This letter was written by Cornelius J. Madden of Shelby, Richland county, Ohio, who enlisted in Co. C, 102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 12 August 1862 and mustered out of the regiment on 16 June 1865. He was promoted to corporal on 18 October 1862.
Cornelius’ father, James Madden (1813-1888), a wagon maker by trade, also served in the Civil War though he was 48 years old when he enlisted in Co. H, 64th OVI. He entered in October 1861, was promoted to corporal in December, and served until 10 December 1864. He was married to Mary Hadley (1824-1888), a milliner, who was not only the mother of Cornelius, but of three girls named Florence (b. 1846), Almira (b. 1848), and Mary Estelle (b. 1852).
Cornelius wrote his letter from Louisville in late September where newly formed regiments were being rushed to the Kentucky border in order to thwart Bragg’s threatened invasion of Ohio. “Nearly all of the regiments” including the 102nd “were ill-equipped and armed with obsolete Belgian or Austrian muskets” known to misfire more times than not when the trigger was pulled. “They were also only partially uniformed and without tents, canteens, and other necessary supplies.” [Panic on the Ohio, by Roger C. Adams]
See also—1862: Cornelius J. Madden to Mary (Hadley) Madden, Spared & Shared 19, posted 16 September 2019.
[Transcribed by Jeannette Ann Vannan; edited and researched by Griff]
In Camp near Louisville [Kentucky]
September 29, 1862
Dear Mother and Sisters,
You owe me a letter now and I wrote to John yesterday, but I have so much to tell you about our boys in the 64th & 15[th] that I thought I must write. I have saw nearly all of them except Frum but he is here. Charley Kerr [Co. I, 15th OVI] and Davy Way was over yesterday. They are well but their hard march makes them look a little played out. Charley gave me a ring he made down in Ala[bama].
I saw George [Franklin] Marvin [Co. H, 64th OVI] today. He looks first rate. He said when they came through Nashville, father had a pass from the commander there and was out of the city then and had been for two nights and a day. They did not know where he was. He might have done it to avoid the Regiment. I don’t blame him if he did for this long march of 370 miles in 31 days would have been too much for him. If he would try, I know he could get discharged for they can’t hold one over age if they don’t want to stay and I want him out of this damn army although I am perfectly contented and satisfied. I like home as well as anyone but I had rather be here. And although the danger is pretty great, I am coming back all right, you may rest easy on that.
The other day we marched up to our Brig. General Quarters and corded up our guns and now we are going to have new ones. The ones we drew wasn’t worth anything. We have been transferred to Gen. [Thomas L.] Crittenden’s Division, 23rd Brigade, 5th Division. They are mixing the old and new troops all up together.
Brig. Gen. Jeff Davis shot Gen. [Bull] Nelson today and the darned old tyrant. I am glad of it. The provost guard shoots two or three soldiers a day up in the city. They killed two of the 26th [OVI] yesterday and the 26th boys tied the guards and mauled them like blazes.
I saw Proff. McMillen today. You would not believe how he has changed. He is a good deal of a gentleman. He has leave to go home and I guess will start in a few days. He don’t want his folks to know it.
Write to Louisville to the 102nd, Co. A & C. Your loving son, — Cornelius
Mother, I want you to send me 10 dollars. I had to get me a rubber coat, a pair of boots, & a vest and I don’t know when I will get a chance to get it again so send it sure. I sent my overcoat home today. Say something about the things I send home. — Cal