1862: John H. Chadwick to Mathew Murdock

I could not find an image of John but here is one of Pvt. Watson Garrett of Co. G, 12th Connecticut Infantry (Photo Sleuth)

This letter was written by Pvt. John H. Chadwick (1844-1864) of Co. F, 12th Connecticut Infantry. John enlisted on 17 October 1861 and was mustered into the service on 19 November 1861. He was with his regiment until his death on 19 October 1864—killed in action at the Battle of Cedar Creek.

In the 1850 US Census, 5 year-old John was enumerated in his parents home in Seymour, New Haven, Connecticut. His parents were Frederick and Martha E. (Rhodes) Chadwick. In the 1860 US Census, John—now an orphan—was enumerated in the household of Mathew (“Matti”) G. Murdock, a carpenter in Westbrook, Middlesex county, Connecticut. It was Mr. Murdock to whom this letter was most likely addressed.

In his letter, John mentions his older brother Thomas Chadwick (b. 1840) who was working as a blacksmith in Seymour, Connecticut, when he enlisted in the same company as John. Tom survived the war. He also mentions Sergeant Edwin W. Bushnell served in Co. F and was also from the same town of Westbrook, Connecticut.


A lithograph of New Orleans on the header of Chadwick’s letter.

Camp Kearney
October 10th [1862]

Dear Friend,

I take this opportunity of writing a few words to you and let you know how things are. I am about the same. I have a shake every other day. 1 I haven’t done much duty for the last two months. Brother Tom is in the hospital but is not very sick. Our regiment [12th Connecticut] has ben moved from Camp Parapet to within three miles of New Orleans. We are in a new Brigade under Gen. [Godfrey] Weitzel. we are expecting to leave every day. we don’t know where. Some say up the river—some say to Mobile, but I guess they don’t know.

Ed Bushnell has been promoted from 5th Sergeant to 1st Sergeant. He is now next to a Lieutenant. The rest of the boys are pretty well. I sent you a letter and three papers about the 8th of September. I haven’t heard from you since then so I don’t know whether you have got them or not.

Give my best respects to Mrs. Murdock and yourself. From John Chadwick

1 Symptoms of malaria resemble those of flu and can typically last 6–10 hours and recur every second day. However, some strains of the parasite can have a longer cycle or cause mixed symptoms.

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