Letter – Lucy Morse, 12 June 1861

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Letter written by Lucy H. Morse, to her husband Private William H. Morse of Company C, 3rd MI Infantry. Lucy is has discovered that William was wounded in battle and is afraid the wound might prove fatal. She begs her husband to get a discharge so that he may come home. A second part of the letter is dated Friday, June 13 after Lucy has received a letter from William. She asks him again to be discharged as soon as he can, as she trusts no one else with his care. She even offers to travel to him.


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June 12th 1862

Dear William

it is with a trembling

hand and an aching heart that I pen these few lines to you the sad news that you were wounded reached us nd you cannot imagine my feelings as I contemplate the possibility of you being mortally wounded Oh; God the thought is agonising Oh; I hope that it may prove a false report or that if it is so that it is a slight one Oh; dearest husband if it is true you must endeavor to get a discharge they will give you one I know they will not be cruel enough to keep you there. Oh get a discharge if it is a possible thing and come home where you can have careful care do not you must not go to the hospital where there will be no gentle loveing hand to admister to your wants Brother Jim was here yesterday and he

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said that if it was true that you was wounded that you must be got home some way tomorrow is mail day and Oh I hope that it will bring better news I will try to compose myself untill I know for certain Oh; will tomorrow never come

Friday Afternoon

Dearest one I hasten to answer your long and anxiously looked for letter which I recieved today about noon Oh Dear William you can not think how my heart bounded with hope when I saw your well known writing Oh; My Husband you do not know what a relief your letter was to me for although it was the bearer of sad news I had feared that it might be worse. I can not complain I am so thankful that it is as well as it is, that you were not killed Oh; I can bear the thoughts

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of your being wounded if you are spared to me I could bear to see you a cripple for life but I could not bear the thoughts of your being taken from me Oh; Willy it would kill me if you should die and leave me but hope is strong in my bosom I think that you can get your discharge and just as soon as you are able to ride you must come home where anxious hearts are waiting to recieve you Oh; Willy how I wish you could come right home or that I could come to you you dont know how unwilling I am to trust you to any care but my own if you think I can come to you if you want me to if you think it advisable let me know and I will surmount every dificulty and come I am very anxious about you and I want you to get your

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discharge if it is a possible thing and come home just as soon as you can. keep very quiet and bear it patiently I know it will be trying to you to have to keep still you was always so stirring but you must remember the anxious heart that that hangs on your recovery keep up good courage dearest and I trust all will be well we hope to see you in the course of three or four weeks at the most they will be week of torture to me but I will not murmur for I am thankful that you are spared to me Oh; Willy Dear Willy you do not know how much I love you it seems as if my very heart was bound up in you there is not another on earth that could love you more than I do Willy you may direct your letters to Smyrna for I am going out there.


William H. Morse, age 24, enlisted with Company C of the 3rd MI Infantry at Grand Rapids, MI on June 10, 1861. He was wounded by a gunshot to the knee at the Battle of Fair Oaks, VA on May 31, 1862. The regiment lost 30 men killed, 124 wounded, and 1 missing. He was sent to a hospital in Philadelphia, PA, but later died there on August 8, 1862.

Letter – John Brown, 24 September 1863

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Letter of Private John S. Brown of Company F, 39th NC Infantry (illiterate), written for him by Private Samuel W. Cooper of Company K, 39th NC Infantry, to the family of Sergeant John Wiggins. The letter is sent from Ringold, GA, and while dated the 14th, this is likely a mistake as official records mark that he was wounded on the 19th at Chickamauga. It informs them of his death after being wounded on September 19th, 1863, at Chickamauga, TN. Wiggins was shot in the thigh and brought to a hospital, where he died on September 21st. Sergeant Wiggins’ brother, Joseph, was with him when he died, and had him buried. Brown writes favorably of Sergeant Wiggins, and mentions that he was a good soldier and well-liked in the regiment.


Ringold Ga Sept 14th 1863

Asteemed [Esteemed] friends it is with sorrow that I right [write] at the present from the fact that I have sad news to wright your son & bro is Dead he was shot Saturday in the first charge, he was shot in the Thigh & the ball Broke his thigh & he was caried to the hospital where he remained till Monday he Died a monday Evening & he ast me to wright home & tell you [???] that he was wounded. John’s Bro, Jo. came to him before he Died & he stayed with him untill he died & he had him Buried there was is one consolation to wright that is he was a good soldier & fought & died for the good of his country & all of the Boys in the Regt Like Sargt Wigeons he all ways done his duty & acted like a gentelman & was good to all of the Boys I recking I had better bring this letter to a close so no mor your friend John, Brown,

written by S.W. Cooper


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 – George Davis, 28 September 1862

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Letter written by Private George W. Davis of Company E, 15th MA Infantry, to his uncle, from Harper’s Ferry, VA. Davis writes that he is getting “as fat as a hog” in camp. Davis describes being in the battle at Antietam, and a slight wound he received on his hip that has since healed. He mentions the casualties suffered at Antietam on both sides. He writes that “the Rebs fight like devils,” and that war isn’t as “funny” as he previously thought. He inquires about men enlisting back home in Hardwick, MA. Davis also describes the land of “Old Virginia,” before asking about the current state of friends back home.


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Harpers Ferry Sept 28th ’62

Dear Uncle as I promised to write to you I now take the oppertunity to do so I am well and having a good time and getting fat as a hog we are encamped near the Ferry now we have had hard times and hard marches and one hard Battle I was in it I got a slight wound on the hip but that is all well now you had ought to seen the Rebels that were killed we lost a great many men the 15th was cut up very bad the Rebs Fight like Devils but we are driving them I will bet I shall be glad when I get

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out of this I tell you war is not so funny as I thought it was before I come out here we dont know when we are going move nor what we are going to do till we have the order to march and then we dont know where we are going till we get there is there any more enlisting there does [Louee?] or Joshua think of enlisting yet I wish you could come out here in old Virginia and see the Country you can travel miles and miles and not see a house nor a fence nor a Cultivated Field and I have not seen a real good looking Girl since I left old Massachusetts how does Miss Carrie A Taylor get along now a days

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how does that boy of old Butlers get along does he grow any Can he walk yet I saw Joel and Silas and the rest of the Hubbardston boys at Cambridge and at New York they were in good spirits when I see them last have you heard from them since they left well I cant think of any more to write now you must excuse me for not writing before for I have not had time nor place to write please write as soon as you get this for I want to hear from you verry much have you heard any thing from mother lately write soon your truly

George W Davis


George W. Davis was an 18 year-old farmer from Hardwick, MA. He enlisted as a private in Company E, of the 15th MA Infantry on August 5, 1862. He was wounded on September 17, 1862 at Antietam. He was mustered out on July 28, 1864 at Worchester, MA.

Letter – J.P. Graves, 1 June 1864

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Letter written by Private J. P. Graves of the Warren County MS Light Artillery, Army of TN, to his mother, from Floyd Hospital in Macon, GA. Graves suffered a minor head wound at New Hope Church, at the battle of Pickett’s Mill, but plans to go to Eufaula or Columbus if the doctors let him. Graves was wounded in the charge made by Union Major General Oliver O. Howard’s Corps against Patrick Cleburne’s Division. He mentions hearing that several friends were safe and remarks on the number of prisoners taken and casualties suffered. He also recounts the casualties at Resaca and Calhoun. Graves writes that he is tired of fighting and mentions getting a ring made for a young lady. He admits he didn’t know what it meant to be a soldier until he joined, sleeping on rocks and marching for miles each day.


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Floyd Hospittal

Macon Ga June the 1/64

Dear Mother

I arrived at this place last Sunday as one ofe the wounded soldiers; I was lsightly wounded in the top of my head; the ball cutting the skin a bout two inches; I am getting a long very well now. I will try to get to Eufala or Columbus [???]; If the Doctors will let me. I forgot to tell you wheir I was wounded at It was at New Hope Church [Battle of Pickett’s Mill, near New Hope Church, GA, Friday, May 27, 1864] last fryday I was wounded a bout an hour before dark in the

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charge that Howard Corps made against Cleburn their was only three Brigades of Cleburne Division in the charge. Bud came through safe. I saw a man in the 45 Ala; he said Mr Barnett came through safe also Hendon and Dose Glenn we captured three hundred prisoners and seven hundred stand of small arms. This makes three fights I have been in too many Resaca Calhoun New Hope Resaca we lost ten men kill and wounded in our Company Calhoun 1 man wounded New Hope we lost two men wounded

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I am tired of fighting now; and willing to come home since I got my wound. If you have any money on hand I wish you would send me some; I have got some but it wont pass here. Tell Sallie I have got her ring made but have not got the sets put in it yet I have got a yankee ring that come off a dead yankees finger at Dug Gap but I dont reckond you would want it. I want that money mostly to buy some paper and envelopes as they are cheaper here than

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any wheir else. The Ladies visit the Hospittal evry day. I have been looking out for Miss Love Upshaw but have not seen her yet Tell sister that I will write to her in a few days. I did not know what Soldiering was when I came out but I no now I have been sleeping on rocks for the last three weeks some time we would march 15 miles a day and would have to march back to the same place that night and form a line of battle but I am willing to stand to it. Give my love to sister Net and Sallie

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and take a good share your self I remain you dutiful Son

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 – Edgar Wilcox, 22 September 1863

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Letter written by Lieutenant Edgar “Ned” Wilcox of Company H, 3rd Battalion, 18th U.S. Infantry, to his sister Lottie, from Chattanooga, TN. Wilcox writes that he was involved in the “thickest” of fighting at Chickamauga. He describes the recent fighting, as well as the casualties suffered by his regiment. Wilcox’s regiment bivouacked after a retreat, and the next morning he awoke with a fever. Too exhausted to continue with his men, he sat under a tree until the Confederates began shelling, one of which injured his knee. He is writing this letter while stretched on the counter of an empty dry goods store that he found after the shell lamed him. He is determined to continue fighting the next day if able.


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Chattanooga Tenn. Tuesday

Evening 8 PM. Sept 22d 1862

Dear Lottie

I will write you a few lines to night though I do not know whether I can get them into any mail or if I do whether you will ever get them — We have been fighting now for three days very hard and I have been in the thickest of it but have providentially escaped without a scratch so far with the exception of a hit in the left knee with a spent shell yesterday P.M. which has lamed me considerable but did no further injury – All that troubles me is the fever & ague which I have had ever since Sat owing to exposure &c – Our Brigade went into the fight at sunrise Saturday morning the 19th & fought till dark & were repulsed three times with heavy loss – That night we were shelled heavily but we were so worn out we slept till 2 O.clock in the morning full force not over 500 yards from us and that the Balance of our Division had fallen back without letting us know any thing about it – you may perhaps imagine we fell back double quick and I can assure you we did – at day light Sunday morning were in line of battle again and I was ordered out with my comp. as skirmishers – about

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By 8 o.clock I had lost 6 or 7 men when the Rebs advanced in force & I fell back to the Reg. who were laying down under a little slope some 300 yds behind me. Here we fought them some 20 minutes but at a terrible loss as they flanked us & we were under a cross fire and we were obliged to fall back again – After this the fight became general for the rest of the day – The enemy charging & driving us and we in them charging & driving them – About noon I heard that Lee Brown was laying on the field where we opened the fight in the morning badly wounded and as I could not leave my comp. sent 4 men and a Sergt to carry him off, they told me he was wounded in 6 places the worst wound breaking his leg but that he was cheerful & did not think his wounds dangerous – At 4 P.M. the Rebs massed up on our left where were & completely overpowered us and we retreated precipitably and as our hospital and ambulances were capture I think Lee was also.

I wrote to Ria this morning that he was wounded but in good spirits & nothing more as I did not want to alarm her unnecessarily. On the retreat I got about 20 of our Brig. together & bivouaced about 12 that night – In the morning I waked up with a burning fever on me but hearing that the brig. or what was left of it was in camp 1/4 of a mile from us I sent them there in charge of a segt and laid down under a tree too much exhausted to go any further – There I staid

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until 4 P.M. when the Rebs commenced shelling the road & I concluded to “fall back” on Chattanooga (5 miles) but had not gone 20 yds before a shell burst just in front of me and bim a piece took me in the knee, but it was spent and only lamed me & I managed to get in here where I have been stretched on a counter in an empty drygoods store all day & where I am writing disconnectedly & hurriedly to night – Our Brig. has fallen back to the fortifications in the edge of town & there will probably be on the heavy fight tomorrow & if I am not really down sick I shall go again – Our Brig. now is all cut to pieces and numbers about 200 (200) men but they will fight to the last & you may bet I will be with them if I am able to stand up. – Can write no more to night –

Yours in Haste

Ned


Edgar Norville Wilcox was born in Berkshire, MA. He was a civil engineer attending the University of Michigan when he enlisted as a private in the 7th OH Infantry at age 23 on June 19, 1861. He was discharged in December of 1861 and then joined the 18th US Regular Infantry on January 14, 1862. He was assigned as a private in Company B, 3rd Battalion. In May 1862 he was promoted to sergeant of Company H and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on June 11, 1863 (retroactive to February 19th). Wilcox was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on September 20, 1863. He was breveted Captain in September 1864 for Murfreesboro, Atlanta, and Jonesboro and after the war was officially promoted to Captain on January 22, 1867. He mustered out January 1, 1871 and lived in Oberlin, OH working in railroad construction. He died May 25, 1892.