This letter was written by Jonathan Beatty (1821-1900) of Massillon, Stark county, Ohio, who enlisted 18 August 1862 in Co. H, 13th Ohio Infantry and later transferred to Co. D. He was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga—receiving a gunshot in his lower jaw—and was discharged on 20 May 1865 after 2 years and 9 months service.
Jonathan was married to Caroline Shoup (1836-1910) in 1858. At the time of this 1865 letter, the couple had one child—James B. Beatty (1860-1929) born in May 1860. After Jonathan returned home from the war, the couple had another child named Myron Jonathan Beatty (1866-1926).
Earlier in the war the couple lived at Jackson in Massillon county. See 1862: Sylvester Beatty to Jonathan Beatty (Spared & Shared 9).
February 12th 1865
Dear wife and child,
I have a few moments to spare so I will inform you that I received your most kind and welcome letter on the 31st of January and I was glad to hear from you once more. I had partly given up looking for a letter for it was so long that I didn’t get any.
Caroline, we are back on the old battle ground at Nashville but we don’t think to stay here longer than we can get transportation. But there is none of us know where we will go. The most of us thinks that we are going to reinforce Sherman and some says that we are going to Eastpoint and the way that we have to go it will be about five hundred miles. I ain’t found out where they are going along or not. General [Samuel] Beatty says that I shouldn’t go along for my time is so near out to go in the Invalid Corps. I ain’t done any duty for some time but it appears they will drag me along.
Caroline, I wrote to you that General Beatty had got my papers approved but I seen him yesterday and I think that I got examined before the Medical Board after he seen the doctor. So I look for them to put me in the Invalid Corps. I hope that they won’t till we get to Louisville and if I get there, I think that I can get to my own state or to Indiana. I will try and get as far North as I can. I have tried all I am going to to get discharged. I will serve my time out, then I won’t need to be under any obligation to any of them them. There will be one day that I think that they won’t be more than I am.
Caroline, I have gave up looking for my papers only for them to come back disapproved. And then I think that they will transfer me to the Invalid Corps so I will stop writing to you about it for I have wrote enough of lies about it but I didn’t do it willfully.
Caroline, your letter found me well and I hope these few lines will find you and James enjoying good health and all the rest of the friends. Caroline, I was glad to hear that you are getting along so well now that mother is contented. Caroline, you said you wanted to know how my head pained me. It does by times and I find that every time that it pains so much that the matter is mixed well [ ]. Caroline, it appears that there is a cord or something leads from my jaw to my brains. When it gets to paining hard, then it hurts my head a good deal and my eye waters a good deal. If I succeed getting any of your [ ] for my [ ] , I wouldn’t mind it too much for I will suffer a good deal for my country. But the idea of being strung around just to please some men I don’t like.
Dear wife, I hope that I will stand it and get home again and then if they ever get me in again, it will do them good. Caroline, you thought my letters were short for I had not time to write long letters since we left Pulaski…So dear wife, as for me to write long letters, I couldn’t. But dear, I will write you long letters as soon as I get to a place where I can and I will write often….I pray for you and James when we are marching along to spare us to meet again and to meet in love and peace, and Caroline, I don’t think hard of you for thinking I drink but I want you to settle your mind on what I write for I will write the truth. I did taste it twice but little James could drink more than I did. I don’t drink more than I did. I don’t drink the liquor that they draw for me. I let my partner drink it. Dear wife, you needn’t bother yourself about that even if anyone should write to that effect. Don’t believe them.
Caroline, I got that dollar you sent me and three stamps and one two-cent stamp. I can’t write near all I want to for it is late and getting dark and they think of starting in the morning. But if we don’t leave tomorrow, I will write you more. Dear wife, I will enclose two rings in this letter for you and one for our dear little boy…
Give my respects to all the friends. Truly your husband, — Jonathan Beaty
to Caroline Beaty & James Beaty, my little son