Letter written by Lieutenant Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his fiancée Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division. Doten writes that Sundays are generally quiet, and General Ulysses S. Grant intends for the day to be observed as much as possible. He mentions a recent horseback ride with his tentmate and a new railroad near the camp, which the Confederates have unsuccessfully attempted to shell. Colonel Thomas A. Smyth is currently in command of the division while General Gibbon is absent. Doten is sending Welles a piece of the 14th Connecticut Infantry’s colors.
Head Qrs 3d Brigade
2d Div. Sept. 11th 1864
My own dearest Georgie
It is Sunday again, and the day for both of us to write. You remember last Sunday, in my letter, I wondered if you were not writing to me? Well, sure enough, you were, and in your letter you spoke of the same thing. Our Sundays in the army have been generally quiet. I believe Gen. Grant intends to have the day observed as far as practicable. We hardly hear a gun fired the whole day. So you can imagine how we welcome the day. We are having such
lovely moonlight evenings that last evening I could not resist the temptation to take a ride by moonlight. So Lieut. Parsons (Adj’t Gen’l of the brigade) and myself took a delightful gallop across the country. Lieut. Parsons is my tent mate now, and a very fine fellow he is too. We remarked coming back that we hoped each to find a letter awaiting us. The thought hastened our steps, or rather the horses. And away we started at full speed. Arriving, sure enough, there was a letter for each. And I came to the conclusion that I had not had so pleasant a ride for a long time. My letter was from you, my own darling, dated Sept. 7th. So you are back in Chicopee, and pleased with your visit in
Bridgeport. How glad I am. I received a letter from Nellie speaking of your departure. You are missed there, darling. Nellie is very much attached to you. She says she won’t know what she will do without you. I know very well before you went there, that my Georgie would be gladly welcomed. Charlie is disconsolate as usual. He has been in mischief. I thought I had stored away those pictures you speak of where no one would ever see them again. Well, I don’t mind about it, as I know of. I wish I could have come in suddenly and caught you and him, and Nellie too, looking up my old things. The old “Libby” [prison] suit, for instance. I would have captured the whole party; not one should escape, at least
not without a large ransom.
I am under obligation to that young lady for sending that “rice ball” to me. I will immediately commence to pin myself up, though I believe I have not had occasion to use such a thing for a long time. You need not tell her so, though. I will use them someway.
I am glad Aunt Sarah has discovered why I went to Springfield, and believe she thinks I had a good reason. ‘Why!’ she says. ‘Who do you know in Springfield?’
I suppose your father was glad enough to see you home again. I don’t wonder at all, darling
that he is so very choice of you. I should not like to have you leave me as long. But here I am far away from you, with no prospect of getting nearer at present. I am very impatient to see you, my own darling. Will the winter never come? I don’t think I get as low spirits now as I used to. Since I have the assurance that you love me, the only feeling is impatience to be with you. To be sure, it has been very gloomy here, and at the regiment since the loss of my poor friend, Will Hawley, and so many other noble fellows, but when I think of that, the next thought is about Georgie, my dear loved Georgie. I have her still, and
she loves me. So you see, my darling, how much you have done for me already. You spoke of learning something good about me. No, no, Georgie, dear. I am altogether unworthy of your precious love. But dearest, it shall be an incentive to try and become more worthy.
We have been in the same place for two days, at which we are all surprised. The new railroad runs quite near our camp, and the enemy frequently waste their ammunition trying to shell the trains. They have not been able to do any damage yet, though their shots come unpleasantly near, sometimes.
Col. Smyth is in temporary command of our division, during the absence of Gen. Gibbon. I think
it is wrong on the part of the government to keep Col. Smyth from having a commission as Brigadier Gen’l, at least. They give him a major general’s command with only the rank and pay of a colonel. There is not a more brave or efficient officer in the field than Col. Smyth. I enclose a small piece of the colors of the 14th. The old flag is nearly in pieces. This little piece was nearly off, so I thought I would send it to you.
Please give my very kind rememberances to your father and mother
With many kisses for your own dear self,
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!