1862: Charles Roberts to Israel Roberts

I could not find an image of Charles Roberts and his older brother Tom who served with him in Co. C of the 94th OVI, but here is one of George and Samuel Detrick who served in Company A. (Library of Congress)

The following letters were written by Charles Roberts who was 18 years old when he enlisted in 5 August 1862 to serve three years in Co. C, 94th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). This regiment was mustered into service at Camp Piqua on 24 August 1862 and four days later, without uniforms or camp equipage and never having been drilled as a regiment, it was ordered to Kentucky, that state being then invaded by Confederate forces under Kirby Smith. But a veteran regiment could not have behaved better than it did in the affair at Tate’s ferry, where it was first under fire and lost 2 men killed and 6 wounded. With the exception of some hard work in the trenches in defense of Louisville, and a participation in two or three “grand reviews,” the regiment had a very easy time until the movement began which resulted in the battle of Perryville and the driving of Bragg’s Confederate army from Kentucky. Charles’ first letter was written from Camp Buell in Kentucky.

Charles’ second letter was written after the Battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge where the regiment played a prominent part, being in the grand charge upon the ridge. It was then with Sherman on his march to Atlanta though Charles was wounded on 14 May 1864 at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia, in the first battle of that campaign. He survived the wound to muster out with the company on 5 June 1865.

Charles was the son of wagon-maker Israel Roberts (1807-1883) and Elizabeth Coddington (1809-1861) of Brown township, Miami county, Ohio.

[Note: These letters are from the personal collection of Greg Herr and were transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]

Letter 1

[Camp Buell]
September 21, 1862

My Dear Father,

I take this opportunity to let you know that I am well at present and hope you are enjoying the same blessing. Jim and Tom are well. I want you to send me a little money if you please.

I heard the bullets buzz anyhow at [the] Kentucky river and the bombs flew the next morning over our heads pretty fast. I seen the rebel’s cannons. There was a big force a marching on us and if [we] had stayed there for an hour longer, we would all have been taken prisoner. We marched six days and nights and when we stopped, was all give out. We camped in the woods and stayed for about four days and then we moved over to town and there we are yet.

We was drawn up yesterday and expected to move but we did not. We had an inspection today.

Send me all Kentucky money and in small bills. I like it pretty well. Anyhow, tell Aunt Mary and Lib to send me a letter. Tell Aunt Anna that she must not get mad because I have not wrote to her for I have wrote to nary but you. Tell her that I want her to write to me though. I was very glad to hear from you. Tell Charley Louis to write to me and tell me how he gets along. I think that them boys that fell out was scared more than they was sick. If you see Bill, I want you to tell him to write to me and let me know how he is.

Send me a letter as soon as you can. No more at present but write soon. — Charles Roberts

To Israel Roberts

Direct your letters the same that you did. September 1862, Camp Buell

Letter 2

The 1st of the month [December 1863?]

Dear Father,

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and all the rest of the boys is too and I hope when these few lines come to hand, that you will be enjoying the same good blessing.

We have had another big fight since I wrote to you but I come out safe. We charged Lookout Mountain in one day and the next day we marched [ ] and charged in [ ] and there [ ] and large quantity of prisoners. And the next morning we drawed 4 days rations and marched off after the rebels and we kept taking them in squads all along the road. We went on to Ringgold and there we stopped for two days. There we burned the depot and tore up the railroad and burned the ties and destroyed all we could. We got a pile of meat and honey and other things. There was not a boy got hurt in our company. All is well and so is [paper torn]….broke the [ ] in a little in this fight just showing them how we fight down here now days.

When you write to me, I want you to tell me where Billy is. I think that he has acted the shit ass. He hain’t wrote to me a letter since I come to war and if he don’t write to me pretty soon, I will forget I have a brother at home. just tell him if he waits for me to write, he won’t get one from me as long as I am in the army. If he hain’t got a better chance to write to me than I have to him, why I don’t know.

Give my love to all. Write soon. — C. Roberts

To Israel Roberts


Letter 3

[May or June] 1864

Dear sister,

I take this opportunity [to write] you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I had the luck to get hit this time but it did not break no bones. It went through my arm and side. It hurt a little but it is a doing fine. I can go around all right. I am at a hospital at Jeffersonville [Indiana] and when you direct your letters, just put Jeffersonville, Indiana, Hospital No. 4, and when you get this, I want you to send me some money. Pap has got some of mine and you can send some to me for I han’t got no money to get anything at all. well i must close. Write soon.

— C. Roberts

To F. W. Stuart

All write.

Letter 4

General Hospital Branch No. 4
Jeffersonville [?], Indiana
This is the 7th of this month [1864]

Dear Sister,

It is with the greatest of [pleasure] that I seat myself to [write] you a few lines to let you know how I am a gettin along. I can’t do much at the present—that is, as much as common.

We have had some big times ere since last I wrote to you. On Saturday last we had a big Lincoln meeting here. We had a big dance. The soldiers went in free and a big dinner and at night we had a torchlight procession and it was as big time in general that you know, but suddenly, afterward the drum commenced beating and the Rebs was coming and we [ ] and went down and got our guns. But we ain’t done yet and I don’t know when we will. I wish we would go and I know that we would have a good time. The chickens would not suffer. Oh no, maybe not, but I know that I would eat my share and I know … [illegible]

Well, I will finish my letter this morning. I got your letter yesterday. I was glad to hear from you. that money comes very handy for I ain’t been paid off yet.

I am glad that Jim has got home. I would not care if I was there too but I ain’t and so it is never mind. I will be there some time to stay if I live. You wanted to know whether my arm is well yet or not. It’s healed up but I can’t use it much yet and my side—it hurts me some, but I guess it will come all right yet.

I hear that our Corps is got back and I am glad of that. Maybe they will get to rest some for I think it is time. Well, I can’t think of anything more to write this time so I will close. I still remain your most affectionate brother, — Charles Roberts

To S. W. Stuart

Write soon. write soon.

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