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.
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
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.