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LETTERS

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 available.

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

Asa Estabrook

Letter 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 1886.                                                                                                       

Allegan  Feb 6th / ‘87                        

Well 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.                        

Ben 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.                        

Ben 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.

Respectfully yours.                                                                               
From A.C.E.

Austin Haywood or Hayward

Letter 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            

Aunt Linna 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            

Aunt Senna 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            

I have 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            

write as 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 write soon  

Respectfullt your 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, Miss.                                                                         Sept. 22, 1862  

Dear Father and Mother,            

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 burnt.

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 Corinth:              

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 well.

August 2, 1864, Battles for Atlanta - "Cast-iron compliments"

[Published in Allegan Journal August 1864]
August 2nd:  

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. . .

Unknown Lyons

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 with, etc......"

Philip O'Brien

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 Cavalry.   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 further south.   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.

Camp Anderson
Grand Rapids November 8th, ‘61  

Dear Margaret  
I should 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.  
Write as soon as you can  
No more at present from….  

February/March 1862

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.   

Dear Margaret  

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.                              

Philip O’Brien  

March 19, 1862

March 19th 1862  
Field of action neer New Madrid  

Dear Wife

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 the Battle 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  

20th  

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,   

Dear Margaret

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 it.  

New Madrid 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.   We have 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.  

…get paid 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.  

James 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.  

Dear 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 Capt. Dills.  

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.  

You said 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.    

The morning of the 25th,  

Dear 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 from your                            
affectionate husband.                                     
Phillip O’Brien.    

About April 5, 1862

Ed. - This letter is undated, but events discussed place it around April 5th, 1862.  

Mrs P. O’Brian
Duncan, Michigan              

They 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 taken prisoners.            

I 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 Mich 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. The 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                           
April 15th, 1862          

Dear Margaret,

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.        

We sent 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.  We have 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 ower.        

This is 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.  

But you 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.        

You 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

Dear Wife

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 loss.            

We killed 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.            

Dear 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.            

Dear 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.            

Now Dear 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.            

The 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.            

Dear 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

Dear Wife,

I once 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.            

Dear 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.            

I 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.            

I 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.            

We 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.    

I 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 made to identify this person to a regiment or medical orderly, but without success.

General Hospital      
Corinth Miss                                     
Oct 11th, 1862

Mrs. O’Brien        

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

February 1865

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 time.     

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

Dear Wife                                      

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 to write.        

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 Write also.        

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                           
(Phillip)

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. Phillip’s 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.

Helena Arkansas
August 24th, 1865   

Dear Wife

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 discouraging………        

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 Phillip                                
Margret O’Briens Husband  

Edward Pierson

May 26, 1863  To Emma  "I feel the want of a sister"

Memphis Tennessee, May 26, 63. 
General Fullers Brigade
3rd Michigan Capt. Geo Robinson Commanding   

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 receive mine.

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.

We have 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 glorious flag  

Address Edward A Pierson For that is my true name instead of Harry Ines
3rd Mich Battery Memphis Tennessee      
Write soon

August 25, 1863  To Emma  "burning rays of August"

Memphis Tennessee Aug 25 63
3rd Mich Battery 1st Lieutenant Shier Commanding    

Dear Sister Emma

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 may recover.

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. Write soon and oblige
Edward A Pierson

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 Museum of 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.  

Edward’s religious 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
Home Jackson
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.

Only 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 me.

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 service.   

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 the city.     

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

Brother Eddie P

George Robinson

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, Detroit, Michigan.

March 21, 1862, near New Madrid, Missouri - "Hurrah for the field!"

Mar.21/62

In the Field
Near New Madrid  

Dear Robin  

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
Most Affect
Brother  

Geo Robinson
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
Sunday Evening  

Dear Robin  
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 Lattie
And all Enquiring friends  

Believe me your Most Affect Brother  
Geo Robinson  
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 George

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 finished:

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 better.

Emma Smith

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 day.

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.  Sanford's name 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 area.  

After the war, Emma Goodman married a Peter D. Vorhes and moved to Howard County in Nebraska. Julia married DeWitt Clinton Towne, one of the cannoneers in the Battery. The Townes also moved to Nebraska.

An 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            

Dear Parents

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 Place       

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 Chillicothe      

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 to illegibility.

October 18, 1862 - "I am a wild devil"

Corinth Miss Oct 18th (1862)  

Dear Parents  

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"

Camp near
fifty miles
from Corinth  

Nov. the 11/62  

Dear Parents,

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 Pleaseure.

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 Dees Battery
Rosecrans Army Mississippi

December 7-8, 1862 - "taking all the corn"

Camp near Waterford
December 7, 1862

Dear Parents,

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

Dear Sister,

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

Dear Parents,

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 father
Corinth, Miss.
3 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  

Dear Parents  

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 is good

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  

B.F. Stalder  
To his Parents Andrew Stalder                        
                      Fannie 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  

B.F. Stalder
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.

Dear 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                   

I 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 went to……..   Letter ends.

December 5, 1863 - "buyzee a fixen my tent"

December the 5/63  
Prospect, Tenn  

Dear Mother 

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:

Prospect, Tenn
Dec. 26/63  

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 when home. 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

My Dear Neice,

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 stormed..

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 comfortable..

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 Hiram

December 28, 1862

Headquarters 3rd Mich Battery
Camp at Davis Mills, Tenn
December 28th, 62  

Dear Carrie  

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.  
I remain Your Aff Uncle  

Hiram

May 4, 1863 - "I am still a Non-Com"

Headquarters
3d Mich Battery
Camp at Corinth,Miss
May 4th 1863

Dear Carrie

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

Dear Carrie


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 live.

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 morning.

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 Uncle
Hiram

March 27, 1864 - "promoted to Chief of Caissons"

Headquarters Battery "C"
lrst Mich Artillery
Decatur,Ala
March 27th 1864

Dear Carrie

I have 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 correspondent.

I have 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.

I have 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 per month.

I went 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.

I wish 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.

I should much love to visit Garden, and should I live, intend doing so after this war is at an end.

My eyes 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.

Give my love to your people, and don't fail to write very soon.

I am as ever
Your loving Uncle
Hiram

[Address: Luient H.M.Towne; Battery "C," lrst Regt. Mich Artillery, Decatur,Ala
(via Nashville)  

July 18, 1864, Rosswell, Georgia - "I had a duel with some rebel artillery"

Headquarters, 1rst Sect. Battery “C” 
Rosswell, Ga. 
July 18th, 1864  

My Dear Niece,            

I 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 your father.          

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

Ed. -
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. John Hughes then contacted a local Roswell historian, Michael Hitt. 

Michael 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 the Chattahoochee 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.