These two letters were written by Eli Crosby (1844-1862) who enlisted in Co. F, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 28 March 1862. Eli’s term of service was brief; he died on 6 July 1862 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He was buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at St. Louis.
Eli was the son of Joseph Armstrong Crosby (1817-1868) and Mary Jane Barchus (1824-1872) who were enumerated in Mill Creek, Union county, Ohio, in the 1850 US Census. Ten years later they were enumerated in Jackson, Paulding county, Ohio. In his letters, Eli mentions his sister, Almira (or Elmira, b. 1844) and his brother Albert (b. 1848).
In the second letter, Eli’s cousin, George W. Crosby adds a note.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
April 7, 1862
Dear Brother & Sister,
I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope that [these] few lines may find you all well. We are all here and well.
Albert, we have some good times here. We went to church the last two nights. We marched down to the house. We don’t know how long we have to stay here. It is raining here now down here. They are plowing. We seen some pretty country. Last night there was a southerner here and they captured him. He deserted. He was a second lieutenant.
Albert, we seen the steamboat. We seen the monkey and the dogs and five [ ] and snakes. I hain’t got any money now but I will, I expect, for you to send stamps. I will write to you as many times that I can.
We were out yesterday, me and Mike and John. We was on the [ ]. Where we are is a pretty place. We have bunks to lay on. I will send my clothes home as soon as I can and my overcoat.
William, if you write to me, I will write to you. I want to know how you are getting along. If I get my money, I will send it home in a letter that I want myself though [ ] that the war will be over. I expect that the war will be over in a short time.
I must bring my letter to a close for this time. Direct your letter to Cincinnati, Ohio. Direct to City Barracks in care of Major Granger, Company D, Cincinnati, Ohio.
From Eli Crosby. Write soon as this comes to hand.
To Albert Crosby.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
April 29, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
I take my pen in hand to let you know how that I am. I am getting well. I received your letter on the 23rd of this month and was glad to hear from you. I don’t know how long we have to stay here. Maybe we will go today, I don’t know. Well, I have got a letter from Elmira. Tell her that I can’t answer it now. I don’t believe. Maybe if I have time I will. I hear that Eliza Jane Barchus has a girl and they call her Juliann.
Well the boys is all well at this time. Tell Mister Rodgers that John is well. He told me to them them I received William’s [letter] on the same day that I received your letter. John is in here now. He is [here] to read the letter that I got from Elmira and Thomas.
Well, I can’t [think] of nothing to [write at] this time.
Well, Albert, you I expect are lonesome now. Well don’t mind it for I expect to come home.
Well, William, a few lines to you now. I received your letter and [was] glad to hear from you. I have had the measles bad here [but] I am now getting well. George s well and the rest of the boys. George traded his satin vest for a watch [that] is worth about 10 dollars. He is playing hob.
Well, I sent home my clothes—the winter ones. The boots I want you to keep them. My overcoat is with them. My mind is not [clear] today somehow or other. Juliann wants my likeness. I would send it it but I can’t now. I must bring my letter to a close for George wants to write [too]. No more this time. I am — Eli Crosby
To Joseph Crosby and Mary.
Dear Uncle and Aunt,
I myst write you a few lines to let you know that we have all been sick but myself and I am as stout as a buck. But the boys is able to go to their regiment today if we have to go. I don’t think that we will leave till tomorrow [when] we will go for sure.
Well, I must tell you that there was two boys that tried to play sharp with me and they did. But while they was a playing sharp, I was too. I played them both in the guard house. They rip and swore that when they got out that they was a going to kill me. But they are out and I am alive yet. They commence on me but just as soon as the old 38th boys haul off their coat, I told them that there was enough of the Bloody 38th to whip all the boys in the barracks. They wanted to compromise and come into the Union again and they was glad to get off.
Olive, I have been a trading. I traded my vest for a watch worth about ten dollars. When you see George’s kids, tell them that I can’t write to them till I can get some money. I wrote Margaret a letter and that was all the money that I had. But I will write anyhow and they can pay the postage. — George Crosby