Letter – David Norton, 12 October 1861

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Letter written by Captain David W. Norton of Company E, 42nd IL Volunteer Infantry, to his mother from Jefferson City, MO. Norton writes that they landed from the boat the previous day and have been preparing to march out. General John C. Fremont has frightened the Confederate troops so much that they are retreating. Norton hopes that Fremont will decide to pursue them. Norton inquires after his brothers and writes that he hopes his father does not get discouraged during the war. He writes that his regiment is in good spirits, and that he has been paid enough to outfit himself comfortably. Norton concludes by mentioning an enclosed photograph of himself and his 2nd Lieutenant, N. H. Dufoe.


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P.S. What is Charley’s full address? DWN

Jefferson City Mo.

Oct 12th 1861

Dear Mother,

Your long and more than welcome letter was received yesterday. You may be sure that I was glad to hear from you, it has been so long since I received a letter from you. We are “all in a heap‘, here. We landed from the boat yesterday morning and our men and freight are still on the levee. Our wagons are being put together and our mules are being trained, preparatory to marching. We hope to get a start of four or five miles to night so as to camp outside of

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this miserable town. The streets are full of mule teams of the different Regt’s. here. The mules furnished are almost all untrained and all the teamsters are busy breaking them. Within a week or so after leaving Jefferson we may hope to be in the neighborhood of the Rebels – unless they take another start south; – which is more than probable. Gen. Fremont has frightened them so badly that they are dividing up and going south and west. I hope that Fremont will follow them in the same way and finish the war in this state. They wont fight unless they have it all their own way, and so I am for giving them a good run for their part of the business.

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I have not time to write much to day but the first time I get a chance I will write a good long letter and give you a history of our progress up the river &c. I am glad to hear that Joshua is doing so well. I hope he may be able to keep his post, for they make a great many changes in the Q.Ms. Department out this way.

Tell Joshua that he must not go into the army again – unless he can get a comission.

How does Father’s courage hold out under the present state of affairs? I hope he does not get discouraged, for I know that it is uphill business, if one loses hope _ I came very nearly doing so, some time ago – but now I feel in first rate spirits and believe all

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will yet come out right. My company is getting along first rate and the whole Regt. is feeling well at the prospect of seeing service. I have drawn pay enough to fit myself out in comfortable style.

Tell the girls and Lottie in particular that they must not always expect an answer to their letters, but take a letter to anyone as an answer to all – for my time is very much occupied and opportunities to write few and far between.

Enclosed is a likeness of myself and my 2nd Lieut. N.H. Dufoe. Mine is good, every one says, only I look less hearty than I am. Dufoes is good.

Good Bye, God Bless you Mother.

Yours “all over

D.W. Norton


Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

Letter – David Norton, 25 July 1861

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Letter from 1st Lieutenant David Woodman Norton of Company E, 42nd IL Volunteer Infantry, to his father Joshua Norton, Jr., from Chicago, IL. Norton writes that his regiment received marching orders for Washington, D.C., though it may take a few weeks for them to fully prepare. He mentions that he is 1st Lieutenant of his company, and may have a chance to be captain. There are many men on the muster roll, but Norton worries that some may have gotten tired of waiting and gone out with other companies. They are attempting to get Major Slemmer to be their colonel. Norton is glad that one of his brothers has returned home, as having two sons in the service is enough for one family. Norton mentions needing money to outfit himself and organize the company, but cautions his father not to let his mother worry that he will go without anything.


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Chicago. July 25th /61

Dear Father

Your letter dated the 21st inst was received this morning. I was glad to hear from you of course.

My Regiment received orders to muster and march for Washington with all possible dispatch. The orders arrived on monday. We are mustering our men as fast as possible and hope to have the Reg. full in ten days or two weeks. We have been waiting so long that it is hard work to get our men to-gether. It may take us three weeks to get ready to march, but I hope not so long.

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I am 1st Lieut. of my Compy. with some little prospect of being captain. How I shall come out in the end I don’t know. We have more men on our muster-roll than we should want if they all would come up – but some have got out of patience waiting so long and have gone with other companies. However I have little fear of not being able to get my comp’y to gether as soon as any of the others.

We are trying to get Major Slemmer (Pickens) who is now here to be our Col. and there is a fair prospect of success. He would make a Col. under whom one might be sure of winning honors.

I am glad that John is coming home unharmed &

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I think he had better stay at home now as he has done his duty and as our family is to furnish two soldiers without him – that is enough for one family. I shall go for the War and I suppose Joshua is also. That is as much as one fmaily can be expected to do. try and keep him at home for Mother and you will have anxiety enough about Joshua and myself.

I hope you may be able to send that money to Tobey very soon for there is now no hope that I shall be able to pay it for I can’t see how I am going to raise money enough to pay my necessary expenses in organizing my comp’y. to say nothing about fitting my

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self out. Don’t say anything to mother that will make her think that I shall not have every thing that is necessary for a Soldier for I may be able to get more than I know of yet. I will write you more of the particulars when we get better organized and I know more of our condition.

Write me as soon and as often as you can, and remember me as

Your Affect. Son

D. Woodman Norton


Major David Woodman Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

Letter – John Harris, 17 January 1862

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Letter written by 1st Sergeant John S. Harris of Company F, 11th MA Infantry, to his brother, from a camp near Budd’s Ferry, MS. Harris describes marching several miles from Leonardtown to their present camp. He is currently under arrest in his quarters, and expects to be court martialed and demoted. Harris claims that if he could be promoted by a vote from the company, he would already be lieutenant, but he has to be appointed by Colonel William Blaisdell. Harris refers to some of the officers as selfish, and writes that he hopes to live long enough to “smile over their dead bodies.”


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1862

Camp near Budds Fery Jan 17

Dear Brother

I recieved your kind letter & paper in due time was very glad to hear that you and all the folks are well although I have been somewhat used up since we arrived in camp from Leonardtown we started from L on Sunday the 12th and marched to Newport a distance of about 25 miles through the mud the next day we marched to port Tobacco 14 miles on Tuesday we marched to camp 16 miles.

I am under arrest in the quarters and I expect to be court martialed

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but the most they can do with me is to reduce me to the ranks and I dont care much about that we have got a new Capt his name is Debereaux from Salem but we have not found out much about him yet, but I will try live long enough to get square with them all, if I could be promoted by vote of the Co I should have been Lieut long ago but I have to be appointed by the Col and there is 2 or 3 working against me all the time but it is a long road that dont turn and I will let you know as soon as thare is any change in the programe over

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the opinion here it that thare will be a general forward movement soon but it is hard telling any thing about it here, but God knows I dont care how soon for I am tired of being in hell I if I have come out here to die I dont care how soon but I will them that I wont show the white feather [cowardice] and I think my life will be spared to see some of these selfish Officers die so that I can smile over their dead bodies

I dont think you would know me I have got as cross as hell, ———–

I should like to see Augusta Comstock for old aquainntance sake and if you see her give her my respects

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to her and tell her I should like to hear from her I shall write to Jennie today or tomorrow

please write soon to your Brother

J.S. Harris


John S. Harris was a 25 year old “driver” from Boston, MA. He enlisted on June 13, 1861 as a 1st Sergeant with Company F of the 11th MA Infantry. The reason for his arrest in the above mentioned letter is unknown, but Harris was in fact promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, August 11, 1862, and 1st Lieutenant, March 13, 1863. He did see his prophecy of living to “smile over the dead bodies” of certain selfish officers fulfilled at the Battle of 2nd Bull Run, where the 11th MA Infantry suffered 113 casualties, including that of Lt. Colonel George P. Tileston. Unfortunately, Harris was also destined to “come out to die,” and was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA.

Letter – William Bracewell, 15 August 1863

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Letter written by Private William S. A. Bracewell of Company G, 49th GA Infantry, A. P. Hill’s Corps, from a camp near Orange Court House, VA. The first part of the letter is addressed to Bracewell’s mother. He inquires about Private Wiley K. Bracewell [Co. G, 49th GA Infantry], who was wounded and captured at Gettysburg. He asks her to pray that the war may end soon, so that they may see each other again “this side of the grave.” Bracewell writes that the army is demoralized and many men are deserting. The second part of the letter is addressed to Bracewell’s brother, J. F. R. Bracewell. William updates his brother on the current state of several of their friends from home who are fighting, one of whom was killed at Gettysburg.


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Camp near Arange courthouse va

Aug 15th 1863

Dear Mother thru the tender mercies of god I am spard to write you a fiw lines that will in form you that I am well at this time and you dont no how glad I was to hear from you and to hear that you ware well and you cant tel how glad I was to hear from Wiley I wanted to know where he is and when you write to me let no all that you about him I hope that he will soon be paroled and if he is I think that he will get the chance to come home and stay

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Tel he gets well and I want to no whether his thigh was ambutated or not I hope it was not I hope it will get well with out being ambutated My Dear Mother you sed that you and all the chill dren wanted me to see me verry Bad Mother I no that you dont want to see me any wors than I do want to see you and I want you to Pray for me and also for the close of this cruel war that we may be spared to meat you all a gain this side of the Grave and if we never meat on earth that we may meat in heaven Dearest Mother you ast me to write you all the

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nuse that I have I cant tel half of it as it is tho I will tel you that our aRmy is demarilised wors than it ever has bin and the men is a desrten evry knight more or les and you can think of things as they are and now that that it is bad times here Mother I must close for this time by remaining your son T[i]ll Death, W.S.A. Bracewell

Dear Brother J.F.R. Bracewell it is with great satisfaction that I am permited to writ you a fiw lines that will in form you that I am well and I hope those lines

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may reach you well and enjoying your sefrelll [several] I had lik to have forgot the request a bout the boyes Jackson Spell is well and at his Co. Wm Spell was kiled at gettysburg, PV, and left on the battle field and I hope that Washington Spell was gone home and James Brantly I dont no where he is and Tel unkle Seburn that I havent herd from [Jesse?] in some time and I want him to remember me in his Praryres to the god that permits us to Live and Josiah you must be a good boy so that if we never meat on earth we may meat in heaven [???] Good Bye, W.A. Bracewell


William S. A. Bracewell, from Laurens County, GA, was one of several brothers and relatives who enlisted in Company G, 49th GA Infantry. He enrolled as a private on May 16, 1862, and was wounded in the left knee and captured at the Battle of the Wilderness, May 6, 1864. He is listed as hospitalized at the Union 2nd Corps Hospital as of that date. He was later paroled and sent home, where he was discharged April 15, 1865.

James W. Bracewell, age 24, enlisted in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry, on March 4, 1862. No further record.

Jesse A. Bracewell, age 18, enrolled May 16, 1862 in Co. G,  49th GA Infantry. He was wounded on July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg, captured April 3, 1865 at Petersburg, VA, and released June 15, 1865 at Hart’s Island, NY. He died in 1916.

John C. Bracewell, age 20, enrolled March 4, 1862 in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry. He was discharged for wounds on February 11, 1864 at the Richmond, VA hospital. Listed as wounded in the left arm on June 26, 1862 at Mechanicsville, VA. He died in 1920.

Wiley K. Bracewell, age 22, enrolled March 4, 1862 in Co. G, 49th GA Infantry. He was mortally wounded in the leg on July 2, 1863 and left in the hands of the Union army where he subsequently died.