1862: Pembroke S. Scott to Jane (Patterson) Scott

Thomas Nast’s iconic Christmas 1862 engraving published in Harper’s

This letter was written by 20 year-old Pembroke S. Scott (1842-1890), the son of Charles Carruthers Scott (1803-1854) and Jane Patterson (1830-1893) of Taylor Creek, Hardin county, Ohio.

Pembroke enlisted in Co. B, 118th Ohio Volunteers Infantry (OVI) on 11 August 1862 and remained with the regiment until he was killed on 14 May 1864 at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia—the first major battle in the Campaign for Atlanta. In the fighting on 14 May in which approximately three hundred members of the 118th OVI were engaged, Confederates killed or wounded 116 of them in approximately ten minutes.

In this letter written from the regiment’s encampment at Kimbrough’s Bridge—a railroad bridge one and half miles from Cynthiana (county seat of Harrison Co., KY) on 25 December 1862, Pembroke sends his widowed mother Christmas day greetings.


Camp at Kimbrough’s Bridge
Christmas, December 25, 1862

My Dear Mother

Once more I am engaged in writing to you. I wish you all a happy Christmas. May it be a joyous day to all at the same time. I hope the table won’t break down with the good things. Hope you won’t make gluttons of yourselves today just because I am here.

One year ago today you will remember I spent my Christmas under very different circumstances from those today. I never told you about our great dinner over at the Cos. A, did I? I have forgotten. We had turkey with many other nice things. I felt pretty well then. I am quite well now. I had nothing to do then. I have much to do now. Yet I am better satisfied. This is the reason. I was protected by the good old constitution. Now perhaps I can do a little something to save it from destruction & to vindicate our birthright to be free. “Protect the right” is the swinging limb to hang to in my philosophy. What do you think of it?

Our company moved up to this bridge last Friday except a few left to guard there. We have to build a couple of blockhouses here. It will take come time to finish them—perhaps a month. I chopped logs one day, helped load yesterday, & today I am off duty—“Christmas Gift.”

I bet you what will you give good will—I hope at least. I am about one-fourth vexed at times. I believe it is because I don’t get letters as often as some of the rest, but never mind. I never could be ill-natured long at a time.

I believe I will finish a ring today and send it in this letter to you as a Christmas gift. You must wear it every day on the finger it fits best. I have made several & broke one or two in my pocket. I am going to make a dozen or more. I guess I will send two in this. You must tell me in your next how you like them.

Pay day comes last day of this month. We expect three months wages. I have one dollar in my pocket book. I have several out. W[ashington] Bowers owes me two dollars. James Canaan one. E. Dietdrich one, R[obert] J. Robb one, Adam Harrod one. You can see by this that I spend very little unnecessarily.

Capt. [Solomon] Kraner sent out pickets last night. It was reported that Col. [John Hunt] Morgan thought of eating his Christmas dinner in Cynthiana but I’d laugh to see him do all that. The principal part of Cos. G & D are also here. J. P. must write soon. Christmas gift to him. May must write.

I am well at present. Weight 154 lbs. I wrote to C. C. & C. J. a few days ago, Have they received? I must close. Don’t eat all the peaches please. Love to all. Goodbye. — P. S. S. Scott

[to] Mrs. Jane Scott

{After dinner we had canned peaches & pie, honey butter &c. Mrs. Dearth of Johnstown gave us.}




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