This letter was written by Milo Lewis Sherman (1839-1916) of Dundee, Kane County, Illinois, who enlisted on 11 September 1861 as a private and was mustered into Co. I, 52nd Illinois Infantry on 25 October 1861. He reenlisted on 8 January 1864 and was discharged for disability on 23 May 1865.
Milo was the son of Marshall Alonzo Sherman (1799-1879) and Sarah Wanzer (1806-1867). He wrote the letter to his older brother Buel Sherman (1825-1893) and his sister-in-law Celia Louisa Page (1830-1917) Chickasaw county, Iowa.
[Dundee, Kane county, Illinois]
Monday evening, September 16, 1861
Dear Sister and Brother,
I take this opportunity to write you a few lines that you may know what I have done. I now belong to the U. S. Army. Was sworn into service last Thursday at Geneva and came home Saturday evening “on furlough.” Our company is called “Dundee Freemen” and there is not, as yet, so fine a looking company in the camp of the “Lincoln Regiment.” Capt. Joseph T. Brown, 1st Lieut. Joseph E. Ewell, 2nd Lieut. [Henry G.] Wilmarth. Remaining officers not yet appointed. Samuel Anderson [of Elgin] will no doubt be 1st Sergeant. We have some fine young men in our company, among whom I may mention the names of Jno. W. Sharp, C[yrus] P. Bailey, Henry C. Edwards, J[erome] D. Davis, Wm. J. and Jno. A. Dempster, &c. &c. &c.
Now do not censure me hastily for I have thought of this thing a long time and I think it is the duty of all able to go, or at least all who possibly can. With regard to getting a situation as drummer, it is rather uncertain, but if I don’t get it, I presume I can easily get a place in the ranks and that is the post of honor in this war sure.
If you can come home to Illinois this fall, I wish you would come soon and be sure to come to the camp at Geneva. I cannot tell when we may receive marching orders but I am sure you will have time to come before we leave camp, Come if possible. Probably we shall remain at Geneva several weeks drilling, &c. If you cannot come, please try to send the deeds, dulcimer &c. before long, and perhaps I may come home again before we go South. I should like to have the deeds before I go. I will make arrangements with Pa to settle with you for my taxes on land. If you cannot come, write immediately, and if we never meet again on earth, God grant we may in Heaven. With tearful eyes, I bid you farewell. Heaven reward you for the many acts of kindness on me bestowed and in your prayers, remember your erring, absent brother and all who go to battle under the Stars and Stripes.
Arthur, Ida, and Minnie, and all who love the Union. There is much vice and temptations innumerable in camp life but I hope I may be enabled to withstand them, and my wish is that I may return to my friends. But so far as coming back is concerned, it rests in His hands “who doeth all things well.” Goodbye. Your brother, — Milo L. Sherman