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.
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 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 of Private John Downes of Company E, 35th IA Infantry, to his friend John W. Walton, from a camp at Milliken’s Bend, LA. Downes reports that Governor Yates is reviewing troops in the department. He has heard rumors that Vicksburg is being evacuated, and that there is a possibility of peace. All soldiers were recently ordered to send their personal fire arms home, or else they will be confiscated. Downes is not in favor of this order. Neither is he in favor of the current officers; noting that they are disgraceful and at risk of being shot by their own men. Downes writes that there is talk of Ulysses S. Grant moving the infantry down to Vicksburg, though he fears it will fail. He has also heard that they have thousands of prisoners quartered on the island below Vicksburg. At the finish, Downes has received marching orders for the next morning.
Camp at Miligens Bend April the 22 1862
kind friend I send this for information
Governor Yates is here to day from Illinois he is Reviewing the troops in this Department the Report is that Vicksburg is being evacuated we hear a report from northern letters that there is a prospect of peace but I dont credit the Report I notice that most of the troops have sent there money home some fools have went in to Gambling and have lost all there money and they go about trying to borow of there fellow solders but i have no sempathy for such fools I notice the Oficers can get Whiskey and a large share are drunk the Order has come for all soldiers to send there side arms home or else they will be seized by the government oficials now i think that damned hard the boys has paid for there Revolvers and they aught to be alowed to keep them the Codfish bas done this mean trick i should not wonder if the soldiers would kill a few thousand codfish oficers the shoulder straps had beter not put on to many airs or by god some of them will get shot they have been playing the fool long enough i am geting tierd of those little ticy ass codfish oficers they are a disgrace to the army
April the 23th heavy firing was heard all the later part of the night in the Vicinity of Vicksburgh and there is an odd shot this morning once in a while
My kind friend I must mention one thing yesterday I was to the Cattle Corell [corral] and took a peep at the beef Cattle they was all so poor they could not shit for bones Such beef as that is as a disgrace to the American Army I shal play my hand out on a stranger and go into some other Regiment On thing is certain this codfish plan of taking the side arms from the soldiers will have a bad tendency It gives the Rebels a decided advantage over us in the field of battle because they go armed to the teeth and we will have nothing but our muskets to fight with god damn the codfish they will Ruen us what the caus of all this cod fish style i cant see there must be traitors at the head of the army somewhere when we made a flank movement on the Talahatchie last fall that would have been the time to have taken Vicksburgh but that would have ended the war to soon for the government leeches some people let it be who it will must sufer in hell for these cursed doings in the army one half of the oficers in service are no more loyal than Jeff davis and a great deal the largest half to[o] there is lying at the bank the Steamer Uncle Sam She is turned into a man of war she caries 10 guns on lower decks and two long mines on the bow and one small field peice on the haricane Roof with on Rifled gun mounted that caries 2 ounces of lead what that little one is for i cant tell there is 5 of those boats and they cary the Marine Brigade the whole concern is wooden
I notice there is a good deal of style put on those marine boats I have an idea there is some codfish on them what good they will do I cant tell time alone will decide
April the 24th
it is now talked in military circles that Grant will make a flank movement with Infantry down the Arkansas side and cross the River and by so doing he will get in the Rear of Vicksburgh but I fear that it will prove a failure like the yazoo Expedition it is said that we have 5000 prioners safely quartered on the island below Vicksburgh but that is only a camp Report it needs Confirmation the Report in camp is that 2 of our transports was sunk while Running the Blocad [Blockade] but that needs to be confirmed also the boats sufered some of course they cant get through without some geting hit the other night I counted 315 shots in about 2 hours and then turned over and went to sleeep so you can give some Idea of the engagement it is said that Grant will knock down a couple of high church steples they answer for a good observatory for the Rebs to watch our movements if i had comand i would knock hell out of em in a minute 12 o clock
Orders has come for 3 days Rations to be cooked and to March to morow the 25th at 10 o clock it will be dificult for me to get any leters from this time until we stop I think the battle will not be delayed long I have Received some 4 or 5 leters from Ann
the other day I sent Father 75 dollars by Express i wish you would tell him to see to it and if you please write to me when he gets it
I am well at this time and hope this leter may find you and yours enjoying the same previledges of this life I cary the Enfield Rifle and it shoots well it is made to cary 900 yards with Raising sights
I must close my letter with due Respect to John W Walton
from your friend John Downes
PS this is the last stamp I have got and i cant get any more
John Downes was born c. 1824 in Ireland, moving to Allamakee, IA at some point. In the 1860 census he is listed as a farmer and had three young children; Mary, James, and John with his wife Mary. At the age of 38 he enlisted as a private on August 12, 1862 with Company E of the 35th IA Infantry. He mustered out on August 10, 1865 in Davenport, IA.
Letter written by Sergeant John W. Wiggins of Company F, 39th C Infantry, to his brother Joseph A. Wiggins, from Shelbyville, TN. Wiggins is replying to a letter from his brother, and writes that he is glad that Joseph is safe. He mentions supporters of Abraham Lincoln, and says they “showed themselves to be what they represent.” He remarks on the deaths of family friends. Wiggins has heard of recent reinforcements sent to the Union army at Tullahoma. Wiggins mentions their hard drilling, and how they have a new brigadier, General William B. Bate. Wiggins hopes that R. B. Vance, who was recently promoted to brigadier, will get command of his brigade.
Mr. J.A. Wiggins
its with pleasure that I put my pen to respond to yours of the 7th which has been before me only a few days I was truly glad tohear from you and hear that you had come through on a [???] and from the account you gave me that you was in a tolerable close place and it also seams like the Lincens [Lincolns] and their gallant Leader showed them selves to be what they represent I can inform you that I received a letter from home today and they was all well it was dated Apr 12th it said that Geminie Welch was dead and I also received one from home a short time before this and it said that Calvin Colvard wife was dead;
I expect that we will have something to do in a short time the enemy is reported to have received a reenforcement of (20,000) twenty thousand
and it is reported that they are reenforcing at Tulihoma [Tullahoma] with 3 Divisions from Miss and it is also reported that they are reenforcing from VA; I would be mighty glad to see we are living tolerable well at present we have to drill tolerable hard we have got a new Brigadier Gen Bate Col R. B. Vance has been promoted to a brigadier but has not been ordered on duty I am in hopes that he will get command of this Brigade Brother Burton was examined and came clear of conscript so I recon I must close for the present so no more only remian Your Brother Respectfully
John W. Wiggins Co F
39 Regt NC Troops 2nd Brigade
John W. Wiggins, age 19, from Cherokee County, NC, enlisted in Company F, of the 39th NC Infantry, circa February 23, 1862. He is listed as a sergeant as of November 25, 1862, and was wounded at Stones River on December 31, 1862, but returned to duty the next day. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant of Company F on March 1, 1863. He was fatally wounded at Chickamauga on September 19, 1863, and died in the hospital on September 21st. He was twice reported on the Confederate Honor Roll for valiant service, at Stones River and Chickamauga.
Letter written by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, US Navy, to the editor of ‘The Baltimore American,’ C. C. Fulton, from Washington, D.C. Dahlgren is writing in response to a report published by the newspaper on the sinking of the USS Housatonic by the CSS Hunley in Charleston Harbor. Dahlgren hopes to meet with Fulton soon, though he is still depressed from the death of his son, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren. Ulric was killed during the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid. Dahlgren writes that those in Richmond prefer to ignore “the real purpose of the expedition, which was to release . . . the Union soldiers who are there dying.” He particularly blames the 9th Virginia Cavalry for his son’s death.
Washington April 25
My Dear Sir,
I see in your of this morning a part of my Report – I hope you will some day find a little corner for the rest, because it somewhat concerns me personally –
You know how quietly I have continued to do my duty under all the miserable aspersions that were soon broadcast some months ago by as unpatriotic libellers as ever disgraced
an honorable vocation
You did most handsomely strike a blow for what you knew I had seen to be right and just – thank you for it most gratefully –
But I must some day say a word for myself – the Doc. on the monitors will open, and another paper in reply to the Com. [committee] on the War will follow more to the point –
I leave in a few days
for Charleston – and will always be glad to see you at any time & have you provided for –
I had some hopes of seeing you, – but you know how heavy an affliction has fallen on me – a more brave & gentle spirit never gave limb & life to the cause than my son – They take care at Richmond to ignore entirely the real purpose of the expedition, which was to release from their vile dungeons the union soldiers who are
there dying the most horrible deaths – but lie and desecrate the remains of the mere youth, whom in life they never faced with impunity – the 9th Vrg. that murdered him in midnight ambush, is the same brave chivalry, that he scattered like chaff in Fred. (Nov. 1862) and drove out though twice his number –
With much regard
I am most truly Yours
Jno A Dahlgren
Mr C.C. Fulton
John A. Dahlgren was a career US Navy officer. He was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1809 and joined the Navy in 1826. He was known as the “Father of American Naval Ordnance.” He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1863 and took command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Following the Civil War he took command of the South Pacific Squadron from 1867 to 1869. He died in 1870 and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, PA.
Ulric Dahlgren was born in 1842, the middle son of US Navy Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. In March of 1861 he joined the US Navy and in 1862 was transferred to the US Army and soon promoted to captain. He participated at the Battles of Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, and Gettysburg. He was shot and had to have his foot amputated following the Battle of Gettysburg. Once healed he returned to service under the command of General Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick led a unsuccessful mission to free Union prisoners of war being held in Richmond, VA. Dahlgren was killed on the mission in a night-time ambush. Newspapers reported his body was handled and buried disrespectfully, supposedly on account of papers found on his body additionally ordering the assassination on Jefferson Davis and burning of the city.
Letter written by Private J. P. Graves of the Warren County MS Light Artillery, Confederate Army of TN, to his sister, from camp near Dalton, GA. Graves writes that he would have written to his sister earlier, but paper is scarce. He mentions General Joseph Johnston’s recent grand review of his army. Graves stood right next to Johnston, as well as General Hardee’s wife and daughters, and describes the general’s daughters in detail. Graves writes that General Johnston has ordered breastworks, and that their Union prisoners are expecting the Confederates to win the next fight. After returning from guard duty, Graves writes that General Francis A. Shoup, the Chief of Artillery, wanted to give Parrott rifles to the battery, but Lieutenant Shannon refused the rifles as they were used.
Camp near Dalton
April the 25/64
I received you letter the day I wrote to Sallie and was very glad to hear that you all was well. I would of answered your letter sooner but as I am scarce of paper I thought I wouldnt write but once [a week?] General Johston had a Grand review of his army last monday Lieut Shannon excused me from going out with the Company and I went out as a spectater took my stand right by Gen Johnston
and Gen Hardees wife and daughters I never saw so many men in my life. I got tired looking and I went back to camp I wreckoned you would like to know if Gen Hardeess Daughters are pritty; I dont think so If you think Miss Anna Person is pritty Miss Hardee is pritty also Miss Hardee is a bout the size of miss C Trenten; The Elder one I am speaking of; The younger one is not as pritty as the Elder one. you said Miss Julia Barnett felt slighted by not receiving a not[e] from Lieu Shannon He told me to tell miss J Barnett that he expected to thank he in person That is
he expected to get a furlough and come down there. He also said that he thought it was a Great deal of impropriety in writing to a school girl. We expect to have Stirring times up hear soon Gen J– is throwing up breast works hear the yankee prisoners say they think we will whip them in the next fight our army is in fine spirits I expect to go out and see Bud to morrow or the next day Tell Webster and Forest they must take good care of my puppy and all of you must take good care of my chickens I must go over to the guard house now as I am on guard. I will write when I come back. I have just
return from Guard mount and will continue to write Gen Shoup wanted to turn our battery into a parrot battery but as he wanted to give us some guns that had been used Lieut Shannon would not take them Captain Swetts is acting inspector general of artilery and Lieu S– takes command of our battery Semples battery from Montogomery is in our batalion and and their is some very nice boys in it! Powell is in that Company. I went over to the 19 Lousiana yesterday and saw Sam Dinkins he is well and says he has not got a letter from home in a long time I give my love to ma & Sallie & the ******* Bill & Prince as well
I remain your affectionate Brother
J P Graves
J.P. Graves enlisted on March 20, 1864 in Dalton, GA in Captain Swett’s Company L, the Warren Light Artillery. He survived the war and is shown on a muster roll of Confederate soldiers paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865.
Letter written by Private Henry S. Clark of Company C, 15th IL Infantry, to Frank W. Fuller, from the camp of the 15th IL near Pittsburgh Landing. Clark writes that the previous night, his regiment was ordered to fall into ranks, and the 4th Division was ordered to support a wing of the army that had been attacked by Confederate forces. However, after marching for about a mile, the order was countermanded. General Hurlbut informed them that General William T. Sherman had been attacked, but was able to drive back the Confederate forces. Clark thinks they will have a hard battle in the next week. He advises Fuller not to come, as they have plenty of men at the moment. Clark is sending Fuller some “Tennessee script” that he captured from a “live secesh at Fort Donelson.” This letter was written the day before the Confederate surprise attack at Shiloh.
Camp of the 15th Ill
1st Regt. 2nd brigade of the 4th Division Department of west Tenn. Pittsburgh landing Tennessee River Apr 3rd
Yours in haste
P.S. Well Frank I suppose that you are looking rather anxiously for news from this quarter, but when I received your very kind letter of the 19th, 24th, &c, a day or two since, I thought the show was rather poor for me to give you any (news) but this morning I can give you a little, last night about half past seven we received orders to fall into ranks immediately with
guns and equipments ready for action, the Regt was soon formed in line of battle awaiting further orders meantime the news came that the right wing of our army had been attacked by the Rebels in force and we, the 4th Division, were ordered out to support them, after standing in ranks about 15 minutes we received orders to move on, accordingly, we started forward the other Regt’s of our brigade soon joining after we left camp the whole division was soon moving until after going about one mile we were halted, there waited about 20 minutes when the order was countermanded, Gen Hurlburt came along about that time and gave the particulars of the case Gen Sherman had been attacked
but not in force, by a strong reconnoitering party, he had driven them back at a loss of 11 killed and several wounded among the killed was a Major and Capt the Rebels loss was 27 killed and 12 prisoners, number of wounded not known, it appears that we were ordered out thorough mistake of messenger sent from Sherman to Hurlburt, Sherman sent orders to have him to hold his Division in readiness to march out, thus it ended for the present, though probably before another week rolls around we will have one of the hardest battles of the war, how it will terminate God only knows, we think however that we can clean them out, but as the issue is near at hand I shall not brag, but I feel now as though I could stand up to the rack “fodder or no fodder.”
You asked me if we wanted any more help. I can’t say, but I rather think that we have got plenty of help, and I would advise you not to come at present, if at all, though of course use your own judgment, but I must say, John [Pvt. John F. Clark, Co. A, 12th IL Cavalry] was very foolish to go, a man who has got a family has no business here, I thank you for your kindness in sending those stamps, although I had plenty for present use, there is no way of getting them here, and I should have been obliged to go without when they were gone, as they cannot be bought here for love or money.
I enclose you some Tennessee script, which I got of[f] a live secesh at Fort Donelson I should have sent a more interesting memento if I had been able to but there was no opportunity to send things from there
Look to hear from me soon again and remember me as ever
your true friend
Henry S. Clark, from Lysander, IL, enlisted in Company C, 15th IL Infantry as a private on May 24, 1861. The 15th Ill. Inf. lost severely at Shiloh as a part of Veatch’s Brigade in the Hornets’ Nest on April 6, suffering about 250 casualties, including 42 dead. Clark survived the Battle of Shiloh and went on with his regiment which also participated in the Siege of Corinth, MS and the last phase of the Vicksburg Campaign. Clark mustered out on May 25, 1864
Mexican War letter written by Surgeon Thomas Neely Love of the 2nd Regiment MS Infantry, from Cedras, Mexico. Love is writing to Mrs. William Rasha Cannon, a close family friend. He hopes that Mrs. Cannon may introduce him to some young ladies upon his return. He then goes on to describe his journey to and stay at Grunidora, a large hacienda in Mexico owned by the wealthy Cabrera family. At the hacienda, Love meets up with Colonel John A. Wilcox, Major Walter P. Lane, and Captain George K. Lewis, among others. In the final part of his letter, Love writes that he fears the Mexicans will not make peace, and that they will wait for a war to commence in the United States. He also believes the course taken by antiwar men will prevent an honorable peace.
Cedros Mexico April 18th 1848
Your interesting letter came to hand last saturday. On sunday night I wrote to Sister Harriet and told her to say to you that as soon as I returned from Grunidora that I would write to you. I got back last night, to the surprise of all my friends, for the current report was that Col Wilcox and myself were taken prisoners. – I have been gone three days; spent the time rather pleasantly – I’ll give you the particulars, when I shall have replied to the topics of your much prized epistle. But first allow me to introduce myself to your esteemed companion, whom I now have the honor to call Brother – “Ah how comes that?” are you ready to ask – I answer that there is a tie between us – the rest is understood. I presume he will want to know why I have not answered his letter from Jackson which was a great source of pleasure to me. And presuming that he may take up this of yours to see if I assign no reason – none in the world. Mr. Cannon will read on as if this was directed to himself; for I know he is not fastidious. I am indeed Mrs. Cannon very thankful to you for the kind and candid manner in which you adress me. I have often in my letters, as a matter of course, requested you to whisper a good word for me in the ear of some of my female friends, with no other expectation than that you would take the matter as a joke with which to quiz the ladies – To you I have long since confided a matter the history of which I presume you have not forgotten. Nor have I ever regretted having confided to you your warm and constant friendship has ever been a source to which I could turn an eye wit the most delightful recollection. You ask me if I am engaged to a certain young lady whose acquaintance you formed in Columbus. No Indeed I am not. There is no tie of that kind that binds me to earth – There is one however, as you well know, who had me completely in her power – whose influence was very great over me – I am told that there is some probability that she is about to bestow her hand upon a relation. I wish her great joy – that he may be worthy of so sweet a girl – so noble a jem – Nothing would afford me more pleasure than to know that “our mutual friend” would win the hand of the fair
and most beautiful Miss -. You give me some consolation by saying that there will be some fine girls for me when I return. After [???] upon the charms of one or two young ladies particularly you by the way of encouragement to my forlorn conditions, say that there will be plenty of “fine girls” for me when I return. I have no reason to doubt that, but to induce them to believe the same of me is more difficult. You ask me if I elicit your opinion of a certain young lady that you will give it. I do desire it very much; I did a long time ago have a little love [???] with this same young lady. – On this account some late rumors have been put in circulation – but there is no truth in them now. Capt. Barksdale was guessing at the matter; in fact he did think there was truth in the report. He is quite ashamed of what he told you since he finds that I was displeased about it. Your opinion has a great influence on me. I will receive it as from a sister. – I am glad that you begin to appreciate my friend Capt Barksdale – He is a splendid man – Industrious – warm hearted – smart – tries to do well and will someday be rich, for he loves money. And he does love in my opinion a relation of yours – or that is he is much pleased with her. What say you to such a match? I wonder if he would please her? I must not forget to say to you that Lt. [???] was very much elated at the idea of receiving your letter. He has read it a great many times with pride. He requests me to say to you that he is very much engaged at present or he would answer it immediately, he will do so soon. I do think that Geo. Smith has not only done a poor business but has made a “bad beginning.” I am pleased and highly gratified to know that you and my sister are yet such devoted friends. May you ever be so. I do wish that I could pay you all a visit – what pleasure and fun I would have. But to tell you the truth, I guess that I would be so awkward to set down in the circle of ladies that I would be quized out of my wits. Did Harriet tell you the joke on myself in which I had actually forgotten how to speak to a lady. You may think I am jesting but I am in sober earnest. I am sorry to hear that Dr. Gregory has married Miss Sykes. She is horrid ugly – I am not pleased. I agree with you exactly in reference to the relative merits of Miss Ring & Miss Holbert. I am not much “amigo” with the Miss Barry. I love Wm Barry much indeed He is a noble young man – amicable – talented and as good a friend as ever lived.
I will now give you some of the particulars of my trip to Grunidora, a large Hacienda 45 miles from here on the road to Zacatecas. I had to go there to see a sick soldier. Fifteen of the Texas Rangers are stationed at that place – they form what we call a “pickett guard.” I started at daylight monday morning with the two messengers who came for me. We traveled 15 miles before we were out of sight of this place, across a beautiful valley which resemble our prairies very much. Not a single tree in the whole valley – The road as smooth and level as a floor – What a delightful place to ride in a buggy with a young lady! – We then turned around another point of the mountain and entered another valley; here the same scene presents itself – a valley with nothing but thorny mesquite and magnificent cactus – and a chain of rocky, barren mountains, apparently piled upon each other, with their blue peaks kissing the low white clouds as far as the eye could reach. 25 miles from here we came to a lovely tank, or cistern of nice clean water. There is a waste house here, a country seat to which Old Cabrera, a wealthy mexican, who claims to be a descendant of Montezuma used to retire to spend the summer. The beauty of this place consists alone in the tank and bathing house. The bathing house is nicely plastered in & outside – cross on top – door facings of marble – a marble slope above the door with a spainish inscription on it. The vault which contains the water is made of cement as smoothe as porcelain – four or five feet deep – 10 feet long – 8 feet wide; with steps and a beautiful shelf for sitting things on – and many other conveniences. From this house there is a tube made of cement to the tank about 100 yards below. This tank is made of rock and plastered in and outside with cement – about 80 feet square – 6 feet deep – the bottom is also plastered with cement. It was full of water and so clear that you could see even a pin in the bottom. I jumped into this pool which to my surprise I found over my head and the water so cold that I was glad to get out. From this tank there are several beautiful aqueducts or troughs for watering the flocks. We then lay down on our blankets under the shade of an elder bush after eating our bread and drinking a bottle of wine. We were soon disturbed by a dozen of the shepherds who came to the tank for water. They were not armed and of course we were not afraid of them, and if we had not been well armed there is no telling what they might have attempted. But three well armed americans can whip at least fifteen of these poor half-starved degraded wretches. After resting an hour we set out across the valley – the sun was very warm – If I had borrowed an embrella from the priest I should have been parched up. We passed several immense flocks of sheep. And reached Grunidora about 4 o’clock in the evening. During this long ride there was not a single farm, not a house, nothing to divert the mind from the dull monotony of the mesquite cactus.
At Grunidora I found Col. Wilcox, Maj. Lane, Capt. Lewis, and two or three Lieutenants, who had gone there on sunday to spend a few days with Don Octoviana Cabrera, a son of the old man mentioned on the other page. He is a young man of splendid education, very polite, His father owns the Hacienda, besides several others. There are about five hundred peons at this place – some good houses – made of unburnt brick or as they call them adobes. They are plastered in and out side – brick floors – dirt roofs – the walls of the houses immensely thick – doors clumsy and strong as the prisons cell of a penitentiary. This is done to protect them agaisnt the Comanche Indians. There is a handsome church – some of the finest paintings in it that I ever saw. Octoviana entertained us splendidly – at four o’clock we had chocolate & sweet cakes – at nine o’clock he gave us supper – first broiled mutton – then rice, which was elegantly cooked – then different kinds of vegitables – wine – and lastly beans. There we had various amusements – singing – playing chess, backgammon, whist &c. He gave us fine wool mattresses & nice clean sheets to sleep on. Their bedsteads were made of long planks laid on benches like a common table. In the morning as soon as we arose they gave us a nice cup of chocolate & nice corn biscuit, and at nine or ten o’clock we had breakfast. This young man entertained us in the morning by walking through his gardens which were handsomely laid out, but poorly ornamented. No flowers worth noticing. The vineyards were very handsome. The summer houses very pretty – made without a single nail – made of ropes, [???] and raw hides. In one of the vineyards we actually found a regular built prairie well with a common old fashion swap & pole. But I have perhaps said enough to tire you out. The water at this place contains a great deal of salt peter – so much that when the water which is let flow over the garden beds in dried up, the ground is white with the salt.
When I come home I will try to interest you more with a verbal description than I can with a written account. The latest accounts we have from the interior are rather unfavorable to a ratification of the treaty. I fear that the mexicans will not make peace. That they will [???] it out – They are expecting that we will have a war in the U.S. – the course that the antiwar men have taken is the only thing that will prevent an honorable peace. The Whigs will be remembered for this course. Remember me to all my old friends, and to your children – write to me soon – I refer you to Sister Harriets letter which I wrote several days or weeks ago for a description of this poor miserable country. I am now in a comfortable room, oposite the priest – the priest is a great student – a handsome man – my paper is out – Do write to me soon – Give Miss Margaret B. my best respects and remember me in the kindest terms to Miss Bettie. I will certainly write to the Old man as soon as I have leisure. Your friend sincerely
T N Love
Thomas Neely Love was born at Love’s Ford on the Broad River, SC on June 15, 1818. He moved to Columbus, MS with his family ca. 1832. He attended South Carolina Medical College, graduating in 1844. Dr. Love joined the 2nd MS Infantry on Feb. 2, 1847 as its surgeon. Following the regiment’s service in Mexico, he was honorably discharged July 20, 1848. Dr. Love resided in Columbus, MS after the war, and married Elizabeth Jane Cannon (Mrs. Wm. R. Cannon’s sister-in-law) on September 14, 1848. The couple had three children prior to Dr. Cannon’s death on January 23. 1855. His Mexican War journal, A Southern Lacrimosa, was published by the Chickasaw Bayou Press in 1995. In the book, pages 215-218, this letter is partially transcribed.
Telegram from Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Webb, staff of Major General George Meade, to his wife Annie, dated April 6th, 1863. In this brief telegram, Webb tells his wife that he will try and get to Washington, D.C. to meet her. The telegram was sent by the American Telegraph Company, and on the back of the card is a large map of New York City, showing the locations of the American Telegraph offices.
Received at New York Hotel, Apl 6 1863
Dated Stonemans Va 6 1863
To Mrs A S Webb
44 S th Ave
Wait for telegram I will Try & go to Washington
Alex S Webb
Alexander Stewart Webb was born in New York City in 1835 to a prominent family. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in the 1855 class. He was a career Army officer, serving in the Seminole War before becoming a mathematics teacher at West Point. During the Civil War he fought in the battles of First Bull Run, Malvern Hill, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, and Spotsylvania Court House. On July 1, 1863 he was appointed brigadier general by Abraham Lincoln. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Gettysburg. Webb served in the Army until 1870. He went on to become the president of City College of New York. Webb died in February of 1911 and is buried in West Point National Cemetery.