This letter was written by John Thomas Hathaway (1834-1923) of Co. F, 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was the son of Eleazer and Sarah Hathaway of Perry Township, Shelby county, Ohio. He mentions a younger brother, David H. Hathaway (1845-1912), recently discharged from Co. H, 134th OVI.
John enlisted as a private and was still a private in January 1864 when he reenlisted as a veteran. He was made a corporal just prior to mustering out of the regiment on 15 July 1865.
When he returned from the war, John married Harriet E. Blake (1836-1875) and resumed his farming vocation. After her death in 1875, he married Margaret Ellen Wilson (1843-1921). I have not attempted to learn the identify of his friend, “Mrs. E. R. Andrews” to whom the letter was addressed.
To read other letters written by member of the 20th Ohio Infantry that I’ve transcribed and posted on Spared & Shared, see:
George W. Modie, Co. A, 20th Ohio (1 Letter)
Peter Ink Weatherby, Co. A, 20th Ohio (1 Letter)
Charles Darwin Carpenter, Co. D, 20th Ohio (1 Letter)
Charles Darwin Carpenter, Co. D, 20th Ohio (2 Letters)
Uriah Edward Fulk, Co. H, 20th Ohio (2 Letters)
Near Marietta, Georgia
November 7th 1864
I received your very welcome letter in due time but could not answer immediately. The last raid was one month & one day of almost continual labor. We started out from Atlanta, Georgia, traveled 20 miles the first day & did not fool about it at all until the Johnnies left the railroad. Then we turned back through the country traveling slowly from 7 to 10 miles per day foraging our living off the country. Found plenty to subsist on. It abounds with sweet potatoes, corn, and fresh meat & Uncle Sam’s boys know how to help themselves.
Many of the boys have gone home—the non-vets mustered out, the sick and wounded on furlough, J. T. Neal among the number. You will see him if you go to D. D. Neal’s for there is where he stays.
Today we got the long looked for greenbacks. I will be able to send a couple of hundred home. We drew eight months pay & some bounty. I don’t expect we will lay still very long for there are arrangements being made for another raid. I guess it will be south to Mobile or Savannah, S. C. It is not likely there will be any communications with us and civilization until we reach our destinations but our mail will be there waiting us.
I have not had any letter directly from home for two months but got one from Orin dated the 18th ult. stating they were all well & of course they think I am. Since Dave got home, they forget there is one more boy in Dixie or else the Johnnies have captured the letters on the road.
Most of the territory passed over by us in Georgia has been rough with many nice small valleys & beautiful water. I never saw the boys in better health or spirits than on the last raid. [They] was always ready to march when the bugle sounded fall in & I never heard so little complaint on a march in any life. Their faith is strong in the downfall of the rebellion.
I am not in a writing mood this afternoon. Excuse bad writing as this is a miserable pen. Give my best respects to all the friends at home & abroad. Write soon. Direct to Atlanta, George.
Co. F, 20th O. V. V. I., 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 17th Army Corps.
Write soon to — J. T. Hathaway