1862: Joseph Clifford Osborn to Jemima Cole (Osborn) Alden

How Joseph Osborn might have looked

How Joseph Osborn might have looked

This letter was written by Joseph Clifford Osborn (1833-1915), the son of John Osborn (1784-1839) and Sarah (“Sally”) Cole (1791-1874). Joseph enlisted in October 1861 as a private in Co. A, 37th Indiana Infantry. It appears that Joseph was detached from his regiment and serving as a head nurse in the U. S. Army Hospital in Cincinnati, however, by the fall of 1862. Nothing more could be found on his service record. Joseph was married to Ruth Ann Porter (1837-1894) in September 1855. After the war, he and his family moved to Missouri and then to Kansas.

Alden wrote this letter to his sister, Jemima Cole (Osborn) Alden (1822-1878). Jemima was married in 1841 to James Chester [“J. C.”] Alden (1822-1884) of Milan, Ripley County, Indiana.  J. C. enlisted in Company B, 52nd Indiana Infantry in February 1862 and was promoted to First Lieutenant in September 1862. He was further promoted to Full Quarter Master in April 1865 and mustered out of the service in Montgomery, Alabama in September 1865.

In the letter, Joseph mentions receiving a letter from their sister Mary Catherine Osborn (1835-1907). Mary was married to Basil [“Baze”] Williams (1822-1868) in 1850. He also mentions their sister Sarah Jane Osborn (1820-1866) who was married to James Herndon (1827-1920) and residing in Ripley County, Indiana.

Joseph wrote this letter while working as a hospital steward at the West End Military Hospital in Cincinnati. This hospital was opened in a large schoolhouse at the foot of George Street by the U.S. Army in March 1862. A report in 1862 claimed that the West End Military Hospital had three spacious wards, the largest of which was 75×43 and 16 feet high, having windows running to the ceiling on four sides. Each ward was equipped with a a bath-room supplied with hot and cold water; a water closet on the outside of the building, and appropriate washing apparatus. They were “neatly and effectively furnished.” The basement was said to be large and dry and partitioned into store rooms and a “dead room” for the deceased.  Typhoid fever and Typhoid Pneumonia are given as the prevailing diseases in 1862, followed closely by chronic diarrhea. Up to 150 patients were housed in this facility.

1862 Letter

1862 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mrs. J. C. Alden, Milan, Indiana
Postmarked Cincinnati, Ohio

West End Military Hospital
Cincinnati [Ohio]
September 26th 1862

Dear sister and friends,

I have been looking for some time to hear from you by letter or person but have been disappointed until I saw Mrs. Secress [Secrest?] yesterday. She told me you were all well and you thought of going to see James as soon as the River was clear. I am in hopes that will soon be for I have wrote to James and Chet but have not received one from them as yet. I think the rebels must soon give up the war as we shall kill all of them soon as they have got up North once more so our forces can surround them.

Embossed Image of McClellan on Envelope

Embossed Image of McClellan on Envelope

I am well as usual at present and think of coming out soon to see you all once more before cold weather. I received a letter from Rut since she left but I did not think she was going to leave so soon when she left here. But as she is gone, perhaps it will be better for you this winter.

We have some of the wounded from Richmond, Kentucky. I had to help take off some of their arms. We also have some sick with typhoid fever.

Times are very dull here at present. We have plenty of soldiers over the river to guard Covington.

I want you and James to write and let me know how things are going on. I have not got my money yet nor my papers from the regiment. I have not time to write much. I had a letter from sister Mary but have not answered it. She says she would come but Basil can’t spare the money this fall. She has been sick so she keeps her bed. I think I will see her [&] Basil before long if nothing happens to me.

Tell sister Jane to write to me as I have but little time to write letters to anyone as they keep me close to work. I have not been out of the hospital but twice since Ruth left here so you see how it is and we soon for some more soon.

Tell Gran ¹ to stay at home for they cannot draft him as his father and brother has both gone to the war.

Most of my nurses have been discharged and gone home so I have to train new ones.

I believe I have told you all the news this time, so nothing more.

Write soon. From your brother and friend till death, — J. C. Osborn

¹ James Granville (“Gran”) Alden (1843-1917) was the second eldest son of James Chester Alden and Jemima Cole Osborn. Granville’s older brother, Samuel Cluster Alden (1842-1908) was a member of Co. B, 5th Ohio Cavalry.

Advertisements

About Griff

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries. View all posts by Griff

2 responses to “1862: Joseph Clifford Osborn to Jemima Cole (Osborn) Alden

  • Joan Osborne Morrissey

    Could not believe my eyes when I pulled up your site. The first two letters are from my family of Osbornes. These letters are the only ones I have seen that speaks to us from the past. Thank You! Thank You! — Joan Osborne Morrissey jmorr4@cox.net (Topeka, Kansas)

  • Barb LaFara

    Thank you for posting this. It’s amazing to hear a voice from the past. John and Sally Osborn were my 3rd great grandparents, making Joseph Clifford a 2nd great grand uncle. His father, John, died while felling a tree for his wagon making business in 1839. And his grandfather, John Baldwin Osborn was a sergeant in Lang’s 1st Regiment of the NJ Militia during the American Revolution. Besides his brother-in-law, Joseph had a nephew, David Louis Osborn, that served during the Civil War in the 83rd OH Volunteer Infantry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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

"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

Spared & Shared 15

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

%d bloggers like this: