1863: Edward D. A. Williams to Minnie Blackwell

This letter was written by Capt. Edward D. A. Williams (1839-1920) of Co. I, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Edward enlisted on 28 August 1861 at Delta, Ohio. He began his term of service as 1st Lieutenant and was Captain of his company when he resigned his commission on 15 April 1864. His pension file indicates that prior to joining the 38th OVI, he served 3 months in Co. A, 14th OVI.

The 1920 US Census informs us that Edward was born in Ohio in 1839 adn that his parents were natives of Vermont. His death record gives his father’s name as David Williams and his mother’s maiden name as Seeley. His pension record give’s his wife’s name as “Phileta” or “Philda E.”

Maybe Edward marched in this 38th OVI reunion parade in Melrose, Ohio, in 1889


Headquarters Co. I, 38th Regiment Ohio Volunteers
Camp near Winchester, Tennessee
July 20th 1863

Dear Minnie,

How have you passed the time since the last time I saw you some two years ago? I have thought that perhaps I might be so fortunate as to get a furlough during my term of enlistment but so far have only succeeded in obtaining permission to remain in camp and be a good “Boy” and I might go home when my time was out. A great consolation isn’t it?

We are now almost as far south as we were about a year ago but prospects are brighter than then, and we hope not to be compelled to retrace our steps back to the desolate hills of Kentucky. Rather than do this, I would go on until we are arrested by the Gulf of Mexico, carrying all before us. We are confident of success so long as Rosecrans leads the Army of the Cumberland and if nothing interposes more than Bragg’s army to dispute the possession of the country, we shall soon be masters of the Southern Confederacy.

Today we are cheered with good news from guerrilla Morgan’s command, stating that our forces have succeeded in bringing him to an engagement in which the Rebels lost severely and were routed with prospects fair for the capture of himself and entire force. His artillery is in our possession.

Do you anticipate a “Mob” in Toledo soon? One must be gotten up or you will be behind most of the Northern cities. A firm resistance to the Draft seems to be the order of the day and perhaps it is better to lose one’s life in resisting the demands of the government for support than to yield obedience to its mandates and lose it in defense of his country. In resisting the draft, he is certain to lose it, and on the other hand he stands as fair a chance as those who are already in the field.

But perhaps I shall fail to interest you and will cease for this time hoping you will respond at your earliest convenience if consistent with your idea of propriety.

With best wishes for your future happiness, I am, dear Minnie, your humble servant, “Edward”, Capt. Co. I, 38th Ohio Vols.

To Miss Minnie Blackwell

Capt. Williams’ headstone

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