Letter written by Private Clayton W. Shaw of Company M, 5th Ohio Cavalry, to his mother [Mrs. John Shaw, New Richmond, Ohio], dated April 3rd, 1862, from Bethel Church (Shiloh). Shaw writes that he was part of a midnight scouting expedition to track Confederate troops near the camp. They managed to capture three of the twenty “butternuts,” as they call the Confederate soldiers. Shaw writes of the difficulty of scouting in the wooded country, due to the thick mud and heavy underbrush. He mentions the presence of several thousand Confederate soldiers in Corinth. (This midnight patrol failed to discover the Confederate Army advancing to attack at Pittsburg Landing, before the Battle of Shiloh)
April 3 1862
I expect you would like to get a letter from me well I will write you a few lines while I have time we have just returned from an all night scout we started from the camp last night about 12 o clock to take a little squad of rebels that have been sneeking around our camp for the last two weeks but we did not succeede in getting but three of the butternuts as we call them out here we caught one of them by shooting his
horse and the other one we ran down their was about 20 of them in the gang acting as pickets.
It is not a very easy thing to be scouting through this wooden country sometimes the mud is up to our horses bellies and other times we have to swim rivers and then we will come in to the thickest under brush where we have to make our faces as sharp as a wedge to get through them you can imagine how pleasant it is to be a solger in this wooden country we have to keep our eyes skinned when we are tracking through these bushes for they are full of butternuts all the time
Well Mother this is all I can write this time we are going on an other big scout to day their is about 80 thousand solgers out to a little town called Corinth and we are going out to look around a little and find the best place to get at them we expect to give them fits about next week.
I am verry well havent been sick one day since I landed in Tennessee
I remain your Affectionate Son
I received your Nannies letter and also one from town
Tell evrry body to write to me and I will tell them all about Tennessee.
Direct all of your letters to the 5 OVC by way of Paducah and I will always get them
Clayton W. Shaw, aged 21, enlisted on October 3, 1862 as a private in Company M of the 5th OH Volunteer Cavalry. Shaw died at home in New Richmond, OH on May 22, 1862 from unknown reasons.
Confederate document from the Shiloh Campaign era, circa March 1862, requisitioning funds to supply clothing to the 5th (later 35th) Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, of which O. F. Bruster was quartermaster. The document was approved and signed by Major General William J. Hardee, Colonel Patrick R. Cleburne, and Colonel Benjamin J. Hill.
Letter written by Sergeant Miles G. Turrentine of Company I, 1st AR Infantry, to Miss Bettie Waite of Fredericksburg, VA, from Corinth, MS. Turrentine thinks of Waite often, and requests that she reply even though he has heard she is engaged. If he is fortunate enough to survive the war, he plans on visiting her when he returns home. Turrentine then describes the battle of Shiloh in great detail, including the charges against the Hornet’s Nest. The Confederate troops suffered heavy casualties during the battle, including their Lieutenant Colonel. A friend of Turrentine’s was shot through the breast, while a ball blistered his own face. Turrentine writes that he often thought he wanted to be in a fight, but this one satisfied him.
Corinth Miss April 14th 1862
Miss Bettie Waite
Dear Friend. – no doubt you will be some what surprise when you break this Letter and find my name to it. I have taken my Seat more than once to write to you but not knowing whither my letter would be appreciated I could not write, but I have come to the conclusion to write you a few linds to let you know that I have not forgoten you I have often thought of you Since I left Virginia and while I am trying to write to you I wish that I was with you. I made up my mind the day that I left Fredericksburg. to. ask you permission to Correspond with you. but I had but little chance to speak to you about it, & I was informed by Some of your Friends that you was engaged to a Certain young man. & I came to the conclusion that it was asking to much of you, for a Correspondance but at this late hour I Shall ask of you for a correspondance for there is not a Lady living u[nder]
the canopy of the Heavens, that I think more of than you it may possible that you think but Seldom of me, but I do assure you that I often think of you I was verry much disapointed when I was told that we could not go back to Virginia I had made up my mind to enjoy myself with you when I got back but if I should be so fortunate as to live through this horrible war I shall be shoor to pay you a visit for I shall never be satisfied until I See you all again. Well Miss Bettie I surpose you would like to something of the battle of Shiloah near Corinth Miss. Well in the first place on Friday previous to the fight our Regiment was on Picket not fare from the Federals Camps and on Saturday morning we was ordered to strike camp, and on Saturday eavning we camped in sight of the Yankeys fires, and on Sunday morning about six O clock our Brigade was ordered to make the attacke, the ball commence about seven O clockwhen the Yankeys fell back some two miles. when the fight grew verry hot on both sides, about nine O clock we got percession [possession] of the Yankeys camp the Enemy fell
back some two miles, when the fight grew verry hot. our Regiment was ordered to charge on Some Yankeys that was in ambush which we did in good order the Yankeys was well fortified they drove us back with a heavy loss, we was ordered to charge the second time which we did but to no purpose we sustain a verry loss. we was ordered the third time to charge which we did, but my conscience we was repulsed the third time, in the mean time we was reinforsed when we made the fourth charge. we drove them back, but what did I see a sight that I hope never to see agane,, we lost our Leut Carnil [Lieut Colonel] & our major was wounded & two Captains was killed instantly.
we had some fifty men killed not less than 250 Two Hundred & fifty wounded. our little Company had four men killed & thirty one wounded & our Company, got off verry well for what some of the Companys did Capt Martin lost 11 men in less than teen [ten?] minutes & some forty wounded, all of his men was eather killed & wounded but five, Capt Jackson’s Brother-inlaw was verry badly wounded, & poor Thearedon Arnett, is mortally wounded & he is in the Yankeys hands
I was with him on sunday night he sayed that he was willing to die he was shot through the breast he was shot down by me & at the same time a ball blistered my faice. I had two balls shot through my coat & my Gunn shot into. Miss Bettie I have often thought that I would like to get into a fight but this battle has satisfied me. I am willing to play quit with them;
tell Mrs. Hooten that I had five dride vanson hams that I intend to bring her but I had to give them away
when you see miss Kate give her my regards tell her that my brother [Allen A. Turrentine] is with me that I would like verry much for her to see him he is sayed to be much better looking than I am, [in pencil: not that I am good looking] give my love to Miss Mollie & her mother, also to Mr Hooten & Ms Hooten
Miss Bettie I take this liberty in writing to you, if you do not see propper to answer it you will please forgive me.
but I still think that you would like to hear from me if I did not think so, I would not write to you
Miss Bettie you can either make me miserable or you have it in your power to make me happy.
I shall look for a letter from you imeadilly [immediately] write to me at Corinth Mississippi to the care of Capt Little,
write soon to your Friend
1st Reg Ark
Records on Miles G. Turrentine are somewhat conflicted. There is a grave marker for a M.G. Turrentine (1845-1870) at the Atlanta Methodist Church Cemetery, which is associated with a Miles Turrentine of the 1st AR Infantry (Colquitt’s). However, other records such as the 1850 (which can be matched to him by the inclusion of his brother Allen who served in the same company), 1860, and 1870 censuses, list his birth at 1837. Wiley Sword’s records state Turrentine was born in 1837 in VA, though all other documents state GA as his place of birth. If they are in fact the same, then Turrentine enlisted in Company I of the 1st AR Infantry at Monticello, AR on May 8, 1861. He was promoted to sergeant on April 1, 1862, and served through the war. He was wounded in action at Ringgold, GA on November 27, 1863. He was paroled at Shreveport, LA on June 30, 1865. In the 1870 census he is recorded as working as a merchant in Columbia, AR and appears to be married to Demaurice Turrentine and has three children. He dies later that year in 1870.
Allen A. Turrentine was born c. 1840. He enlisted at Monticello, AR on February 22, 1862. He was severely wounded at Murfreesboro, TN on December 31, 1862, and died of his wounds on January 4, 1863.
Letter written by Mary Chalmers Ferguson to her husband, Sergeant William A. Ferguson of the 8th Confederate Cavalry, from their home in Pickensville, AL. Mary comments on the different soldiers who brought her husband’s last few letters to her, including an African American. She has received a bag full of her husband’s winter clothes, as well as a pistol and a horse’s shoe. She writes about their daughter, and tells William how the ladies of the village made shirts for wounded and sick soldiers at Columbus, with fabric supplied by the Soldier’s Aid Society. They are also planning on sending a wagon of goods and food. Mary mentions an engagement at Richmond, VA known as the Battle of Seven Pines, and lists the casualties of what she calls the “Pickensville Blues” regiment. She has hopes that William’s army will come near enough to home that she may get to see him.
Home Friday evening
June 13. 1862.
My own dear William: –
The last letter I received from you was brought by Mr Cockrell to Columbus – and mailed at that place. Since then I have heard from you several times – by Capt Mc Caa’s company – coming through this place, first by one of the Capt’s negro’s – who considers himself a member of the company – says – “our company” – “our boys” &c. Willie Herrean has also come back- and took tea with us – tells me you are in fine health. I got the carpet bag containing your winter cloths. I felt like I had met an old friend, when I saw your little pistol. I shall keep it by me and if necessary, defend
myself. Among the other things in the carpet bag I came across “a horses’ shoe” – now – do tell me what horse has worn this shoe – that you think enough of it to send it home? One of Dr Carpenters negroes came through Pickensville yesterday and tells me that he saw you last Monday – says you are in fine health and fine spirits. I am glad to hear from you this way – but how much I should like to have a late letter. I hear that Beauregard’s army are not permitted to write any letters at all. If I cannot have the pleasure of reading a few lines from your pen occasionally I can still write to you and tell you how we are all getting along at home. The pet of the household – that sweet little girl of ours – or yours as you will have
it – is so sweet. She can almost sit alone – and has learned to pull her Granfather’s beard to perfection. He plays with her frequently and loves her very much. You cannot imagine how much company she is for me. I play with her every day – besides bathing her all over every morning – and dressing her every morning – and undressing her every evening. She sleeps with me and gives me a sweet smile as soon as she opens her peepers in the morning. I give her a kiss in return. I wish you could see her eating black-berries – with her little mouth and nose all blacked. Whenever Sarah brings me berries – or plums (of which we have an abundance) she daps her little hands in the midst of them and scatters them all over the floor, at the risk of a make believe
scolding from her Grandmother.
She loves to play with the children and gives every one a sweet smile who speaks to her
But if I tell you so many nice things about the baby – poor little I will be forgotten – if such is not already my fate – (thought of as among “the things that were“)
Last week the ladies of our quiet little village were busily plying the needle for the wounded and sick soldiers at Columbus.
We made up into shirts – three bolts of domestic – sent down by the “Soldiers’ Aid Society” at that place. To morrow evening we are going to form a society at this place – in order to do more work for those noble spirits who have suffered and are now suffering so much for our cause. We are going to send up to them to morrow
a wagon load of vegitables – potatoes, dried fruits – milk butter – eggs- chickens &c. We are not near enough the poor sufferers to wait upon them but want to administer to their wants in some way.
You have probably heard of the engagement near Richmond – call it the “The Battle of the Seven pines.” Papers received to day – say that “Gen Rhode’s brigade – consisting of the 5th, 6th, 12th Ala and 12th Miss is admitted to have eminently distinguished itself. They bore the brunt of the battle for some hours. The casualties of the “Pickensville Blues” are as follows – Killed John T. Vargaut, John L Taylor, John Works, Thomas R. Peeks, Horace Stansel. Total 5. Wounded. Sergeant M. F. Wakefield
J. E. Addington, A. A. Ball, Joseph Coleman, J. R. Donaldson, B. Y. Franklin, James Free, R. J. Tunsley – J. S. Gordon D.W. Goodwin. J. P. Harper. G. W. Hines. A. Johnson. H. B. Johnson – N. G. Jones. W. W. Peterson. Jessie Tall – W. C. Taylor. E. W. Vernon. Wm Kall – Jas Wright, G. B. Petty, G. W. Prew. M. P. Stedman. H. W. Story. J. D. Wheelbright. W. A. Burgin. Total 27. You probably know a great many of the above list. I have a letter from cousin Willie of the fourth of June – in which he says – he is sorry he was not in the fight – having a situation in the pass-port office in Richmond at the time of the engagement – and that he intends to join the comapny immediately in order to be with them in the
next engagement – which he thinks will soon take place. I think he had better stay where he is. Henry when last seen was crossing the Chickahominy bridge – going towards the enemy’s lines.
Mr Shaffer and Miss Boggs from Columbus took dinner with us to day – They tell us that the fortifications at Columbus were commenced last Monday. I[t] was rumored in that place that Gen Beauregard was visiting that place – but nothing definite was known. If Gen Beauregard sees fit to fall as far back as Columbus – you will probably visit us – perhaps on a foraging expedition. I must confess – that I would like to see you very much but the army to which you belong is just about as close as I would like to have it – especially if the
enemy are following you as closely as is reported. I expect secrecy is the best policy on the part of our army – but I find that curiosity is at the highest pitch to learn the movements of those three Generals – Beauregard – Bragg – and Price.
Brother Willie starts to school Monday morning to Mr Garthright at Summerville. Col Talbinds regiments are suffering severely from measles – pneumonia, fever. Mr Wm Fort’s remains were brought home Wednesday and deposited at the Garden church yard. Mr Horton has had the measles. But I must close as ai Have exhausted my paper – perhapse your patience.
If you cannot write – send me a message by every opportunity
A kiss and much love from
Your own dear Mary.
William A. Ferguson, from Pickensville AL, enrolled in Captain McCaa’s Company A of the Alabama Cavalry in October 1861, aged 29. He was mustered into Baskerville’s 4th MS Cavalry Battalion on November 14, 1861. Baskerville’s Battalion patrolled the Tennessee River prior to the battle of Shiloh and and participated in the battle itself. The Battalion was consolidated to form the 8th CS Cavalry Regiment. Ferguson was promoted to lieutenant and again to captain. He was captured in the autumn of 1863 and incarcerated at Johnson’s Island Prison, near Sandusky, OH. He was exchanged and rejoined the fighting in Atlanta. He served with his unit until its surrender at Greensboro, NC in 1865. After the war he became a farmer and had at least 3 children with his wife Mary before passing away on January 21, 1902.He is buried in East Hill Cemetery in Salem City, VA.
Letter written by Sergeant George W. Tallman of Company E, 20th IA Infantry, to his father-in-law, from Camp near Springfield, MO. Tallman thinks that this may be his last chance to write a letter, as he is about to go into a hard fight (Battle of Prairie Grove, AR). They are advancing towards Confederate forces under the command of Major General Thomas C. Hindman. Tallman’s brigade is in the reserve, and therefore may not be needed, but he feels it is best to be prepared for the worst. He gives his father-in-law instructions on the welfare of his wife and child in case he is killed in the battle.
Camp “Via” 12 miles South
of Springfield Mo.
Tuesday, Sept 30th 1862
Dear friends at Home,
Feeling somewhat in the spirit of letter-writing, I propose to improve this, perhaps, the last, opportunity of writing to you, in penning a “little letter” to each. This I will inscribe to Mr. Carhart.
Sir: The events of war are crowding fast, one upon another The vast army (not so vast when compared with our eastern armies, but vast in itself) which has for months been concentrating at Springfield, near the place of present writing, is again on the move. Thirty thousand troops (according to report) of which our brigade is a part, are on their
way to meet the rebel forces under Hindman. The expectation is that we shall have a hard fight, providing that the “secesh” have any “fight” in them. Hindman has about thirty or forty thousand men; but under what discipline & efficiency is unknown. We shall meet him with almost equal forces – more or less discipline & with unbroken spirits. The word goes round “hurrah for a fight!” We are “all agreed” on that, tho, on but little else. We have taken up the line of march from Springfield for the scene of conflict. We shall probably meet the enemy near Mount Vernon 30 miles distant. Our brigade is on the reserve and our participancy in the battle will depend upon the firceness of the battle, or rather tha
of the onset. Should the results of the first “go in” be successful to our side, the reserve will not be needed; – but whatever may be the issue, it is best to be prepared for the worse. With the many who must “go down” in the blast of battle, I may be numbered, & I desire in this to arange some little matters which ought to be in better shape in case I should be killed.
You know with what means & in what condition I leave my wife. The money in your hands I would have her use as she sees fit; but would suggest, nay request, that it be put in such a shape, that should she not need it herself, it be accumulating, & made available for the education of our child.
Should Susan not object, I would leave the whole matter in your hands, believing you to be an honorable christian gentleman, who would shrink from doing injustice to the dead or the living. Again, while you shall be pleased to permit Susan to make her home with you &, she should choose to do so, I implore you to study her spirit, & not treat her harshly, for I know she means right in every act. With many thanks for your past kindness both to me & to Susan, and a thousand wishes of success to you in temporal, & especially in spiritual things, I, with much respect, subscribe myself, your son-(in law) and friend & brother in the blessed Gospel of our Savior in truth.
Geo W. Tallman
George W. Tallman, of Hickory Grove, IA, enlisted in Company E of the 20th Iowa Infantry on August 7, 1862 as 4th sergeant. He was 24 years old. He was promoted to 3rd sergeant September 10, 1862, and 2nd sergeant December 25, 1862. On December 4, 1863 he was discharged to accept a promotion as a 1st lieutenant in Company I, 73rd U.S. Colored Troops. He served with this unit in Louisiana during the remainder of the war.
Letter written by Private William Moore of Company H, 44th NY Infantry, “Ellsworth’s Avengers,” to Joseph W. Luce of Chautaugua County, NY. Moore writes that his regiment travelled down the river to Fortress Monroe before heading to Yorktown, VA. He writes about the fighting at Yorktown, including the dead and wounded. Moore is on picket within range of the Confederate fort. The day before, Confederate forces drove into the pickets, but the Union troops were able to drive them back. He describes soldiers having fun tossing around two unexploded shells that fell into the camp. He also mentions Professor Thaddeus Lowe’s balloon.
and Joseph, April 12th 1862
let them all read it if they can
I received you letter a long time ago and started on a martch the next day and have had no time to write before or to send it out Milton is to washington sick Lon and my self are well and ready to fight we cam down the river and landed at fortress Monroe and have made our way threw to york town one week ado today started from big beathel in the morning and got here at noon and had quite a fight in the afternoon most of the firing with cannon and shell the loss on our side was, 3, and 7 wounded
2 of them was in the batery one had his scull took off with a piece of shell the other was hit with a round shot in the side and cut almost into [in two] the other had his leg cut off below the hip and bled to death the others will get well this I see my self they was burried sunday in front of our camp we have lost 6 men sence on picket and, 8, wounded that is all that we have lost no loss in the 44th Regt only a wounded one in the breast and one in the corner of the eye but not bad to day I am on picket withen gun of the fort we hafter lay down or get shot and crawl on our hands and nees to our post and back then get shot at from the rifle pits
so you see that we hafter lay low for black ducks yesterday there was [# value?] rebels came out to drive in our pickets just as soon as they came out of the pits we give it to them we had 500 pickets and they fell most every shot they carried off, 20, this morning we dont know how many they carried away lat night they wounded 4 of the sharp shooters slitely and run abck into their hole satisfied they throw shell all over from the fort but it dont mount to any thing 2 fell in our camp but did not explode the boys are throwing them around for amusement they have shot
4, or, 5,,, over my head this afternoon I guess about 200 feet high we can here them hum [this?] last saturday one took a boys knapsack and tore it off from his back and never hurt him at all that I see dun they have not hit me yet but they shoot dreaful car[e]less we have been here a week today and have not dun mutch yet we are waiting for something I dont know what it will take some fighting to take this place yet they have got 6 miles of brestworks the old balloon is here so that we can take a peak at them Gen MC was looking at them all day last sunday I think that he knows all about the place I must stop dyrect the same as before I cant tell half I want to so good bye
WILLIAM MOORE enlisted as a private in Company H, 44th NY Volunteer Infantry on September 19, 1861 at Albany, NY, aged 21. He was mustered out at Albany, NY on October 11, 1864. The 44th New York Infantry was one of the state’s most prominent and elite units. The men were recruited according to a specific criteria: to be unmarried, less than age 31, at least 5’8” in height, and of high intelligence. Dressed in Zouave uniforms for the first year of service, they became known for their hard fighting and able service. As part of the 5th Corps, the 44th served in the same brigade as Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine at Gettysburg, and were among the heroic defenders of Little Round Top on July 2d 1863.
Letter written by Major Charles Baskerville of the 2nd Battalion MS Cavalry, to Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles at Corinth, MS from the bank of the Tennessee River. Baskerville writes that he is planning to report to Colonel Mouton of the 18th LA Infantry at Pittsburg Landing, TN, and that he needs all the forces currently in Corinth and Iuka. He is particularly interested in the company commanded by Captain Matthews at Iuka. In a note on the opposite side of the letter, Baskerville writes that Captain Reeves has offered his company. The events detailed in the letter precede the battle of Shiloh.
By order just at hand from Col Mouton I shall repair immediately to him –
I need all my forces now at Corinth & Iuka May I suggest that you send them to rejoin my command near Pittsburg –
The Company commanded by Capt Matthews at Iuka & now used as artillery can at this moment be of great value to me as Cavalry
Capt Matthews could again resume the its Artillery Drill when the emergency is not so great – I have no information to report further than the Confirmation of the fight at Pittsburg yesterday & send you a dispatch from Col Mouton. I learn but not reliably, that they have been fighting at Savannah, your Obt Svt [Obedient Servant]
March 2nd/62 Chas Baskerville
Major Comd’g 2nd Batt
Capt Reeves, the Bearer, from Noxaber Country Mis has today reported to me, that his command wish to join me.
I would be gratified, sir if you would Sanction it
Letter written by Private Sereno Bridge, Gilbert’s Company of Illinois Independent Cavalry [later Company H, 12th IL Cavalry], to his wife, from Benton Barracks in St. Louis, MO. The miserable weather has given him time to write a letter. Bridge describes the conditions of the camp. He also writes that the army chaplains are overpaid and not focused on the spiritual well-being of the men, while the officers are “unprincipled, profane” and “have no regard for God.” Bridge believes that if the war ends, it will be because of the prayers of citizens in spite of the “sin and iniquity” of the army. He worries that his regiment may be disbanded.
Benton, Barracks Jan 19
Dear Wife I received your letter of the 11 of Jan on Thursday last and to day being Sunday and a damp foggy day and (not) so much is going on as usual I thought I would write you afew lines to let you k[n]ow we are getting along well in the first plase as you are a good deale worr[i]ed on a count of my health I will try and releive your anxiety on that acount for the preasant for to day I feel as well as at any time since I have been here, although as I have written to you before I have not been entirely free from a cough since I came here some days quite bad and others about well I have not lost a meal on the acount of sickness since I enlisted one of the men that came back
from the hospital said he thought I had grown fleshy while he had been gone but I do not know how that is as I have not been weighed since I left Geneva you wanted to know how we lived here our living is about the same as in Geneva with the exception that the dirt is more plenty and I do not think quite as good as it was there you wish to know where the Chaplains in the army are now every Reg has a Chaplain and government pays them some $130, per month they weare a fine uniform have a horse and waiter if they like and rank next to the field officers in the army now that some of them are good God fearing men I have
no doubt and are doing much good. but with a greate many of them it is somthing as it is with myself now being a private I can take care of the sick and do some little good but if I had gone home with straps on my sholders which Grandfather Bruce discovered that I did not have on, I should have proberly got above my buissiness and not done as much good as now I think if our Chaplains was paid about the saim as the common soldier and had to wear plain cloths we should have those in the army that would labour faithfully for the temporal and spearitual good of the men but it is a hard matter for a Chaplain to exert much influence in the army for the officers from the hiest [highest] to the loust [lowest] with
a few exceptions are unprincipled profane men they have no regard for god nor some of them for man if this reb[e]llion is ever put down and our country saved it will be bcause there is riches praying peopple out side of the army and government enough to save it in spite of all the sin anickety [iniquity] that is committed in high places there is some prospect that our com[pany] ma[y] be disbanded but I harldy think it will at preasant if it should I do not think i should come home I think if our country ever has needed my servises it needs them yet I think now I should go to Kansas and join Jim Lanes expedition proberly you have seen an acount of it in the papers there was a Reg of Caval[r]y from Ohio just come in to the Camp that are going to join Lane’s forces I here that our Reg is on the road backe here again kiss the boys for me good by
Sereno Bridge, from Elgin, IL, enlisted as a private in Gilbert’s Company of Illinois Independent Cavalry on September 6, 1861. He was transferred out on February 17, 1862 to Company H, 12th IL Cavalry, then on December 25, 1862 to Company G, 15th IL Cavalry. He was mustered out of service on October 31, 1864.
Letter written by Private Lee Mason Fitzhugh of Company A, 6th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from the headquarters of the 4th Division on board the steamer, Diana, while en route to Fort Donelson, TN. Fitzhugh describes the journey from Wickliffe, KY. Brigadier General William “Bull” Nelson put him in command of the division train since his aide, Captain William Preston Graves, did “not attend to things to suit him.” Fitzhugh writes that the general has his own way wherever he goes, including paying whatever he sees fit for hotels and meals. Fitzhugh says he is treated very well by the general, and therefore does not mind acting as his aide. He concludes the letter by mentioning the fall of Donelson.
Hd. Qrs. 4th. Div.
On board Steamer Diana
En Route to Fort Donelson
Feby 18th 1862
We left Wickliffe Friday a.m. and marched to Elizabethtown, halted a day for orders and proceeded to mouth of Salt River, (West Point Ky) reaching there Sunday Evening, Embarked on a splendid fleet yesty and are at this moment oppisite Hawesville, Ky from which point this will be mailed. Altho’ it was bitter cold and a deep snow on the ground I enjoyed the march, as I was mounted on a splendid stallion of the Generals and comfortably wrapped up. Had a pair of fine revolvers and a sword for arms, given me by the General to take care of – dont know whether I will have any arms at all or not when I really need them The General placed me in command of the Division Train the other day as his aid- Capt Graves (a young exquisite from Louisville) did not attend to things to suit him. I stopped at the same hotel in E-town & West Point with the General & Staff and eat at the same table on the boat. the General has things pretty much his own way everywhere pays just what he thinks right & no more.
They charge for meals and a bed 2$ per day on the boat – Nelson pays he’ll pay a dollar a day & no more! he pays my bills or has all but one and that was not his fault. the boy at the Hotel did not include in in the Genl’s, but boned me for it and I had to honor the amt & pay it – he is very kind to me but the moment the least thing goes wrong, up I go, he seems to forget that I am the Adj. Genl’s clerk as he calls upon me to superintend the packing & unpacking of his spring wagon, places trains in my charge and uses me more as an aid than anything else- well, if he always treats me as well as he has I am & will be satisfied.
We have just got the news of the fall of Donelson – glorious news – my next I think will be from Nashville of Clarksville – Much love to all –
from your son in haste
the boat shakes so
I cannot write
Lee Mason Fitzhugh was born in Madison, IN on November 27, 1838. He enlisted with the 3rd KY Cavalry as a private on June 18, 1861, aged 23. He mustered out on April 15, 1862 for promotion and joined Company A of the 6th OH Infantry. He married Anna H. Thornton on April 23, 1863 in Hamilton County, OH. After the war he worked as a dry goods merchant in Indianapolis selling tea and tobacco. Anna died in 1883 and he remarried in 1885 to a woman named Laura. They moved west to Los Angeles, CA where he continued working as a tobacco merchant. He died March 13, 1906 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, CA.
Letter written by Lucy H. Morse, to her husband Private William H. Morse of Company C, 3rd MI Infantry. Lucy is has discovered that William was wounded in battle and is afraid the wound might prove fatal. She begs her husband to get a discharge so that he may come home. A second part of the letter is dated Friday, June 13 after Lucy has received a letter from William. She asks him again to be discharged as soon as he can, as she trusts no one else with his care. She even offers to travel to him.
June 12th 1862
it is with a trembling
hand and an aching heart that I pen these few lines to you the sad news that you were wounded reached us nd you cannot imagine my feelings as I contemplate the possibility of you being mortally wounded Oh; God the thought is agonising Oh; I hope that it may prove a false report or that if it is so that it is a slight one Oh; dearest husband if it is true you must endeavor to get a discharge they will give you one I know they will not be cruel enough to keep you there. Oh get a discharge if it is a possible thing and come home where you can have careful care do not you must not go to the hospital where there will be no gentle loveing hand to admister to your wants Brother Jim was here yesterday and he
said that if it was true that you was wounded that you must be got home some way tomorrow is mail day and Oh I hope that it will bring better news I will try to compose myself untill I know for certain Oh; will tomorrow never come
Dearest one I hasten to answer your long and anxiously looked for letter which I recieved today about noon Oh Dear William you can not think how my heart bounded with hope when I saw your well known writing Oh; My Husband you do not know what a relief your letter was to me for although it was the bearer of sad news I had feared that it might be worse. I can not complain I am so thankful that it is as well as it is, that you were not killed Oh; I can bear the thoughts
of your being wounded if you are spared to me I could bear to see you a cripple for life but I could not bear the thoughts of your being taken from me Oh; Willy it would kill me if you should die and leave me but hope is strong in my bosom I think that you can get your discharge and just as soon as you are able to ride you must come home where anxious hearts are waiting to recieve you Oh; Willy how I wish you could come right home or that I could come to you you dont know how unwilling I am to trust you to any care but my own if you think I can come to you if you want me to if you think it advisable let me know and I will surmount every dificulty and come I am very anxious about you and I want you to get your
discharge if it is a possible thing and come home just as soon as you can. keep very quiet and bear it patiently I know it will be trying to you to have to keep still you was always so stirring but you must remember the anxious heart that that hangs on your recovery keep up good courage dearest and I trust all will be well we hope to see you in the course of three or four weeks at the most they will be week of torture to me but I will not murmur for I am thankful that you are spared to me Oh; Willy Dear Willy you do not know how much I love you it seems as if my very heart was bound up in you there is not another on earth that could love you more than I do Willy you may direct your letters to Smyrna for I am going out there.
William H. Morse, age 24, enlisted with Company C of the 3rd MI Infantry at Grand Rapids, MI on June 10, 1861. He was wounded by a gunshot to the knee at the Battle of Fair Oaks, VA on May 31, 1862. The regiment lost 30 men killed, 124 wounded, and 1 missing. He was sent to a hospital in Philadelphia, PA, but later died there on August 8, 1862.