Letter – Frederick Doten, 24 February 1863


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Letter of Frederick B. Doten of Company F, 14th CT Infantry, to his fiancée Georgie Welles, from the headquarters of the 14th CT Volunteers in a camp near Falmouth, VA. Doten mentions a newspaper that publishes letters from an officer in his regiment, Captain Samuel Fiske, under the name of “Dunn Browne.” Doten is currently acting adjutant, but expects to soon be relived of the position so that he may join Company F as 1st lieutenant.

A second part of the letter is dated February 25th. Doten writes that the silence of the camp is oppressive and he reminisces about nights at home. The band is serenading General French. Doten describes how Confederate forces drove in the Union pickets, though neither side suffered any great loss. He asks if Welles intends to visit Brooklyn, as he may be able to go north on furlough. He expects to be confirmed as adjutant rather than sent to the line, as the former adjutant was promoted to major.

 Head Qrs.  14th C.V. 

                          Camp near Falmouth, Feby 24

Dear Miss Georgie

     Your kind letter of Feby. 8th was duly received and it has been my intention every day since to answer it, but I have been so very busy that I could not write to anyone. I am extremely glad that you think it your duty to write me as a soldier. I hope too that it is your pleasure as a friend, for it gives me more pleasure than you can be aware of. I most humbly and earnestly beg that you will continue often to do your duty in that particular.

     I also received a newspaper, for which I am very thankful. By the way, that

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same paper frequently publishes letters from one of the officers of this regiment, Captain Fiske. They are quite interesting. He writes under the name of “Dunn Browne.” Have you ever seen any of them?

     I expect soon to be relieved of my duties as “acting adjt.” as the regular adjutant will be back soon. Then I shall go to the company to which I have been promoted 1st lieut. of Co. F. Please direct to me that way, as I shall then get them without their passing through as many hands.

     I thank you very much for your invitation to visit you next summer. But is not very possible that I can accept. I am in a three year’s regiment, and here I must stay until sent home by

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an unfortunate shot, or the ending of the war, which I sincerely hope will soon come about. For this is not a pleasant life by any means.

     Feby. 25th

     At last I have a quiet hour which I gladly devote to you. Everyone is in bed, or rather “turned in,” as we express it. The camp is very quiet. The silence is almost oppressive, and rather to me, melancholy. I cannot help thinking of home such a night as this. It reminds me of that evening that you and I went looking for lost friends. Our band is serenading Genl. French tonight, and perhaps the distant strains m[a]y help to produce these feelings. I hope you won’t think that I am weak. Should I be ashamed?

     We have been quite excited, to-

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day in camp. The Rebels made a dash and drove in our pickets a short distance from here. No great loss, however, on either side. One prisoner was brought through our camp; quite a fine looking man too.

Do you intend visiting Brooklyn this spring? There is a bare possibility of my going north on a furlough. I shall, if I can arrange this office so that I can leave before our next campaign. If so, with your permission, I will try and see you. Our old adjutant was today promoted to major. So that I shall now probably be confirmed as adj’t. instead of going into the line. “I hope you will see fit to answer this soon,” and please write as long letters as you can. I know I don’t deserve it, but am very selfish.

                  Very sincerely yours, Fred B. Doten

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

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

Letter – John Morris, 28 June 1863


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Letter written by Private John A. Morris of Company B, 126th OH Infantry, to friends, from Maryland Heights near Harper’s Ferry. Morris writes how he longs for peace so that he and others may return home. The previous day, General Joseph Hooker ordered out two regiments and some artillery. General William H. French is currently in command at Harper’s Ferry. Morris heard that another division was ordered to Antietam, and he supposes there will be news of something happening in Virginia or Pennsylvania. He writes that the Confederates have been firing off their guns from a distance for fear of the Union’s heavy artillery. Morris addresses a rumor that his company was taken prisoner and killed. He thinks the war will come to a close within six months.

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Meriland Hights [Maryland Heights]

near Harper’s Ferry, Va June 28/ 63

                     Sunday morning

Dear Friends

This morning while sitting here in my tent my mind runs back to some past times when peace was in our land, and we enjoying ourselves as civilized people. But now it is different. A war is waging in our land. But we must look and hope for the future. hope that peace may once more be restored to our once happy land, and that we soldiers may all be permitted to see our once happy homes and friends therein. I am longing for that time to come. Then if I should live, can sit around the old family circle and have something better to eat, and hope right smart better cooks than we have here. I, for my part, am getting

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tired of cooking. Things is on the stir. On yesterday evening 2 regiments and some artillery was ordered out, we do not know where. General Jos. Hooker    was here on yesterday, and gave such orders. He is not here now. French has taken command of the forces at Harper’s Ferry, and it constitutes the part of the right wing of Hooker’s army & is considered or kept as strong reinforcement.

This morning I understood that one division was ordered to go to the old Antietam ground for some purpose. I think against this week rolls round you will hear of something being done in Va. or Penn. The Rebs are supposed to be fortifying the old Antietam battleground and South Mountain. Our cavalry pitches in some Rebs every day. Yesterday they caught 50-odd, and some wagons, ammunition, whiskey, etc. I think this raid is going to put an end to this war. Those Rebs we fetched from Winchester said it had to go one way or the other inside of 2 months. I understand they are getting up into

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the north a good piece. If they come into Ohio, you must kill or capture every one of them. It don’t look like as if they had as much sense as a brick, the way they are doing now. Our pickets yesterday could see some of them riding around at a distance, and last night could hear them firing off their guns. But they did not come very close upon us, for they are afraid of some things [heavy artillery] we have fixed upon Md. Heights, and other places around. I reckon you have heard of Capt. W. B. Kirk leaving his company. If he is at home I want you to tell me, tell what the people think of him around there. If I was there I could talk about something a little with you. But don’t say anything about it now. Pap, I have heard that you heard our regiment was all taken prisoners and cut to pieces. This was only a part of Co. I, and some stragglers taken. I don’t know of any one in our regiment who got killed. It will be in the Chronicle, if so. We are going to have

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inspection this evening by Gen. French. He is going to review his army in marching time. The boys are all able well, with the exception of Geo. Harris. He is not very well. My health is pretty good now. Well, mother, how are you getting along? I hope pretty well, for I know when you have not got letters from me regular, and things being in such an uproar you would be uneasy, if not almost sick. Rest easy and take things that may, for I think things will come to a close in 6 months time. The Rebs is going to get one of the biggest whippings ever they got. Well, Callie, how are you getting along? Having a good time, I reckon. I would like mighty well to take drive with you today, but I can’t do it, I guess. Tell Vorhees and George I send my love to them and I want to see them the worst kind of a way. I want to see all of you. I want you to write. Tell me all the news about the talk of our new governor, and conscripts, etc., how you are getting along with your work, harvest, & etc. Give my love to all and yourselves, especially to Aunt Ann. Direct to Harpers Ferry, Va., Md. Hights., Co. B, 126th Regt. O.V.I, as ever, your son,                                 John A. Morris.   

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I have not heard from you for a long time; never since the retreat. Write soon. I want to hear badly

John A. Morris enlisted at age 19 on August 11, 1862 in Company B of the 126th OH Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864, and was mustered out of the service May 18, 1865. As a part of Major General William H. French’s 8th Army Corps, the 126th OH was ordered to Washington, D.C. on July 1, 1863, then to Frederick, MD, and it participated in the pursuit of Lee’s army July 5th -23rd.