1862: Mahlon Pitney Davis to Mahlon Oscar Davis

These two letters were written by 49 year-old Lt. Mahlon Pitney Davis (1813-1876) of Co. K, 63rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He wrote both letters to his son, Mahlon “Oscar” Davis (1844-1862), who served as a musician in the same company and regiment. Oscar died of typhoid fever at the regimental hospital on 28 May 1862. Mahlon resigned his commission on 27 May 1862.

The 63rd OVI did not get organized until late January 1863 and then it was set immediately took the field and joined Major General John Pope in Missouri. At New Madrid, the 63rd was brigaded with other Ohio regiments in what became known as the Ohio Brigade. It took part in all the operations resulting in the surrender of Island No. 10.

Mahlon was married in 1838 to Lydia Ann Morrow (1819-1899). The Davis’s were enumerated on the family farm near Trimble, Athens county, Ohio, at the time of the 1860 US Census.

I could not find an image of either Mahlon or his son Oscar, but here is an Ambrotype of William Harrison Moore (1828-1894) who enlisted in the same company (Co. K) of the 63rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. (Harrison G. Moore IV Collection)

Letter 1

Addressed to Mr. Oscar Davis, 63rd Regt. OVI

[Hamburg, Tennessee]
May 19, 1862

Dear Oscar. I am still at Hamburg in the hospital. I am on the mend. I have had no good chance to go home yet but I expect I can go before long as there has been no sick boats—or boats for the sick—a going to Cincinnati of any consequence. If I don’t get a chance soon to go home, I will come back to you as soon as there is a chance with team. I am well taken care of at the hospital. I have written one letter home but I have had no word from any of them. Neither have I had any word from you since Tom Dawson was in. He told me he saw you and I sent a dollar to you by him. If he has not given it to you, ask him for it—that is, if he has not given it to you. I would like for you to write to me and let me know how you are getting along. Direct your letter to Hamburg P. O., Tennessee.

Lieut. [Wesley S.] Tucker 1 of Fouts’ company [D] is here with me. He wants to go home but the doctor who is tending the ward won’t let him go home but he will let me on the account of my bad health. William Vore [Co. A] is attending in the ward or he is sick now in Ward No. 3. I want you to see Solomon Johnston. 2 Tell him that William Vore wants him to send his Descriptive Roll as he talks of going home. He wants Johnston to forward it on as soon as he can to Hamburg either by mail or any reliable person. You go and tell Solomon Johnston or show him these lines as it was Vore’s request for me to write.

Oscar, I want you to write to me as soon as you can conveniently. — M. P. Davis

[to] Oscar Davis

1 Lt. Wesley S. Tucker was commissioned 1st Lt. in October 1861 and resigned on 18 June 1862.

2 Solomon H. Johnston was a lieutenant in Co. A, 63rd OVI.

Letter 2

Hamburg [Tennessee]
May 21, 1862


I am still here. I gain slowly. I have a diarrhea yet. It bothers me at night. I feel very weak but I am doing as well as could be expected. I have had no word from you or home since I saw Tom Dawson. I would like you to write to me at Hamburg or if the teams come, you might come and see me as a drummer. Mick would let you come. There is no guards or pickets to pass as some said if the fight goes on you run no necessary danger. The talk is here that there will be a big fight as Beauregard and all of the South are together at Corinth. I would like to go home but they tell me there is none going home now.

George Henry and E. Davis both got on a boat of sick passengers for St. Louis. I would like for you to write soon as you can or come and see me if you can get away with some teams as it is too far for you to walk. If you was to come, change your old coat for a new one as I am too tired to hunt the box. The box is in among the rest of the boxes. I took a short look for it the other day but did not find the box.

I would be glad to see you or hear from you. I add no more. Goodbye. — M. P. Davis

[to] Oscar Davis

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