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 lovingly about a photograph he has of Welles. He mentions they have recently moved camp and established a headquarters, which he hopes will remain in place for some time. He has been disheartened by the loss of so many comrades, and describes how he has been feeling “blue.” He describes the sound of the drums and bugles throughout the camp, as well as the sound of the battery sending fire to the Confederate lines.
Head Quarters 3d Brigade
2d Div. Aug. 31st, 1864
My own darling Georgie
I have just been looking at that pretty little picture of yourself until I feel as if I could not wait for the time when I can see what is more lovely to my eyes than any picture in the world. Who do you think that is? I have not had a letter for two or three days from you, and that is a long time to wait for one who longs for a word from the loved one as much as I do. Tonight I hope to get a letter. I wish it was night now.
Yesterday we moved again from where I wrote you last
and have again camped, and got our Hd. Qrs. nicely established where I can write letters to my loved Georgie to my heart’s content unless disturbed. If they are sometimes short, I will make up by writing often. Frequently when I am writing, from one to a dozen people disturb me and I have to write at least very disconnected letters. I hope we may be allowed to remain here for some time. I have no heart for another fight at present. It is very hard to lose so many comrades. I won’t begin to talk of our losses, or I shall write a “blue” letter. Don’t think, Georgie dear, that I am not in good spirits. I am feeling very well. Only let me hear from you often and that
you are well and happy, for I love you so dearly to know that you are happy and make me so, darling. If I could only see you, how happy we might be together. How much more satisfactory we could talk now that we know that we are for each other for life. Did you have a pleasant visit in Bridgeport? What did you do, and how did you like the place? You must have heard of the death of Capt. Hambry while there. I almost dread to hear the effect on his friends. I hope it did not have the effect of making your visit unpleasant. It is just sunset, and everything looks beautifully, reminding me of the last day that I was with you – the day we took that ride, except that drums and
bugles are sounding “retreat roll call” through the camps, and a battery of 32 [pounder cannon] are sending their compliments over to the Rebel lines. You may not be able to see anything in all that to remind me of that peaceful, happy day. Indeed, there is not much except in the appearance of nature. Even that requires some little imagination, and to be seen through tobacco smoke. The band of the 14th is about to play. I wish you could hear it. I shall think of you my own darling all the time that it is playing.
Please remember me to your father and mother.
With a great deal of love and many kisses,
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!