1863: William Clagg Sutton to Mary E. Sutton

How William might have looked

How Willie Sutton might have looked

This letter was written by Pvt. William Clagg Sutton (1844-1863) of Company D, 107th Illinois Infantry. The 107th Illinois was substantially a Dewitt county regiment, for it had its origin in Clinton, and six of the ten companies were recruited in this county, the other four coming from Piatt county.

“The first time the regiment was under fire was at Louden, Tenn., where one man was killed and a number wounded. At the battle of Franklin the regiment captured two stands of rebel flags and lost their own colors for a moment, but were quickly recovered by Bailey Walker, of Co. G, who killed the rebel that seized them. While the One Hundred and Seventh had its share of battles, having gone through the South from Kentucky to North Carolina in its three years of marching and fighting, yet it miraculously escaped the showers of shot and shell that flew fast and thick over and around it during some of the hardest and most desperate battles of the war.” [The Boys of Sixty-Two, October 5, 1894]

William was the eldest son of Peter J. Sutton (1816-1884) and Nancy Anne Clagg (1818-1889) of Dewitt County, Illinois. The Sutton family lived in Logan County, Ohio, before relocating to Illinois in the 1850s. The Sutton family farm was in Harp Township of Dewitt County. In the 1860 Census, the Sutton family also included Mary E. Sutton (b. 1847), George R. Sutton (b. 1849), Johnson P. Sutton (b. 1850), Johnathon J. Sutton (b. 1852), Henry C. Sutton (b. 1855), and Malinda Sutton (b. 1857).

Regimental records indicate that William died at Knoxville, Tennessee on 9 December 1863. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Knoxville.

1863 Envelope

1863 Envelope

Addressed to Miss Mary E. Sutton, Clinton, Dewitt County, Illinois
by the politeness of F. Swisher

Camp Holson
Glasgow, Kentucky
June the 9th 1863

Dear Father and Mother and family,

I pick up my pen this morning to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and in good spirits and hope when these few lines comes to hand they may find you all well. Uncle William Clagg ¹ is here but he is going to start home tomorrow. I am going to send $20 dollars up by him. I also am going to send some bullets by him for father to have a pare of molds made for that revolver that I sent to him by Frank Swisher.

I was glad to see Uncle William. He looks as natural as old cheese. I would like to have had Mother to come down so I could see her but I would rather come home myself and then I could get to see you all. I think if the furloughs continues until August, I can get one and probably sooner.

I bought that revolver on purpose for Pap to kill secesh with. There was nothing with the revolver but the holster. I think that you can get a pair of molds made for it. It might be the best to keep it kind of close for fear that some of them men up there that are hunting government property should claim it.

I have nothing of importance to write this morning as I just sent you a letter last Sunday. The weather is fine but very cool of mornings. The last night’s papers had very good news in them about Vicksburg.

I guess that I will close for this time and what I have not wrote, you can ask Uncle William and he will tell you. So no more at present. Write often.

— Wm. C. Sutton

Well Father, I will send $20 home by Uncle Wm. when he goes. I will send you a revolver that I bought last night of James Rauls [of Company A]. I thought you wanted something to kill Secesh with. I will send the revolver by Frank Swisher. It has a good holster and belt if I send it. — Wm C. Sutton

I forgot to tell you that I and James [M.] Guy sent our overcoats by Express a few days ago. We also wrote you a letter — the 1st I think it was — and sent the receipt in it in Clagg’s name. William C. Sutton to his Father, P. J. Sutton

Good bye.

¹ William Albert Clagg (1807-1894) was the founder of Claggstown in Logan County, Ohio. In 1836, the name of the town was changed to Rushylvania. By 1856 he had moved to Clinton, Dewitt County, Illinois. He died in Newton, Jasper County, Illinois.

Residence of Peter J. Sutton in the 1870s, Harp Township, Dewitt County, IL

Residence of Peter J. Sutton in the 1870s, Harp Township, Dewitt County, IL

Pvt. Sutton's Grave

Pvt. Sutton’s Grave

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 “1863: William Clagg Sutton to Mary E. Sutton

  • John nance

    Peter Sutton Married My GG Aunt Racheal Swisher.

  • John Nance

    I should have added that the Victorian styled house in the illustration was taken over from the Swisher family. I believe the farm depression in the late 1800’s was the reason. The Suttons then moved on to Missouri. They had 4 Children. 3 Girls and a boy named Ira. The home is long gone as is the village of Swisher.

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