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 expresses his love for Georgie. He writes that the 2nd Corps is a “living illustration of perpetual motion” as they have constantly changed position. A new railroad has been built starting at City Point and ending within range of the Confederates’ guns. Confederate shelling has not stopped the trains, and the army is easily supplied with provisions.
Head Qrs 3d Brigade
2d Div. Sept. 9, 1864
My own darling
I received last night your dear letter of the 4th. It was just such a letter as I love to receive from you, my darling; assuring me that you love me, and think of me. I have often told you how dear you are to me, and it is a pleasure to tell you so, with the assurance that you love me in return. Oh, that we might be together in our own home, yours and mine, Georgie dear.
You speak again of Mr. Harlon. I will be sure and not give him any more
of my confidence. I have told him nothing now that will do much harm if he does tell of it, or nothing more than I thought his expressed friendship and intent entitled him to. I am very sorry to believe yet that he has abused my confidence. I am not at [all] troubled about it, unless you are annoyed, except that I am sorry to be disappointed in him.
It was indeed remarkable that you should be in Bridgeport just at this time. But I am very much pleased that you were there to perform for me the last sad act of kindness to my noble friend. Don not be anxious, darling, about my health.
I am quite well, and happy in possessing the love of the “best little girl” in the world.
I think the 2d Corps is a living illustration of perpetual motion. We have changed position no less than five times during the last 23 hours. It is very disagreeable; one can’t sit down to write a letter without expecting an order to “move this command at once,” before the letter is finished. The army has built a railroad running from City Point to the extreme left of the army, and right in range of the enemy’s guns. I expect they think the “Yanks” have got a great deal of impudence. Yet with all their shelling they
cannot stop the trains running. Consequently the army is quickly and easily supplied with provisions.
The mail boats come and go every day. We have a mail every evening after supper. Each day we look forward to the arrival of the mail, with hope, and if nothing comes, go to sleep disappointed. Last night I received 5 letters. First and best, one from you, my darling, and 4 from home. Did I ever send you that picture you asked for some time ago? If not, forgive my neglect, and you shall have one as soon as possible. Many kisses and very much love. 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!