1867: Elizabeth (Wilson) Buckner to William H. Wilson

This letter was written by Elizabeth (Wilson) Buckner (1841-19xx), the daughter of Joseph Hannibal Bonaparte Wilson (Aft1800-Bef1849) and Ann Adeline Neblett (1804-1858) of Paris, Henry county, Tennessee. She wrote the letter to her brother, William Henry Harrison (“Tip”) Wilson (1840-1921) who farmed near Notasulga, Alabama. Tip was married to Naomi Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Cox (1842-1921).


Home [Paris, Henry county, Tennessee]
Wednesday, January 1st 1867

Esteemed brother,

Then thousand thanks for kind & interesting letters & permit me at the same time to ask you as many pardons for not having written you long, long ago. I have often resolved & resolved to write and ow feel surprised and grieved because I so long delayed. Several times I faithfully promised myself to write immediately but somehow (I say it with sorrow) the time glided away and I was still strangely silent. When I read yours, I really felt like giving you a letter in length almost proportioned to the extent of happiness it gave me. Truly it would have been very long. You can never know how much I enjoyed every line you wrote. I love you so fondly and tenderly as ever and cherish your memory with affectionate veneration. Once more let me ask you to please forgive my long silence. Do not attribute it to willful neglect, careless ingratitude; for believe me, I esteem it a delightful privilege to write to you my much beloved brother. I have so few relations near me. I am of course strongly attached to those few and good news from the distanted loved come to me as a song of sweet music. If I had had wings, I would have joyfully winged my way to you after I finished reading your affectionate letter. In imagination I did visit you and felt as if I almost participated in your social comfort and domestic happiness.

You wished to know whether this is the same Baker that was on the Paris circuit. It is. He says that he recollects you & sends you his kindest regards. Oh Brother, I was so sorry to hear that you & family could not visit us this winter. We have had a beautiful fall & winter up to this time for it is now very cold & snow on the ground four or five inches deep, We had quite a dull Christmas. Btother, it surely would not cost you $1.40 to visit us but you know the best as such.  You do what you think best. Cotton is worth from nine to ten cents in the lint, pork from 8 to 10. Wheat $2.00 to 2.25. Corn 50 cents per bushel, Calico 10 12½ to 15 cents per yard. Heavy yard wide domestic 16 2/3 cents per yard.

I heard from [sister] Sallie the other week. All was well with the exception of Uncle. He was in very feeble health. Cousin A. L. Pritchett is on the Iuka Circuit. I received a letter from Punch some time since requesting me to visit him very speedily as he wanted to see me on particular business. I do not know what it was. I answered his letter telling him I could not comply with his request but have received no answer. I do not know why he did not answer me unless he got offended at me because I did not visit him. I do not know what Mr. Ross is doing. I don’t know anything about Emma & Minerva. I have been thinking about writing to Emma.

How far do you live from here. It only takes about three days for your letters to get here. How far do you live from Notasulga & what city do you live in? Mr. Baker killed his hogs yesterday—that is, he killed ten. They weighed 2900 & 20 pounds, one weighing 400 & 6 lbs. You said in your letter that you felt quite unwell. I am in hopes you quite well now & will answer this immediately. Give my best to Lizzie. Tell her she must write me soon. Kiss Minnie for me. I will send you my gem [gem type] when I have the chance. I will have some photographs taken & send you one of them. I had some but have given them all away. Would be pleased to get yours, Lizzie’s & Minnie’s. I will close by asking you to write immediately to your loving sister, — Lizzie Buckner

New Year’s gift Brother & Sister, — Bettie


1864: Thomas Taylor to Benjamin Franklin Taylor

How Tom Taylor might have looked

This letter was written by 51 year-old Thomas Taylor (1812-1878)—a farmer who resided with his wife, Louisa Lamb (1817-1902) and children near Paris, Henry county, Tennessee. He wrote the letter to his 20 year-old son, Benjamin “Franklin” Taylor (1843-1920), who was serving as a sergeant in Co. A, 5th Tennessee (Confederate) Volunteers at the time. Franklin enlisted as a private in Co. F in August 1861 and was transferred to Co. A in May 1862. He was promoted to 3d Sergeant in November 1863.

It is curious to notice that Thomas appears to be cautious in revealing anything about his or his son’s loyalties in this letter lest it fall into the wrong hands. Most likely the letter was hand-carried by a member of the 5th Tennessee.

After the war, Franklin Taylor became a physician.


[Henry county, Tennessee]
July 13th 1864

Mr. B. F. Taylor
My dear son,

I came to town today not know that I would have an opportunity of dropping you a few lines by way of slant so I embrace the present opportunity of writing you a few lines. These lines leaves us all on foot and in tolerable good health hoping that when those few lines reaches you, they may find you enjoying the sweets of life. I have no news worth writing at the present. I see some southerners occasionally through the country. They seem to be in high spirits. I would like very much to see your face one time more in Old Henry and hear you talk of the trials and ups and downs you have had since our last meeting with you at Lagrange. There has been many things that have transpired since I last saw you. If I could see you, I could tell you many things which I shall not write hoping that I may have a chance to see you face to face when we can converse freely and talk of the troubles of our country. I shall come to a close very soon as I have but little time to write. The bearer is now ready to start and I am not quite ready for him but will have to close.

Your mother is preparing you a suit of clothes believing you will be here this fall, If you do not come, she will be greatly disappointed. Receive our best wishes with all the family. Give my best respects to all the neighborhood boys and tell them to remember me. I now close. I still remain your father as ever, — Thomas Taylor



1860-65: William Henry Wilson Letters

William Henry Harrison (“Tip”) Wilson

These letters were written by William Henry Harrison (“Tip”) Wilson (1840-1921) of Paris, Henry county, Tennessee. Born in September 1840 during the Log Cabin and Hard Cider Presidential Campaign of William Henry Harrison, William’s parents named him after the war hero and presidential candidate who was nicknamed “Tippicanoe” or “Tip” for short. As he grew into an adult, William’s family nicknamed him “Tip” as well and he often signed his letters that way. We know from census records that Tip’s father was from North Carolina and his mother was from Virginia. Digging further in census records, we learn that Tip’s mother was Ann Adeline Neblett (1804-1858) of Lunenburg county, Virginia, who was first married to Green Jackson (1800-1833). In 1839 at the age of 35, Ann married Tip’s father, Joseph Hannibal Bonaparte Wilson (Aft1800-Bef1849).

Tip’s half siblings included Sterling N. Jackson (1831-1880) and Mary M. Jackson (1833-1852); his full siblings included Elizabeth (b. 1841), Sarah (b. 1844), and Joseph (b. 1846).

Tip enlisted as a private in Co. C, 5th Tennessee Volunteers on 20 May 1861. He was promoted to lieutenant and later captain of Company A. The regiment was mustered into Confederate service in August 1861 and went through a couple of reorganizations and consolidations during the war before they were paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina on 1 May 1865.

Lizzie’s parents, Willis & Betsy (Moore) Cox

Tip was married to Naomi Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Cox (1842-1921) on 30 June 1864 at Macon, Alabama. She was the daughter of Willis Cox (1801-1872) and Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Moore (1804-1882) of Macon county, Alabama. These letters were written to her prior to and after their marriage.


Auburn, Alabama
May 12th 1864

Miss Lizzie C.,

This note is to inform you that I yet remember thee. I have just returned from Dalton. I have concluded to give you all the news from that place—at least all I know. I left there Sunday evening. Our entire army was then advancing. Very heavy skirmishing was then going on. Was then thought [a] general engagement would commence Monday morning but did not.

Aftre I left Dalton, I came down to Atlanta to await the result but no general engagement as yet but thought will be soon. WE have killed & captured a great many Yanks since the 1st of this week. Our loss but small compared with that of the enemy’s. Gen. Johnston is ready & feels confident of success. I have never seen soldiers in better spirits than the Army of Tennessee is at the present—all eager to go upon the enemy. confident of a great & glorious victory.

I expect to attend a wedding tomorrow near Westpoint. I expect quite a nice time. I will be out to see you soon—the first time I can get one conveyance. I wrote to you just before leaving camp. I also received one from you which have me much pleasure to read.

Well, I will now tell you the dream I had a few nights ago. I dreamed you & Gen. Mitchel was married. I thought I was at the wedding. I had quite a nice time. Is it true or not? Let me know in your reply. You stated in your last letter like you thought I was not in earnest. Doubt not for I am every thing I have ever said come from the heart & hope may reach the heart of the reacher say need I hope any longer. Hoping to hear from you…[portion of letter torn and missing].

May sorrow never reach thy heart. May friendship with us ever rest. For I can love thee as thou art. 23.8.23….

P. S. You will please excuse all mistakes, bad writing, & short epistle for I [have] not time to write this eve. Goodbye. I hope to see you soon. Answer immediately. — Tip W.


Opelika, Alabama
August 11th 1864

Dear Lizzie,

I arrived at this place about 8 o’clock safe but will not leave until 6 P.M. There is no 8 o’clock train from here in the morning. I feel quite sad but am in fine spirits. I hope you will be cheerful & not let my departure grieve you. Mr. Vaughn says you can keep his buggy as long as you wish. You will have quite a time getting your mule home for it is the laziest thing I ever drove in my life. I found the roads very muddy & bad.

I must close. Farewell. If we never meet on earth again, let’s try and meet in heaven. I am your affectionate husband until death, — W. H. Wilson

Co. A, 5th Tenn. Regt., Strahl’s Brigade, Cheatham’s Division, Army of Tennessee.


In the Ground near Atlanta, Ga.
August 17, 1864

Mrs. N. E. Wilson
My dearest Lizzie,

It is again with the greatest of pleasure to know that I am yet spared to converse with you by way of letter.

Heavy skirmishing still going on day & night. Last night & night before, we fought more or less all night. Atlanta was set on fire both nights from shells but little damage done to the city. Several citizens—both men, women & children has been killed in the city from Yankee shells. There is more gofer holes in town than ever I saw. Every person have got holes dug in the ground for protection. We have a large Army to face but we are all in the best of spirits & willing to fight at any day or hour. Atlanta never will fall while Gen. Hood has command of the Army. Gen. Wheeler is now in the rear of Sherman—burned Marietta with several days rations—also torn up several miles of railroad.

If I was a betting man, I would bet 50,000 dollars if I was worth it that Sherman is beyond Chattanooga in less than one month. We have three brigades coming to our help from Taylor’s Army.

I have [not] seen nor heard from Mr. Vaughn since the day I got here. I would like so much to see him but have no chance of visiting. All we have time to do is lie in the ditches, go on picket, & fight like thunder. We are losing a great many men but not so many as the Yanks. Our boys shoot much better than the enemy. My company was on picket & one of the boys & a Yank got to shooting at each other, then would holler & ask how close he came. This was kept up for some time. Then my man shot & asked how close he came. The Yanks standing by remarked, “Goddam it, you killed him,” which was true for all the boys saw the Yank fall. They make a bargain sometimes to quit shooting & trade some. They they will meet on half way grounds & trade. Our boys will swap tobacco for pocket knives, watches, or anything they have. The Yanks will give anything they have for tobacco.

I must close my badly written epistle with the promise to do better the next time. My sores has got worse & gone to running again as bad as ever. Give my love to Ma & Pa & all the family.

Tell Helen I have the needle book yet—that Howard has not got back from the hospital yet. Mr. Taylor & Olive send their respects to you & says your [ambro]type is the prettiest thing they ever saw. Farewell. May we both live to meet again is the prayer of your devoted husband. — W. H. Wilson


Montgomery, Alabama
November 10, 1864

My Dear Lizzie,

As the lieutenant will start back in the morning and myself to parts unknown, very likely not to see the one who is nearer & dearer to me than life itself again soon, I will write you a short note now & write again so soon as I get to my command.

I am very well tonight—in fine spirits—but wish I was with you. Then how much better I could enjoy myself. I have met several of my friends here. Lund. Simonds, Col. Poter & several others. There is no business carried on here today—fasting & prayer. I could not get Mr. Cox’s money exchanged on that account.

I must close. My love to all. Remember what you requested of me. I will do so believing you will so the same. Farewell. I am as ever your devoted husband. Tip

— W. H. Wilson

I will see you again soon.


Corinth, Mississippi
December 24th 1864

Mrs. N. E. Wilson
My dear wife,

I again try to interest you the best I can by letter but having nothing very interesting, I fear I shall fail to interest you. Well, tomorrow is Christmas day and where am I? Little did I think last Christmas that I would be in this hog pen this Christmas. No man knows what tomorrow will bring forth.

We are expecting a fight here everyday. There are reports that 25,000 Yankees are coming upon this place from Memphis. Let them come. We will give them the best we have in our shop. We have about one thousand men here able for duty. But small we are in number, we are very large in courage. It is also reported that Hood is falling back from Nashville to Tuscumbia where he will take up winter quarters.

Well Lizzie, when you are drinking eggnog tomorrow, think of Tip & drink him a health. Oh how I wish I could be with you. Then how much better I could enjoy myself than what I will for I assure there is no pleasure to be seen at this place for the weather is so very cold I can do nothing. The ground is frozen 6 or 7 inches deep.  When I wrote you a few days ago, it was night. The severe mud was from 3 to 6 inches.

I am in command of a company here. My company is I, 1st Regiment, Reserve Forces. Lieutenant Webb is with me. I am officer of the day today. I am getting along very well. Cover plenty. I have bought me a good blanket. I have two [of the lieutenants too & one very large quilt besides his shawl so you see we have plenty of bedding. But our grub is very rough. For breakfast we have bread & beef. For supper we have beef & bread. Sometimes we get nothing but bread & corn meal, coffee. So you see it is very rough. If a man wants to catch thunder, let him come to Corinth. If I was back with you, I would remain until I could get through to Hood.

Well, Lizzie, you would hardly know me if you was to see me for I am smoked and yellow as a pumpkin—at least my clothes are. I dreamed last night that Frank had come home—is it so or not? If he is at home, tell him & all the rest of my friends not to come to Corinth if they can help it. I expect to go deer hunting Monday if the great excitement dies down about the rain. Plenty of deer around here.

My feet is so very cold I must quit & warm them. Lizzie, I wish I was with you today. Then time would pass away so pleasant. But as it is, hours are like days & days like months. When I was with you, the time did pass so swiftly that my last 30 days did not appear longer than one week. But now it seems like I have been from you three long weeks. I hope the time is not far off when we may meet again not to be separated.

Well, Lizzie, I must bring my short and badly composed epistle to a close & write you again soon. Kiss Ma for me. My love to Pa & all the family. May the Lord of high heaven rest upon us through life, prepare us for death so that when we have to leave this world that we may go in peace & be saved home high up in heaven is the prayer of your devoted husband, — W. H. Wilson

P. S. When you answer this, direct to Co. I, 1st Regt., Reserve Forces, Corinth, Miss.

For fear I may be gone, write upon one corner, if gone, please be forwarded to Capt. W. H. Wilson, Co. A, 5th Tenn. Regt., Strahl’s Brigade, Brown’s Div., Cheatham’s Corps, Army of Tennessee.


On the cars
February 20th 1865

Dear Lizzie,

I left Columbus this morning well & in fine spirits. I learn that all communication is cut off between here & the army so if you do not hear from me soon you must rest easy. I will write every chance.

I told Frank when I left to inform you of the fact that all communication was cut. I must close. I will write every chance. Lizzie, be careful and & take good care of yourself. I hope to see you again soon but my prospects are gloomy now for I see no chance yet to get back. May the Lord bless us, protect & save us in heaven is the prayer of yours devotedly, — W. H. Wilson

P. S.  My love to Pa, Ma & all the family & reserve the greater portion to your own self. I hope to hear from you soon. –Tip


Jackson, Tennessee
September 15, 1865

Dear Lizzie,

I got to this place about one hour ago safe & hearty and will leave in a few minutes for McLemoresville. I don’t think I will be gone more than 4 weeks for I learn that my neighborhood is in a dreadful fix [and] dangerous for a soldier to pass through from here to Paris on foot. So I shall hire conveyance to McLemoresville. There I will get Dr. Brannock to send me on home. I have no news to write so I will close. I only write to let you know how I am getting along. I want to see you & Minnie very bad. Kiss her sweet little lips for me.

My respects to all & remember me. You can look for me about the 21st of October & maybe will get back sooner than that. — Tip Wilson

[Note: The following photograph was reported to have been taken in 1921 at the funeral of Tip Wilson. It shows the family members attending the funeral and provides a list of the names of those shown on the reverse side. Tip’s wife, Lizzie, is the older lady in the very center of the family.]



1862-64: Robert Henry Greenfield to Mary (Lowell) Greenfield

Items belonging to a member of the 1st New York Dragoons

These letters were written by Pvt. Robert “Henry” Greenfield (1838-1912) who enlisted on 16 August 1862 for three years in Co. I, 130th New York Infantry.  This regiment was converted into a regiment of cavalry during the summer of 1863 and was designated the 19th New York Cavalry. A couple months later it was designated the 1st New York Dragoons, at which time Henry was appointed its farrier. Henry was born in Lester, New York and was a hostler by trade. His muster roll abstract indicates that he stood 5 feet 6 inches tall, had brown eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion. He mustered out with the company at Clouds Mills, Virginia on 30 June 1865.

Henry wrote all of the letters to his wife, Mary (Lowell) Greenfield (1838-1903). Mary’s younger brother, George W. Lowell also served with Henry in the same regiment (in Co. F) but unlike Henry, he did not survive the war.

Henry and Mary lived in Grove, Allegany county, New York. After the war they moved to Nunda, Livingston county, New York.

Mentioned in most of Henry’s letters was his comrade Pvt. Milon Parker (1837-1864). Milon died on 10 September 1864 in Washington D. C. and was buried in Arlington Cemetery. In one letter, Milon added a note to his sister Henrietta (“Etta”) Parker of Grove, New York.


Camp Suffolk, Virginia
November 13, 1862

Dear Wife,

I received yours of the 6th and was glad to hear that you was all alive and well as this leaves me. I received your letter last night but, Mary, I did not have time to answer it until this morning for our company went to guard a fort and I went with them so this morning I will pen you these few lines to let you know that the rebels has not taken us yet.

About one o’clock last night the news come in that the rebels had drove in our cavalry pickets. There has three regiments gone out and some cavalry. Our regiment has not had orders to march yet. We will probably have to go in two or three days. We may have to go in two or three days. We may have to go to Blackwater again.

Mary, you would hardly know me now for I have not shaved since I left home. I am heavier that I ever was before. I weight twenty pounds more than I did when I came here. The climate agrees with me. I never had a better appetite in my life.

Mary, tell George that I was very much pleased with his likeness. It looks natural to me. Mite says it looks better than the original. O Mary, Mite [Milon Parker] has got Eliza Mays’ [likeness]. She sent it to him. He feels very much pleased with it. He says, “Hank, if we was only home, would we enlist again?”  “No,” says he, “not for five hundred [dollars]. How we would ride round, wouldn’t we, Hank.” I guess you would smile right out loud to see us coming, would you not? But Mary, I do not expect to come home until the regiment comes. Mary, you said that you wanted me to come home on a furlough. Mary, that is impossible. We could not get one very well unless we was sick a good while and then we might get one to go home long enough to get well and then we would have to return to our regiment again. It is not like it used to be. They are more stricter than they was when this war first broke out. If they let one have a furlough, they would have to let another have one and that would be the way it would go.

Mary, keep up good courage and be careful of your health and not get cold for I am afraid you are getting careless as you was when you worked to George’s for it would worry me to hear that you was sick and I away off here. I think this war will be settled before six months roll around. There is more prospects of it now than there has been since it first broke out.

Mary, we had a grand review here yesterday of all troops by General Dix and three other generals. It was a grand sight. There was fifty thousand troops in one body. That would be a great sight for you to see. Mary, please write to me if they have drafted any or not and if they are going to. Tell George to be a good boy and not speak too much for it is a foolish notion for young boys to get in to, I suppose it is lonesome times there now days. So I have written all that I can think of now for I must go to bed. Mite is asleep now. We was on guard last night and we can sleep today. Give my respects to your folks and my love to yourself. From your affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

Please answer this soon.


Camp Suffolk [Virginia]
December 4, 1862

Dear Wife,

Having just returned from a march to Blackwater, I thought you would be uneasy and want o hear from me. Well, Mary, we have been on a bigger march than we ever was before. We got in camp yesterday in the afternoon but I did not feel much like writing. I received a letter from you last night dated the 26th, but I thought I would not answer it until this morning. I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. We came the nearest of having a brush this time of any time yet. Our regiment was in the advance this time. There was one company of cavalry ahead of us. We got within half mile of the rebels when a brisk fire commenced between our cavalry and the rebels. Then there was another company of cavalry went out in the direction where the firing was heard and we was ordered to halt and fall in line of battle and in half an hour the cavalry came in with twenty rebels and one battery and eleven horses and forty stands of arms. The battery is one that the rebels took from our men at the first Bull Run fight. It is called the Rocket Battery with McClellan’s name on it. ¹ I tell you, Mary, they was hard-looking fellows. Some of them was badly cut to pieces. Some had their ears cut off and their faces all cut to pieces. Our men killed one of them. They was poorly dressed. One of them did not seem to care. He said to us when he passed by that we would catch hell before night, but before light [he was] to [the] Suffolk jail. I guess he changed his mind. Mary, it was a hard sight to see old men with the blood running from their wounds.

There was none killed on our side. One [was] slightly wounded in the face. He was a Pennsylvania Cavalry man. The property that our men took is estimated at sixty thousand dollars and if they would only let our regiment went when they wanted to, we could of taken them all prisoners before they would have crossed Blackwater. There was a small piece of woods between us. We have missed one from our company. He fell out and we have not heard from him yet. His name is Sophrenus [Sepherence] Ward ² from Grove. It is thought that he is taken prisoner by the guerrillas for there is lots of them here in Virginia. Mite [Milon Parker] and I marched together all the way there and back. It is twenty-three miles to Blackwater from Suffolk.

caf509909866a05a8b0ccd20a424aa2e 2
A Civil War era Rocket Battery

Well, Mary, I shall have to close this letter so give my best respects to your folks and my love to you from your affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

Please answer this soon.

¹ General George McClellan had a rocket battery in his Army of the Potomac and employed it during the spring of 1862 in the Peninsular Campaign. About 20 of the 2¼” Hale rockets have been unearthed in the last few years in the vicinity of the Battle of Seven Pines. They all had the solid heads and three rear tangential vents.

² Sepherence Ward—Age, 21 years. Enlisted, August 12, 1862, at Portage, N. Y.; mustered in as private, Co. I, September 3, 1862, to serve three years; transferred, October 29, 1864, to Sixty-fifth Company, Second Battalian, V. R. C, from which discharged, June 29, 1865, at Washington, D. C.


Camp Suffolk, Virginia
May 4, 1863

Dear Wife,

Thinking that you would be anxious to hear from me, I thought I would address this letter to you. The rebels have dispersed. We had a fight here yesterday and drove the rebels two miles. There was upwards of one hundred killed and wounded on our side. The rebels loss is not known yet. They are retreating towards Petersburg. They left last night at ten o’clock. Many deserters have come into our lines. Already forces have gone out from Suffolk on all the roads. We are in the rifle pits yet but expect to go in camp tomorrow. The rebels have made up their minds that they cannot take Suffolk. They would never have attacked Suffolk but they supposed that our brigade hd gone to North Carolina to reinforce Foster. But they got mistaken this time. The woods is full of dead rebels that was killed by our shells. They lost a great many men more than we did.

Tell Ett that she must write. Mite is going to write a few lines to Ett [Henrietta Parker] in this letter so give my respects to all and my love to you. From your ever true and affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

Dear Friends,

As Henry was writing, I thought I would try and address you by the pen to let you know that I am well and hope this will find you the same. The excitement seems to be here today that the Rebs has give us the slip but our boys are after them and they just sent in 8 prisoners that had tired out and we are giving them fits. I should like to see you but I can’t and there is no use of talking.

Where is the boys this summer and has Silva gone to teaching? I suppose that she will make them fly after Ester now. I should like to be to Rob’s to one dance, don’t you. Certainly you would tell Mary that I sleep with her man every night but will give him up to her soon as the war closes. I suppose that my gals in Grove is well and I should like to make them a call. Now, Ester, I shall have to close. Please excuse this poor writing and my love to you and all of my friends. Write soon and answer your cousin, — Mite


Frederick City, Maryland
July 15, 1863

Dear wife,

I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and [to let you know] where we are. We came from Yorktown to Washington and from there here. We expect to move forward tomorrow. We are about one days march from the Rebel army in Pennsylvania. We expect to see some fighting in a few days. The 136th Regiment is only twelve miles from us. The 104th [New York Regiment] has been badly cut to pieces. They are not far from us. We will probably see some of them in a few days.

The weather is not as warm here as it was in Suffolk. We are encamped in a wheat field. The boys takes the wheat today. Mary, you may think hard of my writing with a pencil but I am in a hurry and ink is scarce here. Besides, it is unhandy to carry so far. As I am writing these few lines, I can here the distant cannons’ roar towards the scene of action. We passed a train filled with Rebel prisoners yesterday when we was coming down here. It has rained for the past week most of the time.

Mary, I am in hopes that the next letter that I write I will have some ink. I suppose you are very lonesome this summer but I am in hopes that the Lord may spare my life so that I may see you once more. Mary, I cannot think of much more to write this time but I will write soon and do better next time so give my respects to all and my love to love you from your ever true and affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

And may the stars and stripes for ever wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Please excuse my poor writing.


Camp near the Rappahannock, Va.
November 9, 1863

Dear Wife,

I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I have received several letter from you but could not find any time until now to answer them. Our brigade is across the river. The report is that they had a fight and captured 12 hundred rebel prisoners. I do not know how many of our regiment is killed yet for we have not got the General Report yet. But I think there is a good many for they had a hard fight. There was sixteen hundred prisoners went by here yesterday. They looked very hard indeed. Some barefooted and half naked. Miland is with the regiment. I have seven men here with me to help take care of my horses.

Tell Ren and Ett and George that I received their letters and will write as soon as I get a chance. Mary, I think it looks more favorable for this war to close than it did for the rebs say this rebellion must close for the poor in the South are starving to death. Our infantry took two brigades of rebels and two brigadier generals and staff. Mary, there is not much more news that I can think of now but you will see an account of these battles in the newspapers. Our regiment is in the regular brigade commanded by General Merrit. They are called the Regular Brigade but there is our regiment and the Six[th] Pennsylvania are volunteers regiments. I do not know how long we will stay here in this place.

Mary, I saw the 104th [New York] at Bristol but did not see many of the boys that I knew. I saw Hiram Passage, ¹ Sam Wright, ² and John Satterle. ³ That was all that was there. Well, Mary, I have written all I can for this time and will try and do better next time. So give my respects to all and my love to you from your ever true and affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

Please excuse all mistakes and poor writing. Yours forever.

¹ Hiram Passage—Age, 19 years. Enlisted at Geneseo, to serve three years, and mustered in as private,. Co. A , October 12, 1861; re-enlisted as a veteran, January 4, 1864; wounded in action, May 12, 1861, at Spotsylvania, Va.; captured in ac-tion, August 19, 1861, at Weldon Railroad, Va.; died, November 8, 1864, at Salisbury, N. C.

² Samuel L. Wright—Age, 13 years. Enlisted at Geneseo, to serve three years, and mustered in as musician, Co. A, September 30, 1801; discharged, September 30, 1804.

³ John S. Satterlee—Age, 22 years. Enlisted at Geneseo, to serve three years, and mustered in as corporal, Co. A , October 12, 1861; promoted sergeant, prior to April, 1863; first sergeant, July 2, 1863; re-enlisted as a veteran, January 4, 1864; killed in action, May 12, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Va


Camp near Washington, D. C.
August 3, 1864

Dear Wife,

Having just arrived at this place, I thought I would answer your letter which I received on the battlefield near Petersburg. I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I just received word that George is dead. ¹ He died near N.Y. City. Captain Thorp got a dispatch that he was dead. I do not know but what you have heard of it but it is sad news to write home. But Mary, it is not my fault for I done all I could for him when he was with us. But Mary, I suppose your mother will go crazy if crying would do any good, I would cry myself to sleep. But Mary, I cannot cry—but I feel a great deal worse than if I could. I cannot make it seem possible that he is dead.

Mary, our brigade has been in another hard battle on the James river near Fort Darling—between there and Bermuda Hundred. The Rebels tried to surround our brigade but they met with an awful loss. There was one place in a cornfield [where] there was four hundred dead Rebs left for our men to bury and a great many wounded. They did not find the one hundred day’s men to fight with this time.

We came here o transports from City Point and I think we are going up in Pennsylvania and Maryland to catch them Rebs that are plundering through there. Our division is all that is ordered here.

Mary, Mite [Milan Parker] ² is sick and I think he will be sent to the hospital before we leave here. He is nothing but skin and bones. He looks hard, I tell you. Billy Clyne’s ³ wife is here and several of our boys wives. Mary, we expect to get our pay before we leave here and if we do, I will send you some money and my likeness so you can see if I have changed any. Billy’s wife did not know me until I spoke to her and then she knew my voice. I suppose I do not look as I used to.

You must excuse me for my poor writing for I am in a hurry. So goodbye. Give my best respects to all and my love to you from your ever true and loving husband, — Robert H. Greenfield

¹ George W. Lowell—Age, 20 years. Enlisted, December 16, 1863, at Buffalo, N. Y.; mustered in as private, Co. F, January 5, 1864, to serve three years; died, in hospital, New York city, date not stated.

² Milon Parker—Age, 25 years. Enlisted, August 12, 1862, at Grove, N. Y.; mustered in as private, Co. I, September 3, 1862, to serve three years; died of disease, September 10, 1864, at Washington, D. C.; also borne as Milan Parker.

³ William Clyne— Age, 22 years. Enlisted, January 4, 1864, at Nunda, N. Y.; mustered in as private, Co. I, January 5,1864, to serve three years; mustered out with company, June 30, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va.

[Note these last two sheets appear to be fragments of other letters. I cannot conclude that they belonged with any of the other letters presented here though they were also written by Robert Henry Greenfield.]


[Probably Suffolk, Va. 1862]

Mary, I could not get all on one sheet so I thought I would commence another. I was sorry to hear that your head ached when you wrote to me. Do you have the headache as much as you used to? You must write and let me know all the news.

Mary the noise of he cannon have commenced toward Fortress Monroe. We do not know but the Rebel steamer Merrimac is trying to pass the blockade. I will write to you in a few days. I guess I have written you most of the news. Oh Mary, Mite just got a letter from his dear. It is all “dear Mite” now-a-days. Mite seems to think that nobody can cut him out there but Mary, one bird in the hand is worth ten in the bush. There is a great slip between the cup and the lip.

Mary, I suppose if I was there you would not be so laughed to come to bed as you was that night before I left home. Mary, I have laughed when I am alone to think of it and what good times we used to have. Them times have gone by, never to return. But we may have some as good times as we ever had yet. Well, I must stop writing for this time. So give my respects to your folks and my love to you from your affectionate husband, — Robert Henry Greenfield

the world over.



Mary, you spoke of my sending my likeness. Well, Mite and I are going to have ours taken together and send it home. That will suit you, will it not? Mary, you must write oftener. So take good care of your health for I should feel worried about you if I should hear that you was sick and I away off here.

Mary, we have had three new regiments come in while we was gone. There will soon be one hundred thousand troops here. Then I think we will march to Petersburg and take it. Then we will be about sixty-five miles from Richmond. Then we will make the Rebels hunt their holes on double quick time.

Mary, please write all the news and what is going on around there. Mite is writing to his deal Eliza. So no more. From your affectionate husband, — Robert H. Greenfield, the world over

Respects to all friends and relations and love to yourself.



1864-65: George Washington Aughenbaugh to Elizabeth M. (Eyster) Aughenbaugh

These letters were written by George Washington Aughenbaugh (1829-1913)—a bar tender in York county, Pennsylvania—who was drafted into Co. H, 200th Pennsylvania Infantry. He entered the service in August 1864 as a private and was discharged as a sergeant in May 1865 after 9 months of service. At the time these letters were written, the 200th Pennsylvania was attached to the Army of the James and posted near Dutch Gap, Virginia.

George wrote the letters to his wife, Elizabeth Melvina Eyster (1830-1901). The couple had three small children at the time George was drafted—Lizzie (b. 1855), Jimmy (b. 1860), and and John (b. 1863).


Camp at Butler’s Front
October 19th 1864

Dear wife,

I wrote to you a few days ago and told you where we were in camp at that time and told you that we did not expect to move very soon, but I was very much mistaken for the next evening after I wrote to you, we were ordered to march at 11 o’clock at night and by half past eleven o’clock, we were on the march to the front—and to get us there they marched us around through the country about 12 miles when they could have done it in about 6 miles. We arrived at the front in the morning a little after sunrise where we now are in camp. Last Saturday night I was out on picket and came in Sunday evening. On Monday afternoon I went out on picket again & came in last night, but I suppose they will not be able to take us much farther anymore, as our camp is not more than about ¾ of a mile from the Rebel camp. When I was on picket Saturday night, I could hear the rebels sing and preach in their camp from our picket line. Last time I was in a different direction where we layed in a large pine woods not more than about two hundred yards from the rebel camp. The rebel pickets were not more than half that distance and we could see the rebels march up and down the line and could see them very distinctly in their camp. Some of the pickets were talking and trading coffee or tobacco with them. I would like to trade with them but I did not get close enough to them yet. Every morning all the soldiers in the camps are called out at between 4 and 5 o’clock and marched out into the breastworks and stand there until sunrise when we are taken into camp where we have to sweep all the streets before breakfast.

I do not think that we will have a fight here just now but we can not tell anything about as we are on the front lines about halfway between Petersburg and Richmond. We were out target shooting this morning when we could see the steeples in Petersburg very distinctly. One thing is certain, we get more rations here than we did any time yet since we left Harrisburg. But our duty is considerable too for when I am on picket, I am not allowed to go to sleep at all through the night as I always have charge of a post. But in daytime, I can get some sleep—that is, about every other night.

Col. Charles W. Diven; “Many of the men would rather shoot him than look at him.” — G. W. A.

Alexander Kidd was left behind when we marched to the front and I understood he has been sent to the hospital. There are quite a number sick in our regiment at present and then again there are quite a number of them that I think are too lazy to do anything. Some are afraid to go into a fight and are trying to make themselves sick. I like our company officers but our colonel [Charles Worth Diven] is not fit to have command of a regiment and I believe that a great many of the men would rather shoot him than look at him.

You sent me a comb. I have no bugs yet but I am glad you sent it to me. I do not know how soon I might want it. The nights are beginning to get very cold and frosty in the morning but the days are hot and a good many men are getting the ague & fever. I have got an elegant overcoat and this morning I ordered a pair of gloves but I am not sure if the government furnishes them. If it does not, I will get you to send me a pair. You can tell Jimmy if he would be with me, he could see the rebels. Give my love to Lizzie and Jimmy and tell them I want them to learn something till I come home. So no more at present but remain your husband, — G. W. Aughenbaugh

View of Petersburg from the right


In Front of Petersburg
December 2nd 1864

My Dear Wife,

I wrote a letter to you from the extreme left wing of Grant’s Army in which I told you that we had a long march but we remained only two nights and one day when we were marched back again the same road. We went as far as Petersburg when we took a northeasterly direction and went into camp where we now are. We marched between thirty and forty miles back and forwards and now our camp is not more than about four miles from our old camp.

We are encamped about one mile from Petersburg in a direct line. We are encamped on a hill sloping to the east and if we go on top of the hill, we can look right down into Petersburg and can see the steeples and tops of the houses. We had seen very little of the army before this march but we marched right through Grant’s army from right to left and saw more troops than you have any idea. I saw the field where Jacob Smyser ¹ was taken prisoner in and the men in his regiment have not heard anything of him since.

I am not quite as well as I have been but I think in a day or two I will be well again. The weather has been most beautiful since we started on our march. When you write again, let me know how the weather has been in Pennsylvania. Henry Brant stopped me yesterday and told me to tell you that he would like to rent the house again and said his wife was going to rent of you and he would pay the whole rent in advance. Be careful what agreement you make.

So no more at present but remain your truly husband, — G. W. Aughenbaugh

¹ Pvt. Jacob Smyser was drafted into Co. C, 143rd Pennsylvania Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Weldon Railroad on 21 August 1864.


Camp in front of Petersburg
February 22d 1865

Dear wife,

I received your kind and welcome letter yesterday morning and was glad to hear that you and the children were well at the time of writing. I am very well at present. You said in your letter that George Eyster has written several letters and wondered why I did not write to him and [    ]. I have not received any letters from any of them except young George and that one I answered and I also wrote one to George but he never wrote to me. I wrote to George day before yesterday. I received those two dollars you sent to me. I had no particular use for it as I have enough to eat at present and it is said we will be paid off this week yet but I have not much faith in it anymore as it has been reported before. It was right you got the interest if you wanted it.

You can tell [our son] Jimmy that the Rebels will not get me and I think the war will soon be over. Our colonel got a dispatch that the Rebels evacuated Charleston and Sherman occupied it and took two hundred cannon. The Johnnies are coming into our lines in our front by the dozens and they say we should wait until beginning of next month when they will come by the hundreds. I saw twelve privates and one colonel pass or camp today. There was about one hundred that passed our camp within the last week.

You asked me whether Father has sent me a box or not. I do not know if he sent one or not. I have not received none. There has no boxes come to our regiment for about six weeks. There are several boxes on the road for our mess which have been on the road for more than a month. It is said that the government will not carry any boxes since the rivers are frozen up. We have fine weather down here this week. It appears like spring.

Today they are going to fire a salute in our front of one hundred guns in honor of General Sherman’s victory. I wish you could be here to see it. You can tell Maggie Wolf ¹ that I said the Emanuel Heilman, Michael Smyser, Henry Bott, Andrew Brenaman, and some others are nearly crazy since they heard that she is married. You can tell her I wish her a great deal of happiness and a young son every year and a little one in between. You need not send a box until I tell you to send one because it will not come through just now.

I was working in the commissary this week and could get as much to eat as I want[ed]. I do not know yet whether I will stay or not. If I can stay, I will. So no more at present but remain your husband, — G. W. Aughenbaugh

¹ Margaret Ann Wolf (1846-1883) was George’s niece, the daughter of Peter Wolf (1822-1880) and Sarah Ann Eyster (1823-1885).


1862: Eli Crosby to Family

These two letters were written by Eli Crosby (1844-1862) who enlisted in Co. F, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 28 March 1862. Eli’s term of service was brief; he died on 6 July 1862 at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He was buried in the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at St. Louis.

Eli was the son of Joseph Armstrong Crosby (1817-1868) and Mary Jane Barchus (1824-1872) who were enumerated in Mill Creek, Union county, Ohio, in the 1850 US Census. Ten years later they were enumerated in Jackson, Paulding county, Ohio. In his letters, Eli mentions his sister, Almira (or Elmira, b. 1844) and his brother Albert (b. 1848).

In the second letter, Eli’s cousin, George W. Crosby adds a note.


Cincinnati, Ohio
April 7, 1862

Dear Brother & Sister,

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and hope that [these] few lines may find you all well. We are all here and well.

Albert, we have some good times here. We went to church the last two nights. We marched down to the house. We don’t know how long we have to stay here. It is raining here now down here. They are plowing. We seen some pretty country. Last night there was a southerner here and they captured him. He deserted. He was a second lieutenant.

Albert, we seen the steamboat. We seen the monkey and the dogs and five [    ] and snakes. I hain’t got any money now but I will, I expect, for you to send stamps. I will write to you as many times that I can.

We were out yesterday, me and Mike and John. We was on the [    ]. Where we are is a pretty place. We have bunks to lay on. I will send my clothes home as soon as I can and my overcoat.

William, if you write to me, I will write to you. I want to know how you are getting along. If I get my money, I will send it home in a letter that I want myself though [   ] that the war will be over. I expect that the war will be over in a short time.

I must bring my letter to a close for this time. Direct your letter to Cincinnati, Ohio. Direct to City Barracks in care of Major Granger, Company D, Cincinnati, Ohio.

From Eli Crosby. Write soon as  this comes to hand.

To Albert Crosby.



April 29, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I take my pen in hand to let you know how that I am. I am getting well. I received your letter on the 23rd of this month and was glad to hear from you. I don’t know how long we have to stay here. Maybe we will go today, I don’t know. Well, I have got a letter from Elmira. Tell her that I can’t answer it now. I don’t believe. Maybe if I have time I will. I hear that Eliza Jane Barchus has a girl and they call her Juliann.

Well the boys is all well at this time. Tell Mister Rodgers that John is well. He told me to them them I received William’s [letter] on the same day that I received your letter. John is in here now. He is [here] to read the letter that I got from Elmira and Thomas.

Well, I can’t [think] of nothing to [write at] this time.

Well, Albert, you I expect are lonesome now. Well don’t mind it for I expect to come home.

Well, William, a few lines to you now. I received your letter and [was] glad to hear from you. I have had the measles bad here [but] I am now getting well. George s well and the rest of the boys. George traded his satin vest for a watch [that] is worth about 10 dollars. He is playing hob.

Well, I sent home my clothes—the winter ones. The boots I want you to keep them. My overcoat is with them. My mind is not [clear] today somehow or other. Juliann wants my likeness. I would send it it but I can’t  now. I must bring my letter to a close for George wants to write [too]. No more this time. I am — Eli Crosby

To Joseph Crosby and Mary.

Dear Uncle and Aunt,

I myst write you a few lines to let you know that we have all been sick but myself and I am as stout as a buck. But the boys is able to go to their regiment today if we have to go. I don’t think that we will leave till tomorrow [when] we will go for sure.

Well, I must tell you that there was two boys that tried  to play sharp with me and they did. But while they was a playing sharp, I was too. I played them both in the guard house. They rip and swore that when they got out that they was a going to kill me. But they are out and I am alive yet. They commence on me but just as soon as the old 38th boys haul off their coat, I told them that there was enough of the Bloody 38th to whip all the boys in the barracks. They wanted to compromise and come into the Union again and they was glad to get off.

Olive, I have been a trading. I traded my vest for a watch worth about ten dollars. When you see George’s kids, tell them that I can’t write to them till I can get some money. I wrote Margaret a letter and that was all the money that I had. But I will write anyhow and they can pay the postage. — George Crosby



1857: John Brayton Anthony to Ellen D. (Miller) Anthony

How J. B. Anthony may have looked

These seven letters were written by 28 year-old John Brayton Anthony (1829-1904)—the son of David Anthony (1786-1867) and Mary Borden (1797-1863) of Fall River, Massachusetts. John was the treasurer and later president of the Providence Tool Company of Providence, Rhode Island. The letters were written from various locations on two separate trips—one letter in March 1857 and the other six in June 1857. The first letter was written from Pittsburgh on 1 March 1857 and observes that “thousands” were making their way to Washington D. C. to attend the 4 March inauguration of James Buchanan as President of the United States. All of the letters were written to John’s wife, Ellen DeForest Miller (1831-1891) who was home caring for their first-born infant child, Lewis Miller Anthony (1856-1861).

The Providence Tool Company was the outgrowth of the business ventures of two brothers. In 1834, Joseph and Jeremiah Arnold began manufacturing nuts and washers in Pawtucket. When Joseph retired, Jeremiah joined William Field, named their business William Field & Co., and moved to Providence in 1846. In April 1847 the name was changed to the Providence Tool Company.

The company is known for its ammunition production. However, in its early years, it primarily made hammers, pick axes, marlinspikes, nuts, and bolts. In 1856 it merged with the Providence Forge and Nut Company. The Providence Tool Company was successful in supplying machine parts and tools across the nation.

The Civil War created a demand for companies to make munitions for the Union army. The Providence Tool Company took up the call and began weapons manufacturing in 1861. The Company hired Frederick W. Howe, a former supervisor at the Robbins and Lawrence Armory in Windsor, Vermont, to help start the manufacturing of arms.



Monongahela House
Pittsburg, Pa.
March 1st 1857

My Dear Wife,

On my arrival at Chicago I wrote you a line giving my whereabouts and saying I expected to spend the Sabbath in Cincinnati. But having changed my plans a little, I find myself today in this black-looking, dull-appearing city of Pittsburgh. I never saw such a dirty-looking city. All the buildings—inside and out, so far as I have seen—seem to be covered with coal dust or smoke. Every man looks like a charcoal vender cleaned up a little for Sunday, his face and even his clean short still testifying to his trade. I have seen some ladies with what may have been white bonnets but they are strangely altered now. In fact, everything has the same sombre, coal-blackened appearance.

It is now about 5 o’clock here (a half hour later with you) and I have just returned from the afternoon service. Have been twice today to Trinity Church and have been much pleased with both services. We had a good sermon in the morning and this afternoon. The children have been catechized. I am almost inclined to say the minister beats Bishop [Thomas March] Clarke—on the last service, at any rate. It was rather different from what we have at home and withal, very pleasing and instructive.

I arrived here last night at about 9 o’clock having left Chicago on the evening previous at about 8. I found if I went to Cincinnati as I first intended, the ride would be much longer and I should be today a day’s journey farther west than I am now. I have had beautiful weather thus far on my journey until this afternoon. This morning was bright and pleasant but the clouds soon began to gather and snow squalls began so that now the ground is much covered with snow. It is now, however, the appearance of clearing away.

I have nothing special to tell you but within myself, I can’t help thinking I have been real homesick all day. I’ve scarcely had time before, but today I have made up for all the week.

A great many people seem to be headed for Washington and if all parts of the country are as fully represented as this, I reckon there will be one great jam. I am not pleased with the arrangement of the trains from here. One leaves tomorrow at 7 a.m., another at 3 p.m., and a third at 9½ in the evening, each arriving in Baltimore at the same hour (½ past one on Tuesday). The first is a mail train, the second a quicker one, and the third a “lightning express.” An express train leaves this evening at 9½ and if I do not take that, I may as well wait here until the same hour tomorrow evening. I dislike to encroach upon the Sabbath hours but have considered the subject well and think I had better leave here tonight at the time I should probably go to bed than subject myself to a terribly blue day tomorrow, and the risk of detention by the snow which by tomorrow may be sufficient to impede our progress. I hope to reach Baltimore tomorrow about noon where I shall remain until Tuesday and then go to Washington. Then I shall wish you were with me but the rest of the journey has been quite too hard for you to enjoy it so that although I have wished much for your society, yet I cannot say I have been sorry you were not with me.

Inauguration of James Buchanon

How I shall fare in Washington or what kind of accommodations I shall get, I cannot tell, but imagine very slim for I hear that already the city is filled to overflowing and thousands will probably go tomorrow and Tuesday. I am told that extra trains from Baltimore will be run during all of Tuesday and Tuesday night in order to carry all who want to go [to the inauguration].

I think now I shall be at home Friday night by the Hartford train but do not be much disappointed if I do not come until Saturday. I have been very well and should be delighted to look in upon you tonight. I have been at home in mind almost all day. Do not think by this I have not thought of you until today for such is not the case. It is getting dark and I must stop this scratching. An account of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen I will reserve until I get home.

Kiss the baby for me and ask him to kiss you for his papa. With much love, I am yours, — J. B. A.

Envelope postmarked Cumberland, MD (Not consistent with letter)


Office of Providence Tool Co.
New York, [New York]
June 12th 1857

Dear “Toddy”

This is rather early to write you as I am not far on my journey yet but recollecting that chin was inclined to drop last night, I want to get it back into place if I can. It was not very pleasant when I left Fall River last night but by the time we got away from Newport, it was starlight and tolerably pleasant.

It was quite rough but we got along nicely. I had a comfortable night and found myself in New York a little before light this morning. I calculate to go to Philadelphia this afternon or evening and shall write you again in a day or two.

Will send by boat this afternoon a basket of strawberries “pro bono publico.”

Write me a line tomorrow at Burnett House, Cincinnati. Kiss the baby once for his Daddy.


Addressed to Mrs. J. B. Anthony, Care of David Anthony, Esq., Fall River, Massachusetts

girard 2

Girard House
Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
Friday Evening, June 12, 1857

My Dear Wife,

I have made  some further progress on my journey as you will notice. I wrote you a line today from New York. Do not think I shall write as often all the way around for this I shall not be able to do. I have a little leisure this evening and employ it by giving you my whereabouts.

I left New York this afternoon at 2 o’clock. Arrived here at half past seven—an hour later than we ought to have been. We met with no accident and I saw no reason for being so long on the road, but we came poking along, almost at a snail’s pace.

I took the Amboy route leaving New York by steamer John Potter. The two hours sail was delightful. It has been a pleasant day. I have just had my supper and am tired enough to go to bed. I am in excellent quarters but should enjoy it more if I had somebody with me—guess who?

I shall go to Baltimore tomorrow if nothing happens to prevent, leaving here at 8 a.m. Am well and hearty. Have plenty of strawberries. Shall write again probably from Frostburg [Maryland]. Kiss Peppermints for me. Affectionately, — J. B. A.


Borden Mines, Frostburg [Maryland]
Monday morning, June 15th [1857]

My Dear Wife,

It is needless to say, I wish you were with me, but I have thought so a good many times. I am enjoying this place much and am certain you would like it too. I wrote you a line from Philadelphia on Friday evening. Saturday morning I got up early and went through several sections of the market. I was delighted with it—everything looked so fresh and clean, and oh, such strawberries! In fact I never saw so fine a display of early vegetables, fruits, flowers, &c.

I left Philadelphia at 8 o’clock and arrived at Baltimore at about one. Dined at “Barnum’s,” attended to my business in the afternoon, and took the express train for Cumberland at 7 in the evening. The recent rains and a shower that night, helped down the dust so I had a comfortable ride and found myself in Cumberland between three and four on Sunday morning. Mr. [Albert C.] Green was there with his horses and carriages and after an early breakfast, we came up here and here I find a most delightful place.

Mr. Green say I ought to have brought you [and] has said a number of times, “you must come.”

We went to church in the afternoon. They have but one service as the minister officiates the other half of the day in another parish a few miles distant. On our way home from church (which is some three miles distant) we stopped several times to call upon some of the neighbors. At one place a young lady from Baltimore gathered me a nice bouquet which I brought home (don’t be jealous).

I could string out a very long story by going into details but must leave that so I may have something to tell you when I get home. Today I am going into the mines. I shall visit some other places in the neighborhood. Expect to go down to Cumberland this evening and take the express train west about 3 o’clock tomorrow morning.

You may hear from me again at Cincinnati but perhaps not. I shall look for a line there from you. I have been very well indeed all the while. Kiss the little joker for me and believe me truly yours, — J. B. A.



Bellaire, Ohio
Tuesday afternoon, June 16th 1857

My Dear Wife,

Here I am at Bellaire, just within the bounds of the State of Ohio, within a stone’s throw of Virginia from which state we are separated by the narrow Ohio river whose muddy waters are driving down past us with considerable speed. Why am I here? in this little, hot, dirty village, perhaps you will ask. Mr. [Albert C.] Green came down to Cumberland with me yesterday afternoon and I took the ½ past 5 p.m. train for the West. I expected to have been here by 4 this morning and gone right on by express train to Cincinnati where i should have been at about this hour (6 o’clock).

We had a fine ride last evening and I enjoyed the scenery over the mountains much. We passed through a number of the tunnels for which the Baltimore and Ohio road is famous, but at about two o’clock this morning we came to one where at midnight there had been a “caving in,” which obstructed the track and where we had to remain until after nine this morning. This was tedious enough. Trains came up on both sides and waited, waited, waited. Many of the passengers from both sides (myself among the number) walked over the mountain rather than to take the risk of passing through as after the loose earth was removed, there was nothing to hold the vast amount of earth, rocks, stones &c. which overhung the break. In fact, when the track had been once cleared, and one of the trains had nearly reached the break (which was at about the center of the tunnel more than half a mile long), other quantity came tumbling down and the train was forced to retreat and wait again.

We reached Bellaire which is about 4 miles below Wheeling at about 11 o’clock—too late for any trains west, until 10 minutes of 8 this evening. We were hot, hungry, dirty, and everything that was uncomfortable when we arrived here. Succeeded in rubbing off a little of the dirt, getting a tolerable dinner, and here we have been loitering about the rest of the day. I have slept an hour or so this afternoon. Have just returned from a place a half a mile off where they raise vegetables, strawberries, &c. for the Wheeling market. I ate a parcel of the berries and now soon we are to have tea, and soon after that I hope to be moving westward.

It is very warm here and has been about all the time since I left home. Have had strawberries in abundance all the while. I have wished ever since I left home that you could have been with me until we stopped at the tunnel but I have been very glad since that you were not here. This day has spoiled all the pleasure of the trip so far. Still, I try to make the best of it, but must confess, I am homesick. I have been very well all the time. If I have good luck, I shall be in Cincinnati before noon tomorrow where I hope to hear from you.

I had a fine time at Frostburg [Maryland]. Mr. [Albert C.] Green urged me strongly to bring you out. I had other invitations to do the same thing. I might string out a long letter by giving you some details of my journey but I have not time now and will leave all those things to tell you when I get home. I delayed writing until late that it might be a little cooler.

Give my love to all. Kiss the baby half a dozen times for me and believe me affectionately yours, — J. B. A.


Burnett House
Cincinnati, [Ohio]
Wednesday evening, June 17, 1857

My Dear Wife,

I am really disappointed today in not hearing from you. I have enquired at the office upon the arrival of each mail but get nothing. It takes letters much longer to travel this distance that it does a person who sticks to express trains and pushes on nights as well as days. I shall have to give up hearing from you now until next week when I get to Chicago. It do not like to do it but cannot help it. I had made considerable dependence upon hearing from you on my arrival here.

I wrote you yesterday from Bellaire [Ohio] which place I left at about 8 p.m., arriving here this morning at about the same hour. I leave tomorrow morning for St. Louis which place I hope to reach after about an 18 hours ride.

I am very well and have been all the while. Have nothing special to tell you. Have written very often but of course my intervals between your receiving the letters will be greater than between the times of my writing. When I get turned toward home, I shall not write as often as they would only all come to you in a bunch and I should follow pretty closely behind, or perhaps get ahead of them.

Tell father I have just called upon Mrs. Keating. She is very well and thinks strongly of coming East this summer.

I am now going to my tea. Shall go to bed early tonight. Have not had my clothes off since Sunday night. Give the baby another kiss for me and I’ll give you one when I get home. Affectionately, — J. B. A.




Briggs House, Chicago [Illinois]
June 22, 1857

My Dear Wife,

I have been very busy today and am glad to settle down into a chair and rest a little. I commenced writing to you a little while ago but had not written more than two or three lines before a gentleman came in with whom I had business and out I had to go. It is now about 4 o’clock in the afternoon here—5 or more with you. I want to make two or three more business calls tonight so that I may if possible get through tomorrow.

I arrived here Saturday evening at about 10 o’clock. I wrote you from St. Louis stating I expected to be here at that time. We left St. Louis at 7 in the morning yesterday. Sunday, it rained at intervals all day. In the morning I went into a hall close by the house where a new Episcopal society are worshipping until they build a church. I heard a very good sermon. After service, was told by Christopher Wiley of Mr. Walter Paine being at Tremont House. I went down there and we went to church together. We attended St. Mary’s Church and were quite surprised to find Mr. Benj. Franklin of Providence was to preach. In the evening, Mr. Paine and myself attended Grace Church and heard a most excellent sermon by Rev. J. W. Clark—a nephew of Rev. John A. Clark, former pastor of Grace Church, Providence. I believe Mr. Clark is the “great gun” of the church here.

This morning I went in to see Julius Learned and he is coming around here tonight for me to go and see his sister, Mrs. Bartlett who is living here. You will not know who these people are but father will.

I have found an excellent companion in the Philadelphia gentleman I wrote you about and we have been together ever since though we part tonight as he leaves for the East. We have a pleasant day today though the Chicago people say it is the first they have had in a long time. I have had a very favorable time for traveling—weather cool and no dust.

Today I met with Doct. Grosvenor. His wife is here with him, I believe. I see by the papers Mr. Wm. M. Rodman is elected Mayor of Providence. We have now in our church the governor of the state and mayor of the city.

I hope to leave here tomorrow evening for Detroit, but am not certain I shall. Shall stop there a little and probably go to Cleveland. Where next I cannot tell. I have been very well all the time and have enjoyed the trip all I could. Can say nothing more now but will go about my business. Much love to all. Several kisses to the baby and any quantity of both to you.

From your affectionate husband, — J. B. A.

1862: Frederick J. Scott to Mary Scott

This letter was written by Frederick J. Scott (1842-1865) of Co. E, 47th Pennsylvania Infantry. It was written from Florida not long after Companies E & F successfully captured Jacksonville and the Confederate steamer Gov. Milton docked at Hawkinsville on 5-7 October 1862. After Frederick reenlisted as a veteran, he was taken prisoner at Cedar Creek on 19 Oct. 1864 and died 4 months later on 22 February 1865 in Danville Prison.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]


Addressed to Mrs. Mary Scott, Box 441, Easton, Pa.
Postmarked Annapolis, Md.

October 18, 1862

Sunday morning again. Bright, pleasant, & cool with that sober, russet-like aspect which makes the mornings so beautiful. The orange groves are changing their still green for a mellow tint & the fruit itself is now golden hued & tempting. The magnolia’s blossoms are getting thin and the various shrubs of summer begin to feel the touch of Autumn. It is all beautiful and with the solemn tones of the church bells breaking on the ear reminds me of those Sabbath mornings years ago when with a purer heart and happier, I went up to worship with the just. What change has time brought since then! Then a land of peace & unity with no sectional strife to corrode the public trust—no bitter hatred between the brothers of the North & South. Now a land of civil war—of bloodshed, rapine & murder—of sectional strife & contention—of hatred between brothers which will fight to the death—of desolated homes & bereaved parents, orphans & widows, & sorrow & remorse which a generation will not wipe away.


We have been paid. I received $42.00. I enclose $30. I am as sorry as yourself I can send no more. We have two months pay due us yet. Use this as you please. I can only regret I have not more. I hope Hen will send you some yet. Write soon. Yours as ever, — Frederick J. Scott

P. S. We leave tomorrow on another expedition.Give my love to all the boys and keep all you can imagine a soldier sends his mother for yourself. Good night, — F. J. S.


Saving History One Letter at a Time

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