This letter was written by 19 year-old Francis (“Frank”) H. Emley (1843-1935) of Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, who enlisted as a private in the 112th Ohio Infantry on 12 August 1862, and was transferred to Co. G, 63rd Ohio Infantry on 6 November 1863. He mustered out of the regiment on 8 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.
Frank’s letter was addressed to David Laughlin (1817-1897)—the father of his comrade, Alfred A. Laughlin (1844-1862), who served with him in the same company. According to Frank’s letter, Alfred died of chronic diarrhea on 28 December 1862 at Davies’ Mills, Mississippi. Alfred’s mother was Susan Armel (1819-1904). In 1860, the Laughlin’s lived in Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio.
January 28, 1863
I take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. I received your kind letter last night in which you stated that you wanted to know all the circumstances about Alfred’s death. He died the 28th of December at Davis’s Mills of chronic diarrhea. I was not there at the time he died but I heard a reliable friend say that he did not appear to suffer much pain and that he died very easy. That on the morning he died, the hospital steward called in to see to the sick and he found Alfred worse. Then he called on Dr. Crane who looked at Alfred and then turned around to the steward and told him that he was in a dying condition. Then he felt his pulse. When Alfred looked up in his face and said that he was dying and died without a struggle. He never appeared to suffer much pain when I was with him.
He talked some about home, about the fine times that we had at school, but he never appeared to be home sick and he often would read the testament of an evening and he had a chaplain to talk to. The chaplain preached a number of times to the regiment and Alford was always there to hear what he had to say.
As for my part, I think he was willing to die. Thank God he died in a glorious cause. That cause was for the old flag that our forefathers fought for and I think that we shall still maintain the old flag. I had forgot to mention to you that Alfred was buried very nice for I helped to dig his grave and I know that it was done right. So he was buried nice as can be expected in the army.
So I must bring my scribbling to a close by stating to you to give my best respects to all enquiring friends. So goodbye from your obliging friend, — Francis H. Emley
To Mr. David Laughlin of Ohio