Letter – Thomas Jackson, 19 November 1863


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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson is impatient to see Reavis again. He expresses his love for his fiancée, and mentions how he had hoped to send her a letter when he was in Meridian, but was unable to get to the post office before it closed. He mentions how he had been feeling ill and depressed the week before.

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Enterprise Miss.

Nov 19. 1863.

My dear Lucy,

This week has been an age to me, notwithstanding the various occupations to employ my time – I am so impatient to see you, that it seem interminable.

Do you ever feel my absence thus? I hope not – Such an evidence of yr regard would be of all things the most delightful, as well as extremely flattering to my vanity – but I fain would spare you the anxiety which accompanies it.

At last, however, the longest days must end, whether they be quickened by sunshine, or retarded by impatience, and I live in the sweet hop of seeing yr radiant smiles Saturday morning at Ramsey’s, when I am convinced I shall be fully repaid for all my solicitude – Dear “rare and radiant maiden” – I love you so fondly.

I went up to Meridian yesterday, & wanted to write to you from there – if only to assure you of my unalterable attachment – but after getting through with my business, I found the mail had been closed, so I played several games of chess, ate parched pinders [peanuts], & did some “extensive chatting” with old friends until the Train arrived – Am I not a clever fellow to do whatever you ask me? But I deserve no praise – yr requests seem to fit exactly with my wishes – The bare prospect of affording you pleasure, awakens all that is affectionate in my nature – & I cherish such feelings with pride & satisfaction – How have you passed this week? – Delightfully I am sure – Surrounded by those who admire & love you, it could not be otherwise – besides you diffuse an atmosphere of happiness where ever you go – I wrote you a little note last sunday, which I suspect never reached you – It is no matter – for what I wrote doubtless took the complexion of my feelings – I was in wretched spirits, sick & depressed, & so lonesome –

You will receive this on Friday (if it has luck) & see me on Saturday – so pray excuse my brevity,

Ever fondly yours


Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Lucy Reavis, 3 September 1863


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Letter written by Lucy Reavis to her fiancé, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., from Norwood, AL. Reavis mentions that it took some time for Jackson’s last letter to reach her, possibly due to the 12-year-old postmaster at Fannsdale. She requests a photograph of Jackson, and recites a fantastically bad pun from her travels. Several generals are in town, including Hardee, Breckenridge, and Pemberton, whose name “was never mentioned without execrations.” She mentions seeing the defenses at Demopolis, the death and burial of a family friend, as well as her time at church. Though she has met several young men and soldiers, she promises that she will remain faithful to Jackson.

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No 5

Norwood September 3d/63

I was so glad my dear Major, to hear from you, yesterday, that I must answer your letter immediately – It is strange that it should have taken so long to some, only a few miles – But the fault may have been with the post Master at Fannsdale, who is a little boy of 12 years of age I believe – It has been so long since I left home, that I have forgotten many things I had to say to you – but must try to remember – Tuesday morning was very cool, even disagreeably so, but it was much better both for us and the ponies, we stopped at Mrs Gould’s to dinner as we intended and passed a couple of hours very pleasantly, although both Captain G- and one of his little daughters were quite sick – Mrs Goodey looked so sad. I wonder if she did love that old man – He left a very peculiar will – Altho’ so immensely rich, he left his wife only $50000 in money & six servants. To his adopted

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Son, $40000 & six servants – and all of his property besides, which amount to two or three hundred thousand, to be given to an asylum in South Carolina, provided no minister is allowed to have any thing to do with the institution – Isn’t that too bad? He was a Unitarian – Poor fellows! About Sun. set, we reached the place which so surprises all visitors & were cordially received by Misses Innes & Butler – And now I must tell you that I was exceedingly disappointed in the beauty of the former – Uncle John said she was a model, a perfect Venus – and you were scarcely less warm thought her features so regular & delicate. She has a very ugly mouth I think & can not compare in beauty to Kate but I admire her character more. I think she is lovely – There were three Missourians there, from the Camp at Demopolis, and it was beautiful to see, how she addressed herself to them, trying to put them at their ease, and make them forget that they were strangers – Then too she is more anxious to do something for all of her guests than Kate & Butler – In fact she is sweet as can be, and

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I admire her very much, but like Kate the best, She is so good tempered, & full of fun & mischief – I saw more of her too – We were in the same room, all the time & talked until 12 every night – Whenever I was still a moment, she would say in the most comforting, soothing way – “Don’t you be blue, the Major is well” – She wanted me to tell her all about our affairs & asked me if she might not be one of the Attendants One thing I did not like; I heard her asking Mr Dobb, if we were not engaged & when we were to marry – He told her it was certainly to be, tho’ no day or special time had been appointed – He is very wise, Isn’t he? Capt: Carpenter was there the night we arrived, looked very well & natural, raved about you just as usual – said he should write you the following day – He is still devoted to you & says although he is so nicely fixed, he would gladly resign to be the least of your clerks. He says, he is not in love with Rosa Lightfoot, but the Thorntons say he is – I asked Kate if she thought he would be successful, she said no – but that he would not be rejected, while we was such a convenience-

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They are constantly receiving articles from their home at Pass Christian & Capt: C – being at D- receives & forwards them – I sang for Butler & then she sang for me – I was delighted with her voice – The upper notes are splendid, and if she practiced a good-deal, the lower would harmonize – As it is – her voice is like two persons singing, in one part so low & even feeble & in the other so powerful & melodious – She plays beautifully – She expressed her delight at my delightful & beautifully cultivated voice – If I had her voice, I know, I would sing divinely – But it matters little – You do not care much for music – and I do not care a great deal about pleasing any one else – You have no idea of how frequently my thoughts are with you and how truly I long to do something for your pleasure – Do tell me, is there nothing I can do? It would make me so happy – You will not be surprised to hear that we remained at Col: Thorntons until Thursday morning – I did not see a great deal of Mrs T- she was with her little sick grand child – but the Colonel is such a fine old man. We talked about our relatives & he thinks we are certainly

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cousins. Kate calls me nothing but “little Pet.” she is very curious to see you & wanted to know, if I had your picture. The next time you go to Mobile, do have it taken for me – Mr Dobb read “Tannhauser” to me as we rode along – It is beautiful – I must read it again for myself – He was as witty as usual during our ride – As we looked around and saw nothing but corn fields, east & west – he remarked – “Verily, this is a Corn-federacy” I was so amused at Mr Bradshaw – After you all left, Mrs D. asked Uncle John to give us a passport. He said – “Just write Mr Dobb & Lady”- But I said “No such thing, put Miss L. Reavis & Attendant” – Mr B- thought it was too good, went off down the street chuckling & shaking –

We took dinner at Mrs Pool’s Thursday – she was not at home, but we had a pleasant time with her sister. The streets were crowded with soldiers & officers – There were several Generals in town also. Pemberton, Hardee, Breckenridge & one or two from Mobile. Mrs Hayden told us that the former’s name was never mentioned without execrations. I hear that his men are to be organized at Enterprise – You will have a full

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benefit. We saw the defenses at Demopolis – The only thing of the kind I ever saw – They were busy at work on them as we passed – What do you think of my stupidity? When we got to the road leading here, I forgot to tell George & never thought of it, until we were several miles out of our road. Then we had to go into highways & by ways & did not get to the house until nearly 11 at night – We rung the bell, but no one heard us, so I came to the back gallery & knocked at Mar Lou’s door – as it happened Mr Mine was not at home – and the girls were terribly frightened Liz says, “Is that you Lucy” & I replied “Yes, it is Lucy Reavis”- But although they knew my voice, they feared some one was deceiving them & would not let me in for some moments – But we were delighted to meet. Of course, they are much quieter & less cheerful than formerly, but we have a very nice time together – Kittie Christian is as lively and funny as ever – I have not seen her before since I left schoo – Mar Lou is the same sweet girl – I know you must like her, when you know her – If you do not, I shall be so put out – She says if you come for me, she will be glad

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to see you, but that am to stay a long time – I expect I shall go home the latter part of next week, or the first of the week after – Do you think it will be perfectly convenient for you to come? – & do you think it will be pleasant for you? I do not wish to give you any trouble & perhaps some one will come from home – The girls are as busy as can be, making up black dresses & Mrs Minge is dying some. She looks so sad seldom smiles – but of course, she can not feel cheerful yet when George has not been dead three weeks – They carry wreaths & bouquets to his grave twice a week – He is buried in the church yard – where they are obliged to see his grave whenever they go to church – I like it so much. We feel serious & more humble, after passing among graves & we are better prepared to confess our sins before God – Mr Dobb preached & pleased the congregation very much –

I met such a nice gentleman the other day. Colonel Saunders of Pemberton’s Staff – There are few young men in the neighborhood & no possible hope of Maj Adam’s return, so be at ease & know that my heart will not go astray. I do not

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mean to mention that it would under any circumstances, for no one can compare with you in any respect I think – Mar Lou says her cousin Carter is as much in love with me as ever, but even if it is true, it gives me no pleasure – I am very much obliged to your sister for her kind messages – give my best love to her when you write & say that I deserve no thanks or credit for “taking compassion” on you, for my love was involuntary – I could not keep it, moreover any girl ought to feel proud of loving & being beloved by such a man – Don’t you agree with me? Say yes. I do hope your Sister will like me – for I love every body that is dear to you – I am so sorry Willie is going in the army. A mother must suffer, when she gives up her only child – It was right funny that you should dream of me with my hair cut off, for Mar Lou & I are tlaking very seriously of shaving our heads – Wouldn’t it be nice? Then next Summer we would have such nice little short curls – I have not heard from home yet, but will write this morning. I expect Ma has returned by this time – What did you write to Ma about? You & she have entirely too much to say to each other – I know

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Uncle John will be delighted to be with you – What sensible person would not? I told [Jennie?] Thornton of the admiration she had excited in G- (Uncle John you remember) She was crazy to know who it was & said she should make him a tobacco pouch & knit him some socks when he joined the army – she said it must be a widower, that they frequently took a fancy to her & declared her the image of a poor dear, dead wife – I assured her the gentleman in question admired her for herself alone – I have written a long letter, but am convinced you will not be displeased – Do write to me soon, dear Major, for if you wait very long, it will not arrive before my departure – I dont know what to number my letter, but as yours is No 5. I reckon mine is also – I am so warm, I dont know what to do – have no idea what I have written – Goodbye my dear, dear Major –


L. Reavis

Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

Letter – Calvin Shedd, 15 November 1862


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Letter written by 2nd Lieutenant Calvin Shedd of Company A, 7th NH Infantry, to his wife and children, from St. Augustine, FL. Shedd writes about a rumor that the Confederates took over a steamer ship containing mail from the Union troops, though he hopes it isn’t true as he recently sent money home to them. Shedd feels isolated in the current camp, and remarks on the number of casualties his regiment recently suffered. He writes that the locals must “toe the mark under martial law,” and are not allowed to leave the town. He also recounts how he found three sentinels sound asleep while on picket one morning, and lectured them rather than sentencing them to a court martial. Shedd describes soldiering as “the meanest business in the world,” and wishes the war were over.

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St. Augustine Flo Nov. 15th 62

Sunday Eve

Dear Wife & Children

I have just heard that a Schooner lying here is to sail for N.Y. with a mail in the morning I shall try to get this in

I have been somewhat unwell for a few days with a cold but nothing serious. I am better today, I am on guard tomorrow & in for another ride. It is rumored here that the rebels have taken the Steamer Neptune, that took the last mail; I hope it is not so; for in that mail I sent you a Check for $55 & $5 in a letter if it is true. it is the detention of the money or rather Check that I care the most about for I would have given $5 to have got the Check to you a month ago, for I fear you have needed the money. If the Check is lost I can get another but will take time, I trust it is a false rumor I hope the Check will reach you in due season & if it does, write me soon. as you get it

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We get scarcely any News are almost shut out from the world. it is worse than Ft. Jeff. Ther was some discharged Rebel-Soldiers came in here the other day from Bragg’s Army & brought the tidings of the death of a number that went from here. Ther has been great wailing at the loss of Husbands & Sons in a number of Families I understand, they say that the War is about done; that they cant Whip the Yankees & is of no use to continue the strugle. I dont think it will do to take much stock in their reports for probably they have had enough of it & want to talk in a conciliatory manner to us seeing we have got to support them while we stay. I would not have you think we let in Rebels indiscrimately, we make them take the Oath & make them toe the mark under Martial Law they cannot leave the Town. but I presume they have some way of communicating with Rebeldom. I can go out side the lines any night when

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there is no moon & come in undiscovered for I know just where all the guards are & how Vigilant they are not. When I was on guard three weeks ago I visited a Picket post in the morning & found all three of the Sentinels sound asleep. They were Boys & new Recruits & I had not the heart to put the Ball & Chain on them, but I gave them a good Lecture & told them to go & Sin no more if I had put them in the Guard House as most Officers would have been glad of the chance to have done, they would have been Court Martialed punished severely lost their self respect & proved their ruin My conscience tells me I have done right but it would not do for Col Put to know if for then I should catch it & be Broke so dont speak of it. Oh Dear; this Soldiering a War is the meanest business in the world & I wish it was through with I fear this will not be very interesting but hte fact is I have nothing to write about I was on Picket the other day & had my

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Dinner sent, there was some Biscuit cut in halves & Buttered, I opened one & there was a bunch of hair just as it was taken from the comb, I pulled it off & ate the Biscuit & wondered how it got there. That is a specimen of my Boarding Place rather a marked one however. It seems to me that I have eaten a bushel of Bugs Ants & Flies this summer, I have thought since I sent the Check that I should have written on the back Who is was from & who to & where for & where it was going to, & this shall be your Power of Attorney to put it on if you find it necessary if you ever get it. Thanksgiving is coming soon I should like to be at home with you & go to Henrys & have as good Dinner as last year I dont know as I ever ate a Dinner that I enjoyed better in my life I thought then the war would haven been over before this time & that I should be dead or at home now, but I dont see any prospect of getting home at present but we must make the best of it & hope for the best & in the meantime believe me yours as Ever C Shedd

2d Lt, Co A, 7th Regt, N.H. Vols

Calvin Shedd, from Enfield, NH, enlisted at the age of 35 as a sergeant in Company C of the 7th NH Volunteer Infantry on September 23, 1861. He was promoted to 1st Sergeant July 4, 1862 then commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in Company A on July 23, 1862. Following the regiment’s service in FL and SC (including operations against Fort Wagner) he was discharged for disability on December 31, 1863. He died on June 11, 1891 in Tewksbury, MA.

Letter – John Matson, 20 January 1863


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Letter written by Corporal John S. B. Matson of Company I, 120th OH Infantry, to a friend, from near the Mississippi River. Matson writes disparagingly of the events plaguing the country. He writes that the troops in his fleet are greatly demoralized after a failure at Vicksburg. He too is discouraged by what he sees as ignorance in both the officers and the privates. He mentions being led by General Osterhaus in their last fight, which ended with the Confederates asking for truce. Matson took the rifle off a Confederate soldier that he shot, and describes the other goods, weaponry, and even mail they took from the Rebels after the fight. Matson writes that he fears disease more than bullets, for a fever in their present situation is a certain death sentence.

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Mississippi River Jan 20th/63

Friend Lyman

I received your last when we were flushed with victory, and you had better believe it was welcome I also receive one from Anne at the same time and once since I dont know what you think of the prospect of the country at this time but my humble opinion is that it is not very flattering the political atmosphere is filled with measmatic vapor that cannot be deadening in its effects the horison is also obscured with black clouds that we dont know at what moment will let loose to the destruction of this once happy Republic Oh! that it was in my power to stay the threatening calamity but weak and trifling is man individually they do not seem to think any more about us than if we were as many hogs every body that a chance seems to be studying how they can best cheat the Government to fill their own pockets men with straps on their shoulders are all the time when oportunity offers are poisoning the minds of the soldiers concerning the intentions of the Government till it would not suprise me if there would be an efforet made to lay down arms before long if the troubles are not soon settled you have no ideas of the demoralization of the troops in this fleet The expedition to Vicksburg as you are aware was a perfect failure and it was truly discouraging to hear different Regts talk you would thought it out of the question to get them into a fight again but we went up the Arkansas River and whaled hell out of them at Arkansas Post and the boys felt better than before but as soon as they found the fleet was bound again for Vicksburg there was general dissatisfaction there is every thing to discourage a true lover of his country and very little to encourage I do all I can to allay this feeling but there is

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too many to operate against me some with straps on their shoulders say that they thought it a just war when they went into it but but they have come to different conclusions such I think should immediately be cashiered I think for there is so many d-d fools that thinks because a man has straps on his shoulders that he knows more My humble opinion is that there is as much ignorance among the officers of this Regt as there is among the Privates and God knows that ignorance is Legion throughout and the influence they they exert is discouraging I would tell some of them they have no business here but their power is to much for me so I have to seal my mouth it is not here like it was at home. There was a rumor here yesterday that 90000 of Burnsides men stacked their arms and refused to serve any longer is it so or is it as I think a lie I have not give you any particulars of our last fight I must say I would rather not have gone into the fight men may say they are spoiling for a fight but that is all in your eye for there is nothing inviting to any rational man but we were in the most exposed position of any Regt we were first brought into line of Battle under the enemys fire and marched forward in line for a short distance in this position we were halted and ordered to lie down I hugged the ground pretty close and still the bullets seemed to come confounded close we lay there a short time till the Gunboats and our land Batteries silenced their Batteries they kept up a continuous musket fire Gen Ousterhouse rode up to us as we had closed in mass and were down when he rode up and ordered us to forward D.Q. [double quick] with a cheer they were nearly whipped we did so I expect that Mary would be a widow before I got ten rods but thank God I got through we run up to within 100 yds of the fort and lay down in shelter as best we could under a murderous fire balls whizzing all around us I was behind a stump with three others we lay some time before we fired I as best I could to see where their fire came from presumably an object appeared that induced me to shoot but the load was wasted for I then discovered where they were

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I loaded and looked and saw a curl of smoke leveled my gun and as he raised to fire I fired and there was no smoke come from that place if my ball killed any I have no regrets for I never took more deliberate aim at a wood pecker I fired some six times and the flag of truce was raised by them and then such a rush you never saw I had the curiosity to go in where I saw the smoke curl and found a Reb shot in the forehead he had a bad wound but did not look as though it hurt him much he had dropped a very nice Enfield Rifle which I captured and have yet I do not know whether they will let me keep it or not I will if possible The Colors of the 120th were on the fort the first The cannonading during the Fight to you I cannot describe none but those that have been at similar engagements can form anything like a correct Idea they had two Parrot Guns 120 pounders and one Columbiade besides a No of lesser caliber their field Batteries were disabled by their horses all being shot the Battle field presents no very pleasing aspect to to me and I will not dwell on it we had a complete victory I understood that we got 7854 prisoners 600 mules and a large amount of arms and Amry stores they had three months rations and waggons and clothing any quantity we made a clean sweep they had captured a very large mail some of my letters were among the captured I am now writing on Rebel Paper now I picked up about fifty letters some of them were just written and some them interesting it afforded me some gratification to read their letters for I supposed they had read mine they got some money that had been sent to the boys I understood that a letter was picked up directed to Surgeon Tagart now Brigade Surgeon offering a bribe of $300 by a widow woman for the discharge of her two sons stating that he could do it for one of them had a sore throat and the other had a lame back I infer this woman knew he could be approached in this way you perhaps have little idea of the extent of fraud practiced on the Government Since we left Vicksburg there has been about three or four desertions to the Co in this Regiment

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four in our Co and my humble opinion is if our QM Chaplain and an number of officers are not delt with in a summary manner the 120th Regt of O.V.I. will not amount to a d-d in a short time why if I thought as I have heard some talk I would Desert By the Eternal I would well the men hear them talk in this manner and what can you expect from them I tell you if I had authority there would be some drumhead Court Marshals till the military atmosphere became a little pure life is sweet to me on several accounts but not worth a d-d in their view I do not wish you to or any one I respect to be put to the trials of a company of this kind for it is rough and a man must have a constitution to bear it I am more afraid of fever than bullets for if a man gets down sick with fever on this damnable River he is almost shure to die as thoug a bullet was put throug his vitals and If Boating along this River will put down this Hell born Rebellion we are certainly doing our share toward it there is now over 600 unfit for duty and they still keep us fooling along the river sometimes I think it is to run us into the ground as fast as possible if that is the intention well are they succeeding I have not been very well since we left Memphis but I am so as to be about I do not report to the surgeon for I think it dont amount to much Capt Au had command of the Co at Vicksburg and behaved with Credit I think he is no coward he was not able to be out at Arkansas Post McElwain is not cowardly in fact with few exceptions Co I. behaved well I think there are as brave boys in our Co as any where our Capt case was not decided I understood that the Judge Advocate said he did not think the Capt was aware of the amount of evidence against him we do not get much was news I want you to keep me enlitened as much as possible if you have the gift of continence as well as I have had this time you can give me considerable news direct as befor Yours &c J.C.B. Matson

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You must excuse the hasty manner of this letter and make allowance for mistakes for it is a very poor chance a fellow has to write here I forgot to say that we had an awful fall of snow in Arkansas if it had all stuck it would have been a foot deep My love to Zepru and Yourself

JSB Matson

John S.B. Matson enlisted at age 33 as a corporal with Company I of the 120th OH Infantry on October 17, 1862. He was promoted sergeant on April 17, 1863 and captured on May 3, 1864 at Shaggy Point, LA during the Red River Campaign. He was paroled or exchanged as he was later mustered out of service at Camp Chase, OH on July 7, 1865.

Letter – Isaac Jones, 4 December 1862


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Letter written by Private Isaac B. Jones of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 18th U.S. Infantry, to his cousin Helen Sofield, from Belotes Ford near Cairo, TN. Jones mentions that the mail had been captured several times in the last few months and is unreliable. He describes the hard marching from Winchester, TN to Bowling Green, KY. They caught up with General Braxton Bragg but General Don Carlos Buell held back, and Bragg escaped.They pursued Bragg’s forces to Springfield. Jones writes in great detail about the Battle of Perryville, including descriptions of the heavy artillery. The following day he walked the battlefield and describes the carnage he saw, including the surgeons amputations of many arms and legs. Jones concludes by writing longingly of his family.

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Belotes ford near Cairo, Tenn.  Dec 4th, 1862

Dear Cousin:

     I received a letter from you a little more than a month ago, I think, and allow me to say that I was very glad indeed to hear from you, for I had not received any word from any of my folks for a long time. I received one letter from my wife since I last wrote to you. She and Susie [daughter] were well. I had been looking for a letter from you for quite a length of time, and had almost came to the conclusion that you had not received my letter. Our mail have been captured, here and in Ky. several times within the last three months. So there is not very much dependence to be placed in them now. Well, cousin, we have some sharp times, and awful hard marching since I last wrote to you. We have marched over 800 miles, including our flanking movements, since we left Winchester, Tenn. We marched from Decherd, Tenn. a distance of 20 miles to reinforce Gen. Shouph. He was expecting to be attacked almost every hour. We did not get the order till evening. Then we started and marched nearly all night with nothing but blankets and rations. It rained hard, and was very cold and disagreeable. We had nothing but dry crackers and a little fat meat to eat, and only half rations at that. We got here the next forenoon and laid in line of battle two days. We had no fighting except some skirmish and picket fighting. We then moved on, with our whole force, near Pelham, Tenn. We expected there for sure to

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have a general action, but the enemy evaded us. We then marched to Murphreesboro on a forced march a distance of 65 miles. We rested there 20 hours and started in the evening, marched all night, and continued on till we arrived at Nashville, Tenn., a distance of 32 miles. We done all this marching on half rations and scarcely water enough to drink. We guarded the bridge of the Cumberland River at N[ashville] 7 days. Then we received another order for another forced march to Bowling Green, Ky.’ We made that in three days, a distance of 69 miles just in time to catch Bragg and his force of about 80,000. But Gen. Buell would not leave us at them, but kept us back two days, and Bragg made his escape again, after being allowed to take 4,400 of our men prisoners, and paroling them. Co. K, 2d Batt. out of our regt. was taken there, and the duce of it was, it was just a full company. They had just came into the service – consequently green, although well drilled. (I will resume our journey) After the enemy had two days’ the start of us, Buell, the old “traitor,” concluded to leave us go on the pursuit of the Confederate forces. The men were a good deal discouraged, but marched well. The fact of the business is, the marching we made has never been equaled in the U.S. We were 8 days without running water to drink, but twice. All the rest of the time we had to drink water out of mud holes in the road, and ponds in the fields. The water in some of the ponds was all green on the top, but we got so very dry that would drink almost anything in the shape of water, and we had nothing but dry crackers and a very little meat to eat, and coffee to drink. We never get beans or rice on a march for want of time to cook them. The day after we got to Louisville, Ky. There was

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325,000 Union troops bivouacked there. We rested there a short time and started after Bragg, Buckner & Kirby Smith’s forces. We went by the way of Shepherdsville, Bardstown, Springfield, etc. We marched 9 miles before we got to Springfield without a halt. All the time as fast as we could possibly walk, and part of the time on a double quick. There the Rebels opened fire upon us with their artillery. But ours proved too much for them. They had to retreat. Our brigade was in the advance and our regt. was in the advance of the brigade, so you see we were thrown in the hottest of the fire. We fought them back from ½ past 11 till night. The next day there was some skirmish fighting, but the third day they took a stand this side of a creek, they having the choice of the ground and all the water. So you see we had to fight them back for water. The general action commenced on the morning of the 8th of October about three o’clock, and both sides fought their best till after dark. Our brigade was held back as a reserve, but were called into action a short time before sundown. So that we were under heavy fire at least an hour and a half. Our battery took its position and opened up with incredible fury. Night was growing fast upon us, and the combat grew every minute more ferocious. The flashes of the artillery was blinding, above, around, in front. Bombs, solid shot, canister and minie balls flew like hail whizzing & exploding in every direction. The shrieks and groans of the dying and wounded, added to the horror & confusion of the moment, made up altogether a scene of consternation and dismay  enough to

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appall the stoutest heart. I was over part of the battlefield the second day after the fight, & the ground was literally strewn with the dead & wounded. I seen one place where the surgeons were at work with the wounded. They then had a pile of legs and arms about four feet high. I seen one poor fellow with the whole of his underjaw shot off He was living yet, but never could [say] anything; and others equally as badly wounded. One man in our regt. had his leg taken off, another was shot through the lungs, & another had both of his arms blown off, & face & breast burned all into a crisp. The battle was fought at and near Perryville, Ky., and it is called the battle of Chaplin Hills.

I was very glad to hear that cousin Alfred was so well situated. I only hope his regt. can stay where they are. If they should be ordered out on a few such chases after the Rebels as we have, he will begin to have a poor opinion of soldiering. I think, however, that the most of these new regts. will escape these hard marches. We have actually marched as high as 32 m[iles] a day, on half rations, with rifle accouterments, and 60 rounds of cartridges. You were saying you wished me to write to cousin Alfred. I don’t feel myself at liberty to open the correspondence. It would be entirely contrary to our discipline. If the capt. would write to me, I would be most happy to answer to the best of my ability, and give him all the particulars of the movements of the Army of the Ohio. We have 20 companies now in our regt., and three new ones ready to join us. Our regt. is different from the volunteers, we are divided in three battalions. I would rather be in a volunteer regt., on account of their not being so strict as the regulars. I would like to write more, but don’t feel able. I have been sick for several days. I am afraid my constitution will not bear up much longer. I have not much to live for, but my dear little daughter. If I could but see her once more I would feel better satisfied, but it is more than I expect. Give my love to your children, and accept the same for yourself. Tell Alfred I wish to be remembered. From your affectionate cousin,             Isaac B. Jones

Direct: Co. C, 3rd Batt./18th U.S. Infty./ 1st Division 3rd

        Brigade/ Gallatin, Tenn.   

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Please answer this immediately if you deem it worthy. Direct to Gallatin, Tenn. this time, but at any other time you may direct to Louisville, Ky. It will always be forwarded. I would be very happy to receive a letter from cousin Alfred.

Isaac B. Jones was a carpenter from Williamsport, PA. He originally enlisted with Captain Joesph E. Ulman’s Battery of Light Artillery PA Volunteers at the age of 27. The company was discharged March 7th, 1862 and Jones re-enlisted with the 18th U.S. Infantry. He was killed in action on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Murfreesboro.

Alfred J. Sofield was a clerk/justice of the peace in Wellsboro, PA when he enrolled as a Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company A of the 149th PA Volunteer Infantry. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed along Chambersburg Pike north of the McPherson Farm. His unit under artillery fire from the Confederate batteries on Herr Ridge, and was struck by a round, which killed him as well as Private Edwin D. Dimmick and Corporal Nathan H. Wilcox.

Letter – Given Campbell, 21 January 1872


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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.”

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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

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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

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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

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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 at Appomattox, 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 – Frederick Doten, 9 September 1864


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Letter written by Lieutenant Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his fiancée Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division. Doten expresses his love for Georgie. He writes that the 2nd Corps is a “living illustration of perpetual motion” as they have constantly changed position. A new railroad has been built starting at City Point and ending within range of the Confederates’ guns. Confederate shelling has not stopped the trains, and the army is easily supplied with provisions.

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 Head Qrs 3d Brigade

                          2d Div. Sept. 9, 1864

My own darling

     I received last night your dear letter of the 4th. It was just such a letter as I love to receive from you, my darling; assuring me that you love me, and think of me. I have often told you how dear you are to me, and it is a pleasure to tell you so, with the assurance that you love me in return. Oh, that we might be together in our own home, yours and mine, Georgie dear.

     You speak again of Mr. Harlon. I will be sure and not give him any more

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of my confidence. I have told him nothing now that will do much harm if he does tell of it, or nothing more than I thought his expressed friendship and intent entitled him to. I am very sorry to believe yet that he has abused my confidence. I am not at [all] troubled about it, unless you are annoyed, except that I am sorry to be disappointed in him.

     It was indeed remarkable that you should be in Bridgeport just at this time. But I am very much pleased that you were there to perform for me the last sad act of kindness to my noble friend. Don not be anxious, darling, about my health.

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I am quite well, and happy in possessing the love of the “best little girl” in the world.

     I think the 2d Corps is a living illustration of perpetual motion. We have changed position no less than five times during the last 23 hours. It is very disagreeable; one can’t sit down to write a letter without expecting an order to “move this command at once,” before the letter is finished. The army has built a railroad running from City Point to the extreme left of the army, and right in range of the enemy’s guns. I expect they think the “Yanks” have got a great deal of impudence. Yet with all their shelling they

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cannot stop the trains running. Consequently the army is quickly and easily supplied with provisions.

     The mail boats come and go every day. We have a mail every evening after supper. Each day we look forward to the arrival of the mail, with hope, and if nothing comes, go to sleep disappointed. Last night I received 5 letters. First and best, one from you, my darling, and 4 from home. Did I ever send you that picture you asked for some time ago? If not, forgive my neglect, and you shall have one as soon as possible. Many kisses and very much love.           Fred

Frederick B. Doten, was born in Sheffield, MA in 1840. He worked as a clerk in New York City then enlisted at age 22 as a corporal in Co. A, 14th CT Infantry, August 1, 1862. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant of Co. F, March 3, 1863, adjutant of the regiment, April 14, 1863, and captain of Co. F, Oct. 20, 1863. He was present at “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, helping defend the Angle on July 3rd and was cited for receiving many captured swords from surrendering C.S. officers. He was captured at Morton’s Ford, VA on February 6, 1864, but after being imprisoned at Libby Prison, was exchanged and returned to duty as a staff officer for Brigadier General William Hays. He was mustered out May 1, 1865, and became a cashier of the 1st National Bank of Chicopee, MA. He married Georgie L. Welles in 1866, and died Apr. 9, 1903.

Another 3 of Doten’s letters to Georgie, dating from 19 June 1864, 13 October 1864, and 10 April 1865, can be found at Spared Shared. An inquiry into his Prisoner of War status in February, 1864 is available in Ohio State University’s records Be sure to check them out as well!