Letter – Frederick Doten, 30 September 1866


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Letter written by former Captain Frederick B. Doten, of the 14th CT Infantry, to his fiancée Georgie S. Welles, from Bridgeport, CT. This is the last Sunday he and his fiancée will have to write to each other before they get married. Doten writes of the preparations he has made to leave his office for the wedding and of getting new furniture for their house. He also describes the hilariously awkward experience he had trying to purchase “French Safes” (condoms) from the local drug store, then even more awkwardly inquires after Georgie’s menstrual cycle.

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Bridgeport, Sept 30th

My own darling Georgie

This is the last Sunday letter we have to write and the last letter you will have to write to me. I shall write tomorrow night but I suppose you had batter not as I shall probably see you tuesday night. Shall you have a very loving welcome for your husband darling and can I come with out feeling that I am a “thief & robber”? Only two days now before I can see you darling

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as the time approaches I love you dear more than ever my own blessed Wife. All mine aren’t you dear? a devoted loving Wife. But she don’t want to promise to obey “before all those people” Well she need’nt, dear little child. and she had better not. It wouldn’t be safe to place herself so entirely in the hand of such a fellow. you migh want to go home some time you know, and if I said “No” why you could go any hour. I have no

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doubt my darling but what I shall be pleased with the Service we are to have. I did not know before that the word obey was ever left out that was one objection I had. I should not want our wedding to be so unregular & conspicuous, but I am satisfied now dear. that I can feel that you love me as I want you to and dont object to the word from any feeling of pride or distrust, And I am also perfectly satisfied about

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thursday as a wedding day. So you need have no fears but what I shall be satisfied with any arrangement you are pleased to make. I suppose there is no use of my asking you any questions in this letter as you cant answer it before seeing me, but when I see you I want to know which route you wish to take so I can drop a line to Parson at once letting him whether he can expect us or not.

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I had a splendid letter from him yesterday inviting us to stay with them at least one night. Such an invitation is evidently genuine. I have never rec’d a more warm hearted one. He is married and has been for some time, he sent us Cards twice and wrote me two or three times and I have never recd one. I want you to read his letter it may have some influence on your decision – The cards came from New York yesterday

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afternoon. We have not enought yet I fear. I have only just got off my first list and shall mail the Sheffner cards tomorrow. I may think of a great many more whom I have omitted. in fact I think of some one every day, but it is too late they must go without. I send by Express half of the cards or nearly half. there a few more cards but no Envellopes. I would have sent more dear but

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got too many of my own directed before I thought I might be half through the pack. I hope there will be enough for you darling, I cant tell whether any one besides the family will go up or not. No one has intimated that they were going. I presume none will. Father & Mother think that you will probably have as many friends or more than you can accomodate so they will go to Springfield Wednesday and stop there

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They can probably get over to the wedding in time next day cant they dear? I believe I am about ready though none of my clother have come from the Tailor. My office is in good shape or will be tomorrow night. Yesterday I did about three days work in one. I wrote up the whole months sales and got partly posted. shall try & get off a Balance Sheet by tomorrow night. I have more money in the Bank that they

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can possibly use before I get back. So if they will ship good and get thru all charges I think they can get along for a week or two without me. They cant write in any of the books except the Sales Book, none understanding my method of Book keeping. So they will keep the daily [???] on a piece of paper for me to write up when I get home. You see that will iv me enough to do when I get back. Are you very happy

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darling at the prospect of being so soon a Wife? Am I more dear to you than two weeks ago my darling? Do you love me as dearly as fresh and strong as you did when i was in the army? Has not my conduct or something abut my character lessened in any way your respect? All these questions I want you to answer with your arms about my neck tuesday night. I know what

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the answer will be of course but still I want to hear from your own sweet lips an answer. Will you darling? I am very glad I[??] is with you. I shall always be grateful to her for her love and kind ness to you my darling. I have seen nothing of the furniture yet. I would like to see it before I go away otherwise would prefer not to have it arrive before the middle of the week. Mother

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and Nellie will have the room arranged. Father will see to the moving the furniture. If it comes too soon he says he can store it at his place for a few days. The weather is warm & Summer like here to day. but the wind is East I hope it will get through storming before we are married. I have mailed cards to the different people you wrote about also one to Mr Newcomb New York. I did that yesterday afternoon the moment the cards

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arrived. I am all out of paper, but fortunately remembered this so you will excuse looks wont you dear. only only think of the writer and the felling of his heart towards you. I do love you so dearly my pet. You are my darling, all my hopes of happiness this side of heaven are [???] in you. I have given my whole heart to you and trsut you to love me and make me happy, And your heart is mine

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isnt it darling. You want me to love you dont you dear? Am I very precious to you? I shall be very very glad when these wedding preparations are over, and we can devote our thoughts & words to each other. I am hungry for expressions of love. I know darling your thought have been very loving and I know that it was impossible to write about the

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necessary preperations and write love letters too, but we can make up for that bye and bye cant we dear? Will you be all the more loving and tender when we are married? I obtained yesterday at a Drug Store the article necessary to render us safe I dont like the idea of wearing it, but for your sake dear I will. The first time, it wont be necessary to use it, for I understand

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that do our best we can not produce any result, but after that I suppose we must be careful. I got three of those things, “French Safes” they are called. i dont want to have to go too often for them It is not an agreeable kind of shopping, There was a Lady in the store when I went in. The man that asked me what I wanted when I told him, asked me to walk [into] the back room and he brought them in there

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I seized them with out stopping for examination and payed for them and bolted as fast as I could. They are in my pocket Book now. How about your monthly sickness dear? Has it come on yet? It would be bad to have it next thursday. I hope you will be through by that time or rather by this time, for it is more dangerous just after that [period?]

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I dont suppose it sounds well to talk about such things, but as they always occur, it is necessary to understand what we are about. Dont you think so darling? Now I better engage rooms at the Massasoit before [???] do you think? or haven’t you decided to stop there yet? I have no choice darling for my self. only I fear a ride

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on the cars 5 or 6 hours will be too tiresome for you after such a tiresome day. I asked Ned to be one of the Ushers. I am glad that Smith will act too. It will be better for one at least of the Ushers to be acquainted with the people. I wonder if you are writing to me to day a good long letter the last letter too. I hope so and a very loving one. I hope you are well

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Enough to write. What makes you have Neuralgia dear? Is that a sick head ache too? I am quite well again darling how my mouth is a little tenders, but comfortable only my headaches to day It seems to, every Sunday lately. not much but one of those kind when one likes to be petted and if I could only cuddle down in your neck and feel your kisses I should forget the ache at once


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the Town Clerk” so I could not keep it any way, but I will get two of them and we can keep one. Good night my darling Wife God bless you Kiss me darling


Your Husband

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!

Letter – James Peckham, 2 August 1866


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Letter written by former Colonel James Peckham to his mother, from St. Louis. Peckham writes that he and his wife Kate are both at home and doing well. He has been asked to go to Philadelphia during the National Convention to act as a correspondent for the Missouri Republican, but he declined. Peckham mentions a book he has written, and says the publishers Wynkoop & Hillenbeck have agreed to have it out by August. Peckham is already thinking of the election next fall, and says that he wants to “see what kind of a state of affairs we are going to have here in Missouri.” Peckham disputes rumors he has heard of an outbreak of cholera in the city.

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St. Louis August 2, 1866

My Dear Mother

     I got home safe & quite well in the night of July 3d. Kate came home last Saturday night, and is well enough to eat her regular rations. Today I do not feel so well as I would like, and I am at home resting & keeping cool & quiet. The Missouri Republican wants me to go to Philadelphia as its correspondent during the National Convention to be held there on the 14th of this month, but I am so adverse to making such a long trip again this summer that in my present mood I positively decline it. I haven’t got my book out yet. Wynkoop & Hillenbeck agreed to have it out by the 1st of August at latest. Their draft for the whole expense was paid July 25th.

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Kate has got house keeping on the brain, but I rather think now I won’t think of housekeeping until after our next fall election, and see what kind of a state of affairs we are going to have here in Missouri. These are terrible times all through the state now. We have had awful warm weather for the last two weeks, but today it is delightfully cool. There have been rumors of cholera being in the city, but I doubt it very much.

     My throat troubles me very much. Last night I made a short speech and today I suffer from it. Spank Fan and Belle for me, & kiss & shake hands & say “how’d’do” to all the balance. God bless you all.

                                  Yours affectionately,


James Peckham was a member of the Missouri Legislature before the Civil War and was a strident Unionist when the state was debating to secede or not. He left the legislature and organized the 8th MO Regiment. Peckham served as the 8th MO Regiment’s Lt. Col. and led the regiment at Shiloh and Pittsburg Landing, TN, and at Jackson, MS. He later went on to lead the 29th MO. After the war he published a book on the history of the war in Missouri and General Nathaniel Lyon. He passed away in 1869 and is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.