1863-64: “Ernest” to Martha J. Carpenter

I have not been able to nail down the identity of the soldier who wrote these letters though I believe he served in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and that he was either from or had spent time prior to the war in Delaware county, Ohio.

He wrote most of the letters to Martha J. Carpenter (1837-1921), the daughter of David Cooley Carpenter (1805-1886) and Sarah Cleveland (1809-Aft1880) of Berkshire, Delaware county, Ohio.  Martha married Charles Pierson (1831-1901) in McLean County, Illinois on 10 February 1869. They resided in Decatur, Macon county, Illinois. 

Letter 1

Camp 2nd O. V. C.
Winchester, Kentucky
April 13th 1863

Dear friend Mattie,

Your kin favor of the 5th is at hand. I was glad to hear from you but wish I could have gotten it before I left so as to seen your photograph. We left in quite a hurry after the orders came and have been on the march ever since every day so that we have little time to write or do anything else.

What a loss to the community is caused by the draft of such a man as Dr. Davenport. I dislike his appearance very much. I should have been glad to visit you again before we left had it been possible. Received a letter from O. G. Daniels who said that he was waiting for a letter from you with great impatience. Have you heard from him lately?

Where we go from here I do not know but have orders to report to Stanford if it is not countermanded before we get there. We seem to be a desirable regiment to have as we have had orders to report to no less than 5 generals since we got to Kentucky.

Our mail will reach us if directed to Lexington to follow the regiment. Shall I not hope to get another from you soon containing a photograph of you? My greatest regards to your people and Charles when you write. Excuse haste and write soon to your true friend, — Ernest.

Letter 2

Addressed to Miss Mattie J. Carpenter, Delaware, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio
March 17th 1864

Dear friend Mattie,

How do you do this evening? I should dearly love to take a seat by your side and have one good long visit rehearsing the past two years as our visit last, one year ago last winter seemed too short and one years seems a long time now to look ahead. But it does not seem long since the great excitement caused by the firing upon Fort Sumter, and yet at that time if we had thought that this war would have been protracted three years, we would have been almost discouraged, and perhaps would not have felt like entering upon the great work of human slaughter with the same eagerness with which the heart of the Great American People seemed to have been inspired. I think it is well in this case as it is in many, and I might say almost all that we did not know for now success seems to be almost certain which with a less hearty cooperation would have been the cause of the downfall of our great and beloved Republic. I think all have reason to feel encouraged for if the rebels could not advance upon us while so many of our troops were home, what will be their fate when our Veteran Soldiers get back to the front? They are en who have been often tried and seldom found wanting.

We have been very busy this week but are not quite as near through this case as I had hoped we would be by this time when I last wrote you. Probably will not close the whole case this week, but certainly must finish at first of next, I think from present appearances.

Our regiment went into Camp Cleveland today, I suppose, and I am now quite anxious to be with them now and shall hope to soon. Did you tell me you knew Colonel McElroy?

I attended the Italian Opera last night which was elegant, I thought. I wished you could be there many times during the evening. Tonight there is a grand concert at the Melodeon Hall and if you was here, we could go and I think you would enjoy it some more than you did at Columbus last, or one year ago, winter.

It will be very pleasant for you if your folks come to Delaware to live. May I hope to hear from you again very soon? Every your friend, — Ernest

Letter 3

“U. S.” H___
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
July 7th 1864

Dear Mattie,

I have only time to say one word which is due in way of an apology for not answering your letter sooner. I found it here on my return from Baltimore and would gladly have answered ere this but on account of the near approach of the Rebels to this place. We have had all we could do for over a week now. This morn the streets are filled with men, horses and cattle from the country all eager to escape the dreaded presence of their Rebel neighbors.

Accept many thanks for the letter, Program, &c. you contained. I would dearly have loved being there with you. Excuse haste. Please write. — Ernest

Will Mattie excuse stationery. Also I hope to be able to write a more respectable letter next time.

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