This letter was written by 31 year-old William A. Seagrave (1835-1890) who enlisted at Zanesville on 8 September 1862 to serve three years in Co. A, 9th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He was a corporal and mustered out with the regiment on 20 July 1865.
William was the son of Anderson “Hanson” Seagrave (1778-Aft1850) and Caroline Matilda Webb (1793-Aft1850) of Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio. He wrote the letter to his older sister, Elizabeth Seagrave (b. 1830). After the war (1866), William married Sallie Irene Conklin (1845-1928) and relocated to Bourbon county, Kansas.
Addressed to Miss Elizabeth Seagrave, Zanesville, Ohio
Camp near Savannah, Georgia
January 15th 1865
We are under orders to march in six days and as this is Sabbath day and everything is quiet, I take the chance to write. It is warm here as a June day where you are. We are resting quietly in camp in camp and we need it, I assure you. On Thursday last we were reviewed by General Sherman and Secretary Stanton. The artists were taking a sketch of us from most every side of us.
Many of our horses have starved since we arrived at Savannah. We have done a good deal of scouting since we have been here but very little fighting. But in about three weeks from now, we will have plenty of it. I think our destination is South Carolina. Lord help her when Sherman’s company—as the niggers call the army—gets into South Carolina. People are in a starving condition in part of Georgia where we have been. What will it be when this army is let loose in the hot bed of Rebeldom? Women, children, citizens, soldiers, and all kinds of stock will be driven from the houses and the buildings burned. Sherman has said he dreads the taking of this army into South Carolina [where] revenge will be the cry for every brother, every comrade lost in the unholy war which South Carolina has brought on. Sherman has given them warning that he is coming.
I have got no letter from you since I have been here but am looking for one every day. I hope to get one before we start again on the warpath for it may be a long time before you will hear from me again. Maybe never.
I am in good health and hope this will find you the same. I have not drawed a cent since I left home. What little tobacco I chew I am compelled to take from citizens. Necessity makes robbers of many of us. This will reach you if I can get it franked which is considered a disgrace in the army but I cannot get postage stamps. I could get some sent to me by Tom Matthews but he sent tobacco and [ ] at Atlanta and I dislike to ask so much. There is one or two who I know think hard of me for not writing but I cannot help it. I will never write to them if my letters have to be franked and I think this is the last franked letter I ever will write again. I hope this will find you all well.
Yours affectionately, — W. A. Seagrave