Letter written by Lieutenant Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his girlfriend Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 14th CT Volunteers. Doten writes that he has been feeling depressed and unwell. He was left behind when his regiment went off on reconnaissance. Doten writes of his love for the 14th Connecticut Volunteers, although this does not extend to the new conscripts. He then describes the band that plays each night at the headquarters for their entertainment, though they seldom have time for singing.
Head Qrs. 14th Conn. Vols.
Sept. 1st, 1863
Dear Miss Georgie
In my present state of mind I don’t know that I should attempt to write to you. I am terribly blue. I have been quite unwell for a few days past, and unable to continue my duties. And yesterday morning I was obliged to see my regiment go off on a reconnaissance without me; the first time since I have been out, that I have been left behind. The camp is so very lonely. Do you wonder that I have the blues? I never thought that I should become so attached as I am to the 14th. My love though is for the old 14th, not
the “conscripts” that have been put in with us. We certainly need filling up, for we have but a small regt.; only eighty-three privates on duty & three or four officers. But that little number has shared together the hard fortune of the 14th, and we do not welcome drafted men very lovingly.
I feel very much pleased at the interest you express for my welfare. I can not thank you enough. My old headaches seldom trouble me, or have not until lately. As you say, I have been very fortunate to escape as I have from everything
Have you made that trip to Mt. Holyoke yet? I wish very much I could join you. You remember we talked of that
when I saw you last. When I go north, you may [be] sure that I shall go to see you, with many thanks for the invitation.
I have heard that song, “Weeping Sad and Lonely.” Our band plays it beautifully. We have them play at Hd. Qrs. every night when we can. We have a splendid band, acknowledged by all to the best in the Army of the Potomac. As to our singing, we do not have much time for that. Besides our singers are all gone.
I take the liberty of enclosing another picture. It may [be] better than the others. If so, please destroy them and keep this. I don’t want to intrude these things, but I am very anxious that you should have the best.
I presume Mr. Harlon is and old married man before this. I don’t
know it, only suppose it. I can’t induce him to write to me unless I write too. Strange, is it not? Does he show a proper and independent spirit? Or is he very obstinate?
Have you decided to take that trip to Niagara with Mr. & Mrs. Stearns? Perhaps you are already on your way. If so, I wish you a very pleasant time, and a safe return. Please give them my very kind regards.
You speak of tiring me with your letters. Don’t let such an idea enter your head again. Why, my dear Miss Georgie your letters are treasures. Please send me another soon.
Please accept my regards for yourself,
Very truly yours,
Fred B. Doten
Frederick B. Doten, was born in Sheffield, MA in 1840. He worked as a clerk in New York City then enlisted at age 22 as a corporal in Co. A, 14th CT Infantry, August 1, 1862. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant of Co. F, March 3, 1863, adjutant of the regiment, April 14, 1863, and captain of Co. F, Oct. 20, 1863. He was present at “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, helping defend the Angle on July 3rd and was cited for receiving many captured swords from surrendering C.S. officers. He was captured at Morton’s Ford, VA on February 6, 1864, but after being imprisoned at Libby Prison, was exchanged and returned to duty as a staff officer for Brigadier General William Hays. He was mustered out May 1, 1865, and became a cashier of the 1st National Bank of Chicopee, MA. He married Georgie L. Welles in 1866, and died Apr. 9, 1903.
Another 3 of Doten’s letters to Georgie, dating from 19 June 1864, 13 October 1864, and 10 April 1865, can be found at Spared Shared. An inquiry into his Prisoner of War status in February, 1864 is available in Ohio State University’s records Be sure to check them out as well!