1862-63: John Mortimer Carr to Pembroke S. Scott

These letters were written by John Mortimer (“Mort”) Carr (1827-1904) of Taylor Creek township, Hardin County, Ohio. Mort was married to Maria Scott (1838-1871) in 1854. The couple had four children at the time these letters were written; Thornton (“Thornt”) Washington Carr (1855-1889), Jennie B. Carr (1857-1929), Maud Charlotte Carr (b. 1859), and Scott Sieg Carr (b. 1862). Census records inform us that Mort was a farmer but these letters reveal that he was also a stockman who raised hogs for the Eastern markets as well as sheep.

Mort wrote the letters to his brother-in-law, Pembroke S. (“Snook”) Scott (1842-1864), a private with the 118th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered into service on August 11, 1862. This regiment saw action as part of Burnside’s Campaign in East Tennessee from August 16- October 17, 1863. Afterwards, they served near Kingston, Tennessee, until moving to Nashville in December. They then joined the Atlanta Campaign from May 1 to September 8. Pembroke was killed in battle on May 14, 1864 at Resaca, Ga. [See 1862: Pembroke S. Scott to Jane (Patterson) Scott published on Spared & Shared 18]

In the first letter, Mort writes of getting into a scrape with Charles Quinn (1818-1865) of Rush Creek township in Logan county, Ohio. The scuffle began with name calling (“Abolitionist!”) and resulted in thrown punches and a knife plunged that fortunately missed its mark. Though both parties pressed charges against each other, it apparently did not amount to much. Heated disputes such as this between civilians on the home front were probably more common than we realize today as news of Lincoln’s impending and controversial Emancipation Proclamation became more commonly known and debated in the fall of 1862.

Letter 1

Addressed to Mr. P. S. S. Scott, Falmouth, Ky., 118th Regiment O. V. G., Company B, In care of Capt. Kramer

Rushsylvania [Logan county, Ohio]
November 17th 1862

Mr. P. S. S. Scott, Esgq,
Dear Sir,

Yours of the 2nd inst. at hand was truly glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well again and was with your regiment. We are all well here at present and the folks in this county are generally well here.

Nothing of interest has transpired from my last but I got into some difficulty with Charley Quinn and he called me a damned abolitionist and struck me two or three times and then I took out my knife and stabbed him in the side. But lucky for him it was a glancing stick and went down instead of going in so I did not hurt him very much. We was by ourselves and he had me arrested for stabbing with intent to kill and he says he is a going to put me to the penitentiary but I do not feel much alarmed about that. I had him arrested and we had both of our trials before the same justice and we are both bound over to court and I think he will not make more than four times. Court commences the 25th inst. and we will soon know our dooms. It is causing me some trouble and will cost me right smart but I think that will be all that he can do.

I have a lot of hogs ready to ship to New York but cannot get back in time for court and I will have to sell in Buffalo if I do not sell here before I start. I will start on the 19th inst. and I have to be here on the 25th for court.

I wish you was here to go with me to Buffalo and then you could go to Niagara Falls and see one of the grandest sights that the human eye ever beheld.

I received a letter from Miller and he is a getting very low but he expects to be discharged. Dock is a getting better very slow. He says he will always be a cripple. I got a letter from J. W. M. and he is not very well but says he likes the service better that he expected. I received a letter from Mort Stiles and one from Joe and one from you all the same day and one from Frank the day or two before and one from Miller and Dock today. Mort and Frank was well. Mort said he had got a letter from home and Harper was home with the typhoid fever and one of the Colonels of that parts had come home and he had took Bill Hardin prisoner near New Orleans and he was married and was in the Rebel army. So he may get what he deserved. Goodbye, — Mort

Capt. [Solomon] Kramer is here but I have not seen him.

Letter 2

Rushsylvania [Logan county, Ohio]
December 29, 1862

Mr. P. S. Scott

Yours of the 16th inst. [came to] hand in due time [and] was truly glad to hear from you once more and to hear that you was well. We are all well here at preset and I hope when these few imperfect lines comes to your hand, they may find you enjoying good health. There is nothing of interest a going on here at this time as I know of.

Christmas is passed and I believe the girls and the old bachelors had a party at H. H. H. on Christmas night but I do not know how they enjoyed themselves. They say they had an oyster supper. That is all I know about it. I just got home the night before Christmas from Buffalo. I was down with the hogs and found rather a hard market but I got out safe without making very much money. John Clark and Henry Rumsey went along with me and they went down to the [Niagara] Falls and enjoyed themselves well. Spent the Sabbath down there. I am a going down again next week and then I expect to go on to New York City and John is a going along with me. I wish you was here to go with us. You would have a very nice time. You would have time to go and see the Falls for U expect to stay in Buffalo as much as ten days and you could have time to see all there is to see down there.

I want to take down about three hundred hogs this time. Oh how I wish you was here to go along with us. I have not had any news from any of the boys from the Army of Virginia since I last wrote you. I have not been about home very much for some time and I think there must be some letters at the [post] office. I have not been to Rushsylvania for three months.

I believe John C. Bailey 1 was wounded in the late battle at Fredericksburg in the leg and since then he has had to have his leg taken off above the knee. So you see he will always be a cripple. I do not know whether J. W. was in the battle or not. I have not had any letter from him since the battle. If he was in the battle, he may be amongst the dead. I do not know what to think about him. I would like very much to hear from him.

I believe that Doc is at Point Lookout in the hospital yet. They say old Noah Rogers is getting fat as a bear. I believe there has nothing of interest transpired here for some time. I believe that they say that Frank [M.] Rose was married on Christmas day to one of Jim Haney’s girls [Eunice]—a very poor choice the girl made, I think. What think you? It is a rose with a thorn in it is my opinion

Well, P. S., I am writing by candle light and all of my family is around me. Maud and Jennie is laying on the bed, Sieg is asleep in the cradle. Thornt, Johnny, and Maria is looking at the pictures in my new dictionary. I got a new atlas and dictionary that I paid $18.50 for—the best in use.

I believe that I wrote you in my last that I got through with that Quinn scrape without much trouble. They say he carries a revolver for to shoot me but I do not feel much alarmed about it. If I never die till Charles Quinn kills me, I think I will live to see the war close anyhow.

I believe I will have to bring my letter to a focus. Maud says I must write a letter to you for her. Thornt says he is well. Jenney says she will send you an apple if I will put it in this letter but you will have to excuse me for I cannot get it in the envelope. We have some very fine apples and I wish you had some of them anyhow for New Years.

So good night and I wish you a happy New Year. — Mort

Write soon as you can and believe me ever your sincere friend, — Mort to Snook

Thornt says as for them chickens you wanted to know about, he says his advise is to take all you can get from them old rebels and talk to the girls in the borques [?] He says if he was you he would have a nice turkey for dinner on New Years Day if they was any Rebel turkeys that could be drafted in or around your camp. That is what’s the matter.

You said you thought you would try to get a furlough to come home on New Years. Well I wish you may get one for I would like very much to have you to take dinner with me a New Years Day.

1 John Catlett Bailey (1832-1922) of Taylor Creek township, Hardin County, Ohio, served as a private in Co. D, 4th OVI. He enlisted on 1 June 1861 and was discharged for medical disability on 24 April 1863. We learn from this letter that Pvt. Bailey was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 that necessitated the amputation of the limb, leaving him a cripple. He was married to Hortense Shepherd in 1878. He died in Kenton, Ohio.

Letter 3

Rushsylvania [Logan county, Ohio]
June 10, 1863

Mr. P. S. Scott
Dear Brother,

I received your kind letter some time ago and was truly glad to hear from you and have neglected to answer till now awaiting for to have something of interest to write you but they have nothing of that kind transpired so you must excuse me if I do not write you anything of that kind. But in the first place, we are all well here and they was all well at our Mother’s yesterday and John he was well enough to be out last Sunday night to see some of the fair sex. So you can see that it is all right with him.

Well I have got through planting corn and I did not get very much planted. I only got about nine acres planted. We had to clear all the ground that we planted but it is a coming up very nice. But it has been so dry here that they can nothing grow to do much good. The wheat is this part of the country is a going to be very poor. It cannot make over one half crop. It must be six weeks since we have had any rain to do any good toward wetting the ground here and they are still planting corn yet.

I just sheared my sheep yesterday and Maria, she is a going to work up some of the wool and I will have about ninety dollars worth to sell. I saw Mr. Canaan when he was here and he told me that you was alright and was lied first rate by all of the men in the company and I was very glad to hear that. And he said that you would et a furlough for to come home he thought before long. I would like very much to see you and would come down to see you if I had the time to spare. But if you are well and can get to come home, I suppose it will be alright.

I received a letter from Mort [Stiles] written the last days of May. He was well then and was in good spirits and he thinks that things look alright down there in Virginia. He is still at Suffolk but he thinks or says itis the opinion that prevails amongst the men and officers that that army will be moved to Hooker’s army soon.

I got a letter from J. W. M. a few days ago and he was just tolerable. Well, he was not in the battle but is one of the guards that guard the cattle and he says he has very easy times. Well, I suppose Noah Rogers was killed in the Chancellorsville Battle for he amongst the missing and it has been reported since that he was found in three or four days after and was buried and I am inclined to think it is true. They are picking up some of the deserters here now and making the balance run and hide in the woods.

So write soon and believe me ever your friend and brother, — Mort

to Snook

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