War Relics of Charles Edney

I could not find an image of Charles but here is one of Benjamin Darby of Co. F, 41st Ohio Infantry (Matthew Fleming Collection)

This war relic belonged to Charles Edney, Jr. (1844-1914), the son of Charles Edney, Sr. (1818-1855( and Mary Ann Beer (1817-1900). Charles’s parents were born in Kent, England, while Charles was born in Rouen, Francem, in 1844. The family came to the United States in 1851 was Charles was 9 years old, and were living in Jackson, Mahoning county, Ohio at the time of the Civil War.

Charles and his younger brother Andrew Edney (1846-1863) enlisted in Co. F, 41st Ohio Infantry. Both brothers enlisted at the same time in October 1861. Andrew was killed at the Battle of Missionary Ridge; Charles survived the war, mustering out of the service in November 1865.

In the fight at Missionary Ridge, the 41st Ohio was brigaded with the 1st and 93rd Ohio, the 5th Kentucky, and the 6th Indiana. This brigade seized Confederate positions at the base of the ridge, the brigade advanced up the hills, driving the Confederates before them. Near the crest, the 41st captured an enemy battery and quickly turned the guns upon the fleeing Southerners.


Captured by Charles Edney

Rebel writing paper captured at the Battle of Mission Ridge from a Rebel Battery November 29th 1863

Brother Andrew was killed by a cannon ball.

Rebel postage stamps 1 traded for at close of war in East Tennessee

Captured by Charles Edney

1 These 10-cent Confederate stamps were issued in 1863-64. Its engraved design features President Jefferson Davis in profile. Each stamp is worth approximately $30 today (2022).

1861: Edward Graham to John Houston Bills

This letter was written by 39 year-old Edward Graham, a private in Co. B (the “Cut-off Guards”) of the 9th Arkansas Infantry. The company was led by Capt. Isom and was organized and mustered into State Service at Pine Bluff on 25 July 1861. The 9th Arkansas was sometimes referred to as the “Parsons Regiment” because it contained 42 ministers.

I could not find an image of Edward but here is one of a middle-aged Arkansas soldier named Thomas Bolding of Co. G, 24th Arkansas

Edward appears to have been carried in the muster rolls as present until the 19th of April 1862 when he died at Corinth of wounds received at the Battle of Shiloh. Because the company suffered so many losses in the battle where they were called upon to charge repeatedly upon the “Hornet’s Nest,” the remaining members of Co. B were transferred to other companies in the regiment. The men were spurned into action by Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston himself who rode to the front and shouted, “Men of Arkansas, the enemy is stubborn. I want you to show General Beauregard ad General Bragg what you can do with your bayonets and toothpicks!”

In the 1860 US Census, Edward was enumerated with his brother Francis (“Frank”) Graham as farmers in Franklin, Desha county, Arkansas. His birthplace was given as Virginia.

He wrote the letter to Maj. John Houston Bills, a well-to-do planter who lived in Bolivar, Tennessee, not far from Nashville. Bills owned property in Tennessee as well as Mississippi.


Pine Bluff, Arkansas
August 6th 1861

Maj. John H. Bills
Bolivar, Tennessee

Dear Sir,

I am here in the service of the state for the next twelve months. Our regiment is organized but not ready to march yet and we will be here perhaps for several weeks. It is thought we will go from here to Pocahontas but no one knows as the State will offer the ten regiments now being raised to the Confederacy.

Most of the counties in this state have levied a military tax of one-quarter of one percent. I do not know that the northern counties have but they doubtless will. This tax is payable immediately and has to be collected before November. Mr. Jarius H. Hicks of Jacksonport—if he has not gone to the war—or H[enry] C[lay] Dye of Sulphur Rock, Arkansas, can give you any information you may want, or attend to paying taxes &c. I consider them reliable men.

I wish this war was closed as it has suspended all business here but tax paying.

Yours respectfully, — Edward Graham

1860: Benjamin Field to John Houston Bills

This letter was written by 40 year-old Benjamin Field (1820-1876), a partner with Thomas F. Langstroth (1815-1879) in the Philadelphia hardware merchant who kept a store at 440 Market Street. His home was, at the time, located at 321 S. Third Street in the Society Hill District. The Field, Langstroth & Co. was advertised in the 1860 Philadelphia City Directory as a “Hardware & Cutlery, Importers of, and Wholesale Dealers in” firm located at 440 Market Street.

We have no image of Benjamin Field so I have used an Ambrotype from my collection of a middle-aged man who looks like a wealthy Eastern merchant.

According to the Death Certificates Index, Benjamin Field (Hardware Merchant) died in Philadelphia on 29 April 1876 and was buried in North Laurel Hill Cemetery. His last known residence was at 1116 Walnut Street. Benjamin was a Quaker and attended the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting.

Benjamin wrote the letter to a client and friend named Maj. John Houston Bills, a wealthy planter residing in Bolivar, Tennessee—not far from Nashville. The purpose of the letter was to convey information pertaining to the intended purchase of jewelry by Major Bills but Benjamin using the opportunity to share his thoughts on the recent election of Abraham Lincoln as the next President. The “present course” of South Carolina mentioned in the letter of course refers to the calling of a convention to secede from the Union. That convention was subsequently convened and South Carolina seceded on 20 December 1861. Benjamin states in his letter that he supported South Carolina’s action thinking that only such a bold move will awaken the northern populace to the potential economic impact of disunion with the southern states and prevent the election of yet more Republicans in both houses of Congress who would pass laws that did not honor the existing Constitution.


Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]
November 24, 1860

Major John H. Bills
Bolivar, Tennessee

Dear Sir,

The set of jewelry which Messers. Pratt & Reath were to show us today is not as near the description of your order as we supposed it might be. We have examined the stock of Bailey & Co. but do not find anything made up that answers the description. We have therefore instructed Pratt & Reath to have a set made Etruscan Gold, Carbuncle Crescent, set with pearls. They promise it by Thursday night. We hope that the worst of the financial panic is over though we will not feel decided on that subject until we see the return of the New York Banks which we get on Tuesday next 27th. We have had no failures here of consequence (except the Banks themselves) but hundreds of our deluded workmen who voted for Lincoln are already out of employment.

We think it fortunate that South Carolina has taken the present course at this time as we believe that it was necessary for the people to feel the power of southern commerce and to realize what they would suffer in losing it. The change in public sentiment within the last two weeks exceeds anything that we could have conceived possible.

We think it quite possible that if Carolina had made no stir, we would in a year or two have elected a “Republican” majority in both branches of Congress; and such a majority might pass a bill clearly unconstitutional in the eyes of the whole South, and in opposition to the decisions of the Supreme Court. Under such circumstances, the slaveholding states in a body would probably have withdrawn—never to return. Now we think it entirely clear that a majority of the slave-holding states will oppose secession, and we also think that the Northern States will withdraw all unfriendly legislation.

Until I had the law of our state published in the Pennsylvania last Monday, there was not one man in an hundred in this county knew that we had any law that interfered at all with the effective execution of the Fugitive Slave Act. The vast majority here mean to do right but they so not take the trouble to inform themselves.

Sight exchange on New York sells at 1% premium though if we buy from brokers we would pay 3%. We have no use for any at this time (I allude to our firm) as we have nothing to pay there. Our Banks are sound and can resume soon if New York continues to pay specie. It is of course merely a matter of confidence whether the New York Banks are compelled to suspend or not. Our Banks were much stronger when they suspended than in 1857, but New York was sending stocks and notes here for sale and drawing the Gold for proceeds and our Banks thought best to stop. Whether this was good policy is a question I feel a little uncertain about. I have always declined a seat as director of a Banking Institution and I am now very glad of it.

Having done all in my power to defeat Lincoln, I feel now quite cool and calm, and thinking that the present financial distress and suspended commerce is for the general good in the end, I bear my share of it with entire composure.

Truly your friend, — Ben. Field

1861: George S. Hayes to Sallie Thweatt Raines Hayes

I could not find an image of George but here is a young unidentified Confederate of about Georg’s age. (Peter Frohne Collection)

This letter was written by Pvt. George S. Hayes (1840-1862) of Co. E, 29th Georgia Infantry. Co. E was Capt. William J. Young’s company which was called the Ochlochnee Light Infantry (“O. L. Infantry,” see envelope). The company entered into the service at Savannah on 27 July 1861. It was until January 1862, however before the 29th Georgia was fully uniformed and equipped ready for service. Before the end of January, the 29th Georgia regiment would be called up to the coastal defenses at Savannah.

In his letter, George writes his sister, Sallie Thweatt Raines Hayes (1839-1878) of contracting the measles which laid him down for a few days but less than a year later, on 20 October 1862, he died of pneumonia in Thomas county, Georgia. Sallie married George Washington Taylor.

Other letters by member of the 29th Georgia that I have transcribed and posted on Spared & Shared include:

Smith G. Homan, Co. F, 29th Georgia (Confederate/1 Letter)
John H. Lanier, Co. H, 29th Georgia (Confederate/1 Letter)
Timothy Lanier, Co. I, 29th Georgia (Confederate/1 Letter)


Addressed to Miss Sallie T. R. Hayes, Duncanville, Georgia

Camp Security
Darien, McIntosh county, Georgia
December 29, 1861

Miss Sallie T. R. Hayes
Dear sister,

I received your letter in due time. It found me very sick at the time I received it but it was only from the measles. They broke out on me very thick—as thick as they could break out on any person. I wasn’t sick much but three days. It made me very weak. I stayed in a very nice and comfortable room. There were three more boys in the room with me—names Ed Everett, John A. McKinnon, and Tom Hicks. I came out day before yesterday to give Bill John Mackin my place. He was just taking the measles. I am doing very well—as well as anybody could do from the measles. And Bill came out this morning and gave one his place. There are so many sick and gone home that we can hardly make up a guard and besides that, we have taken away five guards from each company. We haven’t but five posts now so you can tell for yourself how it is when you can hardly get five men a day to stand guard.

We have got the seven years itch in the Battalion. There are three cases.

What did you all do for Christmas in Old Thomas? The year 1861—I don’t think it was [as good] a one as 1860. We had I don’t know how many eggnogs. We boys in the hospital had two. Christmas day down here was the dullest day we have had since we have been in the service. I came out of the hospital that day and I could not see anybody hardly in camps. There were all gone to church and town.

I have told you all the news. Give my love to all the family and Grandma & Pink the first time you see them. Tell all to write when they can. You must reserve a good portion of love to yourself.

Your affectionate brother, — George S. Hayes

1861: William Nicholas Rose to Benjamin Bryan Rose

I could not find an image of William in uniform but here is one of Pvt. William B, Wheless of Co K, 24th North Carolina Infantry (Louis A. Wheless Collection)

This letter was written by 19 year-old William Nicholas Rose (1842-1915), the eldest son of Benjamin Bryan Rose (1817-1880) and Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Eldridge (1819-1872) of Newton Grove—about halfway between Goldsboro and Fayetteville—in Sampson county, North Carolina. In his old age, friends referred to William as “Squire Bill.”

William enlisted in May 1861 as a corporal in Co. E (the “Lone Star Boys”), 24th North Carolina Infantry (Formerly 14th North Carolina Infantry Vols.). He was promoted to 5th Sergeant of his company in February 1863. By July 1864, he had risen in rank to 1st Sergeant. He was taken prisoner near Petersburg, Virginia, on 27 March 1865 and was released from the Point Lookout, Maryland, prison on 19 June 1865. According to prison records, William was described as standing 5 feet 6 inches tall with light brown hair and gray eyes.


Addressed to Mr. B. B. Rose, Newton Grove, Sampson county, North Carolina

Below Sulphur Springs, Virginia
November 6th 1861

Dear Father,

I once more seat myself to inform you that I am well [and] sincerely hoping these lines may find you all enjoying the same. I received your letter 28th of October which give me great pleasure to hear that you were all well. I suppose that our winter clothing is at the regiment at we are looking for the regiment here today and they will stay here a few days and then we will go on to Eastern Virginia somewhere to take winter quarters—probably to N. Carolina. If we do, we will come home sometime thins winter I reckon.

We have a great deal of sickness yet though a great many of the worse cases have died. Col. [William John] Clarke‘s brother died on Sunday morning last. Also John E. Thompson and Lovitt [B.] Grantham of our company has died. We have lost 12 men out of our company. No more dangerously sick in our company.

Col. William John Clarke of 24th North Carolina Infantry. Clarke was wounded on 15 May 1864 at Drewry’s Bluff and captured on 5 February 1865 at Dinwiddie Court House. He was imprisoned at Old Capitol Prison and Fort Delaware.

I have no news of importance to write you—only General Floyd has had a fight at Cotton Hill. 1 I did not hear how many was killed though I heard that Gen. Floyd took 500 Yankees which I expect is so. I have not seen Quint Sina. I received your last letter though I hear from him very often. He has ha the mumps but has got well. I am still waiting on the sick yet.

Tell Uncle Ira to write to me as I can’t get the chance to write to him. Tell Uncle Avery to write also. So you must write yourself as often as you can. I hope I will be remembered by you all. Nothing more at present—only your loving son until death, — William N. Rose

You will please direct your letters to Lewisburg, Va. in care of Col. Clarke, 14th Regiment N. C. Vol. I have got the worst pen you ever saw.

To my father, B. B. Rose by William N. Rose

1 See Siege of Cotton Hill, Virginia, 30 October to 7 November 1861.

1864: Menzo Klock to Samuel R. Green

This letter was written by Menzo Klock (1835-1891), the son of Jonas Klock (1801-1881) and Mary Polly Klock (1807-1884). Menzo was married to Mary Diefendorf (1836-1865) at the time he wrote this letter from their residence in St. Johnsville, Montgomery county, New York.

He wrote the letter to Samuel R. Green who was serving in the 146th New York Infantry at the time.

Klock’s letter refers extensively to the late Presidential election.


St. Johnsville [Montgomery county, New York]
November 30th 1864

Mr. S. R. Green
Dear sir,

You last came to hand day before yesterday after having been patiently waited for three or four weeks. I was happy to learn that you are yet in the land of the living and enjoying good health and hope and pray that you may pass unharmed through the fiery ordeal of battle and return home to your family and friends to enjoy the gratitude of a free and liberty-loving people whose homage shall never cease to our heroic soldiers whose blood and toil shall have sealed forever the unalienable rights of man.

The status at St. Johnsville is the same as when I last wrote. The bitterness and determination with which the opposition entered the Presidential canvass has subsided into quiet and apparent submission. Never did democracy enter a canvass with greater resolution to regain her ancient prerogative than the one just closed and never did it leave the contest so much discomfited and with greater apparent resignation. The threats of resistance to the Administration, if successful in its reelection, their declamations of bankruptcy and ruin to our country and impossibility of subduing the rebellion, the usurpations of the President in the conduct of affairs with a thousand frightful scenes designed to destroy in the minds of the people the belief in justice of our cause and that the Administration was incompetent to conduct the country safely through its trial proclaimed everywhere in loud and stirring tones have not been heard or seen since election day.

Since my last, we have heard of Robert Vandusen’s death who was in the army and enlisted when DeWitt did. Aunt Lydia Green was also buried some six weeks since. Old Mrs. Curren and Julia attending the funeral, they being at St. Johnsville on a visit. We gave them your address and let them read your letters which pleased them much. You likely will soon hear from them as they have returned home to the west.

We shall expect to hear from you soon and would like to receive a visit from you which would be far more agreeable. Mrs. Klock sends her request that you send her your photograph if you have it in soldier’s likeness but will not refuse any other if you prefer to send one. Do not neglect to write and if you come gome be sure to make us a good long visit.

With respect, I remain as ever your friend and servant, — Manis Klock

I have written badly having a lame hand.

1862-65: Samuel Richard Green to Phoebe Melvina (Rockwell) Green

These letters were written by Samuel Richard Green (1826-1865) who enlisted as a private in Co. A, 14th New York Infantry in mid-August 1862, was transferred to Co. I, 44th New York Infantry on 24 June 1863, was promoted to corporal on 28 April 1864 and transferred to Co. A on 23 September 1864. He was transferred to Co. H, 146th New York Infantry on 11 October 1864 and died on 11 May 1865 at Lincoln Hospital in Washington D. C. from wounds received on 31 March 1865 at White Oak Road, Virginia [another source says that his wounds were received in the attack on Fort Stedman].

Prior to his enlistment, Samuel was employed as a mechanic in Utica, New York, where he was born. He was described as standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. He was married in 1853 to Phoebe Melvina Rockwell (1832-1906) and the couple had two children—Mary Ella (b. 1856) and Lewis Henry (b. 1860).

This cabinet card was made in Utica during the post-war period but it was passed down by the family with the following letters so I’m inclined to believe it was accurately identified as Samuel Richard Green. The A. R. G. at the bottom of the reverse side was Alfred Reynolds Green (1901-1980), Samuel’s grandson. Most likely the image was created from a photograph taken of Samuel circa 1860 when he was about 35 years old.

Letter 1

[While serving in the 14th New York Infantry]

Frederick City, Maryland
September 17, [1862]

Dear wife,

I take the present opportunity to write you and let you know how I am. I have been on the march for six days and I can stand it first rate. Yesterday we expected to get to where the fighting was [at Sharpsburg, Maryland] today some time but we were detached from the brigade and send back about 20 miles with a lot of prisoners and we don’t know what the next job will be or how long we shall remain here. I am well & have been since I left home. I find lots of friends here for soldiers all help each other. I am in Co. A and that is the best company in the regiment. I can’t give you any news for you will get it before we do by the paper.

I wish you would write me as soon as you get this. You will get Mr. Laurence to direct it for you and there won’t be trouble about my getting it. Tell him I am in Co. A & he will know how to direct it to get to me. We get the mail 3 or 4 times a week. If he is not in the office, leave it with the clerk & he will see that it is sent. If you how he directs it you will know how to do it yourself. Send me a paper once or twice a week. They will all be directed alike. It don’t make any difference where the regiment is.

Give my respects to all. Kiss Ella and Louie for me & tell Ella she must be a good girl. Mind what you tell her. Take good care of the children & don’t work too hard yourself for I shall send you money as soon as I get paid. I don’t know when that will be but it will come in a month or two.

The 4th Oneida Regiment have just passed by here since we have been encamped so they will get into a fight before we will at any rate—if we should go back towards where the fighting it. It is a getting dark and I must close. This comes from your ever loving husband, — Samuel

Letter 2

[While serving in the 14th New York Infantry just prior to being transferred to the 44th New York Infantry.]

Camp in Virginia or some other place
June 2, 1863

Dear wife,

Your letter of the 26th it at hand. I am glad to hear from you. I am as much disappointed by not being sent home with the 14th [New York Infantry] as you are. I have done my duty to the government up to the 17th of May which is the time I volunteered for faithfully and what I do hereafter won’t do them any good. I will assure you I shall not give the rebels a chance to hurt me hereafter. They have been trying to form the 12th, 13th, 14th and 17th into a battalion ever since the 14th left but they can’t make it go. All they have got of us yet is a demoralized mob. They boys are determined they shant make anything of them and they can’t. We are a perfect nuisance in the army and mean to be until they send us home. 1

We are in the First Division, First Brigade Fifth Army Corps. This division is guarding the fords on the Rappannock river between Falmouth and the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. We are in the reserve about 4 miles from the river and about 20 miles above Falmouth. We are known through the division as the demoralized battalion & don’t mean to be anything else. We beat the officers that have charge of us at every point. If they tie up any of the boys for punishment, the rest go and cut them loose or make the officers release them to keep from having a mutiny in camp & if they court martial them, they can’t make it stick & we have the best of them & we are having lots of fun.

We are encamped in a very fine place and we have lots of fresh meat and chickens to eat. We get them around the country. We don’t care who they belong to. We take them whenever we find them.

I have been to see if I could get a furlough to come home but they ain’t giving any in the brigade at present. They may be giving them again in a few days. I shall get one as soon as I can.

I got a letter from father a few days ago. He says you shall not suffer for anything unless you conceal your wants from him. The pay master is paying off the army now but I know as our papers are in shape so as to get our pay this time or not. If we don’t, we will get 4 months the next time so it won’t make any difference if you have got enough to last you. If father has not gone away when this reaches you, tell him I will write to him as soon as I find out what they are going to do with us.

1 The 14th New York Infantry was unusual in that it was composed of both two-year enlistees and three-year enlistees. Apparently many of the three-year enlistees had no idea that they had another year of service left when the time came for the two-year men to go home, which caused those with time left to serve to revolt and become demoralized.

Letter 3

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry. As the 44th N. Y. marched toward Gettysburg, they found themselves brigaded with the 20th Maine, the 16th Michigan, and the 83rd Pennsylvania under the command of Col. Strong Vincent. This brigade would win distinction for their heroic defense of Little Round Top on Day 2 of the battle.]

Aldie, Virginia
June 25, 1863

My Dear Wife,

I received yours of the 26th of May. I have not heard from you since we have been shifting around from place to place. Since I wrote you last, which was soon after I received yours, but we have got in a regiment now where we shall stay. We are in the 44th New York Volunteer [Infantry] commonly known as the Ellsworth Avengers. They were got up from every town in the state or were meant to represent every town when they came out and they are a picked lot of men. I am as well satisfied here as I should be in any regiment without it was the old 14th but I don’t feel very well reconciled to stay here a great while for I consider my time out. But still I prefer to have an honorable discharge if I can get it in any kind of season. If I find I cannot, I think I shall leave without it.

I wrote to Father & directed it to Cleveland. I have had 2 or 3 packages of papers from him since I wrote to him. They were mailed at Gloversville. I don’t know whether he is there yet or whether he has gone back. We have not had any mail here in 10 or 12 days & we don’t know what is a going on anywhere but here.

We are on a turnpike that runs from Alexandria threw Ashby’s Gap & I don’t know how much farther. We were to Ashby’s Gap last Sunday. We had quite a lively time with the rebs. The fighting was mostly done with the cavalry so we did not participate much in it except to drive them away from two or three stone walls where the cavalry could not get at them & then we would start them out & so we drove them to Ashby’s Gap.

I wish you would write soon for I am anxious to hear from you. I expect that Merrill will come here in a day or two & then we can get the papers so as to know what is going on in other places besides this.

I shall write to father again soon and let him know where I am. Direct yours to the 44th Regiment, First Division, 3rd Brigade, 5th Army Corps. Give my respects to all & let me know how you get along & how Ella & Lewis are & if Ella goes to school. I would give anything to be at home to see you and them and I trust I shall be this fall or the fore part of the winter at the farthest. But until such time as I come, I remain your most affectionate and ever loving husband, — Samuel


Letter 4

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry.]

Camp near Rappahannock Station, Virginia
September 11, 1863

My Dear Wife,

I received yours the 6th yesterday. I was glad to hear from you. I received your letter with the comb and have wrote two letters to you since the one I sent to Utica in care of Mr. Lawrence and after that I received one from father informing me that you was at Cleveland and since them I have wrote you another which I think you must of got before this time but for fear you have not got the last one, I will repeat some that I wrote last.

I sent $20 to Mr. Lawrence as soon as I was paid. I had to send it by mail and I thought it best to send half of it at once. After that I got father’s letter and he said you wanted me to send one half of what I could spare Mr. Lawrence and the balance to you. I got a letter from Mr. Lawrence saying that he had got the money and that you had gone to Cleveland and he had placed it to my credit. I then sent $20 more to Mr. Lawrence and requested him to send that to you and let the first stand as it was. Since then I have had another letter from him in which he said he had received it and would forward it to you as I desired. I think he will send it by Express or send you a check. I don’t know which. The reason I sent it to Mr. Lawrence was that I has to send it by mail and I thought it was the safest way.

I have not got much time to write today for I am going on picket this afternoon and shall be gone three days. we do picket duty three days out of nine all the time now and we had rather be out on picket than to be in camp. I am glad to hear that you like it where you be and that you are having a good time and I should like to be there with you. And I think this war won’t last much longer and you need not be uneasy about my staying three years.

I wrote a long letter to you and directed it to Cleveland to you about the first of this month. I wish you would write and let me know if you got it and if you have got $20 sent from Mr. Lawrence as soon as you get this. Give my respects to all of my friends and take good care of the children. — Samuel

Letter 5

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry.]

Battlefield near Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia
May 13th 1864

My Dear Wife,

I learn that there is a mail going out this morning and I write a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and well. This is the ninth day of the fight and I [think] it is about over with and I think this campaign will close the war from what I can learn here at present.

There has been a great deal of hard fighting and a heavy loss on both sides and I thank the Lord that I have escaped so far for I have been where it was raging the hardest and we have lost over half of the regiment. Things are pretty quiet this morning but yesterday was a hard day. I have not slept over four hours in three days and nights and I am in no condition to write and if you can make out to read this, I shall be glad. As soon as we are a little settled and I think I can write so that you can read it, I will write to you again but don’t get uneasy if it is a number of days first for if we don’t have any fighting, we will have to march.

I wish you would write to father and let him know that I am alright for it ay be some time before I can. Kiss the children for me and write as soon as you get this so that I may know whether you get it.

From your affectionate and ever loving husband, — Samuel

Letter 6

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry.]

44th [New York] Regiment
9 miles from Richmond
June 1, 1864

My dear wife,

I received yours of the 18th and was glad to hear that you was well and had bettered your condition by moving. I have attempted to write before but had orders to fall in before I had time to more than head a letter and had to abandon it and probably shall not finish this today for things are rolling—speaking in a soldier’s phrase.

I am well and stand it as well as any I see around me, and, notwithstanding, we have had about as much as men can be expected to endure. They go about what they are called on to do cheerfully for we know that the enemy must be too much exhausted with over taxation as we are and if we take time to rest and recruit our energies, they will have the same privilege and we are anxious to finish this war at the earliest possible moment. And as everything is working fine, let the thing be kept a rolling in our motto.

There was a good deal of heavy fighting yesterday in which we were successful though I expect our progress will be slow hereafter. If it is the intention of the enemy to hold Richmond, and I hope they will defend it to the last, for I have faith in our ability to take it. And if Lee will not abandon it, he must fall within the fortifications of Richmond and that will end the war without following him farther.

I wish you would write to father and let him know that I am well for I have ot time to write without doing it when I should be resting, for when we stop, we don’t know whether we will be called on in ten minutes or whether it will be as many hours, but most likely to be the former.

Give my respects to Mr. Lawrence and Lewis. Tell them I am doing my duty here as well as I ever do anywhere. Kiss Ella and Lewis for me and give my respects to all my friends. Write me as soon as you get this. Hoping that this war may soon close and may return home again, I remain as ever your affectionate husband, — Samuel

Letter 7

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry.]

Near Petersburg [Virginia]
August 9th 1864

My dear wife,

I wrote you a few days ago and sent six dollars in the letter but for fear you may not of got it, I will write again. In that [letter] I stated I had sent you fifty dollars by Express. After I wrote to you I saw the man that was to take it to City Point to the Express [Office] and gave him ten dollars more and now I have a receipt for sixty dollars from Adams Express. I wish you would write and let me know if you get it and by the terms of the receipt I must notify them in 30 days if it has not gone through all right. Also let me know if you got my letter containing six dollars.

I am well as usual. We are as comfortable as we can make ourselves. The weather is very warm but we have good shades up so we don’t suffer from the heat of the sun but the flies—there is no end to. They plague a man’s life almost out of him. It is almost impossible to read or write duringthe day. We are behind our breastworks about as far from the Johnnies as it is from Broadway to Genessee Street along Pearl Street. There is no firing here in our works except by the artillery. They have a turn at it several times during the day without much damage to either party, I presume—certainly without much to us—but there is a plenty of firing alog the 9th Corps all the time, night and day. 1

We sit on our breastworks and watch the mortar shells going back and forth in the evening. There is deserters from the rebel lines coming into ours every night. Those that come in last night report the capture of Mobile by our fleet which probably is true. They would have the news before we would.

Give my respects to all. Kiss Ella and Lewis for me, hoping that this will find you and them well, I remain your most affectionate husband, — Samuel

1 Burnside’s 9th Corps had a large number of USCT (Black soldiers) in it and the Rebels purposely singled out that sector of the line to fire their artillery shells for that reason.

Letter 8

[While serving in the 44th New York Infantry.]

Camp of 44th [New York] on the Weldon Railroad, Virginia
September 25th 1864

My dear wife,

I received yours of the 11th and was glad to hear from you and that you and the children were well. Tell Ella I thank her for her song and other mementoes the children have sent me as a token that I am not forgotten at home and I trust the time with soon come when I can come and hear her sing it.

The 44th’s time was out yesterday and all the old members that came out with it that had not reenlisted started for home yesterday but there was 180 recruited ready to take their place so the regiment is larger now than it was before and we are expecting 200 more every day. We have not had any fighting on our part of the line in a long time and it is not likely we shall before we move from here.

I will send you a check for twenty-five dollars. I got 2 months pay yesterday which pays me to the first of September. I think it is safer to send a check than to send the money. If it was lost, I think it would not be of any use to anyone else but you and I could get another one. I think you can draw the money at any bank by signing your name to it but any business man will tell you better about it than I can for I am not sure. But you will have to go to a National Bank. I will keep the number of the draft and if you do not get it, let me know and I will get another. Also let me know if you have any trouble to get it cashed and then I will know when I send again.

I don’t know as I have anything more of importance to write at present. Give my respects to all my friends. Kiss Ellie and Lewis for me. My health is good as usual, hoping you and the children are enjoying the same blessing. I am your affectionate husband, — Samuel

P. S. Mr. John Harvey, one of my old soldier friends, promised to call and see you. He started for home yesterday. Write as soon as you get this for I want to know about the check as soon as possible.

Letter 9

[While serving in the 146th New York Infantry.]

Camp of the 146th N. Y. S. V. near Weldon Railroad, Virginia
October 25th 1864

My dear wife,

I received yours of October 2nd and read it with pleasure. I am well as usual. You will see by this that we have been transferred to the 146th. I belong to Co. H. I think I shall remain here the rest of my time as it is out before the regiments is so there will be no occasion for another transfer.

We are having pleasant weather but it is cool nights. We were in two fights the 30th of September before we were consolidated with the 146th but after the 44th had gone home. We were called at that time the 44th Battalion and maintained the good reputation of the Old 44th but the officers wanted to go home and they managed to get us transferred and they have gone. Let them go, I don’t know as it will make much difference to us though the most of the men are very much dissatisfied.

I don’t know as I have anything more of importance to write. I will send a dollar to you. [Give] 25 cents to each of the children, and the rest to you. I get the papers from Gloversville. Kiss the children for me and give my respects to all my acquaintances hoping that this will find you all in the enjoyment of good health and that I may hear from you soon.I remain your most affectionate husband, — Samuel

P. S. Give my respects especially to Mr. Lawrence and son if you see them and as for going out West as father desired you to, you must set your own pleasure as you can judge better where you can enjoy yourself the best—better than I can. But I think I shall go there when I come home. When you write to father, tell him I am well and where I am and give him my respects. — S. R. G.

Letter 10

[While serving in the 146th New York Infantry.]

Camp of 146 N. Y. V. near Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
February 15, 1865

My dear wife,

I received yours of the 4th February and was glad to learn that you were all well. I had wrote one to you the 4th which you must of got before this but as we broke camp the 5th and have had some fighting since, I write to quiet any fears you may have about me as I am all right as usual.

We have established a new line and gone into camp again. We have been very busy the last three days clearing up camp and building quarters. It is about seven o’clock in the evening and it has been raining most of the day but me and my tent mates got our house all done but putting in the fireplace. Yesterday and today we got that in and have got a rousing good fire agoing in it tonight though there is a good many haven’t got theirs near done yet but it is not cold so they will not suffer much. This is the third time we have built quarters this winter and I hope it will be the last. And if we stay here until April, it will be the last for me.

You spoke in yours about looking for me home on a furlough but I have thought it over and think it best to stay until my time is out before I come on several accounts. One is the cost of coming and another [is] that most that go home are discontented when they come back and I am doubtful whether their folks feel as reconciled as they did before, and then my time is getting so nye out, and taking all into consideration, I think it is best not to come for I have commenced on the last six months yesterday and they will soon pass and then I can come and not have the pleasure marred by the thought that I must come back again.

Kiss Ella and Lewis for me and give my respects to all and especially to father and give me his address for I have lost it. Hoping this may find you all well and that I may hear from you soon, I remain your most affectionate husband, — Samuel

Letter 11

[While serving in the 146th New York Infantry.]

Camp of the 146th N. Y. S. V. near Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
March 10, 1865

My dear wife,

I received yours of February 19th. I had wrote to you just previous and think you must of got it about the same time I got yours so I have not been in a hurry about writing since as there has nothing of consequence transpired. I had a letter from father dated February 13th which I have answered. I have also had a letter from Gloversville saying they expect father to make them a visit this month. I would like very much to be at home when he comes down but I shall have to let it go this time. But the time is not far distant when I can come home and not have the pleasure marred by knowledge that I must leave to come back again in a few days.

I sent $25 to you by Mr. Roberts which I think you must of got before this time. I think we will get paid again this month. If so I will send you more. I don’t know what to advise you about your furniture if you should go West this spring. I know it will be a good deal of trouble for you to get them put up in any shape to move and if you don’t go to keeping house before I come home, it will be a trouble to get them stored. I think you and father will know what is best better than I do—that is, if you should go before I come home.

It is very rainy at present—so much so that it is impossible for the army to move. But the weather is warm when the sun comes out. It is like what you have up there in May.

I am in the Second Division. It is commanded by General [Romeyn B.] Ayres and in the First Brigade commanded by General [Frederick] Winthrop, 5th Corps by General Warren. I should not be surprised if our corps left this army soon perhaps to go south with Sherman. I hope we will. There is indication that we will ship for somewhere for we have turned over 90 wagons to the 6th Corps. Still we may not go. It will depend on circumstances but we are ready for almost anything.

I am well as usual. Give my respects to all. Kiss Ella and Lewis for me, hoping that this will find you all in the enjoyment of good health and that I may hear from you again soon. I remain your most affectionate and ever loving husband, — Samuel

P. S. If Mr. Roberts calls to see you after you get this, I wish you would send my old felt hat by him if you have got it yet. — S. R. G.

Letter 12

[While serving in the 146th New York Infantry.]

Lincoln Hospital [Washington D. C.]
April 19th 1865

My dear wife,

I received yours of the 12th [and] also of the 14th containing father’s. I don’t think it advisable for him to go to the expense of coming from Wellesville to Washington to get me home for I shall undoubtedly get a furlough and come home sometime in May—perhaps the forepart of May.

You spoke of having sent me a hat and letter by Mr. Case. He had not got to the regiment when I left it. I am sorry you bought a new hat to send to me. I told him to say to you if you had the drab hat that I wore to the shop you might send it to me but I didn’t want you to buy one to send.

I am getting along well. I am able to walk around and for all the trouble there would be about traveling might come home now but they don’t like to let patients leave the hospital until their wounds have got so that there is no danger of their getting worse by being neglected.

I have been transferred to Ward No. 4 and shall likely remain here so you will direct the same as before, only Ward 4 instead of 17. Give my respects to to all. Kiss the children for me. I remain as ever your affectionate husband, — Samuel

The receipt for embalming services by Dr. Thomas Holmes—the “father of American embalming.” Wikipedia claims that Holmes charged $100 per body to embalm Union soldiers and that he embalmed over $4,000 of them during the Civil War. This receipt, however, suggests a much more reasonable price of $22 which included the box Samuel’s body was sent home to Utica in. Holmes embalmed the body of Abraham Lincoln in 1865 less than a month before he embalmed Samuel’s body.
Samuel and Melvina lie buried side by side in Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica, Oneida county, NY

1861: William T. Davis to Jennie Lawler

An unidentified Confederate Infantryman

This letter was written by 25 year-old William T. Davis who entered the Confederate service as a 3rd Sergeant in Co. E, Capt. James H. Dean’s Company, of the 4th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers. Co. E. or the “Harris Guards” were recruited largely from Obion county in the northwestern area of Tennessee. The regiment mustered into service in mid-May 1861 at Germantown and organized at Fort Pillow in August 1861. He was promoted to 2nd Sergeant in December 1861. Sometime in the spring of 1862, William was transferred to the 9th Tennessee Volunteers (by exchange).

Given that the company was raised in Obion county, my educated guess is that the author of this letter is the William Davis who was enumerated as a son of Joseph Davis (b. 1804 in S. Carolina) and his wife Ann (b. 1805 in S. Carolina) who were farmers in District 5 of that county.


Columbus, Kentucky
October 31, 1861

Dear Cousin,

After so long a silence I take the present opportunity to write you a few lines to inform you that I am well and doing well and hope that these few lines will find you and relations enjoying the same blessing. I have nothing of importance to write you. I saw Tom this morning and he said that they were all well in his company.

Cousin, tell Aunt I was very sorry that I did not get to see her when she was down. I did not hear that she was down until dark that night and I intended to go next morning but I had to go on guard and when I come off guard, I went down to Col. [Henry L.] Douglass’ [9th Tennessee Volunteers] Regiment and Aunt had went home on the night previous.

I wrote to you from Fort Pillow and heard nothing from you yet. I would be glad if I could get to see you all once more before we leave this place but I don’t reckon I can get off for the way things is going on now, I think that this—the 4th Regiment—will leave before many days though I may be mistaken. Some think that we will go to Cumberland Gap in the eastern part of this state. Others think we will go back to Missouri.

“Sometimes I think I had just as soon be dead as alive for our country is ruined anyhow and what is there on the earth that would make me want to live except my relations. Cousin, to think one man and his crew can ruin this once happy country!”

Sgt. William T. Davis, Co. E, 4th Tenn. Vols., 31 October 1861

As for my part, I don’t care much where I go nor where I am for I expect to be a soldier the balance of my days for I cannot see any happiness anywhere else. Sometimes I think I had just as soon be dead as alive for our country is ruined anyhow and what is there on the earth that would make me want to live except my relations. Cousin, to think one man and his crew can ruin this once happy country! 1

We have hard times now but in my humble opinion, times is good to what they will be this time next year. But God forbid that they are for in going through the camps you hear a continual cry for blankets or something to keep them warm at night and the general says they cannot be had anywhere. Therefore, some of them is bound to suffer. As for my part, I have enough to make out with but here my fellow soldiers is suffering with cold this time a year. What in the name of God will they do when the weather gets cold?

You must excuse my foolish writing and bad spelling. Cousin Jennie, your old sweetheart Tom Huddleston 2 is here and sends his respects to you. All the boys is enjoying good health now. All we have to do is work in the Battery and drill. I tried to get a permit to come home the other day but the captain would not let me off though if we take up winter quarters here, I will try and come up about Christmas. But we will not be here in my opinion.

Give my love to all enquiring friends and relations and receive a portion for yourself. So nothing more at preset but remain your affectionate cousin. — William T. Davis

P. S. Answer as soon as it comes to hand and tell me all the news. Yours truly, — W. T. Davis

Direct to care of Capt. Dean, 4th Regt. T. V.

1 It takes little imagination to realize that William is referring to Abraham Lincoln and his abolitionist friends as the “one man and his crew” that was perceived by the South as ruining the “once happy country.”

2 Thomas Z. Huddleston (1839-1888) enlisted at the age of 22 in Co. E, 4th Tennessee Volunteers in May 1861. Muster rolls indicated that he was slightly wounded in the head at the Battle of Shiloh but that he deserted near Bardstown, Kentucky, on 4 October 1862. He later reunited with the regiment but was sick and on light duty in Atlanta most of 1863. After the war he married Elizabeth K. Cobb (1842-1888) and resided in South Fulton, Obion county, Tennessee.

Intelligence Gathering by Provost Marshal

Written on official paper of the “Headquarters Provost Marshal’s Office of Washington D. C.”, these appear to me to be notes taken by an investigator representing the office during interviews with one or more citizens living in Prince George’s county, Maryland. This was an area of Maryland that remained fiercely loyal to the slaveocracy and were known to harbor Confederate spies. The interviewer seemed to be interested in the nocturnal activities of local residents, the use of horses, and also enquired whether a couple of doctors remained at home on one night in particular. I don’t know if these notes date to as late as the Assassination of President Lincoln but cannot rule that out. Unfortunately there is no date (except the pre-printed 1862) attached to the document and the writer’s handwriting is so poor that I cannot be certain of the names mentioned.


Headquarters Provost Marshal’s Office
Washington D. C. 1862

John B. Huffer

I stay with Chas. Sheckers. Mrs. Saunders is known to me. Thinks they have eight horses. Eight horses required for farming. Mrs. Saunders’ daughter-in-law, Mrs. Fanfan stays there.

John Sheckells—stays with Mr. Saunders—farms there—-8 horses—horses 3 of 5 horses were all out. Mr. Miller’s son. About one mile toward Blandensburg—brought four in. The short horse belongs to Mr. Saunders. Mr. Brown’s man says he saw them going around his fence.

Henry Dodson at Mr. Saunders, foreigner, heard the horses at Mrs. Saunders’ gate—appeared to be a good many. They never went to Mr. Miller’s place before.

Henrietta Homes stay at Mrs. Saunder’s. Does all kinds of work. Dr. Fanfan & Hall were both at home last night.

Nany [?] Fox

1780: Robert Buchanan to William Matthews

This letter was written in early November 1780 by Baltimore textile merchant Robert Buchanan. It was addressed to his business partner William Matthews in care of Mr. Broome of Elk, Maryland. The gist of this letter is a proposal designed to capitalize on the war-time restriction of the maritime trade caused by the British fleet patrolling the Chesapeake Bay. Though money was tight, Buchanan proposes to stretch the firm’s credit limits as far as they would go in order to buy up goods in other markets speculating that he could sell them at profit in Baltimore and vicinity.

The Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina


Baltimore [Maryland]
3 November 1780

Dear Billy,

Last night Billy Knox came to town from Richmond which he left on Sunday last and positively assures us that the Enemy were still in our [Chesapeake] Bay on the Saturday before and that [ ] there suspected them of any intention of quitting it. He confirms the rest of our great southern news 1 in which you went away so fully possessed of but in such a anner as in my opinion makes the whole doubtful even to the landing of the French troops which we were so certain of. 2 He says that there are stacks of letters from Gen. Gates to the Governor of Virginia which mention it and that it is generally believed and in short I by no means think it half so [ ] as I did yesterday morning. As I think this may materially affect our speculation, Carrol & I have thought it advisable to send the bearer Express to you–especially as he is very desirous of an answer to the following proposal.

When you went from here, he and I believe you considered the Adventure [?] the following light (viz) That you should procure as much goods in Philadelphia as you possibly could by disposing of the property which you take with you only stretching our Joint credits as far as they would go. The goods to be sent down to me immediately and disposed of on the joint concern each 1/3 profit and risk. The business at [ ] be done without commission. As neither of us had an opportunity of fully explaining ourselves to you before you set out, we can only suppose this [ ] been your idea of the business. If it is, we beg you to lose no time in pushing it with the utmost vigor as from the enemy’s still being likely to continue in the Bay, from the prices quotes at [ ], from the prices we hear quoted from Philadelphia, from the quantities of goods arrived and receiving in [ ] City, from the Buckskin 3 being almost given up, I say from all these reasons put together we think you cannot push the speculation too far. If you find that you cannot do as much as you could wish and think advisable without other assistance, the following proposal is made, your answer for which is what this Express speedily goes foro Mr. Howard of Elk Ridge offered to put 50 hogsheads prime tobacco at the present Baltimore price into the speculation an to lend us 50 more on condition that we allow him one quarter of the profit. My advice on this is as above—that is, if you can do as much as you wish without him, reject it as one-third is much better than one quarter each. But if you want assistance and think you can advantageously increase the business by accepting, accept it and the tobacco shall be sent on to you immediately.

Another reason for dispatching this Express is to dissuade you from what you intended on leaving [ ]. You intended staying to forward all the tobacco. Now the last of it left this but yesterday and should you wait, you may lose an opportunity which I think a critical one. Others will be up from here. Could you not, therefore, trust your business at Elk with Broome and push on to the City yourself? But of the necessity or propriety of this, you will perhaps be the best judge, yet I cannot help thinking you ought to go up in order to try what you can do and thus [ ] to judge whether to accept Howard’s offer or not.

In your answer, do not omit to inform me what you have got or expect to get from T. Hall. I will also it as a favor if you will remind Broome of the lands he was to visit or have visited for me.

Lose no moment or opportunity in letting us hear from you and believe me sincerely yours, — Robert Buchanan

Coarse woolen clothing for Negroes L37.10
Half fine Broad cloth 150
Super fine Broad cloth fashionable 375
[other commodities and prices]

1 The “great southern news” must be a reference to the Battle of Kings Mountain, a pivotal event in the Southern campaign, in which the surprising victory of the American Patriot militia over the Loyalists came after a string of Patriot defeats at the hands of Lord Cornwallis, and greatly raised the Patriots’ morale. With Ferguson dead and his Loyalist militia destroyed, Cornwallis was forced to abandon his plan to invade North Carolina and retreated into South Carolina.

2 Until 1780, the French had only been sending supplies to the American colonies fighting the British Crown. But in 1780, the French government began sending troops to the colonies—the first troops arriving in mid-July 1780.

3 The Buckskin Hero was an American privateer (600 tons, 28 guns, 128 men) that was captured by the HMS Arbuthnot) while enroute from Bordeaux to Portsmouth, Virginia. She was laden with brandy, wine, tobacco, lead and other merchandise. She was taken on 9 November 1780 off Cape Henry, Virginia.