Category Archives: Battle of Shiloh

1863: William Graham Hazelrigg to J. O. Jones

For many Civil War soldiers, life’s greatest challenges only began when they left the army. This image is of Pvt. George W. Lemon who also lost his left leg.

This letter was written by William Graham Hazelrigg (1834-1896) who served as a private in Co. A, 19th Regiment US Infantry until he was wounded on 7 April 1862 in the Battle of Shiloh. Military records indicate that he received a severe wound in the left leg that required amputation to save his life.

William was the son of William Hazelrigg (1794-1853) and Elizabeth Wall (1795-1867) of Sullivan county, Indiana. He was married to Cecelia Morgan Scranton (1843-1915) in 1864. After the war, he found in employment as a sewing machine salesman, and as a commercial grocer. In 1880, he was residing in Evansville, Indiana.

William wrote this letter to J. O. Jones, the postmaster at Terre Haute, Indiana, on the very next day after filing for an invalid’s pension.

Transcription

Terre Haute
April 29, 1863

Mr. Jones, P. M., Sir,

I was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh 7th of April ’63 [1862], disabling me for life and there is nothing that I can do to make a living at—only writing. I wish to know if you will give me employment in the [post] office. I have a slight knowledge of the business. I can give you good references. If you can give me employment, I will call and see you soon. Hoping to receive a reply soon, I remain yours truly, — Wm. G. Hazelrigg

P. S. Please address me through the P. O. — W. G. H.

1862: John Newton Silverthorn to J. O. Jones

This letter was written by John Newton Silverthorn (1821-1883) of Brooke, Virginia (now West Virginia), the son of Henry and Hannah (McCracken) Silverthorn. At age 15, John learned the millwrighting and carpentry trade, then went steamboating on the Ohio river. In 1845 he attended Florence Academy in Pennsylvania and then taught school at the J. B. Anderson’s Collegiate Institute at New Albany. In 1849 he married Harriet J. Dinwiddie of Hanover, Indiana, and then took charge of the Ripley County Seminary. His next job was editor of the American published in Terre Haute. After a number of other jobs he finally became editor of the Journal in Evansville, Indiana.

Also adding a note to the letter was James H. McNeely (182801902) who was a printer and newspaper publisher in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn county, Indiana. In 1859, McNeely purchased the Evansville Daily Journal.

The letter was directed to J. O. Jones, the postmaster at Terre Haute, Indiana. There is a reference to the wounded soldiers from the Battle of Shiloh arriving at the hospitals in Evansville.

Masthead of Silverthorn’s letter

Transcription

Evansville, Indiana
April 11, 1862

Mr. J. O. Jones, Terre Haute, Dear Sir,

At request of Mr. J. H. McNeely, I have made diligent inquiry at the hospitals & found there are but three (3) soldiers from your city or vicinity now in this city & they are convalescent & need nothing. The balance have all been furloughed or having regained their health have returned to their regiments.

We expect some of the wounded from Pittsburg Landing tonight or tomorrow for whom the kind offices of your loyal-hearted citizens are invoked. Prepare such things as you know will be needed & have them ready to send when required. Our people here are alive to the work.

Yours for the glorious old flag, — Silverthorn

[in a different hand]

Friend Jones,

I handed your letter over to Silverthorn, he having more time to spare than I have and a better opportunity. I hope his letter is satisfactory.

The “Commodore Perry” has just arrived with about 250 of the wounded from Pittsburg, Tennessee. Major [Frederick] Arn and Capt. [George] Harvey of the 31st [Indiana] are killed. 1

Yours respectfully, — James H. McNeely

1 The after action report written by Col. Charles Cruft of the 31st Indiana Infantry mentions the deaths of Arn and Harvey: “It grieves me to report the loss of two gallant officers. During the first charge of the enemy on the morning of the 6th Maj. Fred. Arn fell mortally wounded. He was a true soldier and accomplished gentleman. No more gallant soul ever “took wing” from a battle-field. Capt. George Harvey, one of the best officers of the regiment, was killed upon the field while bravely leading his company in the afternoon advance.

1864: Thomas Kilby Smith to Mary De Charms

This letter was written by Brig. General Thomas Kilby Smith (1820-1887) as a favor to his friend Mary De Charms who sought a pension for the death of her son 2Lt. George De Charms of Co. C, 54th Ohio Infantry. George was killed in action at the Battle of Shiloh on 6 April 1862 while fighting with the 54th Ohio Infantry that was led at the time, by then Colonel Smith. For a great account of the 54th OVI at Shiloh, I’ll refer readers to “My boys from Cleveland, for God’s sake, do your duty!” The 54th Ohio Infantry at Shiloh, by Dan Masters.

Brig. Gen. Thomas Kilby Smith

Pension records indicate that Mary did not file her claim until after the death of her husband Richard in March 1864 who left her and her three daughters with no means of support other than what they could raise teaching school. It appears that even before her husband’s death, however, Mary relied heavily on the money made by George before and during his time in the service as her husband had abandoned her 17 years before and had since published material indicating his disloyalty to the US Government. Though the Pension Bureau did not dispute that her son was a fallen soldier and eligible for a pension, they questioned he was an officer as no record could be produced—until Thomas K. Smith generated the letter which he claims to have enclosed with the following letter. The pension record contains a letter dated 27 April 1865 which states that George’s commission as 2nd Lieutenant was awarded and backdated to 13 December 1861. 1

Mary lived until March 1880 during which time she received a pension for her son’s service.

A letter by Col. Smith contained in George de Charm’s Pension Record, dated 4 May 1862, not long after the Battle of Shiloh, reads: “Lieut. De Charms died as a soldier should die, with his face to the foe, died trusting in God, with his honor bright. He fell early in the fight of Sunday, shot, fell in front, the ball piercing the centre of his breast a little below his throat. His last and only words as he fell were, ‘Tell my friends I died like a man. I die happy in the service of my country.’ His remains were found and decently interred on Wednesday following. His brother [William] was present at the interment. His person has been rifled of his watch, money & valuables by the enemy. The battlefield of Pittsburgh or ‘Shiloh’ as it should be called properly is drenched with the blood of patriots, honeycombed with their graves. Partial newspaper correspondents who unfortunately are the historians of our country have failed to do Ohio justice in their vague & false reports of the battle—reports too often made to purposely forestall public opinion. Ohio has been nobly represented but none of her sons have been more heroic or deserve more praise than Lieutenant George de Charms….But what is all this to a Mother’s heart? Ah! how well I know how it pains…the tear wells to my own eye as I write. God help us. I would give anything to call him back again. I had learned to love him for his soldierly qualities, his earnest honest wit. But he has gone…”

Transcription

Yellow Springs, Ohio
December 11, 1864

My dear madam,

It was my intention when last in Philadelphia to have called upon you but my manifold engagements and the brief time allotted for my stay prevented my seeing many even of my relations.

After leaving you, I saw Lieut. General Grant, spoke to him of your son George, and of you, and of the action the Pension Bureau had taken with regard to your pension. His Chief of Staff, Brigadier General [John A.] Rawlins promised me that upon the receipt of the commission of your son and a statement of the facts, he would make application for you & aid me in securing for you the pension to which you are legally entitled. I have therefore prepared the letter which with the commission I enclose herewith, that you may read the same, take copy, submit if you please to your friends, & then forward to General Rawlins requesting him to correspond with you. I think you had better write him yourself.

I trust, dear Madam, that this correspondence will result in your receiving the trifle the U. S. Government owes you and that it should be prompt to pay. I with very best wishes for the prosperity & happiness of yourself and your charming daughters to whom convey my kind regards.

Believe me with the highest respect, your sincere friend and obedient servant, — Thomas Kilby Smith, Brig. Gen’l.

Mrs. Mary De Chams
No 1616 Filbert Street
Philadelphia


1 The following two letters are on file at the Ohio History Archives:

December 10, 1861
R. Buchanan, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. To Governor William Dennison. Letter recommending George De Charms for the appointment of Lieutenant in the 54th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry; and stating that De Charms had served in the 6th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry from its organization, was about 23 years old, large and muscular, and was well educated and a good soldier, and that he had no hesitation in saying that if appointed, De Charms would do credit to the service. 
1 p. [Series 147-19: 206]

December 10, 1861
John W. Caldwell, No. 379, Main Street, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. To Governor William Dennison. Letter stating that he had seen testimonials of the merits of George De Charms, a Private in Company A, 6th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, that he had also seen the suggestion of Colonel T[homas] K[ilby] Smith that he might have use for De Charms as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 54th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Smith’s request for De Charms’ transfer, and that he cheerfully concurred in the request for De Charms’ immediate transfer to the 54th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. 
1 p. [Series 147-19: 203]

1862: James W. Hughey to Levi S. Miller

I could not find an images of James but here’s one of Sylvanus B. Crane who served in the same company of the 13th US Regulars. (Photo Sleuth)

This letter was written by James W. Hughey (1830-1917) to his brother-in-law Levi S. Miller (1829-1917) and Sarah Jane (Hughey) Miller (1829-1917) on Vinton, Benton county, Iowa. James was the son of Thomas B. Hughey (1801-1885) and Elizabeth Jane Gordon (1804-1854) of Madison, Highland county, Ohio.

James was married to Mary Jane Trout (1833-1911) in November 1853 and had at least two children, Melissa (b. 1855) and George (b. 1856) by the time of his enlistment on 17 March 1862 as a private in Co. H, 1st Battalion, 13th US Infantry. At the time of his enlistment, James was described as 5’7″ tall, with blue eyes and brown hair. He was discharged from the service in March 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

At the time this letter was written in mid-May 1862, the battalion of regulars were still encamped at Camp Sherman near Alton, Illinois. Gen. Halleck used them to guard prisoners of war until September 1862 when they were finally set to Newport, Kentucky, for final organization and then sent to General Sherman’s army who was then at Memphis.

[This letter is from the personal collection of Greg Herr and is published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]

Transcription

Camp Sherman [near Alton, Illinois]
May 13th 1862

Dear Brother and Sister,

I received yours of the 8th inst. which found me well and enjoying myself well for a boy that is as far from wife and children and relation and hear of few times from them as I do. This letter is the second that I have had—one from wife and one from you. I was glad to hear from Vinton and to hear from the boys that was in the Pittsburg [Landing] Battle as I have not heard the names of the wounded nor those that has been taken prisoners in any of those companies that I was acquainted with. There was one of those names that I was not acquainted with unless it was old man Loree but if it was, the first letter was wrong for it was a letter S instead of L. So write which it is.

This regiment was paid off last Saturday the 10th of May. I got for my dues up to May 1st. $29.73 which is most double what I expected to get. I did not see what was the cause of them paying me more than the rest. When I signed the pay roll I was hurried so that I did not get to look over all the charges but it comes in good play. I want to send Mary Jane $25 this time. I think I can get along till the first of July. Then we will be paid again.

I will have my likeness taken as soon as I can have it taken and send it to you. I went yesterday but I could not get it taken. There is two artists in this city and since the boys has got their pay, there is such a rush to have them taken that there is not any chance but I will try to send it in my next letter as I want to send one to Mary Jane as soon as I can get it taken.

So I want you to write oftener and none of your half sheets for you cannot buy a half sheet without buying the other two so write all the news and let me have something to read. We are still a gaining ground on southern soil and backing the Rebels down. We get word that there was a general engagement going on now. We got this news last night so God speed the times when rebellion will be subdued and our poor prisoners set free for if anyone would see how prisoners look where there is no more than 1,000, they would like to hear the sound of freedom where there is sentinels to guard them with loaded guns and bayonets to pierce a man through if they say a sassy word to him and see them sick and dying and no one to cheer for them.

I will have to close by requesting you to write often. So goodbye. J. W. Hughey

A word to Mr. and Mrs. [John] Felker. I am in Illinois now and am enjoying good health—I think better than I ever did at this season of the year, I was weighed yesterday with just my dress coat on and weighed 139 lb—a half pound more than when I left Vinton. Then I had some 12 or 15 lb. more clothing on than now. Write to me and let me hear how you and the boys get along.