This letter was written by John Pittenger, Jr. (1838-1923) of Wayne county, Ohio. He came to Delaware county, Indiana, with his family in the 1850s. He wrote the letter to 19 year-old Mary E. Shafer, the daughter of German emigrants Adam and Eleanor Shafer of Muncie, Delaware county, Indiana. She married George N. Barrow in 1886.
John enlisted in Co. D, 84th Indiana Infantry on 13 August 1862, entering the service as a corporal. He was mustered out on 14 June 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee. According to the Indiana CW Database, John (or Jonathan) was taken prisoner at Chickamauga on 20 September 1863.
After the war he moved to Wayne, Kosciusko county, Indiana, and married Clarissa E. Jones in December 1868. There is another Pittenger to Shafer letter dated 28 January 1863 housed in the William Henry Smith Memorial Library in Indianapolis.
To read other letters I have transcribed by members of the 84th Indiana Infantry, see:
Nathan Hiatt, Co. A, 84th Indiana (1 Letter)
Henry Taylor Semans, Co. A, 84th Indiana (1 Letter)
David Thomas McConochy, Co. H, 84th Indiana (1 Letter)
William Randolph Way, Co. H, 84th Indiana (19 Letters)
George W. Whitzel, Co. H, 84th Indiana (2 Letters)
[This letter is from the personal collection of Rich Condon and is published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]
May 20th 1863
I embrace this privilege of dropping you a few lines in reply to your kind letter of the 7th [which] was duly received and its contents perused with pleasure and I now sit myself with delight to try to drop a few lines in reply which may be of interest to you.
Things is extremely quiet here at present. There has been no picket fighting done amongst the pickets nor any Rebels seen for some time and consequently there is no news of importance and we have been here so long it is getting to be one constant routine of camp scenery every day and nothing new so I hardly know what to write.
You said there was a very fine prospect for fruit. I hope it will do well and I get home to help eat some of it. I think I could enjoy myself very well.
You said you wished I had of been there to of took dinner with you. Well I wish so too but I am too far off to accept of the invitation. I would like to have one dinner like I use to have for a soldier’s fare is not very good sometimes and but few varieties.
I hope this war will soon be over and then I will come down and take tea with you. We will have a good time generally, don’t you think so?
Now it is pretty near night and I will have to close. You must excuse a short and poorly written letter for I have to sit down in my bunk and write on my knee and so you must look over all bad writing. This leaves me well and I hope it may find you the same for health is the greatest blessing the Lord can bestow in us. The other boys is all well. Rueben Pittenger 1 has got with us at last and he looks tolerable well.
Mr. Myers was down to try to get Jacob home and he thought he would when he was here. You had better bet we was all glad to see him. Excuse all mistakes and write soon. Believe me to be your true friend, — John Pittenger
1 Reuben Pittinger (1838-1864) also served in Co. D, 84th Indiana Infantry but died in the service at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Cobb county, Georgia. He may have been John’s cousin.