Letter – Thomas Jackson, 8 July 1864

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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his wife Lucy Reavis Jackson, from Gainesville, AL. Thomas expects to see his wife the next day, and this letter is an update of his recent social outings. Thomas mentions a brass band that is currently occupying the hospital buildings, and writes that the people of the town routinely gather to listen to music.


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Office, July 8./64

My Darling,

Altho’ I expect to be with you tomorrow I cannot allow today to pass without this letter token of rememberance from me – I presume you attended McRae’s wedding, & hope you enjoyed yrself – You must tell me all about it tomorrow – I feel quite an interest in the affair, & wish Mc & his Bride all manner of happiness.

Yr Father returned from Livingston last night after supper – came in quite unexpectedly – we had given

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him up for that day – Mrs Ward took tea, & spent last evening with us – perhaps indeed, she stayed all night, for I was ungallant enough to leave yr mother & her, still chatting away, when I returned about 9 o’clock. The Judge, howver, was with them. Mrs Beauchamp returned yesterday – I had a little chat with her at the carriage door as she passed thro’ town – She seemed much pleased with her visit – and the Major, who has just lef tmy office, was highly delighted – & talked a good deal about the nice things they had, & the pleasant

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folks they met with over there- (Guess who) – We had a nice cantelope for breakfast this morning – I wished for you very much 0 you would have enjoyed the delicate luxury – tho’ perhaps you have plenty where you are – I rode Dick yesterday for the first time since his indisposition – He was in magnificent spirits, & I enjoyed the ride vastly, not-withstanding the ducking I received from a very brisk tho’ refreshing shower. The brass band occupy the Hospital buildings, & constantly regale us with all sorts of sounds – In the evening they

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assemble on the common near Mrs High’s, & discourse music for the entertainment of the town – Equestrians, pedestrians, & carriages gathere there, making quite an animated scene at our end of town. I had a long letter from yr Uncle John this morning – He is well & sends much love to you. I have commenced to read the Historical novel – “Joseph the second” – & like the opening chapters very well.

Give my love to all – Goodbye dearest – my gentle flower – Spring of my life & joy of my soul – May heaven’s blessing always attend you.

Ever fondly yours

TKJ


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Frederick Doten, 31 August 1864

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Letter written by Lieutenant Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his fiancée Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division. Doten writes lovingly about a photograph he has of Welles. He mentions they have recently moved camp and established a headquarters, which he hopes will remain in place for some time. He has been disheartened by the loss of so many comrades, and describes how he has been feeling “blue.” He describes the sound of the drums and bugles throughout the camp, as well as the sound of the battery sending fire to the Confederate lines.


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Head Quarters 3d Brigade

                               2d Div. Aug. 31st, 1864

My own darling Georgie

     I have just been looking at that pretty little picture of yourself until I feel as if I could not wait for the time when I can see what is more lovely to my eyes than any picture in the world. Who do you think that is? I have not had a letter for two or three days from you, and that is a long time to wait for one who longs for a word from the loved one as much as I do. Tonight I hope to get a letter. I wish it was night now.

     Yesterday we moved again from where I wrote you last

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and have again camped, and got our Hd. Qrs. nicely established where I can write letters to my loved Georgie to my heart’s content unless disturbed. If they are sometimes short, I will make up by writing often. Frequently when I am writing, from one to a dozen people disturb me and I have to write at least very disconnected letters. I hope we may be allowed to remain here for some time. I have no heart for another fight at present. It is very hard to lose so many comrades. I won’t begin to talk of our losses, or I shall write a “blue” letter. Don’t think, Georgie dear, that I am not in good spirits. I am feeling very well. Only let me hear from you often and that

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you are well and happy, for I love you so dearly to know that you are happy and make me so, darling. If I could only see you, how happy we might be together. How much more satisfactory we could talk now that we know that we are for each other for life. Did you have a pleasant visit in Bridgeport? What did you do, and how did you like the place? You must have heard of the death of Capt. Hambry while there. I almost dread to hear the effect on his friends. I hope it did not have the effect of making your visit unpleasant. It is just sunset, and everything looks beautifully, reminding me of the last day that I was with you – the day we took that ride, except that drums and

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bugles are sounding “retreat roll call” through the camps, and a battery of 32 [pounder cannon] are sending their compliments over to the Rebel lines. You may not be able to see anything in all that to remind me of that peaceful, happy day. Indeed, there is not much except in the appearance of nature. Even that requires some little imagination, and to be seen through tobacco smoke. The band of the 14th is about to play. I wish you could hear it. I shall think of you my own darling all the time that it is playing.

Please remember me to your father and mother.

    With a great deal of love and many kisses,

                              Affectionately, Fred


Frederick B. Doten, was born in Sheffield, MA in 1840. He worked as a clerk in New York City then enlisted at age 22 as a corporal in Co. A, 14th CT Infantry, August 1, 1862. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant of Co. F, March 3, 1863, adjutant of the regiment, April 14, 1863, and captain of Co. F, Oct. 20, 1863. He was present at “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, helping defend the Angle on July 3rd and was cited for receiving many captured swords from surrendering C.S. officers. He was captured at Morton’s Ford, VA on February 6, 1864, but after being imprisoned at Libby Prison, was exchanged and returned to duty as a staff officer for Brigadier General William Hays. He was mustered out May 1, 1865, and became a cashier of the 1st National Bank of Chicopee, MA. He married Georgie L. Welles in 1866, and died Apr. 9, 1903.

Another 3 of Doten’s letters to Georgie, dating from 19 June 1864, 13 October 1864, and 10 April 1865, can be found at Spared Shared. An inquiry into his Prisoner of War status in February, 1864 is available in Ohio State University’s records Be sure to check them out as well!

Letter – Frederick Doten, 1 September 1864

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Letter written by Lieutenant Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his girlfriend Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 14th CT Volunteers. Doten writes that he has been feeling depressed and unwell. He was left behind when his regiment went off on reconnaissance. Doten writes of his love for the 14th Connecticut Volunteers, although this does not extend to the new conscripts. He then describes the band that plays each night at the headquarters for their entertainment, though they seldom have time for singing.


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Head Qrs.  14th Conn. Vols. 

                               Sept. 1st, 1863

Dear Miss Georgie

     In my present state of mind I don’t know that I should attempt to write to you. I am terribly blue. I have been quite unwell for a few days past, and unable to continue my duties. And yesterday morning I was obliged to see my regiment go off on a reconnaissance without me; the first time since I have been out, that I have been left behind. The camp is so very lonely. Do you wonder that I have the blues? I never thought that I should become so attached as I am to the 14th. My love though is for the old 14th, not

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the “conscripts” that have been put in with us. We certainly need filling up, for we have but a small regt.; only eighty-three privates on duty & three or four officers. But that little number has shared together the hard fortune of the 14th, and we do not welcome drafted men very lovingly.

     I feel very much pleased at the interest you express for my welfare. I can not thank you enough. My old headaches seldom trouble me, or have not until lately. As you say, I have been very fortunate to escape as I have from everything

     Have you made that trip to Mt. Holyoke yet? I wish very much I could join you. You remember we talked of that

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when I saw you last. When I go north, you may [be] sure that I shall go to see you, with many thanks for the invitation.

     I have heard that song, “Weeping Sad and Lonely.” Our band plays it beautifully. We have them play at Hd. Qrs. every night when we can. We have a splendid band, acknowledged by all to the best in the Army of the Potomac. As to our singing, we do not have much time for that. Besides our singers are all gone.

     I take the liberty of enclosing another picture. It may [be] better than the others. If so, please destroy them and keep this. I don’t want to intrude these things, but I am very anxious that you should have the best.

     I presume Mr. Harlon is and old married man before this. I don’t

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know it, only suppose it. I can’t induce him to write to me unless I write too. Strange, is it not? Does he show a proper and independent spirit? Or is he very obstinate?

     Have you decided to take that trip to Niagara with Mr. & Mrs. Stearns? Perhaps you are already on your way. If so, I wish you a very pleasant time, and a safe return. Please give them my very kind regards.

     You speak of tiring me with your letters. Don’t let such an idea enter your head again. Why, my dear Miss Georgie your letters are treasures. Please send me another soon.

     Please accept my regards for yourself,

                          Very truly yours,

                             Fred B. Doten


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 – Clark Edwards, 26 June 1862

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Letter written by Captain Clark S. Edwards of Company I, 5th Maine Infantry, to his wife from Camp Lincoln. He recently went out to work on a new road, but they were called back early to take up arms. However, the fighting moved further away and the regiment was told to stand down. He mentions the casualties suffered by both sides in the fighting. Edwards describes a picket on a plantation along the Chickahominy River, and a Confederate encampment located at the end of the field. Union batteries were cross firing over the camp, but Edwards writes that the Confederates “stood it like heroes.” He writes about men he encountered when he returned to camp, and mentions attending an officer’s meeting. He was awoken that night by the sound of musket fire, and his men took up arms until after midnight. Edwards then reminisces about how the regiment has changed in the last year and updates his wife on the state of several of his friends. This letter was written the day before his regiment is savaged at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill.


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Camp Lincoln June 26, 1862

My Dear Wife

     You see by the date of this that we are at Camp Lincoln. But still we are at the same old camp; only a new name. Yesterday I sent a letter to you by one of my boys that went to Maine. As I close[d] that letter, I wrote you I was going out with a working party. I left the camp at eight o’clock and worked till ten on a new road. I had one hundred & ten men with me. At ten, or a little past, the word came to me to take all my men to the camp as quick as possible as the fight had already commenced in earnest. So we came to camp and were under arms in less than five minutes, ready to march. But the fight went from us, instead of coming towards us. But we stood on our arms till nearly night, when we were relieved. But it was one of the most exciting days we have yet seen. I cannot tell you the result of the day’s work, only would say that we advanced our line some more than a mile on the left. I hear we lost in killed and wounded about five hundred & took that amount of prisoners, and the Rebel loss was much larger than ours. But I cannot state this to be the fact, as camp

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stories are very uncertain. At six last night, I went on to our right line of pickets, on this side of the Chickahominy. Our pickets at the place I went are about thirty rods apart. It was on one of those large plantations. The field, I should judge, to be one and a half mile long. At the south end of the field there was a large Rebel encampment. At the time I was there, our batteries on the north side of the Chickahominy, and our advanced line, were cross firing over their camp. I thought it a hot place for them to stop. It was one of the finest sight I ever saw, as I stood on the height of land to see the shells come into their encampment from two sides. But they stood like heroes. I was a looker-on till the sun sank behind the western hills. I then returned to my camp. As I came back, I saw Lieut. Brown. He was out with a small working squad. He is well. I then came by the camp of our good old friend, Thompson. Stopped a few minutes, and then came to my tent. The old Christian is not very well, but much better than he was two weeks ago. I got back to camp just at twilight. After arriving at camp, I had an invitation to an officers’ meeting, to get up a cornet to present to Cole, the leader of

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our band. I had an invitation to set the example, as I being the senior capt., and it is got up wholly by the line officers. So I put down ten dollars, and finally we got one-hundred-seventy-five dollars to buy it with. It is to be pure silver, gold mounted. It will be the finest instrument in the army. I presume you will see the account of it in some of the Maine papers. Our meeting broke up at nine o’clock. And I then came to my tent and camped down for the night, as I supposed at the time. But had not been to bed but little more than an hour, when one of those smart volleys of musketry broke forth on the stillness of night. It was about ¾ of a mile from us. In less time than it takes to write this, our men were under arms & we were kept in that position till about midnight, and then allowed to lay down on our arms. Yesterday was one of the most exciting days I have seen. It was a day long to be remembered by me. I was fast asleep as soon as I lay down. I slept finely till six this morning, and then was awakened by the booming of our cannon. But since seven o’clock, up to this time now, near noon, it has been very quiet. It was

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just one year ago today since we left our Pine Tree State. Many changes have taken place in our regt. Some have gone to their last resting place. Others are prisoners of war. Some are now suffering from wounds received at West Point, and some are on our Western gunboats. One of my boys, I fear, was on that awful gunboat the Mound City, that her boilers were stove in, and one hundred of her men scalded & killed. But I hope he is safe. It was Small, the one I had the money for that I let Norwell have. Perhaps you have seen the account of the disaster. We left Maine with more than a thousand and have had more than two hundred recruits, and now only number about six hundred. And quite a number of them are off duty. Only about five hundred can be got out on duty. But so it was. I have reason to be thankful, as I have never been sick [since] the first day I came into the army. (One o’clock) I have just been to dinner. We had beef steak, tea, bread, butter, cheese, so you see we get something to eat a part of the time. Jimmy is in the me[ss]. He does well. He always inquires after you when I get a letter. John is better. I hear he is still at hospital. Tim is about the same. All the rest of the boys are about the same as usual. I think of nothing new to write. I must close this as the mail goes soon. Write as often as convenient. My love to all the good folks of Bethel, [ME] I shall write you quite often till I get to Richmond.

                                 Yours, C. S. Edwards


Clark Swett Edwards, was born March 26, 1824 in Otisfield Maine. On June 24, 1862 at the age of 37 he enrolled as captain of Company I, 5th ME Infantry, in Bethel, ME. He was promoted to major on July 1, 1862, following the severe losses of the 5th ME at Gaines Mill. Edwards was promoted to lieutenant colonel on Sept. 24, 1862, and colonel January 8, 1863. He was mustered out of the service on July 27, 1864, at the expiration of the regiment’s three years of service. Edwards was brevetted brigadier general on March 13, 1865 for war service. He died in Bethel, ME on May 5, 1903. Many of his letters have survived, and a large grouping are in the Peace Collection at Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas.