Homesickness was one of the hazards of army life, and the only treatment
available to the soldiers was correspondence with the friends and loved
ones that they missed so much. We are fortunate to be able to share
some examples of letters from the men in the Third Battery.
This is a work in progress, and more letters will be added as they become
We would love to publish more letters to, from or about the men who served with
the Third Battery. If you have any information about any of the Battery's
soldiers, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at Robinsonsbattery@aol.com
Table of Contents Asa Estabrook Austin Haywood Franklin J. Higgins Unknown Lyons Philip O'Brien Edward Pierson George Robinson Robert O. Sinclair Emma Smith Benjamin F. Stadler Hiram M. Towne
written by Asa Estabrook. This was written 22 years after the
war to Benjamin F. Stalder (see additional Stalder letters below) Asa was one of the
Lieutenants of the Third Battery when it was mustered out of service. In this
letter, Estabrook reminisces about some of the wartime experiences that he
shared and mentions having attended a Battery reunion in Hillsdale, MI in
Allegan Feb 6th / ‘87
Ben you will notice by the date of this letter thet I am just as careless as
ever about answering your letter. Nevertheless I was awful glad to hear from
you and to hear you are doing so well, glad you got your bounty but think you
ought to have more. Don’t think I ever shal make an application for one now I
am almost 50 years old & feel just as young as when we danced in the
Santiago swamp in N.C. Ben those were good times just the same, but we did not
know enough to appreciate it.
I am glad to even hear you say your home is a pleasure to you and you want to
keep your eyes right so that (illegible) and keep it so, that is just what ails
me the year round, I have two children, a boy 11 years & the girl is a
bouncer of 14 but you know I think they are just right but it might not look so
to someone up a tree.
you spoke about what you had bin doing & what you were going to do & I
guess you will come out all right. As for myself I have got more tricks around
me than I want Two farms & lots of stock keep a man the year through &
this summer I am going to build a new house built the wall last fall & have
let the carpenter work out by the job. To commence the 1rst of April so you se
I have got to get around worse this summer than I did climbing the brickpile in
Tuscumbia. You spoke about my shouting at the moon, I had forgotten all about
it until last fal when were at Hillsdale to the reunion & that was almost
the first thing Jrd. Randel said to me, he keeps an eating house there & is
doing well, he makes a fine looking man & is well liked & you bet I had
a good time. Saw Lieut. Towne, old Ira Smith, Dick French and some others &
should of seen Jake Ramala if he hadn’t died a few days before. Aint got room
to write al this true & I will stop. Let sure hear from yo know.
Austin Haywood or Hayward
written by Polly Haywood, widow of Pvt. Austin Hayward (Haywood)
[Pvt. Austin Hayward died of disease July 8th,
1864 while serving the Battery during the
Atlanta Campaign. Austin Hayward is buried in section C, grave #1593 at the National Cemetery
in Marietta, GA.]
Dear Aunt Leslie March “18/66
I improve the present moment to
write a few lines to you Austin used to speak often of you but he is gone now
and I am left alone with my children a little girl and boy the girl we called
Adelia and the boy Austin Adelbert
we are well as usual hoping these
few lines will find you and your family well I wish you would write and let me
know where Grand Mother Hayward is it is a long time since I have heared
anything from her
was here last Monday she wanted me to write to you to find where Grand Mother
is if she is living she is well tell Grand Mother I live a mile and a quarter
north of my Fathers on a place of my own my sister lives with me write and tell
me where to direct a letter to her I am very anxious to here from her
Taylor wants you to write to her and let her know where her sister is she feels
very anxious to know where she is
it has been
very cold this winter it is quite cold today
seven acres of wheat on the ground one third of it is mine there is quite a
good orchard on my place but with all of this I am very lonely without Austin I
miss him in every place I can hardly give him up Everything looks dwery and
dark the care of our Children and every thing else falls upon me he was a very
very kind husband and Father our little Children how could I live without them
if it wornt for them I should have but little to live for
soon as you get this and tell me all about Austins relations uncle Jonathon
used to come and see us a lot it is over a year since I have heared from him
Polly, wife of Austin Hayward
To Aunt Adelia Gooldy
Letter is owned by Mary Canfield.
Franklin J. Higgins
September 22, 1862, Battle of Iuka - "Camp Good Enough"
[Published in the Allegan Journal, October 1,
1862] Camp near Jacinto,
Sept. 22, 1862
Dear Father and
Since my last letter from Tuscumbia, Ala. some weeks since, I have seen a
great many sights worth seeing, you may bet. From Tuscumbia the right section of the
company to which I belong went to Russelville , remained over night and
proceeded to Frankfort and staid overnight. Next day we came down off the mountains
at Barton Station which is between Tuscumbia and Iuka. From Barton we went to Iuka and staid
one night where we lost five horses, which died, we drawed twelve new ones. From Iuka we went south 9 miles and
camped three days, throughing up fortifications for our two guns. The next day after arriving at "Camp
Good Enough" (as the boys call it, although properly it is Fort Mower) we (our
two guns) and six companies of the 11th Missouri Inf. started for Bay Springs,
just after dark.
Our object in going there was to surround and capture about 800 rebel
cavalry in the dark. When about
half way there another of our scouts came in and reported 8,000 instead of 800,
and so it proved to be. We turned
our backs to the enemy and away we went Double-Quick and no mistake. We arrived in camp about 3:30 a.m., and
found the tents struck and most of them loaded. We never stopped to unhitch our horses
from the guns, but went on the main road about a mile and a half when we struck
for the woods, baggage, guns and all, and never stopped to feed our horses until
we got to Brownsville, some 18 or 20 miles distant. We stopped only about two hours and a
half, and marched all of that night and about 1 p.m., next day, we hauled up in
our old camp at Clear Creek, Miss.
The next day/night about 10:30 p.m. We got orders to be ready to march in
one hour with 3 days rations.
We started and went to Farmington where we ran into the 2nd section which
in the meantime had quite a fight with the 8,000 cavalry, and lost three men
prisoners, one of whom has been released and is now with us. We did not stop, but went on to
Brownsville and staid one night, when we started for Iuka, which was then in
full possession of Rebel General Price and 22,000 men, we got about a mile and a
half of town and the orders came Counter-march, which was done in Double-quick,
back to Brownsville where we were joined by Infantry and Artillery enough to
make about 11,000 men. We started
for Iuka again to give Price fight.
On the 19th September, we came before Iuka and had a very hard battle,
the losses on either side I don't know, but the rebels lost a General Little
killed, and in an out of the way place our men found 160 rebels thrown in a heap
and covered up with a tarpaulin, on the night of the 19th, they evacuated the
town and 2 hours after the last of them left, our Battery and the 11th Missouri
marched through the town in pursuit of the enemy. We went about 5 miles beyond Fulton,
capturing a number of prisoners and saw quite a number of wagons which were
The next day we turned our faces towards Jacinto (Miss.) and today I find
myself about 1 mile from Jacinto with the look of staying several days. I am well and enjoying myself first
rate. On our last march we have
been pretty hard up for provisions, but that is all got along with. If on our march we see anything in a
garden, we want we go and get it with out saying a word to anybody. Enclosed I sent you a example of secech
money, which they use in place of silver the money the rebels were last paid in
reads as follows; "Six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace
between the Confederate States and the United States , the Confederate States of
America will pay One dollar to the bearer"
I saw one of the bills and it is so.
From your son Franklin J. Higgins
3rd Mich. Artillery
October 7, 1862, Battle of Corinth - "Take it then!"
[Published in Allegan Journal, November 10,
1862] October 7th from
I was talking with some of the prisoners we took in the recent battle
here, they are all in good spirits.
They claim we are perfect vandals for invading their country and
ravishing their property as we do, they say they do not destroy our
property. Do you know why? They can't get the chance...
When they were going to make the charge on our battery of siege guns,
Gen. Price came forward and spoke to them as follows "Boys! Look at your haversacks! They are empty. In Corinth there is abundance, and the
next mouthful you get to eat must come from the storehouses of the
Yankees!" In making that charge
they first had to take a battery of field pieces, coming up to one of the guns,
which was loaded with cannister, a rebel captain put his hand on the gun and
said "This is what we have been after all day". . . "Take it then" said one of
the battery boys, at the same time firing the gun, which sent Mr. Captain down
the hill rather faster than when he came up, and not half so
easy. . .
Our forces have been in pursuit of the enemy for three days and we have
all kinds of reports as to the results.
But the prevalling one is that nothing but a little rebel cavalry made
their escape. Officers who have
returned slightly wounded report the road filled with baggage wagons, artillery,
and small arms of all kinds. They
admit that the Rebel army in the West is perfectly anniliated as can be. .
. There are a great many rebels in
our hospitals wounded and before many days I think I can give you the number of
rebels we killed as they left the field in such a hurry we had all of their dead
to bury. Their loss is much greater
than ours because we were behind entrechments most of the second day's
fighting. . .
One of our boys that was wounded has had his arm taken off just below the
shoulder. The ball that hit him was
poisoned. He is doing
August 2, 1864, Battles for Atlanta - "Cast-iron compliments"
[Published in Allegan
Journal August 1864] August
We are slowly but surely
gaining upon the stronghold, and ere I write again this campaign of over three
months duration finished. . . You doubtless heared about the severe battle
fought by the Army of the Tennessee on the 28th of last month. This was the bloodiest field I ever saw,
and I think it was the most hotly contested fight of this campain, on the
morning of the 29th, in front of our works, a very heavy line of battle was
found, only a short distance off, consisting entirely of dead and mortally
wounded Rebels. . . The enemy have one gun that occasionally favors us with
cast-iron compliments measuring nine inches in diameter, and the noise they make
is perfectly hideous, but they all go to high to do much damage, unless they are
three or four miles to the rear. A
12 pound solid shot passed through a tree about twenty rods from this tent, but
did no damage save scaring a few. . .
This excerpt form a letter was written from camp near Clear Creek, MS on
August 15, 1862. The writer's name is Lyon, not sure of first name. He seems to be related to Isaac and Samuel Lyon of the 7th
Ohio Independent Battery.
"I was detailed from the Regt (63rd Ohio Infantry) into the
third Michigan Batty and do like it better than the 63rd, for their is no Picket
guard to stand hear and all I have to do is to take care of two horses and that
is what I like and one thing their is no dam picketts hear to be ordered about
November 8, 1861
Ed. - Philip
O’Brien came from the Cheboygan, MI area and traveled across the wilds of the
northern Michigan in 1861 to enlist at Grand Rapids in the Third Michigan
In October, Philip signed up with Co. F of the
Third Cav. where he was reunited with James O’Brien who may have been a younger
brother or cousin. Philip was 43 years old at this time.
The Third Cavalry couldn’t take all the men
who had flocked to Camp
Anderson, so a selection
was made, and only the regulation number were mustered into Cavalry service.
The remaining men were transferred into a new artillery battery, a so-called “Flying Battery” attached to the Third Cavalry.
In a “Flying Battery” each
cannoneer was mounted on horseback, such that they and the cannon
could travel quickly with the cavalry. When needed, all would dismount
and serve the cannon in battle.
Likely due to the demand of horses for the cavalry, the idea of being a “Flying Battery” was soon dismissed, and the
cannoneers were forced to march on foot along side their guns as they moved
Philip and James O’Brien were among those transferred to the Third Michigan Battery under Capt. Alexander Dees.
Philip served faithfully with the Battery until he was wounded in the arm at the Battle of
Corinth, MS on October 4, 1862. Philip’s arm was amputated at Corinth,
and he was transferred elsewhere to recover.
We join in the reading with a letter dated
Nov. 8th, 1861. This was written three days before Philip was
mustered into service with the Battery.
Thanks to Ronald Cleveland
and the descendants of Philip O’Brien (Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Gerderman, Jake O’Brien and Erin
Dondrea) for sharing these letters with the Battery. Our thanks also to Barbara Jenkins of the Cheboygan
Public Library for the newspaper articles.
November 8th, ‘61
have written to you before now but I have been waiting for an answer to the
letter I sent with Mister Bebote. I am almost out of patience waiting. I had
the letter written when he came here and thought by sending it with him I could
have an answer sooner than by sending it by mail. Our regiment
has not been paid of yet and I don’t know when it will, we expect to get paid
the later end of this month, but there is no knowing when we shall get paid.
I shall send
you a cerifycat of my enlistment and our enrolment into the United States
Armies which you will present to the Supervisor of the township. If he does not
give you what the law allows you will go to Mr. Mantiby and he will see that
you get what the law allows you to have.
I sent my
likeness with Mr. Bebot but I sepose you would not know it when you seen it. I
have not been free from a cold since Iv been here wee have very cold quarters.
We are encamped
on the fair ground about 2 and a half miles from the City. Some in tents and
some in sheds. The second regement has got some of there uniform. We have not
got any of ours yet and our strength is in camp 26 hundred. We espect the first
regiment to move from here soon.
soon as you can
No more at
Ed. - This letter from Philip O’Brien is undated,
but can be placed between February 21 when the Battery disembarked from the
Steamboats at Birds Point, MO. and March 7th when they
arrived near New Madrid, MO.
Judging from the
comments that the Battery is “under Orders to
March” it is likely around Feb. 22-25, 1862.
Today I sit to write you a few more lines and
to tell you I am very uneasy an account of not hearing from you. I sent of a
few hurred lines in pensel yesterday but I sepose these will…. Them I also sent
you a paper and I dont wee ware under orders to March but I dont know whare nor
how soon we shall go. I should have written to you when we are leaving Camp Benton
but it was twelve oclock at night when we got the rout to march next morning so
I had no time to write.
We don’t know how soon we may be called into
action but I sinsearly hope we shall not before I here from you and the
children and I know that you and they are well and her you have received the
last money I sent you I have the certificate from the clerk of the Express
Office for the twenty dollars I sent you but that is not much good to me here
but I shall wate a few days longer in hopes and if I don’t here from in one
week from now I belive I shall go crazy.
While I sit writing to you Dear Margaret I
can here our gun boats playing away at the enemy down at Columbus and I almost
wish I was ther eif I had no are behind me I should be there hit miss since we
came here there are a great many of our men sick with Dysentery. I have a slite
touch of it myself but I hope it will not signify.
Dear Margaret it seems strange to me that I
cannot get letters from as well as the other boys from Cheboygan. They here
from home every week when I was at Benton
I could go over to their quarters and here all the news but now I am a hundred
and 75 miles further down the river than they are.
Dear Margaret you know I hate long letters
that is when I write them my self but I don’t care how long they ar when you
write them however if I could get one now and it should take me a whole week to
read it I should not stop until I got through.
Now Dear Margaret you must give my best respects
to all your friends and mine if I have any, but I guess mine are but few and
far between if you can get Joseph Youngs address I wish you would let me have
it. Let me know all the particulars about the people in Cheboygan. No more at
present from your affectionate husband and now more than ever.
March 19, 1862
of action neer New Madrid
today I received two letters from
you and I am sure I cannot express my Delight when I read your letters and herd
that you and the children were all in good health but Margret I had almost
given up all hope of hearing from you. It is so long since I herd from you but
now I am happy or at least as happy as circumstances will permit.
Dear Margett the last letter I wrote wa at a
place called Saxtown twenty six miles from here. Wee ware then on our march for
fields but wee ware as the old saying is a day late for the rebbies.
Was and New Madrid was taken the day before
wee arrived so we had nothing to do but pitch our tents. We are now awaiting
further orders our gun boats are cannoning the enemy this is the third day. The
enemy is on Island No. 10 and wee here today that they are giving our boats all
they want to do but wee her our general is going to sned on more forces tomorrow
and we don’t know but wee may be ordered down to the river tomorrow but I think
the island will be taken before morning.
A report tonight says the enemy has almost
ceist firing on the island there was one of there boats passing down the river
today under a flag of truce with sick and wonded but was fired on from the fort
and taken prisoners. I have not herd how many was on bord our boats are still
fireing. I can here the guns bang bang every minute.
Since I commenced wirting it is now about 12’
oclock so I thing I shall have to lye down and have a little sleep before
morning although I am almost afraid to let this opportunity slip for feer I
should not get another but I am so tierd and sleepy that I belive I’ll have to
give it up and bid you good night
It is about 4’oclock in the afternoon Dear
Margret I was almost loosing the chance of writing today we got orders to march
this morning but we did not march as far as we expected we have halted and just
pitched our tents and the cooks are getting dinner so I take the opportunity of
finishing these few lines.
We here today
that our gun boats has taken island No. 10 so we don’t expect any more trouble
from that quarter. We expect to be moved down the river tomorrow. I have been
over to see the cavalry boys and they are all well.
March 24, 1862
March 24th 1862,
I received another very welcome letter from you today and I was verry
glad to here that you got the money
I sent you for I was almost afraid you would not get
was taken before our battery arrived here the enemy having evacuated the town
and forts leaving every thing behind them not even taking time to call in there
pickets and spiking there guns with horse nails. We have taken al there pickets
prisoner we’re here in the fort the enemy must have lost about 5 hundred killed
but they had thrown most of there dead into the river.
taken about 8 thousand dollars worth of property our gunboats have been
Bombarding Island No. 10 for four days but have ceist firing yesterday thy
cannot see any troops on the island but they are afraid to land on the island
for feer the enemy might have some plot laid for them the enemy boats are
blockaded on both sides they cannot get either up or down the River.
again so that I could send you some more help for I know you need all the help
I can give you we would have got paid at Birds Point if we had stoped there two
days longer but now we don’t expect to get paid before the first of May but
when we do get paid I hope I shall be still able to send you all my wages for I
don’t owe one cent to any man in the company and that is what another man in
the company cant say.
O’Brien is getting along very well now he cant get any whisky to drink since he
left Birds Point he has not herd from home only three times since he left. Dear
Margaret I have not sung a song or tasted liquor since the 11th of
October and if I never go home I shall not do either. I am now sitting in open
air on the gun carriage the day is bright and clear I could count a thousand
tents all round me this is splendid country but it would grieve you Dear
Margaret to do see the waste and destruction of property.
I have been
out among the farmers and along the road I counted within three miles of camp a
hundred heads there was ass heads, cows heads, calf’s heads and pigs skins. The
owners of the farms are all away in the army expect a few poor folks and
Negroes. The poor class southerners are not half as well enlightened as the
most ignorant Irish man you ever saw. Dear Margaret I wish you would let me
know if Mr. Priestly is yet in Cheboygan and how he is getting along and if
that old devil bob is dead or alive yet. I believe I shall never forgive that
man for I think if I saw the last drop of my dears blood foiling from my Brest
and had but one breath to draw I should use it in cursing him but I should not
harbor any ill will to any person in this world at present. You will not forget
Dear Margaret to give my best respects and well wishes to William Stuart and
his wife for they were my friends when I stood in need. Give also my respects
to Sam and his wife and remember me to Mr. Riggs. Tell Mr. Maltby I sent a
letter and some newspapers to him.
Margaret Im sorry I cannot send you any newspapers from here for I have not
seen a newspaper since iv been here. Now Margaret im going to tell you how to
direct a letter and I hope you will not be angry with me for so doing. When you
are putting down the date of the month you will say March the 6th or
April the 17th and so on and the date of the year should be 1862 but
in your letter it is 180602 that is a hundred and eighty thousand six hundred
and two and when you direct your letter to me first say to Phillip O’Brien then
the place of distinction, you directed one of your letters first to Camp Benton
then below was my name in care of Capt. Dills in place of Capt. Dees, Dees not
Now you must
not be angry Dear Margaret for me telling you how to direct a letter. You know
there is only the right way and the wrong way of doing any thing. You tell the
children Margaret that their father has not forgotten them and tell Hannah to
keep good corage that her father will see her again hapy with her and her
brothers. I don’t know whether I shall be here to receive another to this but
however you will direct to New Madrid, Mo.
Joseph Young sent me a letter but if did I have not received any. I wish you
had sent me his address so I might rite to him. You can tell Mr. Avril his son
is here in New Madrid but I have not seen him yet he came in 3 days ago. Direct
Phillip O’Brien 3rd Mich. Artillery nere New Madrid, Mo. No more at
present dear Margaret from your affectionate husband Philip.
of the 25th,
Margaret I had closed this yesterday and last night when I was asleep in my
tent the Capt. Came to me with a letter from you bearing date February 20th
which I sepose has been delaid on the way some where so I thought I might as
well tell you that I have received this makes the 4th letter I have
got since I came here. The Battle
is upon us again. This morning at Point Plesent. Wee can here the guns firing.
I have herd the report of a hundred guns since daylight. The Point is down the
river from where we are now. I sepose 10-12 miles from here. There is about
fifty thousand troop in this camp mostly Artillery and Cavalry We have been
here 10 days today.
No more at present
About April 5, 1862
Ed. - This letter is undated, but
events discussed place it around April 5th, 1862.
Mrs P. O’Brian
told me they have got marching orders but don’t know where they are bound for.
They tell me there is not a week passes but they get news from Cheboygan and it
seems strange to me that I cant get lettes as well as they for I’m shure I have
not neglected writing since I left home. We cannot get newspapers.
Dear Margaret where we
are now if we could I should send you some there is nothing in New Madrid but
ruins and soldiers. The inhabidence are all gone and left everything behind
them, the Rebble troops left all there guns and ammunition behind them, thy did
not even let their piquet guards know when they ware leaving so they ware all
am called Dear Margaret and I must bid you good by for the present. I would say
more but I haven’t time now. Give my love to the children.
Direct to the 3rd
Artillery in the field Neer New Madrid Mo
April 15, 1862 To his wife
Ed. - This was written one week after the Battle of
Shiloh although Philip doesn’t mention any reference to that Battle.
The letter is written from the banks of the
Mississippi River about three miles from Fort Pillow.
The Battery has been aboard a steamboat for
two days as they awaited the imminent surrender of the Confederates in that fort.
Commodore (Napoleon Bonaparte
Buford - half brother to John Buford of Gettysburg
fame) had sent a flag of truce
to the fort; the Confederates wanted 4 days to decide. Commodore Buford gave them
24 hours. The time was up without an answer, so the Federal mortar boats began shelling the works.
On the banks of the Mississippi
I take this as the first opportunity I have had of writing to you
sinc we left New Madrid. We are now two days here waiting for general orders,
our gunboat fleet is in advance and shelling away at Fort Pillow,
which is only about three miles down the river from where we are landed. We
have come ashore for a few owers while the boat is going back up the river
about six miles for one hundred fat cattle.
a flag of truse to the fort yesterday, they wanted four days to consider what
they should do and the Commodore would only give them twenty four owers, and
that time is up today at twelve o’clock, and our mortars are shelling them now
about three owers from the mortars.
in our fleer twenty-troop steamboats, twelve mortars, twenty-two gunboats and
twenty five thousand troops. And are expecting more troops down the river every
a splendid Country Dear Margaret, My health is perfectly good and my spirits
also. In fact I have had no good health since I left home till now. I should
feel a great deal more at ese if would only get our pay so I could send it home
for now I now you must need it by this time.
must hold up as well as you can. We might get paid before the first of next
month and if not I shall have the more to send you.
There is no chance of our Company fighting
here at present, nor I don’t think there will be for we cannot get nyer than
seven miles of the fort by land, in fact I don’t think we shall have any
fighting at all to do.
need not answer this for I don’t know you should direct it to but I shall write
as soon as we get to any place of note. I shall let you know how I am getting
Dear Margaret as often as I can.
No more at present
From your affectionate Husband P.O’Brien
The Bugle calls for some duty and I must go - good by
May 11, 1862
Have an opportunity of writing a few line to you. I have not
had a chance to write since we left the river. We have been either on the march
or fighting our way thru the woods every day since. I sent you the letter with
the certificate. We have got within about 8 miles of Corinth on the 8th
of this month. We had a pretty hard fight but we drove them back with grate
about 500. We had only two men killed and about 50 wounded. There was none of
our men hurt in our company. On the 10th the enemy attacked our
pickets and although we had another very hard fight but we got the best of it
the rebles fired a volley from 5 regiments of infantry and 30 batterys of
artillery into the 2nd Iowa and 3rd Michigan cavalry but
our troops stood the shock like men and soldiers till got reinforcements. When
they charged on the enemys ranks drove them back and took 3 of there battery. I
don’t know how many prisoners was taken. We expect to beat them tomorrow, this
Sunday, and we don’t fight on Sunday except when we are obliged to do so.
Margaret, I received two letters from you on the 8th of this month.
One was dated March 25th and the other April the 14th but
I had not even time to read them until yesterday.
Margaret I had not time to finish my letter last night. You need not be uneasy
about me not getting your letters for they all come, but it takes so long a
time to get an answer to my letters that it makes me very uneasy. When I am a
long time without getting an answer to my letters.
Margaret you want to know if we have taken New Orlains. We have, but our
division has nothing to do with them, this battle that we are going to fight at
Corinth will have a grate effect on the warr if we win the day why the Rebbles
may as well give up and as farr as I know any thing about it that is what they
shall have to do.
infantry regiments and cavalry are all moving out towards Corinth. We expect to
be ordered out this evening or tomorrow. Dear Margaret you must not be uneasy,
or fretting about me for I know I shall not be hurt at least I don’t think I
shall. You shall have the money I sent you from Cairo long before you get this
letter. I hope for I know you must be in need of it before you get it.
Margaret I could write a long letter if I had time. About our troubles since we
left New Madrid I was so very near getting in trouble for going ashore at Cairo
but when I told our Captin my business he forgave me but all the rest of the
men that went ashore got punishment. I was very sorry when I heared of the
death of one of William children and it casd me to shed tears when I thought of
the condition my own might be in at the same time for I belive if I thought any
of my children were to suffer such a death thru my neglect I should put my head
in the mouth of a cannon and tell the gunner to blow my brains out. But I hope
I shall see them all happy yet.
September 8, 1862
Iuka September 8, 1862
more sit down to let you know that I am still alive and in good health. In
which state I hope these few lines will find boath you and the children.
Margaret when I rote my last letter from Camp Clear Creek I was on the road in
five minutes after I wrote it and I might say for all the rest we have had
since we have been marching ever all the time thru for we have stopped only 5
days at one place and that was at Tuscombia where we got paid. I sent you 50
dollars from there which I hope you have received before now and that the man
that let me have the twenty dollars says he will let me have twenty more next
pay day if I should want it to send home to you.
have written to the 15 Michigan Infintry about the 20 dollars I sent you from
Camp Clear Creek but has got no answer yet so I don’t know whether you have got
it or not.
have got no letters since we left Clear Creek but I am expecting one every day.
I shall send you my likeness tomorrow when I send off this letter which I shall send to headquarters by one of
our men. There is no sertenty of it getting through but I shall risk it.
are out in the mountains of Alabama hunting squirrels. You must direct your
letters to Iuka, Miss. Care Cap’t Dee’s. I shall send you in this letter the
certificate for the last money I sent you.
cannot write any more at present I am called for duty and have got but one more
nite to fold and direct this so good night Dear Margaret.
October 11, 1862
Ed. - This
letter was written on behalf of Philip to Margaret. It was written several days after the Battle of Corinth is return addressed
from the General Hospital
at Corinth, MS.
The writer begins by stating
that he is writing at the behest of Margaret’s husband, and explains that he is
informing her of “one of the realities of war.” Philip
O’Brien’s surgical case is mentioned in the 6 volume set of books compiled
after the war - The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion.
Table LXVI.I Pp. 710. Entry no.784.
The author signed his name, Aaron Dodge.
Several attempts have been madeto identify this person to a regiment or
medical orderly, but without success.
Hospital Corinth Miss
Oct 11th, 1862
At your husbands request I improve this
opportunity to write a few lines to you, to inform you of one of the realities
of war. This place was attacked on the 3rd, the Battle lasting all day & almost all of
the next day, which proved disastrous to your husband. He was wounded in the
right arm above the elbow & it had to be taken off so it leaves it about 3
or 4 inches long, but he is getting along first rate & I presume he will go
north in a few days to some northern Hospital. There was no one else from
Cheboygan that was hurt in this Battle,
The weather is quite cool now which is
favorable for the wounded, you must not feel uneasy on his account for he is
getting along as well as any man and you need not write until you hear from him
again for he won’t be likely to stay here long enough to receive it.
So I will bring my letter to a close
With my respects to yourself & family
Yours Truly from Aaron Dodge
Ed. - Phillip was last heard
from while in a Hospital in Corinth,
MS recovering from his
right arm amputation and expecting to be shipped to Keokuk, IA for additional
care. What his experiences were from that letter to this one is unknown at this
Philip writes this from Duvall’s Bluff in Arkansas. This was a Federal Army supply
base along the White River. He expresses his
pleasure at receiving a letter from Margaret and his daughter, Hannah. Phillip
had begun to wonder about Margaret’s intentions, as he had not heard from her
in quite some time - perhaps over a year. Phillip then explains that he hasn’t any financial prospects at
the present, but apparently he had gone into business with another soldier, It
is thought that the business was a boarding house, As Phillip had some exposure
to that kind of business while living in Cheboygan - Margaret had worked in her sister and brother-in-law’s boarding house prior to the War.
Apparently the venture was not successful as Phillip talks about
his fortunes after “we broke-up housekeeping” and his difficulties in
trying to stay solvent “in a place where every man is for himself an’ the
Devil take hindermost”. But
Phillip extols Margaret to NOT send him any money, as his partner’s money is
expected soon, and the business will be OK when the soldiers get paid.
Apparently the troops haven’t seen any pay for about six months, so Phillip
thinks that things are “very dull.”
Phillip then lets Margaret in on his
secret plan to make money. He writes “We shall make money for I can make the
best drinks for summer time that a man can drink and there is no one in this
place can make it, only myself and my partner”. It is speculation as to
what type of drinks that Phillip can make, but keeping in mind that Phillip has
had some opportunity to travel the world before he arrived in Cheboygan, they
may possibly be alcoholic in nature.
Devalls Bluff, Ark
Feb. 23, 1865
Yesterday evening I received your and
Hannahs very welcom letters, Which gave me grate Pleasurs to here you ware
well. It makes me feel that I have yet Some one left in the World that Cares
for me, yet I was beginning to doubt your friendship on account of not hearing
from you in so long a time, but I have not Written myself since I broke up
housekeeping for you know I never like to write when I have nothing favorable
Altho I have no Grate Prospect at
present but yet I am in hopes things will be better after a while. I need not
tell you all Particulars of our breaking up for that would take more paper than
I can afford at present but I shall tell you all when I get home.
Well when we broke up all I had coming
was $2.00, two hundred dollars and under big expences. I had no house nor home
and in a place Where every man is for himself an the Devil take hindermost.
Now Margaret just think how I felt here
I had Money but I felt miserable, Well now says I to myself I’ll send $50 home
and try my luck. With the remainder I bought a house for $100 then I had $50
left. Well I might have done very well even with that, but there was people
living in the house and I could not get them out for three weeks after I bought
it. My board cost $12 per week, well I had to forage around as well as I could
but could my house fixed until I had spent the last dollar. I got a partner, an
old soldier who had a little money and before We could get the house in a
proper shape to do any business, all his money was gone.
Well he sent home for some money but it
has not come yet, but we have got the house fixed very snug and all ready for
business, but waiting for money. But Margaret, I don’t want this to induce you
to Send me any money for my partners money may come soon and then We shall be
all right until the Soldiers gets paid. There has been no troops Paid in this
department Since last August, except discharged Soldiers. So it makes
everything very Dull, but as soon as they get paid We shall make money for I
can make the best drinks for summer time that a man can drink and there is no
one in this place can make it only myself and my partner.
Margaret I wish in your next you would
let me know something about the neighbors and how they are getting along give
My respects to Mr. & Mrs. Delsey and also Mr. & Mrs.______ Let me know
if Diggs is alive. Tell Hannah her Father feels very Glad he has a daughter
able to write him and he hopes She will Write often and tell Michael he must
Tell Charles & Danniel that their
Father feels proud of their Good feelings towards him and he hopes the Will
always remains So and be good and Obedient Children and always and at all times
do what their Mother bids they do.
Now Willy, as Hannah can write you must
make her Write a letter for yourself and I want you to tell her what to say.
Good by All
August 25, 1865
Ed. - This
is the last of the series of letters from Phillip O’Brien to his wife Margaret.
This letter is posted August 24th, 1865 almost six months after the
one written from Duvall’s Bluff, AR.
plans to make money by selling summertime drinks apparently didn’t pan out and
we now find him writing from Helena,
Arkansas. Unfortunately, this original letter was
damaged and so reading it is difficult. It appears to have been written over a period of days and so is fragmented.
I am but very ill able to sit up
to write enough to let you know that I am yet alive but I feel very thankful
that I got in with a good Family who has treated me very kindly I had been only
a few days in this place before I took sick - and only for the good care I have
had I belive I would have died. I have often thought when the evening was
growing dark that I would never see the light of another morning, but thank God
I am yet alive and in hopes of recovering my usual health.
I have had two attacks of bilious fever
and the second time came very nere taking me off. I was just recovering when I
tooke the measles, but Margaret there is no use in me telling you about my
troubles for I know you have enough of your own.
I have written to Detroit for my pension but have not got it
yet. When it comes I shall send all I can. Altho the whole of it would not pay
my Doctor bill. But if I can get my health I shall soon make up……….all of the
time however I don’t intend to go home……. Something more to bring than I
left…….you would send me Robinson and Brooks….my descharge as soon as you
can…..have to send it to them before thy return my discharge.
I wont put this in the office until
tomoro as we are expecting a mail on the next boat.
Aug. 25th Well Margaret I
feel some better today an found a letter if I can call it one but it hardly
deserves that title it is a very small piece of paper with a few very
I shall send back to you in this letter….sincere
request. Never to send me a…….again, you say you hav had several letters,…..but
this is my…….
And I know there has been none from this
office for when I first was taken sick I left a standing order in the office to
deliver my letters to the young man belonging to the family with whome I stay
and he has attended the office every day.
Good by from
May 26, 1863 To Emma "I feel the want of a sister"
Tennessee, May 26, 63.
General Fullers Brigade 3rd Michigan Capt. Geo
Friend to the glorious case and I know that
you are one as to the girl I love. I have never experienced such love deprived
in my younger days of a kind and gentle Sister Society has never claimed much
of my attention. And now that I am nearly of age I feel the want of a sister
very much and I must ask you curious question will you be and act toward me as
such. Excuse me for asking you such a question and I will trust to your general
nature in asking your forgivness.
The dull monotony of camp life will be a
pleasure to me when I often receive letters from those I love. Now I will
proceed to answer you question in detail. 1st you ask me if it makes any difference
whether you are good looking or not it does not for I am not so very handsome
myself Miss Emma. I had 1 day photographs taken 2 months ago and they have all
been given away to my numerous friends so next Pay Day which is not far distant
I will get some printed and enclose you one. You need not send your until you
2nd I have 18 corespondents and I suppose you have about the
same. No 3d. My home for the last 12 years has been in the beautiful city of Jackson. 4th I have been a
soldier 22 months. I enlisted for 3 years. 5th As to the No of engagements
matrimonies included I have not formed any. I have never bowed to the shrine of
lovely women but may at a future time. I have a number of curious questions to
ask you but will not ask any until I receive a reply to this.
Now I will
describe this beautiful town to you. Our camp is situated in the northern part
of the city in the suberbs. We can hardly get a pass to go down and see the
sights. In its best days it contained the same number of inhabitants as Detroit. I can hardly see
the dwelling houses the shade trees are so thick we have a large amount of the
in our camp. The house of God are not visited but seldom and then on some
special occasion. The gurillas are expected to attack the place every day. A
short time since a squad of U.S.A.
regular cavalry went out on a scout. The divided their numbers equal taking
different roads. The roads run into another at a place 8 miles from the city.
They met one of the parties got frightened out of their wits and come
scampering back to the city and supposed they saw some rebels which was not so.
They only saw some of their own men. What cowards do you not say so.
everything that is good to eat strawberies and cream. What a luxury now I must
close this short epistle by sending you my best wished and kind regards. Excuse
this handwriting for a sick soldier is parring the desk. From a stripe in our
Edward A Pierson For that is my true name instead of Harry Ines
Mich Battery Memphis Tennessee
Yours of the 14st was duly
recd and perused with much pleasure. Your thoughts about the burning rays of
August are about right and I would that you could waft me a cool breeze for it
would do me much good. Last evening we experienced quite a change in the
weather and I never see such a change from very hot to cool weather. We had to
sleep under 3 extra blankets and then we was uncomfortable. I sorrow and sympathise
with you in the dangerous illness of your dear brother and sincerely hope he
Dear Sister I did know that the Percys were corresponding with Troy girls. I have not seen any of their letters for he
has not shown them to any of the boys as yet. I think myself they are laying
low for something but I do not know what it is. What do you mean by the
expression of Colie lies. I am sure that I have not made any complaints about
receiving your photo for I knew dear sister that it would come in good time and
I am very glad to have recvd your likeness and thank you kindly for the
returned compliment of 2 months ago. I think that W A P will consider his ways
and be wise. But my humble opinion about them are this they are honest as the
day is ling and would shudder to tell and untruth.
I think by the looks of the
brothers that Clinton must be the oldest-he
enlisted some time last winter and was from Iowa
but his other brother was from the state of Mich
and that must have been Clintons
native state to. Dear Sister next Sunday 2 years of my time of enlistment will
be up. I do indeed deserve a fourlough but cannot get one yet. They show much
parshiality in the Army that a certain portion of the men are granted more
privileges than others. I have not shown your letter yet and will not to
anybody if it is your wish. You Troy girls must have mush more fun than us boys
here. I would lay a wager that every single letter that reaches that place is
shown to each and very girl in the place-but it may not be so. Forgive me for
speaking so unkindly of you as that.
Your picture was a very good one of the
kind but think as you do that photos are much more preferable. I showed your
picture to Harry Lewis and he spoke very highly of you and said that you was
not bad looking as you represented in you former letters. And my opinion of you
is that you are a dear good girl any way the Percys had ought to be ashamed of
themselves for wanting the girls to send their photos first that is not manly
at all or etiquet either. And I glory in their spunk. Tell the girls that we
have not been paid and that they must not expect their photos yet. The paper
must not be believed at all times.
I knew myself at the time that Charitys
letter was a hoax and that Kate wrote it herself but Smith did write it. I
thought curious at the time. You had ought to have seen Wilber at the time he
recvd it. First he grew fat and then thin again. I think he did not answer it.
Kate is rather inquisitive about the grinders of the Percys but tell her that
the younger Percy is the one. Harry Lewis is still positive that Lute is a man
and will stick to it. He was not the one that I showed your picture to it was
Frank Sinclair he is a good boy and I think he would make a charming
correspondent for Lute. Yes dear sister Sonny Bull and Sonny Crafu (?) will
keep their fingers out of the pie altogether but the frog eaters think that Mexico
will not be enough on their minds at a time. I think that the agitation of the
Polish question is agoing to save us from waring with both England and France. I see Clinton and he looked
truthful enough. He was walking about-he was not quite dead. Tell Molly Clint
recvd a letter from Troy
this morning will all the envelopes.
Now Dear Sister I must not write any more
but accept the love and best wishes of your brother.
soon and oblige
April 1865 To Emma - "we have been in camp"
Goldboro N. Carolina April 1st, 65 Shermans Army 17 A le 1st Divi 3rd Battery
Ever Remembered Sister Emma
I have received three letters from you Em and I think that I am duty Bound to write you answers to the other two. I have been hightly favored since We have been in camp. I have received twelve letters and seven papers. The papers I will thank you for and in each package a fine flavored segar which were good I consider myself a good judge. I am afraid Sister Em that I can never quit the vulgar habit as long as you send those segars. But you had ought to see how the boys envy me when I get a package of papers for they think surely that each has a great segar and they look so wishful that I have to let them draw a few whifs. So much for segars.
Now for something else. I'll bet-Emma that you think me capable of Writing more nonsense than any other young man of your acquaintance. Tell me what you think of in your next. I am a sincere admirer of nature. After the winter months have passed away then to see the first bud begin to open and the birds to sing wich tells us the spring is near. An then to (see) the beautiful sunsets it is enough to make one praise God that I am thus permitted to live. After passing through so many dangers if makes me feel better towards my heavenly father. And I am truly thankful for my existence and that I have been preserved. I hope I will live to comfort my aged parents. The wind is blowing very hard and it is very dusty it bothers me some when writing. It will not make me quit however.
I received a letter from home A few days since and my little Sister has just begun to speak she says That Brother Edd gone to the wars. I would like to see her very much.Genrl Sherman has just got back from City Point the Head Quarters of Genrl Grant. We do not know whether Sherman intends making another raid or not. The rumor here is that Grant has had a hard fights with Lee captured thirty thousand men and taken Richmond. But I do not believe it. Five or our boys that went out foraging have not returned. They must be captured and killed. It is horrible to think it their folks find out they have been murdered in that inhumane manner. It would not be so bad if they had fell in defense of the flag and country in time of need. But our brave Comander will retaliate Blood for blood. I have Byron here on my table and don't look into it once a week. It is a splendid volume that I captured of a double distilled rebel of the darkest dye. It is singular they love the beautiful lush men, men that will raise up in arms against their country the best one the sun ever shown upon. I must bring this to a close.
Yours as ever your brother. E.A. Pierson
April 20, 1865 To Emma "plunged into mourning"
Raleigh, North Carolina. April 20, 65 Genrl Shermans Army 17 A.C. 1st Div. 3rd Mich Battery
Ever Remembered Sister Emma,
Our communications are now opened to Newberne and the mail goes somewhat regular to what it has done for the past week. I want to tell you so much news that I do not know where to begin hardly. In the first place I describe the capital. The city is regularly laid out the streets crossing each other at right angles. The State House is a beautiful structure of free stone situated in the city somewhere about the center on a slight elevation. The State House fronts on four of the principal business streets.The scenery that is to be seen from the dome is beautiful beyond description.
The Governors pallace as they call it here is at the foot of one of the streets fronting the State House. It is not a very pretty house.The house where President Andrew Johnston was born is here. His father was bell ringer at the Capitol. Our army was plunged in mourning for three days upon hearing the death of the President. It must be hard for a man to die just as he has attained the highth of his glory. His name will stand next to Washingtons on the pages of history as a great liberator. General Johnston and all of the armys of the south have surrendered and now there is pease.The papers have been sent to Washington for aproval.
War will be known No more and we will have pease form the Potomac to the Rio Grand. Oh wont you be glad when Johnie comes marching home. On every street through the City is splendid shade trees. It is like every other southern city in that respect. There is men from Lees army from the private to the General parading the streets from morning til night. They mix freely with our me(n) get acquainted with each other and for a person to look around they would come to the conclusion that they were never enemys. There is a rumor in camp that Jeff Davis with his family is captured. Sherman has issued several good orders sinse we have been here. He says that we are to stay here in camp twenty days and then march his whole army to Washington with the exception of a few troops to guard the town.
We will have a grand review mustered out and then go for home. Oh it will be so joyfull that it will overwhelm us. The march will be a long and tedious one almost three hundred miles. It will take us thirty days. But if we get home by the fourth of July wont wee have such a time. In the park to the entrancse of the Capitol is a beautiful bronze statue of Washington in his military costume. Our flag floats proudly over the capitol of Virginia and it has floated over every capitol in the confederacy. The sun is nearly set. It is the hour for music. Almost every band in Shermans army is playing some national air. We have some bands that would put some of our northern bands to the bush.
The army of the Potomac will get a sight of Shermans war worn heroes. I wait patiently for the time when we will be homeward bound.Then we will sing home again until the cold chills runs through our veins.Our camp is situated in the suburbs of the city near a young ladys seminary. General Lees daughter went to the seminary prevoius to our ocupation of the city. The people speak of her as being very beautiful. I shall wait patiently for an invitation to your home when I receive your next. Do not think I want to intrude myself upon you but I would be very greatful if you would. Day after tomorrow I will be twenty-two years of age. I did not expect to get out of the army so quick. I will not sound the chickens before they are hatched however. The soldiers were so exasperated when they received the inteligence of the Presidents death they threatened to burn the city. A strong guard has to be kept on post from morning till night.
Now I must close best wishes and love your brother. Edd
After the war...
This letter, written almost a year after Edward Pierson was
mustered out of the Battery, is the last one that is a part of the collection
owned by the Stuhr Museumof Grand Island, Nebraska.
In this letter,
Edward expresses his pleasure in receiving another letter from his ersatz
“Sister” and pen pal Emma. He reminisces about his days in the army and his
anticipations for Emma’s letters; Ed confirms that the two of them began
corresponding in 1863 while he was in Memphis,
TN and of the time and
changes that occurred since then.
It seems, by the
tone of this letter, that Edward is in a reflective and contemplative mood, and
he talks about “the wasted and foolish hours of his youth” and his wish (a wish
that everyone has expressed at some point in his or her life) to be able to go back
in time and redo portions of his life.
conversion of the previous month is still evident in his references to heaven and his savior. He also mentions
that he has sold his gold pen, the one with which he had written most of his
letters to Emma during his days as a soldier. Ed also talks about his
initiation into the lodge of the Good Templers, but he has some dislike
of the Officers because they are “Methodist.”
Edward then implores
Emma to go and visit her sister (Julia Beach Goodman) and Julia's new
husband Dewitt C. Towne, a fellow cannoneer in the Battery
and congratulate them upon their marriage.
The Townes were
married on July 4, 1865; this was Dewitt’s third marriage and Julia’s first. They
moved back East to Colerain, VT, which was Dewitt’s hometown. A 5-year-old
daughter (Carrie Belle) from a previous (deceased) wife was brought into the
household, but when unable to get along with her new stepmother, Carrie Belle
was “placed outside of her father's house” and raised by relatives. Dewitt
and Julia would eventually had two sons and two daughters, and moved west to Grand Island, NE and then on to Colorado.
Edward then talks
about the very real possibility of war with Canada and England
over the Fenian movement. (The Fenians were Irish and/or Irish-American veterans of
the Union Army, who armed themselves with surplus
weapons and attempted to invade Canada at various points along
the St. Lawrence River and Detroit. Although many Americans supported the
movement, the attempt failed).
To Emma from Edward A. Pierson
June 6, 1866
My Dear Sister Emma,
Yours of the 3inst came to hand this afternoon and right
glad I was to hear from you once more. Every time I receive a letter from you
it reminds me of old times in the army when I would watch oh so anxious for a
letter from you, and after waiting a reasonable time for an answer to mine I
hardly ever would go away disappointed and before we ever see each other you
was always punctual and sometimes I think that if it were not for your kind and
cheering letters to me I would be a great deal different from what I am.
think three years, Yes it was in 63 at Memphis
Tenn that we first wrote to each
other. What a great change those years has brought forth. Both of us are
certainly three years older than we were and both of us wish perhaps that we
would give everything if we could only be placed back and both of us probably
would do a great many things different from what we have. Sometimes Sister Em,
I feel very sad when thoughts take possession of me and I let them remain with
me very willingly to. Especialy of the old school days when perhaps both of us
remember when we first herd the little piece, You would scarse expect one of my
age to speak in public on stage for the first time. I say it makes me feel very
sad indeed to think of my childhood when no care or responsibility rested on
But my thoughts will in spite of me wander back to the golden hours that
have been spent oh so foolishly by me, I do not suppose there is a person upon
this earth but would like to live their life over again and see their youthfull
days once more. But in Heaven I hope we will spend an eternity of Youth which
will amply repay us wont it Sister. But you will think that I am growing
foolish and sentimental. What little I know of my Savior, I would not exchange
it for the whole of this world. I intend to join the Congregational church the
fore part of July, I believe then is their communion season.
This ink is very
poor and so is this pen, I sold my gold pen that I wrote so much with in the
I was iniciated
into the Good Templers three weeks ago last night, I was a little disgusted
with the proceedings and ceramonys but I have got all over that now. It is
offiserd by Methodists principally and that I do not like. This sectarianism
devides churches so much it does seem impossible to take any comfort with them.
The Offisers have not learned their duty and it seems as if they were trying to
make an aristocratic lodge, guess they are not trying to reclaim the fallen.
Sister, I wish you
could go an visit your sister and Dewitt and congratulate them in person. And
if there was any thing in my power that I could posibly do so that you could
go, I would heartily and cheerfully do it. I am poor in this worlds goods, I
have wished many times that I was rich and of how much good I could do. But if
all the riches were mine perhaps ten chances to one I would habe been ruined
body and soul and I have been thankfull that this temptation has been far
removed from me. My Parentage is poor but respectable and that is all that I
can boast of. Then yo sometimes visit
It does not seem that one year ago the latter
part of this month I came home, I think Sister that we are about to have war
with England, the Canadians say that we will have to fight the Fenians or
England, I would fight old Jony Bull in two minutes. Last Saturday night it
reminded of 61 when fort
Sumpter was fired into
and we first received the news. I earnestly wish the Fenians hearty success in
their cause and it is a great and glorious one if they can only get Canada then
they will have a foothold.
Now Sister Em, I
must close, write soon and believe me your loving and devoted
George was a 28 year old steam engine machinist from
Detroit when he enlisted as First Sergeant of the Battery on September
15, 1861. In July of 1862, he was commissioned senior Second Lieutenant,
and eventually succeeded Alexander Dees as Captain of the Battery on
November 20, 1862. More of his story can be found on the Biography page. The few letters we
have reveal a man of vigor and idealism. These letters, written to his
brother, were obtained from
Captain Robinson's pension records in the Veterans Administration,
March 21, 1862, near New Madrid, Missouri -
"Hurrah for the field!"
In the Field
Near New Madrid
I received your of Feby 15th
yesterday and as it is raining I thought this A good opertunity to answer it
you must have good times in the Shop now you have plenty of work
I rec a Scientific Americian
of Mar the 8 with your letter and About A bushel of others I think I have rec all you have been kind
enough to send When we move it takes
some time to get the mail established after that there is no trouble they come
like Clock work you may be sure they are gratefully rec and well red all the Officers and men come to me for
papers they rec very few
I have the same wish as you
with regard to our Battery I shall be glad when we get right down to our work
we have got plenty of Cast iron to through at the Rebels if you heer any but A
good account of the 3d mich Artillery remember it will not be my fault I have
made up my mind to Obey Orders under all circumstances and in all places (so
long as life remains and I am in the Army)
There is no news heer all we
see is tents and trees there is A report No 10 has Surrendered don’t know if it
is true you get the news that is as A general thing as soon as we do it is fun
to read the Detroit papers sometimes when they have anything to say about the
regiments we know there is quite A number of men come into camp to day from
Mich A Battery of Artillery some say with out guns or horses prafhs we may get
some of the Men in our Camp we need them badly just one fifth of our men are
absent sick we left them on the road in hospitials this country and weather is
hard on men we never had our full complement of men yet
I rec Mr Jacksons papers some
of our men are religiously enclined they rec all those papers they can get it
has been raining for the last 24 hour steady thank God we are incamped on A
turfe bottom having moved About one mile since I wrote Lattie
You have seen by Ruths letter
that I hurt my shoulder it is most well I can get my Jacket on myself now it
was awfull painfull at first how would you like to ride 20 Miles horseback with
your right arm in A sling not knowing how soon you would get into a fight when
it gets well so I can use my saber then Hurrah for the field
Regards to Misters
Jackson an Wiley
Love to Ruth Alice Ruth and
Believe Me your
1 Sergt Dees Battery
3 Mich Artillery
New Madrid Mo
P.S. Please send stamps as it
is impossible to get those heer
April 6, 1862, near New Madrid, Missouri - "Bound to
see this thing through"
George writes to his brother:
April 6th 1862
Army in the field
Near New Madrid
I rec your Kind letter of Mar
30th last evening after I had mailed to you Our Orders where
countermanded at 12 Oclock last night so we are here still we where hitched up
ready to start at 6 Oclock and Stood to horse 6 hours it did not take the men
long to unharness after they got the Order when we will have to leave is quite
uncertain but I think it will not be many days before we are in (Tenn) we are
close to A fight sure enufe their has been conciderable firing to day and it
was verry rapid at Sunset but has almost ceaced now, they have sent for heaver
guns to day for earth work defences I know this because One of our Lieutants
have gone after them and Amunition when we move it will be for the field of
Battle and my Chance is as good as aney their, all fare the same if some chance
shot Should hit me so be it, it will be in a Good cause that I fall and be
assured that I shall do my duty until I’m knocked over
My shoulder is much better so
I can do duty but cannot handle my saber verry good yet. I do not depend upon
that altogether as I have borrowed A six shooter until we get some for the
Company I carry one saber one revolver and one dirk knife and God help the man
that comes in my way in the Shape of A Rebel for shoot I
will while my ammunition lasts then if I cant use my saber my knife will come
verry convient it is sharp as A knife can be made
You said something about my
being disabled and coming home I am better fit for duty than some of our other
sergeants who are well you will not see me Again until this war is Honorably
Closed or I am sent home wounded in Action for I am bound to see this thing
through at all hazards it seames a waste of time to me to be idle in camp so long
the weather is quite warm it is hot in the middle of the day and not to cold to
sleep out of doors if it is nessary that is providing it don’t Rain I rec 2
Papers yesterday with your letter you can send letters and papers directed the
same as your last if we move they will be sent to the Company so I will get
them sooner than if you wait for me to write you my new address I will let you
know if we move and where to as soon as possible
Give my Love to Alice Ruth
And all Enquiring friends
Believe me your
P.S. I wrote Ruth yesterday
it is empossible to get stamps at any Price Send as you did the last time tell
the Girls to do the same and Oblig
Robert O. Sinclair
A letter of Robert's
in which he recounts years later (1918) to his nephews some of his experiences
in the Civil War:
You will have read of Pittsburg Landing, Island No.
10, New Madrid, etc. Now go with me again as we have disembarked and are making
for the south-east and in the enemy country. We will take a walk of a few miles
to the front.
He then tells a little what it was like out there and
I have lost my dates but this is months and more months since
we left St. Louis
and in the hot season of a hot country. A distant cousin and supposed friend
but a jealous friend had written home a scurrilous letter as to the action of
my company which I never made an effort to correct, as it would have been as
useless as to expect a man to put out a mile of prairie fire, and as I had been
sick for months with camp trouble I resigned my position and went home. It so
happened later that I never met that snake and likely it is better, far
While not a soldier or a member of the Battery, Emma
Smith has a section under Letters for her contributions to the men of the Battery. Apparently Emma, Sanford Smith's sister,
was instrumental in getting several local ladies to write letters to a
number of the men in Robinson's Battery during
1864 and 1865, similar to the "letter to any soldier" of present
She may have begun this letter writing campaign at the request of her brother
or perhaps a way to support the soldiers. Among the ladies named as
correspondents, are sisters Leute Goodman, Emma Goodman and Julia Beach
Goodman. A number of letters were written to a cannoneer in the battery -
Edward Pierson (also from the Detroit area) who
may have been a pre-war acquaintance of Sanford's.
The letters exist and are in the Stuhr
Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska.
is mentioned in a couple letters.
Edward Pierson wrote in response after receiving several letters and
established a platonic friendship with Emma Goodman. Apparently some of
Edward’s fellow artillerymen were motivated differently and tried to become
romantically involved by way of the Post Office. Emma Goodman may have
been a teacher at a Ladies Lyceum (school) or Female Academy-in the Troy, Michigan
After the war, Emma Goodman married a Peter D. Vorhes and moved to Howard County
Julia married DeWitt Clinton Towne, one of the cannoneers in the Battery. The Townes also moved to Nebraska.
envelope, at left, written to Julia Beach Goodwin still exists and was among the first
mail sent north by a soldier in Gen. William T. Sherman’s army when mail
service was reestablished at the culmination of the Carolina Campaign: Fayetteville, N.C., March 16, (1865) from Sherman's
army to Julia Beach Goodman, Troy, Michigan. Posted on one of Ensign
Ainsworth's boats back to occupied Wilmington.
Benjamin F. Stadler
Ben Stalder, of Chauncy, Ohio, was 20 when he joined the Battery by
transferring from the 63rd Ohio Infantry. Ben was one of the more colorful
members of the Battery - disciplined at least once for drinking and
insolence, he nonetheless became sufficiently a model soldier that he
was eventually promoted to corporal. His letters home are surprisingly
pungent, and his attitudes toward the War and the army change with the
weather and the circumstances. These letters are also owned by John
Hughes, who has graciously permitted them to be reproduced here.
August 15, 1862 - "no dam Picketts"
Camp near Clear Creek,
Mississippi Aug the 15/62
it is with Plasure that I take my pen in hand to let you no that I am
Well it is raining hear this morning and is quite Cool the boys is well in the
Rige and the thing is all rite hear I was detaild from the Rigt into the Third
Mishigan Batry and do like it better than the 63 fore there is no Picket guard
to Stand hear and all I have to do is to take Care of two horses and that is
what I like and one thing there is no dam Picketts hear to bea orderd about
with and they will bea les of them in Chaunsey and Shaby when I get home for I
am agoing to make a Shooting match of them and all the rest of the Negars in
ohio yo Can tell Nat and Bill to make their peas with god befor the war is
ended and the boys gets home for there is one hear that I am agoing to whip and
that is black eyed Ben he will Start home in this month and he has never bin in
a fite yet and he Shal be Soldier one year and then go home and blow around
that he has fought for one year for his Country and Never bin in a fight he has
got to fite me befor he can peure this
and then the Regt has got to
fite when wee get home I Could tell you Something about Nat that you would not
belive and that is that he and Bin an Sam all of them got the Clap in
When you rite direct to Dees Batry 3
Michigan this Battery is in the same divison that the 63 was and is Camp Next
to the 63
On the back is written a name, and address, but is faded
October 18, 1862 - "I am a wild devil"
Corinth Miss Oct 18th (1862)
I reseveid yours of the 12 this morning was glad to hear
from yo I am well onely a bad Cold
Yo wanted to no about that land I have not got any money now
but the 28 day of this month is pay day and I will send 30 dollars to yo
I would like for ever body to treat a old man with Respect
as for my Self I am a wild devil as ever body thinks So aney how but I all ways
treated a old Person with Respect.
By that land if Posible and get the Deed in your or mothers
Name or my own Just as yo pleas about that for it will bea all the same to me
Well old man I was down in the Regiment and had some fun
today a playing Cards that is the way I spend all of my time for enjoyment
Bea Sure and get all the land yo can and I will Send yo all
I make hear to pay on it
Maw John emerson is dead he dide agood while ago at Iuka
So No more at Present but right Soon and let me now about
the land for I am glad yo Can get it I wish that I had ben Saven of my money I
Could of bought 10 ackers by this time I have made from 50Cents to $5.00
dollars aday Since I Come in this Battery but I would think it Come easy and
hear it gos pay 2 or 3 dollars for a pint of whiskey and get one Sup out of it
but let me tel yo some thing hear after I am agoing to Save my money and let
the Whiskey alone
So good by
B F Stalder
November 11, 1862 -"to be free from this army"
Nov. the 11/62
It is with the grater of Pleasure that I take my pen in hand
to inform yo that I am well and hope your the same.
Since wee left Corinth I have not had a chance to Right Wee
are laying Near hollow [Holly] Springs and the news is to day that old Price [C.
S. Gen. Sterling Price] is their with 70th thousand men. in this division
wee have about 40th thousand and grants army lays on Another road with
about 60th thousand Strong. I think that wee have one hundred thousand men ready
and waiting for Price.
Wee whiped him once and can do it again with
Their is not any thing hear that would entice me to stay down
South if I could get at way I have made up my mind to be free from this army
again New years if I hafto run away for all wee are fiting for is to free the
god dam Negros and that dont suit this Child by god.
Their was an order last night red to the Company that the
first man or any man that was taken prisoner by the Rebels should bea
dishonarabel discharaged I would rather bea dishonarabel discharge that to stay
in a disgrasful army.
Well I have got a very pore pen but cant do aney better I have
got my likeness taken and will start it with this letter, let Brad and tude play
the first game of Seven up for it and the one that wins take the picture the
other I will send some things els as soon as I can get a chance.
B. F. Stalder 3th Mich
December 7-8, 1862 - "taking all the corn"
Camp near Waterford December 7,
I am lonesome and
have nothing else to do this evening, only right. I have got plenty of paper but
no stamps, only one. I am well and hope your the same. I was on guard yesterday
and today was drawing rations and other camp duties. That was [illegible] most
just for me to do now. The bugal is blowing and I must go to roll call. Well
that is done and I volunteered to go after forage tomorrow and I will have some
fun. So I will close and tell you all about it tomorrow night and what kind of a
time I had so good night father and mother.
December 8, 1862
Well, I take my
pen in hand to finish this letter. Elick has come and he has a part in of course. He is well and harty and fat and he can role as big a devil as ever. When I
and him gets home we will have a babe. Two if we can make one we have got the
females and all we want is the males to run them in and if there is a Lowrey on
the place and can find the males done easy. Well, I promised to tell what kind
of a time I had to day out after forage. The first was to drive Six mules. The
most was the boys killed two big hogs.
We got all the corn that the old Secesh
had, our army is taking all the corn and potatos and hogs they can find in the
secesh land. They are going to starve them out. They are so dam cowardly that we
can't ketch them and we run them so close that they can't take their corn with
them so we get it wherever we go. Elick says that he is a going to fetch home
with him a negro wench just for amusement, novelty and passtime. I suppose that
we will move tomorrow if I have the right end of the story. I want you to send
me some postage stamps. There is no prospects of ever going another fight here
for old Price has gone to hell or some other part if and ever get paid off I can
buy my own stamps.
B. F. Stalder 3rd Michigan Battery in
care of Lieut. Lamberg
December 19, 1862 - "a march is momentarly expected"
Oxford, Miss December 19th /62
I recived your letter
of the 11 and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well. I am
well and had no better health in my life than I have had sence I left home. The
63 [63rd Ohio Infantry] was ordered off last nite after a forage train that was
sent out yesterday after foarage, the 39/27/43/63 Ohio Rigements was ordered out
with three days rations. The rumers is that one of the Illinois rigements was
capturd yesterday and the Ohio Bregade was sent in ther assistance, the talk is
hear that old Brag is trying to cut off our suply train at Jackson, Tennissee
and a march is momentarly expected.
We are a waiting for orders from the Ohio
Bregade that went fourth this morning, they did not take their napsacks, or did
they move their camp, there tents is hear yet and a number of their men that was
not able to stand their march. I thought I heard Elick Coats speek, well it was
Elick and he is a writting hear in my tend and he has a old stamp and wants me
to send it on this letter. A well sister I red that letter you sent to Lions and
them burnt it up for he had gon and god noes when wee will meat again for I
dont. Well I red the letter that I got to Elick and I am as [remainder missing]
January 25, 1863 - "it is my duty to be here"
Corinth, Miss. January 25, 1863
Once more I seat
myself to inform you that I am well and certainly hope to here that you are all
enjoying the same great blessing. This day has been a long and lonesome one to
me. I have spent the day in reading a novel. Its title was Paul Jones, The
Captain of a man of war. It was a interesting story although I often thought of
home when I read some of his doings, but to come down to the real thing, home is
no place for an able bodied man and I feel it is my duty to be here although I
am far away from all relations, but I am not without friends. We have the best
Captain [George Robinson] that I ever seen and speaking of relations, when I was
at home the strangest man that I met was more of a friend to me than half of my
folks, not meaning any of the family for when I left home it proved for itself
who was my friend or who was my foes. But never mind, I am the same old Ben
right side up and don't care a dam for foes for I am man enough to settle with
them all when I come home. All I want is for all of you to spend your time in
good hopes and I will do the same. When anybody says a word about Ben tell him
that he can settle all accounts that is against him.
Mother, you stated in your letter that
my pretended friends did think hard about me talking about that dam coward Nat.
I tell whomever they may be if they had heard him blow as much as I that they
talk, yes they would do as I have done. Sware by all that is good or bad that
they would whip him if they met him when he was getting up his company. His name
was all over that county and he was thought to be a good officer. So he was but
for Shunk was liking and as for Ben Pickett he was dismissed from the service
because he did not know enough to be a private, let alone an officer. So when
they seen that he was of no use, they dismissed him. I heard a remark made about
him the other day. A man said if he had been reduced to the ranks it would not
be safe to put him on guard in this country where ther is so many trees for he
would of run against a stump or tree and kill himself or would of raised a false
alarm and been cashierd and put in the chain gang for three years shure than
hell, for I have heard you say mother that the Lord hated a coward and that a
coward would not ever get to heaven ha ha and before I would leave the army
without I could get away with honor I will stand til I am shot dead and I hope
that there is not a soldier on the face of the earth that would desert his
comrads and country. If there is, I want them to die before they make the
attempt for I have seen the horrors of a battlefield and I am ready for the next
if called on.
I have wrote a good long letter and
have my opinions on a deserter. If you and the rest of the people around
Chauncey don't hang Isaac Sairson or make him go to his company, then they ain't
any better than he is. I have wrote just what I think is right and nothing more.
If I have hurt your feelings in writing, I beg pardon and hope that you will
excuse me. So I will close for this time.
B.F. Stalder to his mother and
Michigan Capt. Roberson
February 1, 1863 - "a nice game of ball"
Private Benjamin Stalder, who was on detached service to the Battery
from the 63rd Ohio, wrote to his parents near Chauncey, Ohio:
Corinth Miss Feb the 1/63
I take my Pen in hand to
enform you that I am Well at Present and Hope that your all the Same today is
Sunday and wee did Calculate to have a inspection this morning But it Rained
last Night and it was Nocked in the head But it has Cleared away and the Sun is
Shining very nice and Warm and the ground is drying very fast we are Camped
about as far from Co at as from the hous to the Stable and I Can See all of the
boys when I wish I and J.C.Pickett and the Rest of Company A and our Company
had a nice game of Ball, tel I got tired and Lazey and then I quit, But the
boys is Playing yet. I am seated in a ambulance wher I Can have a fair Vue
of the Camp, the men is Staring a Round like Leaves in a wind Storm, it is Nice
to behold the Sight that I now see. I Can see the Camp guards a walking
their Beat barren their guns, they walk to and fro all most as Steady as a
clock tickes, Say what you will about a Soldiers Life, it is a eazy one when in
camp, but when in Battle it is a Hard 1
Wee can get all we Can eat
but what we would Drink if wee could get it (whiskey) but get all the Coffee we
can swig down Hard bread is no name for the Crackers that wee draw, our boys
says they are White Oak weatherborden, sawed in Squair blocks, the meat wee get
Yesterday Co A was on pickett
Guard and had to stand in the Rain last night
Tel all the folks around
Chauncey (Ohio) that their sons is well I seen Bill Winters yesterday he is in
the 39th Ohio Regt his leg is Sore again but so bad as it was when
they lived in Chauncey his Discharge has bin maid out for some time but has not
come back to the Regt
Their has bin a Grate deal of
gambling in Co the boys has bin Payd but I have stayd out of it and Sint my
money home I sent 25 dollars or started it a good while ago if it has gon Safe
you have 15teen in your Prosesion by this time I did not pay the Postage on the
last ten but Trusted to my Good luck for its safety whitch has never Failed
Girls I want your pictures
Virginia you must send me yours shure take all the Money that you want and bea
shure and send my your Picture I don’t belive that mother and father would have
thern takeng or I would Ask for it Mother I am agoing to Send in a few days a Black
overcoat and a shawl and a sesech Saucer home Mike Cortney and me will send Something
to gether when the Express line opens I will have them directed to Cortneys so
you will not hafto go to Athens (Ohio) after them I will Rite a letter and send
when I Start the box and will send you a List of the things their in
Tel Cop that he must not quit
Riting becas I do for I rite Everyday to some one or other tel Gliba when he
feels like riting to Rite but not before tel father he must rite soon as he
gets able tel Bill schooner to try and rite once a month tel all of the folks
to rite and I will answer I got a letter thee other night from Eliza
I just looked out and what do
you suppose I saw? It was old Henry Clay a making a Round like a snail on a
rotten log Tel Charles Harper that Elick is well I saw in one of the Athens
papers to Day that their had bin a big Snow storm in Ohio the Ground has not
bin covered with Snow only the second time this Winter and then it did not stay
on the Ground only a day or two
I am in my Shirt sleeves
today and my Sleeves rolled up to my elbows it is about 4 oclock and the mail
gos at 4 and I will hafto close for this time This is from your affectionate son
To his Parents Andrew Stalder
Rite soon/ wee will be paid soon
February 10, 1863 - "I have a Plan Laid out"
Corinth Miss Febuary 10 1863
Dear Mother and Father
I take my Pen in hand to
inform you that I am Well at Present and Hope that your all the same I Received
your Letter of the 30 of last month and was glad to hear from you to hear that
you was all well
You stated in your Letter
that you had Spent thirteen dollars of my money for a Sow and pigs that is
alright But I want you to touch Light on it for I have a Plan Laid out to Make Some
Money after this war is over and I want Some Means to go on Perhaps you would Like
to know what Plan I have in view It is one thing of these two I am rather
agoing to get Married and settle down and try and make some thing or I am going
to Califorinia within six months after I get home
You may think Mother that I
am a jesting about this matter It is as true as I am writing Didn’t I always
tell you that Chauncey was No Place for me or any other man that Could not
drink over a gallon
Well I was Down town today
and got me a pair of boots they cost me Seven dollars and a half right with Socks
I suspect that Next Pay day that I can send over ten or 15 dol home for I
borrowed ten and Sent home the other Pay Day besides fifteen of my own and Borrowed
ten again today so that makes 20 dol I owe but that don’t make Any difference
to me If I have Good Luck I can make it again we are paid off if I can get a
hold of Some old watch or something of that Kind there is almost fifteen a
coming to me now
Well the Soldiers here got up
a Excitement about the war They all think that this war will be Settled inside
of six Months but I don’t think so beeas a man of Common since would Know
better the way that the thing running
now if three years Settles it I am satisfied for it aint but a Little
while til three years is Gone for a month Slips away before I can get my Mind
fixed on it
Virginia said in letter that
she would Send me something if she thought they would come Safe There is no Danger
but they will come if she will only Express them at Athens some good Socks or
check Shirts would come in good play at Present I am going to Send her one of
the nicest Shawls that ever was in a southerners hand It is one that
J.C.Pickett got on a march whey they was out to Parker Cross Roads the time
that the Secesh cut off our Communication and I have bin Saving it til I Could
get a Chance to Send it Home and now the Express is open and now I will Send it
as soon as I can get Down town again
I also have a Secesh shirt
that I got my likeness taken in I want Virginia and Mag to send me their Likeness
as soon as they can get them taken I want you to mind about what I said about
that Money because I don’t want to come home and not have a red cent
So I will close when you Write
I want you to tell me other you got that money that I sent or not Come out and
say if got it or not
George Biggum wants to write
a few lines so no more
3rd Michigan Battery
In care of Capt Robinson
Well George says that I must Write
for him he says that he Sends his best Respects to all of you and wants you all
to not think that he has Forgotten you all for he says that he has not He says
that he will write as Soon as he can get time but time is something here for
there is Not a hour in the day but what there….. Ed. - remainder of this letter is
torn off and missing
June 27, 1863 - "Stoped the furloughs"
June 27, 1863 Memphis,Tenn.
Mother and Father
I again Seat my Self to
enform you that I am well and I hope that you are all the Same it has Bin
Raining hear for about a week the Rodes is Very Bad and mudey So all wee have
to do is tend to our Rol Calls and Eat and Sleep for it is the Nicest kind of
weather to Sleep I guess that the Furlous is Plaid out for I don’t think that
old yousless grant will take Vicksburgh in the Next fortey years without he
makes a mouve he has Bin Saind within gun Shot of theire Brestwoorks for about
too months So I don’t Expect to get to come home tel away long in the winter
you See they Stoped the furloughs tel
after Vicksburgh was taking I would Like to get to come Home the Befst kind and
would of got to Come if it had Not Bin for the Stoping of the furloughs
I heard that Company A of the
63 had all Bin home they was North with Some Prisners and I heard that they all
got to go home I want you to tel Cof if he will go and get that Ring I sent
home By Bill winters that I will Send him a good over coat the first chance I
get for there is Plenty of them hear that I Can get as handy as Not I would Not
take five dollars for the Ring for I took it off of a Sceeshs hand at the
Battle of Corinth and theire fore I don’t want to Part withit
would like to Now how much money that you have at home for I want to Let green
have a little moore he has got agood Place for it when I Can get alittle
Interest on it I think that is the best thing that I Can do with it he is good
for all the money that I will Send home and after I get theire I want to have
alittle to Set up a peenut Stand of Some kind for I don’t think that I Ever Can
work on the world
Their was an axident hapend the the other day that
gave this Company Joy the Capt had a lot of men under guard and he give his
Revolver to the guard and told them if one of the men Run to Shoot him So
theire was Not any of them Run and after awhile he Relived the men and told
them to go to theire tents and he went to the gard and got his Revolver and
December 5, 1863 - "buyzee a fixen my tent"
December the 5/63
I received your most wellcom
Letter and was glad to hear from home. I am well and hope that you all Enjoy the
same good Blessing I would of wrote
sooner only we have bin moving camp and I was Buyzee a fixen my tent So would
have a Comfhertabel place to Sleep and eat in.
I have good quarters as any
Soldier in Camp and as good a bed me and a fellow By the Name of frank fort Sleeps
together and has a tent By our Selves. Frank is as good a Pardner as Issac
Conningham (63rd Ohio Inf) was But I would Rather have old Ike By my
Side. I would give more to see Ike than any man that I ever saw. I suppose you
remember a small bunch of whiskers that Ike left on my chin, They are there yet
and will stay till Ike shaves them off.
I thought when I wrote you at
Eastfort that we was agoing to reinforce Grant, but we are here a repairing
rail roads and without a doubt never will have to fire another gun for we are
an Independent brigade and building rail roads is and has bin our fate.
Our men at Chattanooga whipped old Bragg and gained a
complete victory taking ten thousand prisoners and fifty-two pieces of
artillery. Ols Sherman’s men was in the fight. They are old Vicksburg veterans. Some that has bin tried
and never failed.
I think if we continue on as
successful as we have bin for the last 8 months that the war will soon close. I
think it is impossible for them to fight much longer.......Letter ends
December 26, 1863 - "I have re-enlisted"
Letter from John Hughes' collection:
Dear Mother and Father
I am found again at the table
atrying to wright to you but it Seems almost empossibel for me to Say a word
but why Should we bee So down hearted, I know that my Sister was good and true
to me although it is a debt we all must Pay Sooner or Later, it is hard to Part
with a fellow Soldier but the Scens of the Battlefield at Corinth dident begin
to tuch the heart of me as the death of my Sister. All though I was an eye
witness to it and Seen men murderd and mingled in all kinds of ways, both of
the Scens was hard enouf to break the heart of Stone.
Well Dear Parents I am Coming
home Next month but am Sorrow to Say that I Cant Stay with you for I have
Reinlisted and get 30 days furlough and $402 dollars Bounty for Reinlisting I
know that you wont like to here of it but my Country Calls and I feel as it was
my duty to attend. We that is us soldrers will get all back Pay and our hundred
dollars Bounty that is dew us we can serve our times out in our old Regt then we
can go where we Pleas So it is in our own State troops.
I don’t think but what we can
whip the rebs in the year of 65 but you think that is agood ways off, well So
it is but we have almost whipped them and I don’t feel inclined to Let go Now
to Renew my halt So I Shal hold on tel I am Compled to Let go and Retreet. I
wish that all men felt as I do about this war, they would Rais in Soled mass
and march to the assistance of our Dear Soldiers.
We had a Speech here to day
by the Rev N. G. Collins of the 57th Ill. Regt he is the man we want
among Soldiers he has printed Some of his Speeches and Selling them to the
Soldiers you may think he is trying to grabel the mony from the Soldier
But it is Not So his encome was over five thousand dollars ayear
Well I have wrote agood long
Letter and Now I must close it is after Nine oclock and all in my tent is Sleeping
I am Not Sure but this will bee the Last Letter that I wright tel after I Start
home for we are about ready to start Now
the 39 ohio (39th Ohio
Inf) is Sworen in to day we are waiting for our turn I don’t believe but what
Every man will reinlist in our whole Brigade
So I will as I have Said
before if I was in your Place I would Not wright again tel you heard from me
B F Stalder
3rd Michigan Battery
February 27, 1864 - "I got Fifty dollars"
All the boys is well and appear happy because they got home. . . I got Fifty
dollars in Coldwater, Mich. of State bounty, and circitificate for One hundred
more, I tell you that Michigan is the State for me, she thinks of her soldiers
that has bin in the field as well as those that is going out. . .
Hiram M. Towne
Hiram Towne of Detroit enlisted in the Battery as the
Quartermaster Sergeant on October 1, 1861, at the age of
23. Changes in Battery personnel earned him a series of commissions
in 1864, culminating in appointment as senior First Lieutenant on
December 19th. Hiram's letters to his young niece Carrie,
though only a portion of his correspondence,
give a remarkably full portrait of his family during his service. They
are located in the archives of the US Army
Military History Institute. See Hiram's biography for more information about him and Carrie.
January 5, 1862 - "letters from dear friends"
Benton Barracks St.Louis Mo. Jan 5th,1862
I was made very happy on the recipt of
your kind letter, I was then at Grand Rapids in camp, I was really taken by
surprise, I had given up ever hearing from Garden (Mass.) again but that was a
good long letter that I recived,so I will pardon all past offences and
look forward for many such.. you must know that letters from dear friends
seem better now than ever they did before. I am so far from them..I recived but
one letter since I came here, that from Brother Clinton, he is well but his wife
has a bad cough..
I was glad to hear that you had
recovered your health.. you should be very thankfull to God for sparing you to
your dear parents.. God has been very mercifull to me,I have been sick but 3
days since I came into the army. I have grown hearty and tough, you would hardly
know me were you to meet me.
I am Quarter Master Sergent and have
everything to do, more than any other one in the company, but I will not
complaine as long as I have my health.. we have been here about two weeks and
have Just got settled down.. I wish you could see our camp..it is
beautifull.. there is about 15000 men in camp here, Cavalry, Infantry,
& Artillery.. It is a fine sight to see them all on dress parade, the
Cavalry on horses.
We expect to stay here sometime untill
we are pretty well drilled. there is 1200 prisoners in the city, that were taken
near here since I come here, I have not seen them yet..
We have 7 beautifull Cannon in front
of our Barracks, which we hope to put to a good use one of these days. We have
120 horses here, the finest ones on the ground, and expect 50 more from
Michigan soon for our Battery.. they are all nearly Black..
The weather is very nice here,
scarcely any snow.. I suppose it is very cold in old Mass. just now.. I spent
Christmas and New year in camp hard at work.. In the evening the Colonell sent
for me to sing for him, he is very fond of music.. I think he is the best
Colonell in the camp.. his name is Minty.. and was lately from
Canada, is a scotchman.. These things
may not interest you, but may your parents.. I have time to write but one letter
just now.. I should have gone to the city to church today if it had not
I am glad to hear that you are so far
advanced in your studies.. try and learn all you can now for youth is the time
to learn and retain knowledge.. you wrote that you would send me your picture
sometime,I should be happy to recive it.. and should think so much of it.
We are to be paid off tommarro, It
will make all of the boys happy to see some money once more.. They owe me for 3
months work. Mother is able to be around the house but cannot see with but one
eye.. I feel so sorry for her, poor soul, she cannot see to write a word to me
she used to do all of the writing to Martin & myself..
You would hardly want to eat what we
have to here. Our rations are furnished us and some of the men cook them. we
have fresh beef or pork (salt) coffee, rice, sugar, bakers bread (very good
baked on the ground) and some of the time potatoes.. Every day you must eat some
desert for me.. Won't that do!!
Brother Martin is well at Detroit.
The Orderly Sergt and myself have a
small room by ourselves where we do our writing and sleep, it is very
You must let your parents read this
for I cannot write anymore this time, you must not forget me, but write often..
Direct your letters to Sergt
H.M.Towne Flying Artillery,3d Michigan
Cavalry Benton Barracks,St.Louis,Mo.
Excuse all errors,I have written in
haste and am afraid my letter will not be of much interest to you. Well my sheet
is filled and will close by wishing you many a happy New Year. Your aff Uncle
December 28, 1862
Headquarters 3rd Mich
Camp at Davis Mills, Tenn
December 28th, 62
I have been waiting patiently for months to hear from my dear little niece – but as yet
I have not recived any answer to my last letter addressed to you. Why not, I
cannot concive, for your mother promised to answer any letter I saw fit to
write you. I hope it is not a disagreeable task, for I love to read your
mothers letters. I know she is a Kind
dear mother to you. And trust that you love her very much , and are ever prompt to obey
her. You will not appreciate fully a mothers love until you are
deprived of that love.
Your future you know not. It is well that it is so, your
happiness may depend greatly on your early education. When you enter
society, if you have a good
education, you will be admitted to the best of society, even if you have
not riches. You may not understand all of this, but your mother will explaine
it to you. I live in a large city and have been in all kinds of society, both
rich and poor, and I can assure you that it is not the young lady that dresses
the finest and put on the most airs that is usually the most
respected. But it is the Educated and talented young lady who
is looked up to, and then society is saught by those whom we can respect and
love. I do not despise a young lady who takes considerable pains with dress, on
the contrary, I love to see taste displayed in dress. But I am not a fit person
to advise you, others you love, who no doubt, look with great care to your future welfare.
But your parents, I trust, will pardon me for the liberties
I have taken in this letter. I cannot help thinking of you very often,
and shall always watch over you, as I would a young sister if I had one. If
ever I have a home of my own, you shall certainty come and make me long visits.
When that will be, I know not…a battle may be fought, and your Uncle
will be no more, if so Kindly remember Uncle Hiram. Or a limb may be
taken off by a shell or shot…and then who will care for the poor cripple,
some may pity, but most will shun him. God grant that I may never be a cripple.
There will be many of those after this war is over, treat them kindly Carrie.
Many of them left home and friends, bright prospects to fight for
rights dear to every true Americans. They endure things to rough
for your young heart to know, the least of which I will mention to you.
We are living on ½ rations, no Coffee, no tea, no
sugar. Our bread stuff is a part Hard Bread and the remainder coarse
Indian meal. We have been living so for sometime and what we will come to,
I know not, but hope it will change for the better soon. But remember, I do not
complain in regard to this. Our supplies are cut off. Our good old Uncle
Samual will soon open the way to us and supply all our necessary wants. I think
I wrote you all about the Battle of Corinth, since then we have had no serious
fights, went with the army to Oxford,
Miss. And Holly Springs. We
dismounted one of the enemies guns at the Tallahatchey River,
with a shell from one of our rifled Parrott guns (distance 1-1/4 mile away). We
captured the piece. We have lately marched back almost to the point we started
from. The rebels got in our rear. Where we will go to from here, I know not.
We have recived no
mail or papers for over two weeks. When last I heared from Father and Mother,
they were well, they reached Brother Clinton’s the day after his wife died. Ada and George was well.
You must not forget Uncle Hiram, I would love very much to see you.
The children I see
here are dirty, ignorant little things. There is thousands of contrabands
here, and funny folks they are, some quick witted, and dance very pretty.
Just as soon as you
can, you must write me yourself, don’t be afraid. I would love very much
to have your picture. I will write your mother about it. I will not close
before wishing you a happy “New Year” and may you see many of them.
We marched 12 miles on Christmas.
You must tell your mother to write all about you, your
studies. I have forgotten your birthday, please let me know. I think I written
you a long letter, but fear it will not interest you very much. It is
fine weather here, warm during the day, but cold at night. I wrapped the
blankets around me closely last night, but one could not keep warm. We have no snow.
It is quite late and I must write a few words to your mother
tonight, so I must close. Hoping to hear soon from you.
Your Aff Uncle
May 4, 1863 - "I am still a Non-Com"
Headquarters 3d Mich Battery Camp at Corinth,Miss May 4th 1863
I wrote you and your
Mother sometime since but could not send my pictures then. I have had some
taken, and will send them now, although they are not as good as I could wish,
but no better ones can be taken here. You can see that I am still a
"Non-Com" as we term it. But I expect to procure a pr of Shoulder straps
in a few weeks. My Brother Clinton is with me, and well. All of our folks at
home are well. Brother Martin is still at home. The weather is quite warm, but
we have beautifull nights, cool and pleasant.
You will please write me on the recipt
of this, and be carefull and send that picture you promised, "don't forget
it", I want to see it very much.
Give my love to your Father and
Mother. Write a long letter to your aff Uncle Hiram
3d Mich Battery Col.Fullers Brigade Corinth,Miss
November 6, 1863 - "A musical party was given"
Camp of 3d Mich Battery Eastside
of the Tenn.River Miss. November 6th 63
I have waited with much
patince, thinking you would write me soon. I fear your letter has been lost, in
case you have written. I was much pleased with your last letter and hope to
recive many more such, do not fail to write often, write about any-thing you
please; your studies; companions; parents or anything which comes into your
mind,all of which will please me.
Since last I wrote you,I have recived
a "furlough" and made a visit north. I took the boat to Memphis, leaving it for
the cars at Cario, Ills., from there I went direct to Detroit, Mich where I
enjoyed myself "hugely" From there I went to Ypilanti where my Aunt and several
cousins reside, Your Mother once lived there, about a year I belive, and is
often spoke of in the highest of terms by them, although dead, she is still
fresh in the memory of all those whom once knew her. They did all within their
power, to make my visit pleasent. A musical party was given,which passed off
very pleasently. Emma & Cleora are fine singers, they having natural talent,
which have been well cultivated, both vocal and insturmental. Cleora graduated
while I was there, she is a very pretty young lady and has a fine education, her
essey, I think was the finest of her class. She understands German,french and is
now studying Greek. She intends teaching in some female seminary for a time. I
think she is engaged to a classmate of hers, who is now in college, he is well
worthy of her.
While there I recived a tellegram from
my Brother Martin, requesting me to meet him in Milluwalke and he would have a
troupe together and we would give some concerts. I packed up and bade
them "good-bye", took the cars for Chicago, spent the sabbath in that city. I
called on and dined with Mr. Dean Austin and lady, she was formerly Miss Kate
Handy of Coleraine, your father will recollect her. I also called on E. Bryon
Smith formerly of Colerain. I reached Mill, monday about noon, when I met my
brother, whom I had not seen for nearly two years, we were very glad to see each
other, he had changed scarcely any, the same good brother. I love him
very much. We stepped on the cars and soon were at Whitewater, where he had
advertized a concert. There we met with the rest of our troupe, which were from
the "contenintals" with the exception of two ladies who assisted us. We gave
several concerts, all of which were successfull and seemed to give very good
satisfaction. At all of the places which we stopped, we were invited to spend
the time with some fine family, where we were treated with much hospitality. At
last the time came for me to part with brother and my friends and to return to
"Dixie" It was rather sorrowfull, but duty
called me, I must go and I did it willingly.
I wanted very much to visit my father
and mother but I could have spent but a few moments with them and I know the
parting would be very hard upon the good old parents, so I concluded not to go
there untill I am released from the army, which will be in a year, should I
I got me a nice photograph album when
north, and I do want your picture so much to place with others of my friends in
it, you must not forget and have one taken for me sometime, when it is
convinent, you must not think me impatcient though.
I reached Memphis, just in time to march with the Battery, which left 2 days after I arrived. We have had a
long march, having been twelve days on the road, and much of the way, very bad
roads, some cold rainy days also, which don't suit soldiers, who have to
lay in cold wet blankets. We have at last crossed the Tennesse River. We were nearly all day yesterday
crossing several transports took us over,about 20000 troops have just crossed
over, where we are "bound" for I cannot say. I think we are going to Chattanoga,
it will be about 10 days march from here. We can take scarcely any meat with us,
will have to kill hogs and cattle where ever they can be found. We have
"laid-up" today as it is raining hard. I expect we will start early tommarro
When you write me,direct to 3d Mich
Battery, CoL.Fullers Brigade, 16th Army Corps and it matters not where I am, it
will reach me with out fail.
I hope to hear from you soon, you must
remember I am somewhat lonesome, so far from so many of my friends. Tell your
Mother I shall be pleased to hear from her, whenever it is convienent for her to
write. Give her my love, also your father. Martin is now teaching in Janesville Wisconsin, also
composing music which is published and being published in Chicago. Brother Clinton
is still in my office and well. the people at home are all well as usual.
I fear my letters will not interest
you very much. I have written in such haste but excuse me this time
With much love, I remain Your
March 27, 1864 - "promoted to Chief of Caissons"
"C" lrst Mich Artillery Decatur,Ala March 27th 1864
waited "long" and patiently to hear from you again ere I wrote, but at last have
become discouraged and resolved to write a few lines to chide, just a little, my
just returned from Michigan having re enlisted and recived a
furlogh of about 45 days. Owing to my eyes being very sore I could not go to see
my Father and Mother. I was much disappointed. I heared from them this morning,
they were as well as usual, Ada was attending school.
been lately promoted to Chief of Cassions, with the rank of 2d Lieutennant. The
Governer gave me my commission while I was last in Michigan, you would be
suprised to see what a dignified Officer, your Uncle makes, I now earn over $100
to see T. Martin while north, he is well and has, all the pupils he can teach,
he continues to have music published, he is plesantly situated and doing well.
you would try and have your photograph taken as soon as you can,and send me. I
should love dearly to see how you look. I will send Mother and Fathers photo's
as soon as I can have them taken. While north I had all my things stolen from
me, amongst which was about 100 photographs of friends and Generals of our army.
should much love to visit Garden, and should I live, intend doing so after this
war is at an end.
are not entirely well. you see I do not write as though they were.
What are you doing this spring? and how is your mother
and father? "Spring is here" and quite warm it is, flowers are in bloom. Mocking
birds are singing and nature seems generally smiling.
love to your people, and don't fail to write very soon.
July 18, 1864, Rosswell, Georgia - "I had a duel with some rebel
was truly made happy upon the recipt of your letter which was recived after
some delay, you can’t imagin how much pleasure it is for us to recive letters
in the army from friends at the north.
I often get lonely, especially when
everything is quiet along the lines, when skirmishing and fighting is going on,
my mind is occupied with duties connected with it. During the last 3 months we
have been very active since, it has been to us, the hardest campaign of the
war. We have no tents, sleep on the ground and sometimes live on short rations.
But all of this we can endure & more to if necessary, that our country may
once more be restored to peace. You are young yet, but old enough to love our
country and its good old flag, and I trust that you already do.
I was well pleased with your picture,
although it was small, I think it a good one. How much you had changed since
last I saw you, I think you have improved in your appearance and I hope you
have in your studies.
I beg of you Carrie, to strive and be
a good student, study well the branches taught in your school at
home, and should I live to see the end of this war, and be at all successful in
the business which I intend to follow, I will see that “my niece” has instruction Music ect
providing you have a desire to understand that branch.
Which do you love the most, vocal or instermental
music? Does your voice grow strong, as you grow older? Have you learned to read
music? Don’t fail to study thoroughly the branches you study, because
your whole education depends entirely on that. Does your teacher require you to
write compositions? I hope so, for it is the best thing that can happen to a
young student, it is a great help to be able to compose and write nicely, and
last, let me say don’t be satisfied with an ordinary education, but strive to
excel, it can only be done by close application to study. But I fear you will
say this is a long lecture, don’t think me too officious.
My health is good although my eyesight
is still poor, Brother Clinton is with me, his health is good. Martian has
enlisted in the 42nd Wisconsin Regt. for 100 days, he is principle
Musician. Father and Mother are enjoying usual good health, also sister and her
family. I am grieved to hear that your Mother has been so ill, but I hope she
has entirely recovered ere this. I would be kindly remembered to both her and
I hope you will have a pleasant time
in Coleraine, and will you please to take a ride to Adamsville, and call on my
Aunt Brown, Mothers sister, she would like very much to see you. She has lost
her only daughter and feels very lonely.
Just as soon as I can get those
photo’s taken of F & M, I will send you some. I am now about 20 miles from Atlanta. I am in command of 2 guns, ½ of the Battery. I have them in Fort Towne
which was built expressly for my guns. They command the long bridge across the
Chattahoocha river. We have a beautifull
from the fort, how long I remaine here I do not know. I now live well, have
a good cow, Blackberries, string beans, Beets and Apples.
I will send a flower to your teacher,
with my compliments, I think there is none of them in the north, called “Grape
Myrtle”, some of them are bright crimson, grow on quite a high shrub and
quite fragrant. Figs grow here, but are not ripe yet.
Since the 4th of this month, I have been in a
fight. I had charge of the Battery, I had a
duel with some rebel artillery, which was in a fort across the C. river, about
1500 yards distant. I had no fort, but after firing about 100 rounds, I
silenced their battery, some of the shell burst just in front of me, flying in
all directions, not harming me.
Letter ends at this point
Lt. Towne mentions a
small earthworks fortification that the guns are emplaced in, and had named it
“Fort Towne” after himself.
After making the acquaintance of a
participant from Atlanta,
GA at the Ladies of the 1860’s Conference in PA and briefly mentioning Robinson’s
Battery’s role in the Atlanta campaign, the
gentleman from the South suggested a contact in Roswell, GA.
Hughes then contacted a local Roswell historian, Michael Hitt.
was aware of where the fort had been located. He stated that this area was
situated on a small level spot on the slope of a rather steep bluff overlooking
River, perfect for
commanding a field of fire that would have included the wooden bridge that
crossed the river (also
mentioned in Lt. Towne’s letter).
The retreating Confederates had burned the original bridge on July 5,
1864. A replacement bridge was built by the Union Army on July 13
and subsequently burnt when they left the area on August 6, 1864.
This site is on
private property, and is actually in the back yard of a house. The National Park Service owns the
adjoining land. Mr.
Hitt was excited to learn that the little fort actually had a “name,” and has
sent several maps showing the Roswell area.