Thursday, 1864 November 24, Albemarle County, Virginia: “I am trying now to procure some socks for them. The prospect is not encouraging.”

[A Confederate officer discusses extended medical furloughs and obtaining clothing for members of his regiment]

North Garden
Albemarle Co., Va.
Nov. 24, 1864
Dear Lieut:–
The description lists have been received.
Sergt. [Gillock] left here to-day for his command
for the purpose of reporting to it under
orders from the War Department causing all
soldiers now on furlough who are, or may be able to travel
to report, at the expiration of their furloughs, to their commands, there to be
examined. I prepared a letter for you early this
morning, but an impression was made on my
mind that Sergt. G. would not get off to-day, and therefore,
allowed him to go off without giving him
my letter.
Make out a descriptive list for
Private S. C. [Silas C.] Pugh to the extent you can, with
the understanding that I am to fill it out—
complete it. I make this statement because
I cannot, from memory, furnish you
with all the necessary information. What
I cannot furnish now I will obtain
hereafter from him and complete the
descriptive list. He will not be able for duty
for some time. I saw his wound some little
time ago. It is in a much worse condition
than I expected to find it. The wound at
first was more severe that I had believed it
to be.
S. C. Pugh’s list clothing akc. (2nd year) commences
1st Jany. 1864.
Clothing drawn, 2 cotton shirts—2 pr. drawers.
Was enlisted 1st July, 1861, at North Garden, Albemarle
Co., state of Virginia, by J. W. Williams,
for one year. Was born in Albemarle Co. state of Va.
complexion fair—hair black—when enlisted was
a laborer.
Was wounded in left arm and shoulder on 2nd
June 1864 at (or near) ______ [Ed. note: left blank by Bethel] while engaged in
charging enemy’s skirmishers.
Day before yesterday (Tuesday) I was in
Charlottesville and visited the Medical Examining
Board on business relating to a late order,
(to which I have already referred) and while with
it the Senior Surgeon of the board proposed
examining my case, it being ascertained that the
time for which I was last furloughed would
expire in the Friday next following. To this
I consented, and an application for an extension
of my present furlough was, by special permission
of Genl. Lee, [Robert E. Lee] continued in my present
furlough, as you are aware, made out.
The Special order granting power to boards to
allow officers to go home and await their
furloughs, or the result of their applications
for furloughs, having been revoked, Dr. [James Lawrence]
Cabell, Surgeon in Charge, gave me
written permission to go into “private quarters”
for fifteen days, at the expiration of which
“he will report to me in person or be considered a deserter.”
If Sergt. [Gillock] is allowed to return
home send the descriptive list by him, if not, by mail.
Cause the A. S. [Assistant Surgeon?] to note the date of all furloughs,
or the date of  the leaving of all men of the company,
and the date of the return of the same, together with
the date of the report of all men under the late order from
the War Department requiring men now absent on furlough,
who are able to travel, to report, at the expiration of their
furloughs, to their commands, that action may be taken
on their cases at their commands. I want this
information for future guidance. These latter cases
refered [sic] to will not, perhaps, come under
your observation.
Work hard to get the men well [within?] and
shod for the Winter. If this is not done they
must suffer during such weather as we
have had here for several days past. I
think of you all so often at night.
I made two efforts to obtain clothing from
this county for my men but failed. I
am trying now to procure some socks
for them. The prospect is not encouraging.
It would afford me so much pleasure
to bring down a suit for every man I have.
Give the note, which I will enclose,
to Sergt. [Gillock] if you see him, as he
returns [in a fortnight?].
I am recovering (slowly) the use
of my hand. I have not been able to close it since my
wound was first dressed.
I will furnish you with the desired roll as soon
as I can.
Yours truly,
H. M. Bichel [Hudson M. Bethel]
[Envelope]
Lt. E. I. Gregory [Edward J. Gregory]
Co. “G,” 46th Va. Regt. Infty.
Genl. Wise’s Brigade
Petersburg, Virginia

[Editor: The soldiers in this letter enlisted at North Garden, Albemarle County, Virginia, and served with Company G (“Albemarle Jackson Avengers”), 46th Virginia Infantry.
Sergeant Benjamin F. Gillock became a patient at the Charlottesville General Hospital after a suffering a gunshot wound in the thigh at Petersburg, June 1864; he was placed on detached service in February 1865 and later paroled at Appomattox, Virginia, April 1865.
Private Silas C. Pugh, wounded in the left shoulder at the Howlett Line near Petersburg, June 2, 1864, during the Battle of Cold Harbor (May 31-Jun 12, 1864), also hospitalized in Charlottesville and received a medical furlough through February 1865.
Hudson M. Bethel of Amherst County, Virginia, began his service in July 1861 as a first sergeant and later captain of Company G; wounded in action at Petersburg (a fractured left forearm), June 1864, he was hospitalized at and received several extensions of disability furloughs from the Charlottesville General Hospital and General Hospital Farmville, Virginia, July 1864—January 1865.
In April 1861 Edward J. Gregory enlisted in Richmond as a private in in Company A and rose in the ranks culminating with his election as a lieutenant of Company G, November 1863; wounded at Petersburg in June 1864 and hospitalized at Charlottesville, he acted as the company’s commander until his parole at Appomattox.
Dr. James Lawrence Cabell (1813-1889), practiced medicine in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Paris before his University of Virginia faculty appointment as professor of anatomy, surgery and phyisiology. He became surgeon-in-charge and chief surgeon of the Charlottesville General Hospital during the war.
Major General Henry Alexander Wise (1806-1876), a former governor of Virginia, commanded Wise’s Brigade during the Army of Northern Virginia’s Petersburg Campaign. He was among remaining senior Confederate officers at Appomattox who advised General Lee to surrender.]

MSS 10897

Monday, 1864 October 17, [Cedar Creek], Virginia: “To cast for me and in my name and stead . . . my vote or ballot, the same as if I was personally present at the General election”

[A New York state absentee voter authorization form for a Union soldier stationed in Virginia]

Soldier’s Power of Attorney.

In pursuance of an Act of the Legislature of the State of New-York, entitled “An Act to enable the qualified electors of this State, absent therefrom in the Military Service of the United States, in the Army or Navy thereof to vote,” Passed April 21st, 1864.

I, Charles P. Tremain, a member of Company H of the 160th Regiment New York State Vols. now at or near [Cedar] Creek in the State of Virginia (or Territory) of ___________ (or attached to the United State vessel ___________), and being a resident of the town of Amity (or of the city of ___________) in the county of ___________, do hereby authorize and empower William C. Dake [?] of the town of Amity (or of the city of ___________) in the county of Allegany to cast for me and in my name and stead, in pursuance of Section 2, of said Act, my vote or ballot, the same as if I was personally present at the General election to be held on the 8th day of November 1864.
Charles P. Tremain [signature]
Witness,
Joshua J. Clark [signature]

On this 17th day of October 1864, before me personally came Charles P. Tremain to me known to be the same person described in the foregoing instrument, who being by me duly sworn deposes and says, that he executed the foregoing instrument for the uses and purposes therein mentioned. And at the same time appeared before me Joshua J. Clark, who being by me duly sworn deposes and says that he saw the said Charles P. Tremain sign and execute said instrument in his presence, whereupon the said Joshua J. Clark became the subscribing witness thereto.
D. L. [Daniel L.] Vaughan [signature]
Capt., Co. H, 160th Regt. Vols. [New York Infantry Regiment]

[Editor: On the day this document  was completed the 160th New York Regiment, Army of the Shenandoah (2d Brigade, 1st Division, XIX Corps), was serving as the army’s train guard. Two days later it fought in the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864), part of the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of 1864, suffering 66 casualties in wounded, killed or missing officers and enlisted men. Civil War historians have noted this smashing Union victory helped Lincoln’s re-election.
Private Charles P. Tremain survived the war and applied for a pension in May 1880; according to online sources, a Charles Tremain represented the third district of Onondaga County, New York, as a Republican during the 98th New York State Legislature (1875). The 1860 U. S. Census includes a family of four headed by a “W. C. Dake,” a 40-year-old Allegany County, New York, resident. Joshua J. Clark enlisted in Company H at the rank of private and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Daniel L. Vaughan, of Auburn, New York, age 43, was enrolled as Company H’s captain in October 1862 for three years’ service and in May 1865 appointed to the rank of Major.
The election of November 8, 1864 was one of most crucial in American history. As part of his re-election campaign strategy, President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton encouraged generous leaves of absences for soldiers who needed to go home to vote, if their doing so were not detrimental to maintaining sufficient forces in the field. Lincoln and other elected politicians knew they needed the votes of soldiers. Many Northern states enacted laws allowing soldiers to cast absentee ballots by mail or proxy in the form of a duly authorized surrogate, as in the case of William Dake on Private Tremain’s behalf. In their letters home, the majority of Union soldiers supported Lincoln, the federal government and predicted victory over the Confederate South. Decisively defeating Democratic candidate Major General George P. McClellan, former commander of the Army of the Potomac, Lincoln also won the majority of the soldiers’ votes by a three to one margin (about 70 percent). Allegany County (3,650 votes) and the state of New York also went for Lincoln.]

MSS 9564

Thursday, 1864 September 1, [Front Royal], Virginia: “Unfit for Military service at present”

[Certificate granting a medical leave of absence for a Confederate cavalryman]

[unintelligible] Front Royal, Sept. 1st 1864

We hereby Certify that we have carefully
examined G. W. Brooke, [a private in the] [9th?]
Va. Cavalry, of Rosser’s Brigade, and find him
Unfit for Military service at present in
Consequence of
Gun shot wound in lower portion of left leg
Rec’d in fight at Halls [Haw’s] Shop the 28th of
May last.
We therefore recommend a furlough of
Thirty Days.
J. [unintelligible]
J. B[unintelligible]    Board of Examinations
Approved
Edward B. Powell [signed]
Captain,  Examiner’s Office 9th District Va.

[back of page]

Extended for reasons stated [unintelligible]
Oct. 1/64     J. [unintelligible] M. D.
Extended for reasons stated [unintelligible]
Nov. 1/64     J. [unintelligible] M. D.
Extended for reasons stated [unintelligible]
Dec. 1, 1864     J. [unintelligible] M. D.
Extended for reasons stated [unintelligible]
Jany. 1, 1865     J. [unintelligible] M. D.
Extended for reasons stated [unintelligible]
Feby. 1, 1865     J. [unintelligible] M. D.

[Editor: This certificate is an example of problems characteristic with some handwritten Civil War documents—documents created 150 years ago. Heavily smudged, it was written on both sides of a sheet of fragile tissue-like paper on which the ink has bled through—obscuring much of the text on either side. An early description of this certificate identified this soldier as C. W. Brooke/Charles Wallace Brooke (b. 1811 or 1812) but no such individual is listed as a member of any Virginia Confederate cavalry regiment in consulted published or online sources; it also identified his unit as the ‘59th Virginia Cavalry”—an organization that never existed according to Lee A. Wallace, Jr., A Guide to Virginia Military Organizations, 1861-1865, rev.2nd ed. (Lynchburg, Virginia: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1988). A Private George W. Brooke served in Company H, 9th Virginia Cavalry. (Another Private George W. Brooke, 12th Virginia Cavalry, Company G, died May 1864.) The “Brooke” referenced in this certificate may have been on special or detached service at the time of his wounding. Major General Thomas L. Rosser (1836-1910) commanded Rosser’s Brigade, also known as the Laurel Brigade, 1863-65; during 1864 it included the 7th, 11th, 12th and 35th Virginia cavalry. The Battle of Haw’s Shop (Enon Church), was fought in Hanover County, Virginia, May 28, 1864, twelve miles north of Richmond, part of the 1864 Overland Campaign during which Rosser’s Brigade served as part of Major General Wade Hampton’s (1818-1902) cavalry division. According to various sources, Virginia cavalry units engaged at Haw’s Shop included the 2nd, 3rd, 4th,  6th, 12th and 22nd regiments. Captain Edward B. Powell was a member of Company F (“the Fairfax Cavalry”), 6th Virginia Cavalry.]

MSS 9339

Tuesday, 1864 August 16; Wednesday, August 17 and Thursday, August 18 [City Point, Virginia]: “Hard work carrying Lumber up the Hill”

[Pocket diary of David Probert, a New Jersey civilian employed as a carpenter by the United States Military Railroads during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia]

[Page heading] August, TUESDAY, 16, 1864.
Hot in the morning, [unintelligible]
am finished the Cook Shanty
by Noon in the afternoon.
Went to work on making
Counters. Toward evening
got Colder. Firing going
on at the front.

[Section heading] August, WEDNESDAY, 17, 1864.
I [felt] very well go to work
to Build a Post Office up
on the Hill hard work carrying
Lumber up the Hill. Towards
Evening got a regular thunder
Shower got rather wet
went home bed all wet;
firing to Night.

[Section heading] August, THURSDAY, 18, 1864.
Up in the morning felt
very well to work to day
[unintelligible] on the Post Office
[unintelligible] weather Rather wet
heavy Showers. 4
Mortars brought up from
the Rebs.

[Editor: The small size of many Civil War-era pocket diaries only allowed brief daily entries, usually about two or three concise sentences. David Probert (1836?--?) resided in Jersey City and Patterson, New Jersey. A January 1864 enrollment certificate described him as 27 years old, dark eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, five and a half feet tall, and a resident of Jersey City, New Jersey. He was employed in Tennessee by the Quartermaster Department of the District of Nashville as a carpenter from January 31 to April 1, 1864. He received an honorable discharge and eventually was hired by the Bridge Department of the United States Military Railroads in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 4, 1864 at the rate of $2.40 per day. During the period of this diary Probert was employed primarily at Alexandria and City Point, Virginia. Following an accidental leg injury on May 18, 1864, he resigned in October 1864 to return to his home for recuperation. On November 21, 1864 he was hired by the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad Company.]

MSS 10776

Sunday, 1864 July 31, [Headquarters Camp William Penn, Chelton Hills, Virginia]: “We, the undersigned . . . Musicians . . . acknowledged to have received . . . several articles of Clothing”

[Record of clothing and equipment, and their monetary value, issued to sixteen African-American soldiers of an United Stated Colored Troops brigade band]

[Form] No. 52. We, the undersigned . . . Musicians of Brigade Band No. 2 U. S. C. T, do hereby acknowledge to have received of George E. Wagner, Captain, 8th U. S. C. T., Post Adjutant, the several articles of Clothing set opposite our respective names.

Joseph Costley [Band Leader], 2 items, $9.50
Joshua Jones [Musician Third Class], 2 items, $9.50
Moses Bolden [Musician First Class], 2 items,$9.50
Thomas J. Simmons [Musician Third Class], 3 items, $10.40
William Jones [Musician First Class], 2 items, $9.50
James Aaron [Musician Second Class], 3 items, $11.55
James M. Loney/Louey [Musician First Class], 2 items, $9.50
William Cole [Musician Third Class], 2 items, $9.50
John C. O’Brien [rank unknown], 2 items, $9.50
James R. Ray [Musician First Class], 2 items, $9.50
William Ludlow [Musician Second Class], 2 items, $9.50
Theophilus McCall [Musician Second Class], 2 items, $9.50
John L. Peck [Musician Third Class], 2 items, $9.50
John Randolph [Musician Third Class], 2 items, $4.55
John Morris [Musician Third Class], 2 items, $9.50
Jonathan Grobes [Musician Third Class], 12 items, $24.93
[Total: 44 items issued, $165.43]

[Editor: Lieutenant Colonel George Emil Wagner (1842-1904) of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, served as an officer of the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry and later the 8th and 9th regiments of United States Colored Troops. Form 52 required an enumerated statement of soldiers’ clothing allowances during their enlistments; throughout a five-year period each was to be issued a predetermined number of hats (5), forage caps (5), uniform coats/jackets (5), blue flannel sack coats (10), trousers (13), flannel shirts (15) and drawers (11), pairs of bootees (20), pairs of stockings (20), leather stockings (2), great coat (1), stable frock (2), fatigue overalls (5), blankets (2). Most of these African-American band members were privates and signed their names with the exception of James Aaron, who signed with his ‘X’ mark.]

MSS 11174

Wednesday, 1864 June 29, Gauley Bridge [Fayette County], West Virginia: “Men and horses dropped dead from fatigue and hunger”

[A Union cavalryman’s letter  to his sister during 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaigns]

Camp near Gauley Bridge
June 29, 1864
Dear Sister Ada
Once again we have got
“insidie” our lines, and I will write you
an answer to your letter of May 27th which
I received before we left Staunton.
I have been very well since there & have so
much to write about that I don’t know
where to commence
It is just 2 months since we left Frederick
Md [Maryland] and we have had two months as hard
soldiering as I want to see.
My last letter home was from Staunton
from there we crossed the mountain
captured a rebel wagon train destroyed the
rail road marched within 10 or 12 miles of Lynchburg
and over the mountains again to Lexington
(our route east of the mountains was through the counties of
Nelson & Amherst.)
From there we went to [Buchanan] on
the James River on the route we passed
within 2 miles of the “Natural Bridge”

[page 2]
but didn’t get to see it as it was after
night when we passed it. Buchanan is in Roanoke County
from there we went to Liberty in Bedford County our route
was between the “Peaks of Otter” through
Peaks Gap from there we went nearly to Lynchburg the second city of Va
so near that we could see the city plainly.
Our Division Genl Dufie’s [Alfred N. Duffié (1833–1880)] were
on the left of our line of battle but didnt
suffer much. There was a strong earth
work in our front and we were dismounted
to storm it but for some reason didnt
try it. One man in our Company was
dangerously wounded by a shell. It was RN
Gibson [Richard N. Gilson] of Toms Creek he was left in
the rear when we left as we had no
ambulance with us. We also lost 3 horses.
From Lynchburg we fell back through Liberty, Salem[,] Sweet Springs, White
Sulphur Springs[,] Lewisburg & Meadow
Bluff to this place. We are now
about 30 or 35 miles from Charleston.
I hope I shall never see another such
march. 14[?] miles or more of this route

[page 3]
was through the Alleghany Mts
the road was tolerably good but,
tired & hungry we had to keep jogging
along for about 8 days and nights
we didnt unsaddle our horses and
only stopped occasionally to rest & graze
our horses. Men and horses dropped
dead from fatigue and hunger.
Our route was strewn with wagons
and horses I hope I shall never see the
like again. Day before yesterday we
received rations and the men are all
in good spirits again. Our detachment
being mounted didnt suffer much
as we had a chance to forage.
We expect to go to Charleston [West Virginia]
tomorrow but dont know what the program then will be.
We have had plenty of skirmishes
and cavalry fights but I have
passed through all safely.
The trip has been a hard one but
after resting a day or two we will
be all right.

[page 4]
(Your sheet of paper just suits)

I would like to write more
but it is getting dark I could
tell of the many romantic spots
we have seen but will have to
defer it. I will write again in
a day or two.
Give my love to all inquiring
friends. With love to all I
remain Your loving brother
Oscar.
Oscar McMillan
Army of West Va

[postscript]
June 30th. As I didn’t get my letter started
I will finish now this morning we crossed
[Gauley] River and we are now camped
at Loop Creek Landing on the Roanoke
River a few miles below the Falls of the
Kanawha [Kanawha Falls]. I think we will remain here
for a few days to rest and recruit our
horses when it is likely we will be
sent to Martinsburg Va., Clarksburg.
Write me a letter direct to 1st Cavalry
Brigade 1st Cavalry Division Army of West Virginia (Co “C” 2d MD [Maryland] Cavalry[ ) ]
With love to all I remain Oscar

[Editor: According this collection’s finding aid, “Oscar D. McMillan was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1838 and served four years in the Civil War as a Private and 1st Lieutenant in Cole’s Cavalry Company (Company C, 1st Regiment Potomac Home Brigade Cavalry Maryland). His company participated in the Union Army of the United States Shenandoah Valley Campaign. He also served in Company E, 2nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. His letters reveal that he was a model soldier, brother and son. . . . Oscar McMillan died of a cerebral embolism in 1919 after being happily married for 46 years and a farmer in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.” A “Private Richard N. Gilson,” Company C, Coles Cavalry, First Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade Company, enlisted August 27, 1863 and died of wounds received in action, August 3, 1864. The Peaks of Otter are three mountains overlooking Bedford, Virginia, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.]

MSS 15284

Tuesday, 1864 May 3, Albemarle County, Virginia: “I am very scarce of meat”

[Letter to a planter from a widow hoping to buy a cow as food for her family; an example of increasing civilian hardships on the Confederate home front]

Morea, near University [University of Virginia, Charlottesville]
Genl. Cocke:
I am exceedingly anxious to purchase
a fresh cow & knowing that my friend &
neighbor Dr. McGuffy has a very fine one
he purchased of you, I thought it probable
you might have another to dispose of—if
you have it will be a great accommodation
to me to let me have it as I am very scarce
of meat & a good cow would supply the
want of meat to my family.
Please let me hear from you & know
your price.
Very [Respectfully]
Mary J. Smith
Direct to Mrs. Mary Jane Smith
University of Va.

[reverse]
Smith, Mrs. Mary Jane
Rec’d May 10th
Ans’d 11th 1864

[Editor: John Hartwell Cocke (1780–1866) of Fluvanna County, a Virginia militia brigadier general during the War of 1812. Cocke’s reply to Smith is not present in his papers. William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873), professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia, 1845 until his death, and author of the McGuffey Readers, one of America first and perhaps most successful textbooks series; revised editions are still in print. Morea, a large brick structure at the time  located west of the University, built during the 1830s by John Patten Emmet (1796-1842), a professor of natural history, chemistry and material medica who sold it during the 1840s to a member of Duke family, a prominent local and Virginia family. It served as the residence of Mary Jane Duke Smith [Mary Jane Clark Duke, born Albemarle County, Virginia, March 15, 1811--July 19, 1891] and other Duke family members during the Civil War. Mary was the widow of William Willoughby T. Smith (?-July 15, 1845), first U. S. Consul to the Republic of Texas until his drowning death there in 1845. Today Morea House is owned by the University and used for meetings and other events. Its name is from the Latin morus,for the mulberry trees Professor Emmet planted for the silkworms he raised (University of Virginia online map “Morea,” http://www.virginia.edu/webmap/popPages/185-morea.html). The “University/University of Virginia” was an independent post office address until the early twentieth century and located one mile west of the town of Charlottesville.]

MSS 640

Sunday, 1864 April 24, Otisville, Genesee County, Michigan: “Now about buying a horse . . . Never buy & furnish anything that the U. S. furnishes”

[Letter of a Michigan civilian who advises his cavalryman brother against purchasing his own horse for military service]

Otisville, April 24, 1864
Genesee County, Michigan

Bro. Alf:
I now will try
to [unintelligible word] this Sunday morning in writing to
you in answer to yours of the 14th which I
rec’d Thursday. We are all usually well
but Eliza, she has the sore throat, in about one
hour from the time it commenced it was cankered.
I am in hopes that by having [unintelligible word] attend to it all
the while it will not be anything very serious
but there is no telling which may end I trust
I trust that the next letter I write to you I can say She
is entirely recovered. We have at last finished
Sugaring we finished yesterday & gathered the buckets [of]
molasses & about 4 barrels of vinegar. I wish you
could have a chunk of cake sugar to rub on
your hardtack &[two faded words] your sowbelly pork
[teats?] & all. I have heard from the 7th Cavalry [7th Michigan Cavalry]
week ago Thursday I got a letter from Ben Bidwell

[page 2]
& Thursday one from William Van Voorheis. I find
Co. C lost 3 men All of them good boys they think
that they were taken prisoners. They will have
a hard time of it I am afraid. Now about
buying a horse, I shall give you my advice & you
can follow it or not. Never buy & furnish anything that
the U. S. furnishes. Don’t buy a horse. You will, tis’ true,
draw $12 per month for him & pay for him if
killed but if he plays out on a march or dies
of disease you will lose him. Someone has
been stiffing you because you are green &
they had a horse to sell. Another thing I
don’t believe that a private horse will stand
any more than a Government horse (unless he’s a
better one.) And no private horse gets any better
fare or usage than any man will give a Gov’t
horse, for they can’t draw any more rations
for one than the other & if he is half a man
he will tend a Gov’t horse as well as if it was

[page 3]
his own for his horse & saber are the
main things he depends upon & if he don’t
take care of his horse, when he gets into a
tight place his horse won’t take care of him.
Again, draw you a good horse & take good
care of him before long you may go into battle
& get the chance to pick up a good horse without
the U. S. brand on him if he is as good or better
than your horse swap & get him mustered in
as your horse the next muster day & you will
draw your pay & he will cost you nothing. If you
buy a horse & are taken sick & sent to the
hospital & may be to Washington some one
will take your horse & perhaps use him
up in a few days [and] not take half care of him
& so you will lose him.
A circular in this [Editor: Item missing.] from my [New York] woman she
gives an extra album & [unintelligible word] for every club
of five if you conclude to act as agent send
five dollars & get you an album & [unintelligible word]

[page 4]
to show & if you get a club of five get
the sixth man & keep his five dollars &
send the sixth one to him. I expected to get a $15.00
watch by paying one dollar extra I draw a $14.00
chain. Save your money & send it
to me & have it taken care of so if you
have the bad luck to come home with a leg or
arm off you will have something to help
yourself with. Eliza  & I got a letter from
Sarah Thursday she was well—
Esther L  ?  is Sick I don’t know
what ails her I have written about
enough for [unintelligible word] time so
I [guess] I will [here] [unintelligible word]
[2 unintelligible words] but do not
[2 unintelligible words] to [believe any?]
[2 badly faded and unintelligible lines]
[3 unintelligible words] your
brother John

[Editor: This letter is badly faded in many areas, especially on page 4. Confederate soldiers furnished their own horses but the Union government provided them for its soldiers. The 7th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, which served 1862-1865, was among the cavalry regiments of the Michigan Brigade commanded by Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876). According to the online Michigan Civil War Soldiers Index, William Van Voorheis and Benjamin Bidwell were members of Company C, 7th Michigan Cavalry.]

MSS 10905

Thursday, 1864 March 24, Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia [later West Virginia]: “Said he expected they would hang him”

[Diary entry of an identified Union army military chaplain’s (?) visit with an accused wife murderer]

Martinsburg, Va. March 24, 1864
On Provost guard in Martinsburg
today made a visit to the room
in which Mr. Joseph  M. [Linciana?]
who murdered his
wife in Martinsburg was confined.
He seemed to be in much trouble
at times especially about his children
(4 in number). Said he expected
they would hang him, and that
he imagined strange things and saw
strange sights. Said his wife had
a secret in her heart which she would
not reveal to him, and that she had
frequently asked him to get her some
medicine which she wanted to kill her
child with which was then unborn.
Said that the plot she had in progress
would result in his death.
He spent a considerable time in prayer
to God expressed hopes of entering Heaven

[page 2: “March 24th” continued]
but he read from the bible and talked
sometime. Prayer was offered by a member.
Did not take an active part in
the meeting, although I felt it my
duty. O Lord I hope this man fearing
spirit still hangs about me. It seems
almost an impossibility for me to
cast it off. For my wicked heart
cherishes this evil spirit, which I
feel incompetent to cast off without
Thy assistance and for thy all sufficient
assistance I humbly pray.
I feel O Lord, that Thou art ever true
to Thy promises and that Thou will
grant the requests of all those that pray
believing, but I have a wicked [heart]
that is fit only fit for the [service?] of the
devil which I humbly ask Thee to take
from me and give me one free from
guile so that I can pray believing; with
[unintelligible word] the spirit I should. O Lord hear my
prayer and according to Thy word give
me a new heart. Amen.

[Editor: West Virginia was admitted to the Union as a state on June 20, 1863. Other materials in  this manuscript collection suggests this unidentified Union soldier as possibly a member of the 34th Massachusetts Infantry and/or the United States Christian Commission, a Protestant organization that provided medical services and religious literature to Union troops.]

MSS 5535

Tuesday, 1864 February 16, Stony Mountain, Virginia: “I have found out lately that I will not get out of service as soon as I expected”

[A Pennsylvania soldier stationed in Virginia writes to his mother]

Signal Station, Stony Mountain [Virginia]
Feb. 16th 1864
Dear Mother
I have received your
welcome letter of the 12th instant & also the
one before—this evening—as one of
the fellows was in camp today & got the
mail, & I hasten to reply as I have
time—and probably I will not have
so much leisure time for some
while to come. [Editor: The term “instant” is an adjective for ‘of the current month.’]
We reached here last Tuesday evening
& proceeded immediately to establish
a Station & have been busy
ever since building up our quarters,
stables & fixing up the Station,
besides station duty & guard duty
at night.
Saturday was the first day that we
were not busy working, we had a
quite a snow storm but today was

[page 2]
so mild that there is scarcely any
snow now to be seen.
As we have all the extra work done,
main duty now will be station
watch in the daytime & guard
duty at night.
This mountain is nothing more
than a large hill, it is about
six miles from Brandy Station in a
south easterly direction & a mile &
a half from the Rapidan [River].
We can plainly distinguish the Reb
pickets on the other side of the river
with the naked eye.
This station is what we call a
station of observation being on
the extreme outpost of our lines
nothing but cavalry pickets outside
of us, & it is our business to keep a
strict [watch] on the rebels, & report any little
change that we may see.
We live a great deal better than I

[page 3]
used to do in the regiment. We have
a chance to draw full amount of
rations, all the little ‘Extras,” & then
we have more cooking utensils for
we can get them hauled. Our party
(each station has one) have a wagon
& of course we make out to always have
a load, why when we were moved out
here from camp we got an extra
wagon & hauled all the material
that we had in our house except
the chimney.
In one [of] your letters you spoke about
the shirt which you sent me. I thought
that I had wrote that I had
received it all right, it was my
intention to have done so, but I
suppose forgot it.—It fits very well
& appears to wear equally as well.
I have found out lately that I
will not get out of service as soon
as I expected—not until the
26th of next July which will be

[page 4]
two months over my three years.
I was very foolish not to have thought
more about this when I had my
descriptive list made out. I could
as easy as not went out on June
4th as go out when I do.
I received a letter from Will Hammond [Sergeant William B. Hammond]
week before last he said the
regiment [30th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry] could be held until the
26th July.
I must close this hasty written
letter as it is time for me to go
on guard.
Give my love [to] Father, [Jennie?] Uncle &
Aunt & all inquiring friends &
I remain as ever your [affectionate]
Son
[signed] John E. Gillespie

[Editor: John Eves Gillespie (September 3, 1842-June 29, 1872) to his mother Eliza Jane Gillespie (1813-1878) [Mrs. Franklin Gillespie; Franklin Gillespie (1805-1877)] of New London, Chester County, Pennsylvania. This letter is accompanied by an envelope postmarked “February 20, Washington, D. C.” The 30th Pennsylvania Volunteers (Infantry) was organized at West Chester, Pennsylvania, in June 1861 as the 1st Regiment Reserves Infantry, later designated the 30th Pennsylvania, and mustered out in June 1864. John Gillespie was mustered in as a private in Company A, 30th Pennsylvania, June 1861, promoted to corporal on January 5, 1863, and transferred to the Army of the Potomac’s Signal Corps, November 3, 1863. After the war he attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical Department and became a doctor and U.S. Navy assistant surgeon. William B. Hammond enlisted in Company A, 30th Pennsylvania Infantry, June 1861, was promoted to sergeant, October 1861, and mustered out with his company in June 1864. According to one online source, Stony Mountain is in the Madison County, Virginia, section of Shenandoah National Park.]

MSS 15500, 15500-A