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.