1862: Theresa J. Frizzell to Mary Paul

This letter was written by Theresa J. Frizzell [or Frizzelle] (1836-1879), the daughter of Lysander P. Frizzell (1807-1885) and Harriet Robinson (1815-1878) of Montville township, Medina county, Ohio. Writing to her “Cousin Mary,” Theresa conveys the sad news of the death of her brother, Henry Frizzell (1841-1862), from typhoid fever on 1 March 1862 while serving with the 6th Ohio Independent Battery.

The 6th Ohio Battery was organized late in 1861 and in Columbia, Kentucky on 15 January 1862. According to the unit’s history, the “battery was divided, Lieutenant McElroy’s section (six-pound guns) remaining in Columbia, while the other four guns were taken to Jamestown, Kentucky, there reporting to Colonel Thomas E. Bramlette. This section proceeded five miles south of the town to the Cumberland river, but, through mistake, took position at the ferry landing. Rebel cavalry pickets, stationed on the opposite bank, took the alarm, and reported to General O. B. Crittenden, the Rebel commander, the presence of a National force. This accident precipitated the battle of Mill Springs. The battery remained at this point, watching the river, until the fall of Nashville. In company with the Third Kentucky, Nineteenth Ohio, and Colonel Woolford’s cavalry, the battery sailed on transports to Nashville, arriving there March 19th. While lying in camp [“Camp Green”] on the Tennessee River, it lost, by disease, Corporal James M. Walton and privates James Brandon, George Nier, and Henry Frizzell.”

Mentioned in the letter is Harrison G. Frizzelle (1840-1908) who also served with Henry in the same battery. Theresa’s younger sister, Mary Ellen (“Nellie”) Frizzelle (1838-1875), also adds to Theresa’s letter.

The letter was sent to Mary Paul (1839-1907), the daughter of Hosea Paul (1809-1870) and Ellen Gamble (1813-1889) of Cuyahoga Falls, Summit county, Ohio. Mentioned in the letter are two of Mary’s brothers, Harrison Daniel Paul (1835-1905) and George Paul (1837-1900).

How Theresa might have looked in 1862


Montville [Medina county, Ohio]
March 22, 1862

Dear Cousin Mary,

We received your kind letter two weeks ago last night and should have written you before this but just at that time we received the sad intelligence of the death of our dear brother Henry. He died March 1st at Jamestown, Russell county, Kentucky of typhoid fever and was buried March 2nd—three weeks ago today. Harrison was with him. The Battery was divided some time in January and a part sent to Jamestown & the rest at Columbia. As Henry had charge of a gun, he and Harrison had to be separated. Henry & John Reed were together & Harrison & Bradley Curtis. John wrote to us that Henry was very sick & wanted to know what he should do in case he should not recover. Father telegraphed to him immediately what to do—told him to tell us his situation & if he should not recover, to send his body by Express. But he telegraphed back that he was dead & that it was impossible to send him. He was dead before we received John’s letter.

Since his death, we have received a letter from his Captain [and] also one from his Lieutenant. It seems that Capt. [Cullen] Bradley telegraphed to us the day he died but we never received the dispatch. Had we received that, Father would have gone for him immediately. But he had been buried a week when we heard of it. We may have his remains brought home yet. We have not fully decided. Mother feels as though she could not be reconciled to having him left there. He was well taken care of through his sickness—as well as could be under the circumstances. John was with him day & night through his sickness. All we blame them for is that they did not let us know it sooner but I suppose it was not Henry’s wish and then they did not consider him dangerous until the day he died.

The last we heard from Harrison was dated February 16th and mailed March 2nd. They were on the march then towards Bowling Green. He knew nothing of Henry’s sickness or death & probably will not until that part of the Battery comes up. We have written to him but he may not get the letter. It will be sad news to him. Since his last letter, we have heard that he is sick. Bradley wrote to his brother at Bowling Green saying that he left Harrison in the hospital at Glasgow. Said he was hardly able to sit up when they left Columbia but thought he could stand the trip rather than he left behind. It seems he was sick when he wrote his last letter home. He did not say that he was sick or well, but said we need not feel alarmed if we did not get a letter from him again for some time. Said he should be so far from an Office [that] it would be impossible to send a letter.

Bradley said he went to see him every day while he staid there, made him a bedstead & filled a tick with straw for him to lie on & made him as comfortable as he could. Said he seemed to be on the gain when he left him. Did not tell us what ailed him. Said he thought he would let us know if he grew worse. He did not intend we should find out that he was sick. There were three others of their company left with him. Bradley is now in Nashville, Tennessee.

We feel very anxious to hear from Harrison again. He does not know that we know he is sick or he would write to us if he is living. We feel very lonely indeed. Martha is not here now. She went over to the Center last week to do some sewing [and] will be gone two or three weeks. I am glad Aunty is feeling so much better. I wish she would come and see us. Have your Mother & Father come as soon as they can. We want to see them very much. I wish you would come and stay awhile with us this spring. Mother would like very much to go out there this spring but it will be very difficult for Father to leave home. Mary wishes to write some so I must bring my letter to a close. Please write again as soon as you get this. I want to hear from you often.

Your affectionate cousin, — Theresa J. Frizzelle

My Dear Cousin,

It is with a sad heart that I now attempt to address you. It is just three weeks since Henry was buried. I cannot hardly make up my mind to give him up and think that he is gone from us forever. It would have been a great consolation to us and no doubt to him if some of us could have been with him during his sickness but that was not to be and we must submit, though we have every reason to believe that all was done for his comfort during his sickness that could be under the circumstances. His physician did not consider him dangerous until a short time before his death. As soon as he was considered dangerous, his Captain [Cullen Bradley] thought best to let us know his situation but the [telegraph] wires were out of order and we did not succeed in getting a dispatch through until the day he died—March 1st at 2 o’clock P.M.—and was buried the 2nd at 10 o’clock A.M. with military honors. At the opening of the service, they sang the hymn, “There is an hour of peaceful rest to mourning wanderers given,” and closed by singing, “He has gone to the grave, we will not deplore him.”

Oh Mary, we can hardly realize the heart-ringing fact that Henry is dead. I cannot but think had he only staid at home, he might have been alive and well. But the deed is done and there is no use casting reflections. Oh! the many bleeding hearts this cursed rebellion is causing—and when will it end? For my part, I cannot see as the difficulty is any nearer being settled than when they first commenced. We have lived in hopes all winter that the war would close by spring and that the boys would be permitted to come home. But alas, we know that Henry can never come back to us and we have but little hopes of ever seeing Harrison again. Mother feels as though her troubles were coming faster than she can bear them. She gives right up to her feelings. I wish your mother would try to come out and see her. As soon as the roads get settled, have her make calculations to stay a week or so, if possible.

When do you expect Harrison and George home? If they come home this spring, tell them we should be much pleased to have them make us a visit and you come with them and stay as long as you can, won’t you? I am very sorry to hear that Maria’s health is so poor. I wish I could see her. Poor girl. I fear she will not live long. Give my love to her when you see her. Also to Betsy and Phoebe. I bet you had a grand visit when you were there, How I wish I could have been with you. I should like right well to see Betsy’s baby. I admire the name she has chosen for the little creature. I could not have done better myself. I think if it takes after you or I, it will be a remarkable child, don’t you? Or didn’t she name it for our sake. If she did, we must buy the little dud a new gown some time. Tell Uncle Dun’s folks to come and see us as soon as they can. Mary, I want you should write as soon as you get this. How I wish you could come out here and stay awhile. We are so lonely. Do so if you can.

From your sorrowing cousin, — Nellie Frizzelle

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