This letter was written by Samuel Clark Marshall (1840-1894) of Selma, Clark county, Ohio, while serving in Co. B, 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He entered the service on 23 November 1861 and was mustered out on 31 October 1864.
Samuel was the youngest child of William Marshall (1799-1842) and Catherine Huffman (1801-1867). His siblings included:
Ann Eliza Marshall (1822-1864) m. William Mills (1814-1879) in 1846
Delila Peterson Marshall (1823-1915) m. Joseph Ely Wilson (1823-1898) in 1845
Mary Ann Marshall (1825-1890) m. William Stewart in 1852
Robert Fulton Marshall (1827-1912) m. Agnes Elder (1830-1910) in 1853
Amos Huffman Marshall (1829-1919); went to California in 1853
Elizabeth Nagley Marshall (1831-1862) m. Daniel P. Wilson in 1855
William Cole Marshall (1833-1839)
Catherine Huffman Marshall (1835-1880) m. David R. Wilson in 1854
Ellen J. Marshall (1837-1839)
After mustering out of the service, Samuel worked as a civilian government employee in Nashville, Tennessee, where he married and lived until the death of his wife. In 1886 he was appointed Government Agent in the Navajo Agency at Ft. Defiance, Arizona. He died in Boston in 1894.
Samuel wrote the letter to Henrietta (“Hettie” or “Nette”) Goe (1843-1908), the daughter of John Goe (1797-1873) and Catherine Crawford (1806-1860) of Xenia, Greene county, Ohio. The content of the letter suggests that they did not know each other and had only begun to correspond, perhaps through the encouragement of a mutual acquaintance. Hettie never married. She died and was buried in New Albany, Floyd county, Indiana.
Addressed to Miss Nettie Goe, Xenia, Greene county, Ohio
Postmarked Nashville, Tennessee
4th Regiment I. V. V. C.
Near Atlanta, Georgia
August 10th 1864
Yours of July 26th was received a short time since and until this time have not had an opportunity to reply. It is not necessary for me to say how glad I was to hear from you, [to] say nothing about the pleasure it affords me to be favored with letters from any of my friends. You are not much mistaken, I assure you, in thinking you are corresponding with a soldier of the true blue. I am one of the “hard shells” on that subject & think in this—the darkest hour of our national existence—there can not be but two sides. And those who harp about “peace” and object to supporting the administration and the soldiers in a vigorous prosecution of the war, are nothing but traitors in disguise and I have more respect for the Rebels who come out and fight us boldly than those miserable tories of the North.
Please, for goodness sake, do not say that you are find of good letters but are “no hand” to write them yourself. It will place me in a rather awkward position, I imagine, after getting such good letters from you and so much superior to any I write. There now, don’t you think so?
Now I think you might send me your “shadow” and not keep me from having it just because I have not sent you mine, which you know I would do if there was any possible chance to have some photographs taken. Perhaps if I give you my description which I can do now—for I borrowed a looking glass since writing my last—you will send me the desired picture. Let me see how near your imagination portrays your friend A. O. S. You think me about 5 feet 6 inches in height, Well that is very near it for I am just 5–6, or 6 feet 5, I have really forgotten which. But this much I know, I am a little fellow and think the first figure correct. “Graceful appearance.” Oh, well that is too funny. I just feel that if taken in a parlor of ladies, my first movement in the way of grace would be to upset the centre table or sofa or some like act equally unpardonable. All that I can accomplish with perfect ease is riding on horseback. [I have] black hair, dark eyes, black mustache, and a sunburnt complexion. There, you have my true description but can’t say how you will like it.
Do not think I dislike the name of Hettie Goe. I think it a very nice name but I never heard it before and it did sound a little odd. And as it is your real name, I like it all the better. Of course you could not change it but once. Now when you do conclude to make that alteration, be sure and let me know for my term of service might be out about that time you see and it would be a good place for me to commence the work of civilizing myself for going in civilized company, I mean.
In answer to your inquiry as to where I used to [render?] &c., I willingly reply my home is near Selma, Clark county, Ohio. But there is no one living there but Mother now. My Father is dead. [I] have two brothers, one of which is in California and one in Memphis, Tenn., and three sisters all of whom are married.
Just before leaving Rosell, I received the painful intelligence of the death of a very dear sister. She lived at the Yellow Springs and was the wife of Judge—now Captain—William Mills, 74th O.V.I.
It is getting late and I doubt if you can read this awkwardly scribbled letter. If you have not procured a new pen, don’t let that keep you from writing a long letter for I am very good at reading difficult writing. Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain as ever, your friend, — A. O. S.
Direct, Sam C. Marshall, 4th O. V. V. C., Marietta, Ga.
P. S. Now you have my true name. I hope it will strike you unfavorably. — S. C. M.
Oh yes, and excuse the dimensions of my letter paper. Note paper is among the things that once was. Please tell me also if your name is in [ ] and if you have brothers and sisters.