This letter was written by George A. Walt (1849-19xx)—a cigar maker and a native of Circleville, Ohio—who enlisted in August 1866 at Columbus, Ohio, in the regular Army and served in Battery L, 4th Artillery. He was discharged from the service after three years on 9 August 1869 at Fort Delaware, Delaware. His enlistment records indicate he stood 5 feet 9 inches tall, had grey eyes, and brown hair.
George was the son of Archibald Henry Walt (1828-1892) and Mary Ann Crooks (1830-1904). In the 1860 US Census, the Walt family resided in South Perry, Hocking county, Ohio, where George’s father earned a living as a tailor. After his military term of service expired, George married Susan M. Hamilton (1851-18xx) on 11 August 1869 in Philadelphia. In the 1870 US Census, George was enumerated in Pencader Hundred, New Castle county, Delaware; his occupation was given as “painter.”
Addressed to Miss Susan Hamilton, Delaware City
Care of Mr. Anthony Reybald ¹
Fort. Delaware, Del.
3d August 1869
I received your very welcome letter on the 31st ult. and I was sincerely happy to see what a kind-hearted little girl you was. While perusing the contents of my little Petty’s letter, it was so nice and interesting and also very long to what you have been writing to (—) and I thank you from you no where for the kindness shown me. Petty, I shall not go to Philadelphia. Before I thought that I would go and get my papers cashed and then come for you. But my time is out on next Monday and that very evening I shall be after you. So please be ready. I will bring you as good a trunk as I can get in Delaware City and bring it with me and then get a better one in Philadelphia.
I received a telegraph dispatch from home last week to make haste and start for home. I will start next Tuesday the 10th. Do not be uneasy Petty. I shall never enlist again for I have refused my Captain and in doing so, refused one of the best offers ever a man of my age had the honor to refuse, both for you Petty and me, and he thought that he was sure of me. I could not think of such a think as I can live in your company and with the expectations of receiving a promise from you soon to live and stand by my side forever. My darling, dear good little Petty—that you are. No never could I think of it. And you remember also the letter that I read to you.
That photo was a very poor one but I sent it for a week or two to remind you of me for fear some more fortunate lover might supplant my place in my Petty’s affections. He! He! He! do not get angry at my jesting. Pray, do not, Petty dear.
If you are coming to see me, Petty, you will have to be in a very great hurry or I will come and see you first.
I was very sorry that it was impossible to get over to join the African Church as I know you want me to.
It is now very late and I will close. This will be my last letter until I see your pretty little face once more. Please answer it immediately and let me know what I have asked in this. Excuse mistakes. Goodbye. I remain yours sincerely and devotedly for ever, — George
¹ Anthony Reybold was the son of Major Philip Reybold who died in 1854. Anthony was born 25 August 1819 on the site of what is now Delaware City, Delaware. At the age of 25 he was married to Miss Ann Stuart, a daughter of Charles Stuart of New Jersey. In 1847 he got interested in steamboat transportation on the Delaware river; his father having owned and operated the Major Reybold which plied between Philadelphia and Salem. Anthony Reybold was a personal friend of President Abraham Lincoln. He gained prominence and renown during the Civil War in connection with the transportation of troops. Anthony Reybold was credited with saving sailors lives at Hampton Roads when the USS Cumberland was sunk by the CSS Merrimac in 1862. At risk to himself he steered his steamboat—the William Weldon—near the scene of the battle and picked up scores of men in the water. After the war, Capt. Anthony Reybold continued with his line of boats plying on the Delaware river and between Philadelphia and New York. He died in 1902.