Letter – Jacob Dickason, 22 May 1864

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Letter written by Private Jacob Dickason of Company B, 25th WI Infantry, to his brother, William H. Dickason, and sister, from a camp near Kingston, GA. The letter recounts events from the Atlanta Campaign. He mentions the Battle of Resaca, writing that the 25th WI, 63rd OH, 66th OH, and 27th MO marched in front. On the last day, his regiment dropped to the ground and fought for over two hours through heavy firing. The four regiments threw up breastworks to cover them from fire. He mentions that after the battle, the Confederates left their dead strewn over the ground unburied. He then describes another fight at Calhoun’s Ferry. The Confederates burned a railroad bridge, but were driven away before the fire did any major damage. Dickason hopes that the war will end soon.


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Gorgia May 22end AD 1866

Der Brother and sister it is wih pleasure that I take this present opportunity of riting a few lines to you to let you know how I am and what we have Bin doing since I last rote I have had my health first rate trusting that when this reeches you that it may find you all well for which we should Be thankfull we are in camp near Kingston But are under marching orders By the 23 since we left decatre [Decatur] we have had some prity hot work we had a three days fite at Resaca on the 12-13-14 on the evening of the 14 the 25 wis 633-66 Oh 27 missoura marcht out in front and they opend in on us and they Bullets flew as tick as hail and we dropt flat on the ground and we fot for 2 1/2 hours as fast as we could lode and fire

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when the firing ceast in whicht we lost in our Camp 2 killed and 4 wounded they threw some shell directed at our Camp But we watcht the flash of their cannon and we pord in a few vollyes But we soon silanst them we all 4 Regt threw out a detail and went to throwing up Brest works and By day Brake we had an in trenchment threw up sufficiant to hold the 4 regiments so we was under cover so their fire did not affect us we fot all day Sunday and in the evning we was relievd and that nite the rebs evacuated the town and on monday morning some of our Bois went over in town and where the rebs were formd around on the other hill the dead lay thick of which they had left unburied they left their dead all over the ground monday morning we took up our march

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to Calhouns Ferry where we had another fite But our forces had got them on the run Before we got there But the firing was prity sharp finly [finally] we was haulted for the nite But Before we al had supper over we was calld up in Battle aray a dispatch stating that the rebs was driving our forces we was marcht out 3/4 of amile and drawd up in line of Battle to welcome them in But they did not come we wated about 3 hours we lay down on our arms and lay there al nite and the next day untill nearly nite when we took up our line of march and marcht about 6 miles of which time we was haulted for the nite the next morning we marcht to the plaice where we now are our advance was fiting their rear guard all the way we did not give them time to fortify at Kingston they left for

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Atlanta which plaice the rebs caluculates to reinforce when they left Resaca they set the railroad Bridge on fire But our Batery opend on them that they did now great damage our carpenters went to work imediately and By the time we marcht here the cars came whistling after us the news is incourageing I feel in hopes the war will come to aclose By fall I just recd aetter from home up to the 15 stating that they were all well and that they planted corn on the 12 But I must Bring my letter to aclose Direct Co B 25 regt 4th Divis 16 Army Corpse via Nashville From

Jacob to Wm H Dickason


Jacob Dickason, from Bloom, WI, enlisted on August 11, 1862 as a private in Company B, 25th WI Infantry. Little more than three months after writing this letter, he died from disease during the Atlanta Campaign, on August 31, 1864 at Marietta, GA.

Letter – Bryant Vincent, 22 December 1864

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Letter written by Private Bryant L. Vincent of Company K, 12th IN Cavalry, to his friends, from Murfreesboro, TN. Vincent writes that he has been in three hard battles, but has come out safely. He mentions defeating Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and comments on the way that Union Major General George H. Thomas “whipped” Confederate General John Bell Hood in Nashville. Vincent describes the battles he has been in since leaving Tullahoma, TN, including the Battle of Overall’s Creek. Another saw his brigade guarding a forage train under heavy fire until they received reinforcements. He writes that he has gotten used to the sounds of cannons and musketry, and they will have to wait until he returns home to fully explain what battle is like. Vincent remarks that the hardest part of being a soldier has been the rations, as food has been scarce for several weeks. The railroad to Nashville has been torn up, and several bridges have been burned.


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Murfreesboro Dec 22 64

Dear Friends

I rec[eived] 3 letters this morning I am well and doing well I have been in 3 pretty hard fought battles since I have been at murfreesboro but I have come through all staraight all though sometimes I thought I would not I have seen some awful hard marches. but it is all in a fellows life time and I guess the fighting in this part of the country is nearly done [???] for we have whipped old Forest here three times and the way Thomas has whippped Hood in front of Nashville will be a caution to him not to try it again and

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but a small part of his forces will ever get across the Tennessee for they said when they came up here that Victory or no Victory they would not go back again we started from tullahoma Nov 30 and got here Dec 2 we marched day and night, the first fight was Sunday the 4 of Dec it is called the battle of overalls creek, the next fight was the 6 of Dec we had to support a battery the revel artillery was playing on our artillery and our co lay right behind the battery and the way the shot and ball came was a caution we lost 2 men both wounded from our co I do not know how many from the regt the next fight was wednesday the 14 our Brigade went out to guard a forage train

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we fought all day and were surrounded on all sides just at night as we had got the wagon loaded with corn and got on to the pike they commenced harder than ever in front and rear we made up our minds we were gobbled and we should have every one of us been taken if it had not been for reinforcements coming out but they fought hard before they gave up. I have got so the noise of cannon and muskets dont bother me much for I have been within sound of it about all the time for 3 weeks, I wish I could give you some idea of what a battle is but I havent room to do so by letter and I will have to wait untill I get home then I can tell you something about it

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[Thad?] is well [???] is not very good but I guess he will be better before long we shall probably start for tullahoma tomorrow, and when we get settled there you can send the box. I am glad you could not send it for it would be nothing but a trouble here I wrote to you the day before we left tullahoma and told you not to send it but I guess the letter did not go through, I dont know how long before this one will but I will have it ready, the hardest has been the rations we have been obliged to live on all most nothing for the last 3 weeks we have drawn only one hard tack and one pint of meal for 5 days rations and had it not been for parched corn I believe we would have starved the railroad is badly torn up between here and Nashville and several bridges burned but there is a large force at work on it and before long we will have a plenty of rations but I have written a long letter and I must close Vincent

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Mother

you must not worry about me for I am all right and have probably seen the hardest I will have to so, you said something about homsick I aint homsick, it is pretty cold here


Bryant L. Vincent, from Pulaski County, IN, enlisted as a private in Company K of the 12th IN Cavalry on November 14, 1864. He survived the war and was mustered out on November 10, 1865. Being a new recruit, his youth and inexperience is fully evident in this letter. The war obviously remained somewhat of an adventure to him despite the hardships he was compelled to rapidly cope with.

Letter – Frank Bond, 2 January 1885

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Letter written by former Major Frank S. Bond, Aide-de-campe on the staff of Major General William S. Rosecrans, from NY. Bond is responding to a request from Louis Garesche who is writing a biography of his father, Lieutenant Colonel Julius Garesche, who was Rosecran’s Chief of Staff. Bond was with Garesche on the day of his death. He was riding behind the Lieutenant Colonel and Major General Rosecrans when they came within range of Confederate artillery near Stones River. Lieutenant Colonel Garesche was hit in the head with a Hotchkiss Shell. The Lieutenant Colonel’s body was originally buried in the field, but was disinterred a few days later so the remains could be sent to Nashville. Unfortunately Bond is unable to provide information in regards to a headboard marking Garesche’s grave. He directs Garesche to a Major Skinner if he has any more questions, as Skinner was also present when Lieutenant Colonel Garesche died.


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58 West 23rd Street, New York.

January 2nd, 1885

Louis Garesche Esq.,

P. O. Box, 550, Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir: –

I am in receipt of your letter of December 28th, asking for any information I may have as to the circumstances attending the death of your father, the late COL. Julius P. Garesche.

My knowledge concerning the death of that gallant officer is limited to what I saw. I was attached to General Rosencrans Staff as Aide-de-Camp, and was riding just behind your father at the time he was shot. General Rosencrans and Col. Garesche were riding together, then came Maj. Skinner and myself, then the other members of the Staff, and after them a few Orderlies and an Escort Company.

While riding across a cotton-field, we came within range of two or three batteries of Artillery, posted upon an elevation on the opposite side of Stone River. The Commanding Officer of the Battery seeing a General Officer with Staff within easy range, brought his guns to bear upon us, and for a short time we were under a very heavy Artillery fire.

Among the guns in the Battery, were some Rifled Cannon, carrying what is known as the “Hotchkiss Shell,” having a conical

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solid head. The solid part of one of those Hotchkiss Shells struck your father squarely on the temple, carrying away all that part of his head above the chin.

For an instant I did not realize what had occurred, as the body preserved its equilibrium in the saddle while the horse continued in motion at rather a fast walk, but it very shortly leaned towards the left, taking the horse out of the line, and then fell from the saddle to the ground.

I immediately looked for the Sergeant of the Orderlies, whose place was on the side of the column near to where I was riding, but he had also been shot in the thigh, probably by one of the bullets from the same shell when it exploded.

I then called an Orderly, pointed out the body, and told him to see that it was cared for, so that it could be found after the battle, and then rode alongside of Gen. Rosencrans and told him what had occurred, that Col. Garesche was killed. The Gen. was at the time so much engrossed in watching the movements of the enemy that he was not aware that his Chief of Staff had been struck.

In the evening, or next day, it was reported that the body had been buried on the field, near where he fell, in or near what was reported as a private burying ground.

A few days afterwards, the body was disinterred, I was

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present at the time, and helped to identify it, by the blanket in which it had been wrapped, and by his chin and goatee, the balance of his face having been carried away by the shot. The remains were then sent to Nashville.

These are my recollections of the matter. I shall never forget the shock and impressions made upon my by your father’s death, and the sight of his apparently headless body maintaining its pose in the saddle for a few seconds after he was killed.

I knew Col. Garesche but slightly. I had been presented to him by Gen. Rosencrans, two or three days before the advance of our army from Nashville that resulted in the battle of Stone River, but as the army was under marching orders, no opportunity was offered for social intercourse among the Officers.

I recollect his demeanor as being calm and cool on the morning of the battle, and that he took from his pocket a small religious book, and spent a few moments in reading it, while we were dismounted for a few a moments, quite early on that or the preceding morning. This unusual incident in my limited experience among Staff Officers, impressed itself very distinctly upon my memory.

In reply to your question as to the head board, I can only say I have no distinct recollection as to it, other than the report that a mark had been placed at the spot where he was first buried. I think that two or three bodies were disinterred be-

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fore we found the right one, but when it was found, it was identified beyond all question, both by myself and others who were present.

Among those with whom Col. Garesche was associated, when I knew him, he was esteemed a most brave and gallant Officer, and always a courteous and pleasant gentleman, and I well know the regard and esteem in which he was held by his Commanding Officer Gen. Rosencrans, as well as by all others of his Staff, most whom had known him longer than I.

That the fortunes of war should have removed from so responsible a position, a soldier so capable and so useful as was Col. Julius P. Garesche, is one of those mysterious events occasionally occurring, that lead one to almost doubt the wisdom of an Over-ruling Providence.

I would suggest, that, if you have not already done so, you write a note to Major Skinner, now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, who at the time was Judge Advocate on Ge. Rosencrans’ Staff, as he can perhaps give you additional information, having been, as I was, a witness to the manner of your father’s death, and he will of course be able to correct any errors in this statement, which is made altogether from memory after more than 20 years since the occurrence. If I recollect rightly, Major Skinner was looking directly at Col. Garesche when he was struck.

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I believe I have answered all the inquiries of your letter.

I am very glad to know that Biography of so gallant an Officer is in course of preparation. If intended for general circulation, I shall be greatly obliged if you will let me know where a copy can be obtained.

Yours truly,

Frank S. Bond


Frank Stuart Bond was born in MA on February 1, 1863. He was living in NY when he enrolled in Company B of the 10th CT Infantry as a 1st Lieutenant on March 27, 1862. He was formally appointed Major, A.D.C. on General Rosencrans’ Staff March 11, 1863 but was already serving in that capacity during the Battle of Stones River. He resigned November 18, 1864 and lived in NY and CT. He died February 26, 1912 and is buried in New London County, CT.

Julius Peter Garesche came from Cuba. He was appointed to the US Military Academy at West Point, NY in July of 1837. He graduated 16th in his class and became a 2nd Lieutenant of the 4th US Artillery on July 1, 1841. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant June 18, 1846; brevetted Captain November 9, 1855; brevetted Major May 14, 1861; promoted to Major August 3, 1861; and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel July 17, 1862. He was killed in action at the Battle of Stones River by a Hotchkiss Shell to the skull December 31, 1862. His son Louis Garesche published the Biography of Lieutenant Colonel Julius P. Garesche in 1887.

Letter – John Compton, 19 February 1863

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Letter written by Private John D. Compton of Company G, 105th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his siblings, from a camp near Murfreesboro. Compton describes how he was taken prisoner while foraging . He is back in camp after being paroled and describes his experience as a prisoner of the Confederates for three days. Compton says they were mistreated by provost guards. He attempted to leave the parole camp to visit his comrades in the 105th, but the guards found out. Compton writes disparagingly of the Union officers he was captured with. He suggests that his brother stay out of the army. Despite the tone of his letter Compton insists he is not homesick, and does not want his parents to worry about him.


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Camp Near murphysbrough

Feb 19 1863

Dear brother and sister as I have some Time I will rite a few lines to you to let you no that I am well at presant and hope these few lines will find you the same Well Jim I thought I would rite and give you a decription of how I was taken I had ben with the Reg 9 1/2 days they sent us out ot forage some stuff for the need to eat on the 21 of Jan got a bout 6 1/2 miles from camp when the Reb began to fire in our front We got one of our wagons and loded our guns and some of the boys fired into them the oficers was taken captin Canfield and lieutenant Torgee 3 otherSeth Perker and my Self Was all that Was taken before that you new but [???] Renginan Was taken We are all here in camp the oficers I supose will put us in the ranks but if they do for the [???] is broken they say but that is nothing to do with us they must be careful how they get in a fight with me for I think I am very good shot with the gun they give me Some of the boys has got home and When We get Paid off I Will leve too I think I have my PP [Provisional Parole] in my pocket Well Jim I will tell you how we lived while the Reb had us We stayed in a cart House We lived on corn

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bread and bisket with some sow bekon [bacon] the bread no salt in it but they had none neither so I could stand it they kept us 3 days then give us our P.P. and took us out of their lines and set us out for our selves We Went to Munfordsville Ky got on the cars and started for Lusville Went thus 3 days in [???] then Went to Nashville Tenn Kep 2 1/2 days then went to murphysborough stoped 2 days I ran away and went to see the boys and back every night they found out that We Were found to [???] they said that We might go out to camp so rather than to lay in fall we went the gard said that they was glad to get red of us they said dam the 105 all Hell could not Keep some of them and I was one of them you can [reckon] but Jim I said I would tell you What i had to eat we had flour from the time they Paroled us till we got out of their lines we mixed it up on a Plate and backed it on a ford with out any salt or shortning it Was flour and water that we got from a inn by the side of the rode they treeted us as well as they used their own men but we did not get enough of that When we got a mong the Dam northern sholder straps Jim if I live till the War is over their will be some of the Straps Ketch Hell I think one has got his just do Torgee is a mong the Reb and god noes I hope he will stay their till the War is over

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Jim you no what he rote Home a bout me When Was taken before he rote Home that I and Seth Parker was Drunk I hope they Will Keep him till he can learn to tell the truth and I guess they Will Jim I am a single man and can stand it but it is Well for you did not inlist When I did and I will give you some good advice you ar out and do you keep out the boys has gone out expecting a fight before they get back I should have had to go if it had not have ben that they did not no whether they had a rite to ask us or not I expect every day When they Will if they do old Hall will get the first charge from my gun if he goes in front dont tell or sho this to every one for it might get out you no and it might go hard with me but I Will do as I say if I get a good chance for I should have ben home now if it had not ben for him and I [always] Pay my Debts I gess he will get his Pay for the Boys all owes the same debt I gess some of them will Pay the debt Well Jim you may think that I am Home sick for the Way I rite but I am not but it makes me mad to think how they Will beg a fellow to get Him Draft once is a nough I think tell our fokes not to fret for I will come out all rite tell Pa to send

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get my clothes at Columbus if he sent them When I last herd from Home Pa Was Sick I hope he may get well tell him not to fret a bout me for I am well and tuff rite to John D. Compton Co G 105 2 Brigade 5 Division Murphysburough Tenn

Care of Captin Crowell

tell Pa to send me some stamps so I can by some Paper


John D. Compton was the son of farmers Rueben and Margaret Cary Compton. He was born in New York in 1842. Sometime between 1850 and 1860 the family moved west and settled in Kingsville, Ashtabula County in Ohio. He was killed on July 22, 1864 during the battle of Atlanta from a gun shot wound to the abdomen.

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 – Asbury Fouts, 16 January 1865

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Letter written by Private Asbury Fouts of Company I, 9th IA Infantry, to his parents, from a camp near Nashville, TN, during Hood’s Tennessee Campaign. Fouts writes about marching out to the breastworks under the command of General James B. Steedman, where they could see Confederate rifle pits. The brigade was ordered to draw the Confederates out, though heavy fire caused them to leave before doing so. Two days later they were ordered to Fort Negley to hold the breastworks. On December 19th, 1864, they started for Murfreesboro, and went as far as Huntsville, AL, when they heard the Confederates were at Decatur. A hard march brought them to the Tennessee River, which they crossed on gunboats. The Confederates shelled them, and the town was eventually evacuated.


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Camp Near Nashville

Jan the 16th 1865     

Dear Parents

It is with pleasure that I seat myself down to write you a few lines, for I have not had time to write until now. For about 6 or 7 weeks I wrote you a few lines while at Courtland but do not know whether you received them or not. I wish I had kept an account of our movements since we came to Nashville. I have forgotten all the dates, so I will not attempt to give an account of the Battle of Nashville. Four days after we came to Nashville we drew our arms for the defense of the city, and marched out to the breastworks on the left under Gen.

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Steedman’s command. The Rebs’ rifle pits were in plain view about a mile and a half off. We remained in this position for 8 days without disturbance from the enemy. I believed they would have stayed there all winter without attacking us if we had not drove them out. One day our brigade [Col. A. G. Mallory’s, Capt. C. C. Cox’s Battalion] was ordered out on skirmish for the purpose of drawing them out of their works. Our reg[iment] advanced along in front, with the reserves down under the hill. We fought them until the [fire] got too hot for us, and fell back slowly without accomplishing our purpose. The man standing next to me was wounded. Just before the fight one of the boys gave his revolver to his comrade and said, boys, this is the last time I will have of

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speaking to you. Pointing to them, he said there is the Rebels, they will kill me. He was shot through the neck and killed instantly. In two days afterward our corps was ordered over to the right, or rather in front of Fort Negley, to hold the breastworks. That day our forces attacked their works. A heavy cannonading was kept up all day. The second day still heavy infantry fire – very heavy. The fight became general all around. Our company was not in the fight at all. [We were] held as reserves in the breastworks. It is hardly necessary for me to try to give a description of our brave boys fought; it is old news to you before this time. The Rebs fought

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well. On the 19th of December we started for Murfreesboro, there taking the cars, went down as far as Huntsville, Alabama. There we heard the Rebs was at Decatur. We started for that place on the 25th. After marching through mud knee deep, wading swamps & rivers in cold weather, we reached the Tennessee River opposite Decatur about noon on the 28th. [We] crossed over on the gunboats above the city. The boats played on them while we prepared for a night attack. They shelled us a while, but did not pay much attention to them. About ten o’clock they evacuated the town. It was well fortified. It is getting dark. I will close for the present.

[balance of letter missing – unsigned]


Asbury Fouts, from Taylor County, IO, enlisted at age 19 in Company I of the 9th IA Infantry on October 19, 1864. When en route to the 15th Army Corps (W. T. Sherman’s Army of the Tennessee), via Nashville, Fouts was assigned for temporary combat duty at Nashville along with other recruits and also veterans returning to active service. He was placed in Colonel A. G. Mallory’s brigade, Capt. C. C. Cox’s battalion, and participated in the reconnaissance of December 13th along the Murfreesboro Pike toward the Rains farm. Mallory’s brigade suffered 10 total casualties. Fouts joined the 9th Iowa in March 1865, and was discharged at Louisville, KY On July 18, 1865.

Report – Henry Bryan, 2 February 1865

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Report of Confederate Major Henry Bryan, staff of General P. G. T. Beauregard, from Montgomery, AL. The report is addressed to Colonel George H. Brent, Assistant Adjutant General. Bryan recently inspected the Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, MI, and found that they were in desperate need of horses. There were enough horses when General Johnston was in command, but the number lessened under General Hood in Atlanta. The march to Tuscumbia and Nashville wearied them due to harsh weather conditions and lack of forage. Bryan describes how the horses were lost during the retreat. The close proximity of Union troops forced a march through the mountains, and many weaker animals were left behind. Major Landis saved several hundred mules and brought them to Clinton, AL where they are to be exchanged in charge of Captain Rumble. Bryan mentions that the quartermasters, Captain B. M. Duffie and Captain McIves, supposedly escaped to Richmond but have not sent a report.


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Montgomery Ala Feby 2d 1865

Col. Geo. H. Brent, A.A.G.

  Colonel

     In my recent rough inspection of Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, Miss., I found the most pressing want to be horses. It was a mooted question whether mules could be successfully used to pull the caissons instead of horses. I presume we shall be forced to depend on them. For mere hauling on the roads, they are better, but when wounded they may run away & smash up everything; at least this has happened so.

     I tried to make an enquiry as to what had become of the horses belonging to this artillery & append to this a statement of what I gathered, not added up, because the reports I asked for were not sent in uniformly or complete. 

It seems that the horses were in good order during Gen. Johnston’s Administration of the Army of Tenn., but deteriorated under Gen. Hood at Atlanta for want of forage, & were wearied by the march to Tuscumbia. They suffered in the advance into Tennessee somewhat, but more at Nashville for want of good forage. On the retreat they got very little to eat & this with bad weather broke down most of them.

     Major A. L. Landis, Inspector of Field Transportation, collected many unserviceable horses & mules at Columbia, Tenn. & sent them across the Tennessee River. At the crossing of this river on the retreat about Dec. 26th Maj. Landis by order of Gen. Hood, thro’ Major Ayer stopped all unauthorized animals & unserviceable artillery horses to be sent to the rear for protection & recruiting. He got there & on the retreat about 150 horses (some 600 animals of all kinds). Many of these horses were lost on the south side by the gross negligence of the guard under Lt. ______of Nixon’s Cavalry Regt., & only 116 could be found on the morning of the 28th Decr. & were started for Clifton, Ala. in charge of Capt. Hays. Between Bainbridge & Leighton, Ala. some Confederate cavalry (command not known) met these horses on the march & took violent possession of quite a number of horses & mules. The enemy

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being in close proximity, a forced march was made to the mountains, during which many of the weaker animals were left. Part of these with a lot of mules 268 in all were saved from the general wreck by the agents of Major Landis & brought to Clinton, Greene Co., Ala., where they are to be exchanged or recruited in charge of Capt. Rumble, agent for Major Ewing. Capt. Rumble is said to be incompetent, or careless in the care of horses.

(The quartermasters, Capt. F. M. Duffie & McIves, in charge of the pontoon train, escaped but did not make any report to the Inspector of Field Transportation, & are supposed to have gone to Richmond; 80 pontoon boats were supposed to have been lost.)

     In the artillery, many officers were riding government horses under an order issued by Genl. Hood at Florence. Many of these officers could not buy horses at the high market rates. They should be authorized to purchase at low rates under certain checks, the use of public horses, by them[now] forbidden.

                   Very respy. yr. obt. svt.

                          Henry Bryan

                        Major & A.I. Genl.

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Approximate Statement of what became of Artillery Animals belonging to the Army of Tennessee during the Retreat from Nashville

BattalionCorpsKilled in actionSaved from battle of Nashville or on hand at NashvilleNow on handDied on RetreatAbandoned, exhausted & captured on RetreatTaken by or turned over to Maj. A. L. Lanais, Insp. Field TransportationTurned over to Q. M. Dept.Turned over to other Batteries
Eldridge’sLee’s7112973043812
Johnson’s (sent to Geo.)142481010222824
Courtney’s17112924012193
Turner’s & Cobb’sCheatham’s1414(114 Horses belonging to these Battlions were either killed, captured, abandoned on Retreat or turned over to Capt. O’Bryan Regt. 2 Q. M. as unservciable)
Hotchkiss; (sent to Georgia), Capt. Bledsoe, Cmdg.211928621611
Storr’sStewart’s5252“a great number”
Truehart’s501227151429
Myrick’s1930710858

-On Verso-

Montgomery Ala/ Feby 2d 1865/ Henry Bryan/ Maj. & A.I.G.

 report on what became of artillery horses, Army of Tenn. on late retreat

Letter – William Garner, 30 March 1863

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Letter written by Sergeant William A. Garner of Company G, 10th TN Infantry, U.S.A., to Mr. James W. Waldren and family, from Camp Spear in Nashville, TN. Garner, a Union soldier, is writing to friends and updating them on general war news as well as news from his hometown of Pulaski, TN. He offers to find out whether the 21st OH was involved in the battle at Stones River. The Confederates conscripted everyone who was obligated to military service, and all the prisoners at Fort Donelson who took an oath were forced back into the Confederate army. He writes that Captain Julian was killed near Columbia, TN while skirmishing with Confederate troops. Louis Kirk, a captain in the Confederate army, was killed near Franklin. Garner mentions that no African American troops, or “recruits of color,” have been raised in Tennessee, but he hopes that will change.


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Camp Spear, Nashville, Tenn

March the 30th 1863

Mr. James W. Waldren & Famalie [Family]

My Dear Friends

     It is with a degree of the most delightful pleasure that I avail myself of the present opportunity to drop you a few lines in return for the affectionate letter that I have just received from you bearing date of the 22[nd] of this inst. Indeed, it affords me much pleasure to receive intelligence from a friend or friends that has ever been ready and willing to give me help in time of need. I am very glad to learn that you are all well, and prouder to learn that Mrs. Waldren is in very good health. I can just state in return that my health is very good, and a great deal better than when you last saw it. The boys are all well, and as fat as pigs. Capt. Gillespie is in front. His lady is in the city as yet. I do not know whether or not the 21[st] Ohio was in the battle at Stones River. I will try to learn by the next letter. I held a conversation with Mr. Rankin of Pulaski a few days ago, and he had just seen his lady a short time before, who still resides in Pulaski. And she had given him the following statements.

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1. The Rebs have conscripted all persons that were obligated to military duty. J. R. Childers was selling sole leather at $1.50 per lb. George McGrew had bought out the town principally, and was doing a big business. All of those Fort Donelson  prisoners had taken the oath had been forced back into the Rebel army. I could learn nothing of Mr. Pillow. Mrs. Ranking will be here in a few days, and then I will write you more. I know no more now. Capt. Julian was killed near Columbia, Tenn, while skirmishing with the Rebs on the 19th, and he was a brave man. Louis Kirk was killed near Franklin in a battle that was fought there. He was a captain in the Confederate Army. There are no recruits of color being raised in this state as yet, though I hope that there will be. It a very dark hour in this department now. Our Tenn. boys are the very boys that can whip the Rebs. We expect to get our pay tomorrow, if we are not disappointed as we have been before. There is 4 months’ due us. My babe departed this life on the 7[th] of this inst. I will close by saying to you write soon and give all of the news.

                        William A. Garner


William A. Garner, of Pulaski, TN enlisted as a sergeant in Co. G, 10th Tenn. Infantry (U.S.A.) ca. April 1, 1863. This regiment served as garrison troops at Nashville, then later guarded the line of railroads at Bridgeport, AL On March 8, 1864 Garner joined Co. I, 2nd TN Mounted Infantry (U.S.A.) as its captain. He enrolled for one year, and was mustered out June 17, 1865.

Letter – Martin Wiley, 28 December 1864

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Letter written by surgeon Martin Wiley of the 117th IL Infantry, to his wife, from the woods north of Pulaski, TN. Wiley writes that his regiment will move again the next morning. He mentions hunting, and describes the terrain along their march from Nashville. He briefly mentions the health of Colonel Moore, and inquires after the health of his wife. Wiley has heard rumors that General John B. Hood was beaten at the Tennessee River. A second section of the letter dated December 29th, 1864, mentions that his regiment is moving towards home. He reports that the 16th Corps left General George Thomas’s army and moved toward Clifton, TN. There are rumors that Hood’s army is attempting to cross at Savannah. He remarks on the adverse road conditions which will slow the march.


Camp 117 Regt. Ill. V.

                         In the woods, 4 miles

s of Pulaski, Tenn.

                         8-20 P.M. Dec. 28th 1864  

My very Dear Wife

     I sent you your letter this morning. I commence again and will forward by first opportunity. We did not move today, but have orders to move at 8 tomorrow. I went hunting squirrels and shot one. These hills are rather pleasant. All the way from Nashville here it has been a constant succession of regular hills and narrow valleys. The road winds through the valley, passing over more

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of the hills. The population is considerably dense. The soil is rich and the products of luxuriant growth. Much of the surface is too steep for cultivation.  The timber is excellent; maple, beach, birch, chestnut, oak, and cedar groves, large and  beautiful.

     Col. Moore is better today. Darling I hope the same of you. I would feel so glad to be certain of it.

     Tell Dr. Carpenter that I am going to write to him when I get settled for a day or two. We get rumors that Hood has been beaten again at the Tenn. [River], and lost largely. A squad of prisoners passed this morning.

     Good night my dear,            

Dr.

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7 – 8 P.M. Dec. 29, 1864

My Dear

We are again on the way, and I am cheerful for we move in the direction of home. This morning the 16th Corps left Gen. Thomas’s army and moved on a road toward Clifton. This place is on the Tennessee [River] due west and below Pittsburg Landing. So when we get there we are in easy communication with Ill[inois] again. If we go there, I presume it will be for the purpose of taking transports for some other point. Some say a portion of Hood’s army are attempting to cross at Savannah, and that we will strike him there. However it may be, I know we are not now going south

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but toward a certain line of communication, and this makes me glad. The roads are bad, and the march will be slow. We have but 3 days’ rations in the train. We have marched but 13 miles today. We left Lieut. Brown, Co. A, sick at Pulaski; glad it wasn’t me. are having good living and a comfortable place to eat it. Dr. J and myself have a table in our tent. The evening is cool (freezing), but we are cozy and warm. We have various reports from the front. I can vouch for one of them. You probably hear as much. A good night Kiss for you, Dear.

                   Your husband, affect[ionately],

                               M. Wiley


Martin Wiley, from Trenton, IL enlisted on August 14,1862 as a private in Co. E of the 117th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to surgeon October 9, 1862, and was mustered out at Camp Butler, Springfield, IL on August 5, 1865.

Letter – Isaac Miller, 2 December 1864

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Letter written by Private Isaac Miller of Company E, 93rd Ohio volunteer Infantry, to his brother, from Nashville, TN. Miller is expecting a fight, as the Confederate troops are forming their lines. He writes that his regiment guarded the train to Nashville, and that they just missed the fighting at Franklin. He heard an account from a member of the 175th Ohio Volunteer Infantry about how the Confederates were unable to get over the Union’s abatis. Though they attempted to surrender, the 175th continued to fire. Miller says he doesn’t know how long his regiment will stay in place, as it likely depends on whether or not General John B. Hood charges. Miller mentions that he ate Thanksgiving dinner in a graveyard in Columbia.


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Nashville, Tenn. December 2/64

Dear Brother

     I sit down this afternoon to let you know how I am and what we are doing. Well, the troops are marching around getting into position. I guess we have got even. The Rebels are forming their lines in front of us, and I guess we will have a fight. We had a pretty tough time retreating from Pulaski, but our division did not get in any fight – that is our brigade. I don’t know whether any of the other two brigades done any fighting at Franklin.

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Our regiment was detailed to guard the train to this place. I guess you will hear of the great fight at Franklin before you get this. We were just leaving as it commenced. I saw about 1,000 of the Johnnies that our men took, and they say that they just piled them up in front of the works. I was talking with one of the 175 OVI [Ohio Volunteer Infantry] boys. They was in the fight. They had what they call [abatis] in front of the works – that is, brush and sharp pointed stakes, so that a man can’t hardly get through them at all. The Rebels charged up to them and could not get over, and they hollered to the boys

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to cease firing – they would surrender. But they were a new regiment and the first fight they had been in, so they just kept firing away at them, and would not let them surrender. So much the better. All they kill, we won’t have to fight or feed anymore. I received your letter of the 25[th] and the shirt and socks also, and am very much pleased with them, and your letter. Believe I needed it, for I only had one old one left. I don’t want anything else that I know of. I will buy me a pair of boots in this place. I can get them as cheap as you can send them, but send me the other shirt.

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I have no money but can borrow all I want of the boys. I can’t tell how long we will stay here. If Hood tries to take this place we will stay some time, but if he breaks off to some other place, we will have to follow him. I think if he charges these works like he did at Franklin, he won’t have many men to go with him. The troops are just wishing he would try to take this place, but I hardly think he will.             

I am tickled at the joke played on Aaron and cousin John. I would like to see the picture. I guess you have got the photographs I sent you. I took dinner in a graveyard at Columbia on Thanksgiving Day, after marching all night and till nearly noon, and we formed our lines and regiment came right [remainder of letter missing]


Isaac Miller, enlisted on August 5, 1862, aged 20, as a private in Co. E, 93rd Ohio Vol. Infantry. He was mustered out of the army June 8, 1865 at Nashville, Tenn.