Monthly Archives: November 2014

1865: Lt. Otto Heinrich Sollau to brother

How Lt. Otto Sollau might have looked

How Otto H. Sollau might have looked

This letter was written by Lt. Otto Heinrich Sollau (1842-19o5) of Co. F, 3rd Indiana Infantry. Otto’s military records are most commonly found as Sollan although there are other variations as well.

Otto was the oldest son of Johann Albert Sollau (1807-1878) and Anna Barbara Sauring (1815-1869) who came to the United States from Germany in the early 1830s. His siblings included, John Ludewig Sollau (1843-1864), Albert Herman Sollau (1844-1892), Maria Anna Sollau (1847-1849), Wilhelm Ferdemart Sollau (b. 1849), Louisa Anna Sollau (1851-1931), George Bernhart Sollau (1852-1930), Christian F. Sollau (1854-1895), Ann Tharasa Sollau (1856-1918), and Catharine Magdeline Sollau (1858-1940). Otto’s parents resided in Stark County, Ohio in 1860 but Otto gave his residence as Plymouth, Indiana, when he enlisted in Company C. He received his commission as First Lieutenant in Co. F on 26 July 1864.

Otto’s brother, John L. Sollau, also served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was a private in Co. A, 19th Ohio Infantry [but died while on volunteer detached service with the 104th Ohio?].

After the war, Otto worked as a carpenter in Milwaukee (1870), as a picture frame manufacturer in Fort Wayne, Indiana, (1880), and as a scrawl sawyer in Grand Rapids, Michigan (1893). Pension records indicate he died in Kalamazoo, Michigan on 15 January 1905. He was divorced in the 1870s.

His obituary appeared in the 18 January 1905 issue of the Kalamazoo Gazette:

Old Soldier Dead. Otto H. Sollau who was brought here from Soldiers’ Home Last August. Otto H. Sollau, an old veteran, brought here from the Soldier’s Home at Grand Rapids, last August, died Monday night in the asylum hospital, from a stoke of apoplexy. He was 64 years of age, and had been bed-ridden throughout the five months of his stay. Nothing is known here regarding his past life. The remains, accompanied by relatives, will be taken to Grand Rapids today for interment in Soldiers’ Home Cemetery.

The men of the 73rd Indiana Regiment were first to attack in the Battle of Stones River at Murfreesboro. They lost a third of their men in that fight alone. This letter was written from Larkinsville, Alabama, where the 73rd Indiana was headquartered while guarding the Mobile and Charleston Railroad.

[Editor’s Note: There is significant variation in the spelling of Otto’s surname making it somewhat difficult to find records of him. Family gravestones at Canal Fulton, Ohio, have the spelling as Sollau.]


Head Quarters Co “F” 73rd Ind. Vol. Infantry
Larkinsville, Ala[bama] April 20th 1865

My Dear Brother,

Our mail has finally come through this morning and I had the pleasure of receiving your short letter.

And since you still think of me, so much as to write to me, I will not delay this answer. I am glad to hear that you are all well at home. I had glad also, that I can say as much, for myself. I have enjoyed very good health since I have been here.

We heard the news of the taking of Richmond and the capture of Gen[era]l Lee and his army, as soon as the telegraph could bring it here. We fired 200 guns at this post in honor of the great victories. But alas! Our joys were turned into sorrows for on the next day we received the news of the shocking murder of our president.

Yesterday was set apart for a day of mourning. all business was closed up and the flag floated at half mast.

I have no photographs of myself now – and cannot therefore send you one, but as soon as I can get to Huntsville to get some taken I will send one. I expect to be at home before a great while, and then you can see me and won’t need a photograph. however, I will send one anyhow if I get any.

I must close my letter for this time. Write again.

From your very affectionate brother,

Otto H. Sollau
Lieut. 3rd Ind. Vol. Infty,

Mr. Christino Sollon
Canal Fulton, Ohio


Head Quarters Co. F 73d Indiana Vol. Infantry
Larkinsville, Alabama
May 7, 1865

Dear Brother,

Your letter of the 30th of April has arrived. I was much pleased to hear from you. How old are you? You do first rate at letter writing, but you must still try to improve some on your penmanship.

The weather is getting very hot now in Alabama. Linen coats are in good demand now, and straw hats would be if we dared to wear them. The war will soon be over and then I will soon be home. You would no doubt like to see me, wouldn’t you? (There I rose off of the chair and brushed my coat tail over this page and blotted it, but you can read it I guess.)

You must be a pretty big boy already to go to the secondary. What do you study?

This is a very pretty Sunday morning. I suppose you go to church and to Sunday School. I would like to be back North where I could hear the bells ringing for church again. We spend the Sunday different here. In the morning at daylight the drummer beat what is called “reveille.”  Then all the soldiers go out in front of their tents or barracks and answer to roll call as you do in school. They then clean up their quarters, black their boots, and brush up their uniforms for inspection at 10 o’clock. They they get their breakfast and wait till 10 o’clock.

At half past eight we have guard mounting, The men that must stand guard for the next 24 hours get into line and the Adjutant inspects them. Then they march in review past the “Officer of the Day” who wears his sword and a red sash over his shoulder till the next day — at ½ past eight when some other officer is “Officer of the Day.”

After company inspection, the boys have nothing else to do on Sundays. Then they get passes to go out in the country. Frequently they get chased in by the guerrillas. People would think it awful to hear the drums beat on Sunday, wouldn’t they?

When I get home I will tell you a good many things about the army and this country that you don’t now understand. I will close for this time. I have written a pretty long letter and I have a few more to write so you must excuse me. Write soon.

Very affectionately. Your brother, — Otto [Sollau]

1865: Henry C. to his Parents

These two letters were written by an unknown author who signed his name “Henry” and “H. C.” Unfortunately there are no envelopes to aid in the identification. From the letters we learn that he is serving under 46 year-old, former merchant, Capt. Alden Hathaway Comstock (1819-1891) — an Assistant Quarter Master in the Army of the James in 1865. Capt. Comstock was from Bedford, Cuyahoga County, Ohio and first served as the regimental quartermaster of the 45th Ohio Infantry.

CDV of Capt. Chauncey Grumley

CDV of Capt. Chauncey Grumley ca 1864

In the 2nd letter, Henry writes with some familiarity of the Grumley family which I believe were Edward M. Grumley (1828-1911) and Chauncey Brainard Grumley (1834-1911), the sons of James Newell Grumley (1798-1832) and (Freelove Wilcox (1799-1865) of Saybrook, Connecticut. In the 1860 census, Edward and Chauncey are enumerated in Groton, Connecticut — Edward as a “mariner” and Chauncey as a “sea captain.” Chauncey had a couple of sons who died young.


Jones Landing, Virginia
February 26th 1865

Dear Father,

I will now give you an account of my journey to this uncivilized place. After I left New York, I went over to Jersey City and like a fool got into the 4 o’clock train which only goes as far as Philadelphia. I should have taken the 8 o’clock through Express for Washington. After waiting an hour and ¾ in Philadelphia, I started for Baltimore which place I reached just in time to see the Norfolk boat go out of the harbor. Oh, I forgot to say that I missed Case in New York and kept right on knowing that if I was in time at Baltimore, I should catch him at the boat. But you see providentially he went up street to do something and he got left by the boat. I as soon as I got out of the cars stood thinking which hotel I should stop at and finally concluded to go to the Maltby House on Pratt Street, got my supper, and set down and wrote him a letter stating how I missed the train and asking him what to do. After that I went to bed as I was very tired and in the morning came down and after breakfast stood by the window looking out on the street when on my turning around to get my coat to go up street, who should I meet but Case standing by the other window. Well you can imagine the meeting. We neither of us knew what to say for a moment but we finally recovered enough to both commence asking questions of each other. It appears he waited for me in Jersey City and thinking I would get left, he started back to New York to find me at the hotel. When he got back, he found that he was left and had to wait over one train so that I got to Baltimore at 6 o’clock and he got there at ½ past nine after I had gone to bed.

After that I had no farther trouble, got a pass from the Provost Marshall to Fort Monroe and got one there for Bermuda Hundred. I stayed there all night and came up here the next afternoon. This is about 10 miles by water from Richmond and six by land, so you see I am on the extreme front. Aikens Landing where we exchange prisoners is right across the river from here. We are on the southwest bank of the James [River] and 8 miles above City Point by land and 22 by water. We are expecting the Rebel Rams down every night but are not alarmed at all as to the consequences. We have got gunboats and monitors enough here to eat them up.

I have got a place here with Capt. A. H. Comstock and my address will be care Capt. A. H. Comstock, A. 2. __ C., Jones Landing, Va. I will now close with love to mother and all the folks. I remain your affectionate son, — Henry

P. S. Please send me some stamps in your letter for it is impossible to get any here. I hope Anna got home safely. My love to Mrs. Harris. Write soon. — H. C.


Jones’ Landing, Virginia
March 12th 1865

My Dear Mother,

I received Father’s letter some days since but have been so busy that I could not answer it before. I have all that I can attend to and sometimes a little more than I wish I had although I get along nicely for a green hand. The business I am in is the issuing of hay and corn, oats and straw, for the whole Army of the James under General [Edward O. C.] Ord, who relieved General [Benjamin] Butler. The forage masters of the divisions, corps, brigades, and regiments all have to come to me to get their orders which I give them at the rate of 50 a day; each 50, four different orders — one for hay, one for oats, one for straw, and one for for corn, which I have to copy off into three different books.

Then I have to attend to the transportation book. Captains of all vessels arriving at this port have to report to me and I endorse their arrivals on the back of their sailing orders and when they are discharged, I have to make out a new set and clear them from the port. Tell Father the Mars is used as a transport between here and City Point. She leaves here every morning at 8 o’clock and then every afternoon at 4 o’clock making the trip in about 2 hours. Capt. Grumley [of the steamer Mars] did not lose his fingers but his hand is stiff. He has lost his little boy which he and Al will remember being on the boat with him and now Chauncey [Grumley] has gone home as he is not expected to live. Ed [Grumley] is the same old sixpence. They are all well and wish to be remembered to Father.

I had the honor of being called up out of bed night before last to take a dispatch to the flagship of the fleet of gunboats which lay under the Rebel guns. It was from General Grant to Commodore Radmore who commands the fleet. I then had to go to Aiken’s Landing and take a special mail from General [John] Gibbon to General Grant at his headquarters at City Point at which place I arrived at ½ past 4 o’clock in the morning and then got back here at ½ past 6 o’clock and no sleep for me yesterday.

General Grant and staff reviewed this army today which means fight. I had the pleasure of seeing the general and his wife — also several other ladies — the only ones of white color I have seen since I left Baltimore and you may bet I took a good long look.¹

Pontoon Bridge at James' Landing

Pontoon Bridge at James’ Landing

We have had very unpleasant weather lately or you would have heard of something from this army before this. We are opposite Aiken’s Landing connected by a pontoon bridge and right under the fire of the Rebel guns if they choose to open on us but out gunboats and Forts Brady and Harrison look them in the face and say don’t you do it and they don’t, although when I first came here they used to scare me in the night considerably and I could not sleep. Still they are firing now at one another not 3 miles from where I now sit and I don’t mind them anymore than I do the niggers around here.

Well, I will close as it is 12 P.M. and I am tired. Give my love to all the boys and grandma, uncles George and Sam and aunt Mary, Mrs. Harris, Father, and Anna. Tell her to write me, also Al. If I do not answer them right away, they must remember that I am down here alone and no one here I know and when I get things systematized a little, I will do so. No more tonight from your ever loving son, — Henry

Direct to care of Capt. A. H. Comstock, Assistant Quarter Master

P. S. Please excuse this long letter but I had no note paper. — Henry

¹ New York Times reporter Henry H. Young submitted a report on Sunday, 12 March 1865, stating that “we are now receiving daily visits from ladies connected with families of leading gentlemen in Washington and officers of this army, these occasions are generally graced with the presence of some of the fair guests. Yesterday I noticed Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Gen. Grant, among the number of visitors.”

1865: Simeon Taylor to Joseph Mast Maitland

How Simeon might have looked

How Simeon might have looked

These two letters were written by Simeon Taylor (1838-1914), the son of Benjamin S. Taylor (1805-1854) and Sarah Miller (1797-1880) of Champaign County, Ohio. Simeon grew up on his parents farm. He attended high school in Urbana in 1859 and 1860, and afterward attended mercantile college at Cleveland, Ohio. He commenced teaching school in the winter of 1860, and was, for eight consecutive terms, teacher in his own district. He engaged afterward in teaching for several terms, and acquired a good record, as may be known by his long continuance in the same district.

During this time, he became engaged to and married Susan Ward on 1 October 1863, after which he devoted his attention almost exclusively to agricultural pursuits. He was Township Treasurer in 1871, and, in the fall of 1878, was elected Justice of the Peace of Mad River Township. In later years, Simeon lived on his farm one mile west of the village of Westville. [The History of Champaign County Chicago: W. R. Beers and Company, 1881]

From these letters we learn that Simeon was most likely a “peace Democrat” who inherited the deeply instilled racial prejudices of his southern-born parents.

Simeon wrote the letter to his friend, Joseph Mast Maitland (1838-1918), the son of James Madison Maitland (1815-1864) and Anna Mast (1813-1918) of Salem, Champaign County, Ohio. Joseph served in Company G of the 95th Ohio Infantry. Joseph was married to Arabella (“Belle”) Wharton (1844-1916) in 1867.

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Maitland, Co. G, 95th Reg. O. V. I., 1st Brig. 3rd Div., 15th Army Corps (near Black River, Mississippi)

August 26th 1863

Dear Friend,

Yours of the 1st Inst. has just come to hand and I was truly glad to hear of your continued good health. I shall endeavor to give you a short account of our doings in this neighborhood. In the first place, I would say that as our fall campaign has just fairly commenced, people here can hardly say or think of anything except some political matter. The contest for governor of this state will be warm. The Republicans are attempting to drive everything before them by crying out traitor! traitor! at everybody who may differ with them in political matters. I have seen so much deception used by these very same men who cry so loudly for Union and all for political effect that I can trust them no longer.

Joseph, I hope you will not think that I am getting into politics too deep for I have been deceived. I have talked with a great many of them and when you put the question fairly to them, they will admit that sooner than have this Union restored with the right to hold slaves in the South recognized, they would see it separated into two or more independent republics. I care but little what becomes of the institution of slavery. If it must go down in order to restore our Union, I would say to our men in authority, in the name of God, put it down. But if on the other hand it should be calculated to rouse the men of the South to a still longer resistance — if possible — and to alienate their affections still more from the old flag and the pride with which they once hailed it, I would say to them, for the sake of our Union, let it alone.

I would like to give you an account of some of the political tricks which have come under my own observation but I will leave politics for the present by saying that I don’t endorse the dogmas of either party.

Well, Joseph, I am still at work on the farm although I have not been very well for some time. Yet I still do something. My health now, I believe, is very nearly restored but I cannot stand the hard work as I could. I am lighter now than I have been for several years. I expect to teach school again next winter here in our own district.

Camp meeting commenced on the 21st and is still in progress. I have only been on the ground about three hours & I don’t know that I shall attend anymore.

The girls are getting along about as usual. There is a fellow up here now from Dayton visiting Rowana Chance. He is a regular gasser and appears to be cutting quite a swell.

You say you heard a report coming from good authority that I was going to get married soon. I should like to know the authority. Joseph, I hardly know what answer to give. You have been and are a confidential friend of mine and I will not tell you anything but the truth. I am waiting on Sue Ward and have been for seven or eight months pretty regular and rumor has had us married several times, but we are not married yet and I don’t know whether we ever will be. But I will admit that I have some notion of settling myself but I do not know what I will do yet. But I will tell you all the next time I write.

Write soon & keep the above to yourself. Yours truly, — Simeon Taylor

1865 Letter

1865 Letter

Addressed to Mr. J. M. Maitland, Hd. Qrtrs. District of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee

Home [Westville, Champaign County, Ohio]
January 3rd 1865

Dear Old Friend,

After a lapse of nearly eighteen months, I am once more reminded by the receipt of your letter that I am not wholly forgotten, but I suppose you have thought it useless to keep up a correspondence with me since I left the state of single wretchedness and settled in the state of matrimony. But be that as it may, I am happy to renew our correspondence.

Another new year has come and still our national troubles are not ended. The old year has been filled with strifes, battles, murders, robberies, and all other evils which will accompany the scenes of war. Truly, when the wicked bear rule the land mourneth. But the voice of the people has declared in favor of a continuation of the rulers who now govern our unhappy country, so mote it be. So we must endeavor to lay aside our preferences, our prejudices, and our dislikes, and say amen to all acts of Abraham & pay our taxes if we can, for if we should suggest that things might have been managed better if the nigger would have been let alone, the fearful consequence is we are called copperheads, rebel sympathizers, traitors, butternuts, and so on. And woe to the man who dares to be a man & think & speak for himself. But things in this respect are getting better here. The old game of bullying men down is about played out. But enough of this.

I am at work this winter on the farm & do not expect to teach anymore. I cannot content myself in the school room when I have so much to attend to outside. David Fulwider is teaching for us this winter. The wages in this township is about fifty dollars. “The Second Edition of Simeon” has not come to hand yet. In fact, judging by present appearances, there never will be a second.

Rowana Chance is at home yet and not married. Her man died last fall (a Mr. Rapp near Springfield) and she vowed then that she would never marry but I think that vow is already forgotten & she is only waiting for someone to make the wished for proposal.

Jasper & Moll are at home and are taking good care of the baby but I fear it will not live for children born in two months time seldom live long.

We are all in tolerable health & but little sickness in the neighborhood. Write as soon as convenient.

Yours truly, Simeon Taylor

1863: James Monroe Maitland to Joseph Mast Maitland

These three letters were written by James Monroe Maitland (1815-1864) of Kingston, Champaign County, Ohio. He was active in the Democratic party of Ohio. He took part in Stephen A. Douglas’s campaign, and served as a one-time representative of his district in the state legislature. His wife, Ann Mast, was the daughter of Daniel Mast, a leader in the Mennonite church in Pennsylvania. They had three children: Joseph M. Maitland, William Grier Maitland, and a daughter who died in infancy. Ann Mast’s brother, Elhanan, served as a lieutenant colonel in the Thirteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

James wrote the letters to his oldest son, Joseph Mast Maitland (1838-1918) who enlisted on 8 August 1862 as a private in Company G, 95th Ohio Infantry. He rose to the rank of sergeant before being mustered out of the service. After the war he was married to Arabella Wharton (1844-1916).

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Joseph M. Maitland, Company G, 95th Reg. O.V.I., 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 15th Army Corps near Vicksburg, Mississippi, In care of Capt. Warnock

Kingston, Champaign County, Ohio
July 3rd 1863, Friday Eve

My Dear Son,

Yours of the 24th of June came to hand today and we were truly gratified  to hear that your health still continues good. We have great cause of thankfulness that notwithstanding thousands of soldiers are sick, your health has been preserved thus far, and we hope and pray that God in his infinite Mercy will still continue his blessings — both spiritual and temporal. We are still in our usual health and the health of our friends is very good. We have not much of interest to write as we write so often.

We have had the past week very warm weather attended with frequent showers of rain — at the present writing raining moderately. The recent showers have helped the corn very much and from present appearance we will have abundant crops of corn. The coming week will be a very busy one. The farmers generally will commence cutting wheat although there is not much over half as much on the ground as last year. What straw there is very well filled.

Mr. J. S. Petty is still with us and intends remaining until Monday when he designs going to his friends near Columbus. He expects to start for the Regiment about the 15th inst. and intends visiting you if you are near Vicksburg.

We all think of attending the celebration of the Fourth [of July] on tomorrow in Urbana. They have made extensive preparation for a grand old time. My only fears that if there is any speaking it will be turned into an abolition tirade which is the order of the day at almost every gathering of the people.

We received a letter from [your Uncle] Elhanan [Mast] today. He was still at Murfreesboro but expected to march in the course of an hour. There had been considerable fighting in the front, done principally by Tom Crittendon’s Corps. Rosancrans [William S. Rosecrans] had gotten as far as Tullahoma. The news from Pennsylvania today brings word of a hard fought battle near Gettysburg with a part of the Army of the Potomac. The Rebel Divisions — Hill’s and Longstreet’s — were the opposing elements. It is said our forces were the victors at the expense of the death of Maj. Gen. [John F.] Reynolds and Brig. Gen. [Gabriel Rene] Paul. There has been another change of the Generals of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker has been relieved and a Division Gen. of the name of [George Gordon] Mead[e] appointed in his place. They never will get a man to fill the place equal to Gen. McClellan.

Pennsylvania is in a very critical condition. When the Rebels came upon them, they were in a helpless condition — not a soldier in the state. But the States of New York & New Jersey came to their rescue and sent troops from their states. Notwithstanding, the Governors of those states were called Copperheads, Butternuts, &c. Yet they were the first to send troops to aid the Pennsylvanians while Pennsylvania and Ohio lagged in the work of raising troops.

Johnny Brough, the Union Candidate [for Ohio Governor], made another speech at Cleveland recently and he reiterated the same idea in regard to slavery — that we could never stop the war until slavery was eradicated from the land [and] that there could be no compromise for the day of compromise was past. If this is to be the policy of the Government, it will be a long time before the Rebellion will be put down. All my hope in a speedy termination of the war is to conscript a sufficient number to put a much larger force in the field.

Saturday morning, 4th. Still indication of rain which will disappoint the expectations of many. ¹ We are all well this morning. Your mother, Grier, and Mary Frances send their love to you and the boys. Yours affectionately, — James M. Maitland

Lt. Col. Elhanon Mast

Lt. Col. Elhanan M. Mast, 13th Ohio Infantry. He was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga on 19 September 1863.

¹ We know that James M. Maitland attended the 4th of July Celebration in Urbana, Ohio, for he wrote of it to his brother-in-law, Elhanon Mast, on 5 July 1863. Referring to the celebration, he wrote: “the orator of the day was Hon. West of Belfontaine. I heard part of the oration, when a shower of rain coming up dispersed the assemblage for awhile. He was amplifying on the negro and beginning to get into the merits of the sable race. I did not go back to hear the remainder — reason why, did not think it would pay.” 


Addressed to Mr. Joseph M. Maitland, Company G, 95th Reg. O. V. I., 1st Brigade, 3rd Division. 15th Army Corps, rear of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Care of Capt. Warnock

Kingston, Champaign County, Ohio
Sunday Evening, July 5th 1863

My Dear Son,

I wrote you on Friday Evening but as it has been my custom to write you every Sunday Evening since you left, I thought I would keep up the custom. I would say through divine Grace we enjoyed our usual health for which desire to feel thankful to our Heavenly Father, and hope and pray when this reaches you that health and prosperity may be yours. Writing so often it is pretty hard to gather enough up to make a letter any way interesting but we will try and do the best we can.

The Friends are all well & the Friends of your companions in arms are well. No sickness in the community that I know of.

William H. West

Hon. William H. West of Bellefontaine was the Orator of the Day at the 4th of July Celebration in Champaign County, Ohio in 1863.

On yesterday, we (that is, Mr. Petty, Grier, Mary Frances, in one buggy, and I with Lydia & Mary Coleman) attended the Celebration of the Fourth. There was a large concourse of people in attendance — nearly as many as commonly attend the fair. The Young America, Fire Company, and one Fore Company from Dayton were out in procession and made rather an imposing appearance. The Orator of the Day was the Hon. [William Henry] West of Bellefontaine. I heard only a part of his oration. a shower of rain coming up when he was partly through dispersed the crowd and when the rain ceased, I did not return to hear the balance as he had got so far along when I left to dilate on the Negro and making that the burthen of his speech. I saw a number of Concord Friends among the number. Mr. Barger and Maley McFarland and they appeared anxious to hear of your welfare. Also the Father & Mother of your fellow soldier [Corporal Henry L.] Toomiers, having heard that he was sick, were very anxious to hear from him. They requested that you write the particulars about him in your next.

On tomorrow, Mr. [J. S.] Petty intends leaving us for his Friends near Columbus and about the 15th expects to return to his regiment, and if it should be that he can any way get to you, he intends visiting you. Poor fellow, he feels sorry to leave. He has many warm friends in our parts and if you had been here, his cup of pleasure would have been full.

We had quite a number of young folks here this afternoon — all of Coleman’s girls, George & wife, Betty Stonebraker, Miller’s girls, and Row Ann Chance and Mary F., and Annie. They had a good time singing. While they were singing, I just thought if you & Coleman’s boys could have been with us, what a great pleasure it would have been to us all.

On yesterday, Charlie Harris came in and was quite a welcome visitor to Lydia. This evening he and the two Miss Coulsen’s take tea with her. I think it quite likely that eventually that it will make a match. As respects Mary Frances & Liza Long, there are no ones that pay particular attention to them. Young Cheney does not wait on Mary much now. Charlie Fox on Liza &c.

This morning Charlie Bowers was arrested by the Provost Marshal and taken off before breakfast. He had been around a few days it is said. I had not seen him but his friends said he had a furlough but I suppose that was not so.

There has been a very hard battle between the Army of the Potomac and the Rebel forces under Lee near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. They commenced the fight on Wednesday and the latest account we had was to Friday morning at 8 o’clock and still were fighting. But our forces repulsed them at every point but with great sacrifice of life. Maj. Gen. Reynolds was killed the first day of the fight. Our forces captured 6,000 prisoners. These were the reports yesterday. I hope they may prove true if such be the fact and Gen. Couch, commander of the Pennsylvania forces, should bring his forces also to bear on the Rebels. I think they ought to cripple it that they will never get back to Virginia.

We expect to commence harvesting tomorrow — that is, we are going to help Joseph Mast and he will cut ours. The report is that your friend Simeon Taylor has some serious notion of entering into the meshes of matrimony with Miss S. A. Ward. I will close this evening and if I should have time, I will add a line in the morning. Your Mother Grier and Mr. Petty send their love to you.

Yours affectionately, — James M. Maitland

This morning July 6th we all well and from appearances will have a arm morning. I now bid you goodbye, trusting that God in His mercy will keep and preserve you. — Your Father


Addressed to Mr. Joseph M. Maitland, Company G, 95th Reg. O. V. I. , In the rear of Vicksburg, Miss.

Kingston. Champaign County, Ohio
October 23rd 1863, Friday Evening

Dear Son,

Grier ¹ write you day before yesterday by Lieut. Stover so I concluded that I would write you a short epistle this evening. In the first place we through the good ness of our Heavenly Father are in our usual health. Your Mother’s health I think is better than when you were at home. She is getting over the shock to her nerves occasioned by the news of Elhanon’s ² death. Every doubt is now removed of his melancholy fate, by seeing in the Daily of Thursday an account of a meeting of the officers of the regiment at Chattanooga where they passed resolutions eulogizing him for his bravery and social qualities. Also, the bar in Urbana met and passed some resolutions of the highest order. Poor fellow. My heart aches whenever I think of him and that is very often.

The papers of day before yesterday brought some startling news of the removal of Rosecrans from the Army of the Cumberland. Some days prior it was announced that [T. L.] Crittenden and [A. McD.] McCook had been relieved of their commands and ordered to Indianapolis to a Court of Inquiry. Today’s paper give the charges against Rosecrans that on the day of battle, he left the field and never stopped until he got to Chattanooga & then he became insensible from the use of opium. The 2nd charge by the government was that he disobeyed orders in going further than Chattanooga. And 3rd, that in last June when Bragg’s army was supposed to be weakened by sending some of his force to Johnson’s assistance, he (Rosecrans) was ordered by the government to march on to Bragg and disobeyed those instructions. If such be the case, he is deserving of severe censure although I had formed rather a high estimate of his abilities as a general.

I hope that your late General Grant will [be] successful in his new field of labor as he has been heretofore. Yesterday’s Daily brought us the President’s call for 300,000 more men to be recruited between this and the 5th of January and if not obtained by volunteering by that time, a resort to the draft will take place. Now I am in favor of the call but think they ought to be drafted right off. The late elections have decided in favor of [John] Brough [as governor of Ohio] and the war policy and I think there should be no hesitancy on the part of his supporters but come right up to the mark and volunteer. But it won’t be done for those that are no noisy on the subject will be the last to aid the cause by volunteering.

Grier, I believe, is getting along finely at school and gets through his studies without much trouble and likes it very well. We had very fine weather for some days until today, which was quite cool, it having rained last night. I don’t know of much more to write this evening but will add a line or two in the morning.

Saturday the 24th

I wil add a few lines by saying we have just arisen from breakfast and Oh! how glad we would be to have you with us to partake. Rather a heavy frost this morning. We threshed on Wednesday and our wheat turned out only middling. The wheat was very good in quality but not as many bushels.

You will write often and give us all the information about your situation. The Friends of the boys are all well. I must close by wishing you health and prosperity. Your Mother, Grier, and Mary Frances send their love to you.

Yours affectionately, — James M. Maitland

¹ William Grier Maitland was born in 1846. After his education, he entered the railroad service and became connected with the Pennsylvania railroad lines west of Pittsburgh. In 1866 he relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska where he became the secretary and treasurer of the Nebraska Plaining Mill Company. He married Agnes Dreher of Indianapolis in 1873.

² Elhanan M. Mast was Joseph M. Maitland’s uncle. He was Lt. Col. of the 13th Ohio Infantry and was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga on 19 September 1863.

1864: Charles Van Der Bogart to Caroline (Swick) Van Der Bogart

How Charles might have looked

How Charles might have looked

These two letters were written by 23 year-old Charles Van Der Bogart [Vanderbogart] (1842-1909), the son of Peter Bogart (1819-1888) and Caroline Swick (1823-1894) of Palatine, Cook County, Illinois. The Bogarts relocated to Illinois from Hector, New York State during the late 1840s.

Charles served in Co. G, 18th US Infantry. He mustered out of the regiment on 17 February 1865 at the end of his 3-year term of service. Military records state that he stood 5 foot 7½ inches tall, with brown eyes and auburn hair. After the war he was a member of GAR Post #780, General Willich Post, in Des Plaines, Illinois. He died on 26 November 1909. In 1900, Charles was still single and working as a paper hanger.


Head Quarters 2nd Brigade
Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 10th 1863

Dear Mother,

Again I find myself seated to write a few lines to inform you that I am still alive & well and hearty and I hope these few lines will find you the same.

We are still at Chattanooga yet and are likely [to remain], I think. The word has been that the Regular Brigade was a going north but I guess it is all knocked in the head. We are a getting a little more to eat now than we did a week or two ago. The boys had to suffer very much for awhile but now there is plenty.

I am very sorry to say but I will have to that Poor Gill is out of his troubles and pains. Poor fellow, he got along so well at first and now he is dead.

Where is Mate and Cindy? I have not heard a word of them in a long time. Has Brian and Matt keeping house now? And how does Uncle Charles’ folks get along and where is Pete? I have not heard from him in some time. When you see Grandma Liny, tell her I saw Kyley Carpenter the other day. He says he is a coming back of nothing splits more than is crack[ed]. He is a coming back after her.

Is Frank Bishop at home this winter? I have wrote to him often enough that I should think he might answer. And Matt too. Why don’t she write and let me know where the 12th Michigan Infantry is? The word is now that the 11[?] Illinois is a doing up here to help us. I hope they will for I would like to see some of them.

And where is the 89th? Uncle Eli and all the rest, &c. &c. &c.

I guess I will have to bring my letter to a close for it is after bed time. So goodnight to you all. Please write soon and oblige your son. — C. V. Bogart

Direct to Head Quarters, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland

I had forgot to tel you we are expecting our pay in a few days. If we do get it, the next letter will have some dollars in it. I shall have about 50 or 60 dollars for you. Write soon.


Head Quarters 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps
Camp with[in] 1½ miles from Atlanta
In line of Battle
July 24th 1864

Dear Mother,

After so long a time I sit down to inform you that I am still alive and well. I expect you thought I was never a going to write again but as old saying is, better late than never.

We are with[in] one mile and a half of Atlanta. We have been here now 2 days. We have to move 3 or 4 times a day some days. I am still at Head Quarters. I am now cooking.

I expect you would like to know what I am a going to have for supper tonight. Well blackberry or cherry pie, warm biscuits, tea and coffee. We have a cow. She gives about 4 quarts of milk. I have 3 officers to cook for. They are all from the 18th [US Infantry]. Oh yes, we have lots of dried fruit too — dried apples, dried peaches, dried currants, and plenty of can fruit of all kinds.

I am having the best time now I ever had. I have to work pretty hard but I am able to do it. I have not been out of hearing of the musketry 24 hours at a time since we left Graysville.

I received your two last letters. The reason I did not write before is because we had not lay in one place long enough to write a letter. I got a letter from Hank about a week ago. He was getting along so well as could be expected. I shall have to close for this time so good bye for this time.

Write soon.

From your son, — C. V. Bogart

1863: Elhanan Milton Mast to Joseph Mast Maitland

Lt. Col. Elhanan M. Post

Lt. Col. Elhanan M. Post

This letter was written by Elhanan M. Mast (1832-1863) who entered the service on 1 June 1861 as the Captain of Co. C, 13th Ohio Infantry. He was promoted to Major on 25 October 1861 and to Lieut. Colonel on 1 January 1863. He was killed instantly in the Battle of Chickamauga on 19 September 1863 while in command and encouraging the men of the 13th Ohio to hold their ground.

Elhanan wrote the letter to his nephew, Joseph Mast Maitland (1838-1918), the son of James Madison Maitland (1815-1864) and Anna Mast (1813-1896) of Kingston, Champaign County, Ohio. Joseph was employed as a school teacher prior to his enlistment as a corporal in Company G of the 95th Ohio Infantry. He rose to the rank of sergeant before being mustered out of the service. After the war he was married to Arabella Wharton (1844-1916).

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Joseph M. Maitland, Co. G, 95th Reg. O.V.I., Buckland’s Brigade, Smith’s Division, Memphis, Tennessee

Post on Stone’s River, Tennessee
April 6th 1863

Dear Joseph,

Your very welcome letter of March 23rd came duly to hand on Friday last. I was much pleased to hear of your welfare. It was so long after I had written that I had come to the conclusion that you had not received my letter at all.

As you see by my caption, we are on Stones River. Our regiment, with the 59th O.V.I. have been here 3 weeks. We are on the Lebanon Pike about 6 miles from Murfreesboro, guarding the ford and at high water, the pontoon bridge. We are about 4 miles reinforcements on the extreme left of our army and half expecting to be “gobbled” long before this, but before that is done somebody will be hurt. I am sorry Jo that you did not join our regiment. I know now that I could have done you good, and in addition, I think you would have liked the service better here than down the Mississippi.

We have seen nothing of the rebs since we came to this place although there is skirmishing on some part of our front almost every day. I am not anxious to see another such battle as the one we had on this river. Our troops here are in first rate health and fine spirits — all anxious to see the war over, but want it over upon honorable terms to the federal army. I do not know of a man in favor of the recognition of the C.S.A.

I have not had a letter from home for some time. I have just written to your “paternal relative” [James M. Maitland].

As you say, Kingston is a dry place. I had a pretty good time for a couple of nights with Col. Armstrong & Capt. Cowgill who I met in Columbus. Apart from them, I had to depend upon Frank Eliz for fun.

Joseph, how does Dan Coleman like the service? Does he think as much of a Darky now as he does of an Irishman? or has he learned which is the most profitable citizen? I think Negrophobia is played out with a good many. What say you?

Jo, if you were here I could furnish you a horse to ride sometimes as I now have two. One is a gray pacing horse & he does his work nicely. The other is a little sorrel mare — not as large as Dr. Smith’s “Tom” — and as pretty as a picture. I just bought her today. I would like you to see him. She would suit any Miss in Champaign County. Guess I will have to send her home.

Report of a gun on our outpost. I must see what it is.

Good bye. Write soon as convenient and oblige. My best regards to all my friends in the 95th & elsewhere.

Very respectfully & affectionately, — E. M. Mast

1864: Halsey Amos Rhodes to Mary A. Fuller

This letter was written by Halsey Amos Rhodes of Company H, 50th New York Engineers, to his sweetheart, Mary A. Fuller. Amos’ 1863 Civil War Diary is housed at the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University.

The following short biography is from Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
that was edited by Hon. Harlo Hakes (1896):

Halsey A. Rhodes was born in Chemung County, New York, in 1836. The following year his parents, Silas B. and Mary L. (Babcock) Rhodes, relocated to Canton, locating on the present home place of Mr. Rhodes about 1839, where his father died in 1862 aged sixty three years, and his mother died aged seventy nine years. In 1862 Mr. Rhodes enlisted in the 50th New York Engineers, serving till the close of the war. After the war he married Mary A. Fuller, who died in 1891, aged forty eight years, leaving three children, Nelson F., Frank H., and Clara E. He afterwards married Sarah Bowman, born Grist, his present wife.

The Engineer Brigade consisted of the 1st, 2nd, 15th & 50th Regiments N.Y. Engineers, and played an important role Grant’s plans for his Overland Campaign which commenced in May, 1864. Belle Plain Landing was Grant’s main supply base, where vessels brought in supplies and troops for the campaign. He also used Aquia Creek Landing, approx. 6 miles away, which the writer of this letter mentions as his rumored next destination. The men of the 50th New York Engineers were detailed as sappers, miners and pontooners.

Men of the 50th New York Engineers constructing road on south bank of North Anna River

Men of the 50th New York Engineers constructing road on south bank of North Anna River


Near Quarters, Eng. Brigade
Belle Plain Landing [Stafford County, Virginia]
May 21st 1864

Friend M. F.

I have just received your letter the Fifteenth May and I take the first opportunity in replying. It has been wet since we left Washington for this place and there has been some talk of our going back there which will will suit me better than to remain here — it being a low place & very muddy. We are some ten miles from Fredericksburg. The 50th is there or a portion of it & some of it is at the front. I have not heard from H. Gordon since we left Washington, only by nothing official. Perhaps it will be well to mention that my writing desk is my knapsack. I am writing on ____.

Did you receive a ten dollar note in your last letter? I put one in it and you did not mention of receiving the like and I make the inquiry of the receipt of that. Some letters are opened very nicely & the money taken out & then sealed up again before they get into the General P.O. at Washington. The mail to these Head Quarters does not come regular. I have some more money that I will send you as soon as we get located more permanently and mail gets a going regular.

There are some indications of our moving from here soon to some place. I wish you would mention in your letters where you get notes so if mail matters prove uncertain, I will express to Corning in Kearney’s name. My time is limited and this letter is one of the short kind with but little sweet. Write soon again. So no more. This from your friend, — H. A. R.

There is rumor that we are going to Aqua Creek. I heard it talked of in camp just now. Commissaries are being loaded on the barges &c. in a jerk.

1865: Unknown “Edd” to Albert (“Bert”) Hayden

This letter was written by someone named Edd who worked in a military department in Nashville in 1865. It seems clear that his parents lived in Waverly, Tioga County, New York, and that he expected to be released from his situation soon though I can’t tell from the letter whether he held a military or civilian job.

He wrote the letter to his friend Albert (“Bert”) Hayden (1844-1918), the son of Sidney and Florilla E. (Miller) Hayden. Sidney Hayden was a successful brick manufacturer in Athens, Pennsylvania. The letter was addressed to Alexandria, Virginia, where Bert’s uncle Julius was in business. Presumably Bert was employed with his uncle. In 1870, Bert went to work for the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company. Bert was married to Ruth Eleanor Lester (1857-1910) in the 1870s.

1865 Letter

1865 Letter

Addressed to Bert Hayden, Esq., Alexandria, Va.
Care of S. Hayden

Nashville [Tennessee]
July 5th 1865

My worthy Friend Bert,

Your kind letter was received with a good deal of pleasure and although it is soon after the Fourth, and so beastly warm that I can hardly breathe, I have concluded to answer it this afternoon. I am enjoying the best of health and hope by this time that you will have recovered entirely from the effects of that fever. It was awful dull here yesterday and I did not have a bit of fun. I got pretty full of lager, however.

I suppose you had a huge time in old Alexandria, did you not? I saw Jack Shepperd ¹ last night. He told me that himself and wife were going to start for home next Monday. I expect to be out of a job very soon now myself. The man I work for is discharged and I suppose they will very soon tell me they can get along without me. But I don’t know hardly how they will for I think I have been the main stay of the Department since I have been here. That’s a joke on the Department, isn’t it?

Hotel Snyder in Waverly

Hotel Snyder in Waverly

We are having blackberries here until we can’t rest. I don’t put myself outside of many. That is a mistake. I am going to send my Darkie out in the country tomorrow to get some. June and Tozer are well and getting along after the same old sort. I received a letter from home this week. The folks were all well and still living in Waverly. Little Jack is tending bar at the Waverly House. They were going to have a big time at the Snyder House [in Waverly] on the 4th. Going to commence dancing at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I will bet there was some sweating and lathering between the legs. Don’t you think there was? I guess you can tell who that young lady was without any explanation.

Well, I must close for it is almighty hot that I can hardly breathe. Hoping you will excuse the shortness of this scratch and that you will soon favor me with an answer.

I remain your friend, — Edd

¹ Jack Shepperd was the son of Preacher Shepperd of Waverly.

1865: D. H. Lee to Sister

This letter was written by D. H. Lee — a union soldier — but I have not been able to determine his regiment. The Seventh Tennessee (Union) Mounted Infantry was operating in the area of Loudon, Tennessee at the time this letter was written by there is no one by that name on their roster.


Loudon, Tennessee
March 1st 1865

Dear Sister,

I received your letter in due time and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well. It is nearly exciting times here now. The Rebs burnt the depot at Philadelphia [Loudon County, Tennessee] last night and captured one of our scouts this morning. I went within three miles of Philadelphia after some horses that morning but didn’t happen to meet any of them but I would like to meet any of them. I have been out almost two years now and never fired a gun at a Reb yet and ever expect to.

I like the ___ line very well. I think I can get on the regular scout. I am agoing to try pretty hard ____ . I will give the _____. If they capture me they have got to be pretty sharp. I was glad to hear that G___ had been fighting. It will learn him to take a joke and give his blood a little exercise. I like to see one-year’s men do something. They get a big bounty and I want them to pay for it. I tell you, if I was out of the war, M___ would not ___ to go. I would go of a good will. I got $100 hundred of the government and didn’t ask anyone you fighting for my country.

Now as I am trying to, but doing very little. The next time I write, I will send you my photo. I have not much to write this time but will write again soon. I wrote this letter with a quill. Give my love to all. Kiss the baby for me. This is all this time. Write soon to your dear brother, — D. H. Lee

Please excuse haste. Frozen in a house. Tell Ed to write. — D. H. Lee

1865: Jacob Domer to Sister

Purported to be Domer

Purported to be Domer

This letter was written by 29 year-old Jacob Domer (1836-1882) of Co. E, 1st U.S. Cavalry. Jacob was married after the war to Mary Ann Dierdorf (1828-1885). His occupation in the 1880 Census was “miner.” He died on 2 April 1882 and is buried in the New Philadelphia Cemetery in New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.

Domer’s letter shares a rumor that Confederate Lt. General Jubal A. Early had been captured in the Shenandoah Valley in March 1865 by Sheridan’s troopers. Though many of Early’s men were taken prisoner near Waynesboro in March 1865, Early actually narrowly escaped capture with a few members of his staff.

Note: Military records for Domer sometimes appear under the namer Dormer.


Winchester, Virginia
March 6th 1865

Dear Mother and Sister,

Dear Sister, you will please excuse me for not writing to you sooner. I was not well for a couple of days but I am getting better now. Sheridan has gone off up the Valley with nearly all the forces that were lying around Winchester so that there is merely a guard remaining at this place. There is no knowing where he is going to or when he will be back at this place. Some say that he is going on a raid to join Sherman or Grant.

I am very glad to hear that Thomas has got a farm now. Tell him I wish him good luck and prosperity to his new home.

Dear Sister, I did not like to send him any money to pay for a whippoorwill’s nest and starve to death in it. I consider the farm so poor that a whippoorwill would starve to death on it. So let Saul and the whippoorwill fight it out on the farm together and not with you.

Dear Sister, you would do better not to send the box now until I send for it because we do not know how long we will stop here. we expect to move from here everyday, and we do not know which way we might go, so it is best not to send the box until we get to a permanent camp again.

It is reported here now that Sheridan captured old Early, Lt. General in the rebel army and eighteen hundred (1800) men besides. We expect them to come in every minute with the prisoners and the spoils of another great victory in the Shenandoah Valley with old Phil Sheridan.

Dear Sister, you need not look for me anymore at home this winter because there will be no more furloughs given out this winter. I would put you in mind of your picture because I would be very much pleased to see it in your next letter to me.

Dear Sister, you will please let me know what the people at home say at the fall of Charleston and long the war is going to last. It was a great news for this place and excitement is no language to describe the feeling it caused among the soldiers and the Union people of Winchester. One hundred guns were fired as a salute for the victory and fall of Charleston.

Dear Sister, I will now close this letter by reminding you again to write to me as soon as possible and do not forget to send me your picture in it. I am very anxious to receive it. I hope you are all very well and remain so.

From your brother, — Jacob Domer, Co. E, 1st U.S. Cavalry

Winchester, Va.

A letter for sale on the internet written by Domer to his sister on 10 January 1864 from Culpepper, Virginia, mentions that he is now driving a team in the brigade and may re-enlist as the bounty is $804, questions his sister as to the whereabouts of his brother John and who he is serving under. He gets no response to his letters. The Rebels are coming over in our lines all of the time and for my part I wish they would all come over. He tells his sister to tell Miss Jane Reardon to stay single until he comes home and he will make it all right. Accompanying the Letter and cover is a CDV of Dormer standing taken by J. P. Ball of Cincinnati, Ohio. James Presley Ball, Sr. (1825 – May 4, 1904) was a prominent African-American photographer, abolitionist, and businessman. His photographs are very desirable.

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