Letter written by Private W. R. Lacy of the 6th TN Infantry, C.S.A., to his cousin Amarila Lemons, from a camp near Shelbyville, TN, describing his participation at the Battle of Stones River. Lacy writes that he and his comrades are in high spirits, consoled through the war that the Confederacy will one day be an independent government. He mentions Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and that the Governor of Kentucky has ordered troops to keep the proclamation from being enforced. Lacy finds it strange that the Union proclaims the battle as a victory due to their great losses. He has heard reports about General Joseph Wheeler taking boats on the Cumberland River. He concludes by sending his regards to friends and family at home.
Camp near Shelbyville Tenn
Miss Amarila Lemons
As I have an opportunity of sending you a letter, I concluded to write you a few lines. Well cousin, our country is in a bad situation perhapse in such that we can never redeam it but we are in high spirits yet, and still look forward to the day of her redemption, and think it not far off, there is one good consolation and that is to know that the Confederacy will be an independent government. Some of the Federal Prisioners say that the majority of there troops has lost all hope of subjugateing the south
Our president says in his message that the war has entered its third and last stage Gen. Woolford [probably Col. Frank Wolford, 1st Kentucky Cav., U.S.] the Yankee cavalry fighter disbanded his commands for thirty days and if old Abe dont modify his emancipaon proclimation that he will not call for them agen. It is rumored that the Govener of Ky has call for sity thousan troops to keepe the Presidents procklimation from being enforced in Ky. I think that will piece soon. Cousin I supose you have heard of the Battle of Murfreesburrow or Stone River I suppose the Yanks claim a great victory I think strang of them for clamering a victory over us when there loss was so hevy and our so small compared with theres Our loss was 5 or 6 thosand killed wounded and missing
There loss 25 or 30 thosand besides the thirty pieces of artilery that we captured It was a heard faught battle Our Brigade did not get in a general engagement, but were in two hevy skirmishes, we were also uder the fire of there artilery all the time, Lieut. Bisy [Lt. A.J. Bucey] and Jef Gillum [Lt. T.J. Gilliam] were killed by a shell, I hope that we have faught our last battle. It was reported that Gen Wheeler and his cavary took five transports boats on the cumberlan river, and distroyed five cars on the Murfreesborrow and Nashville railroad two days since, I must close we are all well, Capt Lacy is well and I know he would like to hear from you, give my love to relation and inquiring friends, write the first opportunity and tell Emma Sarah, I remain you cousin excuse misstakes W R Lacy
Letter supposedly written by Captain Given Campbell, to his wife Susan Elizabeth, from New Orleans, LA. Campbell gives his wife an account of his daily life in the city. He describes a visit to a church where the sermon lasted for over an hour, which he thought was much too long. He writes of various friends and acquaintances he has seen in New Orleans. He also mentions that New Orleans is an “ungodly city,” and that as he sits writing he can hear a brass band playing as part of a large parade. He writes that “unless there is more religion here we will never prosper.”
New Orleans Sunday afternoon Jany 21.72
My Sweet Wife
I mailed a letter to you this morning, and then went to hear Mr M. I was invited to [???] woods to dine but declined. Well Mr M preached a sermon one hour & 5 minutes in length to Christians about keeping separate from the world and he gave his ideas about theatres operas cardplaying, Billiards, Horse races and round dances in extenso: and in the service I thought he was right and reasonable, but there was more too much of it for one time, Aunt Em and Will were at Church in my pew, and Belle Watts from Southland was also there, after church I walked to Uncle Gus’ to see Belle home, and was most pressingly invited by Uncle Gus to stay to dine, but I declined because I wanted to go to the mail which is
open only between 1 & 2 oclock on Sunday, and I dint know whether they will feel complemented by this preference of mine to get a letter from you to dining with them or not. but at any rate it was so, and I did go to the P.O. and much to my intense disgust the mail was an hour and a half behind time, so I will not get the letter of today till tomorrow morning. These mails are so horribly irregular that they disgust me often. I have set my heart on a letter from you today, for I always enjoy getting your letters more on Sundays. I suppose it is because I have no work to do on that day and have my mind free from business and then it naturally reverts to what it most prominently thinks of and you know who that is.
We had a right good Congregation and I saw some strangers, i did not see Mr Alison, But Mrs Moore & Miss Carrie & Mr W. were each there, and there
also was Mrs Richardson, and she was not very well dressed I am afraid poor Frank is feeling some of the dullness of the times. Aunt Eve looked well and said she was well and Will is very fat, and his face is as broad a face as a mans ought to be, he was very nicely dressed in a new suit of cloth I suppose his sister must have given it to him for Poor old Mac, does not do much now I never see him have a case and it is strange to me how he gets along. I have not seen any thing of Mary for some time she is disposed to forget me, and as I do not think her recollections as of any advantage to me I wont trouble her by jogging her memory by any visit to her–. I am boarding at Moreau’s on Canal but St. Charles & [Carondelet?], about two doors further out than Giguel’s, and have very fine eating there, and enjoy what I eat much more than at the Hotel, though it is a solitary sort of a life to site and eat your meals at a table by yourself, but as it agrees
with my appetite then, I think I shall continue it for a few days longer – there it is about $3 per week higher that at the Hotel. This is a very ungodly city. for just as I am waiting here goes a brass band and a procession with banners parading the street. I am afraid unless there is more religion here it will never prosper, well my darling I will now go to dinner and stop this letter here and finish it tomorrow, and mail it then.
You may always know that no one can describe how much I love you, G.
Monday, well darling another beautiful morning has dawned upon us. I am very well this morning. I went to my room on yesterday after dinner and read some chapters in my testaments. I then staid in my room til Church [???] and went to Dr Palmers to the annual meeting of the Bible Society and there was an immense crowd & the church was very close and one man farted & fell from his seat and several ladies had to leave Rev Wm Tudor delivered the address, and his address
[Rest of letter missing]
Given Campbell was a lawyer practicing in St. Louis, MO who enlisted in the 2nd MO Volunteer Militia. In 1861 he was captured with over 600 other militia members by the Union Army and taken prisoner. He was paroled and then went to Kentucky where he joined the 15th KY Cavalry. He was promoted to captain of the company. Following the surrender atAppomattox, Campbell was selected by Jefferson Davis to lead his escape – they were captured at Irwinsville, GA. After the war, Campbell moved to New Orleans where he continued to practice law until 1873, when he moved back to St. Louis. He died in 1906.
Letter written by Private Thomas C. Potter of Battery B, 1st OH Light Artillery, to his siblings, from a camp near Murfreesboro, TN.In it he describes the events of the Battle of Stones River up to the evacuation of Murfreesboro by Confederate forces. He recounts that on New Year’s Day, there was “heavy skirmishing on picket” to relieve the Chicago Board of Trade Battery. Throughout the night, he could hear the Confederates working on their entrenchments. The next day, the Confederates opened fire on the 7th Light Artillery. Within three minutes every man had been hit or driven away. Potter’s regiment endured firing from the Confederate forces until ordered to fall back. Potter considers himself lucky, for he escaped with only singed eyebrows. The morning of January 3rd brought the sounds of Confederate artillery as they opened fire on the camp. Firing continued until the evening. Murfreesboro was evacuated that night, and the next morning Potter walked through the battlefield and saw soldiers burying their dead comrades. Potter writes favorably of General William Rosecrans, and says that the “army fairly adores him.”
In Camp 2-1/2 miles from Murfreesboro, Tennessee on
Mc Mcanville Turnpike. Monday morning Jan 12th 1863
Dear brother and sister
Perhaps you may be interested to know what part our battery took in the late great drama before Murfreesboro. I propose to give below the outlines of our movements since leaving Nash[ville] up to the evacuation of Murfreesboro by the enemy’s force under Gen. Bragg. We left our camp near Nashville Friday morning, Dec. the 26th, our brigade taking the advance on the Mur[freesboro] road.We found the enemy in considerable force near the little town of Lavergne, some 14 miles from Nashville, determined to dispute our farther advance. This soon brought on a splendid artillery skirmish which lasted until day, when we went into camp on the same ground. The only casualty of our company was John Blanchard, seriously injured by a premature discharge. Saturday 27th formed our line soon after sunrise; drove the enemy before us with slight loss on our side, went into camp that night within 10 miles of Murfreesboro. Here we stay until Monday morning, the 29th, when we pushed forward, the enemy disputing every inch of ground. Went into camp with our line formed and skirmishers out before the Rebel line of earthworks within some 2-1/2 miles of Murfreesboro. Tuesday 30th formed our line some four miles in length. heavy skirmishing along the whole line all day very heavy artillery firing all day from both sides. Our casualties of the day one of our wheel horses shot through the heart by a musket ball – Camped for the night on the same ground as the night before – Wednesday morning the 31st. This morning the grand ball opened on our right. Our battery was stationed at the point known as the Cedar point, on the right center. Our line at this point was formed in the shape of a crescent. Our brigade formed the advance. As you would say, [it] was the point most advanced. In our rear was the cedar thicket. In our front and right was a large corn field. Joining this on the left was the noted cotton field, through which the Rebel masses, maddened
and half crazy by whisky and gunpowder – which had been dealt out to them in large quantities – made charge after charge up to within 30 yards of the muzzles of our guns, in solid columns, despite shot, shell, and canister that tore great gaps in their ranks. But [their ranks] were quickly closed up again, and a perfect storm of musketry. Never did I see men face the music. When so close to our guns they pulled their hats over their eyes so that they could not see the flash of our pieces, and moved up as steadily as if they were on the parade ground. After our ammunition was all expended, we were ordered to the rear to replenish and refill our empty [ammo] chests. Until that time I did not notice the peculiar form that our division had assumed – Gen. Negley, on our right, had fallen back, thus uncovering our right flank. And two Rebel brigades occupied that ground that he left. Our division had assumed the form of a triangle, and was fighting on four fronts. Everything on our right had fallen back, and one battery on our left, and two on our right had been captured by the enemy. And as we passed to the rear over the ground where we were in camp the night before, we passed over large numbers of the enemy’s dead that had fallen in our rear. We were held as a reserve the remainder of the day. Our casualties of the day [were]: Sergeant George Wolf of Cleveland, struck by a shell -killed instantly; Orderly Sergeant L.T. Thompson, struck by a spent James solid shot (weighing 12-1/2 pounds) has since died; John Elliott (Troy) wounded in small of his back (I afterward found him dead on the field); Samuel Ruple (Cleveland) shot through the neck by a ball from a spherical case shot from a 6 pdr. & since died; and some 12 others wounded. I think that they will all recover. In this day’s work we had 15 horses killed or disabled. Thursday (New Year’s Day) very heavy skirmishing on picket to relieve the Chicago Board of Trade Battery
We took our position; no. 1 and 2 and 3 pieces in the center, no. 4,5 and 6 pieces were just to the right. From 400 yards distant, and on our left the 4th Indiana Battery was formed on the same line with us. Our infantry support lay just to our rear under cover of the ridge on which we stood, while in front and about 600 yards distant running in a parallel line with us was a skirt of timber, which was in the hands of the enemy. Our skirmishers were about 100 yards in front of the battery. All night long we could hear the Rebels working on their entrenchments in the woods in front. Soon after daylight our skirmishers and theirs commenced amusing themselves by trying the accuracy of their rifles. Then the 7th Indiana B[attery] opened and drove their skirmishers back into the woods. Then one of Gen. Rosecrans’ staff officers rode up and gave positive orders not to fire unless we saw large masses of the enemy. He had hardly rode out of sight when the Rebels opened on the 7th L[ight] A[rtillery] with four batteries which they had masked in the woods during the night, and not more than 400 yards distant. Well, I have been in several warm places in my time, but this was a few degrees warmer than any place that I ever saw or imagined (in this everybody who saw or heard agreed with me). Within three minutes they drove every man away from the guns of the 7th Battery, and killed and crippled up the horses so that they were obliged to leave their guns on the field. They [Rebels] then concentrated their fire on our three guns; we were laying still on the ground a few minutes with a terrific storm of shot, shell, and canister flying over and around us. It seemed just as if they would sweep us from the ground, when a shell struck just ahead of us and filled our faces with mud. This was more than Lieutenant Baldwin could stand. He sprang up with, “come boys and give them …” We opened on them with a will, but the
infernal missiles howling around us. After we had fired about ten rounds a piece, the lieutenant ordered us to fall back, or we would lose every man and horse that all had. By this time, two of our batteries had taken position on the ridge about 600 yards in our rear, and opened on the batteries on our front. We succeeded in disentangling our dead horses. We got our piece back under cover of the other batteries. No. 2 piece, the boys pulled off with one horse (5 being killed on that piece), and no. 3 had to leave their piece on the ground until we got ours under cover, and went back and pulled it off by hand. Our loss on this occasion: Chauncey Lyons (driver from Lorain Co., Ohio) struck by a solid shot, killed instantly; N. Lerone, struck by a fragment of a shell slightly; Wm. Grant, slightly, and 7 horses killed. For my part, I considered myself fortunate to escape with my hair and eyebrows singed by the explosion of a 12 pdr. shell. I chanced to have one of Waverly’s novels in my overcoat pocket, and the same explosion set it on fire. The fragments of the shell I avoided by throwing myself flat on the ground within three feet of it. As the boys term it, “comes the drop down on it,” Well, we refilled our ammunition chests and picked up horses enough to make up for our lost ones. About 4 o’clock p.m. the enemy made a furious assault on our left wing nearly half of a mile. As half of our battery was still out to the front, were we not ordered out until sometime after the engagement had grown pretty lively. When we arrived on the ground, our reserves were just ordered forward to charge the Rebel masses that were moving through a large field in great force. They stayed their ground like veterans, but they could not stand such a fierce artillery fire and a charge at the same time. They gave way in some confusion, and fell back to their first line of earthworks. From [this] we soon dislodged them, by bringing up nearly 50
pieces of artillery to enfilade their rifle pits. It was here that Colonel Stanley’s brigade charged and captured four pieces of the famous Washington white horse battery of New Orleans. Our boys drove them in splendid style until darkness closed in their favor, and saved them from a perfect rout. If we had had two hours more of daylight, we would have went into Murfreesboro. Thus closed the 2d day of Jan. (’63). Saturday the 3rd. Our reveille this morning was the deep toned thunder of Rebel artillery, as they opened on our camp with four batteries – probably as a cloak to cover their evacuation. Heavy skirmish firing along our whole line. The ball closed by a heavy musketry engagement, commencing at 6 P.M. and closing at 9:30 P.M. was occasioned by our infantry advancing down the pike, driving the Rebels from their first line of rifle pits. It was a splendid
sight from where we were on a ridge, nearly half a mile in rear of our men, with an open field between us. It appeared like two long sheets of flame, with now and then a change of scene as forth belched red artillery. The only thing disagreeable to a spectator was sometimes a few rifle bullets would sing along overhead, far back in the timber. Sunday morning the 4th; All quiet. Murfreesboro had been evacuated during the previous night. After breakfast, I started out to take a view of our first day’s battleground, which was about one mile distant. I passed along musing on our probable loss. The field was alive with little silent groups. ‘Twas plain to see their occupation: burying their fallen comrades
reaching the cedars, passed through them and came out near where our battery was engaged. I passed along among a group of our own and the enemy’s dead, when a familiar face, upturned and ghostly, startled me. A nearer view assured me that I was not mistaken. It was the earthly remains of poor John Elliott (of Troy). I covered his face and hastened back to the battery. Two of his messmates returned with me, and selecting a quiet spot, committed him to his last resting place – peace to his ashes. He was a noble hearted boy, a brave soldier, one that was beloved and respected by both officers and men. Sister, please pardon me for passing in silence over the horrid, ghastly details of this fatal tragedy this great military drama. I refer you to the periodicals for the shadow, and yet you draw on
your imagination for the balance. Well, on Monday, the 5th, we moved to our present position. Where the Rebels are now is more than I know madam rumor says that they are coming back to see us, but I think Gen. Bragg has seen just as much of Gen. Rosecrans at present as he wants to. Well, our army has implicit confidence in our general commanding. He was with us in the thickest of the fight, everywhere directing the movements himself. Our army fairly adores him. Well, I must close. I have written this in great haste. I guess it will take you some time to read it. I wrote a few hurried lines to you from the field. Did you get it? Write soon. Remember me to all inquiring friends.
Total number of shots fired from the battery 1670
Private Thomas Corwin Potter enlisted at age 20 on September 5, 1861 in Battery B, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. He served with his unit in combat at Mill Springs, Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga. On Sept. 20, 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga, Pvt. Potter was mortally injured when both of his arms were blown off by the premature discharge of his gun. He died the following morning at 3:00 A. M., and was later buried in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga.
Letter of Private Cecil Fogg of Company B, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to his father from Chattanooga, TN. Fogg writes that sutlers have come to camp, and retracts his previous request for money. He describes a scouting trip to McLenmore Cove where they rescued families of Union Home Guards who had been taken prisoner. Fogg writes that a cavalry expedition to Dalton found no Confederate troops, and that his regiment is still working on a bridge. The 92nd Ohio is working on burying deceased soldiers in the nearby National Cemetery, while other squads are fencing in the depot and repairing the railroad track to Knoxville. Fogg mentions family friends who have re-enlisted in the 40th Ohio, and were at Shell Mound since the fight at Lookout Mountain but are now guarding the railroad. Veterans from the 36th Ohio have begun to return home. Several deserters have been sentenced in a court martial. Fogg discusses the benefits of instating a draft and concludes by mentioning the recent arrival of sanitary stores.
Chattanooga, Tenn. Jan. 31/64
I have rec’d 3 or 4 letters from you within the last 10 days; 2 of them containing thread. There was enough in the first one to do me, as the sutlers have now come up. I wrote to you on the 17th for some money. If you have not sent any, you need not now, for I can get along without it till we are paid again. I believe I have not wrote to you since the scout. We were out on a 3 days’ scout to McLenmore Cove. We started out on the 18th and went up to where we came down the mountain in Sept. We camped there at the foot of the mountain on the night of the 18th, and the next day we went a few miles farther and loaded up about 16 or 18 wagons
with some Union families and their household goods, and came back to the place where we camped the night before. We camped there that night and returned to our camp at Chattanooga the next day. The families which we moved in are families of Union Home Guards, who have been taken prisoners by the Rebs. The Home Guards met to organize and elect officers, and the Rebs slipped in on them in our uniform, and took all but 5 or 6 of them. They shot some of them in the own door yard, stripped some of all their clothing, and made them double quick towards Dalton in their bare feet over the frozen ground. It rained the morning we started out there, and the road was very bad that day. But it froze up that night, and snowed a little.
It thawed a little the next day, and froze up again at night, so we had pretty good walking back to camp. I understand that our cavalry have been out to Dalton and found no enemy there. Our regt. is still at work on the bridge. The 92nd [Ohio] is engaged at the work of re-interring the bodies of soldiers who have been killed or died, and been buried near this place.
They are burying them in the National Cemetery near this place. There are also squads at work fencing in the depot, and repairing the track between here and Knoxville. And I think the [rail]cars will be running through to that point in a short time. This is a very lively place at present; nearly everybody appears to be doing something. I saw John Williams’ boys a few
days ago. They are in the 40th Ohio. Their division passed up the river. They have been at Shell Mound since the fight at Lookout Mt. They have all three re-enlisted, and expect to go home in a short time. They are going up to guard R[ail] Road between here and Knoxville for the present. The veterans of the 36th (about 54 in number) started home a few days ago. Harrison Adney is one of them. None of the Salem boys in this regt. have re-enlisted yet. I believe Henry Pedin started home a few days ago on furlough. We have had about 2 weeks of the finest weather I ever saw at this time of the year. It realizes my former ideas of the “Sunny South,” but which all were put to flight by that cold snap in the fore part of the month.
The deserters are catching it pretty hard at the court martial now in session. Three deserters in Co. B were tried a few days ago. They don’t know their sentence yet. Bill McKey is sentenced to one month’s hard labor, and lose 10 month’s wages. His sentence is light. Some have to work 6 months, lose a year’s pay, and after they have worked out their sentence, return to the regt. and make up for all the time they have lost. All your arguments in favor of big bounties for volunteers look to me as though they might be used as arguments on the other side. If the novelty of the thing has worn off and volunteering is a drag, why not draft at once save time and money, and bring out some of the Copperheads into the ranks who never will be there unless they are drafted, or get more than their services
are worth in the shape of a bounty. If the draft had come off 6 months ago, there would not have been so many loafing soldiers at home pretending to recruit for months at a time when their services are needed in the field. I think the veterans ought to have twice the bounty that a raw recruit gets, for a veteran is worth more to the gov’t than 2 new recruits. Almost every regt. in the service lost more than half their no. before they ever done any service to the government. A regt. will lose one half its no. in getting seasoned to the service.
Some sanitary stores have reached this place, and the sick and wounded in the hospitals in town have had the benefit of some of them. And the hospital attendants and officers are living in closer. They can afford to be generous when they have more than they can use themselves.
Cecil Fogg enlisted in Company B of the 36th OH Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 at Marietta, OH at the age of 20. He served through his three year term of service and re-enlisted for the war, but was mustered out July 27, 1865 based upon a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The 36th served in West Virginia in 1861, and participated in the battles ofSouth Mountain and Antietam as a part of the 9th Corps before being transferred west in January 1863. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland’s 14th Army Corps (George H. Thomas),the regiment fought at Chickamauga and later in the Atlanta and Savannah, GA (March to the Sea) Campaigns.
Letter written by Colonel Clark S. Edwards of the 5th Maine Infantry to his wife, from the headquarters of the 5th ME Volunteers near White Oak Church, VA. Edwards begins by expressing gratitude at still being alive when so many others have died in battle or from disease, and states how much he misses his wife and children. Edwards lists the battles in which he has fought with the 5th Maine, including West Point, Gaines Mill, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. He describes his daily life in camp, and that for the next three days he will be the field officer of the day while the regiment goes on picket. The papers have reported a bill to consolidate the regiments, and Edwards says he will leave if that happens.
A second part of the letter is dated January 15th, 1863. Edwards claims though he believes slavery is wrong, he feels it is none of the North’s business to meddle with the affairs of the South. However, now that the South has rebelled, the North must bring the states back together. Edwards bitterly writes of how unworthy officers are being promoted due to their political ties, and cites Henry Halleck as a prime example.
Head Quarters 5th Me. Vols.
Camp near White Oak Church, Va.
Jan. 14th, 1863
My Dear Wife
I sit down to write you this evening with a heart overflowing with gratitude to our Heavenly Father for protecting and carrying me through the past year, while thousands of this army have been killed in battle – with prospects one year ago as bright as mine. And I feel thankful for His kindness in preserving me in health and strength while tens of thousands of this army have been cut down by diseases; while I have never seen yet a sick day. One year ago tonight I was with you at home, as I left on the fifteenth for Augusta. Little then did I think that one long year would pass before I should see you again. You may think I have lost that feeling which should always animate a father’s breast for his wife and little ones, but I can truly say that my dear
family is always uppermost in my mind. Not a day nor an hour but some incident reminds me of beloved ones far away. Glad would I be if I could but press those little ones to my breast this night, but that cannot be. What a change has taken place in this the last year. When I look back, it seems like a dream. I can hardly realize it, but still there has been some reality, in the fight of West Point, Gaines Mill, Golding Farm, Charles City Cross Roads, Crampton Pass, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and a sprinkling of Malvern Hill & the last Bull Run, all of which I have taken part in. I think I have done my part of fighting. But few officers can boast of taking part in so many fights. No man can say in the 5th Maine that he has been in every fight of the regt, and has not seen a sick day. I am probably all the officers or man but what has [not] been off duty at some time on ac[count] of sickness, and I think but few can say what I can in regard to drink. Not a drop of
the critter have I taken. But then I am not perfect, but far from it. When I look back, I can see many things I have done that I ought not, and many things undone which should have been, but we live to learn, and learn to live – or at least such has been my life. My life for the past year I am willing to have it published to the world. In battle I have always looked after the interest of others, regardless of my own in a great measure. But I will not boast of my deeds. I have done no more than any soldier should do in his duty to his country. But I must leave of this style of writing – you will say I am growing sentimental. I expect you will want to know how I pass my time now. I will tell you. I get up at eight, eat breakfast at nine, have the camp policed up, and the work done around camp till twelve. Then the men eat their dinner. I eat mine at half past one, drill the battalions from two till four, then have dress parade, supper at six, read & write till ten
go to bed ½ past ten. That has been the way I have done for the past week. In the morning our regiment goes on picket for three days, but I shall not stay with them but little, as I am to be the field officer of the day for the next three days, and shall stop nights at my tent. I went to Falmouth tonight to look after that fatal box, but could not find it, so have now given up in full. I still wear the old blouse with a plenty of shirts, so I plan to keep comfortable. I have sent to W[ashington] some five times after it. I have also been more than one hundred miles, so I think I have some little reason to be cross about it. If it had come, or been sent at a reasonable time after I sent for it, I should have gotten it, but two months had passed from the first letter I wrote before it left Maine, and then we were away from Washington so far that it could not be looked after. I do not blame you, but those that had the job to get it. But we will let that pass now, henceforth and farewell. Your last letter that I received was dated ten days ago, and was answered six days
[ago], so I have none now to answer. I am in hopes I may get one in the morning before this leaves. I wrote you or the boys about having an overcoat the same pattern of the one I now have, but they never sent me word why they did not get it up. But as it is almost spring, I shall not need it, so will let it go now, or if I ever get a chance to go home, I can then see to it. I see by the papers that they are getting a bill [up] to consolidate the regt. – that is put two or three into one. If so, I will leave the show any way, as it will be an honorable way to get out. I am in hopes of getting another commission before the time arrives, so as to go home as high as any of the Bethelites. I expect everything has changed some in Bethel within the last year. Write me of the most important changes. I expect the little ones have gone along some in size. Nelley must be quite a miss, & Frank a big boy. Waldo, I expect goes over to see Adel Twitchell as usual. Kate I hope is courted up
to her knees, and I presume she is. Massie & Bertie are quite [the] boys now, I suppose as a year makes a great odds with such little ones. I feel somewhat older than I did when I came into to the show, but still I am well and hearty; fat as a hog, and about as putrid. Thursday morn., Jan. 15th 1863, The mail has just come in and it brought a letter from you to me. It is dated Jan. 9th. The thing you speak of I have received, that is the hat & scarf. You spoke of my being changed in politics, but it is not so. I am the same as ever. I was never a negro worshiper. I believe the principle of slavery is wrong, but it was none of our business to meddle with slavery in the states where the constitution planted it, or rather where it was planted before the constitution was passed. Let the North look after her own affairs, and she has enough to attend to. If she had always done that this war could have been avoided. But now as the South has violated the constitution and has rebelled against one of the model governments of the world, I say if she cannot be brought back by an honest promise of the North not to meddle with her states’ rights, why then use all the powers of the North to do it. I go for giving the South a chance to repent once. If she does not, make her if it takes all the treasure of the North
and a million more men. But what I am sick of [is] this, of having men to fill offices that are not worthy of the place. There is Halleck, commander in chief of all the armies of the North. What is he? It he a warrior? No, never as yet saw the first battle – never under fire in his life. Is he the man for the place? It is some political favorite that gets these places. There is where all these blunders have arisen. For instance, I will give you an illustration. Yesterday, Capt.[James A.] Hall of the 2d Battery called on me. He is one of the best officers from Maine, puts on no airs, but goes in for work & has been in more fights than any other officer in any of the Maine batteries, but still is hardly known outside of his division; is not a political aspirant. Now for another capt. of one of the Maine batteries, his name is [O’Neil W.] Robinson, from one of the rural towns back in Oxford Co., Maine. He is a candidate
for what – it should be for a dishonorable discharge for cowardice from the service – but to the contrary, it is for a brigadier general. And I would not be at all surprised if he gets it. That is what a man by the name of Kimball is now at W[ashington] fixing. Is it to be wondered at that many of the battles come off as they do under such officers? As I write you, I am sick of the show. Who would wonder at it. Give us the men we want for leaders and the thing will be cleaned up. But force generals on us to serve under, that the latest recruit from Maine can teach, and who wonders at the result. When I tell you I am sick, I tell you the truth. Not of disease, but of heart. When McClellan was removed and Burnside put in his place, [that] was the first attack. But after the repulse at Fredericksburg it sunk deeper. But now if I could see any improvement I should get better. But when I see saints removed and the broken down politicians of the North replace them, it causes my
heart to ache. Only give us McClellan, or more of his stamp, and victory is sure to follow. But force on us the political aspirant and the broken down demagogues of the east, and we are gone. I reflect and then rave. I rave and then reflect. But for no purpose, as such men will have sway. Is the thing to always go on in this way? If so, I am like the comedian Jerry Blossom, I want to go home. I am willing to fight if I can see the least prospect ahead, but for such generals we have already had enough of. Lord deliver us from any more such. But I have written more on this than I intended. Say to Kate that I know of no one by the name of Billy Toohey. I have not sent my trunk. I intend to go with it soon myself. As for money, I have but about $25. The government is now owing me some $400. It has cost me much more to live now than before I was a field officer. But I will try to
save something for a rainy day. Ask the boys if the greenback is worth a premium. If so, in my next payment I would exchange it in Boston or Portland for bank paper, as that will pay my debts. You say in yours that not a cent of rent do you get, but I suspect Ayres gets it. So it is just as well, as it helps to pay [my debt?]. Do give my regards to Dr. Line. Say to him I will never forget his kindness, and I thank him a thousand times for his good wishes toward me. I have written much more than I intended to at first. My regt. has just gone on picket, and I must go over the line. I have written the last part of this in a great hurry, and please correct it before you read it to anyone. I have written the sentiments of my heart. I will be honest in expression. Let them say I have changed, or what not, I have tried to do my duty faithfully in all things, but have some regrets for things – that is your part.
Regards to all,
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.