Category Archives: 7th Indiana Infantry

1864: Phillip Jones Carleton to “Cousin Harry”

This letter was written by Phillip Jones Carleton (1842-1887) who enlisted in August 862 as a musician in Co. G, 7th Indiana Infantry. Because he still had time to serve when his regiment mustered out in 1864, he later transferred to Co. C, 20th Indiana Infantry.

Phil was the son of James Farnum Carlton (1805-1857) and Anna Maria Jones (1810-Aft1860) of Bangor, Penobscot, Maine. In 1874, he was married to Emma Shields Nunemacher (1850-1925) in Marion county, Indiana. After the war, Phil worked as a freight agent in an express office in Indianapolis.

In his letter, Phillip inform his cousin that he had cut two buttons from the “coat of a dead reb Lieutenant at the Battle of Gettysburg.” The 7th Indiana came to Gettysburg with 436 men in the ranks but played no active role in the fighting on July 1st, having been detailed to remain behind and guard the corps supply trains. When their relief never showed up, their colonel (Grover) took it upon himself to order his men to the battlefield where they arrived and took a position on the north side of Culp’s Hill, next to the survivors of the Iron Brigade.

Here’s a cdv of 1st Platoon, Co. G, 7th Indiana Infantry (Dale Niesen Collection)


Camp of the 7th Indiana Volunteers
Culpeper, Va.
January 8th 1864

Dear Cousin Harry,

I received your kind letter yesterday and of course was very glad to hear from you again. You will see by this that we have been moving again. We left Kelly’s Ford the day before Christmas and came to this place. Correspondingly we had no time to prepare for a good time on the 25th. We are encamped about half mile from the town which once was a very nice place but now is almost ruined. I was over there yesterday and only saw two women while I was there. There are not many families living there now. The finest house, I think, in town is one that the famous Extar [Extra] Billy Smith built. His family now live in Warrenton. When we were [there] this fall I saw his wife as we passed their house. 1

There is nothing of importance from this Dept. Everything seems to be dull. There was some talk of us moving the other day but I guess we will not leave here this winter unless the enemy makes a flank movement on us. I have not heard from Annie for some time. I begin to feel a little anxious. I received a letter from home the other day. The folks were all well at home then. I also got a box from home day before yesterday which pleased me very much.

You say if I will send you some little trinkets, you will excuse me for my negligence at the battlefield, but you must recollect in time of battle all is “excitement.” However, I will try and get something to send you—viz: I have got two Rebel infantry buttons which was cut off of the coat of a dead reb Lieutenant at the Battle of Gettysburg. You will see by one of them they are Alabama buttons. I will also send you a bone ring which was given me last winter by a Lieut. of the 4th Michigan Regt.—a friend of mine. It is not a very nice one but perhaps will please you. Laurel [wood] is not very plenty in this place or I would have a pipe made for you. Perhaps I can get some yet. I will try at least.

An Alabama officer’s coat button

Speaking of your poetry, I think it is very good but I do not know of any poets in our regiment. We are about six miles from John Minor Botts farm 2 but the first time I have an opportunity I will go up there and get a piece of wood of some description and have some little article made for you. I have seen his farm several times but never thought of getting anything as a relic when I had a chance.

I do not think of anything more this time so I will bring my epistle to a close. Hoping this will find you well, I remain as ever your affectionate cousin. — P. Jones Carleston

Love to all & to Miss Fiddis

Just writing her name makes me think I would like to have her photograph. Don’t think I am in love but I should like to have it to go with the rest I have. I have Pauline’s, Annie’s and several others. If you can’t get it any other way, tell her you want it for yourself. Write soon to me. — Phil

Do your best now.

I will send the ring in the letter and will send the buttons some other way.

1 Extra Billy Smith was the Governor of Virginia. He also served early in the war as Colonel of thr 49th Virginia Infantry. His home in Culpeper was a classical revival mansion that was demolished about 1930. The post office was built on the location. The property in Warrenton was called “Monterosa.” It was constructed in the 1840s and is still standing today.

2 John Minor Botts was a prominent Virginian who opposed the expansion of slavery and opposed secession. He was jailed on a couple of occasions by the Confederate government. His farm was near Culpeper.

1861: John H. Denton to Martha Cole

With undated letters, envelopes or stationery with patriotic emblems such as this one generally indicate an early-war letter (but not always!).

This letter was written by John H. Denton (1840-1893) of Aurora, Dearborn county, Indiana, who served as a private in Co. E, 7th Indiana Infantry from 20 April 1861 to 2 August 1861. Later he served as the Captain of Co. K, 10th Kentucky Infantry, which was organized in November 1861.

The 7th Indiana Infantry was organized at Indianapolis in mid-April 1861 with Ebenezer Dumont as its colonel. They made their first camp near Grafton, Virginia (now West Virginia) which is where this letter was written in June 1861. As part of Brigadier General Thomas A. Morris’ Indiana Brigade (of Major General George B. McClellan’s Army of West Virginia), the 7th Indiana participated in the Rich Mountain Campaign from July 6 to 17. The regiment saw action at Laurel Hill (July 7), Belington (July 8), the Battle of Corrick’s Ford (July 12–14), and in the pursuit of Brig. Gen. Robert S. Garnett’s forces (July 15–17). The regiment was mustered out of service on August 2, 1861.

John wrote the letter to Martha (“Mattie” or “Mat”) Cole (1844-1933) with whom he married in February 1865.

The Battle of Rich Mountain which the 7th Indiana Infantry participated.


Camp Dumont near Grafton, Virginia
June 24, [1861]

Dearest Mat,

I thought I would snatch this opportunity of writing you a few lines for there is not much time at the present. We arrived here last night all well. We have not seen any secessionists yet for they are such cowards they run and won’t let us see them. We have to start out this evening on a scouting expedition & I think we will see some maybe before long.

I saw John R. the evening that I started so I suppose you have heard where we were going before this. We are encamped on Valley River. It is a pleasant stream. we passed several bridges yesterday that the secessionists had burnt. They were repaired so that we could cross them. The Ohio troops had repaired them & were guarding them. They had caught several of them & some they are going to hang.

Mat, I feel today that I would like to see you but all hopes for that are lost for today. But I have stronger hopes of seeing you in the course of six or seven weeks. When you write, you can direct to Indianapolis the same as before for if you direct here, we will never get them. They will be forwarded to us from there.

Well dear Mat, I must close for the present for we have to get ready to start in a few minutes. Your cousin E. is all right. I will write you a long letter before long and tell you about all our journey. Goodbye Mat, goodbye.

Write soon. From your true friend, — J. H. Denton