Letter written by Private Lee Mason Fitzhugh of Company A, 6th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from the headquarters of the 4th Division on board the steamer, Diana, while en route to Fort Donelson, TN. Fitzhugh describes the journey from Wickliffe, KY. Brigadier General William “Bull” Nelson put him in command of the division train since his aide, Captain William Preston Graves, did “not attend to things to suit him.” Fitzhugh writes that the general has his own way wherever he goes, including paying whatever he sees fit for hotels and meals. Fitzhugh says he is treated very well by the general, and therefore does not mind acting as his aide. He concludes the letter by mentioning the fall of Donelson.
Hd. Qrs. 4th. Div.
On board Steamer Diana
En Route to Fort Donelson
Feby 18th 1862
We left Wickliffe Friday a.m. and marched to Elizabethtown, halted a day for orders and proceeded to mouth of Salt River, (West Point Ky) reaching there Sunday Evening, Embarked on a splendid fleet yesty and are at this moment oppisite Hawesville, Ky from which point this will be mailed. Altho’ it was bitter cold and a deep snow on the ground I enjoyed the march, as I was mounted on a splendid stallion of the Generals and comfortably wrapped up. Had a pair of fine revolvers and a sword for arms, given me by the General to take care of – dont know whether I will have any arms at all or not when I really need them The General placed me in command of the Division Train the other day as his aid- Capt Graves (a young exquisite from Louisville) did not attend to things to suit him. I stopped at the same hotel in E-town & West Point with the General & Staff and eat at the same table on the boat. the General has things pretty much his own way everywhere pays just what he thinks right & no more.
They charge for meals and a bed 2$ per day on the boat – Nelson pays he’ll pay a dollar a day & no more! he pays my bills or has all but one and that was not his fault. the boy at the Hotel did not include in in the Genl’s, but boned me for it and I had to honor the amt & pay it – he is very kind to me but the moment the least thing goes wrong, up I go, he seems to forget that I am the Adj. Genl’s clerk as he calls upon me to superintend the packing & unpacking of his spring wagon, places trains in my charge and uses me more as an aid than anything else- well, if he always treats me as well as he has I am & will be satisfied.
We have just got the news of the fall of Donelson – glorious news – my next I think will be from Nashville of Clarksville – Much love to all –
from your son in haste
the boat shakes so
I cannot write
Lee Mason Fitzhugh was born in Madison, IN on November 27, 1838. He enlisted with the 3rd KY Cavalry as a private on June 18, 1861, aged 23. He mustered out on April 15, 1862 for promotion and joined Company A of the 6th OH Infantry. He married Anna H. Thornton on April 23, 1863 in Hamilton County, OH. After the war he worked as a dry goods merchant in Indianapolis selling tea and tobacco. Anna died in 1883 and he remarried in 1885 to a woman named Laura. They moved west to Los Angeles, CA where he continued working as a tobacco merchant. He died March 13, 1906 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, CA.