The following letter was written y George Espy Morrow (1840-1900), the son of John Morrow (1800-1887) and Nancy Espy (18xx-1881) of Warren county, Ohio. George was the grandson of Jeremiah Morrow, the 9th Governor of Ohio and a U.S. Senator. George Morrow’s parents were farmers, and he remained home until enlisting in August 1861 as a corporal in Co. C, 2nd Ohio Infantry in 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Perryville and was briefly a prisoner of war. He was discharged on 15 July 1863 due to disability.
Following his discharge, he moved to Minnesota. After a few months, he decided to enroll in the University of Michigan Law School. He graduated in 1866 and took a position as editor of the Western Rural, later editing the Western Farmer. In 1876, Morrow accepted a position as professor at the Iowa Agricultural College, and eventually rose to chair the department. In 1877, Morrow accepted an appointment as chair of the University of Illinois College of Agriculture. Morrow implemented the Rothamsted Plan at the university to determine what could improve the quality of Illinois soil. The field became known as the Morrow Plots, today recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its contributions to the history of American agriculture. He later became president of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College.
Morrow married Sarah M. Gifford in Detroit, Michigan, in 1867. Morrow died on 26 Mar 1900 at his home in Paxton, Illinois and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Urbana, Illinois. [Wikipedia]
George wrote the letter to one of his “best friends,” Pliny Dudley Cottle (1840-1916), the son of Lucius Cottle (1815-1890) and Adeline Dudley (1817-1843) of Maineville, Warren county, Ohio. Pliney enlisted as a sergeant in September 1861 in Co. I, 2nd OVI. He was discharged for disability on 28 February 1862. Later in the war he served as a lieutenant in the 146th Ohio National Guard.
Headquarters 1st Division, 14th Army Corps
4th April 1863
P. D. Cottle
My dear friend,
Today when I had opened the mail and found in our headquarters package a letter from one of my best friends, I thought that as much as could reasonably be expected. When, a short time after, I was told there was another for me at the company, I had not the least idea whom it was from—was rather agreeably surprised to find it was in your handwriting. It will be better to direct as this is headquarters in future—at least until further orders—as I will receive it sooner.
I regret that you have not fully recovered your health but am glad to see that you have your usual good spirits. I frequently hear from you as regards your health, &c. from my other correspondents, and have often thought of writing. In future, I hope to hear from you more frequently. Tell me of all the little occurrences in the neighborhood. You, as a one time soldier, know that we feel an interest in the most unimportant and trivial affairs connected with homeland.
I see the regiment almost daily. The health of the men is generally good. All your friends are well, I believe. I saw Jessie Hineson yesterday looking very well—ditto John Snook. You have heard that [James E.] Murdoch is now Captain and Sergeant Major Williams of Co. D is 2nd Lieutenant of Co. I. Williams makes a good-looking officer. [Daniel W.] Dewitt, our 2nd Lt., received his resignation papers today—ill health. Do not know his successor.
Our regiment is now the largest in our division—rather remarkable, isn’t it? The division, by the way, is much the largest in the army and with the unique feature of a brigade of regulars, consisting of six battalions of infantry and one battery–[William Rufus] Terrill’s celebrated one. This brigade has been much strengthened by new troops coming up from duty in other places and is a fine thing.
As you may naturally suppose, we are all glad that Gen. Rosecrans is back with us. I have never known an instance of such general admiration for a general as our entire division shows for its commander. It equals the feeling in the 2nd Ohio for Col. [Leonard A.] Harris. Let me say here that the army is in good condition—better than I ever knew it before. It is well supplied and we have large stores of provisions in readiness for the future. When this army is put in motion and has work shown it, it will do that work thoroughly and well. When that time is to be, I do not at all know ad have ceased to speculate.
The fortifications, at which much work is still being done, are very extensive and strong. A considerable force will be left here, of course.
I trust that as warm weather is now not far off, you will with its advance become well and strong again. Do not allow yourself to become a hermit or misanthrope. I would much like to have the opportunity of seeing our friends of whom you spoke as well as many others but until this war is ended or I get sick, or again wounded, my place is in the army.
Lately, I have felt encouraged to hope that the end was now not very far in the future. We have gained much and lost but little comparatively.
For myself, I am pretty well and have as pleasant times as could be expected. Give my respects to all my friends. Hoping to soon hear from you, I am truly your friend, — G. Espy Morrow
P. S. Aaron Morris sends his regards as would a host of your friends were they here to know of the opportunity. The splendid band of the 15th U. S. Infantry has just commenced a serenade intended to honor Rosecrans.