Monthly Archives: December 2014

1864: Joseph Mast Maitland to Arabella Wharton

How Joseph might have looked

How Joseph might have looked

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.

Joseph’s Civil War experience had an ignominious beginning when he and other members of his company were taken prisoner at Richmond, Kentucky by Gen’l Kirby Smith’s forces. He was promptly paroled and sent to Columbus, Ohio for nearly three months near the end of 1862. Shortly after rejoining the 95th Ohio Infantry at Vicksburg, he was wounded slightly in the pinkie finger of his right hand and scarred by a scratch on the nose. He remained with the regiment throughout the long, hot Vicksburg campaign and siege, and then was among the first to enter Jackson, Mississippi when Sherman’s men turned their attention in that direction.

After participating with his regiment in a number of engagements and skirmishes throughout the balance of 1863 and the spring of 1864, Joseph accompanied his regiment in July 1864 to Memphis. While on a short excursion to Holly Springs, Joseph was taken with fever and afflicted with rheumatism which caused him to be sent back to Memphis where he was confined to a convalescent camp for several weeks — which effectively ended his military career — though he was not mustered out until May 1865.

1864 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co., Ohio

In Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Wednesday, May 11th 1864

My Dearest Bell,

Again I have the opportunity of dropping you a line. I wrote to you about the 29th of April telling you that we were under marching orders; when we were going, or when we would return was unknown. On the morning of the 30th of April we left our camp about daylight, marched to Memphis through one of the hardest showers of rain I ever was in. We were taken to the Memphis & Charleston Railroad & put aboard some old flat-bottomed cars; and towards noon we got started. But as the trains were very heavily laden, we made very slow progress.

After proceeding about 34 miles east of Memphis, it was found that the bridge over Wolf River had been destroyed so that we could go no further that way, so we abandoned the railroad and proceeded to take up our line of march on foot. Our course was in a southeasterly direction passing through the towns of Moscow (which is nearly all burned), Somerville & Bolivar. At the last named place, our cavalry — which was in the advance — overtook a part of Forrest’s command and had a small skirmish with him in which there was not much loss on either side. The Rebs reiterated over the Hatch River in the direction of Jackson, Tennessee. They burnt the bridge over the river, thus stopping us from following them. It was the intention to rebuild the bridge & follow them, but on sending some scouts to Jackson, it was found that they had evacuated that place also.

This turned our course and after burning all the principal houses in Bolivar, we proceeded in a southwesterly direction, crossed the line into Mississippi, passed through some of the hardest country it has ever been my lot to be in—very thinly settled—most of the inhabitants are of the poor white trash. Nearly all of the males have been conscripted; the families are very poorly clad and present a very pitiable aspect. Nearly [all] of them are addicted to the practice of snuff rubbing and we scarcely ever see one that has not a stick in their mouths from which they send forth streams of tobacco juice equal to the worst tobacco chewers. If it were not that I am a great lover of the pipe, I would swear off forever from the use of the weed.

After going nearly to Ripley, Mississippi and seeing no signs of any Rebs, and getting very short of rations, it was finally concluded to give up the expedition and return to Memphis. We arrived here on night before last after an absence of ten days, during that time we marched 120 miles on foot and went 68 by railroad. I thought I had seen hard soldiering before this, but never in my life did I see as hard times as on this march. The weather was uncommonly hot, the roads dusty, and a good part of the time we were on very short rations. Many times we would not stop at night until near midnight & then be called up to match at 3 o’clock in the morning. We hardly ever had time to cook breakfast, and at night we would be too tired to get any supper. But notwithstanding all the hardships, we passed through. My health was good all the time, but my feet got very sore.

CDV of Samuel D. Sturgis (1864)

CDV of Samuel D. Sturgis (1864)

The expedition consisted of two brigades of infantry, one of cavalry, & 3 or 4 batteries of artillery. It was commanded by Brig. Gen. [Samuel Davis] Sturgis (Commander of Cavalry) at this place. Our force was sufficient to have captured Old Forrest & all his men but through mismanagement & poor generalship on our part, Old Forrest escaped & is still free to make his raids whenever he feels like it.

On our return to camp here I found two of your letters—one of the 24th and the other the 29th of April. In yesterday’s “mail” yours of May 3rd was received. They were all perused with a great deal of pleasure. Oh! Bell, you don’t know what good it did me to see that familiar handwriting and read those kind words. They sounded just like you used to talk. All the time while on the “march” I would be thinking of you & the family at home, and then I would wonder what you would say if you could see us, and then I would raise my heart to God & pray for his protection & blessing to rest upon you all.

I don’t think we will remain long at this place. If our services are needed, I suppose we will be sent to the Army of the Cumberland or Potomac. I saw by yesterday’s Bulletin that Gen’l. Grant had engaged Lee’s forces in Virginia and I think it will depend entirely on his & Gen’l. Sherman’s success whether we will be sent from here or not. I would much rather stay here, but the “powers that be” will have the choosing for us.

I am very glad that the Militia home cowards are called out. There are some I would sooner not see go, but there are some that will not go at all unless made go in this way. I only wish Bill Stonebraker had to go too.

Samuel Craig Starr, 95th OVI, [Library of Congress]

Samuel Craig Starr, 95th OVI, [Library of Congress]

And so you think those pictures don’t resemble each other much? I thought they looked a good deal alike. The name of the one is Samuel Craig Starr—one of the boys who was at home with me last winter. I suppose you know who the other is.

Yesterday was quite a rainy day and this morning the atmosphere is quite cool.

You need not be anyways afraid to speak your mind to me & tell me all the news for you know I feel interested. You say you have received no word from me since April 20th. It is strange for I think I have written twice since that, one that I know of on April 29th.

But as I have told you about all the news, I will bring my scribble to a close, and now Bell, don’t forget to write often to me, and I will write to you whenever opportunity offers. Pray for me that wherever my lot may be cast, I may be kept by Power Divine. Excuse the style & composition of this for I have not got fairly rested yet & I have written in a great hurry. I must now make out pay rolls which will take all day.

I am as ever yours sincerely, — J. M. Maitland, Co. “G” 95th O.V.I., Memphis, Tenn.


aacivmemdue2

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co., Ohio

Hd. Qrs. “G” Co. 95th O.V. I.
Camp near Memphis, Tenn.
Sat. evening, May 14th 1864

My Dear Bell,

I concluded this evening as I did not get any letter from you, to write to you again. I wrote to you immediately on our return to this place, giving you an account of our march through the country of Tennessee & Mississippi. Since our return, we have had but very little duty to do and have been having rather a good time considering. Yesterday we commenced drilling and I suppose as long as we remain here we will have plenty to do.

On day after tomorrow the lines close round the City of Memphis and no more goods or citizens will be allowed to pass out. Heretofore, citizens coming in from the country would take out goods to the amount of 800 & 1,000 dollars at a time and we have good reasons to believe that a good portion went to Forrest’s Army. But that game will be blocked for the next hundred days to come. I have not much news of interest to write this time. All eyes are turned with eager anxiety to the Armies in the East. Oh! what terrible slaughter & bloodshed must be now going on. When will this cruel war be over? It is the general opinion here that Gen’l Grant will eventually take Richmond though it may cost great loss of life.

I do not know how long we will remain here. It may be some time and we may move in a few days. We know nothing for certain in the Army. We may have good prospects one day of staying a good while in one place, & the next day be under marching orders. So we have concluded to fulfill the scripture injunction & “take no thought for tomorrow” for often times when we eat one meal, we know not where the next will come from. My health at present is first rate for which I feel truly grateful to God.

The health of the Co. & Regt. is very good. I received a letter this evening from Lydia & also one from Grier. They were both written last Sunday. Lydia said she had seen Bell that morning & that you were all right. I wish I could have been there to see you. I know it would have done me a great deal of good. Wouldn’t we do some good talking & hugging? I imagine I see you taking a good laugh over this at my expense, but I don’t care. I expect you had a real good time the night “Maria” staid all night at our house, blowing sums to be a failing with the girls, for my part. I think it is almost too dangerous to be safe, to be in a crowd with them, don’t you think so? But enough. I only wish some of the happy moments we have spent together could be passed over again, but Bell I trust the day is not very far distant when we shall see each other face to face & enjoy each other’s society as in days past, and to a greater degree.

As it is getting late, I will hasten my epistle to a close for this evening and will finish tomorrow.

Sabbath morning
9½ o’clock
May 15th 1864

Well Bell, we have just had inspection of arms, and I am now seated on a tombstone in Winchester Cemetery and now I will endeavor to finish my letter. This is a beautiful day and this is a delightful place. The roses on the graves are in full bloom, the birds are warbling forth their songs of praise to the Great Being [and] everything seems to rejoice. I too in my very heart feel like praising God for his goodness & mercy towards us. How different is our situation today from hundreds and thousands of our fellow soldiers who are today lying in hospitals or perhaps on the battlefield, wounded in every conceivable shape, tortured with pain, no kind hand to administer to their wants, or smooth their aching brow.

While seated here, my thoughts are of home & dear kind friends, while we today are comparatively well situated, yet how different from home, and the kind associations there, shut out as we are from all Female Society & the blessing of life & the privilege of the Sanctuary, is to one who has been used to these things a great sacrifice. To be sure, females are very plenty here, but they are of such a class as I don’t associate with—perhaps you can guess the kind.

Today puts me in mind of one of the Sabbaths Mary Kelly & I went to Powhatan to see Bell, when we sat over in Mr. Muzzy’s Grove. You remember it, don’t you? and a thousand other happy times we have had together.

But as I have already written more than I intended, and for fear I weary your patience, I will hasten my letter to a close.

Enclosed you will find a song composed by a Private in the 6th Illinois Cavalry. I thin it decidedly to the point & suits us non-veterans very well.

Also a piece of poetry to Bell, the author of which I won’t tell just now. Hoping that this may find you in the enjoyment of all the blessings of life, I will bid you goodbye for the present expecting to hear from you soon.

Don’t forget to write often and send me your photo the next time.

As ever yours, — J. M. Maitland

To Bell

I’ll think of thee when evening drops
Her sable curtain round the sphere;
When roses lift their drooping heads,
And fragrance fills the twilight air.

I’ll think of thee when morning comes,
And wake the sleeper from repose;
When gentle zephyrs floating by,
Sweet fragrance gathers from the rose.

I’ll think of thee at balmy noon,
When beaming sunlight cheers the way;
I’ll think of thee, I’ll think of thee,
Through all the circling hours of day.


aacivgram95

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co, Ohio

Headquarters “G” Co. 95th Regt. Ohio Unfantry Vols.
Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Thursday, May 19th 1864

My Dearest Bell,

“To write a letter or not to write one this morning is the question,” which has been occupying my mind for the past hour, and I have finally concluded to write you again although I have received but one letter dated in this month and that was the 1st day, and this is the third I have written since our return to this place. I can’t believe you have not written for I am almost certain you have, but I will lay all the blame to the mail carriers. As I intend to write you a long letter and have not anything of great importance to write, I will just give you a short sketch of camp life, its duties &c. and first I will give you the programme for one day.

Reveille in the morning at 5 o’clock
From 5 o’clock A.M. till 6 o’clock A. M. Squad drill
6 o’clock Recall & then breakfast
From 9 o’clock A.M. till 11 A.M. Company drill
12 M. Roll call & Dinner
From 2 P. M. till 4 P. M. Battalion drill
From 5½ P. M. till 6 P. M. Dress Parade

This constitutes our duty for one day—enough to keep us out of mischief, don’t you think? These orders were issued from Headquarters by Col. McMillen and have to be lived up to. The weather here is uncommonly warm and you had better believe there is some hard cursing done by some of the boys about the drill. For my part, I can’t see the use of so much drilling but I reckon the old Colonel wants the regiment well drilled when he takes us home as veterans. But I for one can’t see the O.V.V.I. on my cap, but I would liked to have been at home to have taken the place of some of the hundred days men, the experience I have had in the service, nothing would have pleased me better than a trip of that kind. I think it so good that Bill Mayse & some more of these fellows have to go in as privates. Isn’t that a mighty coming down? from Capt. to Private. Oh! what a fall was there my countrymen.

On last Sunday evening a detail was sent into our regiment for 200 men to go aboard a gunboat to patrol the river and we had every preparation for starting on Monday morning when the order was countermanded and the 8th Iowa sent in our place.

Tomorrow our company goes on picket. I am real glad of it for I like to get out in the country and then we get clear of drill.

My health still continues very good for which I feel truly thankful and I hope & trust this will find you enjoying the same great blessing.

Bell, how are you prospering with your school? Do you still board at Old Alick Maddins? How many scholars have you and how do you like the profession? When you write, give me all the news. Tell me everything that happens in the neighborhood.

Last night I was over in the cemetery and I gathered one of the nicest bouquets and I was just wishing I could hand it over to Bell. Oh what splendid moonlight nights we are having. I was only wishing last night that I was up in Old Champaign. And the weather as pleasant as it is here. It would be so nice to buggy ride or to sit on the door steps and talk as we used to. You recollect how we used to sit on the steps at Fred’s, don’t you? After all the rest of the inhabitants of the peaceful village had retired? How are Irve & Dave Taylor getting along? Whom does Irwin pay his distresses to? I met with an old acquaintance & cousin of mine in the 3rd Iowa Cavalry—Isaac Mast, a brother of Joe & Emery’s. You probably saw him last winter during the protracted meeting. He was at home at that time on furlough. Their camp is only about ¼ of a mile from ours. He is fat & hearty and seems to enjoy the service very well.

This is a great place for picnics & dances. Today there is a picnic about ½ a mile from our camp. I can see any amount of the fair sex & gay gentlemen going—some in carriages & some on foot. If it were up in Old Champaign, I would be tempted to go too but here I have no desire to go unless it would be just to see the crowd. Nearly all the women are of such a class as I don’t associate with and I have no desire to form their acquaintance.

For the past few days we have had no late northern news and we are waiting anxiously to hear of the progress Gen. Grant is making towards the capture of Richmond. It is generally believed here that he is fully competent for the task although it will cost great loss of life. Once Richmond is taken & the rebel army completely whipped in the East, I think the rebellion must certainly soon come to a close.

I expect you will think this letter is a mixed up affair, but I don’t care. You know who it is from. I will now stop writing for the present and wait until after the mail comes in. Perhaps I may get a letter from you.

6 o’clock P. M. — I will now finish my epistle. The mail came in this afternoon but not one letter for me. I was very much disappointed indeed for I had expected to get a letter from you and I have almost got the blues.

There was an order came to Col. McMillen’s Headquarters this afternoon for him to hold his brigade in readiness to march at a moment’s warning. The order for us to march has not yet come but I expect it will before many days. Where our destination will be, I can’t tell, nor have I any idea. I know this much—that a soldier’s life is one of uncertainty.

But I must hasten my letter to a close and will say in conclusion, do write soon and often. Pray for me that wherever my lot may be cast, that I may be kept by Power Divine. If ordered to move, I will write you again if possible. As ever yours, — J. M. Maitland, Co. “G”, 95th OVI, Memphis, Tennessee

A line to Bell

Doest thou ever think of me, love?
Doest thou ever think of me?
Do you still my memory cherish
Though I’m far away from thee?
Does your heart still beat so truly
As it did in days gone by?
Does my absence or my memory
Call a tear into your eye?


aacivmayrum1

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co, Ohio

Winchester Cemetery near Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, May 29th 1864

My Dear Bell,

It is with the greatest pleasure that I embrace the opportunity this Holy Sabbath morning of replying your kind and welcome letter, written just one week ago. It came to hand in last evening’s mail. I was on duty at Brigade Headquarters when the mail came and when the letters were assorted, I had them look whether there were any for me. They said no and the mail was taken to our Regimental Headquarters. In about an hour after, I was very agreeably surprised when one of the boys brought me two letters — one from Grier and one from yourself. You had better believe I wasn’t very long in opening them. I am wonderfully, powerfully pleased with the photo. I think it is Bell out and out, an much better than the other I have. Many thanks to you for item but if the mere picture gives me so much pleasure, I don’t know what I would not give to see the original.

I have no doubt you had a laugh over my last letter, but it don’t make any difference to me. I know you would enjoy such things just as well as myself. And then you know Bell, being perfectly acquainted with each other, there is no need of being afraid to write just what we think. I write to you and say things to you that I would say to no other. But enough.

This is the Holy Sabbath Day and as usual on this day I took a stroll to Winchester Cemetery and I am now seated on a tombstone writing to Bell. It is a favorite resort of mine, here with nothing to break the solemn stillness of the place (except the singing of the birds). One has an opportunity for meditation & prayer, such as we have not in camp surrounded with all the noise and bustle there. Now while I am writing, the church bells are ringing in the city, calling the people together for the worship of God. But how unlike their mode of worship here to ours at home. To be sure, there is sometimes very good sermons preached. But it don’t seem to me that the preachers or the people enjoy the life and power of religion in the heart that our people do in the North. It is more cold & formal, and they seem to regard it as a task and not as a pleasure.

Since I wrote you last, there has nothing occurred to change the Programme in camp life except that in addition to the usual routine of duty, we now have Brigade Drill two & three times every week. Just now one of the boys came along and said that there is preaching in our regiment and as I want to attend, I will stop writing till after the sermon.

I attended preaching. Heard a first rate sermon by the chaplain ¹ of the Gayoso Hospital from the 23rd Chapter & 37th Verse of Matthew commencing, “Oh! Jerusalem, Jerusalem &c.” The subject was a good one and well handled. He treated in the earnestness & willingness of the Savior to save the whole human race, if we would only comply with the terms offered in the Gospel. We had a very good sized congregation, good attention, and everything passed off very pleasantly.

The weather here still continues very dry and warm. The roads are shoe mouth deep in dust. We have had no rain of any consequence for a month. My health is still very good although at times I am afflicted considerably with rheumatism in my right shoulder. But still I have great cause to be thankful that I am situated as pleasantly as I am. While thousands of my fellow soldiers are today lying in hospitals wounded in every conceivable shape, suffering everything almost that it is possible for men to suffer.

The last news from Grant’s & Sherman’s armies have been very favorable, and I have no doubt that ‘ere long Richmond will be taken. I feel more encouraged that ever & think the end of the rebellion is drawing nigh. It will be as you say a happy day to some and a sad day to others to see the regiments returning home.

Our Division is now nearly all here & the rest is coming up the river soon. It is to [be] reorganized here as soon as it all arrives. Where we’ll be sent then, I can’t tell. I shouldn’t wonder if your brother “Will” would get enough of soldiering in the hundred days service. I only wish Bill [William Thomas] Stonebraker had been in that regiment. I don’t see how any young man that has done as little as he has in putting down the rebellion can look anyone in the face now.

I have no doubt you felt slighted when Jane did not call to see you. You wanted to know if I would not like to be at home to enjoy their interesting society when they come to stay all night? I wouldn’t mind being at home for then I think I could find society fully as interesting as theirs, don’t you think so? Nobody has blamed either of them lately I reckon.

As I have written all the news & more too, I will hasten my epistle to a close. And now, Bell, I want you to write just as often as you can & tell me all the news. Excuse the style & composition of this, for I have taken no pains scarcely. With many kind wishes for your health & prosperity, I remain as ever yours, — J. M. Maitland

Co. G, 95th Ohio Infantry Vols.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, Memphis, Tennessee


¹ The chaplain may have been Rev. Samuel L. Yourtree.


1864 Letter

1864 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION

La Grange, Tennessee
July 30th 1864

My Dear Bell,

I wrote you on our return to Memphis from our other expedition, giving you an account of our trip & the hardships & dangers we passed through. We hardly got fairly settled in camp until we received “marching orders” again. Yesterday morning about 6 o’clock our regiment took up its line of march to Memphis, not knowing to what point we would be sent to, but we soon ascertained that we were going out on the railroad again. About 8½ o’clock we went aboard the cars and soon were on the way, traveling very rapidly through the country of Tennessee. Arrived at La Grange about 12 o’clock. Matched out about ¾ of a mile to our former camping place & went into camp where we still remain. We will probably stay here today and perhaps longer. Where we will be sent from here, I can’t tell, nor what the object of the expedition is. I believe it is the intention to repair the railroad leading from Grand Junction to Holly Springs so that we can establish a base of supplies at that place & start an expedition from there. I was in hopes that we would get to rest in camp awhile after our last march, but in that was very much disappointed. It seems they are determined not to give us any rest while the hundred days men are in the service as they are doing all the easy duty — doing picket duty, guarding the railroads &c. I only wish the authorities would hold them for six months after their present term of service expires. Then I think they would amount to something. But one consolation is that this last call for 500,000 will bring a good many into the service, if not voluntary, by some other means.

My health at present is good, for which I feel truly thankful to the Great Giver of all good & I hope & pray when this reaches you it will find you enjoying all the blessings of life.

The weather here is still extremely hot & dry. Yesterday we had a little shower of rain which barely laid the dust. I do hope we will have more soon as it will be awful marching unless it rains more.

Your letter of the 15th was the last received and I have been looking anxiously for letters from you every “Mail.” I think it very strange your letters don’t come through more regularly. I want you to write often to me as your chances of writing are much better than mine. If I don’t receive them while we are out, I will receive them when we get back. I will write to you every opportunity whether I hear from you or not. When we leave here I doubt we will have any chance of writing.

I expect you are enjoying yourself finely since your school is out. Have you been in Kingston since you left? How are Masters & things progressing in Powhattan? Have you much fruit this year?

I must bring my epistle to a close as I have nothing of importance to write. Excuse the writing & composition of this for my chances of writing are very poor & I have written in a great hurry.

Hoping that this will find you enjoying health & prosperity, I will bid you goodbye for the present. Don’t forget to write soon and often.

I am as ever yours. — J. M. Maitland

Co. G, 95th Reg. O.V.I., 1st Brig., 1st Div., 17th A.C., Memphis, Tenn.


TRANSCRIPTION

Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday Afternoon, August 7th 1864

My Dear Bell,

Again I seat myself to pen you a line. I suppose you will think strange of my being in our old camp while our Regiment is out with the expedition. It certainly is strange, but if you give me time enough, I will give you the reasons. When I wrote you last we were at La Grange expecting orders to march every moment. In the afternoon of the day I wrote, we received orders to march and accordingly we took up our line of march to Davis’ Mills where we encamped for the night and over Sunday. On Monday we started again taking a southerly direction, marched about 15 miles to a creek by the name of Coldwater. During the night we were there, it rained & I got pretty thoroughly soaked. The next day I felt very badly with toothache & headache but managed to march with the regiment to Holly Springs where we went into camp.

Soon after stopping, I was taken with a chill & afterwards high fever and was unable to do anything. After remaining there two days & not getting any better, I was (with a number  of others out of the Brigade) ordered to go back to Memphis to report to the Superintendent of Hospitals for treatment. On the evening of the 3rd, we started & arrived here on the 4th & reported. A good many were sent to hospitals but as I always had a peculiar dread for the institution, I persuaded the surgeon to let me come out to our old camp. I am not to say dangerously ill as I have got the fever about broken up. I still have very severe pain in my side & head, but hope to be better in a few days. I think the most I need is rest as we have had none scarcely tis summer.

I left the regiment at Holly Springs, Mississippi. The Mississippi Central Railroad is in running order that far and they intend still to repair it further south. Holly Springs is the finest little town & in the finest country I have seen in the whole South. Everything is there in abundance—apples, peaches corn & potatoes are very plenty. I was sorry to have to leave the regiment but was compelled to.

Your very short tho welcome letter of July 25th was received while on the march. On yesterday, I received the one with the red envelope of July 31st. Both were perused with the greatest of pleasure. I was so glad to hear from you once more that I can’t express the joy I felt in receiving your letter. I am truly thankful to know that you are still striving to live the life of a Christian. Ever continue to do so. Rest assured you have my prayer for your continuance in the good begun work. I feel often too that I need a deeper work of Grace in my heart & I am praying for it. Will you aid me by your prayers?

I suppose you are having a nice time at Normal. Does Grier attend? Does Maggie Barger expect to teach? Tell her that I think she might write to me. I think the offer in your own District is much better than where you taught this summer & I think you will do well to accept it. I like the paper & envelope much. It is rather odd.

Have you been to Kingston or heard from there lately? I have not had a letter from home or heard from there since the 18th of July. I don’t know the reason & I feel very anxious to hear from there.

Camp looks quite lovely this afternoon. Everything is quiet and has the appearance of Sabbath but is so every day since the regiment left. There are not now more than 12 or 15 men in camp.

It will be just two years tomorrow night since I went into Uncle Samuel’s service. It seems a long time since then. When I look back & think of the gay crowd of boys who went into the service with me & then ask the question, where they are today. Some are at home discharged, some are sleeping beneath the clods of the valley in southern lands. Some are in southern prisons and a few are left with the regiment. Surely the ways of Providence are mysterious.

But I must hasten my epistle to a close as I have the headache very badly. I will write you again in a few days. Write to me often. Give me all the news.

I am as ever yours, — J. M. Maitland
Co. “G” 95th Reg. O.V.I., 1st Brigade, 1st Div, 16 A.C., Memphis, Tenn.


1864 Letter

1864 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co., Ohio

Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Friday August 12th 1864

My Dear Bell!

As I can’t hear from you, I am determined at least you shall hear from me. This is the third time I have written since I came back to camp, and I have only received one from you 00 it was dated the 31st of July. There has been “mail” come down several days for the regiment & brigade, but as their headquarters are in the “Field,” the mail was sent out there without being overhauled here, and of course my letters—if there were any—went out too. It is one of the biggest farce imaginable for we won’t get our mail now until after the expedition comes back or we go out to it. I have not heard from the regiment for several days. At last account they were still on the move south. I have not yet learned the object of the expedition but think it is to intercept a force of Rebels said to be coming across Mississippi to attack Sherman’s rear. I don’t know that this is so.

My health at present is much better than when I wrote you last. I am nearly as ell as ever excepting pain in my side with which I am still troubled at times. I hope & pray this may find you enjoying life in every sense of the word.

This is a very showery day. In fact, we have had a shower of rain every day for several days past notwithstanding it is terrible hot—hotter as the saying is than love in Hamlet & nor half so pleasant. I have no news of interest to write at present. Everything in camp is very dry and as to war news, I suppose you know more than I do. I expect you will think I don’t do much else but write letters. Well, I don’t since I am in camp, but if you get tired reading letters from me, just say so and I won’t write more than four or five a week.

I have just been looking at your photograph and thinking over the past, and wondering whether you think of me as often as I do of you. You may laugh & think this is rather silly business for a man to be at, but I don’t care. You are ever constant in my thoughts and when I think of the future, somehow or other you are always occupying some prominent feature. I always write to you just as I feel and say to you just what I think. I don’t see how it comes but there is no one else I can so freely speak my mind to as to you. I guess it is because we are so thoroughly well acquainted with each other & that I have a right to speak plainly to you.

How are you getting along with your school? Have you any large scholars? Please give me all the news when you write. Tell me everything that has happened in the country. It may be some time before I get your letters, but continue to write often and I will receive them sometime.

I will now bring my epistle to a close for want of something to write. A very good reason, isn’t it?

With much love, I remain as ever yours, — Joseph M. Maitland, Co. G, 95th Reg. O.V.I., 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, Memphis, Tennessee

Saturday Morning
August 13th 1864

Well Bell,

I did not get to send my letter yesterday and so I concluded this morning to add a few lines more. I am feeling very well in body this morning, but not so well in spirits. Mail came down yesterday but as usual it was sent right out to the regiment without being overhauled here. I am just certain there must have been letters for me & I have almost got the blues to think that I can’t get them. However, I must try & content myself & maybe our letters will be sent back.

It is still quite cloudy & hot. Last night we had a very heavy rain and the prospect is good for more today.

In one of your letters some time ago, you spoke of the high prices of articles in the North. I will here give you a list of the prices of some things here. Butter .75 & 1.00 per lb. Eggs $2.00 per dozen. Potatoes $4.00 per bushel. Apples 3 for 10 cts. Onions the same. Sweet milk (well watered) is sold by the women peddlers  at  20 cts. a quart. Poor little dirty pies that our dog at home wouldn’t eat are sold by the old women at 20 cts. a piece. And everything else in proportion.

The only way we can hold our own with the women peddlers is to milk their cows that come round our camp. Yesterday I was having very good luck milking, when the owner of the cow—an old woman—came running out and you had better believe I caught it. She said, “Don’t you feel ashamed to milk other people’s cows?” I told her no, I didn’t feel at all bad when they sold us milk that was half water. She got very huffy & went to drive her cow off but as she was not at all afraid of soldiers, she ran up to our camp & I finished milking her right before th old woman’s eyes and you had better believe she cared. But I didn’t mind her & so got milk enough of our coffee for several meals (don’t think I am getting demoralized).

There has been an order issued stopping all goods except those sold by the sutlers & government stores from coming down the [Mississippi] River. The consequence is that the merchants in Memphis have raised on their prices more than double what they used to be. For instance, suspenders that used to sell for 50 cents are sold for $1.50. Very common woolen shirts sell at $10 & $12 per pair. But perhaps this is not interesting to you & so I will say no more on this subject.

Does John Stewart still pay his distr___ to Millie Stricklin?

Harrie & Maria are not married yet, are they?

I suppose Bill Dodson will be home next month & then Harrie will marry. Poor souls! I pity them both, but enough. Mum’s the word. I will now close hoping to hear from you soon.

Yours as ever, — J. M. M.


aamilbrown97

TRANSCRIPTION

Headquarters Detachment 95th O. V. I.
Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, September 11th 1864

My Own Dear Bell,

This Sabbath morning finds me again pen in hand trying to write to my dear Arabella. I am enjoying pretty good health this morning, and were I in Old “Champaign” down about Father Wharton’s, I think I would feel entirely well. But as I am not, and can’t be today, I suppose I must make the best of my lot.

I wrote you on the 6th in answer to yours of the 28th. Since then I have not heard from you. We received “mail” yesterday. I received one letter from Mother of the 5th but nary one from Bell. I was quite disappointed but think perhaps I will get a letter from you today. If I don’t, I shall feel very badly.

I was just looking at your picture and as I gazed upon it, I almost fancied I could hear you talking to me as in days gone by. What splendid moonlight nights we are having. I was just thinking last night when nearly eaten up with mosquitoes that if I was up in Kingston seated on Fred’s doorsteps with my arm around Bell, I wouldn’t mind the mosquitoes. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I learned yesterday by Mother’s letter of the death [on 22 August 1864] of [Richard] Watt. Baldwin. He belonged to the 134th O. N. G. [Ohio National Guard] and died at Fortress Monroe about the time the Regt. started home. Poor fellow! Little did he & a great many others think that the hundred days service would be their last. Some of the regiments (hundred days men) left here on day before yesterday for their homes. They had about 15 days to serve yet, but they were allowed that time to get home and be “mustered out.”

On day before yesterday a salute of 200 guns was fired from Fort Pickering and the other batteries around the city on the receipt of the news of the capture of Atlanta and Fort Morgan [in Mobile]. Last night the whole city was illuminated & about 8 o’clock they had fireworks and a general jollification. I did not go to town but could see plainly from our camp.

Our Division is still down the river. When it will be back, I can’t tell. The 3rd Division started to “Sherman.” They were at Cairo when the news of the capture of Atlanta came, so the order for them to proceed was countermanded and they still remain there. Whether we will be taken from here when the Division comes back, I can’t tell.

This is an awful hot day and were it not that I am engaged in such good business just now, I would strike out for some cooler place. I suppose by this time your brothers are at home. Is “Will” so anxious to go soldiering now as he was last winter? You know he was talking of going into it for three years then. I fancy 100 days are enough for him. Lew Taylor is now at home on furlough and I suppose will enlighten the people around Kingston about the doings of the “Army of the Southwest.” I would give a good bit to be at Baptist Church today to hear him spout a little.

I have not heard directly from our friend Petty for a long time but learned through Mother’s letter that he is having very poor health this summer. He has at last accounts with his regiment and was acting adjutant.

Afternoon. 1 o’clock P. M.  Well, my dear, I was again doomed to disappointment at not receiving a letter from you. The “mail” came in this forenoon and with it one letter for me but not from Bell and I don’t believe you can guess who it was from, so I’ll tell you. It was from Frank. Ain’t I honest to tell you? Her letter was very good but I tell you there wasn’t much love in it. She gave me an account of their home in Egypt, the Society, &c. She spoke of having been at the “Methodist Church” and said the preacher tried to preach but intimated as much as though it was a failure. She then spoke of attending the Congregationalist Church and seemed highly pleased with it. She said she didn’t hear anybody say “Amen” while someone else was praying and that they were just like Presbyterians. Now you know there is nothing that gets me so badly as to hear remarks made about the Methodists and their mode of worship.

Sometime if I live I will tell you why she and I “played out.” Until then, “Mum” must be the word. I would not have her to hear that I wrote you anything that was in her letters for the world. She and I are still friends and I hope to continue so but anything more than that, we never can be. But as my sheet is full and I have nothing more of interest to write, I will bring my epistle to a close, hoping and praying that this may find you in the enjoyment of good health. Excuse this mixed up letter. Consider the source and do write soon. With much love I still remain as ever yours, — Joseph M. Maitland


1864 Letter

1864 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio

Headquarters Detachment, 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Camp near Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday Afternoon, September 18th 1864

My Own Dear Bell,

This Sabbath afternoon finds me as usual pen in hand trying to write to my dear Arabella. But in the commencement, I will just tell you that I am afraid this will be a good deal like some of my other letters rather dull, for there has nothing transpired in camp since my last worth relating.

My convalescents are still pursuing the “even tenor of our way” very peaceably here in camp, with no very heavy duty to perform, tolerably plenty of rations, and good appetites to eat them, for we are now all in a fair way to recover our usual health. My own health has improved greatly within the past week. The weather is beginning to get cooler and I am beginning to pick up in flesh so that if I were ever to marry soon, it would not be for the want of it but I think it would be very nice to have a good warm bedfellow these cool nights. Don’t you think so?

Our expedition is still up White River. When it will be back, I can’t tell.

Four companies of the 42nd Ohio arrived at Memphis this morning on their way home to be “mustered out of service.” The company [Co. I] that Bill Dodson & Bill Moon belong to did not come, however. They will not get out until sometime in November on account of having some recruits in the company whose time is not out till then. Jim Blair has been on detached duty at Fort Pickens ever since last Spring. He expects to start for Ohio this evening, his term of service having expired. He was out here and staid all night with me last night. This morning I went with him up town and we spent the forenoon very pleasantly talking over affairs at home. I shouldn’t wonder if he and Miss S. Earsom are united before very long.

We are having such nice moonlight now, that I can hardly content myself in camps at night. I often wish myself out of the service and up in Old Champaign. I think I could pass the night more pleasantly than I do now.

I wrote you on the 14th in answer to yours of the 4th which was received on the 13th. I think it is very strange that our letters are so long going back and forth.

Today I was the happy recipient of another letter from your dear hand. It was written just one week ago today. The perusal of it gave me the greatest of pleasure and I am truly glad to know that you are enjoying yourself and that you had such a good visit to Kingston. I wonder if you would have enjoyed it any better if I had been there.

I am very thankful to know that we have the prayers of all God’s people. I always  had great faith in prayer and there is no set of men who so much need the prayers of the righteous as the soldier in the “Army,” exposed as he is to temptations and evils of all kinds. It requires a great deal of watchfulness & prayer to be kept from being led off. Thus far I have been kept and my trust is still strong in that “mighty arm” that is able to support me. I am quite surprised to hear that Harrie D. did not go to St. Louis as he wrote me that he had made all arrangements & expected to start the next Monday after his letter was written. I suppose he could not leave his dear little “Maria” and that was the reason he didn’t go. Perhaps he was afraid to leave her when Dave Taylor is around.

I did not mean to say anything to discourage you when I spoke of your having trouble in teaching the upper school. I only meant that you might have trouble with some of the boys for you know they are a middling hard set.

It does look rather suspicious to see young men buying such fine clothes these war times & I shouldn’t winder if it means something. Well, if Len Miller & Lide marry, it’s all right. I don’t blame any young couple for hitching if it is agreeable to all parties.

I shouldn’t wonder if “Addie” does feel very badly over her & Will’s love affairs and I think it is very mean in Dr. Stewart or any other man to gain the affections of a young girl and then leave her to break her heart. But I guess there wasn’t much danger of Ad loving anyone that hard. What do you think about it?

Tomorrow is to be a great day among the “militia” of Memphis. They are having a grand review & drill on our parade ground. Gen’l. [Ralph P.] Buckland is to review them. It is also expected that a goodly number of the fair sex will be present to see the performance

Well, dear Bell, I must hasten my epistle to a close as I have written you more now than I expected when I commenced and perhaps have wearied your patience. Write to me soon and often. Tell me all the news — births, deaths, marriages, &c. I will write you again in a couple of days.

Give my respects to all enquiring friends. I am ever your sincere & true lover, — J. Mast Maitland

P.S. I do think Arabella a pretty name, but I think it would sound better of the “Maitland” was after  it, don;t you think so? Mum.

Is Jane M. teaching school?


aacivmayy2

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio

Rooms General Court Martial
Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday Evening, October 16th 1864

My Own Dear Bell,

Today I received your kind and welcome letter written just one week ago tonight, and although it has only been three days since I last wrote you, yet I feel duty bound to answer every letter I receive from you, and to write you besides whenever opportunity offers. Besides, nothing gives me more pleasure that the writing and the receiving letters from you. This is the second letter I have received from you within a week, and I am beginning to think that I am not entirely forgotten, though sometimes when I don’t hear from you for a long time, I do begin to conclude that I am forgotten. But hereafter, I will believe the fault to be in the mail and not in the female.

Today has not seemed like Sunday at all to me. In the first place, I expect I broke it a little this forenoon by doing some writing for the Court. This afternoon the City has been very much excited on account of a rumor that Old Forrest was at Jackson, Tennessee yesterday and was marching on this place with a heavy force. The Militia were all called out and orders sent to the different camps to be ready at any time for an attack. I don’t know whether there is any truth in the report or not, but it is well enough to be ready at all times.

I went out to camp this afternoon and found your letter there. I was hardly expecting to get one today but you may know it met with a warm reception. There is only one fault I have to find with your letters and that is they are not long enough. Nearly always when I write, I fill a large sheet whether it amounts to anything or not. And I would like if you would write me often and long letters too.

This has been a delightful day—just cool enough to be pleasant. We have not had any rain for about two weeks and the roads are getting quite dusty. Tonight is clear and the moon shining out in all her glory. I was just thinking how I would like to be up home on such a night as this, with you my dear Bell, seated by my side. I would just infold my arms about you and talk to you so nice. I know you would enjoy it. We could just talk to each other just as we liked, and not feel any reserve. When I talk to you, I always feel perfectly at ease, knowing that you understand me thoroughly and that everything that is said will be kept mum. When I write to you, it is the same way. I always write just what I think, and I want you to feel free in doing the same.

I am sorry to hear that you are having such sore eyes. I hope the next time I hear from you, they may be better, if not entirely well.

My health at present is first rate. I am improving very much in “flesh” since I have a change of diet. Good living always did agree with me & I don’t believe I ever was intended for a soldier, for the living is too rough.

I have not heard from Miss Frank for about two months. I guess she has played quits entirely. If so, it is all right.

I received a letter from Mother yesterday of the 9th. There were all well at that time. In it, she tells me that Jennie Byers (as it used to be) is married and she and her husband are now on a wedding trip to Ohio. You know Mr. Byer’s have been living in Illinois for some time back. Don’t it beat the world how the youngsters are marrying off? What will it be when the Soldiers all get home?

Our Division has been ordered back here and I suppose will be apt to put in the winter here — at least I hope so.

Do you ever see or hear anything of Maria and Jane? Maria is not married yet, is she? She promised to let me know when it is to come off. But I have not had the word yet. I am afraid there are some girls in our country who are destined to die old maids. There is Jane Miller & Lucy Taylor for instance. Lucy has left all the good chances slip, and I don’t think Jane ever had any. What think you?

Gen. Ralph P. Buckland (1812-1892)

Gen. Ralph P. Buckland (1812-1892)

The election news as far as heard from is good. I suppose we will lose our Brigade Commander (Gen’l. [Ralph Pomeroy] Buckland) as the ran for Congress and has been elected in one of the northern districts in Ohio. But I must bring my epistle to a close, and now dear Bell, don’t forget to write soon and often. Excuse writing and composing for I have taken no pains whatever.

I am as ever yours devotedly, — J. M. Maitland

Don’t take a fancy to this paper. Do you intend teaching in Kingston this winter? If so, when do you convene your school?


1864 Letter

1864 Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign Co., Ohio

Rooms General Court Martial
Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday Evening, October 23d 1864

My dearest Bell,

Again I seat myself pen in hand to try to write to my dear Arabella, though to tell the truth, I hardly know what to write that will be interesting. I write so often that I am at loss often to know what to write that will interest you. I received your very welcome epistle of the 16th today, and I tell you the contents were perused with pleasure. You needn’t be afraid of writing too sentimental to me, for you know that is my style to you and I always mean just what I say whether you believe it or not.

I don’t like these cold formal letters. It isn’t my nature. I like to write what comes from the heart, just what I feel, and I like to receive such when I know it comes from the heart.

I have always felt free in writing to you and often say things that I would say to no one else, believing that in all our correspondence and intercourse, that we have been acting fairly and honestly with each other. I would like very much to be at home this winter. I know we could enjoy ourselves, but under the existing circumstances, it can’t be. I am looking anxiously forward ten months more. Then, if I am spared, I expect to be free from the service and permitted to go home to enjoy the Society & friendship of loved ones.

And so you thought the winter I taught school in the Burgh that I would now be in Lew Miller’s place? Well I didn’t, tho at that time I wasn’t very deeply in love with any particular one. Maybe you know that. I too was surprised at Lide having Lew but strange things will happen sometimes. I often think of a remark made by Augusta Fauk to me while she was living when talking on the subject of matrimony. She said “a young man couldn’t tell who he could get until he tried” and I believe it. I am very well satisfied with the way matters stand and I wouldn’t like to exchange places with Lew unless it would be only for a short time (pardon me for writing so, but it just came into my mind and I couldn’t help it).

Lew Taylor arrived here on night before last. He brought quite a number of things for me from home, among the rest a couple of pairs of socks that look like your work. If they are, many thanks to you. Perhaps I can repay you someday. He also brought me a letter from Grier in which he stated that our friend Pelty had passed through Urbana on his way to Columbus to see his friends. Did you hear anything about it? I would give almost anything to get to see him and have a good chat with him.

I am still clerking for the Court Marshal and am having first rate times. I am enjoying very good health for which I feel durably thankful.

Our Regiment is still in Missouri tho at what point I can’t tell. When they will be back, I don’t know.

I was out in camp today and spent most of the day there. Isaac Mast came over and we had a very pleasant time in reviewing the past but both could not help feeling sad in noting the changes since we were schoolboys together.

When do you intend commencing your school in Upper Kingston? Please inform me the next time you write so I will know where to direct.

The weather here is still very dry and for several days past has been quite cool. Everything has the appearance that winter is fast approaching. I always feel kind of sad to see the leaves and everything turn yellow and die. I always feel as though the “melancholy days had come.” The Spring in my time of the year, when all nature is bursting forth into life. Everything looks so cheerful.

The news from the Armies in Virginia at present is good. Sheridan — although defeated at first — finally turned the scale and achieved a great victory. I think Ohio ought to feel proud of her Generals as all our best ones are from there.

But I must hasten my epistle to a close. I have already written more than I intended when I commenced. Excuse writing and composition. Write soon and often. Remember me at a “Throne of Grace” when in secret you kneel in prayer. I need your prayer for I have many temptations and evils thrown around me that you know not of. I remain as ever your truest and best friend, — Joe

I was to the theatre last night. Saw lots of fun. Don’t think hard of me for going. I was so lonesome that I thought a change might be beneficial.

Did you hear that Mill Stricklin had gone West? I understand that she & Jon Stewart had the day set for their wedding and when Jim Blair came home, he knocked it all in the head and then quit going with Mill and that that is the reason that she went West.

Direct to J. M. Maitland, Hd. Qrs. District of Memphis, Tenn (leave off the Co & Regt).


aacivmaitt1

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio

Headquarters District of Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
November 19th 1864

My Dearest Bell,

Your kind epistle of last Sunday afternoon is received, contents perused with the greatest pleasure, and I will immediately reply. You say you received but one letter from me last week. Well that is very strange for I wrote you no less than four letters — one on the 6th, 7th, & 10th, but I suppose you have received them by this time.

In my last I told you that Orders had been received here that all the detachments and detached men belonging to the 1st & 3rd Divisions, 16th Army Corps were ordered to Paducah, Kentucky. Yesterday the detachment of our brigade broke up camp and last evening started up the [Mississippi] River. The weather here for the past four or five days has been very wet and disagreeable — one of the very worst times to break up camp. But notwithstanding all the disadvantages, the Order had to be obeyed. I did not get started with the detachment as there was still considerable business of the Court on hand. There was an application signed by all the members of the Court sent to Head Quarters requesting to have me permanently detailed. Today the application came back disapproved so I am looking all the time to be relieved and ordered to Paducah. I may not get off for a few days yet — perhaps not till next week some time. I was in good hopes that I would get to remain here as I am so comfortably situated but it seems to be my lot to have to go & I will submit although it goes considerably against the grain.

I am still enjoying very good health for which I feel truly thankful.

I heard there was a large time at the Election in our Township but I think too that you did well to remain in the schoolroom. I am a good deal like mother on that point. i think the least said by women on the subject of politics, the better, and I would advise you not to say much to mother on that subject. I ask this not with any hard feelings but as a request. The reasons I will not give you now, but will at some future time if I live. It is for the good of all parties that I make the request so that will be enough for the present.

I am glad to hear that you are getting along so well with your school. I was a little fearful at first that you might not succeed well. I have no doubt you and Mary do sleep very closely together and say funny things. I think you might have told me some of them. You know “it would all have been in the family.” I wonder if you said anything about me.

Why didn’t you sleep in the “Boy’s room?” That is such a good place to sleep. I can’t help but laugh every time I think of some things that happened last winter — but enough.

I don’t know anything about when Mary is going to be married. She never writes to me anymore though I have written to her two or three times.

I am looking anxiously forward nine months more. Then, if I live, I expect there won’t be any need of writing to you for I expect to see you “face to face,” and that our “joy will be full.” You will still direct your letters here and as soon as I leave I will inform you. Still continue to pray for me, Bell, that where’er my lot may be cast, I may be preserved.

I will bring my scribble to a close. Xcuse composition and writing for I have written in a big hurry.

I remai as ever yours, — J. M. Maitland


aacivsavee1

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Miss Bell Wharton, Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio

Rooms General Court Martial
Memphis, Tennessee
December 16th 1864

My Dearest Bell,

I received your kind and welcome letter this forenoon and as I never delay writing to you, I will answer immediately. It has been six days since your last, and I tell you now, that seemed a long while. Since that time I wrote you twice and I suppose by this time you have received one of them at least.

You spoke of having such cold weather and of its being so cold sleeping alone. I know how that goes. Although I have a Capt. for a bedfellow, he is a mighty cold one—not half as good ——

We had some very cold weather here but within the past few days it has moderated and got quite warm. Today is is quite rainy and has the appearance of being so for some time.

I expect the burgh is nearly overflowing since so many of the boys have got home, and I have no doubt the little girls have a heavy time.

You asked how I would like Billy Stonebraker for a cousin? You know just about how I feel on that subject. I might ask you how you would like him for a cousin of yours, for in all probability if he were a cousin of mine, he would be of yours also. But I will say this much — that he is just as near related to me now as I ever want him to be. I wrote to Mary some time ago and gave her a piece of my mind on the subject, but don’t let on to her anything about it. She is her own boss in the matter and “as she makes her bed, so she will have to lie.” But enough.

Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana (1822-1905)

Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana (1822-1905)

Since Gen’l [Napoleon J. T.] Dana assumed command of this department, he has made a good many changes. Our Court Martial has been busted up. The Headquarters District of Memphis has been changed to Headquarters Post and Defenses of Memphis. Gen’l Buckland still in command. Gen’l [James Clifford] Veatch takes command of the District of West Tennessee. The whole including Paducah and the country to Vicksburg including Vicksburg under command of Gen’l Dana.

There is to be a new Court Martial formed immediately by order of Gen’l Dana and I suppose I will be kept on—at least I hope so.

This afternoon there is a negro pays the penalty of his crimes on the gallows in Fort Pickering for murder and attempting to commit rape on a little girl. I had intended going to see it but as it was so wet and disagreeable, I gave up the notion. I think this will be a warning to the rest. ¹

My health is at present very good for which I feel devoutly thankful. I want you to write oftener than you have been doing. Don’t wait anytime to get an answer from me.  I will continue to write often to you. I will now bring my epistle to a close hoping it may find you enjoying health and happiness.

I remain as ever your truest and best friend, — J. M. Maitland

Direct to Headquarters Post and Defenses of Memphis, Memphis, Tenn.

¹ The identity of the black man hanged at Fort Pickering on 16 December 1864 is not revealed in this letter but it was mostly likely a member of the US Colored troops garrisoned at that post. Black troops were often assigned patrol duty during the late stages of the Civil War and their presence often put them in conflict with the citizenry. The 4th Missouri Regiment of Colored Infantry (a.k.a., the 68th Regt. USCT) was known to be garrisoned at Fort Pickering at that time.


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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

An Honorable Peace

The Civil War Letters of Frank B. Knause, 6th Michigan Infantry & Heavy Artillery

Looking for a Rebel to Give him a Pop

Letters to & from Sgt. John Henry Ward, 93rd PA Inf

Civil War Letters of William H. H. Kinsey

Co. H, 28th Illinois Infantry

Spared & Shared 14

Saving History One Letter at a Time