1861-63: David Patten to Relatives

These letters written by Private David Patten (1838-1863) of the 35th Illinois Infantry Regiment.  The letters are written to his Uncle William H. Richards, his Aunt Beulah, and his cousins Rhoda, Thomas, and Miles in Audubon township, Montgomery county, Illinois—25 miles north of Vandalia.

Private Patten mustered on August 28th, 1861 and died in Knoxville, Tennessee on 12 December 1863.  The first letter was written shortly after his muster on 13 September 1861 and the last letter was written on November 1st, 1863, just weeks before his death. They chronicle his travels with the regiment from the skirmishes in Missouri to the Battle of Pea Ridge, the siege of Corinth, the Battle of Perryville, the Battle of Stone River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge.

In addition to 18 letters by Private Patten, there was 2 letters from Henry C. Edgington (Letters 10 & 20) of Scioto county, Ohio, and a handwritten copy of the song, “Old Union Wagon,” lyrics composed by John H. Lozier.

The 35th Illinois Volunteer Infantry was originally known as G.A. Smith’s Independent Regiment. It was organized in Decatur, Illinois in July 3rd, 1861. Its organizer and first colonel was Gustavus A. Smith. On the 23rd of July, 1861, it was accepted by the secretary of war as Colonel G.A. Smith’s Independent Regiment, of Illinois Volunteers.
On August 4th, 1861, they left Decatur, Illinois and arrived at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri on August 5th, 1861. The regiment remained there one week, and was ordered to Marine Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri. Eight companies were mustered into the United States service. Aggregate strength of the Regiment was 793.


Patriotic Stationery of Patten’s Letter

Camp Benton, St. Louis, Missouri
Co. B, Col. G. A. Smith’s Regiment
September 13th, 1861

My dear uncle, aunt and cousins,

I received your letter the 11th and was glad to hear from you and sorry to hear of aunt being sick. I have no special news to write to you this time. There is a good many sick here at this time with various diseases. For my part, I am well and satisfied to stay till the war is over. I will come home in October if I can get off. Fremont’s order is to let no man cross the river now unless it is on special business.

I got a letter from Bill and he wrote that he was well and family. His John and George have gone to the war. They are in Portsmouth in the 33rd regiment. I got a letter from home. They are all well and Abiel [Miles?] is going to the war. He was to start Monday. We don’t know how long we will stay here we may go to Kentucky yet. We had some hints of it this morning. Anywhere will suit me.

It is raining now and I have got the dinner dishes to wash and then get supper. Two of us cooks for twenty today.

About Rhoda, your advice was accepted, but I don’t gamble nor get drunk nor it is seldom I ever get a dram for it ain’t to be had everywhere.

We have not got all our uniforms yet. We have got two shirts and two pairs of socks, one pair of shoes, and two pairs of drawers and cap. I don’t know when we will get the rest. I will let you know when I do. So no more at the present, but remain yours until death, — David Patten

to all,  W. Henry Richards

Tell Smith I got 5.00 dollars by Joshua Auburn and 10.00 dollars by Tumsony. For my part, I don’t know how much there is coming on the note yet. That all I have got since I came here.

Write soon. Direct as above and it will be right.


On the 15th of September, 1861 they were moved by railroad to Jefferson City, Missouri. On the 25th of September, 1861 they moved to Otterville, Missouri also by railroad. On the 15th of October, they marched to Sedalia, Missouri a distance of 15 miles, and joined General Sigel’s advance on Springfield, Missouri. They arrived at Springfield, Missouri on October 26th, 1861. Total distance marched on this trip, 125 miles.


Warsaw, Benton County, Mo.
October 19th, 1861

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I now take this time to inform you that I am well at this time hoping those few lines may find you the same.

When I [had] written to you last, I was sick. But since we got to marching, I have got well and am ready to fight the rebels. But they run so fast that we can never overtake them  We are camped on the ground that they was on one week ago. They are now in Ocalia. I don’t know how far that is from here, but we are after them as [fast as] we can.

We got part of our pay which was twenty two dollars and fifty cents and our overcoats. There is about twenty thousand soldiers here now.  Fremont and Siegel for [our] leaders.  There is talk of our regiment being disbanded till spring. If it is, we will be at home this winter. I would like to see you all very well but I can’t have the privilege of coming yet but I will some time I hope.

But is is getting nearly sundown and I must draw my letter to a close for this time. Write soon as you get this. Direct to Sedalia, Pettis Co. [Missouri], Co. B, Colonel G. A. Smith’s Independent Reg of Ill. Vol.

David Patton to W. Richards.



South Branch of Osage River
250 Miles South of St Louis
October 21, 1861

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I now take this time to inform you that I am well at this time hoping those few lines may find you the same. It has been sometime since I have heard from you.

We are camped here for awhile to rest. We are going on in the morning south after Price and Jackson. They are running but they are [trapped] since they cant get out without fighting. We camped on the same ground Saturday that they did one week ago. They are going south as fast as they can but there is about twenty thousand California rangers that will meet them about Arkansas. Our forces is about forty-seven thousand [and] twenty-five pieces of cannon. I think we will catch them sometime or rather, if we do, it will be all day with them. There is enough of us to take them right along with out any trouble. Three of four weeks will bring the war to a close in Missouri. Then Kentucky and Arkansas will be the fighting ground next.

There is some talk of our regiment being disbanded till Spring. If it is, I will be at home this winter. I would like to see you all very well at this time. As it is, I can’t. So I will have to draw my letter to a close for this time. Write soon. I don’t know when I will get a chance.


On November 10th, 1861 they marched to Wilson’s Creek, and returned to Springfield, Missouri on November 12th, 1861. Distance marched, 25 miles. On November 13th, 1861, left Springfield, Missouri for Rolla, Missouri. They arrived there on November 19th, 1861. Total distance marched, 114 miles.


Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter

November 23, 1861

Dear uncle, aunt and cousins,

I now take this time to inform you that I am totally well at this time, hoping these few lines may find you all well. I received a letter from you this morning and was glad to hear from you but it seems that you did not get my last letter by the way you wrote. The last letter that I wrote to you, I was in Springfield—our regiment was—and I was sick with the measles then. And there was where I got my last letter from you. I was so sick that I could hardly sit up to read it but I answered that letter. But I know you never got it.

But while I was so sick, brother George come in to see me. That helped me very much to see a brother then, and so far away from home. He is in the 27th Ohio Regiment. But while their regiment was there, our regiment had to march for Lyon’s battleground [Wilson’s Creek]. Our regiment was in Siegel’s Brigade and Old Price had agreed to meet him on the old battleground to fight him. So I had to go with the company for the hospital was full of sick and wounded and there was no room for me and several others. But when we got there, it was in the night about 10 o’clock but no Price there, so we started the next day and came back to Springfield. And when we got back, George’s regiment had gone for Rolla.

We stayed in Springfield four days longer, then we started for Rolla—120 miles—but I rode on the wagons the most of the way for I was not able to walk. I don’t know where George is now. His regiment is gone. Brother John is in the war but somewhere in the east. Miles is in the war somewhere [too]. I hain’t had a letter from home since September nor from Mandy. It has been so long since I wrote to them, I expect they think I am dead. I have been nearly dead for a month. The reason I have not written sooner or oftener, there was no chance to send letters. I got some post stamps today of our sutler so I will pay my postage now till I can’t get any more. Old Metkin’s telegraph dispatch ain’t so. We have been in no fight yet, but we went to Springfield on a forced march thinking that we would have to fight as soon as we got there. But Fremont’s Bodyguards had whipped what there was of the rebels numbers about 2000 and about 300 of our men. I saw the ground that they fought on. Dead horses was there. Our loss of men was 17. Their loss no one knows. But our loss in our regiment is great for someone dies nearly everyday. Two of our company from Pana [Illinois].



Camp near Rolla, Missouri
December 17, 1861

Dear Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins,

I now take this time to inform you that I am well at this time and hoping these few lines may find you the same. It has been some time since I have received a letter from you but perhaps you did not get my last letter.

We are still in camp at Rolla. I don’t know when we will go from here. The talk is that we will go to St. Louis & then go down the river but I don’t think we will ever go down the river.

We was paid off last week and had to settle for our clothes which didn’t leave us much money. It is not customary for soldiers to settle for clothes but once a year. We will be paid again in a few days but there is no chance of getting a furlough now. But when there is a chance, I will get one if I can.

Everything seems to be on a steamer. There will be peace or hard fighting before long. It seems that the rebels is about done.

The weather is pleasant now. I got a letter from Miles last week. He is well. He is in camp at Chillicothe [Ohio]. He thinks they will leave soon [for] the rebel country. I had a letter from Mary. She wrote that they was all well at that time. I had a letter from Emily Kibby Saturday. She wrote that they was all well. Frank and Hiram H. Kibby has joined the army. Hiram is a drummer from what I learn. Times is hard in Ohio as well as other places.

So I will draw my letter to a close for this time. Write soon.

David Patten

to William H. Richards, Beulah, Rhoda, Thomas and Miles.

Co. B, 35th Reg. of Ill. Vol., St. Louis, Mo.



Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter

Camp Near Rolla, Missouri
December 24, 1861

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I now take this time to write you a few lines. I am not very well at the time. I had a chill last night and I am so nervous today that I can hardly write. But I hope those lines may find you well. I can’t get a furlough now, nor nobody else. But if I could get one, I would come home.

I have nothing strange to write more than we have a big snow and very cold nights. I don’t know when we will leave here. I will have to quit for this time for time for I am so tired that I can’t write. Farewell for this time. Write soon, — David Patten

to William H Richards

[Math Problems drawn on letter]


Undated letter believed to have been written about 1 January 1862.
Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter


Has died both with the typhoid fever. Benson Bert but died in St Louis. Isaac Woodring died in Springfield. Both of them was born and raised in Scioto County, Ohio—on Bonser’s Run, that is. About half of our camp [is] sick.

We are waiting with patience to start to St Louis. We have no marching orders yet but I hope they will soon come for I am tired of laying in a factory house these cold nights. Our Colonel is going to give us all a furlough home when we get to St Louis. I expect we will go to St Louis on the cars. It is over 100 miles from here and if we have to march through, it will take all winter. Our captain has gone to Ohio on a sick furlough and other captains has gone to Illinois to recruit. Our regiment wants 350 men to make it full. I am nearly froze and I must quit soon. I have written all that I can think of at present.

Josua Osbun is in St Louis. [He] is sick but the last I heard from him he was getting better. There is a good deal of talk about our regiment being discharged. For my part, I don’t know. Our Colonel says that we will winter in St Louis, Clear Lake, Illinois, or Decatur. For my part, I do not know.

The Unions folks of Missouri are moving out as fast as they can following the soldiers. [They are] going to Illinois, leaving their homes and taking what they can haul or drive. There is one thing more I must say—it is the poorest county I ever was in. The timber is all brush and the soil is flint rock and they lay as thick as one can lay beside another and there is no end to the depth. The water is good where there is water, but that is scare. But I have plenty. The 19th of this month—the day we come here—it rained as hard as ever I seen it for about one half hour and thundered and lightened nearly as hard as it did in the summer. So farewell for this time. Write soon. I think I shall be in St Louis again [when] you write the next time.

Direct your next to St Louis Co Colonel G. A. Smith’s 35 Reg of Ills Vol.

Give me love to all whom may enquire after me and tell Old Matkins that he don’t know it all. I am coming home just as soon as I can get a furlough. I hope I will be well enough to eat without going to the brush before I am done eating. Excuse my bad writing and short letter for I am tired.

David Patten to William H. Richards, Beulah, Rhoda, Thomas and Miles.



Camp Near Rolla, Missouri
January 9, 1862

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I received your letter last night and was glad to hear from you. I am well at this time and hope these lines may find you the same. I feel better now in health than I have felt for two months. I have nothing to do—only to stand guard once every five days. That is not much.

Me and three others were out about 3 miles yesterday to the Mammoth Cave of Missouri. When we got there and went into the entrance, it looked like the entrance of the wet cave in Ohio. For a moment, it seemed to me that I was in Ohio. The entrance of the cave is larger than that of the wet cave in Ohio. There is a nice stream of water running through the center of the cave. We was in about half a mile. We could a went further but our candle was not sufficient to last so we had to go back. The wet cave is no comparison to these Here, all kinds of petrified stone and different apartments on both sides of the stream. We found the bones of an Indian in one hole that we was in. I suppose they had been carried there by some animals. We shot a few rounds of lead at the mark with our revolvers and took a snort of dog leg. I then left for camp.

Our captain and several others went to Illinois by leave of Col. Smith a recruiting for our regiment but was ordered back by General Halleck so our captain returned last night.

Camp News is not much. I don’t think that there will be any war with England till this was is over. It is thought that we will go back to Springfield to catch Old Price but I don’t think we will. But if we are going to fight, I would like to be at it and get done sometime.

Tell Smith that if I should get back by Spring, I would be so lazy that I could not work enough to pay my board. But I think I will have Secech to plow and Niggers to hoe and watch the field of rainy days. I think all the girls will soon be cleaned about the grove but I suppose they thought it was time as Uncle Sam wanted more soldiers. But I think someone had better be making some for Jeff Davis for he has only 300,000 to our 600,000 General Pillow of the South has resigned and quit the trade. Inspector General was here this week and inspected our regiment and all the rest that is here. Every man had to go out with gun, cartridge box, knapsack, and in full uniform and march in line of battle.

So I will quit for this time. Write soon. — David Patten

to William H. Richards


Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter


Camp Rolla, Missouri
January 15 1862

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I now take this time to inform you that I am well at this time hoping those few lines may find you the same.

The weather had been very cold here for a few days. It is getting warmer now. Four regiments left here this morning for Price [with] two batteries of cannon. We was to go but we are still here. But the order was for us to march today, but we won’t go. There was a case of the smallpox in our regiment and then all of the men had to get vaccinated. I was vaccinated but my arm is not sore yet. I guess it will not do much harm here. I hope it won’t.

I have not much news to write to you this time but I may have lots of it to write the next time. We have got new tents but have not got them up yet. Those regiments that left started for Old Price. It is reported that he is in forty miles of us and still coming. I suppose he wants to get out if he can and go south. His forces is about 30,000. For my part, I would like to give him a round. As the troops left his morning, the band played Hail Columbia and Happy Land. It sounded nice. Every man seemed as though he was [ready] anew to meet the enemy.

I suppose we will get pay in a short time. I had a letter from George last week. His regiment is at Sedalia but they will be started out for Price. I think this war will be over soon now. There seems to be a forward move of our troops all over the United States. The rebels will have to smell hell now. They had ought to have smelled it long ago. So I will quit for this time and fix my clothes for a march. The order is now for us to get ready to march. We may go and we may not go. I can tell better the next time. So farewell. I have no post stamps nor can’t get them here. I wish you would send me some in a letter and I will settle the bill when I come home. I would like to come home but I can’t come now. Write soon.

I am 24 years old today. — David Patten

to W. H. Richards, Beulah, Rhoda, Thomas & Miles


This letter was written by Henry C. Edgington from Ohio. William H. Richards and his wife Beulah and children were living with Henry in Ohio at the time of the 1850 US Census.


Patriotic Stationary in Patten’s Letter

January 23rd 1862

Dear Brother and Sister and Niece and Nephews,

I now take the present opportunity to inform you that we are all on the land of the living and not very well. But the most of us is in tolerable health and I hope that these lines may find you all well. It has been a long time since I have had a letter from you and I suppose you think the same. I have been in a great many places since I have seen you and have had a great many ups and downs.

I have had an increase of family since I seen you of three—two girls and one boy. The names of the girls is Mary Ann, and Selenia Katharine and the boy’s name is John Charles Freemont.  Our youngest girl is very bad scaled [scalded?] but I think she is on the mend now.

Times are very hard here. Everything is high here but provisions. They’re not very high. I would like to see you again but I don’t know whether I shall ever see you again or know so I want you to write as soon as you get these lines and let us know how you are.  I wrote this letter at Miles’. [He] is not at home but his family is present. They are not very well but they are able to be about. They would like to see you all very well.

So I will conclude my letter for the present. Farewell— that is, do well.

Our love to you all, — Henry C. Edgington

to his friends in Illinois, W. H. Richards & Beulah Ann Richards


On January 23rd, 1862 the Regiment began the advance on Springfield, Missouri, and arrived there on February 13th, 1862. The next day, they followed Price’s retreating army, and arrived at Cross Hollows, Arkansas on the 21st of February after a hard and fatiguing march. The line of battle was formed, and they skirmished with the rebels nearly every day. Total marching distance, 228 miles.
On March 5th, they retired from Cross Hollows, Arkansas to Pea Ridge, Arkansas. This was a total marching distance was 12 miles. At this point, the 35th Illinois Infantry was part of the Fourth Division, First Brigade. This was composed of the 4th Iowa Infantry, 35th Illinois Infantry and the 4th Iowa Battery. This Brigade was commanded by Colonel Greenville M. Dodge. On the 7th of March, 1862, the Brigade moved north on the Cassville Road about a mile and one half to Elkhorn Tavern. This is where they commenced their part of the Battle of Pea Ridge, at about 10:00 AM. Soon after, they were supported by Vandever’s Brigade, composed of the 9th Iowa Infantry, the 24th Missouri Infantry and the Dubuque battery, along with a detachment of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry. This was the whole of the Fourth Division who was commanded by Colonel Eugene A. Carr. The enemy, composed of Missouri troops lead by General Sterling Price, were repulsed in all of their attempts to gain the table land upon which the Elkhorn Tavern and Pea Ridge are situated, until about 4:00 PM when assaulting Carr’s position with 12,000 men and 30 cannon, it was taken after heavy resistance and heavy loss to Price’s troops.
The 35th Illinois lost 15 killed, 45 wounded and 55 captured- of whom 15 of the captured were wounded.
Colonel G. A. Smith was severly wounded in the head and arm, early in the action,and was so disabled that he never rejoined the Regiment to take command of it after this. The Regiment was engaged in repulsing the enemy on the morning of March 8th, 1862 without loss. The losses in Carr’s Division, composed of the 4th Iowa, 35th Illinois, 9th Iowa, and 24th Missouri Infantry Regiments, the 1st Iowa and the Dubuque Batteries and the detatchment of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry, was more than half the entire loss of General Samuel Curtis, Army in the 3 days of fighting in the Battle of Pea Ridge. The Regiment then marched from Pea Ridge, Arkansas to Keitsville, Arkansas for a marching distance of 49 miles.
Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter


Keitsville Bery Co. Missouri
March 23, 1862

Dear uncle, aunt, and cousins,

I now take this time to write to you and let you know that I am well at this time and I hope those few lines will find you the same.

We are in Missouri now about 10 miles from the Arkansas line. Our lieutenant colonel was exchanged yesterday and is in command of the regiment now. He said rebels treated him like a gentlemen. Their force is at Ford Smith, Arkansas. The first day we fought 12,000 of the rebels and [we] only had about 2,000. They said we fought like devils. Seven of their regiments was Mississippians and Louisianans. We found a good many arms that they had hid. I don’t know where we would go yet.

I have not got any answer from the last letter I wrote you. I heard that Mary Little was married to Ketchel. I hear of weddings every day but a heap more death than marriages. This war can’t last much longer. I hope it won’t.  The two armies are ruining the country wherever they go. Provisions is getting scare. Sometimes we have plenty, sometimes not anything to eat. But we ain’t dead yet. But this is a hard place to live.

I want you to write how things are going [and] what the news is in the papers about our forces in the South. The last I heard from Miles, he was at Marietta, Ohio, in sight of Virginia. I don’t know where the rest is.

So I will have to quit for the time. Write soon.

—-David Pattan to Willam Richards

Tell Smith I will not get back in time to work for him next summer but there is a plenty of sesech he can get cheaper than me. Tell him to give my love to his family and mother. Give my love to John Whitmoore and Mary

The Great Dance

I have seen the elephant dance to the time of the Arkansas traveler, but the race of Old Price’s fiddle got broke the 8th and all he could play was the run and they run off and  and left us. Our fiddlers was Curtis and Sigel.

this is so.



March 30, 1862

Dear Uncle Aunt Cousins,

I now take this time to let you know that I am well at this time and hope those few lines will find you the same. I heard that you had not heard from me since February. I have written three or four letters since that time. I have received one letter since the battle from you and was glad to hear that you was well. News has come to us that Price is advancing on us. I think it is not so but I don’t know whether he is or not. I can tell you more about that in the next letter if I don’t get killed.

We got our pay the 26th of this month—26 dollars—all in Uncle Sam’s stripes. The weather is very warm now. Everything looks like spring. I have no news to write to you. I think I would write to you to let you know that I was still alive. Excuse my short letter for this time for I have had some bourbon this evening. It is seldom that I drink any.

So farewell for this time. Write [as] soon as you get this for I would like to hear from you but would rather see you than to hear from you. Give my respects to Smith and his family and Mother, John, Whitonope, and Mary. I will send you a verse that I made about the battle. The words are this:

The Battles are the victory now is but in that fight there was no fun for the Canons roar and the Bunting Shoot fold tales of we so fair the well.

Write Soon, —David Patten

to William Richards, Beulah, Rhoda, Thomas, and Mary



April 5th, 1862, the Regiment was marched to Batesville, Arkansas, with Major McIlwain in charge of the Regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Chandler (from the 35th Illinois) was in charge of the Brigade. They arrived at Batesville, Arkansas on May 8th, 1862. The marching distance was 291 total miles.
On May 10th, 1862, the 35th Illinois Infantry was assigned to General Jefferson C. Davis’ Division, and began the march to Cape Giraradeau, Missouri. They arrived at Cape Giraradeau, Missouri on May 21st, 1862. Total miles marched, 252 miles.
On May 22nd,1862 they embarked on the steamer Sunshine for Hamburg Landing, Tennessee and arrived there on May 25th. On May 27th, 1862 were moved to Farmington, Mississippi, and took part in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi until its evacuation on May 30th, 1862.
June 1st—June, 5th, 1862 following the rebel army, and got in front at Booneville, Mississippi.


Camp Near Boonville, Mississippi
June 7, 1862

Dear Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins,

I now take this [opportunity] to inform you that I am well at this time, hoping these few lines will find you the same. I have wrote you two or three letters since I have got any answer and I am still writing without any letter from you.

We went to Corinth and saw them skirmish some and stayed there till the rebels evacuated the place, then followed them south. We are about 25 miles from Corinth now, close to the rebels. You have heard about the arms that our men got and destroyed. And the prisoners—they don’t amount to much. We have papers here up to the 3d of this month. They tell all about our movements and about McClellan fighting the rebels at Richmond, Virginia—-that is the two first days, but no further.

The weather is cool at this time. Blackberries is nearly ripe here and there is any amount of them. I was to the regiment that Miles is in yesterday [but] he is at Pittsburgh landing sick. They was looking for him up to the regiment.  Then I seen George a few days ago. He is well. John and Bill is with Michel at Huntsville, Alabama, not far from us. We are in Pope’s command.

I got a letter from home. They was all well then. That was the 19th of May. So I will just [close]] for this time. Write soon as you get this. I have no ink nor whiskey but a dead, dull pencil. There is men enough here to eat Old Beauregard and all his army.

I stopped in Cairo as we went down and got some ice cream to eat. The officers fell out on the boat and our captain blacked a lieutenant’s eyes in Co. E.  But we had a good time on the boat. So farewell.

— David Patten

to you all. write soon.


On June 12th camped at Clear Creek, Mississippi and then on the 22nd of June at Jacinto, Mississippi. The distance marched from Hamburg Landing, Tennessee to Jacinto, Mississippi including countermarches was 92 miles.
On June 25th, 1862 marched to near Holly Springs, Mississippi, and then returned for a total of 100 miles. On August 8th, 1862, they marched to Iuka, Mississippi a distance of 35 miles.


Camp Jacinto, Mississippi
July 29, 1862

Dear uncle, aunt, and cousins,

I now take this time to answer your letter of 15th and was glad to hear from you. I am well at this time and hope those few lines may find you the same.

I have no war news to write to you at this time. We are in the same old camp. Our health is good generally throughout the whole army. The weather is cool. I had a letter from home yesterday. The folks was all well then. Miles, I think, will get a discharge on account of disability. He is not able to stand the service.

I don’t think us soldiers will have to work so hard now since the Confiscation Bill passed and the secesh will have to work more. This will not go so well with them. General Halleck has left us now. He is commander-in-chief of all the land forces in the United States. He is at Washington now. I expect they will have to take the Pea Ridge Boys to Virginia yet before they whip the rebels there.

Rhoda, here is a ____ that I got in a package of paper. It is meant to go on a guard as a loop or a clasp. I thought I would send it to you. You can get you a string and put it on with your new dress and wear it to church. It don’t be some account to you but it is more to me. You wrote that Martha Verdin looked very mad when you saw her. I will bet she would not look so at Abe. But I got along without her very well the 4th also the 5th. But I would a liked to a been home but I have to stay here for nearly two years yet. Then I will come home if I live that long. But my duty is not very hard now. All I have to do is to draw rations from the commissary for the company and divide them out to the messes, drill and go on dress parade and do some fatigue duty at times. I don’t have to stand guard at all. There will be a sergeant to elect in the company before long. I will stand a chance to get that place so I will wait for this time.

Write soon as you get this. So farewell. —-David Patten

to W. H. Richards.

Please put a paper round my old woman picture and send it to me.


On August 9th, 1862, the regiment was detached to guard the Bear Creek Bridge; remained on guard duty until the 21st of August, 1862. While at this place, they were sent to Iuka, Mississippi to get 112 bales of cotton abandoned by rebel owners. They left Bear Creek on August 21st, 1862 and joined Buell’s Army at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on September, 1st, 1862. Total miles marched; 175.
On September 2nd, 1862, started for Louisville, Kentucky and arrived there on September 25th, 1862. Total distance of 220 miles marched.
On October 1st, 1862, advanced on Bragg’s Army in front of Louisville, Kentucky. On October 8th, 1862, the Regiment was at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky. Skirmished with the rebels on their left flank with no loss to the Regiment. Reached Nashville, Tennessee on November 6th, 1862. Total marching distance from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee was 200 miles.
Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter


Crab Orchard, Kentucky
October 16, 1862

Dear Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins,

I now take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time at this time and I hope these few lines will find you the same.

We had a fight with the rebels at Perryville, Kentucky, on the 17 of this month. There was a good many killed and wounded on both sides. I have seen no official report but I seen a good many dead here. We had a fight with them yesterday. We are resting today but I don’t know how long we will rest. We are nearly wore out a running and fighting the rebels. If I had a got pay at Louisville, I would a come home. Dick Freeman of Oconee went home from Louisville. I expect he is at home now.

I have not much to write—only I am dirty & ragged for the want of time to wash and to draw new clothes. I have seen a good many dead and wounded since I wrote you last. We are whipping the rebels on every hand and I hope they will soon play out for I am tired of this war now than I ever was. So I will quit for this time. Write soon.

Direct to Louisville, Ky. Co. B. 35 Ills.

— David Patten

to William Richards


On November 10th, 1862 the Regiment was an escort for a train to Mitchelville, Tennessee and also escort on the return trip. On November 26th, 1862, The 25th Illinois and 35th Illinois Infantry Regiments scouted to Harpeth Shoals, Tennessee for 4 days and then returned to Nashville. Total marching distance was 132 miles.


Nashville, Tennessee
December 12, 1862

Dear Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins,

I now take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at this time and hope these few lines will find you the same. I have been looking for a letter for some time but have not received a letter from you yet.

We had a skirmish a few days ago with the rebels. They soon run and left us the field. We heard the news that our forces had taken Richmond with the loss of Gen. Siegel and Gen. Hooker and one other general. I don’t know how true it is.

There is a good many joining the regular service for three years from enlistment. I think I am too regular now. We drew Gen. Halleck’s improved dog houses last night, properly called shelter tents. Each man has one [half] and carries it on his back. There is talk of us getting to stay at Nashville this winter. I hope we will for I am tired of running.

So I will close for this time hoping to hear from you soon. So farewell.

To W. H. Richards

Direct as before. Nashville Tenn

Give me the news of the day and your opinion of the war. Some think it will soon be over. I don’t think much about it for I think the rebels can fight as long as they please. But there is one thing sure, their darkies will soon go up the spout. I don’t care how soon any way to kill the devil.  T. F. Tunison is our captain now and a fine man he is.

I will send you an account I have against Franklin Adam—a blacksmith in Rosemound— for borrowed money. I want you to take it to him and if he can’t pay you money, get him to do something to the amount for you and give him a receipt against the account. I don’t think he will refuse to pay it. If he does, write it to me.


December 26th, 1862 they left Nashville, Tennessee for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, distance 45 miles. December 30th and 31st, 1862 and January 1st-3rd, 1863, the Regiment was involved in the Battle of Stone River, Tennessee The 35th Illinois lost 1 commissioned officer killed and 10 men killed; 1 commissioned officer was wounded and 44 men wounded; 21 men were missing; and 4 men captured and paroled. The Regiment started this battle with 20 commissioned officers left, and 419 men.


Camp Near Murfreesboro [Tennessee]
January 19, 1863

Dear uncle, aunt, and cousins,

I now take this time to answer your letter of the 24th which I received today and was glad to hear from you. I am not very well at this time. I have felt bad ever since the Battle [of Stone River] It was enough to kill the devil to lay out in the rain and mud with no fire and half enough to eat as long as we did. But I am thankful to come off as well as I did.

You wrote that they was going to have a big time New Year’s but the New Years you had there is nowhere to the one we had here. The secesh and our men only had about 4 or 5 hundred pieces of cannon which was exchanging shots all day and the men were fools enough to get in the way and cannon balls and bomb shells and grape and canister is very careless kind of things and don’t care where they go or who they hit. By them being so careless, a good many of our brave fellows went under. I thought that I would go under at times when they would kill men right by me but I came out safe and am thankful that I came out without a scratch.

I would get my likeness taken if I had a chance but there is a better chance of getting a scalp taken than a picture now. I am homesick now more so than I ever was. I long to see the time when I can come home and bid adieu to this bloody war. I will be 25 years old tomorrow and 17 months and 16 days to serve yet in this war. Then, if I should live, I will be free. So farewell for this time. Write soon and often for I am always glad to hear from home. As ever the same, — David Patten

To one and all

Joshua Osborn and Henry Young is well. Direct to Nashville Tenn


On January 31st, 1863 the Regiment was sent out on scout duty to Franklin, Tennessee and returned. Total distance marched was 84 miles. They returned on February 12, 1863. On March 7th to March 15th, 1863 they were sent to scout Triune, Tennessee for a total distance of 52 miles.
On June 24, 1863 the Regiment left Murfreesboro, Tennessee for Winchester, Tennessee. They arrived there on July 3rd, 1863 for a total distance of 60 miles. Then on August 7th-August 20th, 1863, they were sent to Stevenson, Alabama for a distance of 40 miles.
Patriotic Stationery in Patten’s Letter


Winchester, Tennessee
August 8, 1863

Dear Uncle Aunt and Cousins,

I now sit down to write you a few lines in answer to the ones that I received from you this evening. I was glad to hear from you and would be glad to hear from you everyday but would rather see you than to hear from you. But the time is fast coming when I should be free again—if I don’t get killed before my time is out.

Last Thursday, our division marched out in a nice grove where we formed a line around a stage that they had erected. In the center of the circle, there was Major General McCook and his sister. General Jeff Davis and his wife and Colonels and other officers till you couldn’t rest. There was 8 or 10 chaplains that addressed the soldiers. We had two bands of music—a brass band and a silver band—and a choir of singers. There was some very able prayers made and some fine speeches delivered. Everything went off nice. They called on Gen. Davis to make a speech. He got up and told us that he was proud of his division and always had been, but he could make no speech. But off he was on Charley— that is his horse—and we started for Chattanooga, that he could give command to march on the enemy. Then they called on McCook to make a speech. He got up and said that he had never voted not made a speech, but if he got orders to march on Old Bragg, he would give over division the advance and go with us. By this time there was coming up a heavy thunderstorm and we struck for camp but was caught before we got half way out. I never saw it rain much harder in my life than it did for a half an hour.

So I will close for this time hoping to hear from you soon. So goodbye.

Write soon. I got the stamps all right that you sent me. Rhoda, I think you might send me your photograph. Henry Young got his from Mary a few days ago. It was very nice.

From your unworthy nephew, —David Patten

to William, Richards, Beulah, Thomas, Miles.

I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same.


On August 28th, 1863, they marched to Caperton’s Ferry. The next day, Heg’s Brigade, composed of the 25th Illinois, 35th Illinois, 8th Kansas and the 15th Wisconsin Infantry, crossed the Tennessee River on pontoons, and drove the rebel pickets back, while the bridge was being built. They were the first Infantry on the south side of the river.
On August 29th-September 19th, 1863 they crossed Raccoon, Sand, and Lookout Mountains and marched to Alpine, then Dug Gap which was 6 miles in front of Lafayette, Georgia, and then to the battlefield of Chickamauga, Georgia for a distance of 150 miles.
September 19th and 20th,1863 the Regiment was involved heavily at the battle of Chickamauga. The 35th Illinois lost 3 commissioned officers killed, and 15 men killed; 5 commissioned officers wounded and 125 men wounded; 12 men were missing. The Regiment started the battle with 18 commissioned officers and 281 enlisted men.
September 22nd, the Regiment arrived at Chattanooga, Tennessee for a distance of 15 miles.
November 23rd, 1863 the Regiment was involved in the assault of the rebel rifle pits in front of Mission Ridge. On November 25th, 1863, the Regiment was in the storming and capture of Mission Ridge. The Regiment was formed in the front line on the left of Willich’s Brigade, Wood’s Division, Fourth Army Corps. Wood’s Division was the first to carry the crest of the ridge, and the rebel works there. The men were led by the Regimental flags being advanced on the front. The flag of the Regiment was carried in advance of the men, to within 20 paces of the rebel works on the crest. All of the color guard except one, Corporal Preston, Company K, had been wounded, and he at this time, was shot through the head and killed instantly. The flag fell into the hands of Lieutenant Colonel Chandler, commander of the Regiment. He carried the flag himself into the enemy’s works and the men followed him. They were the first into the enemy works and at that point the rebel line began to break in several places at this point. The 35th Illinois lost the following. 6 men killed; 2 commissioned officers wounded and 46 men wounded. The Regiment started the battle with 212 officers and men.


Chattanooga [Tennessee]
November 1, 1863

Dear Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins,

I now take my pen up to write you a few lines this Sabbath morning to inform you that I am still alive but not in good health. I am able to go around and do duty.

So Hooker and the Rebs takes a fight every day and fights of night. For a rarity our men is trying to get them off of Lookout Mountain. We have succeeded in driving them nearly off. They are fight some today.

My paper is so scarce that I can’t write you much of a letter. Paper and clothing and grub and everything is so scarce and there is but little to be had. We don’t have rations now the reason is that the men are all wore out and run down so they is impossible for to get rations for us many men on one line of railroad.

I want to know if you can send me some butter and some molasses and a little buckwheat for us. One gallon of buckwheat flour would do me a good while and a gallon or so of molasses and ____ pounds of butter and some kind of fruit. I never was so near starved in all my life than I am now. But you could send anything till the railroad is opened to this place and Express Office established in Chattanooga. I will let you know when you can send me anything by express. I have not got a letter from you for some time but and looking for one everyday. I wish I was home so I could get something to eat now.

So I will have to close for I want of paper. Write soon.

As ever, your nephew, — David Patten


This letter was written by Henry C. Edgington from Ohio. William H. Richards and his wife Beulah and children were living with Henry in Ohio at the time of the 1850 US Census.


October 2, 1864

Dear Niece,

It is with pleasure that I take the present time to answer your welcome letter. I and my family are in tolerable health at this time but hope that these lines may find you in good health.

Times is hard here for poor folks. Everything is high but I think that when old Abe Lincoln is elected again and our northern rebels is beat, times will change. The darkest hour is just before day and we hope the time is near at hand when this unholy rebellion will be put down and our Union restored and the stars and stripes float over us again.

I have nothing new to write to you but would [be] glad to see you all the best in the world but we are a great ways apart so that we can’t see each other when we want to. Write as often as you can for I can’t write much for my hand trembles so that I cant write. The friends are all well here so far as I know Lucretia is at Good Hope yet. She has not been home for four months. We look for her in November. Excuse me for not writing sooner. Give my best respects to your mother and pap and the boys. Tell them to write to me.

Yours truly, — Henry C. Edgington

To Miss Rhoda Richards.


“The Old Union Wagon” was written and composed by Rev. John H. Lozier, chaplain of the 37th Indiana Volunteers. It was written at the headquarters of General Negley’s Division at Camp Hamilton on the “Overton Plantation,” five miles from Nashville, Tennessee. It was originally intended merely as a camp song in answer to the “Souther Wagon,” which the “Secesh” damsels are always ready to sing for the Yankees. It was afterwards published by John Church, Jr. of Cincinnati, as sheet music.”  [Annals of the Army of the Cumberland, by John Fitch, page 682.]

Old Union Wagon

In Uncle Sam’s Dominion in Eighteen Sixty-Three
The fight between sucession and union was begun
The South declared they’d have their right which Uncle Sam denied
Or in secession wagon, they’d all take a ride.


The makers of our wagon were men of solid wit
They made it out of charter oak that wouldn’t rot or splt
Its wheels were made of materials the strongest and the best
And two were named the north and south and two the east and west.


Our wagon bed is strong enough for any revolution
In fact tis the hull of the Old Constitution
Her coupling strong her axles long and any where you’ll get her
No tyrants frown can hack her down, no traitor can upset her.

Now this old union wagon the nations all admire
Her wheels had run for four score year and never once been tired
Her passengers were happy as along her way whirled
And the old Union wagon was the glory of the world.


But then old Abram took command the south Wheel got displeased
Because the public fat was gone that kept the axels greased
And when he gathered up his reins and started on his rout
She plunged into a secession and knocked some fellers out.

Now while in this secession mire the wheels were sticking tightly
Some tory passengers got mad and cursed the driver slightly,
Old Abram couldn’t see it so he did not bother heed their clatter
There’s too much black mud on the wheels said he that’s what the matter.

So Abram gave them notice in eighteen sixty three
unless the rebels dried it up he’d set their niggers free
And then the man that led the van to fight against his nation
Would drop his gun and home he’d run to fight against starvation.

When Abram said hed free their slaves that furnished their supplies
It opened northern traitors mouths and southern traitors eyes
The slaves they said would run away if thus you rashly free them
Old Abram guessed perhaps they’d best go home and oversee them.

Around our Union wagons with shoulder to the wheel
A million soldiers rally with hearts as tame as steel
And of all the generals high or low that helped them save the nation,
This war will strike a harder blow than General emancipation.


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