1865: Ebenezer Thayer Chaffee to William Carey Chaffee

Lt. Ebenezer Thayer Chaffee, 84th Indiana
(Dale Niesen Collection)

The following letter was written by Ebenezer (“Eb”) Thayer Chaffee (1841-1922) of Winchester, Randolph county, Indiana, who enlisted on 25 August 1862 as a private in Co. K, 84th Indiana Infantry, and was promoted to sergeant major in January 1863, and again to 1st Lieutenant in September 1864. He was serving as the adjutant of the regiment in the F&S regimental headquarters when he wrote this letter in February 1865. He mustered out of the regiment on 14 June 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

Eb was the son of William and Abigail (Thayer) Chaffee. He was married after the war to Martha Jane Stewart (1841-1912) and settled in Hartford, Blackford county, Indiana, where he worked as a hardware merchant. He was admitted to the Home for Disabled Veterans at Danville, Illinois, in 1907, and died in 1922 at the National Soldiers’ Home at Marion, Indiana.

Eb presumably wrote the letter to his older brother, Dr. William Carey Chaffee (1835-1927).

[Note: This letter and the image of Chaffee are from the personal collection of Dale Niesen and are published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Headquarters 84th Indiana Volunteers
Huntsville, Alabama
February 1st 1865

Dear Will,

Yours of January 25th has just come to hand and as per request, I will immediately acknowledge its receipt ok although I had begin to get somewhat uneasy myself on account of its long delay—for it had been more than 5 weeks since I had written you. I hope the calling for that amount of money did not discourage you for I should be sorry to do so. I supposed though that you had that much that was not in use.

You spoke of a nice trip to Corey’s. I would have enjoyed the trip also had I been there. I hope by next winter to enjoy all such little things with you as well as “other arrangements too tedious to mention.” I have no assurance though of that for it has been but a day or two since I heard that another companion in arms as well as friendship had fallen a martyr to the cause. May he reap a rich reward in that land where they are given solely according to merit. I first heard of Jake’s death on the 29th for on that day Ez 1 received a letter from his sister Becky. Ez is much affected by the news but at this date begins to assume his wanted joyful tone of voice & elastic step. I have seldom seen anyone much more stricken in my life than he was when first the news arrived. The boys all feel his loss and sympathize with Ez in his bereavement.

In reference to Henry Chue, I can’t give you much news as it is not known yet what will be done with him. He is now in arrest at Brigade Headquarters awaiting trial by court martial. If he can prove what he says, nothing will be done with him and he will be released and allowed to go home. I hope that nothing bad will befall him for I always thought well of Henry and considered him a good boy.

Well, I must stop. I remain &c. yours truly, — Eb

1 Ezra Mann Stahl (1839-1913) joined Co. K, 84th Indiana Infantry in November 1862 and was mustered out on 14 June 1865 as the Sergeant Major of the company. He was the son of Abraham Stahl (1809-1889) and Elizabeth Waltz (1808-1875). Ezra’s younger brother, Sgt. Jacob Stahl, also served in Co. K, 84th Indiana Infantry. He died on 22 January 1865 from wounds he received at Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia on 9 May 1864.

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