This letter was written by 31 year-old Solomon Bean (1830-1862) of Kendallville, Noble county, Indiana, who enlisted in September 1861 to serve in Co. G, 44th Indiana Volunteers. The regiment was in the thick of the fighting at the Battle of Shiloh on 6-7 April 1862, sustaining losses of 33 killed and 177 wounded. This letter was written ten days after the battle from Pittsburg Landing where the regiment remained to regroup and await a reorganization under the direct command of General Halleck who did not begin his march of Corinth until 29 April 1862.
Solomon did not survive the war. He died of typhoid fever in the General Hospital at Nashville in November 1862. One report says he died on 2 November; another on 23 November. Regimental records indicate that Solomon enlisted in Co. G at Kendallville, Noble county, Indiana, as did Paul Bean (b. 1839)—presumably his brother. However I cannot find a “Bean” family residing in Noble county at the time of the US Census. Most likely he was residing in Ohio at the time of the census. If Paul Bean was Solomon’s brother, it is ironic that they both died of typhoid fever in November 1862.
Solomon wrote the letter to Matilda J. Rogers (1834-1914), the daughter of Eliphalet Rogers (1795-1879) and Hannah Jackson (1802-1840) of Albion, Noble county, Indiana. Matilda married John Harris (1833-1908) in January 1865.
Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee
April the 17th 1862
Much respected and highly esteemed friend,
It is with much pleasure that I resume my pen to address you with a few lines to let you know that I am well at present, hoping that these few lines will find you the same.
We are still here in the river bank. There is some of our forces moving towards the rebels. They are expecting to attack them within a few days if the scamps don’t run. There is nothing of importance here going on here that I hardly know what to write so consequently if I don’t write long letters, you mustn’t think hard about me for so doing.
There has been teams going past here for the last week. There is a string going all the time and there is no end to the artillery going past.
Well, I will have to close this time or I won’t have anything to write the next time—only there is no pets here but there is plenty of onions.
Yours respectfully, — Solomon Bean
to Matilda J. Rogers
Write write write
Look over my poor writing for I have a poor place to write and a poor pen to write with. But I will do the best I can under the present circumstances.
Since we came to this place, I saw a good many folks I used to know. I saw most all the boys of the 30th [Indiana] and Jacob Shock [Co. E, 36th Indiana] among the rest and some boys from Ohio.
Excuse me for this time and I will stop by remaining your true friend.
S. Bean to M. J. Rogers