Category Archives: Battle of Shiloh

1862: Alpheus Andrews to his Friend

The following letter was written by Pvt. Alpheus (“Alf”) Andrews (1841-1911) of Co. H, 3rd Iowa Infantry. Alpheus was taken prisoner at the Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing) on 6 April 1862 and was eventually paroled and sent to Benton Barracks in St. Louis to await exchange. It was while at Benton Barracks that he wrote the following letter.

I could not find an image of Alf but here is one of George W. Smith who served in Co. C, 3rd Iowa Infantry (Iowa Civil War Images)

After he was changed he was returned to duty with his regiment and on 15 August 1864 he was transferred into Co. C. until he was mustered out of the service on 12 July 1865 at Louisville.

Alf was the son of Hiram Andrews (1813-1889) and Catherine Schisler (1812-1901) of Springfield, Keokuk county, Iowa.

Alf’s letter, written in mid-July 1862, pertains to the parolees who were being held at Benton Barracks at the time. The War Department had two weeks previously issued General Orders No. 72 announcing that furloughs would not be granted to paroled prisoners and instead sent to one of three parole camps established for their reception. Those from the East would go to a facility near Annapolis soon to be christened Camp Parole. Parolees belonging to Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan regiments were ordered to Camp Chase near Columbus, Ohio. The War Department designated Benton Barracks, located near St. Louis, for paroled soldiers from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri.

Benton Barracks was the first parole camp to receive large contingents of men. On July 13 Colonel Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville, commander of the post, reported that 1,167 had just arrived. They reached the camp “without officers and with extraordinary opinions of duties proper for them.” Specifically, the soldiers insisted that the terms of their paroles precluded them from performing any military duties whatsoever. They refused to stand guard duty or to perform garrison duty. Bonneville disagreed, and many ended up in the guard house adorned by a ball and chain. Many did not bother to remain in the camp, opting instead for “French leave” and risking being charged with desertion. On February 1, 1862, Bonneville reported that there were 818 parolees at Benton Barracks and 971 reported absent.

It is sometimes erroneously claimed that the Shiloh prisoners were taken to Andersonville which is impossible as that prison did not begin taking prisoner until late February 1864. From what I can learn, the prisoners were taken to Montgomery, Alabama, before they took the oath and were paroled.

[Note: The following letter is from the personal collection of Jim Petersen and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Camp Benton
St. Louis, Missouri
July 18th 1862

Dear Friend,

As things is very dry and dull here and as I get very lonesome, I have to spend some of my time in writing and as I have to write, I thought that I might as well write to you as anybody else. I have not much to write to you as I have wrote to you once since my release from prison and I did not write much to you that time for I expected to be at home long before this time but we have had a set of officers over us that has been acting the rascal with us ever since we have been back in our lines. We should have been back home long ago if they had of done us justice but they wanted to make something off of us and keep us from place to place now for about 2 months and there was an order come they say from the War Department for us to be garrisoned at Benton Barracks to perform such duty as may not interfere with our parole which I will give you a copy of at the close of my letter so you plainly see that that little thing of coming home is plated out altogether.

We are now at the barracks and they have begun to try to put us on guard they make the details for guards every morning and the boys refuse to go on and they march them off to the guard house and put a ball and chain to their leg. It was detailed yesterday morning but when they come to get me, I was found missing so they did not get any of their jewelry on me.

They say it is a great pity for such boys to act so they tell us to remember that we are from Iowa, to remember that we fought and bled in the bloody struggles of Donelson and Pittsburg [Landing] and won great laurels for ourselves and the State from which we hailed but still all of that will not make us stand guard every day or go to the guards house and wear their French Jewelry from June till eternity. First they find they have a set of [ ] set of Iowa and all to deal with and whenever they feel their rights trampled upon, the Devil is to pay right off. We don’t think that our government wants us to violate our parole and we also believe that the government—owing to the great excess of business now to transact in the War Department—that they are in a great measure ignorant of our case. And as we are dead broke, we have no means of informing them of it. We wrote time and again to the government of our different states concerning it but the officers would stop any letter directed to any governor of any of our respective states. They thought by so doing to keep the thing all in their own hands.

Our camp is now pretty near in a state of mutiny and it would have been long before this time, but we feel that we owe too great a duty to the States from which we hailed to ever be guilty of that and we also feel that we owe our government a great duty and we also feel that one of the greater duties that now involves itself on us is to kill a few of the officers now in charge of us. I think that that would be doing ourselves and government and all parties concerned the greatest service that it is now in our power to do. We all feel that we have been grievously wronged and we will only submit when we have to. They have ordered two hundred balls and chains for us so there is one consolation. There is about 1300 of us and you see that they can’t put us all in at once and those that are out can minister to the wants of those that are in irons. They tell us to submit and we shall have our money and not before but that has played out and we will only submit when we have to. We will freely lose every cent that that is due us which is something over a hundred dollars before we will give in—not that we dread or have any fear of the duty. But we respect our oath and hate the idea of being gulled in any such a way. It was a mercy to us to get to take the oath of parole for we was starting to death as fast as we could. They gave us a piece of corn bread about two inches square and a piece of mule beef about the same size for 24 hours and it was half rotten at that. So you see a man naturally would want to get out of that the quickest way possible.

But that is all over now and we are living very well now. They don’t ask us to go int the field nor I don’t think by the information that I can gain by the papers that there will be any exchange. The paper of this morning said that they would not exchange so I don’t think that it will pay the government to keep us so I don’t think it will be a great while before they will do something with us. I want you to write to me immediately and give me a full account of things in general and tell the rest of them to write to me. I have not heard from any of my friends since the battle. I have not got a letter from you since the battle. I have not got a letter from you since I was home.

Direct as follows: Alpheus Andrews, Paroled Prisoner of War. Benton Barracks, Mo. in care of Captaincies. Albertson

As I told you that I would send you a copy of our parole, I present it to you below a copy from the original.

I do solemnly swear and pledge my most sacred word of honor that I will not during the present war between the Confederate States and the United States of America bear arms or aid and abet the enemies of said Confederate States or their friends either directly or indirectly in any form whatever until regularly exchanged or released.

1862: Dorcas E. Conners to Edwin G. Adams

Unfortunately I have not been able to identify the cousins who were correspondents in this letter which was penned in Livingston county, Illinois in May 1862. I was, however, able to identify some of the people whose names were mentioned within it. More time and persistence will undoubtedly reveal more information on their identities beyond just their names.

In her letter, Dorcas speaks of the enlistment of troops from Livingston county and of soldiers particularly who served in the 20th, the 39th, and the 53rd Illinois Infantry Regiments. She tells a tale of a narrow escape by two Livingston county soldiers in Co. C, 39th Illinois who ran for their lives when they were taken by surprise on picket duty. “They run to the timber. Nary one of them got hurt—the nearest either of them came getting killed. A bullet went through Seth’s hair. The secesh stopped to a house not far from the camp and said that forty horses would not catch them two Illinois boys.”

I should note that the handwriting and spelling in this letter was difficult to decipher but I believe I was able to make out most of it correctly.


[Pontiac, Illinois]
May 3rd 1862

Mr. Edwin Adams
Cousin Edwin,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I sit down this afternoon to let you know that we are all well at the present time and hope these few lines may find you in the same health. I received your letter some time ago and have neglected to write. I have so many to write to that it takes me all the time. It has been very pretty here for the last two weeks. They are sowing wheat today. They are going to sow all this week. Next week they are going to sow ten acres of oats and they are going to plant as much corn as they can. Father can’t help plant corn very much for it will come right when he will have to be a [ ]. They put father in [ ] this year again. This will make 3 years in a succession that he has been [ ]. Father has gone to town after his book.

Mr. Donnelson is helping Dan Case sow wheat. Mr. Donnelson lived in Missouri and the secesh drove him off. You ought to be here and hear him gass. He can beat all men that I ever heard. He can beat old men to work that I ever saw. He has helped Father husk corn right smart. It is hard to get hands out here. They are all gone to the war. There is three companies gone from Pontiac and two from Fairbury. That is 5 hundred men gone out of this county that I know of and I don’t know how many more.

The first company that went from Pontiac was at the battle at Pittsburg [Landing]. There ain’t only 40 out of the whole company that is in the service. A good many of them was killed and wounded. There was a good many of the boys that got killed that I was acquainted with. There is some home on furlough that was wounded. The name of their Captain is [John A.] Hoskins. 1

Captain [Morgan L.] Payne got here about fifteen minutes after the battle was over. That was the last company [Co. G, 53rd Illinois Infantry] that went from Pontiac. They haven’t been in the service more than two months. I think they was pretty green to go in battle. I got a letter from one of the young men. He said that it was the awfullest sight that he ever saw. He found his brother there in the 20th Ohio Regiment. There was another that found his brother that went from Bloomington. They said that there was men there from all parts of the country and all sorts of men there.

I got a letter from Melvin last Monday. He said that they was all well. They got their pay. They sent 30 dollars home to father.

Cpl. Seth St. John, 39th Illinois Infantry

There is one of the 6 twin brothers sick—that is Marion Sellman. 2 They got a letter the other day and [he] was getting better. There was three went from here and two from Mr. Sellman’s and one from Mr. Saint Johns. They was all young men and they all called them[selves] the twin brothers. They was young men by the name of [John] Sellman and Seth Saint John 3—two of the twin brothers—they was on picket and there was 40 secesh came out to them before they saw them. They took after them and run them. They had fifty rods to run before they could get to the fence. All the men shot four rounds at Seth and never touched him. They come to a fence and the secesh was right onto him. Seth jumped over the fence. Marion put his hand on the fence and they shot a ball right close to his hand and broke his hold. He said that he got over the fence but did not know how. The first that they knew, he was lying on his back. One of them jumped up and shot the captain. They run to the timber. Nary one of them got hurt—the nearest either of them came getting killed. A bullet went through Seth’s hair. The secesh stopped to a house not far from the camp and said that forty horses would not catch them two Illinois boys.

You have got quite a start of children. You had better come West and buy you a large farm and go in business, If they were all boys, they could get a large farm of about two hundred acres as well as you can tend 100 hundred there in the woods. Your wife is large enough to do the work. You all write now. No more at present. Goodbye for this time. Write soon. Give my best respects to Uncle and Aunt and Anna and Perintha and John and his wife. Ed, I will send you a likeness as soon as you send me yours.

Tell John that mother is going to write a letter. Tell her that we are all well. — Dorcas E. Conners

Another picture of Corp. Seth St. John (standing third from left) with other non-commissioned officers (I presume) from the 39th Illinois when in South Carolina later in the war.

1 John A. Hoskins served as the first captain of Co. D, 20th Illinois Infantry—the first company to be raised in Pontiac, Illinois. The unit saw service at the battles of Ft. Donelson and Shiloh. They also spent time guarding bridges in Tennessee. Other actions included the siege of Vicksburg, and the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi. The 20th then joined Sherman at Kenesaw Mountain in Georgia. They later participated in Sherman’s March to Sea.

2 According to the Illinois Civil War Muster & Descriptive Rolls, Marion Sellman of Ocoya, Livingston county, Illinois, was 23 years old when he enlisted as a private in Co. C, 39th Illinois Infantry. He was described as a 5’6″, black-eyed, hazel-eyed farmer.

3 Seth Saint John (1841-1865) was a corporal on Co. C, 39th Illinois Infantry. In the 1860 census, he was living with his parents and siblings in Eppards Point Township in Livingston County, Illinois. His parents were Samuel and Margaret St. John, and his siblings living there then were William, Ada and Ruth. He died on 23 January 1865 in South Carolina. Seth’s brother, William J. St. John served in Co. G, 129th Illinois Infantry.

1861: James K. P. Martin to John C. Martin

I could not find an image of James Martin but here is an ambrotype of Pvt. John D. Fly, of the Oakachickimas Company, later in the 1st Battalion Mississippi Sharpshooters (Cowan’s Auctions)

This letter was written by James K. P. Martin (1842-1862) to his parents, John Clark Martin (1797-1867) and Jane S. (Owens) Martin (1804-1886) of Grenada, Yalobusha county, Mississippi. James’ full name was probably James Knox Polk Martin. His father, John Martin, was trained as a gunsmith and was deeply religious; a member of the Baptist Church of Christ and later ordained a minister in that church.

It is believed that James enlisted in October 1861 at the age of 19 to serve in Capt. P. Randolph Leigh’s Company of Mississippi Volunteers. The “Oakachickimas” were an independent company attached to the 15th Mississippi Infantry until 8 May 1862, when they became Co. C, 1st Battalion Mississippi Sharpshooters, Army of the Tennessee.

Muster rolls indicate that James received a gunshot wound in the thigh at the Battle of Shiloh, was taken prisoner to a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and that he died there on 2 May 1862.


Nashville, Tennessee
Sunday evening, December 15th 1861

Very dear and affectionate father,

I attempt to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well at the present time and hope that this will find you all enjoy[ing] the same blessing.

Father, I started a letter to [ ] last Tuesday week and have not received answer answer from him yet. I would like to hear from him very much. Father, I met with about seventy of the 15th Regiment boys. Some of them was close friends of mine. You may be sure that I was glad to see them. They have been at Knoxville in the hospital. I saw them leave this morning on a steamboat up the Cumberland River going to hunt their regiment. They know not where they will find it. Some of them stayed with us last night.

Father, I went to the Roman Catholic church last Sunday. I was perfectly disgusted at their maneuvers.

Father, we are all lively and in fine spirits. Martin is well. He wants you to write to him. Him nor me has not heard the first word from home since we left. I hope we will hear soon.

I went to the penitentiary yesterday and went all through it. There is three hundred and 76 in there. I saw one young man put in there for three years for stealing. I felt sorry for him.

Tell Betty if she sees Elizabeth Hanomoc [?], tell her that I saw her Uncle William Curtis today and he is well.

Father, I know it is hard times with you and I feel a delicacy in asking you to send me money but I would be very glad if I could get a little. I know nothing about when we will get any money for our service. I cannot write many more letters for the want of money to buy paper. We have had to live on beef and flour, bread and coffee, and we all bought molasses and I had to pay my share for them and it took about all the money I had. I am indisposed to spend money for any unnecessary thing. Father, I feel that if I could just be with you at such a meeting as you had, I could enjoy myself better than any other place that I could mention. I hope that the day is fast approaching when we all will enjoy ourselves together, when there will be room for enjoyment.

I will come to a close as I have nothing of interest to write, Father, please answer me soon. I want to hear from you all. So nothing more at present. Give my love to other and all the family and accept the same for yourself. Your most affectionate and obedient son, — James K. P. Martin

Jasper Young sends you his respects—also to his family.

Envelope is scribed, “Soldier’s Letter, From Jas. Martin. A private in the Oakachickamas

1862: Charles Henry Morrell to William Henry Taft

How Charles might have looked (W. Griffing Collection)

This letter was written by Charles Henry Morrell (1839-1907), the 23 year-old son of Henry K. and Mary G. (Carter) Morrell of Caroline Centre, Tompkins county, New York. Less than two months previous to the date of this letter, Charles was married to Susan F. Speed and came to Augusta, Hancock county, Illinois. In the 1870 US Census, Charles was identified as a farmer. In the 1880 Census he was identified as a fire insurance agent. In the 1900 Census, he was a life insurance agent.

Charles wrote the letter to his boyhood friend, William Henry Taft (1827-1862)—a carriage maker from Caroline Centre, Tompkins county, New York. William enlisted in September 1862 and was made 2nd Lt. of Co. K, 137th New York Infantry but his military career was incredibly brief. He died of typhoid fever on 30 October 1862 at Knoxville, Maryland. There is little doubt that William never had the opportunity to read this letter before his death.

Much of Charles’ letter pertains to the reception at Augusta, Illinois, given to Brig. Gen. Benjamin Prentiss after his release from captivity in October 1862. It was Prentiss’s Division that was first attacked at Shiloh and which suffered greatly during the opening hours of that battle. Though he was able to reform his command with reinforcements from Gen. Lew Wallace and put up a spirited fight in the “Hornet’s Nest,” he eventually surrendered with 2,200 other soldiers. After the battle he was considered a hero, having held off the rebel army long enough to allow General Grant to organize a counterattack and win the battle.

The substance of Gen. Prentiss’s speech given in Augusta, IL, and elsewhere in October 1862 (Wooster Republican, 23 October 1862)


Augusta [Illinois]
October 25th 1862

Friend William,

Susan and I have just returned from church and thinking of you, I thought I would write wishing you all the success in the world. I would ask you how you like it in the army. Bill, you are aware that we thought there was a great deal of excitement in New York but we knew nothing about it. Where I am in Illinois—about 80 miles from the [State] line—people are in the greatest state of excitement. There is hardly a night but there is horses, cattle or hogs or something of the kind stolen and run over the line. There is any quantity of men here that have been run out of Missouri by the rebels. We have lots of rebels among us but can assure you that they are very quiet as the people here have run some of them off to St. Louis to be placed in the ranks. Illinois has the honor of saying that she has filled out her quota. Hancock county cannot fill out another call as there is not men enough left to guard their houses.

Gen. Benjamin M. Prentiss-“I would to God that all of our generals were possessed of the same grit.”

General [Benjamin Mayberry] Prentiss passed through here this week. I went to the depot to see him. All Augusta turned out to greet him. The town was decorated with the Stars & Stripes. Men, women & children all seemed as anxious to shake hands with him as a son would with a father. All Illinois seem to worship him. He made us a short speech. Will, it made me feel as though I would like to take a turn with some of those black-hearted rebels. He gave us a short history of his hardships while in the hands of the rebels. He said [at Shiloh] he went from Sunday morning until Tuesday without a mouthful to eat. There was a great many of his men with him. His men on Tuesday were nearly worn out in the boat that they were confined in. There was an image of the Goddess of Liberty [and] he (Prentiss) jumped upon a box by the image and made his men a Union speech and bade his men sing the Star Spangled Banner and several other national airs which they did with renewed strength. While he was speaking, there was three rebel guns pointed at him and threatened to fire if he did not stop his damned Union speech. He bid them to fire and told them that he was a Union men and should speak when and where he pleased. Bully for Prentiss! I would to God that all of our general were possessed of the same grit.

Give my respects to all of the boys and tell them I should be glad to hear from any of them them.

Well since I have been here, I have been to a little lake about twenty miles from here hunting geese and ducks. Such fun you never saw. It was shooting from morning until night. There was a great many pelicans and swans on the lake. Will, I imagine in ten miles square black with ducks and geese dotted here and there with a flock of swan. They look to be about the height of a man as they sit on the water as white as snow. We went up on Monday and came back on Saturday. We camped in the woods ten miles from any house. Such fishing as would make a York boys eyes stick out. We caught catfish that would weigh from ten to fifty pounds. They say that it is no uncommon thing to catch them that will weigh one hundred & fifty. I can go out on the prairie most any frosty morning and shoot all the game that I can bring in on my back.

Bill, what the devil are people thinking about to stay in New York among the hills and rocks when three is such a vast extent of western country unsettled and far richer than the best garden in New York and as level as a house floor and free from stone. I am only surprised that you ever went back to New York after your visit West. If I can persuade my wife to stay here, you will never see me back to Caroline [Centre, Tompkins county, NY] again.

Will, write to me. I should be very glad to hear from you. Tell me all the news, how you are getting along, and how the boys like it, and what you are all doing. Tell John Cantine to write to me.

From your most affectionate friend, — C. H Merrill

P. S. Direct to Augusta, Hancock county, Illinois

[to] W. H. Taft

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.


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


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…”


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

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.]


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.