Letter written by Private Clayton W. Shaw of Company M, 5th Ohio Cavalry, to his mother [Mrs. John Shaw, New Richmond, Ohio], dated April 3rd, 1862, from Bethel Church (Shiloh). Shaw writes that he was part of a midnight scouting expedition to track Confederate troops near the camp. They managed to capture three of the twenty “butternuts,” as they call the Confederate soldiers. Shaw writes of the difficulty of scouting in the wooded country, due to the thick mud and heavy underbrush. He mentions the presence of several thousand Confederate soldiers in Corinth. (This midnight patrol failed to discover the Confederate Army advancing to attack at Pittsburg Landing, before the Battle of Shiloh)
April 3 1862
I expect you would like to get a letter from me well I will write you a few lines while I have time we have just returned from an all night scout we started from the camp last night about 12 o clock to take a little squad of rebels that have been sneeking around our camp for the last two weeks but we did not succeede in getting but three of the butternuts as we call them out here we caught one of them by shooting his
horse and the other one we ran down their was about 20 of them in the gang acting as pickets.
It is not a very easy thing to be scouting through this wooden country sometimes the mud is up to our horses bellies and other times we have to swim rivers and then we will come in to the thickest under brush where we have to make our faces as sharp as a wedge to get through them you can imagine how pleasant it is to be a solger in this wooden country we have to keep our eyes skinned when we are tracking through these bushes for they are full of butternuts all the time
Well Mother this is all I can write this time we are going on an other big scout to day their is about 80 thousand solgers out to a little town called Corinth and we are going out to look around a little and find the best place to get at them we expect to give them fits about next week.
I am verry well havent been sick one day since I landed in Tennessee
I remain your Affectionate Son
I received your Nannies letter and also one from town
Tell evrry body to write to me and I will tell them all about Tennessee.
Direct all of your letters to the 5 OVC by way of Paducah and I will always get them
Clayton W. Shaw, aged 21, enlisted on October 3, 1862 as a private in Company M of the 5th OH Volunteer Cavalry. Shaw died at home in New Richmond, OH on May 22, 1862 from unknown reasons.
Letter written by Sergeant William Farries of Company E, 24th WI Infantry, to his brother, from a camp on the Chattahoochee River, GA. Farries writes that General Joseph E. Johnston and his “Graybacks” are now across the river, and the Union army is nearly finished crossing in pursuit. His regiment went scouting with General Oliver Howard to find a place to bridge the river. On the way back, Major MacArthur lost the road, causing a significant delay. The next day they received marching orders for Roswell, GA. When they reached Roswell, they had to “strip and ford” the Chattahoochee. The next day they built a line of breastworks along the river and were relieved by the 16th Corps. Farries expects to move to Atlanta soon. He does not think there will be much fighting before then, as Johnston would have attempted to make a stand before they crossed the river. They can see spires and buildings in Atlanta from the back of the camp.
If you see Watsons folks tell them he is in good health
Camp on the Chattahoochie
July 15th 1864
I recd a letter from you & one from Mary a few days ago; yours I will answer first as I have written to Mary last – We have got Old Johnson & his “Gray backs” across the river and the greater portion of our army have crossed in pursuit last Saturday the 9th our Regt went with Gen Howard on a scout to find a place to throw a bridge across the river at noon we reached our place of destination and after a short rest we started for camp all went well until our Major lost the road we had to travel until sunset before we found our camp the day was awful warm and several men were sunstruck next day we thought would be a day of rest but we had scarcely finished breakfast when we had orders to be ready to march in half an hour we were to take nothing with us but our haversacks & rubber blankets our whole Division had the same orders & we had orders to go to Roswell a town about 15 miles distant where the rebels had an extensive cotton factory. We went about half way when our Regt had orders to halt and wait for the supply train as soon as we had our guns stacked (although the order was not to leave camp) three-fourths of the regt were off scouring the country for vegetables
and in an hours time they commenced coming back to camp with potatoes beans apples beats & everything you could think of in the vegetable line they then commenced cooking and eating and did not stop until we had orders to march at 4 o’clock in the afternoon we reached Roswell at sunset where we had to strip and ford the Chattahoochie we relieved a cavelry brigade that crossed the river a few hours before Our Div. was the first infantry that crossed the river at that point We took position on a high ridge that ran parallel with the river and early next morning have built a line of breastworks with both our flanks resting on the river in the afternoon the 16th Corps crossed the river and relieved our Div. we moved back a short distance in the rear and camped for the night. About 10 A.M. we recrossed the river on a temporary bridge that our Pioneers had built; we marched to the outskirts of the town where we went into camp we stayed there until next morning when we started back to our old camp which we reached at 8 P.M. tired and almost melted. Next day we had to strike tents and move across the river to our present camp I do not think we will stay long in our present camp I think we will start for Atlanta in a few days I do not think we will have much fighting between here & A. I think if Johnson intended to make a stand between here and A he would have tried to prevent us from crossing the river we are not more than seven or eight miles from A we can see the spires & principle buildings from the camp of the 3d Brigade of our Div. I wish you would send
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my watch by mail, put it in a small box and it will come through all right I am in good health and hope this will find you all well
Your Affect Brother
William Farries, from Wauwatosa, WI. He is listed as a farmer, born in Scotland, about 5’9″, with hazel eyes dark hair, and a fair complexion. He received a $25 bounty for enlisting for 3 years service. He enlisted on August 6, 1862 as a corporal in Company E, 24th WI Infantry. He was later promoted to sergeant, and was wounded November 25, 1863 at Missionary Ridge, TN. Sgt. Farries was mustered out of the army June 10, 1865 at Nashville, TN.
Letter written by Private J. P. Graves of the Warren County MS Light Artillery, Army of TN, to his sister, from Tuscumbia, AL. Graves writes that he has been scouting recently, which he likes better than artillery service. They get better food, and he gets to travel all over the country on horseback. Hes mentions that Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee’s Corps is across the Tennessee River, while Major General Cheatham’s and Lieutenant General Stewart’s Corps are camped nearby. Graves expects they will soon move into the middle of Tennessee, and writes of a rumor that Richmond, VA, has fallen. Graves is hoping to get furlough for Christmas.
Tuscumbia Ala Nov the 8 1864
I thought I would write to you this morning as all of the boys has gone off ond a scout except a few. the last time I wrote to you was at Jonesbourough I believe; you must excuse me for not writing to you sooner as we have had so mutch scouting to do. I like scouting better than Artilery service; we can get more to eat and travel all over the country I rode my horse down so I will have to get me an other one but that is very easy don as their is a grate many Tories in this county we can get horses from them We drawed clothing yesterday I drawed a jacket a pair of pants and shoes; we expect to draw blankets and overcoats pritty soon. we need them right mutch as
the weather is getting pritty cool Bud came over to see us yesterday he is well and enjoying fine health. Lees corps is a cross the Tennessee river; Cheathams & Stuarts Corps is camp a round this place I expect a move will be made in to middle Tennessee pritty soon frome all appearances. The troops are all willing to goe as they have been clothing and shoeing up the army. It is reported hear that Richmond has fallen; It is all so reported that the troops refuse to charge; that can never be said of the army of Tennessee! we have all ways had double numbers to contend with. all the Generals made a speach to the troops the other day amongst them was Beaureguard he tole the boys he would be with them in the hour of battle I am going to try and get my furlough a bout christmas so you must look for me in a bout
two months. Tell Sunny Clem he must have his dogs well train by christmas, so we can goe opossum hunting. I have got a splendid burnside rifle it is a breech loading gun I can shoot a partregs [partridge] head off evry time with it, it was captured frome the yankees. I must close as it is getting so cold I cant write give my love to Ma & Sallie and tell them I will write to them as soon as I can Believe me as ever your Brother
J P Graves
Direct your letters to Shannons scouts in care of Col. Cofer provo marshal Gen
J P Graves
J.P. Graves enlisted on March 20, 1864 in Dalton, GA in Captain Swett’s Company L, the Warren Light Artillery. He survived the war and is shown on a muster roll of Confederate soldiers paroled at Greensboro, NC on April 26, 1865.
Letter of Private Cecil Fogg of Company B, 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, to his father from Chattanooga, TN. Fogg writes that sutlers have come to camp, and retracts his previous request for money. He describes a scouting trip to McLenmore Cove where they rescued families of Union Home Guards who had been taken prisoner. Fogg writes that a cavalry expedition to Dalton found no Confederate troops, and that his regiment is still working on a bridge. The 92nd Ohio is working on burying deceased soldiers in the nearby National Cemetery, while other squads are fencing in the depot and repairing the railroad track to Knoxville. Fogg mentions family friends who have re-enlisted in the 40th Ohio, and were at Shell Mound since the fight at Lookout Mountain but are now guarding the railroad. Veterans from the 36th Ohio have begun to return home. Several deserters have been sentenced in a court martial. Fogg discusses the benefits of instating a draft and concludes by mentioning the recent arrival of sanitary stores.
Chattanooga, Tenn. Jan. 31/64
I have rec’d 3 or 4 letters from you within the last 10 days; 2 of them containing thread. There was enough in the first one to do me, as the sutlers have now come up. I wrote to you on the 17th for some money. If you have not sent any, you need not now, for I can get along without it till we are paid again. I believe I have not wrote to you since the scout. We were out on a 3 days’ scout to McLenmore Cove. We started out on the 18th and went up to where we came down the mountain in Sept. We camped there at the foot of the mountain on the night of the 18th, and the next day we went a few miles farther and loaded up about 16 or 18 wagons
with some Union families and their household goods, and came back to the place where we camped the night before. We camped there that night and returned to our camp at Chattanooga the next day. The families which we moved in are families of Union Home Guards, who have been taken prisoners by the Rebs. The Home Guards met to organize and elect officers, and the Rebs slipped in on them in our uniform, and took all but 5 or 6 of them. They shot some of them in the own door yard, stripped some of all their clothing, and made them double quick towards Dalton in their bare feet over the frozen ground. It rained the morning we started out there, and the road was very bad that day. But it froze up that night, and snowed a little.
It thawed a little the next day, and froze up again at night, so we had pretty good walking back to camp. I understand that our cavalry have been out to Dalton and found no enemy there. Our regt. is still at work on the bridge. The 92nd [Ohio] is engaged at the work of re-interring the bodies of soldiers who have been killed or died, and been buried near this place.
They are burying them in the National Cemetery near this place. There are also squads at work fencing in the depot, and repairing the track between here and Knoxville. And I think the [rail]cars will be running through to that point in a short time. This is a very lively place at present; nearly everybody appears to be doing something. I saw John Williams’ boys a few
days ago. They are in the 40th Ohio. Their division passed up the river. They have been at Shell Mound since the fight at Lookout Mt. They have all three re-enlisted, and expect to go home in a short time. They are going up to guard R[ail] Road between here and Knoxville for the present. The veterans of the 36th (about 54 in number) started home a few days ago. Harrison Adney is one of them. None of the Salem boys in this regt. have re-enlisted yet. I believe Henry Pedin started home a few days ago on furlough. We have had about 2 weeks of the finest weather I ever saw at this time of the year. It realizes my former ideas of the “Sunny South,” but which all were put to flight by that cold snap in the fore part of the month.
The deserters are catching it pretty hard at the court martial now in session. Three deserters in Co. B were tried a few days ago. They don’t know their sentence yet. Bill McKey is sentenced to one month’s hard labor, and lose 10 month’s wages. His sentence is light. Some have to work 6 months, lose a year’s pay, and after they have worked out their sentence, return to the regt. and make up for all the time they have lost. All your arguments in favor of big bounties for volunteers look to me as though they might be used as arguments on the other side. If the novelty of the thing has worn off and volunteering is a drag, why not draft at once save time and money, and bring out some of the Copperheads into the ranks who never will be there unless they are drafted, or get more than their services
are worth in the shape of a bounty. If the draft had come off 6 months ago, there would not have been so many loafing soldiers at home pretending to recruit for months at a time when their services are needed in the field. I think the veterans ought to have twice the bounty that a raw recruit gets, for a veteran is worth more to the gov’t than 2 new recruits. Almost every regt. in the service lost more than half their no. before they ever done any service to the government. A regt. will lose one half its no. in getting seasoned to the service.
Some sanitary stores have reached this place, and the sick and wounded in the hospitals in town have had the benefit of some of them. And the hospital attendants and officers are living in closer. They can afford to be generous when they have more than they can use themselves.
Cecil Fogg enlisted in Company B of the 36th OH Volunteer Infantry on August 12, 1861 at Marietta, OH at the age of 20. He served through his three year term of service and re-enlisted for the war, but was mustered out July 27, 1865 based upon a surgeon’s certificate of disability. The 36th served in West Virginia in 1861, and participated in the battles ofSouth Mountain and Antietam as a part of the 9th Corps before being transferred west in January 1863. As a part of the Army of the Cumberland’s 14th Army Corps (George H. Thomas),the regiment fought at Chickamauga and later in the Atlanta and Savannah, GA (March to the Sea) Campaigns.