1862: Henry Harrison Fobes to Charles Trunkey Fobes

I could not find an image of Harrison but here is a cdv of Horatio M. Smith who began also began as a private in Co. K, 105th OVI (Photo Sleuth)

This letter was written by Henry “Harrison” Fobes (1832-1862) who enlisted on 9 August 1862 to serve 3 years in Co. K, 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). The letter was written just six weeks after his enlistment and less than two weeks before he was killed in action (8 October) at the Battle of Perryville.

For a large number of the boys in the 105th OVI, the Battle of Perryville was not only their first but their last battle. The regiment lost roughly a third of the 600 men who went into action. In one of my friend Dan Master’s Civil War Chronicles‘ articles published in September 2020, he wrote a piece entitled, A Sad Commentary Upon Glorious War: The Horrors of Perryville, from which I quote the following:

“Identifying the dead proved an awful and sobering experience, and for Second Lieutenant John A. Osborne of Co. E of the 105th, one of personal tragedy. ‘We buried 42 men, many of whom I had known,’ he wrote after the battle. ‘I approached one who had been struck in the face by a shell, blowing away his head and right hand. His left arm was mostly blown away and the hand just hanging by one or two tendons. I examined his pockets in order to recognize him and there found some letters whose address told the terrible truth. It was my own brother! David was in my company and had been missing since the fight. Here he lay without any mistake. A terrible sensation passed over me. I clipped a lock of his hair as a parting token then with my own hands helped to dig his grave. I wrapped him in a blanket, carved his name upon an oak board, and holding it up as a tombstone, I saw him buried with a host of the dead.'”

Harrison Fobes was the son of Justus Fobes (1788-1868) and his second wife, Amoret Trunkey (1806-1868) of Plymouth, Ashtabula county, Ohio. He wrote the letter to his younger brother Charles Trunkey Fobes (1834-1902).


Addressed to Mr. Charles T. Fobes, Ashtabula, Ashtabula county, Ohio

Louisville [Kentucky]
September 26 [1862]

Brother Charley,

It has been two weeks since I have received news from home but I suppose the folks have as much as they can do without writing. But as you have been discharged from the service, you can get time to write.

We have been expecting a battle here for some time but think now we shall be disappointed as Gen. Bragg is retreating towards Frankfort and I suppose we shall follow. If we get there, I hope we shall burn the city. It is the greatest secesh hole I have seen.

Last Monday and Tuesday I was sent to the river to cut away the timber and brush that grows on the bank to give the gunboats a better chance. There was 160 men there on Monday and 100 on Tuesday. On Tuesday night the 105th [Ohio] Regiment was out on picket and there was 17 men from Scotts Louisiana Cavalry made prisoners and one of them is in camp this morning. He has been in the service over one year and says he is as determined as ever. The boys are most of them well and some are playing sick but none from Plymouth. Charles Rasey got a pick stuck in his hand so he is unable for duty. It is reported that Gen. Buell us in the city.

Tell our folks to send some stamps. I have written about it in every letter and every letter from home I want to have one stamp in it as it is the lucky man who can buy one. I found two this morning. You would excuse all mistakes if you could hear the noise in the tent. But enough of this.

— Harrison

Direct your letters to 105th Regt. O. V. I., Louisville, Kentucky, Care of Capt. Bowers [Co. K]

Some also put on “To follow the Regiment” when it is on the march but I think it is unnecessary.

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