z CivWarChron

                        ~All 36 Civil War Letters listed Chronologically~

(author- Adam Keafer)

Alliance Sep 23 1861

Dear Miss Thompson

I take the pleasure to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and all the boys and I hope these few lines may find you the same we like. Camp first rate so far . We get as much to eat as we want and get to go to town every day. We have lots of fun now but it wonít be always so I know we will have some hard times to go through yet but I donít mind that if we only keep our health. There is eight companies in camp now. There is only one of them full. There is one hundred tents up now. We drill four hours a day, two in the fore noon and two in the after noon and at four oíclock a battalion drill. There is lots of pretty girls in our camp every day. We will be sworn in next Tuesday and get our uniforms. The Alliance fair is going to be on the 9, 10, and 11. I would like to see some of the folks up. I expect to go to the Canton fair if I can get off. I expect you have seen William Cassidy since he got back. He can tell you all about camp life. I guess he was glad to get home again.

Just the day before his father came after him. He said he wished there would come after him no more at present.

Yours truly,

Write soon

Adam Keafer

Address your letter to Alliance, Stark County, Ohio

Company D 19 regiment

(author- David Reed, Nancy's cousin)

December 9 1861

Cousin Nancy Thompson,

I took time to write to you to let you know that I am well at present and hope you the same. We had a pleasant time here yesterday we had lots of girls in to see us soldiers. Nancy I wish you could come down to see us soldiers we have a good time here . We were to Church yesterday at Philadelphia. Nancy I want you to write to me when there are going to have a dance up to our town. I think I will be up in 2 or 3 weeks if nothing happens. The Waynesburg Girls is coming down in a week or two. Nancy I am going to run a foot Race now and I will tell you how I come out. Excuse till I run the race.

The race is over the side that I was on beat.

There is three nice young ladies in camp now. Nancy come down our Captain went to Columbus to get our time extended longer if we haint 6 hundred men gen the 15th of this month we have to leave but I think we will get time I hope so well I must stop writing this time. But write soon excuse my bad writing. But remember Your friend

David Reed

To Nancy Thompson


Camp Meggs Ohio

Care of Ca Ulman

(author- E.S. VanMeter, Nancy's cousin)

Home: March 2 1862

Miss Thompson

Affectionate cousin I seat myself to drop a few lines to you to let you know that I read your most kind but very short letter of the 19th and was very glad to hear that you had arrived safe home and that you found the folks all well and able to scold. Your letter found us all well and Kicking. Motherís health is quite good at this time. We took her to Hughís a Thursday and had a good old time to get her there she fought and hollared all the way. Well Nancy I suppose you would like to see the little Liuet Bowsure one time more and have him in your arms and kiss him and call him honey. This is every lonesome day. It is snowing and hailing and almost cold enough to freeze the horns off the chickens. I bourd the sugar trees yesterday and did not get water enough to drink. They were all barren. We have recd. Some three or four letters from Isaac since you left here the last one was wrote the 20th. They came back to Lebanon Kentucky and stayed one day and was ordered to Tennessee again but we donítí know where. You wanted to know the Captains name was Ogan. If you meant to write to Isaac direct it to I.L.VanMeter Lebanon Kentucky 14th Ohio Regiment Comp K in care of Capt. Ogan and the letter will follow him. His capt. Is now laying sick at Lebanon. Donít forget the name is Ogan. Old Polly says she thinks you was not as good as your word. You promised to come back again and did not do it. You said in your letter that you had got your (picture?) taking in Shulltown and left it at Hugh Downings for us and that healed the wound with old Polly. Oh yes Nancy what is the matter with Irving. We have not heard from him since he left. If he is able to write we would like to hear from him but I must bring my scribbling to a close hoping you will write soon. Give my love to all your brothers and sisters and especially to aunt. Excuse my scribbling Yours in love, E. S. Vanmeter

(author- David Reed, Nancy's cousin)

April the 6 1862

Cousin Nancy,

I received your let. some time ago and were glad to hear that you enjoyed your self so well in the west. Well Nancy, I am well at present but I am troubled with the Newralgy I had it about 3 hours the day and I have got a touch of it now . I hope yours are all well. I wrote a letter to Irvin and hant got no answer yet. I would like to hear from you and like to know how you got home. I think when I get home we must go and see our cousins. I donít care how soon that will be. We will go to Cumberland and see Becky & Joseph & Uncle Isaac McGregery. I heard that Austin Brothers got home & he lost one of his fingers. I donít know whether it is so or not but I heard so. We had a big storm here the 1 of April. It was a hard storm it blowed roofs off and houses down and boats were blowed out on land . Our tent were blowed all to pieces. I tell you we shoveled gravel for a while. It is very pleasant here now but very warm for he time of year. The trees are out in leaf & peach trees are not in blossom and apple trees they have been out for some time. I would like to know whether you have got that watch that I won of you. I would like to have it now and I would like to have some of them walnuts that grows down at Cumberland. Turn over. Marion Ross is well. I got a let, from Lew Ross since I were here in Camp. I want you to write all the particular that is going on for I would like to hear what is going on. We have lots of secesh here but they must keep straight. We have lots of music here. There is a boat that has a Caliope on & it plays by steam. It can be heard 5 miles & then the fifes and drums they come in. I must stop now for dress parade excuse me for a while.

Well, I will commence again. I were mistaken about calling rest out for dress parade it was for meeting but I did not go. Joseph Reed is getting supper. He is commencer on the last flioh it is about 6 years old. We had a good dinner. We had Bread Tuden we got a union woman to bake it for us boys, 16 of us.

Nancy I guess you wonít see me ride down the road towards Waynesburg for some time. I think of them limes but them is over for awhile. Well I must stop writing for this time for the ink is done Ant that a bad go

Nancy write soon and remember you best friend,

David Reed

David Reed to Nancy Thompson

Paducah KY

Co, A 80 Regt O.V.

In care of Ca. Ulman

(author- Hugh VanMeter, Nancy's cousin)

West Cairo October 2nd 1862 ?

Miss Nancy Thompson

My Dear Cousin

I must first confess my sins for not answering your letter sooner but I know you will forgive me and I will do so no more. Well Nancy we are all well at present that is at home. Susannah has been sick for about six weeks with the typhoid fever but she is getting better. She was teaching school and took the fever one week before her school was out. John is to the war and is now in Frankfort Kentucky. James Vanmeter his two boys is gone that is John his own son and James. John Vanmeter so that he raised is gon. John Vanmeters four sons is in the war and Ellzey and Isaac is gon also: I have 8 nephews and son who has gone to fight the rebels. There is but one of the Vanmeter race here that is old enough but what is gone, is there any one family of our race can beet that. There has gone about 1200 young men from Allen County one to about every six of the population and can your county beat that? Our girls is acting the noble part for they declare that they will not marry a man that wonít fight for their country. Will the girls of your county do that? Times is pretty hard here now the rarshas nicked amost every thiry down, but I think our boys will give the south pits against next spring. our wheat crop here thin season was pretty badly injured by the weavel. our corn is very good, potatoes is good.and have had a very dry summer here. Wheat is worth 15, corn 20, oats 19 , butter 5, eggs 6. Motherís general health is very good but her mind is almost gone the most of the time. She donít know her own children. Aunt Sally is not married yet but she is still courtry yet. Her hare has all come out an a new growth has started an it is about as long as you finger and is curley as any niger you ever seen. Now I canít tell what is the reason without it is (?) dusky so much: Minty I would like to see you climing that hill once more. Give my love to aunt and all the rest. Write soon and tell me every thing can when you are going to get (married?) I must stop fare well

Hugh Vanmeter

(author- A. Bowsher)

Camp Paris

Jan 22nd 1863

Attachment of 8th Regt. O.V.I.

Advance army of KY

Miss Nancy Thompson

Malvern Carl Co.


After intentions long Defend not through Neglect or Desire But from almost incessant Duty I at last find the time to address you a note for the purpose of frankly saying that being so highly pleased and entertained by your appearance that I much desire a further acquaintance with you if agreeable to yourself. You will favor me with a note in answer to this expressing your will in haste. With the kindest regard your sincere friend

Address to Lieut. Bowsher

118th Regt. O.V.I. Co (D)

Paris Kentucky

(author- Austin Brothers)

Camp Tod

Memphis Ten

February the 15, 1863


Miss Nancy your epistle of the seventh has been read with much pleasure and now I shall try to reply to it as I am always anxious to hear from you. I shall just be as prompt in answering although we have a very inconvenient place to write I will do the best I can and that is all you can ask of me. We are still at Memphis Ten and we may stay here for some time yet as soldiering is rather an uncertain business. As to what we are a going to do from one day to another we had marching orders once for Vixburgh and was ready to start when they were countermanded for us to stay here which I hope will be the case every time as this is a beautiful place to camp and no danger of us getting our top nots taken off: There is a great many of our Carroll Co. boys here. The third Ohio Battery is here and the eightieth Ohio Infantry. They both lay close to us so that we are together every day. You can just tell Mint that the Reverend R. True is not here. He was left behind sick but they are looking for him every day to rejoin his Regt. again. The rest of the boys that you are acquainted with I believe are all well. Mr. Ross and Mad Mais and Jones from Waynesburg was here one week. They left for home yesterday. If you want any information in regard to millitary matters just call on Mad Mais I think he can post you.

You wanted to know how the ladies of this state and Ohio would compare with each other. I will give you as near a comparison as I can without exaggeration in the least. There is just as much difference between the ladies here and there as there is between a jackass and a horse. The women down here can neither be coaxed nor drove and that is just the way with a jackass and as for which I think will make the best women, you can judge by the above statement: I will now give you a statement of our forces here. There is about sixty thousand soldiers here and negros accordingly. We are in the 3 division 17 army Corps. and the 4 brigade commanded by Gen. Stephenson. Dr. Clark is here in the hospital. He looks well and is doing very well. There is considerable of sickness here. The small pox and the Tennessee quick step is the worst diseases there is. My health is good yet and I hope it will stay so as it is rather a hard place to be sick. I will send for you as I think you are a good nurse and I haint very hard to nurse. If there is any development to get at you can just tell that Stone pile for me that I wish him much joy and every nine months a damned big Dutch boy. I will close for the present hoping that the war may soon be over. That we may all get back and take to ourselves a woman and go to recruiting up for another war and live up to the scriptures which we are all falling far short from now as this is a very wicked place I donít think there will be much chance for improvement on us till the war is over and by that time we will all be apast redemption. If I have written anything that offends you you will have to pardon me for so doing. You will please still address to Camp Tod, Memphis Tennessee, Co. A, 32 Regt. O.V.I

Yours With Respect,

Austin Brothers

Write soon

Good By

(author-A. Bowsher)

Camp near Paris

March 4th

Detachment of 118th Regt. O.V.I

Co (D)

Miss Nancy Thompson

Malvern Carl Co.

Esteemed Miss

This is the second note that I have been permitted to write to you for the purpose of letting you know that I still enjoying health even thanking God for that favor towards me. Ever trusting that this note may find you in better health than days gone by. I received your kind note a few days ago. I was very glad to hear from you. Under the previous circumstances I was much surprised when I unfolded your note and saw who it was from. It was so long a coming that I thought you had forgotten me. But I ascertain it was on the account of health. You said in your note you had been forgotten and therefore you was much surprised when you saw the signature. I will admit you had reasons to think so. I must acknowledge you have not been forgotten. Nor I have no reasons to think that you will. My time will not permit of me writing much this morning for the reason we expect to be attacked daily at this place. We are bringing in prisoners every day from the rebel pickets so with these words I will close hoping to hear from you soon. I hope the time will soon hasten when this unholy rebellion will be put down so I may have the pleasure of enjoying your society if agreeable to you. You will favor me by expressing your mind in your next note. So I will close till I hear further.

I am respectfully your true friend in the army

A Bowsher

(Author- Austin Brothers)

Lake Providence, La.

Monday Morning

March the 9 1863

Miss Nancy as it has been some time since I have written to you and have not got an answer yet to my last I will write to you again. It is very little mail we get here as all the mail boats are used as transports so that the mail has just to be shoved on them or else they would not fetch it at all. We only have had one mail since we have been here but it donít make any difference to me whether I hear from you or not. I will write to you anyway. But I would much rather hear from you once and a while so as to know what is going on along the valley. I heard that you have left Amanda J. and John slip off at last? I say booly for them. I am very well satisfied that I got that spark out of her when I was there for I suppose it will be the last one ever I will get out of her. I wish her much joy and every nine months two big boys if John is man enough to make them for her. I am getting amost damned afraid that all my women will get married while I am away but I am like the dutchman. I haint a caring a damn for there never was a Jack but there was a ginna to match him so that I think I stand on pretty good footing yet. Well that will do of that kind of nonsense: We are having a very good time here as the weather is pleasant and the ground is nice and dry and the trees are all out in full bloom and the garden vegetables are nearly all fit to use. We have nearly lived on sweet potatoes since we came here. It is one of the greatest countries to forage in ever I saw. They may talk about starving them out but they have as much to live on as we have in the North and I think a little more too. I was out about (12) miles from camp the other day where our troops had never been and we got six two horse wagon loads out of one house without going to the barn or any of the out houses itself. I tell you the women give us hark but we did not mind them. They were an old planterís daughters and his wife. I donít think it would be much use for a yankee to try to get a wife down here for they hate us worse than black snakes.

We are under marching orders now and expect to leave this week. Our place of destination is in the rear of Vixburg. We will go down the Mississippi till we come to the Yazoo River and then we will run up it till we come to Yazoo City and from there we will have to take it afoot across the country. It may be before this reaches you. I may see some hard fighting and probably bite the dust too. There was some very hard fighting going on in that direction yesterday and last night we could hear the cannoning all day and night. It has ceased this morning. We have not learned what the result of it is yet as there is no telegraph line from here down there.

There is getting to be a good bit of sickness down here. There has been one of our boys died since we came here and a great many more of them is sick. I was just in the Hospital to see one that has the small pox. He looks awful. They are out on him as thick as they can stick. There is all kinds of disease here now. There is some that has got the itch and others that have got the pararie digs and a good many other privates diseases that I wonít mention and about two third of our division has got the Louisiana trotts now. I have given you as near all the diseases that is connected with the army as I can with the exception of fevers and the rest you can guess.

We are in the third division fourth brigade and the seventeenth army corps. Commanded by Brig. Er General A. Logen. It may be a long time before I will have the opportunity of writing to you again for if we get around in the rear of Vixburg we wonít have any chance of sending letters from there. I will close by stating I am well hoping you are in like, happy condition. You will please to burn this and not let anybody see it.

Address to Lake Providence Louisiana

Co. A 32nd Regt. O.V. I. To follow the Regt.

Write soon and donít forget your old friend no more

Yours truly,

Austin B

(author- A. Bowsher)

April 3rd

Detachment of the 118th Regt. O.V.I.

Army of Ohio

Miss Nancy Thompson

Malvern Carl Co.

Madam after intentions long deferred I at last find time again to drop you a short note for the purpose of letting you know that I received your little missive & was very much pleased to learn of your good health & to learn that you do enjoy all the pleasures that is allowed you here in this world. My health is also good. I even thank God for that favor towards me. Why should we not thank him for such great favors is that is one of the greatest blessings that can be bestowed on human beings.

Nancy I hardly know what to write that would be of any importance to you every thing here in Kentucky all appears to look very pleasant. The pretty green grass appears to be finding its way up through the earth. While I am sitting here in my tent enjoying the sweet pleasures of camp life I can hear the little birds as they soar high in the air singing their pretty little song & indeed every thing appears to look very happy. I can hardly realize that there is a war in our country but something appears to whisper in my ear that they is & it must short come to a determination & in favor of our Glorious Flag all though some thinks it looks very dark. But I feel very much encouraged as regards our country fares I think light will soon burst out upon us. Then we will be enabled to go on our way rejoicing & say we have done as we were commanded. Well Nancy I will change my subject a little and say more about it the next time. I returned to camp a few days ago from being at home. I presume you have seen Mr. J. Hall by this time. When I left home he told me that he was agoing out to see you. I would feel very happy if it was me instead of him. You may think I am pretty fast for a stranger but I think fast as a writer. Well I have nothing more to write that would be of any importance to you this evening. So I will close hoping to hear from you soon. My best love is with you your sincere friend A Bowsher

(author- Austin Brothers)

Berrys Landing Louisiana

April the 11 1863

Miss Nancy

Your epistle of the thirtieth came to hand a few days ago and was read with much pleasure as I am always anxious to hear from you and ready to answer. I am enjoying good health and all the rest of the boys from around there. We have got the nicest camp that we ever have had and the best dicipline in our regt. that we ever have had so that every thing is going off very smoothly. We had several very eloquent speeches delivered to us the other day by several of our generals. I will name a couple of them first was Agt. General Thomas of the United States Second Major Gen. McPherson commanding our division, the third was brigd. General Logon commander of the second brigade in the division they fourth was Brigd. General Stephenson commander of the first brigade. There was several Col. Spoke which I wonít mention the subject was all on the topics of the war. sc. they are raising negro Regt. down here now officering them with white officers so as to make them fight to help free them selves. We have left the camp we was at when I last wrote to you and moved up the Mississippi about five miles so you see we haint got to Vixburgh yet but are expecting to go every day. You needant be surprised if you hear of about the half of us getting our top nots taken off down there for there is a tremendous fight expected there and we expect to have a big hand in it as our divisions is one of the fighting divisions. You said in you letter you were making sugar. I would like to be there just one night to help you boil and stir of one sturing to make taffy with. I would like to pull taffy with you once to see which would get the most dabbed on one another. I expect you are most as sweet as what the taffy is you might send a piece of your self in a letter to me so as I could taste you for I think I am a good judge of sweet things especially of sweet women. Well Nancy I must tell you that I am cook today I would like to have you for dinner as I am going to have a good dinner for soldiers just to show you how I can cook. My dinner will be beans, potatoes, pork, coffee, and hard bread and as for supper I haint decided what I will have. For breakfast I had potatoes, fried mush and pork and coffee. I have almost come to the conclusion I can get along without a wife better than with one for a soldier will be so orney that they cant get a decent wife and an orney one the devil, Hell nor a soldier wont have anything to do with them. You spoke about me not enjoying myself since Amanda J. has got married. You needant be alarmed about that. You are there yet and as long as you are single I am alright. I donít think it will make much difference to me if they all get married. I have got used to doing with out them and keep fat on it and I think that I could do the same if I was there.

There is getting to be a good bit of sickness down here, there has been one of our boys died since we came here and a great many more of them is sick. I was just in the Hospital to see one that has the small pox. He looks awful. They are out on him as thick as they can stick. There is all kinds of diseases here now. There is some that has got the itch and others that have got the prarie digs and a good many other privates dores that I wont mention and about two third of our division has go the Louisiana trotts now. I have given you as near all the diseases that is connected with the army as I can with the exception of fevers and the rest you can guess.

We are in the third division fourth brigade and the seventeenth army corp. commanded by Brig. General A. Logen. It may be a long time before I will have the opportunity of writing to you again for if we get around in the rear of Vixburg we wont have any chance of sending letters from there. I will close by stating I am will hoping you are in like happy condition. You will please to burn this and not let anybody see it.

Address to Lake Providence Louisiana

Co A 32nd Regt. O.V.I. to follow the Regt.

Write soon and donít forget your old friend no more

Yours Truly,

Austin B

(author- A. Bowsher)

Cynthiana KY

Camp Near Paris

Detachment 118th Regt. O.V.I.

Company (D)

May 8th

Miss Nancy Thompson

With Respect

I am again favored with another kind priveledge of addressing you a short note for the purpose of letting you know that I am in good health an I even thank the almighty for that favor. I trust you are in good health also. The reason why I drop you this note is for the purpose of accertaining of you whether it got miscared. I have received no answer from my last note you will do me a great favor by letting me know with these few remarks. I will close hoping to hear from you soon. I did not anticipate writing but a few words.

My best wishes is ever with you I have the honor to be your sincere friend in the Army

(A Bousher- not written)

(author- Austin Brothers)

In Camp near Vixburgh Mississippi

Friday Morning, May the 29, 1863

Miss Nancy,

I take my pen in hand this morning to answer your very welcome letter which I received some time ago but owing to the situation we have been in for the last five weeks we have had no chance to write or had we have had the chance to of written we had no way of sending them to the River. We left the River (?) (?)(?) (25) miles above Vixburgh taking up the line of march through Louisiana to get in the rear of Vixburgh which we have succeeded in doing after some hard fighting and marching we crossed the River about (10) miles below Grand Gulf about (2.7 miles below Vixburgh on the boats that run the blockade for the purpose which I supose you are aware of as it is in the papers then we was in old Mississippi and the enemy right in front of us by thousands they (?) thing was to load our pieces well that every shot might send a rebel soul to Hell. We marched only a half a day till we run across them when a hard battle took place. Our line of battle was eight miles long. We pushed on them so hard that they soon began to give back and against eight oíclock that evening we had drove them five miles but with a heavy loss on both sides they retreated all that night and fell back about twenty miles where they made another stand and a desperate struggle to stop us but all to no purpose as we were bound for victory or death. Our loss there was heavy on both sides as before they then fell back to Jackson the Capital of this state but we followed them up and as before they tried to check us again but failed in there attempt. We waited them out again and took possession of the city destroying a greater portion of it and taring up the Vixburg and Jackson Mississippi Rail way for them. Then the next thing was Vixburgh for us we marched back ten miles of the road we went turning to the right and taking several different roads in order to keep them from getting out as Grant wants to capture the hole army. They met us out about ten miles from Vixburgh with about (60) thousand men thinking they would keep us from crossing bid black River but they failed as usually we drove then across the river with the loss of about too thousand killed and wounded and took about too thousand prisoners and captured 64 pieces of their artillery so that they haint got much artillery to use on us at this place. We drove them clear on in to there brest works and then they checked us and still are holding us a check we have been at it ten days now at this place and I donít know how many more it will take to take it. We could easy enough take the place by letting them a hole to get out at but we want them a darned sight worse than the place. Vixburgh wonít shoot at us and they will. We tried charging on there brest works one day but failed in taking of them. We had to carry ladders to scale the walls with but it wouldnítí win. They let they lead into us like hair in the winter and since that there is nothing but skirmishing with them and cannon raiding? of them . We are laying almost within talking distance of them. When we are out skirmishing with them we gone within twenty five yards of there brest works while I am setting here writing to you. The rebels bullets are whistling over my head I know you would laugh to see (?) by us they pass by (?) there was a while this morning what we couldant see nor hear but we could feel the very earth a shakin under us we opened up about one hundred cannons on them of it didnít make the very earth almost raise up out of it place some that since the sun spread it rays of light over the sunny south this morning there has been many a poor soul bit the dust for the last time for shell and cannon balls donít leave a greasy shot of a man when they hit him. Sometimes while on picket here we talk to each other as friendly as you please and sometimes guard and then up and shoot at one another so that it is all most dangerous here to be safe. I cant give you a correct account of the killed and wounded on this campaign but it is heavy on both sided and will amount to several thousand. There has been several killed and wounded in our Regt. only three wounded in our company. Dan Weimer got a to shot of he is the only one from about there that got hurt. I guess I had better stop as I have written enough now about it to weary the patience off a stone to read it. I will just name the the places those fights occurred at the first was at Thompsons Hill near Port Gibson, the next was at a town the name of Clinton the third was at Jackson the capital, and the forth was on Champion Hill near big Black River and the one we are into now is Vixburgh which I hope will be the last one. You can tell Mint I had the Rev. R. True all night with me the night before we left Millikins Bend. He was on his way to the Regt. I have saw the Regt. several times since but have not seen him I understand now that there Regt. has gone up the River with prisoners. They were engaged in part of those fights. I donít know how many men they had killed or how as there is so many men here we cant turn around for them. The weather is very warm here and were as lazy as the devil. The boys is al well from around there. The third Ohio battery lays right side of us . I see Jimmy Ross and Billy McBeth every day. They are alright. Nance I am getting most darned tired writing. I believe if I was talking to you I could do better for I wouldnít get so lazy. Give my compliments to Minta and Lib and all the rest of the folks that thinks worth while inquiring about me. Address to Millikins Bend Louisiana 32nd Regt. OVI Logons Division. Believe me as ever your friend and well wishes. Austin Good by

(author- A. Bowsher)

Co D

Detachment 118th Regt. O.V.I.

June 18th

Miss Nancy

With Respect

I am again favored with another kind priveledge of conversing with you with my pen for the purpose of letting you know that I yet live to enjoy the sweet pleasures of this life. & to do all the duties that is required of me to do. I am in good health even thanking the almighty for that great favor towards me trusting that you may be enjoying all the sweet comforts of life when this reaches you . Well Nancy what can I say to you. I donít know as I can say one word that would be interesting to you for I feel a little discouraged this morning as regards the affairs of our country but perhaps the darkest hour is just before day the best we can do is to put our trust in the Lord for he has the power to close it or continue it just as he sees proper. Perhaps it will all come out right at least I hope so. Well enough on that subject. I am now in receipt of a letter that was written by you the 25th of April. You said in that letter that you heard that I was in Allen County. I was there on business you also stated in your little Missive that I had showed one of your letters which is a mistake. I did not show no one you letters they was a Lady while I was at home put her hand in my coat pocket & took it out & in getting it away from her she tore it in two &keep it. But I did not care I was not ashamed of what you wrote but I am sorry it wounded your feelings by letting her take it out of my pocket. You said I did not act the part of a Gentleman. I am very sorry you have that opinion of me but I am not help it. I will have to be brief so I will close for the recent until I hear from you again. I shall make a call in your County as soon as circumstances will admit if agreeable to your will. You will favor me by writing to me express your mind. So good bye my love is even with you.

I have the honor to be your sincere friend in the army.

A Bowsher

(author- M. A. Forsyth)

East Greenville Ohio

July the 7th 1863

Friend Nancy:

What has become of all our "Sandy friends"? Are you married and gone away off far, far away where no news can reach you, or what is the reason we never hear from you? We have not heard from any of our friends there since Margaret and Mr. Levok were to visit you. Why were none of you to Canton last Saturday to help eat the roasted ox? We went purposely to see you thinking you would surely be there, but were sadly disappointed. We have been expecting some of you all summer to visit us, but have not seen any of you yet. Well if I had not been teaching I think I should have been down to see what is the matter and mean to as soon as I can at any rate. Now Nancy , do write soon and let me know what you are offended about. How is your motherís health this summer? How are all the friends and how is Nancy? Is she as full of fun as ever? I do want to see you. Do come soon and visit us. Have any of the boys (your brothers) gone to war? What is Minta about? We saw a notice in the paper of Matt Huetts marriage. I wish them joy.

I suppose you would like to now something about how we are prospering Well! It has been so long since I wrote to you, that I hardly know where to begin. We are all well. Papa has had very sore eyes but they are better, but they are too sore yet for him to see to read. He and Mother were to Ill. To visit Willís and Jamesís wife. They were gone four weeks and enjoyed themselves very well. James was there on a visit while they were there. They left the folks there all well except Wmís child. We received a letter from Willís last week and the child was still sick. Mother does not think it will live long. It is five weeks since they came home. Andy was home on a short furlough but was only here ten days and you know he die not have much time to visit. He would like to have seen his friends on Sandy, and I had thought I would write to you, but concluded you could not come in time to see him. We were not expecting him, so he surprised us. He went to Ill. First and came home with Papa and Mother. He looked well and has had good health eve since he has been in the army. Mother said James looked well. We heard from them a few days ago. They were well and were at Lavergo, Tenn but we heard since that they have been in a battle and have been marching. I hope we will hear from them soon. They write almost every week. Oh Nancy! What will this war come to? How many sad and aching hearts it has already caused. I have been teaching about five miles from home. I taught nearly two months and have vacation now. I do not know yet how long I will teach after harvest. I do not suppose that I can visit you while I have vacation as it is so throng a time, but I would like to. My health has not been so good this summer as it used to be. I had a severe cold in the spring which I have hardly got well of yet Wilkeyís are well. The rest of the family join me in love to you all. Remember me kindly to all your family and all friends and do come and visit us soon.

Write soon and let me know where you are and what has become of you all. Oh, I almost forgot. What has become of the dun horses! Your sincere friend, M. A. Forsyth

(author- Austin Brothers)

Western Department

Camp Vixburgh Miss

Saturday Morning July the 11 1863

Miss Nancy

I seat myself this morning for the purpose of answering your welcome letter which came to hand some time ago but owing to the thouroughness of things here I have been kept so busy that I could not find time to answer it till this morning. The Regt. went out this morning to escort the Rebels outside of our lines and I concluded I would go down to the city a while and then return to camp and answer you letter which I am doing. I saw some very nice looking women while in the city but they are secesh to the very end of their toenails and hate the yankees worse than the very devil himself. Well I must tell you that we catched the devils at last after a long chase and a great call of hard fighting and the loss of a great many lives but such is the fate of war. We starved them clear out so they had to give up. They had got that near starved that they had got to eating mule flesh for to keep alive. We captured in all from (30) to (32) thousand prisoners besides every thing else belonging to their army here. They surrendered on the fourth of July which made it a glorious old fourth to us and one that we wonít forget soon if we live to get through this war safe. The most of our forces has left and are after old Jo Jonson. They have captured a great many of his army and sent them in here to us to parole them. We got the news last evening that Banks had taken Port Hudson with fifteen thousand prisoners which if it is only so the Mississippi River will be opened clear through to the gulf. You can easily see that the yankees is playing Hól with the gray backs down here in dixey. There is a great many of them say they never will take up arms against us again while others swear they will fight us as long as they can. I think if our eastern army just wipes old Lee out while they have him over in PA it will wind the thing pretty near up. If you ever hear of this western army have to go to VA to fight you will hear of some of the bloodiest fighting there has been in this war. I will just tell you of a little of the fighting was done here one day. We undermined one of their forts and blowed a part of it up and the dirt was scarcely down till our men rushed up on the side of the rebels works where they were met by the Rebels and faught for (24) hours. Their guns touchin each other as they threw them up to shoot at each other sometimes grabbing each other guns with their hands as they threw them over top of a log that our men run up on the top of their fort to protect their heads with and there was men on both sides throwing hand grenades amongst one another which would bust and tear men all to pieces. You may think that this haint so but it is just as true as I am writing it to you. I canít make it half as bad as it was not I wouldnít want you to know if how bad it is for fear you might discourage some of the young men that we couldnít get them out to help us through providing we need them. Our Regt. was not engaged in these close quarters we lay about 25 yards behind them as a reserve providing they would need one. We blew their fort up twice the second time we blew it up we blowed five of their men out into our lines killing all but one and he was a negro and it buried a great many of them up in their ditches alive in the inside of their works. You spoke something in your letter about me drawing off a sketch of this place and sending it to you. There is a man here now doing of that he is drawing of a sketch of our works and camp and the Rebels too and probably you will get it before you will get this letter. I will give you a description of it as near as I can but I wouldnít undertake to draw it off as it is too rough a country for that.

The country till you get within about eight miles of the city is generally level and nice and for about eight miles clean around the town it is about such hills as that one of Billy Robertson with a little holler extending around them about wide enough for a wagon to get along between them. The hills are covered mostly over with this cottonwood and washed full of ditches fifty and a hundred feet deep. The timber that was on them our cannon balls and shell cut the most of it off for them. There is trees that is over three feet through that the cannon balls went clean through. There is but one street in the city that amounts to anything the other part of it the houses are scattered over the hills around so they donítí make anything of a show. Our gun boats and cannon destroyed a good part of the city there is scarcely a house in town but has had a shell or a ball through it. They had caves in the hills for their women and children to stay in when we were shelling the town. There was several of their women got killed and wounded there was one old lady about 80 years of age got one of her legs shot off by one of our shells which I thought was a little coarse but I donítí give a darn for the young women for they are as bad as the men and as hateful as the devil himself.

(not signed but definitely Austin Brothers's handwriting)

(author- A. Bowsher)

Camp at Paris KY

Detachment 118th Regt. O.V.I.

July 17th 1863

Miss Nancy Thompson

Malvern Carl Co. Ohio

Good Morning Nancy

Are you well & enjoying the sweet comforts of this life & have you been well since you last wrote? I sometime think you do not enjoy yourself but then again something appears to whisper in my ears that you do. I trust you will tell we will have the priveledge of seeing each other. I should be very happy to see you & talk with you for I donít know how you look or talk but I hope the time is not (?) hence when we shall become more acquainted with each other & be better satisfied. I received your kind little Missive a few days ago & was much pleased to hear from you from one that I so much respect as I do you. Your note found me well & enjoying the sweet comforts of this life but this morning I must acknowledge that I am lonesome although the fares of our country looks encouraging. Indeed I wish this cruel war was over donítí you. I would like to enjoy the pleasures of living a civil life again. I have been in the war so long that I hardly know what civil society is. I hope it will all be right in a short time. Then if it is agreeable to you we can enjoy each others society. I attended a very nice picnic on last Saturday about three miles from this place. They was about twenty ladies went down from Paris. We danced from 9 oclock A.m. till 6 p.m. & enjoyed ourselves very well but in all of my pleasures I remember you as a dear friend. My time will not admit of me writing more at this time & I donít know as I could say anything that would be of any benefit to you but shall I be permitted to visit you as soon as circumstances will allow it. If so you will favor me by letting me know in your next letter with these few remarks I will close hoping to hear from you soon. So good bye I still remain your true friend in the army

A. Bowsher

(author- I. L. VanMeter, Nancy's cousin)

Camp in Chattanooga Valley

Georgia Sept 15th 1863

Cousin Nancy,

Yours of Aug 31st cam to hand a few days ago but as we was on the march at the time I could not answer sooner. I wrote you a letter but a short time ago as I supposed you had not got the two I wrote you some time ago. I was indeed glad to hear from you again for I had come to the conclusion that you had forgotten me entirely. You speak of being invited to a wedding out at dunkirk but did not tell me who Miss Miller mans name was. I wish I was where I could have a chance to go to a wedding I believe I would go if it was not more than a weeks march any how. Well cousin we are having some pretty tough times now days crossing the mountains. Itís up one and down another. We have been helping our supply train over look and mountain for the last five days and the dust is so deep that we looked more like clay banks last night when we came to camp than men. We have marched about five miles today and are now camped in line of battle & expect to have a fight here. It may commence today yet. The Rebs are camped in sight of us they are said to be eighty thousand strong. If that be true it will be a pretty big fight. We have got them pretty well surrounded and if they stand a little longer I think we can end the war pretty soon now. We had one man killed out of our division last night on picket & one wounded. You want to know what I think of the Democratic candidate for governor of Ohio. I do not think much of him but about as much as any other soldier. I understand they are counting on the soldiers vote but there is not one soldier out of a hundred that will vote for him but if they want him shot there is 99 out of every hundred that will do that for him but I will close hoping to hear from you soon. I am very respectfully yours,

I. L. Vanmeter

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Camp Maccuck

May 1 1864

We land at Baltimore on the 14 about 8 o clock and lay in the depo til the next day til about two and then we marched about eight miles to camp and then we lay out all night. The boys is busy putting up tents today. I think we will get in then tonight. We are stationed here to gard rail road. Our camp as nise a situation. I suppose as (?) you saw it is a nice grove of cedar. Baltimore is very large and very nice thereís lots of fresh oisters the shiping runs up to town. The river runs about one half a mile from camp and we will have did a time (?) . I will give you a small history of our travel we left camp chase on Wednesday the eighteen and arrived as stated above. We run day and night in fruit cars. We would (?) (?) out and I right down. I cold sledid night cumfertille from pits ght to Baltimore it is the roughest country I ever saw. I have had the dire pretty bad for the last three days but I got some opium this morning and feel much better. I hope that I will get out right I hope you are all well at this time. There is lots of my ers around here and some of the last ones I ever saw. Everything is very fored here I have seen corn about six inches hi the clover out in full bloom and the wheat out in head there is some as nice dwelling as ever is (?) I want you all to write to me and let me know how the things is getting along. Nothing more at present buts (?) your brother direct your letter to St Dennis Baltimore County (?) and the one hundred and 57 regiment CO in care of Cp. Reed.

John Thompson

(author- Austin Brothers)

Clifton Tenn

May 4 1864

Friend Nancy how was you.

Once more in the land of dixey and amidst the roaring of musketry there was a firing kept up all night last night amoung the pickets . There is no Rebel force here except gorila bands to devil us. We expect to leave here in a few days for Huntsville Alabama. We are awaiting for some troops to come to relieve us. Our Corps is all going through this way we may have some hard fighting to do before we get there but if I am spared to get through safe I will let you know as soon as we get there how we get along. We had a fleet of eight transports and two gunboats to guard us up the River to this place. Our trip so far has been very pleasant and we got to see some as nice sceneries as ever an eye witness which was all of nature one works. We passed by Fort Henry and Fort Herman coming up the Tenn River. Our road from here to Huntsville is Pike road so that we wonít have any trouble in moving our army through. You will have to excuse me for a while as I have to take the recruits out and drill them for an hour as this is my day to drill. Well now for the finish this miserable letter which I know you will think it is. I am through drilling for this fore noon but have an hour at it this after noon . You just ought to see me putting the Recruits through. We are having a very nice time. The weather is pleasant here and we have a nice camp ground right at the edge of town and on the Sweet banks of the Tenn River. We have over nine hundred men in our Regt. now. I wish you could see us on dress parade once. You would think we were the gayest set of men that ever left Ohio if I have to say so myself. Well Nancy how is all the folks getting along on the valley. Is any of them marrying this spring or not. As my correspondences for this summer is a going to be but few you will have to keep me posted at home as I am allyare anxious to hear and know what is going on at home. I wish you could have been along with us to Bayard the day we left. There was fifteen went with us from Minerva and Pekin. We had a very pleasant time so that I know you would have enjoyed yourself had you been along. Our company all stayed at Alliance but Z. H. Eakin and I we went on to Massilon that night and happened to get to a big dance which suited us booley. We stay two nights in Columbus and one night in Cincinatti. We then took the Boat for Cairo. Il. We lay there four days and then took the Boat for this place which is about four hundred miles form Cairo up the Tenn River. The Boys are all in good spirits and enjoying good health and myself with the rest. No more at this time but remember your old friend. A Brothers and write soon and often as you can. Good by and God grant that this war may soon be over.

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)



May the 10

We have got orders to be down tomorrow morning at three oíclock to Columbus and from there to go to Camp Dennison. It is like is on and the boys is carrying on pretty wel, I feel pretty well. We had muster Swayne to muster us as puch (except?) today. Nothing more at present but you need not write to me til I write again.  John Thompson

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Camp Chase

May 15

Dear Mother I take this opportunity to let you know where I am and how I am getting along. We have to muster ill all Tuesday at twelve oíclock and got to Columbus a midnight and we lay in the cars and froze til morning. We were mustered in today into 39 regiment from Jeffer County under cornal Machuck (Mc Cook). I do not know where we have to go. We expect to go to Baltimore but I cant tell all the cities between?. we could get. He said he would take us to the healthiest place in the United States. We expect to leave tomorrow. It is a very pretty country around here. Columbus I did not see much of it but the little part I saw was very nice. Our camp is very muddy at this time. The Waynesburg boys is laying along side of us but they have not been mustered yet. We are all in good health at his time. I had the digs but I got quince (quinine) and got it stopped and I feel first rate. I hope you are all well. I donít want you to get all after me for you may expect I will take care of number one. You need not write til I write again for I canít tell where to direct your letter. Our company is K. Nothing more at present.

John Thompson

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Realy barrack

May 27 1864 (postmarked June 13)

Dear sister I take this opportunity to let you know where we are campedÖ how long weíll stay and right up we have been here that made it to you but nothing like Camp Chase it was muchÖ

The Stark CountyÖin Camp Chase or not whereÖ(much too faded to read)

While we were in Camp Chase they shot the Rebels prisoners. One they had him out ditching and he started to leave and the gard halted him but he would not stop and the gard shot him. Another was out doing his business and said he would like to have a piece of the flag to wipe with and the gard shot him. The boys is now sitting around in groups. Some writing , some reading, some talking and some playing cards. Baltimore is a very large place and very nice. The main streets is all beautiful shaded with green trees. There is lots of onions and strawberries comes into camp for sale. There is some sickness in camp, a great deal of dire (diarrhea) and some other diseases. There was one boy died this morning by the name of Thompson. He belonged to the Perryville company. Thomas Gregory of our company, I thought he would die but he is getting better. I had a very severe attack of diarrhea but I am well now. Yesterday was the first duty I done. I believe I have told you all. Neither of us has got any word from home yet. I have written to all but MintyÖ. Direct St. Denis Baltimore County Murland Co K 157 Regiment in care of Cap. Reed

John Thompson

(author- I.W. Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Camp Realey

June 3 1864

James Thurs. morning and a pleasant morning. It is I. The first place I will endeavor to give you the rule and regulation of our camp. In the morning we have to get up and wash our faces, that is to be done before sun up and then have to go out on squad drill at five and half oíclock and drill till half past 6 and then we come in and eat our breakfast and then we go out and in company drill one hour and then we haint nothing to do till three A.M. then we go out on company drill till four oíclock and then we come in and wait til five and we go on dress parade and then we are march up till supper then we have Roll Call at 08 and the lights out at 09 oíclock. What so you think of that? We have had good times since we got here. I haint done any gard duty yet only stood at the gate one hour and took (?). Yes there was 4 of us put on Entry duty for not being here at Roll Call. It makes them simmer down. The rules is donít strd and takes a man to mind what his is made of to keep up to the times. There was parade gard on the last night and some of the companies did not know that and they was caught shitting on the parade ground and it would make you laugh to see them come out this morning to clean the parade ground. Some has spades and Ancis to clean it off. Do you know what thay have to carry Ancis for? To cut yards into there is any mount ring making. Bill Robertson is just finishing on I have got one the size of a wagon shor. I must tell you E. Gillham writing right at in cide. I got a letter from Nancy yesterday is the first I have heard from home since I left and she said John had wrote home. He werent well. He was not well last week. He was pretty bad but he is well now and alright now. He is sergent of the gard today and his time wonít be up till tomorrow at 09 oíclock. I must bring my letter to a close for this time. Only tell Minty I will write to her soon . Tell Mother I wrote her a note when I was at camp Chase and I would like to here from her.

Write soon

I. W. Thompson

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother- to James Thompson)

June the 4 AD 1864

Dear Brother I received yours of the 29 yesterday evening and was very glad to hear from you all as it was the first I received only Irving. I had almost though that you all had forgotten me as I had writing to all of you but Minta I got one from Blytheís yesterday. I was very glad to hear that things was doing well and that you were all well. John Grome got a letter this morning and he told me that it was reported at home that I was dead and Captain Reed was very low but I am still and the I am of the living yet and Captain Reed is enjoying good health. My health is good at this time. I just came of being sergent of the guard at 9 0clock this morning. I went on at 9 yesterday. I had a pretty hard time of it for the officer at the gard did not know anything about it so that left me to have the hole care of it . You said you would like to know how many men was here, there is about nine hundred in our regiment and there is four hundred camped about forty rods from ours. You said it was reported there when we were sworn in that we had to be pushing in at he point of the Canet but that is aly they was in at am an refused in the hole regiment but there was some refused in Clombian and they were taking to tha yed house and keep til they would take the other (?) int of in some other company in the state . Our company numbers 86 men . We were sworn in the United States service for one hundred days and about the nedy in a which ever you think best. Nothing more at present but remains yours truly . Write soon and direct as before. John Thompson

(author- I.W. Thompson, Nancy's brother)

(very faded)


June 10 1864

Ö I receivedÖthe greatestÖ.and was sorry to hear that mother was not very well but I think she will be better when she hears from the 157 Bloody Buchers that is what we go by here. When we came through Baltimore last Sabbath some of the citizens and Ö that we was the best company in the regiment. Bulley for the 157 I say, donít you? And for Co. K also I suppose you have heard that we have left Camp Reley and I suppose you would like to know how I like the exchange. Well I donít like as well as Camp Reley but a soldier like myself haint got a great deal to say. But I donítí care I like this place better than Camp Chase. We have got barracks to live in. There is three companies lives in the one room. Donít you think it is crowded. I have had not to cook any yet. We have two cooks that has cooked for us all the time.

John Cloase is head cook and Olave (Olaf?) How is assistant. I guess they cant beat you. You wanted to know whether I have got the shoulder strapping yet. Well I haint got them yet but I think it wonít be very long. You wanted to know who sleep with me in our mess. A Hardesty, E. Gillham and myself is the happy family. You wanted to know if we had any knock downs. We have had none nor we haint any much up came as I knew said you would invite me and Hardesty over to our house when Strares is there. Well I would care to come over it Colonal Mc Cook would say so but I donít think I will come over until the hundred days is up.

Nancy it would make you laugh to see the Rebels officers let out to wash. I tell you they make the water splash. There is about 800 officers. I saw a part of them last night when they were bathing and there is some as good looking fellows as ever you saw and if you saw the Private you would pitty them although they are Rebel to our country and now they have to suffer the penalty of our country. You said J. T. Hewitt was sick. I want you to give me his address in the next letter and tell me how the folks is in general and tell me if youns haint got a pretty lonesome time and how is Janey getting along. I haint heard from her yet. That is all I want you (to) answer this and tell me how Mother is. I give her my best wishes.

Yours truly,

Irving W. Thompson

We have the best times I would want so alright.

(Author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Fort Delaware

June 13 1864 (postmarked July 22)

I received yours of the third and was very glad to hear from home and that you were all well. We are all well at present. We arrived here about one week ago. I like this place very well only the water, we use cistern water but our company drys twenty pounds of ice per day. That makes it very cool. We dry plenty of Ö now when we first came we had very course we were one day that we had nothing but coffee. I thought it was very hard we dry ten daysras him of all but bread and meat out of the ten days. We dray soft bread and but one day that we draw hard tack we dray about four days ration of fresh beef out of the ten. It is pretty warm here through the day but the nights is very cool. We have good baracks and good bunks to lay in. There is plenty of Rebs here. They bring out the Rebel officers about twice a week to let them bathe. There very nice looking men. There is several generals among them. The Private just as hard. If there is any duty got to do theyíre brought out. They white washed our barracks yesterday. They like to come out they have lots of graybacks on them but I have not seen any in our barracks yet. There is some of our Union prisoners here. They sent of eighty of them last Sunday to Florida. There is three companies of battery men here for by us. I would just like it you could see us every evening on dress parade. It is a nice sight to see those battery men come out in their dress uniform and their white gloves. Nothing more at present but write soon. Direct to Fort Delaware

State of Delaware 157 Regt. Co K in care of C Reed

John Thompson

afterwards to mother. Well mother I hope when these few lines reaches you that you may be well. I have been moved aroundÖsince I saw you. We are in barracks with two other companies but theyíre very wise men. There is very little profanity among them. I think we will stay here til our time is out. Our general is the name of Shop. It takes very heavy garding here . It takes our men every other day every man has to have thirty rounds of cartridge. Nothing more but I am well and so is Irving. I want you to tell them to write .

John Thompson

(author- I.W. Thompson, Nancy's brother)


Mr. J. D. Thompson


Carroll Co.



Jul 4 Delaware City Del.


Fort Delaware

June the 14 1864

J. D. Thompson

Sir I take this opportunity to let know I received your letter dated the 5 of June and I was glad here that youns was all well and getting along alright. We are all here on this island and expect to stay here the remainder of our time. We or the most of us did not like this place at first but now we like it better. We have got a heap to do that is gard. We have got nine thousand Privates t gard those Rebels and eight hundred Rebels Officers but we donít we haint to gard the officers. There is six batterys here that gards the officers. They keep them in the fort. We have enough to do the privates it take our company very busy t as gard them it takes twenty one and two every other day. You better think it makes them curse when they go every day. I haint had to do any gard duty since I have been in the service until last Sabbath. I was Corporal of the third relief of the gard and you had better think I had lots of fun and a good time of it. James have you got done shoring sheep yet.? If you haint why drive them over on this (?) and it will not take us very long to shear them. I haint saw a sheep nor a hog since I left Ohio but here is the place for dogs and Norway rats. The rats is as thick as flies in August. (Val?) Cor Maccoon (McCook?)made the Rebels come out and white wash our barrack yesterday and donít you think that would make you mad if you had been in there place. We are scrubbing today and reading up. You said that Bazz Worley drafted. Is he going ? I heard that Rub is drafted is it so? Did you fellers let those fellers that was drafted hire substitutes out of that money that was in the treasury at Troy or that Blythe had some of the boys thinks that if they did it aint right? James have you been up to see Tilla since I left home if you haint it is time you would. You said in your letter that you had no rain for two weeks. We have rain here once a week and I so Hay mad too weeks ago. Well tell mother that John is well. I heard that some of the folks over in Malvern heard John was dead. Is that so? Tell mother that we have prayer meeting in our barrack once every week that is besides them prayers she told me to say em every night and to keep the Sabbath day Holy. We have no Sabbath day here. The days is all alike here.

James I want you to write and tell me how the things is doing and all the news in of (general?)

Yours truly

I.W. Thompson

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)


Mr J. D. Thompson

Malvern Carroll Co


(postmark) Delaware City Del Jun 20


Fort Delaware June 18 1864

Respected brother, I take this opportunity to let you know that we are well at present and I hope that these few lines may find you all enjoying tare great blessings. I want to know whether youns have forgotten me or not or whether you do not care anything about me as you do not write. I have received no letters for two weeks where the rest of the boys a couple a week. I think among you all you ought to write a couple a week. I hear that it is very dry there. I want you to tell me how the crops is growing there and how my stock is doing, how much wool I have, and how many pounds that bucks shore and whether fredman shore him and how much he charged. We are still on picket and garding prisoners. There was ten thousand when we came and they have brought two lots more. They brought about five hundred yesterday. There is a great many generals among them. There are is some very large vessels runs up here. There is nobody sick in our company. We get enough to eat and good berries stain .They been (?) in here for for five cents a pint. I have been getting some for the last few days and I feel much better. Give my love to mother. Direct to Port Delaware State of Delaware Co. K 157th Regiment or in care of Capt. Reed

John Thompson

(author- I.W. Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Fort Delaware


July 2 1864

Mr J.D. Thompson

Dear Sir,

It is with pleasure that I set myself down to scribble a few lines to let you know that we presently are in good health. We have good oald times here. We have some fun and some pretty hard duty to perform. I will you what duty I have to perform. I have to go on gard once a week and that is all I have to do. Of course I have go on dress parade once a day, that is only Ĺ hour. Our oald Cornel aint here. His brother was wounded and I hear since he is dead. The oald Cornel wonít be here for thirty days from the time he left Ga. I think he will be glad to see us. James are there anything go off on the forth around home? That is my day to be on gard. I want you to listen and I think you will hear some very loud reports. The Batterys is going to let their guns off that day and I think they will raise regular Hell donít you? You can tell Nancy that those apples did not all go to the hospital for I got three of them myself and I thought they eat like Ohio apples. Well James I guess I must have some more money. I have only one dollar left. It takes more money than I thought it would take. I ask John for some this morning and he only has ten so you may send me some, that is if you please. John sent home for a box, tell them not to forget me. Tell Baxter to mind and send that brandy. Tell him to put it in a tin can and seal it over so as the rest that is here wonít know what is in it for if they did they would drink it all. But Waybill pickles and try and get the box up in crupeake stile. I can tell you that I have been living very fat since that booze came from Malvern on oald Mary J. Hardesty applebutter. A.H Hardesty and his brother got two cans and they you me like a brother.

Will I have any wheat to cut (?) is so very good. I want you to write soon and tell me all the news. Give my best to mother alright? Yours truly in mud I. W. Thompson

(author- Margery Blythe- Nancy's sister)

July 12 th 1864 Malvern 

Brother John

     I seat myself down to let you know how we are. We are all well but I am very sorrow (sorry) to have to inform you that Adam and Klite was severely wounded. Adam is wounded through the left elbough  and hip and George is wounded, the left arm is broke close to his shoulder. This occurred on the 24th day of June while on the skirmish line, companies "C" and "D" were out and ordered to charge but were repulsed with a loss to both companies in killed and wounded of eighteen. Baxter and Robert down at mothers helping them to follow the reaper. They think they will get done down there today but we will not get done before tomorrow or next day. Your wheat is all cut. They finished yesterday. They were two days cutting the field by the house with the reaper. Sam Neely drove and James rake it off and on the hill they were one day with two cradles. James Crawford and old Bill Louis cradled. John Graham two other boys took it up. They have no body helping them but Pete and Tony. I see Robertson hand today cradling and I think it is Elen raking after him and nobody binding. They are a most done. The boy had his father helping him last week. 

    James thinks you have a purty good wheat. If you had all mediteranean and weavel proof it would been better. Irvin is the worst with the exception of our hill field and that is not worth any thing for what was the weavel took nearly all. Joseph Brothers and his hand is helping them to day. Well John I tell you that David Shearer is dead. He died last Saturday and was buried a Sabbath. He died with brain disease and John Greeves is dead. He died last week. They took his leg off and he lived about two hours after and died. There is the most accidents I ever known with horses running off. I guess I could tell you of half a dozen that has their legs and arms broken. It is nobody that you know hardly. We have another great big tax to pay against the first of October we have to pay five cents on the dollar on the income tax this year and the last four? by the income tax we paid the 20th of June. 

 I remain your sister, M.M. Blythe  

Write soon and let us know if you have got the box and if everything was right. We have not got any letter from Adam it was John Laubender wrote and I think he has not seen them since they were wounded.

(Margery died about three months after writing the above letter from camp fever or cholera that was brought back home by sick soldiers.)

(author- I.W. Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Fort Delaware


July the 20 1864

Mother It is with pleasure that I set myself down to let you know that I am well and John is better. He has got able to be up that is sits up all the day. He will be down with us in a course of a day or so so you need not be uneasy? about him for he will be alright in a course of a few hours. I got a note from Nancy yesterday and I was sorry to hear that Adam was dead and George was wounded. It will be hard times for those that is in the front for a while. It is pretty healthy here at present. There is only 6 in the hospital out of company and that aint very many for the amount of men that is in a comp. This is a very nice place to live a private life. I think we had better sell? out at home and we will run this island ourselves. I believe that I (?) all at present. I think John will write you a letter tomorrow. That is all. Write soon.

Yours truly, Irving W. Thompson

(author- John Thompson, Nancy's brother)

Fort Delaware

July 23 1864

Dear Mother,

I set myself down to inform you how I am getting along. My health is not very good at present. I have been sick for about ten days. I went to the hospital on the sixteenth and got discharged from there on the twenty second. I was yous very well. I had some kind of fever and the diree (diarhea?) I still have got the diree yet but not very bad. I feel pretty week but I hope I soon will be alright again. I would like to get home I think maybe I may get a furlough but the cornel is not here. We expect him back today but it is a hard job to get a furlough. We have about thirty days to put in yet. The rest of the boys is all well. Not any more at present for I do not feel like writing something more but remain your son.

John Thompson

(no date, author- R. S. True)

It behooves the people of the north to be patriotic united; let them show to the South by their actions and through the public journals that "the Union must and shall be preserved;" and it will have as much to do in discouraging the south as a succession of victories by our arms.

The ladies in the South are all bitter secessionists. There has been four or five young women here the most of the time since I came; through only relatives of the Drs. One young man and two ladies, whose father refused to take the oath and had all his property confiscated, have been living here until recently. Their father (Dr. Waddle) previous to the war, was professor in the College at the place, and formerly head professor of the University at Jackson, Mississippi. He is a presbyterian preacher, a very smart man, and Doctor of Divinity. You perhaps have seen a pamphlet that he wrote in regard to some church matters,, in reply to Dr. Spring of New York City.

I became somewhat acquainted with the ladies before they left. They were middleing inteligent , but nothing extra for the chance they had. One of them is a music teacher, and so far as I am capable of fudging, play pretty well on the piano, melodian, or the guitar. Almost every family here, has a piano or melodeon, and nearly all the girls can play more or less.

The two ladies and gentlemen of whom I have been speaking obtained a pass from General Hamilton, and after having all their trunks examined and sealed by the Provost Marshall, hacked them in an old covered wagon, to which there was three the most poverty stricken mules attached , got in the wagon together with two wheel mules, moved off in slow procession for Pontatoc Miss. It was truly a novelty and greatly excited the risabilities of the soldiers to see such high minded and aristocratic proper come down from their exalted position to the ancient mode of emigrating. Such are the effects of war.

Dr. Waddle had one of the best libraries I ever saw, which with the rest of the things was confiscated; but Dr. Gray recently bought it back from the government for $200. There was two wagon loads of the books. Those with his own and all the books that belonged to the Societies and college, would make in all six or eight wagon loads. I have free access to them all and of course have plenty of reading matter.

The people here differ from those in the North in various ways. The dialect is different in many respects. They generally give A the third sound.

It is customary for the upper crusts to eat breakfast between the hours of seven and eight, dinner between one and two, and supper after dark all the year.

The ladies take a walk every evening when the weather is favorable, and they can walk too, about as fast as any of the ladies on Sandy can run. In fact it keeps a Northern gentleman very busy to cofre with them. They always take their pleasure rides on horseback. I am not going to say whether I think they are better looking than the ladies in the North, or not.

There are a great many leaving this place and going North and some South and some in the country. I know of one man that is going to Washington City. Many will be obliged to leave if the army remains here during the coming summer. All the last years crop and provisions are nearly all consumed, and the full pocket books with many of them are getting pretty slim, and being prohibited from raising a crop this season unless they go North or South they will suffer beyond description. Dr. Gray is going to try and raise a field of cotton this year. He intends to fence it in with bush, it would be useless to think of fencing it in with rails, for no sooner would they be made, than carried off in triumph and consumed in campfires. I think the brush fence will prove but little better, for as soon a the fence is built and the brush a little dried, than some soldier will go and set fire to it to see it burn. Since the goose race has become extinct, cotton mattresses take the place of feather beds.

The weather has been very warm and pleasant for some time. The peach trees were out in blossom three weeks ago. The flowers have began to send forth their rasiate hues. The mighty forest will soon be wrapped in the verdure of spring. The little mocking bird is skipping from branch to branch and from flower to flower, uttering his songs of joy, and bidding defiance to all other birds to excel him in the simplicity and harmony of his voice. But amidst all this, I hear the rattling of artillery, the sound of the bugle, the beating of drums, the clashing of the musket and the bustling of the soldiers that brings sad tidings to the mind. We can only bring better times by fighting, and fight we will. We might propose an armistace and talk awhile but this would not do the South are not in a mode for talking as we want them to talk, war clubs will speak louder than words yet. Hence I say give them jessie.

I shall hail the day with joy and gladness when we all shall be permitted to return home. Tomorrow is my birth day, well do I remember where I was that day one year ago. Do you? Who would have thought one year ago that I would spend my next birth down on the remote edge on Tenn. Where will I be one year hence?

I will close for the present.

Write as soon as you receive this letter.

Direct to General Hospital No. 1

La Grange Tenn.

Yours respectfully,

R. S. True

(author- William Spratt)

Thursday Evening

9 P.M.

My Dear Friend:-

You may think strange by the receipt of this note so soon after seeing you in town, but the very fact of seeing you this evening has induced me to address you for the purpose of having our interviews renewed.

Nancy, my heart acknowledges the influence you have gained over my affections, & I cannot think for a moment to deny myself of the pleasure of your society any longer. You can better imagine the emotions of my feelings when I saw you on the street than I can describe, for positively language, which I can command, is utterly inadequate. My purpose was to write to you soon, but I do so now, & en longe, hope to spend a few hours in the society of one with whom I anticipate spending many hours of real & true happiness.

I suggest, one week from this evening as the time when I would be happy to call on you, if it will be suitable to you;- if not you can name the time, but , pray let it be soon. I will expect a note from you, knowing your mind on the suggestion, & n the meantime believe me your true friend & well wishes,

Will ---------

Good night Ė Pleasant dreams!

(author- William Spratt)

It is almost 11 o,clock, but I must write you more. ----------I arrived here Thursday morning at 8, o,c- of last week. I am in an office with Drs. Bowen & Knowlton, whom I find very amiable men &, Skilled in this profession. I have very good facilities for pursuing my studies, as they have a good supply of books, Charts plates xc, & every thing a student could wish. I like them as preceptors, & think I will be very amply paid by coming here, although it will cost me considerable. They ask no fee----more than my being in the office during this absence, a reasonable portion of my time, & render some little assistance as compounding Medicines xc: So my board will be all my expense, excepting the travel & other incidental matters. I board with Dr. Bowen & find them a very pleasant family. The family consists of Dr. & lady, & two young ladies. A third one is visiting her sister in P--? now. They had four daughters only.

I pay $3.00 per week, I have a pleasant room to study in & am doing very well. My light is gas. They furnish three rooms & I use one of them. I mean the Drs. have 3 rooms belonging to the office. It is in third story of a large brick block (Woodís Block) affording a very good view of part of the town. I donít like the two flight of stairs to climb so often.

The town is the most beautiful place I ever saw, to be a small place. It boasts of about 7,000 inhabitants or the size of Canton. I will not describe the beauties of the place here, but wait till I see you.

I am amongst the "live Yankees" on the Reserve & will no doubt be Yankeefied by the time of leaving. They are wide-awake & full of speculation.

We are absorbed in Grantís movements, & get the telegrams at an early date. The people are wild, but fears of our defeat. My preceptors are very ferefull.

I see I must close not being satisfied with what I have written. But It is from your old friend & you will excuse its unworthyness. I hope to hear from you soon & tell me all you have to say for it is a long time to harvest. I am amongst strangers & no acquaintances & a good long letter from you will be very acceptable. Tell John Elóss? that I am well. There is so much I would like to say. May God bless you, & guardian angels watch your slumbers. Write soon, & in the meantime believe my your true, sincere & devoted friend, Will R Spratt. Good night.

(author- William Spratt)

Sabbath Evening

Jan 29th 1865.

My Dear Friend:-

Were you here, or me there, I could answer your letter verbaly, much better than by pen.

Since the receipt of your very kind & touching favour, which reached its destination yesterday, I have scarcely been one moment without you before my mind, & this evening I have devoted, partially, to a carefull & candid consideration of the contents of your note, & in recalling some of the past four years or more, during which time I have spent many happy hours with one, who now thinks that she is unworthy of my adoration. I am greatly puzzled to know how to reply to your more than letter, for it is too much for me to pass by lightly, as I know that the sentiments contained therein are the outpourings of a pure heart, almost broken by sad disappointment. Now, dear girl, I must say that I yet do not know what to say in reply, but shall trust in Divine assistance to direct me in this, & pray fervently that what I shall say shall be directly for our mutual interests, as ordered by Him who is our wisdom at all times. You will bear with me while I endeavour to answer some your inquiries, & correct some mistaken notions which you entertain. You want to know why I so suddenly changed my mind. Well, I need not repeat here, but refer you to the letter written at Vaughnsville, in which I gave you my reasons. Now Nancy, I was candid in writing you as I did at that time, & did so with due deliberation, for I thought from the tone of your letter, that you were indifferent about writing. Now, allow me to say further, that the last evening I called, & my unkindness towards you, I think you were to blame, & the way you treated me on leaving, I scarcely merrited.

My reasons are these:- you remember how you inquired of me about Leib. Crumbacher, & your inquiries lead me to do as I did, and then you treated meóyou remember how. But I did not care much for all this, untill you wrote me while I was here & called up all this & It was then that I thought we had best close our correspondence. Is this satisfactory? This is my answer to your inquiry "why I so suddenly changed my mind."

You think I do not consider you worthy of my esteem. You are deceived in this. I am the unworthy one. Do not think so again, for you are certainly mistaken.

Also, that I was not very anxious to see you while at home. I certainly desired an interview with you before leaving & was as much disappointed by not seeing you that day as ever I was. I went to town the day previous allowing to be at your place most of the day, but was disappointed & was not able to call in the evening. I left the next day. I should have been there before I was, but was afraid to venture out & when I did go, run more of a risk of bringing on a relapse than any one was aware of. I was not able to return here when I did, but was anxious to be at my studies.

You say, that whenever I knew your conclusion to the question I so often asked you, that I then forsook you. Nancy, I hope my arm may fall withered to my side, & my reason forsake me, if I ever thought of such a thing. Is this saying enough? Now I have been thus particular to satisfy you on the above points, & hope I have succeeded for I am as honest in what I have said, as I live.

One thing I wish to ask you & trust you will answer me. You stated that you never wanted to answer that question until you were able to fulfill. What I wish to know is thisóhow is it that you know now that you can fulfill such a promise? Have you consulted your people & have you their consent?

Will you be so kind as to answer these questions fully in your next? This I certainly want to know & when you could fulfill the same. This is not asking too much.

I donít know that I have written as you desired, namely- one kind letter- but my object was to satisfy you that I always meant to be honest with you & never meant to gain your affections, & then forsake. You have been too true to me that I should act thus. You leave it to my honor to "treat you right" & I certainly always was ambitious so to do. I certainly was prompted by proper motives, & you had my adoration unalloyed. Now, Nancy, I will leave this with yourself & as you desire, that shall I do. & honestly hope that I may be enabled to render you happy, as ever a woman was. Have I said enough? Will these few lines soothe & quiet that wounded & broken heart, which is so fervently devoted to such unworthy an object?

I thank you for all the kindness expressed in you last, & hope you will forgive me for causing you so much distress of mind. You will decide as you think prudent in this matter. & I hope you decision may result in much happiness to both.

We are having a class (clase?) winter- sleighing for about eight weeks. 412 students present. I am about well, although not at all myself yet. I will look for a reply soon & do as you did in your last with fully your feelings & mind. & be assured you write to a true friend. May God bless you abundantly.

Yours as ever, Will ------

(Nancy married William almost two years later on November 20, 1866)