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
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.