Letter – Frederick Doten, 2 September 1864


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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 he received the last letter Welles sent and that he will try to be patient in waiting for her next one. The previous day, his regiment received orders to move, and had nearly packed everything up when the order was countermanded. Doten mentions that the 2nd Corps was not “whipped” in a previous fight as some may think. He writes that he is in better spirits, possibly because he has been too busy to dwell on negative thoughts.

-Page 1-

 Head Qrs 3d Brigade

                          2d Div. Sept. 2, 1864

My own dearest Georgie

     Your two letters of Aug. 28th and 29th were received yesterday. Capt. Hawley’s brother came nearly down here, or at least as far as Washington, and finding that the body of his brother had been sent north, went back. Major Howell, adj’t. gen’l. of our division, brought the package to me containing your note and one from Helen. The mail is in tonight, but nothing from home for me. I was selfish to expect it, was I not? I will try and be patient darling until tomorrow night.

-Page 2-

I wrote to Helen yesterday, saying that I hoped we would remain quiet for a little while, but I had hardly closed the letter before an order came to “be ready to move at once.” Upon that, horses were saddled, tents struck, and everything packed up for another fight, when fortunately the order was countermanded, and we subsided into “readiness to move at a moment’s notice.” I hope though that the emergency that called for that has passed, and that we can have our much needed rest. I wonder almost how it would seem to have a fight around here, and the 2d Corps not engaged. I hope people dont

-Page 3-

think that the 2d Corps was not whipped the other day. I assure you we were not. To be sure, we lost heavily, but we killed and wounded more of the enemy than the whole number of our command. We had only two divisions of our corps there, while the Rebels had one whole corps and one division of another. But this is not the kind of letter to write to my dearly loved Georgie. How came I to bring this horrid subject into my letter? I believe I am growing savage. I am feeling in better spirits tonight that usual. I don’t know why, unless that I have been so busy today that I could not think

-Page 4-

of anything unpleasant. And now to keep up this edifying state of mind, I shall, when I finish this letter, take a cigar and lie down flat on my back and think of somebody that I love, and look at a picture of a dear girl away up in my peaceful home, who loves me. I dreamed I was with her last night. I love her very dearly.

     Good night and pleasant dreams, my own darling, with many kisses,                   Yours lovingly, Fred

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!

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