Category Archives: 63rd Ohio Infantry

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

1862: Alfred A. Laughlin to his Parents

I could not find an image of Alfred but here is a tintype of Sullivan Gilpin of Co. D, 63rd OVI (Ohio History Connection)

This letter was written by Alfred A. Laughlin (1844-1862) who lived in Germantown in southwestern Ohio. The letter came from a collection of letters that were sold by the Swann Auction Galleries. Laughlin joined the 112th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI), which never reached full strength and was merged into the 63rd Ohio Infantry. The lot included several letters he wrote to his parents David and Susan in Germantown from September to December 1862. This is the last letter in that collection, dated 7 December 1862, written from Mississippi where his regiment expected to face off soon against Confederate general Sterling Price: “Sunday we could hear the cannon roar all day. There are troops enough around here to eat old Price and all his men. A deserter from Price’s army came in here yesterday. He says that the most of the soldiers’ time is up, and they won’t fight any more.”  

Laughlin died of dysentery in camp later that month (19 December 1862). The lot included two letters from men in his regiment to his grieving parents. Francis Emley tries to give his best account of Laughlin’s final days: “He did not appear to suffer much pain and he died very easy. . . . Thank God he died in a glorious cause, that cause was for the old flag, that ower forefathers fought for. . . . Alford was buried very nice, for I helped to dig his grave, and I know that it was don right.” The company captain George Wightman followed up in September with advice on securing Laughlin’s effects and final pay.


[Near Holly Springs, Mississippi]
December 7, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and in good heart and hoping you [are] the same. We had a fine time on Thanksgiving Day. The officers had a dinner for the whole regiment and treated us with a snort of punch. The next morning we left camp and marched all day. The next days march we passed through Holly Springs. It is a nice town. The people were sticking their heads out of the windows in every direction. We encamped here last Sunday and have been here ever since.

Last Sunday we could hear the cannon roar all day. There are troops enough around here to eat Old Price and all his men. A deserter from Price’s army came in here yesterday. He says that the most of the soldiers time is up and they won’t fight anymore.

We have plenty to eat. We get beef every day and have good water. We could get plenty hogs and chickens if we would darst take them [but] if a fellow takes anything, he is put under arrest. There was fifty-two prisoners passed here the other day. If you get this letter before Ed Hoffman leaves home, if you can get a pair of gloves and send them along with him. If you have not got my dress coat yet, go to Coblent’s. We boxed them up and was going to the quartermaster to be started away and we thought we had better send them home. It is tied with a twine string and has my name on a piece of paper,

I will send you a few cotton seeds and you can plant them and see if it will grow up there. Nothing more. Write soon. — A. A. Laughlin

1863: Francis H. Emley to David Laughlin

This letter was written by 19 year-old Francis (“Frank”) H. Emley (1843-1935) of Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio, who enlisted as a private in the 112th Ohio Infantry on 12 August 1862, and was transferred to Co. G, 63rd Ohio Infantry on 6 November 1863. He mustered out of the regiment on 8 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky.

Frank’s letter was addressed to David Laughlin (1817-1897)—the father of his comrade, Alfred A. Laughlin (1844-1862), who served with him in the same company. According to Frank’s letter, Alfred died of chronic diarrhea on 28 December 1862 at Davies’ Mills, Mississippi. Alfred’s mother was Susan Armel (1819-1904). In 1860, the Laughlin’s lived in Germantown, Montgomery county, Ohio.


Corinth, Mississippi
January 28, 1863

Mr. Laughlin
Dear Sir,

I take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present. I received your kind letter last night in which you stated that you wanted to know all the circumstances about Alfred’s death. He died the 28th of December at Davis’s Mills of chronic diarrhea. I was not there at the time he died but I heard a reliable friend say that he did not appear to suffer much pain and that he died very easy. That on the morning he died, the hospital steward called in to see to the sick and he found Alfred worse. Then he called on Dr. Crane who looked at Alfred and then turned around to the steward and told him that he was in a dying condition. Then he felt his pulse. When Alfred looked up in his face and said that he was dying and died without a struggle. He never appeared to suffer much pain when I was with him.

He talked some about home, about the fine times that we had at school, but he never appeared to be home sick and he often would read the testament of an evening and he had a chaplain to talk to. The chaplain preached a number of times to the regiment and Alford was always there to hear what he had to say.

As for my part, I think he was willing to die. Thank God he died in a glorious cause. That cause was for the old flag that our forefathers fought for and I think that we shall still maintain the old flag. I had forgot to mention to you that Alfred was buried very nice for I helped to dig his grave and I know that it was done right. So he was buried nice as can be expected in the army.

So I must bring my scribbling to a close by stating to you to give my best respects to all enquiring friends. So goodbye from your obliging friend, — Francis H. Emley

To Mr. David Laughlin of Ohio