follow We leave Daniel Wight in Hospital, he being unable to go with us[.]
I sent James Bennetts Shirts home by Express, they go this morning, they
were directed James Bennett, Elmore
I of course did not pay the Express charges on them, he will have to do so when he gets them. Weather is very fine and I hope we may arrive at Nash in time to join the 21st in case it takes the field once more, a campaign this fine weather would suit me exactly
No news to communicate and you will have to excuse me if I don't fill this sheet
I never enjoyed better health than at present
You affectionate son
P.S. I will write the first opportunity
We arrived at this place yesterday and I hasten to communicate the fact to you
We bade good bye to
I found the boys all well and in a flourishing condition
We got to Edgefield, (a town directly opposite
I have reported for duty, and expect to take hold again and resume my accustomed duties. Parson Brownlow speaks here to night, and of course I will attend. I had the pleasure of seeing the renowned Preacher, but mail closes, in a few minutes and I must stop[.] I am enjoying good health.
My dear Brother
This long continued silence on Yours as well as my own part, why is it. I wrote to you from Home, and sent you my Photograph which you neglected to answer, or in answered I failed to receive[.] I should be happy indeed co carry on a regular correspondence with you, and why should I not, I feel satisfied that there has nothing transpired between us that is calculated to create a coolness between us, far from it, I can only lay it to our confounded carelessness laziness, or what shall I call it, and in future, for my part I intend to do better, as the penitent says.
I just more than enjoyed myself while at home, among friends, I was at home
just for weeks and then left for camp, We lay in C.
Dennison almost eight weeks, but finally left for this place, where we arrived
last Thursday morning. I brought fourteen Recruits to
The prevailing opinion now is that the 21st is to winter in
I heard Parson Brownlow speak a few evenings since[.] He is a perfect trump and hard to beat, if he isnt capable of abusing the Rebels, then they are entirely above abuse, that's all.
He is going along with our army into
He made the expression that he wanted to see Hell greased for five miles with the Gut fat of his enemies.
O, he is a regular rip roarer (an elegant expression, can you interpret its meaning)
We had a visit from Lieut James Luckey & Sergt Major Maines 3rd Cavalry, this morning[.] They look well, Jim is almost as large as his Father.
I believe I have no important news to communicate.
Please present my respects to Maj Rice.
Your affectionate Brother
I wrote to you upon our arrival at this city, and told you of our safe arrival.
I was on Piquet guard last night and feel very dull this morning, and therefore you must not expect much of a letter from me this time.
This morning I was much gratified to receive a visit from E. Haines, Lieut
James Luckey & Dewilton Wood 3rd O.V they are to remain with us all day,
They look well James Lucky in particular Jim is almost as large as his Father.
I was some in hopes that our Regt was to remain in this city at least a little
longer but it is finally decided that the 21st is to winter in
He can abuse the Rebels if any body can. If I wanted to have any man abused according to Hoyle I should employ old Brownlow by all means
He is just the man that I expected to find him. Rough! Rough dont begin to tell half the tenth.
He is a medium sized man, with long dark hair without any beard whatever. He appears to be about forty five years of age. Your first glance at the old Hero will satisfy you at once, that he is a man clear through. He takes nothing back that he once asserts, and shows the utmost contempt for the threats of his enemies, who, if they could gain possession of him would tear him limb from limb.
Brownlow is a perfect trump in my mind, and just such a man as I should like
to follow into
There are several Forts of that description all mounting heavy Siege guns. We are expecting marching orders daily. I am ready to go at any moment.
Love to all
To day is the first leisure time that I have had for several days past, on
account of being called upon to make out Pay rolls for the Company, besides a
lot of other writing that I have had to do for Capt Vantine. I have not had a
letter from home, since I left
In one of my former letters I wrote you that I had heard Parson Brownlow speak I also heard the Hon. Horace Maynard the same evening, it was a rich treat, I can assure you. I never listened to such an interesting Speaker, as was Brownlow. He gave the Rebels a sound dressing out. and if there is any person on earth capable of doing it effectually, that person is Brownlow.
Our Camp is very pleasantly situated in the edge of the city, we have breastworks thrown up on the outer edge of our camp, The whole Piquet line is enclosed with breastworks, and felled trees, and consequently piqueting is not very dangerous[.]
Our Regt comes on Duty about once in five days One Regt goes out at a time on Piquet. Our Forces still continue to forage upon the surrounding country. the train is usually escorted by two or three Regts Infantry, a battery of Artillery and a battallion of Cavalry. I suppose before this you have read a notice in the papers about the late fight at Lavergne, between the forces of Gen Sill, and the Rebs[.] of course our side was victorious as usual in these parts. I have not yet heard the particulars
There was also quite a smart skirmish down in the vicinity of
We had Brigade inspection yesterday, everything passed off in order, and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned
I heard that we had a slight engagement at
The weather has been splendid for the past two weeks, warm and dry. Just the kind of weather for campaigneing, but here we are and I dont know how soon we will move. We are frequently visited by some of the 3rd Cavalry, James Lucky was here again yesterday, and also Bidwel Hulls. but I must close
Give my love to Mother, Juliet, and Willie
I suppose Juliet has got home has she not
I hardly know what to think about the mail, there must be something wrong,
as I have not yet had a letter since I left
I am enjoying the best of health at present and indeed I have not been sick since leaving home.
I went out Foraging day before yesterday. I had charge of the Regimental train ten wagons in all There was over four hundred wagons in the whole train we loaded all of them , in some instances taking the last bit of forage the owners possessed. After loading a part of our train with corn I went to the house of the owner, to receipt for it, and I got the most terrible tongue lashing from one of the women of the house that I ever got in my life. However I gave her a piece of my mind in return, telling her that if the citizens didnt return to their allegiance, we were going to take everything they possessed even if they had to starve in consequence.
I also informed her that if her husband couldnt make it appear to the authorities that he was a loyal man, he would not get a cent for his corn, when with a sigh, she exclaimed then it will be a long time before he (her husband) gets his pay.
Oh! how I did sympathise with them. You know
Well news is scarce and I will close, hoping to hear from home soon and
I know I know you write regularly, but perhaps direct wrong.
Your long looked for letter arrived yesterday and I need not inform you that it met with a warm welcome. I recd one from Juliet, dated Nov 27th which I will answer in turn.
Capt Vantine, Lieuts Wood & Bumpus were highly pleased with my success in recruiting, but, Mike & Mack had but little to say upon the subject. All that have seen that set of Colors pronounce them as being a little ahead of any thing of the kind that they ever saw. They will be presented upon the arrival of Col Norton, who is looked for every day
I was highly pleased to hear that J. Easterly A.W. Luckey were going to make a visit, to their sons.
I was glad to hear that the School marm is boarding at our house, how unfortunate that at this particular time I should be absent from home, wonder if I cant get a furlough for twenty days.
No doubt, Juliet will enjoy herself this winter as that Piano will just suit her. Doubtless that wedding of Fred & Lizzies was a brilliant affair. Long life to the happy couple.
We had quite a streak of Winter in this latitude. Last friday night it snowed in pure winter style, the snow fell to a depth of about one inch, but to day the sun is shining brightly, and the snow is fast disappearing.
You but echoed my sentiments when you expressed a wish that the war might be
prosecuted with vigor. I believe that the Commander of the Dept of the
Mr Barns is again with us and he and I talk some of having our picture taken together, to send to you, I found my knapsack all right, and every thing safe. Capt Vantine told me that he was glad that G. Rice & Dewilt, Wood, & Epharin Rice did not come with me, as he said that they being old acquaintances of his might ask some favors of him, that he as an officer could not grant.
Please present my respects to the School marm.
Your kind and interresting letter was received day before yesterday and I hasten to answer.
You stated that you hd got a beau in the person of Mary Luckey, I do envy
you indeed, she is as you say, a splendid girl, and indeed I am of the opinion
that the North can hag over the South in point of the beauty of its fair
ones[.] I have looked in vain to see the first beautiful woman in
I suppose you must have had a fine visit while at Uncle Thomas's house[.] should have enjoyed myself amazingly could I have been with you, but pshaw I am soldiering just now, you know, and visiting is not in my line. I had a visit from Lieut Lucky 3rd O.V.C. a few days ago, had a fine time
I intend to make them a visit in a few days, I saw George Rice Ephrarim Rice & Dewilt Wood, they were all well and well pleased with a soldiering life.
We have fine times here in
I visited the State house a few days ago, and went through the entire building, it is a fine structure and one that the State of
His wife is still living, but I did not see her, She
is a secessionist of the most violent kind. Well
Well I must close.
Tell Mary Luckey I was highly pleased to receive that short not from her. please present my respects to her
You[r] affectionate Brother
Really you must excuse me for neglecting for so long a time to write to you, but I promise you that I will endeavor to be more prompt in future.
I wrote to Mother a few days ago, and acknowledged the receipt of her letter, also one enclosed from Aunt Mary, I also recd the one from Juliet and answered it.
Genl Negleys Div was reviewed to day by Gen Rosecrans[.] The Genl comdg complimented our Div very highly. After review he inspected quarters, and as he passed through the different company parade grounds each Co saluted him with three hearty cheers which appeared to please him very highly. He had a kind word for nearly all the boys.
And he is extremely popular with them. He is quite a common place looking man. he looks very much like a farmer.
Our Regt now numbers nearly one thousand men. We have got fifty more
recruits. Capt Alans Co F 21st O.V. went home shortly after I got to the Regt
He went to
Our Piquets are constantly skirmishing with those of the enemy, and a few
days ago two Divisions of our troops had quite a little fight, and were
apprehending a general engagement, but our troops fell back a short distance,
and the enemy for some reason did not follow. I am at a loss to know how soon a
general advance will be made but in all probability it will not be delayed much
longer[.] There is a large force of union troops on
The last letter I have had from home was from Mother dated Nov 30th
Capt Vantine wishes me to add that he is of the opinion that Mary Vantines
Ed expects to get a Commission I believe. I hope he may get it as he is deserving.
I am enjoying good health.
no more just now
Your affectionate son
I wrote to William a good while ago
My dear Sister
Your interesting letter of Dec 7th was receved yesterday, and I hasten to answer.
Without doubt you and the school marm are just more then enjoying yourselves
this winter[.] Yes indeed I am just the fellow that
could enjoy myself at home during the holidays, but it wont
do to think of such a thing. I listened to an eloquent discourse to day,
delivered by the Colonel of the 74th O.V. perhaps you may have heard, or read
of the rev Mr Moody the great Methodist minister, well he is now the
I received that letter that you wrote to me and directed to
You must be having fine times in E___ this winter, so many parties, it appears that you have got a new installment of young Gents in your pleasant city[.] Aint you and Mary Lucky ashamed of yourselves to (foresmitten?) the same fellow. I should fear to trust myself to ask you for your Company for fear you might serve me the same.
Oh I expect you are both getting to be regular flirts, how I do pity the poor fellows that are so rash as to trust their destinies to your keeping. You said you had got a letter from Thene and that she sent her love to me. when you write to her, please present my respects in return.
Olevia Bartlett is coming to E_ is she. I believe I
did not get to see her while I was at home. I suppose she is still unmarried. I
wish she could get a husband worthy of her. She is a splendid girl, but pshaw
what am I talking of girls for, my duty lies in a different direction. but for all that I guess it wont do a fellow any harm to
stand off and adore if not permitted to enjoy their society. We are now
encamped on the Franklin Pike, Six miles from
We have been having some very fine weather for the past few days, in fact, perfect summer.
I believe I never told you in any of my former letters that my Mess (nu 2) has a contraband cook, did I? well we just have that, and one of the best cooks you ever set your eyes on. His name is Killis, he used to work in a bakers shop, and he is tip top. Oh yes I sent my likeness with that of Capt & Barness to Father & Mother[.] Ed Haines has doubtless got home by this time.
Write often, love to all
Your brother Robert
I recd yours of Dec 14th and was much pleased to learn that you were all
enjoying good health. I never enjoyed better health in my life than at present.
To day the weather is very fine with the sun shining a la summer[.]
We have warm days and cold nights, with occasionally a shower of rain. I am of
the opinion that if Rosecrans is starting a rise of the
Property has of late been changing hands to a considerable extent in Elmore, I see by your letter.
I am in hopes that you and Eli Eoff may effect the trade that you mentioned, as I am anxious to see you rid of the mill, as it is too hard work for you to carry it on.
I wrote to William quite a while ago, but have recd no answer as yet. I see by the papers that Grants army has come to a halt for the present. Christmas will soon be at hand, and my Mess are talking of getting up a dinner on the occasion. if we do get up a dinner I sill send you a bill of fare, and also the price list.
Has Isaac Sharp gone home yet? it is a little curious to me that he did not enter the army,. Such a fiery fellow as he used to be, I should think its exciting scenes would be suitable to one of his temperament. Capt Vantine, Lieut Wood & Bumpus and in fact the entire Company is enjoying good health at present. it is wonderful how our Company stands the service we have not a man in Hospital. but come to think, I must except one George Billings one of our Drummers he has applied for a Discharge on account of Consumption.
Well new is about played out with and so I will dry up
Being Rather lonesome to night I thought perhaps I might pass the time a little more pleasantly by writing to you to let you know of something in regard to my welfare and whereabouts at this particular time.
Well then to begin, we are still in the same position that we have been occupying during the last two weeks, with but little to relieve the monotony of camp life, exceping a slight skirmish now and then.
Yesterday our Regt was ordered out to guard a forage train, we went out in the direction of Murfreesboro about eight miles and while the forage was being loaded the forces were so distributed as to guard the teams[.] There were four Regts, and a section of a Battery acting in the capacity of Guards, the 19th Ills was in the advance and threw out Skirmishers on both sides of the road and advanced in the direction of the supposed enemy. A part of the 21st was deployed as Skirmishers, and Co (I) with others held in reserve presently, we heard sharp firing on our left in the direction of Cos F & D, and soon the news was brought in that two of the enemy had met merited punishment in the shape of a few pills from Uncle Sams boys that acted very finely upon them and indeed I fear the dose was too strong for their constitutions as it brought them upon their backs almost instanter, and I have not yet been apprised of their restoration to health.
and that was not the only result of the firing. but inasmuch as the health of the two above mentioned persons was not in a fair way to improve very soon Six of their comrades concluded to stay, and minister to the wants of their afflicted brethren, so we brought them into camp with us, but the two first mentioned ones were left behind, and at last accounts were sleeping very comfortably in the arms of Mother Earth. While the Skirmishers were employed in taking care of our enemies, Co I was actively employed in skirmishing with a flock of turkeys that belonged to a neighboring family. The result stood twelve turkeys, and one duck for Co I. My mess got three turkeys and the duck and to day we just more than lived. You must excuse me for this poor writing and composition and I promise to do better in future. Well now I am one letter ahead of you and I shall look anxiously for an answer soon
Love to all
Your nice letters came to hand and I was glad to hear from you. You write good letters, better than some boys could write that are much older than you.
You spoke of your Snow Fort and how the sun melted it. I have seen some
Forts that the sun would have a good time melting and the only think that could
knock them down was cannon balls handled by the Northern sons. I suppose you
would like to see some of the big Steamboats that I have seen, here in
There are a lot of cannon in
Write soon from Robert
I seize the first opportunity to let you know that I am still in the land of
the living, but still a little the worse for wear. I went into battle Dec 31st
at 7 a.m., the 21st was on piquet and had the honor of
opening the ball. Shortly after, we were relieved by the 78th
I will write again soon and tell you where to direct mail. Don't let my condition cause you any uneasiness, as I am doing well.
I expect to send [illegible]
please give my love to all my friends and tell them I am about as anxious to go at the enemy again as ever.
My dear Parents
Doubtless you are very anxious to know something concerning my welfare. I wrote to you on the 4th inst and informed you that I had recd a slight wound in my left shoulder, but I dont know as you will get it as I sent it by one of our boys and he may have failed to take it to the office I know what your anxiety must be, and I would have written oftener but I was told that the mail communications were broken with the north. but now I believe the mail commences making regular trips. I came to Nashville night before last and was brought to this hospital where I receive the best kind of treatment and I am progressing finely When I wrote to you before I told you that I thought I would be able to go round in a short time, I can walk already with ease. I believe I could walk off five miles if occasion demanded it. but this morning the doctor told me that it would be full nine months before I could have the entire use of my arm, it looks like a long time to me, but I will bear it if I die trying, as the saying is. perhaps I may obtain a furlough and visit home. I am some in hopes that I can I have a good nice bed to lie on, and a plenty of good food with kind attendants and all that goes to make up the paraphrenalia of a first class hospital.
I dont know how many were killed and wounded of my company, but I know of three in my mess that are wounded, namely Eli Sams James Reynolds and myself
I have been told that Mack Reynolds was killed but I dont give it to you as being certain, therefore you had better not mention it to any of his friends. they will learn the truth soon enough.
Lieut Wiley of Company (C) was mortally wounded and has since died. Capt Vantine Lieuts Wood & Bumpus are all right I believe.
Now Mother I dont want you to worry at all about me as I am doing well, and not at all dangerous. You know I am strong and healthy and will weather almost anything except losing my head.
Give my love to all
Father you need not send me any money unless I should write for it, as I have sufficient to supply my present wants
Your affectionate son
Hospital No 2
My dear Sister
Does the heading of this letter shock your nerves? doubtless it does, as heretofore nothing in this world was so abhorrent to my mind as the thoughts of one day becoming an inmate of one of the institutions but dear Sister, since coming to this most admirably governed hospital and becoming accustomed to its scenes, my mind has underwent a great change as regards hospitals in general, and I now look upon them as humane institutions, founded for the benefit of the afflicted, and not as great pest houses as we were most of us led to believe they were.
The hospital that I am now in was built for a College building and is large and commodious, well ventilated and heated, it stands upon a high eminence overlooking a great part of the city, and taking it all in all I think that I have cause to be thankful that my lot fell in this place.
Well, how did you spend christmas and new year's You can easily imagine how mine was spent. I thought my Christmas was dull enough but when it came to my New year, no dullness then. but a Sharp pain instead, not much of an improvement on the christmas you would say. well as the southerners say, I reckon you'r right thar
I suppose you would like to know when I am coming home, well my answer must be somewhat indefinite as it is hard telling about it. I have heard it said that some of the Surgeons said that as fast as the wounded were able to bear the trip, they were to be sent home, but I dont place much confidence in the report. Perhaps you would like to know how I am getting along at present. I am gaining every day, and am getting so that I can almost enjoy myself, if such a thing were possible in a hospital
I will be so that I can go round town in a few days, and then I shall be the same lively fellow as before. for you know that it takes a good blow to (spin?) my whistle, and I am bound to be merry, come what may
I see by the papers that Sherman has fought a great battle near Vicksburg
and suffered a defeat I have some fears for William as doubtless the 72nd
participated in the engagement. Oh that old granny of a
hurrah for Rosy
Love to all, and never fret about
Hospital No 2
I forgot to say that our company wagon was burned and as all of our
Knapsacks were on the wagon I lost all of my things, but worst of all, I lost
all of my pictures, wasn't that too bad
Hospital No 2
I am still improving I no longer have any great amount of pain and my wound is healing nicely
Perhaps you may think that I am homesick, I answer, not at all. Still, I would like to be with the dear ones at home, and I think it quite likely that at no very distant day, I shall have the pleasure of clasping you all by the hand once more[.] I believe there is something being done towards sending the wounded to their homes. Wound'nt I more than enjoy myself at home this winter, Juliet and I could go sleigh riding almost every day and the bracing atmosphere together with the invigorating sport would soon bring me round once more, but if I am doomed to lie in the hospital I will bear it like a true soldier should, but then I cant help thinking that they might send us home for a short time at least
I am getting somewhat anxious to receive a letter from home, as I wish to know how you are progressing in that latitude.
I have not heard a word from home, since our army moved on
I spent my New years rather lonely I can assure you as I was lying in a field hospital at the time but now I am (as I said before) doing well, I can go round the room without assistance and will soon be able to go round town, Day before yesterday quite a number of wounded men were sent by Steamboat to Louisville I came very near going myself but the Surgeon thought I had better wait a few days
I have to pay 60 cts per pound for butter but am glad to get it even at that price, as it is quite a luxury, The 21st is still at Murfreesboro, I dont know how soon the army may move on, Phillip Jackson is here in this hospital he is sick, not wounded[.] He recd a letter from Capt Vantine, Capt is well[.] Lieut Bumpus is wounded in the leg, but doing well I believe.
Direct, Hospital No 2
Give my love to all
Elmore January 18th (63)
I just write a few lines to let you know that we are all well Juliet appreyed you of the fact that your Father had gone to Nashville to see after Robert well we got a dispatch from him last night that the (lall?) was extra bed and that he was resting well[.] I send you the 3 letters we received from Robert this week. The 21st have lost about 25 out of their company[.] you can hardly tell what a relief it was to me when I got those letters as the news had come in the Paper, that he was seriously wounded. I am in hopes his Father will bring him home with him[.]
oh William when shall we have an end to such a state of things it is sickening indeed there were 2 killed out of Co K and several wounded[.] I think we may be truly thankful that it was no worse with Robert[.] if I can get him home again hel not leave un till he is sound again. in the dispatch last night your Father said he would be home in 12 days. we have been having rain rain mud mud till we have got almost mixed but yesterday it turned cold last night snow fell to the depth of 1/2 foot and it looks fair now for good sleighing I hope when I hear from you you will be at Memphis I would rather have you there than have you dragged around the country.
Corinth Miss Jan 27th/63
My Loving Sister
I received your very kind favor of the 18th inst. to day. The day before yesterday I read an envelope full of letters from Robert, with a note from Mother.
You will imagine my feelings on learning that Robert had escaped so much better than I had feared.
I trust by this time that our Dear brother is at home and enjoying the society and kind attentions of loved ones.
I shall write to him at length when I learn that he has arrived. I am compelled to take exceptions to his views of Gen Sherman, who is the idol of his Army. No one can have a higher admiration of Gen. Rosecrans than myself. I can "Hurrah for Rosey" as heartily as any one, I can assure him, but I must also (gain?) my voice for the "Hero of Shiloh" if not the Hero of Vicksburg.
He fought well but was overpowered by four times his own force and was
compelled to retire from the bloody field without accomplishing what he sought.
The fault was not
Juliet your desire for me to visit home is measured only by my own. I can
scarcely imagine any greater happiness than would be afforded by a short visit
to the Dear Dear Ones at Home, But Dear Sister, I fear that cannot be as soon
as either of us may desire. But let us live in hopes for this good time coming
and hope that it may come soon. Our Regiment will probably leave for
The Prologue contains much fine writing and is worth all the rest. I suppose that you have read "Hiamather". If you have not you will not fail to do so. It is Sam Gillian's best effort and will (full?) repay your attention "The Famine" cannot be excelled. I am glad that you have got to reading Dickens. I want you to read the Waverly Novels by Scott. You will not fail to love the (brink?) of the series. The "Heart Mid Sothian".
I send you Photographs of the new Com. Staff, rather inferior pictures. taken on a rainy day with a bad light. write often and about everything you can interest me[.] love to all[.]
love from your loving Brother
White Station Feb 17th/63
To the Dear Ones at Home
In what words can I convey to gain an idea of the anguish that I experienced to day when John told me of our Dear Dear Roberts death. How can I find consolation for you My Dear Parents and now more than ever precious Sister, when I find none for myself.
John had been to
Our Brave, Noble Robert has gone to join the glorious band of Heroes Who have gone before us, Among the many Thousands O brave hearts who have received the summons on the battle field, which bid them "Come up higher", no nobler Soul has answered the summons than our own Robert.
Among the Thousands who have offered themselves at their Country's Shrine, none did so more willingly than HE. May we not Cherish the (?) that He has been transferred from the Army of The Union to that Glorious Army above. Let us believe this with all our hearts, and be comforted.
John considers it almost providential that Robert was permitted to visit home at the time that he did. It would have seemed so much harder to have parted with him had (?) not seen him since he left Home the first time.
Eighteen long months ago I grasped his hand for the last time, and little did I think then that it was so. But "God's Ways, God Makes our ways".
May it be some comfort to you my Dear Parents and Sister to know that I am
coming Home before long, and to stay at Home I am arriving home honorably too.
I have had the matter under advisement for some time and had thought of coming
sometime during this coming summer but now I will come sooner. The exact time I
cannot name now. I cannot say too much of John Rices friendship He is
everything to me[.] Hoping that God's Grace may be
sufficient for you in this dark hour I remain your afflicted-
Camp at (Smymoo?)[
Feby 18th 1863
I promised you when I wrote you last, that I would write you again someday,
but the fact is Robert, a soldier has no business making promises for he makes
them only to forfeit them he cannot tell what a day may bring forth, but what
he may be on duty or something of this kind, I hope by this time Dear Boy, that
you are much better and have arrived safe in Elmore (as I was informed that you
were in Cincinnati when I last wrote you I though you were at home until after
I had written). You cannot imagine how surprised I was this afternoon upon
hearing the death of Geo Rice. I was up to
How hard it seems Robert to have they whom you love and respect, shot down
by your side and then you forced to leave them to the mercies of an insolent
foe, and while breathing their last to be stripped and damned by them. After
the battle, I walked over the battle ground and there saw poor (
I am well pleased with the place I now have. though
it was quite hard for me to leave the Regt, Michael Rice is with me, he send
love, and says tell Robert to hurry and get well. I think the army will soon
make another sound move for
Your Friend as Ever
Amos E. Wood
1st Battalion Pioneer Corps
Burns Feby 22nd 1863
My Ever Dear
How sad to us was the news that wrung your mother heart. How can we comfort you & yours in your bereavement. The ways of God are mysterious & past finding out. But my Sister you have this to comfort you, that Robert in all his bearings to you was a most affectionate boy well disposed and kind.
You have been called to part with one of your 3 Jewels. Remember they were only lent to you, and that at sometime the master would call for them
Again my sister another source of comfort to you, is the fact, that he died in prying his dear country from the worst foes that it ever had and in doing that he was warring not only for our common country, but for his own fireside & home
Cannot you be comforted in this sad loss? Is there no value in silence to heal the wounded spirit? Is there no physician near?
Yes dear Jane there is[.] Look with me in the dim future, and you may find you will believe that Robert was snatched away from you perhaps to prepare a way for you in the Great future to come. Yes Jane I do firmly believe that although unseen by you, yet he is around and about you for good.
Watching you and yours protecting you from harm[.]
I am no spiritualist. But I piously believe that our friends are ever near to us. What better proof have we than this solitary fact, that when immersed in the cares of life, and not conscious of thinking of the loved ones taken from us, all at once some fragrant spot in the memory of our loved ones come uppermost in our thoughts, and we almost again hold communion with the dead[.] Peace at present to us Sister. But alive with the hopes of once more seeing them again face to face
Is it not a happy thought Sister Mine, that our seperation from our loved ones is only for a brief time?
If I could how cheerfully would I restore your Robert to you alive.
But God can & will give you faith believe that you will again with all your family see him face to face where there will be no wars, no grief nor no parting
Sister Mary feels for you much very much. She loved Robert much. She has wrote you
Accept the assurances of a Brothers Sympathy in your Bereavement
Believe me ever yours
Whites Station Feb 23rd/63
My Dear Father & Mother
It is natural that in writing to you that I should continue to speak of our own Dear lamented Robert.
But what can I say? What can I say that can comfort those whom God hath not comforted. I can realize in a measure the feelings that (sound?) our heart strings. I feel that the blow is a heavy one, crushing in its weight but I trust that you may not be overwhelmed by its power, but that you may be enabled to roll off the burden of sorrow that obbsesses you and look upward to Him who alone is able to bind up the broken hearts. May We not ever from the depths of sorrow into which we are placed look upward and hear the balm of consolation poured into our bleeding hearts, even from the hand of our Heavenly Father. May we not all learn a lesson from this, our great trial. Have we not as a family, placed too great an estimate on the things of this life? While we have (rendered?) unto Caesar the things that are Ceasars, have we rendered unto God, the things that are Gods! Our treasures are taken from us one by one and placed. we now reason to believe in a far better land than this. May this bring about the result of turning our minds and hearts from the (Purest of all?) things of Earth to the enduring (niches?) of Heaven,
You know not what a source of consolation it is to me to know that my Dear
Brother had so kind and loving a Father with him to the last. When I compare
his fate with what I have seen at different times since I entered the service,
I cannot help feeling very, very Thankful that it was as well with Robert as it
was, How many how very many have I seen enter the dark valley alone, no eye but
a stranger's met their gaze as the cold waves dashed over theirs, they met the
King of Demons alone, but with our Dear Robert how different. How Thankful we ought to be. At
It was however on sunday night that I saw a marked example of paternal affection. The fate of our Army on the close of that (?) day hung upon a thread. The Rebel cavalry at sundown came up to our force and fired on our hospital where we had five or six hundred wounded. We were situated on a high bluff direct above the river and our only escape from the showering of bullets that was being rained upon us was in descending the bank to the river's edge. This was terrible work for the poor wounded men, one (?) attracted my particular notice. A father and son were assisting each other down the bank, both were wounded severely. The son however had a leg shattered and torn by a causeon shot and was well night helpless. his Father however stuck by him and assisted him all that his own crippled condition would allow[.] I lost sight of them during the excitement that followed when the Gun boats commenced throwing their storm of shell over our heads. Only one other instance did I see of this nature and that was two Rebel Brothers wounded and lying side by side on the same (?) ministering to each others wants to the extent of their (relative?) abilities.
I recd two letters from home to day in one envelope one
from Juliet. I did not receive any letter containing stamps, but did
secure those letters written by Robert from the battle field. I do not think
that you secured all the letters that I wrote from
(?) your affectionate Son William