The following letter was written by Pvt. Amos Gorrell (1837-1928) of Co. A, 18th Ohio Infantry. Amos was the son of Amos Gorrell, Sr. (1804-1890) and Leah Wollen (1800-1873) of Ross county, Ohio. Amos wrote the letter to his brother, Joseph Wollen Gorrell (1839-1914) who later (16 September 1864) enlisted as a sergeant in Co. C, 178th Ohio Vols. He married after the war and eventually moved to Blackwater, Missouri.
Amos does not say how he was wounded (and neither does the regimental roster) but my assumption is that he received the wound to his arm at the Battle of Chickamauga who was fought a couple weeks prior to the date of this letter.
Gorrell wrote his letter from General Hospital No. 19 which was housed in the Morris and Stratton Building at No. 14 Market Street near the corner of Clark Street.
[Note: The following letter is from the personal collection of Greg Herr and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]
General Hospital No. 19
October 7th 1863
Dear Friends at Home,
This morning finds me seated in the 2nd Ward of a large hospital which contains between three and four hundred sick & wounded soldiers; most all of them are of the latter class. Some are lying in their bunks unable to help themselves, some hobbling about with canes and crutches, some walking about with their heads tied up, others with their arms in slings, &c. But I believe the most of the wounded are getting along as well as can be expected. Some few in the ward above us has got the erysipelas in their wounds which is a very bad thing. There is no cases of it in our ward yet.
My wound is doing as well as can be expected, I believe. The swelling has most all left my arm and it has been mattering pretty freely for several days. The wound is beginning to heal and I think in the course of a month or so, I will be able to give the rebels a few more rounds from the Enfield rifle.
We are in a place where we are well taken care of. The doctor visits us everyday and our wounds are dressed twice a day. This hospital is kept clean and in good order. I have not heard any reliable news from the regiment since I came here. I wrote a letter to the company several days ago but have got no answer yet. I forgot to tell you in my last letter that I had formed an acquaintance with a man in the 11th Michigan Regiment by the name of Philson [Filson] who says he is a brother-in-law of Uncle John Fouty. He says that Aunt Letty Fouty is dead—died about 18 months ago. He says that Uncle John lives about 15 miles from Fort Wayne. I forget the county in Indiana. He says that he (Uncle John) is now a Methodist preacher and is doing well. He says that he owns a good farm & is in good circumstances. He also says that he is acquainted with a good many of the Gorrells in Indiana. He says there is one by the name of O. I. Gorrell in some Ohio regiment [but] he didn’t remember the number of the regiment. He says that John Gorrell’s son (Huffett) follows public lecturing a good part of the time. He was acquainted with Uncle Jessie Gorrell. Says he still follows preaching. He says there was some one of the Gorrells (he thought it was Uncle Jessie’s son) that was a chaplain in some Indiana regiment and had died in the army. This man (Philson) lives in Michigan close to the Indiana line. He married Uncle John’s sister.
The news about town is nothing of much importance as far as I know. Read the letters from a correspondent of the Chicago Journal on the first page. It is a pretty good description of the scenes on a battlefield. The truth of it, I was eye witness to a good deal of. There has been arrangements made (as you will see in the Union) for the Ohio soldiers at Nashville to vote. I think we will give Brough a good heist although we have been disarmed by the enemy’s bullets (but not without disarming fully as many of the graybacks). I think we will march out an Invalid Corps which will e able to disarm a large number of the able bodied Valandinghamers at the Ballot Box. I have received no letter from home since I came here. Write soon. yours truly, — A. Gorrell
Direct to Hospital No. 19, 2nd Ward, Nashville, Tenn. — A. Gorrell