Monthly Archives: July 2014

1864: Robert Galbraith Special Orders

The following orders were issued by Lt. Col. Robert Galbraith in March 1864. Robert Galbraith was commissioned a captain in Co. C, 5th Tennessee Cavalry (Union), in July 1862, and resigned as a lieutenant colonel in Field & Staff on March 11, 1864. The 5th served mostly in the eastern part of Middle Tennessee, engaging in frequent skirmishes and taking part in a few battles, most notably the battle of Stone’s River. Galbraith’s war diaries are held at the University of Tennessee.

The following excerpt from the regimental history explains:

Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith

On 10 November 1864, the 5th Tennessee Cavalry was ordered by Major General George H. Thomas, “to proceed to Nashville, without delay, to reorganize and complete its muster.” It remained at Nashville until January 24, 1864, when Colonel Stokes, with his command, was ordered to Sparta, to destroy the guerrillas who infested that section of the country. Meanwhile, on 10 January 1864, General Thomas recommended a separation of the regiment between Stokes and Galbraith, making two regiments. On January 30, Major General Lovell H. Rousseau, at Nashville, reported the troops in the District were generally under good discipline, well equipped, and in good condition, “excepting, of course, the 5th Tennessee Cavalry under Colonel Stokes, and a few others, who are neither well drilled, disciplined, or equipped. It is proper for me to remark here that two battalions of that regiment will never be of service together, and I shall press upon Governor Johnson the suggestion of the General commanding the Department to separate them.” At this time Galbraith’s Battalion was at Nashville, along with the rest of the regiment. Colonel Stokes’ influence with Governor Johnson was apparently greater than that of the General commanding, for the regiment was not separated as recommended.

As ordered, Colonel Stokes moved to Sparta, about February 1, 1864. In his reports covering his operations, Colonel Stokes stated he took about 150 men with him, but was shortly afterwards joined by Captains Blackburn, Waters and Brandon, bringing his force up to 200 men. On February 18, with companies “A”, “B”, “G”, “I”, “K” and “L”, he fought an engagement near Sparta with the Confederate forces under “Hughs, Hamilton, Ferguson, Carter and Bledsoe,” and another on February 22 on Calfkiller Creek. On the 24th he was joined by portions of Companies “C”, “F”, and “H”, most of these companies still being at Nashville with no horses. For the first time in many months, all the companies were represented at one place, except the two Alabama companies which had been captured with Colonel Streight, and Co. “M”, which was not organized until later. During the months of February and March, Stokes reported numerous engagements around Sparta, Calfkiller and Beersheba, and scoured Overton, Putnam and Jackson Counties for guerrillas. He urged the necessity of remounting his men, and arming them with Springfield rifles.


Headquarters D. A. 5 Tenn. Cav.
Nashville, Tenn.
March 4th 1864

Special Order No.

Company Commanders of Co. C, F, H, M will prepare and get everything in readiness for marching immediately. All surplus saddles & horses, equipments, belonging to the dismounted men will in accordance with Orders from Dist, Headquarters be stored in Nashville. Nine dismounted men in addition to all those who are mounted will be detailed to report to Capt. William O. Rickman to accompany waggon train via Lebanon to Sparta. All other dismounted men will report to Lieut. Roulston who will proceed without delay via R. R. to McMinville & thence to Sparta. Company commanders will see that their men are well armed & supplied with ammunition to resist any attack that may be made on them.

By order of Robt. Galbraith, Lt Col. Commanding
William P. Hough, Lt & Acting Adjutant

I certify that the above is a true copy of the original order. Sergt. R. Gillespie, Co. H, 5th Tenn. Cav.

1865: Lucy Rebecca Liscom to Lemuel Franklin Liscom

How Lucy Liscom might have looked

How Lucy Liscom might have looked

This letter was written by 21 year-old Lucy Rebecca Liscom (1843-1907), the daughter of Lemuel Liscom, Jr. (1800-1886) and Emerancy Ann Horton (1808-1886) of Hinsdale, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. Lucy and her brother Lucius were fraternal twins, born on 28 August 1843. Lucy married Julius Mason (1838-1873), a carriage-maker, in May 1869. He was employed by J. Estey & Company of Brattleboro, Vermont, when he died in 1873.

Lemuel and Emerancy were married in September 1831 while he was a resident of Boston where he was successfully engaged in the coal trade. In 1835 he purchased the farm in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. “Their house is one of the oldest, if not the oldest in the town. It stands only about twenty rods from the stile of old Fort Hinsdale, and was built, as near as Mr. Liscom can ascertain, about 1765. It is still well preserved, and though a new wing has been added, the original clapboards, riven out of pine logs, shaved by hand, and secured by hand-made, wrought-iron nails, still cover it. Soon after his return from Boston, he was elected to the office of first selectman, and has also, for many years, served his town as justice of the peace.”

How Frank Liscom might have looked

How Frank Liscom might have looked

Lucy wrote the letter to her brother Lemuel Franklin (“Frank”) Liscom (1841-1916). Frank enlisted in Company A, 14th New Hampshire Infantry in August 1862 and served three years. At the time this letter was written, Frank was with his unit at Petersburg. Later, his biography states that he had “the satisfaction of assisting Jefferson Davis on board a United States gunboat.” He returned from the war with the rank of Orderly Sergeant, became a bridge builder, and farmer. He later became a state politician.

Also mentioned in the letter are siblings Julia Liscom (1839-18xx) — a school teacher, Lucius Gray Liscom (1843-18xx), and Emma Isabella Liscom (1850-19xx). Lucy had two older brothers who also served in the war. Charles Horton Liscom (1836-1863) enlisted in the 26th Iowa Infantry and died of wounds received at the Battle of Vicksburg. Samuel Elliott Liscom (1837-18xx) enlisted in Company A, 14th New Hampshire Infantry with his brother Frank and was wounded in the head and leg at the Battle of Opequan Creek. He was transferred to the Veteran Rserve Corps and discharged in 1865.


Hinsdale [New Hampshire]
Sunday eve, March 26th 1865

Well my dear brother Frank, this has been a glorious New England sunny day — quite warm — and this one too is very warm. I suppose it is because there is such a warm-hearted girl in it. Now perhaps you can be interested a few moments by  a description of the room. Item 1st, this is the sitting room. 2nd, the piano is here in its accustomed place, book case — beside it — lounge next there on the west side — north side the little stand on it spread Julia’s dictionary, your Harper’s — Stove east side, also wood box. 3rd, various things fur ornaments hung on the wall with the rest some evergreens I gathered on William’s land. 4th, under all these things and on the floor lays our new carpet. It was woven very good indeed and is quite pretty.

My health is very good since my sickness, yet it does not take much to make me very tired. Yes, considerable to what it does some girls, but I mean such a smashing days work cannot be did by me. There are but few Yankee girls that can do more than I used to do and you know, Frank, people must grow old some time. Well now, this is not the case with me — ha. I’ve been writing Lucius today and wrote a long letter. My wrist aches very hard holding my pen. While I were sick, my wrists were so very lame and swollen that had my hand been no larger than it is now, one could put a cord round my wrist and slipped it over my hands. But my hand clear to the end of my fingers were swollen and painful enough you may be sure. Yet the folks do not know as they were painful. There were too many of us, too sick to say over all the aches and pains.

Frank, its very wicked of me to say or even think that I should have been better off if God in His kind mercy had taken me away from this dark world. I was so long getting up from my sickness so weak, and everything made me so tired. Every little thing, I took hard — with all so childish. I could not help being down spiraled yet I was happy, and have not enjoyed so much peace of mind for near a year as since I were sick.

God knows what is for our best and will direct for our best good, though we cannot always see it ourselves. Frank, how much I wish you were here right in this chair. How much talk there would be here for one evening, but you have your duty to do — your mission to fulfill — and you are doing it and honorably to from all we hear. You will be blessed according for God has said, “As we sow, so shall we reap.” I know there will be but very little for me to reap. Oh Frank, how very nice the setting sun comes in here just where I am sitting. But for this war, many of our friends would be with us. Yet it must be all right — it’s for a Nation’s right, honor, and good.

Frank, they are taking collections Sundays for the freed men — also for the benefit for the freed South. Now tell us if you think it is of any great benefit. There is quite a revival in the Baptist Church at Brattleboro and some are to be baptized this spring. Mr. [Jacob] Estey have gone into partnership with a man in Chicago [in the manufacture of organs] and Julius [Estey] has gone out there to stay and quite a number from Brattleboro.

Mr. [Alden] Sherwin is there [in the Baptist Church in Brattleboro] now in Rev. [Mark] Carpenter’s place. He is liked very much I should think.

Frank, I want you to tell me what you think about my going out to do housework this spring and summer. I wish to do something besides stay at home all summer. Mother and Emma can do the work, I guess. Perhaps Julia will be at home. I do not know anything about it. Father is going to be obliged to pay out money all the time and none coming in so if that I can earn my board and a little besides, and most of all enjoy myself, I do not see why it is not just as well as it is  to stay at home. I do not suppose the folks will think so.

Eliza J. Moore was buried last Friday in Athol [Massachusetts]. ¹ She died Tuesday with the consumption. I suppose that working in the match shop so long most killed her. Sarah is in Fitchburg keeping house.

Frank Stearns was married last week to Martha Tyler. ² They have come home to live. There is Frank’s wife (how funny its sound), Newton’s wife, and Ellen all of them in a bunch. They ought to have a good time. They (Pard ³ and ___) are getting wood out of the dooryard and sawing it out to the mill shop, splitting it, piling it in the wood shed. Amos and Seymour are sawing. Oh, telling about those evergreens I picked on William Adam’s land! They are trying to bother me about him ____. Please remember me to enquiring friends if any. Good bye Frank. God bless you. — Lucy

¹ Eliza J. [Horton] Moore died on 21 March 1865 in Athol, Massachusetts. She was born about 1842 in Winsdale, New Hampshire, the daughter of Hiram Horton of Hinsdale, New Hampshire.

² Martha L. Tyler (1843-1898), the daughter of Joseph Warren Tyler (1795-1849) and Eleanor Thomas (1804-1890), was married on 4 March 1865 to Frank Stearns, a teacher. Martha’s brother, George Warren Tyler (1846-1900) was married on 9 July 1867 to Julia Woods. George served with the 14th New Hampshire Infantry and was later employed by the Estey Organ Works in Brattleboro.

³ Pardon D. Smith married Lucy’s sister, Sarah Liscom, in December 1854.


1866: Ellen Marchant Myrick to Lydia Ray Myrick

How Nellie Myrick might have looked

How Nellie Myrick might have looked

This letter was written by Ellen (“Nellie”) Marchant Myrick (1848-19xx), the daughter of Benjamin Barney Myrick (1821-Aft1900) and Lydia Ray Myrick (1823-1898) of Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana. She married James Brooks Johnson (1843-19xx) about 1875 and raised several children.

The Myrick family was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and came to Richmond, Indiana in 1857. Benjamin was employed from 1862 to 1869 as a state agent of the Aetna Life Insurance company for the southern half of Indiana and a part of Kentucky. In 1882 he moved to Evansville where he was the manager of the Evansville Board of Fire Underwriters. He returned to Richmond in 1888.

1866 Envelope

1866 Envelope

Addressed to Mrs. Benjamin B. Myrick, Richmond, Indiana

[Evansville, Indiana]
[October 1866]

My dear ones,

I am all alone from home. I miss father a good deal — especially in the morning when I go downstairs and do not see any of the home faces. I received a letter from father written at Terre Haute. I am real glad he thought to send you some apples. Well isn’t this funny looking paper? It is some of Mrs. Hexsen’s. She would not let me get any when I was down town yesterday. She says it is “economical paper” as you can write both ways of the paper.

We spent a very pleasant evening at Dr. Hoss last Friday Evening. I played on the piano and he accompanied me on an instrument resembling the violin, only larger. I do not know the name of it and then he and I played back gammon. We played until half past ten and then left. Mrs. Hoss expressed her regrets at father’s absence.

Miss Jennie Dodge (Henry’s sister) and Inas Johnson called this afternoon. They said the procession on last Saturday evening was very fine. We did not go down as Mr. Hexsen wanted to fix the carriage for the next day and we intend going down this evening. Both parties intend being out so I suppose it will be quite a grand affair.

I went yesterday in the morning to the Presbyterian Church and in the evening to the Episcopal. There was a child baptized and after the sprinkling of the water before returning it to the nurse, the _____ _____ it. Was not that a new “______”? I have not been out today. Mrs. Hexsen has been real busy all the morning. She has a real democratic Irish woman to wash for her, and she said (in talking) that on the day the Governor was expected that she prayed all day that it might rain just as it did do. If you would like to know how that was, just ask father for a description and he can do it more particularly than I could by writing. Mr. Hexsen has had Lottie’s picture framed. You don’t know what a change it makes in it. It is a very pretty frame.

Yesterday I took the gold dollar off my chain when I went to church in the morning and of my intention to do that I might surprise you with it when I brought it home all finished. I suppose you had quite a family [gathering] from all accounts yesterday. I was thinking last Monday night, “Well, I will be going to Lodge on next Monday Evening.” Have any of the girls been round to see me since those whose cards you sent? I have received an answer from Fannie Hoffman but none from Lottie in answer to my last or from Mattie’s at all.

Jean Ingelow

Jean Ingelow

I think Renlen will have to go around and call again for my benefit. (?) Mrs. Hexsen has been reading “Jean Ingelow’s Poems” to me for about a week. ¹ We have decided that she is an old maid as all her poems end in such a mournful style. The very first is called Divided and represents two persons walking through a field hand in hand beside a little brook when one steps over to the other side and they keep on wandering until the stream widening and deepening divides them forever, and just the same way ends all her pieces so I guess she must be don’t you?

Don’t you think it was best for me to stay a while longer under the circumstances? I don’t think they would have been very well satisfied with my visit as it would have been if I had gone then.

Well if I had thought I was going to write quite so much, I need not have written my other sheet as full.

Annie has been quite unwell today. She played out all the afternoon Saturday and got a severe cold. I seen strange that there can be such a change in the weather from morning until night as there is here, but yesterday in the morning I wore my thin white waist and cape and then was warm, and in the evening with my thick silk sack, I was really cold and my dress seemed quite damp so you can tell something of the way it is here.

I am almost afraid that the washer woman’s prayer of today will not be granted as it looks pretty cloudy just now. Well, how the mosquitoes (is that a puzzler) do plague us this evening.

I have not received any word from home today. It is now too dark to write. Therefore, must close. With much love to all, — Nellie

¹ Jean Ingelow (1820–1897), was an English poet and novelist. Though she had published previously, it was her book of poems in 1863 that made her a popular writer. In the United States, her poems obtained great public acclaim, and the collection was said to have sold 200,000 copies. Her best-known poems include The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire and Divided.

1862: Comfort Lewis Hoyt to Lewis Hoyt

How Comfort Hoyt might have looked

How Comfort Hoyt might have looked

This letter was written by Comfort Lewis Hoyt (1811-1866), the son of Lewis Hoyt (1782-1828) and Abigail Mygatt (1785-1867). Comfort was married to Frances Trowbridge (1820-1842) in 1841; to Eliza May Bright (1826-1849) in 1846; and to Caroline Westcott (1829-1906) in 1849.

Comfort wrote the letter to his younger brother, Lewis Hoyt (1816-1890), of Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio. Lewis was married to Sarah M. Spear (1816-18xx) in 1847.

Comfort refers to his eldest son, Amasa Trowbridge Hoyt (1842-1911) in this letter. Amasa served 3 months in the 19th Ohio Infantry and 100 days in the 171st Ohio National Guard.

He also refers to the illness of his youngest son, Lewis Whittlesey Hoyt, who was born on 7 August 1860. That child died on 14 August 1862, just a week after this letter was written.

1862 Envelope

1862 Envelope

Addressed to Lewis Hoyt, Esq., Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio

Painesville [Ohio]
August 6, 1862

Bro. Lewis,

I have just succeeded in raising the amount of funds necessary to accomplish what we talked about when you were here. Not having heard from you since, I suppose you have arranged the matter as was suggested. I now send you a draft on New York for $650 which with the $350 will make the $1,000. You may make the necessary transfer of the mortgage to me as you think is best and if you can get the mortgage for a less figure, do so, and save the amount to yourself.

We have no news to write — only about war. The new call [for troops] of the President seems to excite the people to action a little more and I hope it will result in more speedy enlistment and that there will be no special need of drafting in order to get men to act.

I cannot say when we will go to Warren as our baby is quite sick and has been for a number of days. This morning he appears some better but is not so as to be up much. The rest of us are about as well as usual. We shall send Amasa clothes by express as he has written for them. His guitar, I think, we shall not send in that way for I think he can do without it perhaps better than he can his clothes.

Love to all. Your brother, — Comfort

1864: Nannie B. Norton to Rev. George Hatley Norton

How the Norton's might have looked about 1860

How the Norton’s might have looked about 1860

This letter was written by Ann (“Nannie”) Burwell (Marshall) Norton (1832-1896), the daughter of James Keith Marshall (1800-1862) of Leeds, Fauquier County, and granddaughter of Chief Justice John Curtis Marshall (1755-1835).

Nannie wrote the letter to her husband, George Hatley Norton (1824-1893), who attended Hobart College in Geneva, New York in the late 1830s. He studied law in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1840-3 and then graduated from the Theological seminary of Virginia and became a deacon (1846) and a priest (1848) in the Episcopal Church. He became the rector of St. Paul’s church in Alexandria in 1859. He was a delegate to the general council of his church in the Confederate States in 1862-5. He took a leave of absence from St. Paul’s Church to serve as a chaplain with the 17th Virginia Infantry though ill-health prevented him from active duty. To avoid taking the oath of allegiance in Union-occupied Alexandria, Rev. Norton spent most of the war years in Lexington, Virginia, where his wife addressed this letter.

Nannie mentions their daughter Claudia H. Norton (1856-1931) in the letter. Claudia was the eldest of four children the couple had by the date of this letter in 1864. Tom Ambler was probably a cousin on Nannie’s; her grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Willis Ambler (1766-1831).


Addressed to Rev. G. H. Norton, Lexington [Virginia]

Leeds [Virginia]
3d August 1864

My dear Husband,

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA (1862).

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA (1862).

I have but a few moments to write. Tom Ambler brought Eve Sharp to Richmond on her way to Norfolk. He slipped safe to spend a few days at home. He leaves early tomorrow & Ma sends the letters over this afternoon for him to mail. Little Suzy died Monday morning. I saw Mary about three hours after the child’s death. She was then very calm but at times to paroxysm of grief. I hope diphtheria will not spread — it is a terrible disease.

I send [our daughter] Claudia’s letter. She was some time writing it but it is not as well written as the one to Mand.

I wrote to you a few days since & sent the letter to Culpepper. Poor cousin Lucy Smith — what will she do? I suppose she must give up her house. Oh these are sad, sad times.

Do write & try & contrive your letter letter here. I am so anxious to hear from you. Good bye.

Your devoted wife, — Nannie B. Norton

1863: Henry S. Campbell to Warren Henry Campbell

How Henry S. Campbell might have looked

How Henry S. Campbell might have looked

The Henry S. Campbell (1804-1864) family lived in Gainesville, Georgia. Henry S. Campbell’s mother was Prudence Parkman, and he apparently had a half brother named Marion Parkman; a brother James Campbell; and a sister, Lucy Ann Eliza Maynor. He was married to Mary A. Mericks [Merck] (1805-1882). His children included sons, Warren Henry Campbell (1839-1904) and Thomas S. Campbell (1847-1924), and daughters, Eliza (b. 1829) and Angie.

Warren H. Campbell worked as a bookkeeper in Atlanta before serving in the Confederate Army. Warren served as a private in Company F, 43rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry, enrolling on September 4, 1862. Company records indicate he was on detached service in an Atlanta hospital in early 1864. He was paroled at Kingston, Ga., May 12, 1865, and died at Gainesville, Georgia in 1904. Thomas S. Campbell also served in the Confederate army. During part of 1864 he was at Camp Cox, Cobb County, Georgia, and he apparently was commissioned a first lieutenant sometime during the year. [Source: Emory University, Henry S. Campbell Papers, 1817-1864]


Gainesville [Georgia]
Thursday, 2nd April 1863

My Dear Son,

We have received no letter from you since yours of the 18th ultimo, but hope to receive one tonight and learn that you are well and enjoying a fine flow of good spirits. I wrote you on Sunday evening last and told you if you should have diarrhea or dysentery, to be certain to have it checked as soon as you could. I hope you will attend to this should you have either, but hope you will have neither, nor any other disease.

The 1851 Home of Perino Brown of Atlanta

The 1851 Home of Perino Brown of Atlanta

Mr. Perino Brown ¹ wrote to his father and regretted to inform me of the results of his inquiries to get you a situation in Atlanta in the Quartermaster’s or some other department in the Confederate Army. His words to his father are, “Say to Mr. Campbell that Dr. [Joseph P.] Logan, [Chief] Surgeon of this Post, says he would give Warren Campbell a situation in his office if he could be detailed and come at once, but he writes on to say — which I knew to be true — that if he had I’m in his office, he might be ordered out any day for field services, as General [“Stonewall”] Jackson is here, and is sending all men to Bragg’s army who are able to bear arms.” So you see, that though you could get a situation in Atlanta, it would not be prudent to accept it, in my opinion, for I feel confident if you were in Dr. Logan’s office, Gen. Jackson or some other person would before you were there a great while, would order you to Bragg’s army where your situation would be much worse than it is at Vicksburg. If you were to loose your present situation and then be ordered to some company in Bragg’s army where you would not know no body and be placed in the ranks to undergo all the labor and fatigues of the rank and file, you would be truly in a very bad situation for I know you could not stand such labor and fatigue. My advice is to hold on to your present situation and not to run so great a risk of being placed in the lines as you would do by accepting this place in Atlanta. You have a good situation where you are and to lose it and run the risk of being placed in the lines among entire strangers is a greater risk that you ought to take. Thomas says to keep your present situation for you will never get a better one. I think Mr. [Minor Winn] Brown is of the same opinion.

Stonewall Jackson (1863)

Stonewall Jackson (1863)

Gen’l. [Stonewall] Jackson, I have been informed — and I have no doubt of its truth — enrolled two companies that had been made up and were at Atlanta and sent them to Bragg’s army and is enrolling everyone he thinks is able to bear arms. I would be glad to have you with Dr. Logan in Atlanta, but if you could be detailed and come there, there would be no certainty of your remaining there one day. With these things before me, I would advise you to keep your present situation. All things will work out right and for your good. Put your trust in the Lord and obey him and He will guide, guard, and protect you and will bring altogether again to enjoy each other’s company and to serve the Lord so long as we live. Let not these things dishearten you, but let your dependance be in the Lord and He never will forsake you.

Eliza is improving and she, your mother, and Thomas sends a great deal of love. I am getting on very well and hope to improve as have a prospect now of fine spring weather. We have had for some time past a great deal of cold, rainy weather with almost constant east winds. Today has been pleasant, some winds from the northwest, but not cold.

Your cousin John G. Mercks sends his kindest regards. Give my kindest regards to your cousins John Merck ² and Berrien Brown. ³ The Governor will send in a short time several thousand dollars to the county to buy corn for the wives and children of poor soldiers. The Legislature passed the act to have it done at its last session. May the Lord ever bless my dear son.

— H. S. Campbell

Your Uncle George [W. Merck] does not sponge on us as bad as he used to. Your mother won’t let him. He has taken the hint!

Mr. Brom and Miss Ann have just returned from Athens [Georgia]. All well.

When I commenced this letter, I did think I would write but a few lines, but when I begin writing to my dear good son, I do not know where or when to stop, so great is my solicitude for you and for your welfare. The Lord has always been my friend and protector and He will be yours.

¹ Perino Brown (1824-1909) was the son of Minor Winn Brown (1797-1873) and Messina Adams Holcombe (1802-1859). Perino was married in 1850 to Georgia B. McKeen (1831-1888). Perino Brown was a banker in Atlanta and lived in a home at the corner of Peachtree Street and Porter Place in Atlanta.

² John T. Merck enlisted as a private in Company F, 43rd Georgia Infantry in March 1862. He died of disease at LaGrange, Georgia, on 1 January 1864 and is buried in Oakland Cemetery at Atlanta.

³ Berrien Holcombe Brown was born at Gainesville, Georgia on 8 May 1838, the son of Minor Winn Brown (1797-1873) and Messina Adams Holcombe (1802-1859). He was married to Emily J. Sanford (1841-1885) in March 1861. He enlisted as a private in Company E, 43rd Georgia Infantry in March 1862. He was appointed Hospital Steward in June 1862. He was captured on 4 July 1863 with the fall of Vicksburg, and was paroled two days later. He surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina on 26 April 1865.

1865: Esther H. Griffen to Susan

This letter was written by 26 year-old Esther H. Griffen (1839-1904), daughter of David H. Griffen (1810-1891) and Amy Walters Carpenter (1812-1890). She was married in October 1865 to Robert Barnes (1837-1920). She mentions two sisters in her letter: Emma Jane Griffin (1834-1914), the wife of Halstead B. Hallock (1829-1888); and Mary Augusta Griffen (1846-1915), the wife of Jacob A. Carpenter (1840-1893).


Yorktown [Westchester County, New York]
3rd Mo., 12th 1865

My dear Susan,

Thy kind letter was duly received and perused with much interest as truly most and indeed all are well-filled with pleasant reflections. Oh would that our destiny’s had been doomed to live in the same circle for I believe we would have appreciated the privilege.

How Sarah & Sally might have looked

How Susan & Sally might have looked

The picture of thy dear little pet Sallie I prized deeply and if it would not be asking to much, I would like your faces again for I imagine the artist did not fulfill his duty although I prize them highly. I am not satisfied with the one you have of mine and I will forward another as soon as I get a good one taken which I shall try for soon.

What a time you have had this spring morning. I never moved far but I know in all reason it must be quite an undertaking to pack upend move so far but it will seem quite like old times for thee to go back to the place of thy childhood and mingle with the friends of thy younger days although I suppose your place has been subject to the hand of change as well as ours and also other places — some having been removed by death, others married and settled away with the object of their choice, and perhaps many been drawn into the battlefield and found a warrior’s grave but too soon. Oh the cruel effects of war upon our land, upon our noble and brave.

We have had a few days of quite like spring and the mud got pretty thick and deep but today it is a good winter’s day. It is hardly time yet for spring to commence with its balmy air for king frost will not let go his hold quite yet.

Sisters Emma and Mary and their husbands came home last night and let this afternoon. No one knows the pleasure derived from such family meetings but those who have experienced brothers and sisters meet at the old homestead. Will thee be near thy married sisters? One thing is quite sure, thy father and sister will joyfully welcome thee to be near them. Do you live in the same house with thy father or not? It seems almost as if I knew the whole family, I have them so firmly imprinted on my mind. Thee did not say how far you would be from Philadelphia now for I have forgotten the distances, and just for the notion of it in thy next, thee might state the route from the city, for perhaps my crazy head might get turned in the direction of Isaiah Kirks sometime this year. Perhaps I might prefer the month of October if I should travel at all and if your affairs at home would warrant an invader, or invaders at about that time.

Oh my dear friend, why am I lead to write thee for at present I know not that I shall ever behold thy face again. Almost ten years have rolled on the wheel of time since we parted. Oh yes, parted in persons, but how was it in mind and feelings? I can truly say for one, there never has been a time in all that ten years but what I have thought kindly on Susan and her household.

Libbie Hallock’s father has been very sick for the past month and is quite sick yet. The smallpox has been quite thick in New York and there has been quite a number of cases in the country, although it has not become very prevalent. I shall be glad when the traveling gets settled.

Thee seemed to be a little excited about my asking thee if a special invitation would induce you to pay us a visit. Now my dear friend, I do not wish to unnecessarily excite your suspicions on the subject, but one thing I will assure you I will let you more deeply into the sum and substance at some future period. Thee would not blame thy humble friend for plunging into the stream matrimonial after standing upon the brink a suitable length of time for I imagine thy life has flowed on so evenly according to the tenor of thy letters that thee would not discourage a sister to follow in the steps.

It is tea time and I will close for the present. After tea, as I want to send this to the office tomorrow morning, I shall have to finish it tonight. If thee was here I could tell thee more than I can write. Hoping to hear from thee very soon and hear all about your new home and everything in general. I will close with an affectionate farewell.

Give my love to Isaiah and Sallie, and receive a good lot for thyself.

From thy attached friend, – Esther H. Griffen

1865: Thomas Johns to William Meredith

This letter was written by Thomas Johns (1832-19xx) who came to the United States in the late 1850s from Wales. He lived at Pleasant Hill, Winona County, Minnesota in 1870. Johns wrote the letter to his friends William Meredith (1827-1906) and his wife, Julia Ann Blackman (1826-1924) of Wyocena, Columbia County, Wisconsin. The Meredith’s were also from Wales. Their two children were Mary Jane Meredith (1854-1924) and Delia A. Meredith (1859-1944). William came from Wales with his parents at 16 years of age and settled first at Racine, Wisconsin.

1865 Envelope

1865 Envelope

Addressed to Mr. William Meredith, Wyocena, Columbia County, Wisconsin

Winona [Minnesota]
April 16th 1865

Friends Bill and Ann,

I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you as I have [been] so careless all winter in not to write. You know who to blame for it. I have been in the woods all winter and have not been [to] town more than three times. We have had a very pleasant winter here and very little snow. The river broke up about the middle of March and boats run up to Reed Landing about the first of April.

Some timbers used in bridge construction on Winona & St. Peter Railroad

Some timbers used in bridge construction on Winona & St. Peter Railroad in Minnesota

I shall stay in Winona this summer. I have taken a job of getting out seven thousand railroad ties for the Winona and St. Peter railroad for eight hundred and seventy-five dollars ($875.00) and I think I make a pretty good money out of it.

The news of President’s Lincoln was received here yesterday and all business stopped and the town is draped in mourning.

I have to pay two dollars per day for men and board themselves. It will take four men besides myself to finish the job. Then I think I shall come on down and see you all. So no more from your humble servant, — Thomas Johns

Kiss Deliah for me and tell her to be a good girl and I often think of her and Mary. Direct to Winona, Winona County, Min.

1862: James Evans Walker to Theodore Medad Pomeroy

Major Walker in later years

Major Walker in later years

This letter was written by James Evans Walker (1820-1879) who served as paymaster of volunteers during the Civil War with the rank of major. He was the son of Alvah Walker (1795-1842) and Harriet Blake (1796-1881) of Cheshire County, New Hampshire. He married Hester Maria Smith Perrine (1824-1892).

Walker wrote the letter to Theodore Medad Pomeroy (1824-1905) — an American politician from New York. Pomeroy served in the House of Representatives as a Republican from 1861 to 1869, and was for a few hours Speaker of the House, from Vice President-elect Schuyler Colfax’s resignation on March 3, 1869, until the session was adjourned sine die.

1862 Envelope

1862 Envelope

Addressed to Hon. T. M. Pomeroy, H. C., Auburn, New York

Palmyra [Wayne County, New York]
July 19, 1862

My Dear Pomeroy,

Theodore Medad Pomeroy

Theodore Medad Pomeroy

Our Committee by advice & council concluded not to call a Mass Meeting thinking more good could be accomplished by town meetings. My idea is that you & Gen’l Segoine ¹ should come over here & help us — it will not hurt you. Come directly to Jim Walker’s house. Write me at once what time you will come that [hand] bills may be issued. Prospects are encouraging. Say you & Segoine address some three meetings in each Assembly District.

We have a full meeting of the Committee on Monday at Lyons. Will write you again from there. I may conclude to render my country some service by going into the Regiment. What think you of it? What position could I fill with honor to myself & the welfare of my country? Have no hesitation in speaking frankly on the subject as I shall be governed by the advice of friends. Still I know the place I asked for (without appearing or being egotistical) I can discharge the duties of with credit to myself & for the best interests of our cause both for the present & for the future.

Yours truly, – James E. Walker

¹ Jesse Segoine was brought up in Brooklyn where he became involved with the military at a young age. He moved to Auburn in 1836. A cabinet maker by trade, he became associated with the firm of Parsons, Hewson and Company, which made furniture in Auburn Prison using contract labor. His association progressed to the point where the name of the firm was change to Parsons, Hewson and Segoine.


General Segoine

General Segoine

With his interest in things military, he was instrumental in forming the original Auburn Guard in 1840. He was commissioned by Governor Seward a Captain in that organization. Then in 1853, Governor Seymour bestowed upon him the commission of Brigadier-General of the Militia. His business took him to Michigan where he assumed charge of a furniture manufacturing plant. While there he was commissioned as a Major-General with the Michigan Guard.

Jesse returned to Auburn prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. He put his efforts into raising enlistment for the Union, making “tree stump” speaches for the cause. His efforts were rewarded in the establishment of the 111th regiment, for which he was chosen as the regimental Colonal. He stayed with and commanded this unit into the start of the war but was forced into retirement due to advancing age and health. Upon his return to Auburn from the front, he continued his efforts in support of the Union by making speeches and seeking additional enlistments.

1863: Andrew Gillespie Henderson to Sarah Ann (Barrow) Henderson

How Lt. A. G. Henderson might have looked

How Lt. A. G. Henderson might have looked

This letter was written by Andrew Gillespie Henderson (1823-1899) of Maquoketa, Iowa. At the time the war broke out, Andrew Henderson was a 39 year-old married former gold rusher and newspaperman from Maquoketa, Iowa; his wife Sarah Ann Barrow was pregnant with their 7th child. He was appointed 1st Lt. Aug. 13, 1862 in Company F, 31st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry in Maquoketa; the unit mustered Oct. 13, 1862. Henderson’s unit was first sent to the Southern theater. While he and his unit were the Battle of Fort Hindman (Jan 1863), his wife Sarah was delivering their daughter, Anna Gillespie Henderson.

In Mississippi, On May 22, 1863, Henderson was severely wounded in the right leg while charging the Rebel works at Vicksburg and was sent home to recover. After his return to the regiment, his leg wound hampered his mobility and ability to keep up with his unit’s movements. At one point, he applied for a transfer to become one of the officers in charge of a “colored” regiment, apparently feeling the disability would be less of a hindrance for some reason. However, this was turned down. He participated in the month-long siege of Atlanta but resigned on Sept. 22, 1864, at East Point, Georgia, and went home to Iowa to recover from his wounds.

An on-line biography says of him:

Sarah Ann (Barrow) Henderson holding child

Sarah Ann (Barrow) Henderson holding child

A native of Franklin Co., Pennsylvania, Andrew Gillespie Henderson was born Jan. 4, 1823; when 11 years of age, his parents came to Illinois and located at Pekin, Tazewell Co., where he began to learn the printer’s trade; in 1838, he went to Springfield, Ill., where he finished learning his trade and lived until the spring of 1843; then went to Ogle Co. and began publishing the Rock River Register; he afterward sold out his interest and removed to Galena; in January. 1846. he engaged in mercantile business in Wisconsin. He married Miss Sarah Ann Barrow, a native of Madison Co., Ill., Oct. 6, 1846. In October, 1849, he went to California, and returned in March, 1851; in 1853, he moved to Dubuque and bought one-half interest in the Dubuque Tribune; in December, 1854, he came to Maquoketa and has lived here twenty-five years; he enlisted, in August, 1862, in the 31st I. V. I., and was commissioned First Lieutenant, Co. F; he was wounded before Vicksburg May 22, 1863; he resigned his commission Sept. 22, 1864; he has held the offices of Alderman, Town Clerk, etc. [The History of Jackson County Iowa, Published November 1879. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]


Stevenson, Alabama
December 22, 1863

My Dear Ones,

Our regiment reached here yesterday evening having started from our camp at Bridgeport yesterday morning. The distance is only 12 miles and the regiment got into camp by 2 P.M., but some of our teams did not get in until 2 this morning on account of the bad roads. The team that my blankets were in, however, did get in by 10½ so that I had a pretty good night’s sleep. We all slept in the open air, of course, without any tents, and this morning the ground was frozen so that it would carry heavily loaded teams. In Iowa, you would think such usage would kill one, but here we do not think anything of it. I slept very comfortable.

We are now on our road back to Larkinsville, Jackson County, Alabama, where I presume we shall winter. It is 25 miles from here and is quite a pleasant place. We will start again, I presume, tomorrow morning.

My health is first rate and my appetite such as I would be ashamed of if I was at home. We have plenty to eat and little to do, and I am afraid I shall be very lazy when I get home. Some days ago, Lt. [Franklin] Amos ¹ started for Maquoketa, and he will give you particulars of our situation &c. I want to get another letter from you very much. I do not want you to play another trick on me by not writing for two weeks. Don’t you do it again!

Col. Jeremiah W. Jenkins

Col. Jeremiah W. Jenkins

I write this letter in Capt. W. A. Warren’s ² office in this town. He is Post Quartermaster here and Frank Bettis ³ is his head clerk. They are both old acquaintances from Bellevue. Col. [Jeremiah W.] Jenkins is in the office with me at the present time. His health is first rate.

I hope you will have a pleasant Christmas and New Year’s. God bless you, my dear ones. May God watch over and protect you. Let me know whether Santa Claus visits the children on Christmas Eve or not.

My respects to all enquiring friends. Who is dead or married lately? Write as often as you possibly can.

Your affectionate husband and father, — A. G. Henderson

P.S. Have you sold any of them gold pens and pencil holders yet? — A. G. H.

¹ Franklin (“Frank”) Amos was 1st Lieutenant of Company H, 31st Iowa Infantry. He resided in Maquoketa, Iowa.

² Capt. W. A. Warren (1812-1884) was also from Maquoketa, Iowa. He was appointed post quartermaster in the army in 1862, and for a time acted as chief quartermaster of the army of the Tennessee. During his term of office he disbursed over seventy millions of dollars for the government, and controlled hundreds of millions of dollars worth of government property and supplies. At one time his enemies thought to get him out of the army. They preferred charges against him and had him arrested and court marshaled, but the court acquitted him. He was honorably discharged from the army in September, 1865, receiving a receipt in full from the government. [Maquoketa Excelsior, Jackson Co., Iowa, Published March 8, 1884]

³ Frank A. Bettis was from Maquoketa, Iowa. He went with Capt. Warren as clerk during the Civil War. After the war, he opened a law office in Bellevue for a time and then moved to Kansas.

Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

The Letters of James A. Durrett

Co. E, 18th Alabama Infantry