Category Archives: Rosecrans

1863: George Espy Morrow to Pliny Dudley Cottle

The following letter was written y George Espy Morrow (1840-1900), the son of John Morrow (1800-1887) and Nancy Espy (18xx-1881) of Warren county, Ohio. George was the grandson of Jeremiah Morrow, the 9th Governor of Ohio and a U.S. Senator. George Morrow’s parents were farmers, and he remained home until enlisting in August 1861 as a corporal in Co. C, 2nd Ohio Infantry in 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Perryville and was briefly a prisoner of war. He was discharged on 15 July 1863 due to disability.

George wrote the letter to Pliny Dudley Cottle (show here) after Pliny was discharged for disability from the 2nd OVI

Following his discharge, he moved to Minnesota. After a few months, he decided to enroll in the University of Michigan Law School. He graduated in 1866 and took a position as editor of the Western Rural, later editing the Western Farmer. In 1876, Morrow accepted a position as professor at the Iowa Agricultural College, and eventually rose to chair the department. In 1877, Morrow accepted an appointment as chair of the University of Illinois College of Agriculture. Morrow implemented the Rothamsted Plan at the university to determine what could improve the quality of Illinois soil. The field became known as the Morrow Plots, today recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its contributions to the history of American agriculture. He later became president of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Morrow married Sarah M. Gifford in Detroit, Michigan, in 1867.  Morrow died on 26 Mar 1900 at his home in Paxton, Illinois and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Urbana, Illinois. [Wikipedia]

George wrote the letter to one of his “best friends,” Pliny Dudley Cottle (1840-1916), the son of Lucius Cottle (1815-1890) and Adeline Dudley (1817-1843) of Maineville, Warren county, Ohio. Pliney enlisted as a sergeant in September 1861 in Co. I, 2nd OVI. He was discharged for disability on 28 February 1862. Later in the war he served as a lieutenant in the 146th Ohio National Guard.


Addressed to P. D. Cottle, Maineville, Warren county, Ohio

Headquarters 1st Division, 14th Army Corps
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
4th April 1863

P. D. Cottle
My dear friend,

Today when I had opened the mail and found in our headquarters package a letter from one of my best friends, I thought that as much as could reasonably be expected. When, a short time after, I was told there was another for me at the company, I had not the least idea whom it was from—was rather agreeably surprised to find it was in your handwriting. It will be better to direct as this is headquarters in future—at least until further orders—as I will receive it sooner.

I regret that you have not fully recovered your health but am glad to see that you have your usual good spirits. I frequently hear from you as regards your health, &c. from my other correspondents, and have often thought of writing. In future, I hope to hear from you more frequently. Tell me of all the little occurrences in the neighborhood. You, as a one time soldier, know that we feel an interest in the most unimportant and trivial affairs connected with homeland.

I see the regiment almost daily. The health of the men is generally good. All your friends are well, I believe. I saw Jessie Hineson yesterday looking very well—ditto John Snook. You have heard that [James E.] Murdoch is now Captain and Sergeant Major Williams of Co. D is 2nd Lieutenant of Co. I. Williams makes a good-looking officer. [Daniel W.] Dewitt, our 2nd Lt., received his resignation papers today—ill health. Do not know his successor.

Our regiment is now the largest in our division—rather remarkable, isn’t it? The division, by the way, is much the largest in the army and with the unique feature of a brigade of regulars, consisting of six battalions of infantry and one battery–[William Rufus] Terrill’s celebrated one. This brigade has been much strengthened by new troops coming up from duty in other places and is a fine thing.

As you may naturally suppose, we are all glad that Gen. Rosecrans is back with us. I have never known an instance of such general admiration for a general as our entire division shows for its commander. It equals the feeling in the 2nd Ohio for Col. [Leonard A.] Harris. Let me say here that the army is in good condition—better than I ever knew it before. It is well supplied and we have large stores of provisions in readiness for the future. When this army is put in motion and has work shown it, it will do that work thoroughly and well. When that time is to be, I do not at all know ad have ceased to speculate.

The fortifications, at which much work is still being done, are very extensive and strong. A considerable force will be left here, of course.

I trust that as warm weather is now not far off, you will with its advance become well and strong again. Do not allow yourself to become a hermit or misanthrope. I would much like to have the opportunity of seeing our friends of whom you spoke as well as many others but until this war is ended or I get sick, or again wounded, my place is in the army.

Lately, I have felt encouraged to hope that the end was now not very far in the future. We have gained much and lost but little comparatively.

For myself, I am pretty well and have as pleasant times as could be expected. Give my respects to all my friends. Hoping to soon hear from you, I am truly your friend, — G. Espy Morrow

P. S. Aaron Morris sends his regards as would a host of your friends were they here to know of the opportunity. The splendid band of the 15th U. S. Infantry has just commenced a serenade intended to honor Rosecrans.

1863: Edward D. A. Williams to Minnie Blackwell

This letter was written by Capt. Edward D. A. Williams (1839-1920) of Co. I, 38th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Edward enlisted on 28 August 1861 at Delta, Ohio. He began his term of service as 1st Lieutenant and was Captain of his company when he resigned his commission on 15 April 1864. His pension file indicates that prior to joining the 38th OVI, he served 3 months in Co. A, 14th OVI.

The 1920 US Census informs us that Edward was born in Ohio in 1839 adn that his parents were natives of Vermont. His death record gives his father’s name as David Williams and his mother’s maiden name as Seeley. His pension record give’s his wife’s name as “Phileta” or “Philda E.”

Maybe Edward marched in this 38th OVI reunion parade in Melrose, Ohio, in 1889


Headquarters Co. I, 38th Regiment Ohio Volunteers
Camp near Winchester, Tennessee
July 20th 1863

Dear Minnie,

How have you passed the time since the last time I saw you some two years ago? I have thought that perhaps I might be so fortunate as to get a furlough during my term of enlistment but so far have only succeeded in obtaining permission to remain in camp and be a good “Boy” and I might go home when my time was out. A great consolation isn’t it?

We are now almost as far south as we were about a year ago but prospects are brighter than then, and we hope not to be compelled to retrace our steps back to the desolate hills of Kentucky. Rather than do this, I would go on until we are arrested by the Gulf of Mexico, carrying all before us. We are confident of success so long as Rosecrans leads the Army of the Cumberland and if nothing interposes more than Bragg’s army to dispute the possession of the country, we shall soon be masters of the Southern Confederacy.

Today we are cheered with good news from guerrilla Morgan’s command, stating that our forces have succeeded in bringing him to an engagement in which the Rebels lost severely and were routed with prospects fair for the capture of himself and entire force. His artillery is in our possession.

Do you anticipate a “Mob” in Toledo soon? One must be gotten up or you will be behind most of the Northern cities. A firm resistance to the Draft seems to be the order of the day and perhaps it is better to lose one’s life in resisting the demands of the government for support than to yield obedience to its mandates and lose it in defense of his country. In resisting the draft, he is certain to lose it, and on the other hand he stands as fair a chance as those who are already in the field.

But perhaps I shall fail to interest you and will cease for this time hoping you will respond at your earliest convenience if consistent with your idea of propriety.

With best wishes for your future happiness, I am, dear Minnie, your humble servant, “Edward”, Capt. Co. I, 38th Ohio Vols.

To Miss Minnie Blackwell

Capt. Williams’ headstone