1864: William W. Scoon to Euphemia (Scoon) Witherell

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William W. Scoon, 113th Illinois Volunteers

These letters were written by William W. Scoon (1840-18xx), the son of John Scoon (1812-Aft1880) and Eleanor W. (1813-Aft1880) of Middleport township, Iroquois county, Illinois.  William enlisted in October 1862 with his younger brothers James Scoon and John Scoon in Company B, 113th Illinois Infantry in August 1862. All three of them were mustered out of the service in June 1865.

William wrote the letter to his aunt Euphemia (“Effie”) Scoon (1812-1896) who was married to Seymour B. Witherell (1812-1896) in 1832 in Ossian, New York. Seymour and Effie had at least five children: John S. Witherell (1831-1911), Susan Goss Witherell (1836-1920), Isaac Huntington Witherell (1839-1905), Walter Scoon Witherell (1840-1929), and Margaret Witherell (1843-1878).

From the following letter 1863: John Scoon to Euphemia (Scoon) Witherell,  we learn that Effie’s relationship with her husband had deteriorated to the point where she was considering leaving him and she was being encouraged by her brother to come live with his family in Illinois. Famy’s husband enlisted in August 1862 at the age of 44, as a private in Co. E, 33rd New York Infantry, to serve three years. In May, 1863, he was attached to the 49th New York Infantry and was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps in September 1863.

[Editor’s Note: the header image is a picture of the 113th Illinois taken in Memphis.]

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Camp at Memphis, Tennessee
Co. B, 113th Regiment Illinois Volunteers
February 16, 1864

Dear Aunt,

I had the unspeakable happiness to receive your very kind and sincerely welcomed letter this afternoon. It was very kind of you my dear aunt, to think me worthy of so much notice of me and I feel myself highly honored with receiving a letter from you. This I believe is the first letter that I have ever received from you and I hope to be honored with one very often.

Your letter found me well and I sincerely trust that these few lines will soon reach you and find you enjoying the blessing of good health. My dear aunt, there is no necessity of asking pardon for not condescending to write to me before there is no offense at all and if there was, I should indeed be a hard-hearted fellow if I did not forgive it. But as I said, there is no occasion for asking pardon.

You say that you had got a letter from cousin Isaac only a few days before you wrote to me. Well, I hope that they were well. I have not had a letter from them for a very long time—not since the Battle of Chattanooga—but I have heard from them from my sister Effie. She had a letter from Isaac a short time ago. They were both well when he wrote to her.

Well, dear Aunt, you must keep up courage and hope for the safe return of your sons who is dear to you and who are my dear cousins too. I know how to pity them for I know the trials and hardships of a soldier’s life from experience for my regiment has suffered a great deal. We have not got one hundred men in the five companies that are down here that is able for duty and we only [have] a few sick now. Over half of our men has died. There has been some killed and some died from wounds.

Well Aunt, there is no very important news to write so you must not be disappointed in not getting a longer letter. Well, tell Isaac and Walter to write to me. I have written four or five letters to them since I have had any from them.

Well, dear Aunt Effie, I wish that you could come out and live with my father and mother. You would have a good home as long you would want to stay. If you say you will come, I will send you enough money to pay your expenses all the way through.

Well now, dear Aunt, I will have to bring my scribbling to a close hoping very soon to hear from you. And now goodbye from your ever truly and affectionate nephew.

— William W. Scoon

To Mrs, Effie Witherell


Camp at Memphis, Tennessee
Co. B, 113th Regiment Illinois Volunteers
March 20th 1864

My dear and much loved aunt,

I will now improve the present opportunity in writing a few lines to you although I have not had an answer to my last letter yet but I presume you will answer it in good time, will you not, dear aunt?

Well, this letter leaves us all well and I hope that it may soon reach you and find you all well. I had a letter from sister Effie this morning and she said that my folks were all well. She is still going to school but the school will soon be out and then I suppose that she will take a school to teach again this summer.

Well aunt, I suppose you got my letter with an invitation to make your home with my father’s family. Won’t you write and let me know whether you will accept it or not? I wish that you would.

Well there is a report that the army corps that we belong in is ordered to Richmond, Va. and if we go, I may possibly have the good fortune to meet with my cousins Isaac and Walter. I hope so anyhow. If we start, I will write to you and let you know. I have not had a letter from Isaac since the Battle of Chattanooga and it is some time since I had a letter from Margaret. She was living at, I believe, at Castile or East Pike when I got her last letter.

It has been a long time since Susan wrote to me and I believe that John has never wrote to me and if you will be so kind, I wish that you would give me his address and Susan’s too.

Well, I don’t know as there is anything more to write that would be very interesting so I will have to resort to the last subject to write about in order to fill up the paper and that is the state of the weather. I suppose that it is pretty cold in New York yet and some snow yet but it is not so some here. It has been very warm and pleasant all winter except a few days which was pretty cool. The fruit trees are nearly all in bloom down here now but I suppose it will be sometime before they will be in New York.

Well, I guess that I had better stop scribbling for you will get tired reading it so I will bring this to a close hoping very soon to hear from you. From your ever loving nephew, — William W. Scoon

Give my best respects to all enquiring friends. Be sure and write me John & Susan’s address.


Camp of the 113th Regiment Illinois Volunteers
June 8, 1864

Dear Aunt,

I will once more resume, my dear [aunt] and take my pen for the purpose of addressing a few lines to you although I have not had an answer to my last two letters yet. I am afraid you are sick again but I hope not.

This leaves me well—or nearly so. I have been sick since I came back to my regiment. When I got back, my regiment was out on a march and did not get back for ten days. They are on another scout now—that is, a part of them—but I did not go for I was not able to stand the march. John went but James did not. He is on duty in town. He was detailed a short time before the regiment had marching orders. There is ten of my company with him and fifteen in the scout and the other five left in camp not able to go.

Oh dear me, it is awful hot here that I cannot hardly stand it to write.

My folks are all well the last I heard from them. I have not had and answer from Susan nor John yet. I wrote to them when I first came back from home. When you write, tell meh how Uncle Thomas is for I have not heard from that quarter for a long time. I have wrote a number of letters but cannot get an answer.

Well, as there is nothing very particular to write, I will bring this to a close hoping very soon to hear from you. My love to all of you.

— William W. Scoon

Co. B, 113th Regiment Illinois Volunteers
Memphis, Tennessee

P,. S. Have you made up your mind to come out to Father’s yet? If you have not, I would like to have you do it pretty soon for I want you to have a good home and I know you would have a good one with my Father and my folks would be very happy to have you to come and live with them and am sure I should very much like to have you to live there too.

Well Aunt, you must excuse my very poor writing for I cannot write very good since I was sick. Well now, goodbye. Please write very often.


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