Samuel H. Bassitt - Civil War letter - Mar. 29, 1865

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About Samuel H. Bassitt Civil War Letters

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Loretta Edgecomb Barber, b. 1849
Samuel's cousin, Loretta Edgecomb, c.1866

                                Hospital 1st Division l7th Army Corpse
                                Goldsboro North Carolina
                                March 29th A.D. 1865

It is with the greatest of pleasure that i take my pen in hand to inform you that I am still on the land amonst the living and sincearly hope and trust that those few unworthy lines may find you enjoying the best of health I am not very well at the presant time I have had the fever and ague1 for the last three weeks but have got it about broke although I am awfull weak I am now detailed as a nurse tending to the wounded the is 9 wounded men in the room that, I am in and out of the 9 the is 6 that have there legs off 5 of them are off above the Knee and one below the knee. The is one that has his right arm off clost to his shoulder and one that is wounded five times twice in his right hand twice in his right arm between his elbow and shoulder and once in his left hand. His arm is not off but it might as well be for it is shot into a jelly. The other man is shot through the thigh. I tell you now it is an awfull job they haft to be handled carefuller than a child for you can handle a child and them you cant. The was one man died in my room last night that had his leg off. The is about 250 sick and wounded in this hospital out of the 1st Division. It is wet and rainy here today. You wrote that you had some pretty good sleighing up north this last winter. I wish that I could of been with you to help you enjoying it. But I have been down in the Southern Confederacy Enjoying myself with old Billy Shermans raiders. The rebles calles us Shermans swamp dogs.

During this last raid through South Carolina and a portion of North Carolina we have waded swamps where we had to take our catridge box off and buckle them around our neck and lay them on the top of our heads to keep them from getting wet and more then that we had to stand in the water and skirmish with the rebs for half a day to a time and then when we would come out we had no dry clothes to put on and would be nearly froze stiff and when it comes to putting them all togeather it is not very plesant.

But it all goes in three years. We came through the city of Columbia South Carolinia. It was a pretty nice City before it was burnt. I saw her burnt flat to the ground the most of the city was burnt on the evening of the 17th of February and about 10 o'clock. I tell you it was a nice sight to see her burn. We burnt every town and city in South Carolina if the was only a Church and a couple of dwelling houses they would set a mach to them.

I received a letter from you this morning for the first time for three or four months and I also received your Photograph which looked very natural. And I thank you verry much for your kindness in sending me your picture althoug I am of the same opinion that you are I think that if the picture was as goodlooking as the being that it would be very handsome Indde. You wrote about whom had B. I think that all the Gentlemans has left Lordstown if that be the case or else they would use them all alike. I think that L.E.B. steped out of sight and you didnot thik of him. I guess that this is enough of my foolery at the present time.

You wrote that Frank Hipkins was taken prisoner and when you herd from him last he had nothing but rages on. The is lots of Sherman's men that are without shoes and and dreped in rags and some haint many of them. During our last trip we only drewed 6 days Government rations all that we got to eat was what we foraged through the Country. I will haft to bring my scribbling to a close.

I remain your true and most affectionate Cousin2.

                                From Samuel Bassitt
                                To Loretta Edgecomb

Write soon and give all the news home and abroad. I send my love and best respect to only inquiring friends

N. B. I will send my Photograph as soon as I can get it.


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[Transcripts from Civil War Letters binder in Allen County (Ohio) Museum library, c. 1975]
[Original letter in the Allen County (Ohio) Museum archives]


1.  Ague was the term used for malaria.  The cause was not known at that time, but he undoubtedly acquired it from mosquito bites during his time in the swamps. 

2.  Samuel's father, Lewis Bassitt, was a brother to Loretta's mother, Laura.  Samuel's mother, Sarah (Edgecomb) Bassitt was a sister to Loretta's father, Walter.  Thus Loretta was his double first cousin.  There were very close ties between their two families, who lived within a mile of each other their whole lives.