Letter – William Wall, 11 July 1864


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Letter written by Surgeon William B. Wall of the 33rd MS Infantry, to his wife, from Atlanta, GA. Wall begins by reporting the deaths of several of his comrades followed by the well-being of several of their acquaintances and family members. He remarks on the high price of goods in the area, and hopes that his family is getting enough to eat, though if they aren’t he is unsure of where they could get more money. Despite the low pay and rations, Wall remarks that the army is still in good spirits. They believe Confederate General Joe Johnston will whip Union General William T. Sherman. He writes that all the men are “getting miserably tired of the long siege.” Wall remarks that he loves his country, but he loves his wife and children more. He is afraid if the Union wins, their lands and homes will be taken away and given to strangers.

-Page 1-

Atlanta Ga July 11th 1864

My Dear Wife

I have not written You now for several days. There has not been any news to write. Thos M Murphy and A J Turpin each members of Comp “I” 33rd Miss were killed on the 4th July A G Beal & M M Gist Comp “I” have died at Hospt: from wounds recvd May 31st. I was at the Regt this morning, every thing perfectly quiet I dont know precisely where the enemy is or where or when he will make his next demonstration. Lt Brown is well & was well pleased as he had just gotten a long letter from his wife Our command is in much better health than it was a few weeks ago All of your acquaintance are well I will inform you of every one who may be so unfortunate as to be killed or wounded. I have not seen Pryor yet & will probably not until this campaign is over. I wrote you that I had gotten a note from him in reply to mine that he was well. I shall inquire after him & if he is hurt let you know. You cant tell how anxious I get to hear from you, but I am not disposed to complain, for I fell certain it is the fault of the mails & not yours – the last letter I had from

-Page 2-

you was written the 13th & 15th June nearly a month ago at that time the most of you were more or less sick, Mary had just been taken down worse – I would like to know how she had gotten. I advise you to take her to Grenada if she didnt improve as you proposed to do. If she is not well or nearly so, by the time you get this you had better take her to Hughs – I am always anxious for your health could I feel satisfied that you were well many an unhappy moment would be escaped. My health is most excellent. Visit Aunt Nan & Give her my kindest regards – write me how her health is getting – Henry Johnson has heard from Cousin Addie through a Mr Allen just from there, he will write to her or rather has written. I could not see the gentleman, he is a disabled soldier. the family were all well, heard nothing from Sallie – Had a letter from Col Johnson a few days ago, his family were all well. Said Aunt Laura was always uneasy about Henry, her health better than it used to be every thing is high here we pay $2.50 pound for bacon at the commissaries – for Mutton in the country from $2.00 to 2.50 pound – Irish potatoes $20.00 to $25.00 bushel other articles in the same ratio – I hope you will make enough to eat & wear at home; if you don’t I can’t see where

-Page 3-

you will get money to buy with – The government pays eighty cents pound for beef – Officers are issued one ration you know for which they are not charged but that is not enough for him & a negro & then we are compelled to have some vegetables occasionally & they are so miserably high it takes a large portion of our pay to keep up. The army is still in good spirits, the men think that Gen Johnston will fight Sherman after a while & that he will whip him whenever he does, & so do I – we are all getting miserably tired of the long siege (as it may be called) though entirely willing to let Gen Johnston say when I expect to see you sometime during the Summer the time looks long, but we must be patient. Give my love to Mrs Oliver. Is Miss Bettie in good health now? Kind regards to all acquaintances. Much love to Laura & Mamie kiss them for me. did they get the little letters I sent them? Howdy & Respects to the Servants, tell them I wish them all well. Tell Same & Henry they must let me hear from their crop & stock – I think this will be the last year of the war & I know you hope it may be – Our Separation seems to me almost like a little life time. I sigh & long for the times to come when we may again be permited to live together again. I feel bound to do my country service as long as it is invaded by a relentless foe & your health & condition will permit. I love my country

-Page 4-

though I love you & my children more. You must try & be reconciled at our separation. Our enemys -at least some of them- are even now proposing to dispossess us of all we have & give our homes & lands to strangers – This of course can never be done. Well I have just finished my supper. it was first rate. I had corn bread, bacon, irish potatoes, ocre [okra] & irish potato soup& genuine coffee I think I hear you laugh at the idea of soup for supper – you may laugh if you like, it was good any how – we have a way of our own in the army so far as cooking wha tlittle we have – the army is getting plenty of meat & bread We had a nice rain yesterday. the weather is pretty warm – We have just gotten this news from Va, which we regard as pretty good – Love & a thousand kisses to the children – I will stop for the present Remember me in all your prayers – Your ever devoted husband.

W B Wall

Letter – Thomas Jackson, 11 October 1863


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson jokingly refers to himself as vain for expecting another letter from Reavis so soon after her last one. He describes playing chess with friends, including the Assistant Surgeon, Dr. Huggins. He also mentions a possible visit to Reavis in the upcoming week. Jackson, who is in charge of buying meat for the army, plans to go to Gainesville to purchase supplies for General Braxton Bragg’s army, including one thousand hams. Jackson mentions a local woman that recently shot her husband, then threatened to shoot the soldier who came to investigate.

-Page 1-

No. 3.

Enterprise Miss. Oct. 11/63

Dearest Lucy,

I rather expected a letter from you this morning – I don’t know why – but somehow I fancied you would write to me yesterday – perhaps it was only an undefined hope – a pleasing something, which I cherished until the barren mail dispelled the illusion – I think of you so much & so fondly, I’m not at all surprised that my vanity should sometimes lead me to imagine you doing little things for my gratification – I had no reason whatever, to expect a letter – but just like us men – especially soldiers now-a-days – we are so vain – a little civility makes us insufferably arrogant – I intended to write you a little note last night to send by Mr Hart, but some

-Page 2-

gentlemen called to play chess with me, & I had to postpone it until today – I played four games, with different antagonists, & gained them all – quite a champion – Am I not? there is but one gentleman in town who has thus far obtained any advantage (& slight at that) over me – He is Dr Huggins – Asst. Surgeon from Alabama – His name is quite familiar to me – Who is he? – I think I’ve heard you speak of him –

No doubt Mr Hart thinks me a very disinterested clever fellow, for permitting him to go home a full week earlier than he expected, but Mr H- don’t know everything – I had resolved in my own mind, that next saturday would be a nice time for me to refresh myself from the fatigues of labor & restraint, & make a flying visit to you, my darling, & other friends in G. whom I love so much –

-Page 3-

So you see, there was no inconsiderable amount of latent selfishness incorporated with my exhibition of graciousness, which however, I hope, will be compensated for, in some sort, by the agreeable surprise afforded his family – I am not yet sure I can go up there – so you need not be disappointed if I do not, nor surprised if I do – I am going to make Gainesville a point d’apui [d’appui = military term referring to a point where troops are assembled] (no laughing, if you please) from which to reinforce Bragg’s Commissariat, & shall collect a thousand hours in that neighborhood soon, preparatory to sending them forward to Atlanta.

I am much obliged to yr Uncle John for his kind remembrance – but I fear his is a “sod wog”, & like his fair niece, fond of his little joke – I am not conscious of any “carryings on”, & he may divulge

-Page 4-

all he knows about me – I’ve not seen the widow since he was here – & I don’t “understand” – I’m in clined to believe, that he, the cunning fellow – jealous of my attractions (?) has spirited her away – A sad affair transpired here the other day – A woman shot her husband dead – his body lay near the house all night waiting for the coroner – I am unacquainted with the merits of the case – During the Inquest a soldier expressed a desire to see the woman who could do such a deed, when the amazon appeared – said she did it, & if he did not leave instantly, she would blow his brains out for him – the soldier was satisfied & retired – I have not received yr Mother’s letter, which you mentioned – I can’t imagine where on earth the silly post

-Page 1, Crosswritten-

masters send them. I was mighty sorry to hear of Miss Nannie’s sickness – & hope she has gotten better – Has Reavis heard from the diplomatic letter to “that old woman”? I am anxious to learn how his affairs are likely to turn out. Give my love to all at home & believe, dear Lucy, ever

fondly yours


-Page 2, Along Spine-

I was truly shocked to hear of Dr Anderson’s death – poor Mrs A – What a terrible blow to her!

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 – Thomas Love, 18 April 1848


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Mexican War letter written by Surgeon Thomas Neely Love of the 2nd Regiment MS Infantry, from Cedras, Mexico. Love is writing to Mrs. William Rasha Cannon, a close family friend. He hopes that Mrs. Cannon may introduce him to some young ladies upon his return. He then goes on to describe his journey to and stay at Grunidora, a large hacienda in Mexico owned by the wealthy Cabrera family. At the hacienda, Love meets up with Colonel John A. Wilcox, Major Walter P. Lane, and Captain George K. Lewis, among others. In the final part of his letter, Love writes that he fears the Mexicans will not make peace, and that they will wait for a war to commence in the United States. He also believes the course taken by antiwar men will prevent an honorable peace.

-Page 1-

Cedros Mexico April 18th 1848

Mrs Cannon,

Your interesting letter came to hand last saturday. On sunday night I wrote to Sister Harriet and told her to say to you that as soon as I returned from Grunidora that I would write to you. I got back last night, to the surprise of all my friends, for the current report was that Col Wilcox and myself were taken prisoners. – I have been gone three days; spent the time rather pleasantly – I’ll give you the particulars, when I shall have replied to the topics of your much prized epistle. But first allow me to introduce myself to your esteemed companion, whom I now have the honor to call Brother – “Ah how comes that?” are you ready to ask – I answer that there is a tie between us – the rest is understood. I presume he will want to know why I have not answered his letter from Jackson which was a great source of pleasure to me. And presuming that he may take up this of yours to see if I assign no reason – none in the world. Mr. Cannon will read on as if this was directed to himself; for I know he is not fastidious. I am indeed Mrs. Cannon very thankful to you for the kind and candid manner in which you adress me. I have often in my letters, as a matter of course, requested you to whisper a good word for me in the ear of some of my female friends, with no other expectation than that you would take the matter as a joke with which to quiz the ladies – To you I have long since confided a matter the history of which I presume you have not forgotten. Nor have I ever regretted having confided to you your warm and constant friendship has ever been a source to which I could turn an eye wit the most delightful recollection. You ask me if I am engaged to a certain young lady whose acquaintance you formed in Columbus. No Indeed I am not. There is no tie of that kind that binds me to earth – There is one however, as you well know, who had me completely in her power – whose influence was very great over me – I am told that there is some probability that she is about to bestow her hand upon a relation. I wish her great joy – that he may be worthy of so sweet a girl – so noble a jem – Nothing would afford me more pleasure than to know that “our mutual friend” would win the hand of the fair

-Page 2-

and most beautiful Miss -. You give me some consolation by saying that there will be some fine girls for me when I return. After [???] upon the charms of one or two young ladies particularly you by the way of encouragement to my forlorn conditions, say that there will be plenty of “fine girls” for me when I return. I have no reason to doubt that, but to induce them to believe the same of me is more difficult. You ask me if I elicit your opinion of a certain young lady that you will give it. I do desire it very much; I did a long time ago have a little love [???] with this same young lady. – On this account some late rumors have been put in circulation – but there is no truth in them now. Capt. Barksdale was guessing at the matter; in fact he did think there was truth in the report. He is quite ashamed of what he told you since he finds that I was displeased about it. Your opinion has a great influence on me. I will receive it as from a sister. – I am glad that you begin to appreciate my friend Capt Barksdale – He is a splendid man – Industrious – warm hearted – smart – tries to do well and will someday be rich, for he loves money. And he does love in my opinion a relation of yours – or that is he is much pleased with her. What say you to such a match? I wonder if he would please her? I must not forget to say to you that Lt. [???] was very much elated at the idea of receiving your letter. He has read it a great many times with pride. He requests me to say to you that he is very much engaged at present or he would answer it immediately, he will do so soon. I do think that Geo. Smith has not only done a poor business but has made a “bad beginning.” I am pleased and highly gratified to know that you and my sister are yet such devoted friends. May you ever be so. I do wish that I could pay you all a visit – what pleasure and fun I would have. But to tell you the truth, I guess that I would be so awkward to set down in the circle of ladies that I would be quized out of my wits. Did Harriet tell you the joke on myself in which I had actually forgotten how to speak to a lady. You may think I am jesting but I am in sober earnest. I am sorry to hear that Dr. Gregory has married Miss Sykes. She is horrid ugly – I am not pleased. I agree with you exactly in reference to the relative merits of Miss Ring & Miss Holbert. I am not much “amigo” with the Miss Barry. I love Wm Barry much indeed He is a noble young man – amicable – talented and as good a friend as ever lived.

-Page 3-

I will now give you some of the particulars of my trip to Grunidora, a large Hacienda 45 miles from here on the road to Zacatecas. I had to go there to see a sick soldier. Fifteen of the Texas Rangers are stationed at that place – they form what we call a “pickett guard.” I started at daylight monday morning with the two messengers who came for me. We traveled 15 miles before we were out of sight of this place, across a beautiful valley which resemble our prairies very much. Not a single tree in the whole valley – The road as smooth and level as a floor – What a delightful place to ride in a buggy with a young lady! – We then turned around another point of the mountain and entered another valley; here the same scene presents itself – a valley with nothing but thorny mesquite and magnificent cactus – and a chain of rocky, barren mountains, apparently piled upon each other, with their blue peaks kissing the low white clouds as far as the eye could reach. 25 miles from here we came to a lovely tank, or cistern of nice clean water. There is a waste house here, a country seat to which Old Cabrera, a wealthy mexican, who claims to be a descendant of Montezuma used to retire to spend the summer. The beauty of this place consists alone in the tank and bathing house. The bathing house is nicely plastered in & outside – cross on top – door facings of marble – a marble slope above the door with a spainish inscription on it. The vault which contains the water is made of cement as smoothe as porcelain – four or five feet deep – 10 feet long – 8 feet wide; with steps and a beautiful shelf for sitting things on – and many other conveniences. From this house there is a tube made of cement to the tank about 100 yards below. This tank is made of rock and plastered in and outside with cement – about 80 feet square – 6 feet deep – the bottom is also plastered with cement. It was full of water and so clear that you could see even a pin in the bottom. I jumped into this pool which to my surprise I found over my head and the water so cold that I was glad to get out. From this tank there are several beautiful aqueducts or troughs for watering the flocks. We then lay down on our blankets under the shade of an elder bush after eating our bread and drinking a bottle of wine. We were soon disturbed by a dozen of the shepherds who came to the tank for water. They were not armed and of course we were not afraid of them, and if we had not been well armed there is no telling what they might have attempted. But three well armed americans can whip at least fifteen of these poor half-starved degraded wretches. After resting an hour we set out across the valley – the sun was very warm – If I had borrowed an embrella from the priest I should have been parched up. We passed several immense flocks of sheep. And reached Grunidora about 4 o’clock in the evening. During this long ride there was not a single farm, not a house, nothing to divert the mind from the dull monotony of the mesquite cactus.

-Page 4-

At Grunidora I found Col. Wilcox, Maj. Lane, Capt. Lewis, and two or three Lieutenants, who had gone there on sunday to spend a few days with Don Octoviana Cabrera, a son of the old man mentioned on the other page. He is a young man of splendid education, very polite, His father owns the Hacienda, besides several others. There are about five hundred peons at this place – some good houses – made of unburnt brick or as they call them adobes. They are plastered in and out side – brick floors – dirt roofs – the walls of the houses immensely thick – doors clumsy and strong as the prisons cell of a penitentiary. This is done to protect them agaisnt the Comanche Indians. There is a handsome church – some of the finest paintings in it that I ever saw. Octoviana entertained us splendidly – at four o’clock we had chocolate & sweet cakes – at nine o’clock he gave us supper – first broiled mutton – then rice, which was elegantly cooked – then different kinds of vegitables – wine – and lastly beans. There we had various amusements – singing – playing chess, backgammon, whist &c. He gave us fine wool mattresses & nice clean sheets to sleep on. Their bedsteads were made of long planks laid on benches like a common table. In the morning as soon as we arose they gave us a nice cup of chocolate & nice corn biscuit, and at nine or ten o’clock we had breakfast. This young man entertained us in the morning by walking through his gardens which were handsomely laid out, but poorly ornamented. No flowers worth noticing. The vineyards were very handsome. The summer houses very pretty – made without a single nail – made of ropes, [???] and raw hides. In one of the vineyards we actually found a regular built prairie well with a common old fashion swap & pole. But I have perhaps said enough to tire you out. The water at this place contains a great deal of salt peter – so much that when the water which is let flow over the garden beds in dried up, the ground is white with the salt.

When I come home I will try to interest you more with a verbal description than I can with a written account. The latest accounts we have from the interior are rather unfavorable to a ratification of the treaty. I fear that the mexicans will not make peace. That they will [???] it out – They are expecting that we will have a war in the U.S. – the course that the antiwar men have taken is the only thing that will prevent an honorable peace. The Whigs will be remembered for this course. Remember me to all my old friends, and to your children – write to me soon – I refer you to Sister Harriets letter which I wrote several days or weeks ago for a description of this poor miserable country. I am now in a comfortable room, oposite the priest – the priest is a great student – a handsome man – my paper is out – Do write to me soon – Give Miss Margaret B. my best respects and remember me in the kindest terms to Miss Bettie. I will certainly write to the Old man as soon as I have leisure. Your friend sincerely

T N Love

Thomas Neely Love was born at Love’s Ford on the Broad River, SC on June 15, 1818. He moved to Columbus, MS with his family ca. 1832. He attended South Carolina Medical College, graduating in 1844. Dr. Love joined the 2nd MS Infantry on Feb. 2, 1847 as its surgeon. Following the regiment’s service in Mexico, he was honorably discharged July 20, 1848. Dr. Love resided in Columbus, MS after the war, and married Elizabeth Jane Cannon (Mrs. Wm. R. Cannon’s sister-in-law) on September 14, 1848. The couple had three children prior to Dr. Cannon’s death on January 23. 1855. His Mexican War journal, A Southern Lacrimosa, was published by the Chickasaw Bayou Press in 1995. In the book, pages 215-218, this letter is partially transcribed.

Letter – Albert Wilson, 3 September 1864


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Letter written by Surgeon Albert Wilson of the 113th OH Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from the 113th headquarters in Jonesboro, GA. Wilson writes that they have destroyed the Macon railroad, and mentions the constant skirmishing on their march from Atlanta. The Union troops were able to drive the Confederates back. As the Confederates evacuated Atlanta, they destroyed their magazines, ammunition, and locomotives along the way. Wilson writes they will continue to pursue the Confederates, as General Sherman is not the type to rest while there is still work to be done. Wilson hopes that the war will soon be over, but is mortified that “Rebels of the free states” are joining together to resist the draft.

-Page 1-

Hd Qrs 113th OVI

Jonesboro Georgia Sept 3d – 1864

Dr Father

We are now at the above named place 20 miles from Atlanta (by Rail) on the Macon RR which we have destroyed in a great measure for a number of miles both in front & rear. About 8 days since we cut loose from atlanta moving with 15 days Rations passing to the south of Atlanta and striking the R.R. at Rough & Ready about 8 miles from this place & now to our rear. During this movement we had constant skirmishing as we were closely watched and entirely surrounded by rebel cavalry. Our movment when first discovered was mistaken for a retreat and they detached 30 thousand men to take care of us On Sept 1st we came up and found the enemy entrenched along the R.R. Our Corps was ordered to attack which they did and succeeded with comparatively small loss in driving them from their works & capturing many prisoners & 8 pieces artillery And putting the army to flight much of this success is attributable to our division and not a little to our brigade. Pursuit was made at the earliest convenient moment and since then we have no reliable news

-Page 2-

but brisk artillery firing 6 or 8 miles distant was heard last eve and nearly all day today. The rumor last circulated in Camp says that the 4th Corps attacked on yesterday and the rebel army now reinforced by the force left back at Atlanta and in trenched and were repulsed but both the armies are now said to be in trenched and a rebel deserter just in says the rebs intend to attack today. Official news of the occupation of Atlanta on yesterday at 11 oclock reached us today the Rebel army having evacuated the previous night. They blew up their magazines and burned 80 car loads of ammunition & destroyed several locomotives. The latest rumor is that the 14th Corps will return to atlanta I do not think we will rest however until the Rebel army in our front is completely routed & I cannot say that I have any desire to stop until the work is thoroughly accomplished. Sherman’s not the man to desist or rest for an hour while there is work to be done. I have been unwell for the past 2 weeks but have still kept on duty. I am very anxious to hear from Cossins but shall not be able to for the present the 23d Corps passed up to our left yesterday eve

-Page 3-

I have strong hopes that the war will soon be over and we will be permitted once more to return to civil life. I am very much mortified to learn that the peace party or rather the rebels of the free states are banding themselves together for the avowed purpose of resisting the draft. Political demagogues who mislead them however will some day (when the soldiers who have fought the battles of the country) be brought to justice and made to regret the day they ever gave aid and comfort to the rebels in arms. We in the army are of the opinion that as the war democrats have had sufficient strength to nominate a war ticket at the Chicago Convention that there need be but little fear of resistance to the draft to come off on the 6th inst Weather here has been escepively hot & dry untill today. Today we have had copious rains. The Mail is about to leave and I must close

I remain your unworthy son

A. Wilson

Col Jesse H Wilson

Albert Wilson originally enrolled at age 32 as an assistant surgeon with the 1st OH Volunteer Infantry on April 16, 1861. He was mustered out on August 16, 1861, but rejoined them immediately and served with the regiment until he was discharged for promotion on September 30, 1863. He then joined the 113th OH Volunteer Infantry as a surgeon and served until mustering out at Louisville, KY on July 6, 1865. His father Jesse was a former Ohio militia colonel.

Letter – Isaac Jones, 4 December 1862


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

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.

-Page 1-

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

-Page 2-

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

-Page 3-

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

-Page 4-

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.   

-Page 1, Crosswritten-

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 – Jesse Brock, 4 August 1862


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Letter written by Assistant Surgeon Jesse W. Brock of the 66th OH Infantry, to his siblings, from a camp near Washington Court House in Rappahannock County, VA. He describes the apprehension before facing Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. He is unsure of how long they will remain in their current camp, though he expects a battle soon. Jackson is in Gordonsville and Brock expects his regiment will have to meet him before long. He expects that the impending battle will decide the fate of George B. McClellan’s army. Brock expresses the need for more men, and hopes that they will volunteer rather than be drafted. He also writes that the army has lost its “novelty,” and that he has made it “a business now.”

-Page 1-

Camp Near Washington Court House

                   Rappahannock Co., Va.

August 4, 1862

Dear Brother & Sister

I don’t know whether I wrote you the last letter or not. Perhaps not as I am always indebted to everybody in some manner – therefore [I] always feel safe in writing. I am in good health; never had better health in my life. I received a letter from Jim Packer giving me the general news of Flushing & vicinity. I am always glad to   hear from any old home, as I am interested in that direction. I wish you all would write more frequent as I am so situated that I can always

-Page 2-

write when I would wish to. We are in camp; have been since the 1st instant. don’t know how long we may remain here; not so long I presume as we are expecting a battle near this point soon. [Stonewall] Jackson is at Gordonsville with a large force. We will have to meet him & with what success future history alone will tell. We were encamped at Alexandria for about 3 weeks were ordered to Sperrysville, 6 miles from here. We are under Pope’s command. He has 134 regiments in the field. Formerly we were with the 3rd brigade, Gen. Tyler commanding. Yesterday we were ordered to report at Washington for the purpose of organizing another brigade. We are under the command of Gen. Geary, formerly

-Page 3-

Governor of Kansas. We didn’t like the change much, knowing that Tyler was a fighting man. I hope we may find the same kind of a man in Gen. Geary. The weather is very hot here; almost insufferable. But we have to stand it. We are anxious to have the present battle decided as it in a manner decides the fate of McClellan’s army. There is an uneasy sensation manifested in our troops concerning McClellan’s army. We need your 300,000 men immediately hope you will send them along, and that without drafting. I presume you will hate to part with your sons. But recollect others have sacrificed & you will become compelled to do the same. Let your

-Page 4-

young men pitch in & show their grit. Nothing like it when you once get used to it. The thing has lost its novelty to me. I make it a business now. My mate leaves me the 15th of this month; don’t know whether he will return or not. If possible I want you to meet me at Waightstown sometime in October. Perhaps I am too fast, but I shall try & come home for a few days. Don’t allow yourselves to be drafted, but show your hand & volunteer. This rebellion must be put down. I would like to hear from you soon. Tell me all about your affairs. How is George & that sweet little child. Tell him to send me her photograph. My love to your family & all my relatives & tell friends write soon.

                                  Your brother J.W. Brock


-Page 1, Crosswritten-


J.W. Brock,

Asst. Surgeon 66th Regt. O.V.I.

Gen. Geary’s Brigade,

via Washington

Jesse W. Brock was mustered in as assistant surgeon on November 5, 1861. He was promoted to surgeon September 13, 1862, and was mustered out July 15, 1865. At Cedar Mountain, VA, August 9, 1862 the 66th OH lost 10 enlisted men killed, 4 officers and 77 enlisted men wounded, and 3 men captured, a total of 94 casualties from a an effective strength of about 250.

Letter – Jedediah Baxter, 18 December 1862


Hi-resolution scans of the full document can be made available for a fee. Please see our Image Request page for details.

Letter written by surgeon Jedediah H. Baxter, U.S. Volunteers, to William Dehon, from the National Hotel in Washington, D.C. Baxter is writing to express his condolence for the death of Dehon’s son, Lieutenant Arthur Dehon, who was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Baxter praises Arthur, and refers to him as a “brave, kind hearted man.”

-Page 1-

National Hotel

                          Washington, D.C. Dec. 18th 1862

My dear Sir:

     I have this moment taken my farewell look at your brave boy, and I cannot remain silent. I must write and assure you that in myself you have one sincere mourner, and who, if he were able, would comfort you in this your deep affliction.

     Your son was my friend! I welcomed him to our regiment last winter, have watched with pride his brave career. Every one loved him, and in this war of jealous feeling no one for a moment withheld the name he had so justly won; “a brave, kind hearted man.”

-Page 2-

I cannot attempt to offer you consolation; the grief of a father’s heart is too sacred.

     I pray you pardon me for even writing you at this time.

     I loved your son and felt compelled to write you.

                   Sincerely your friend,

                          J. H. Baxter   

Jedediah Hyde Baxter, age 28, from Boston, MA (born in VT), was commissioned on June 26, 1861 as a surgeon in the 12th MA Volunteer Infantry, the “Webster Regiment.” He was transferred as a surgeon to the U.S. Volunteers on April 4, 1862, and served as such until July 30, 1867. He had a very prominent career in the army’s medical department, and rose to col. chief of medical purchases, June 23, 1874, then finally to brigadier general, surgeon general, August 16, 1890. He was breveted three times during the Civil War. Baxter died on December 4, 1890.

Arthur Dehon was William Dehon’s son and a 2nd Lieutenant in Webster’s 12 MA Infantry. He was killed in action at Fredericksburg.