Moncachy (Monocacy) Junction
Sep 17th 62
I know you must be very anxious to hear the particulars of our late Battles at the Ferry.
On saturday morning last, we heard firing on Maryland High commencing about 8 AM, lasting two or three hours, Our Regt was not engaged in that fight About two PM, we observed Signals on the mountain opposite called Lowden Hights [sic], to the Rebel at the west of us. Our Siege Guns commenced shelling them from all points,
At 4,30 the [Long] Roll was beat, & we were ordered into Line, at 6 PM, we marched behind the Breastworks on two the Ferry. There we loaded our Gun & camped on the Ground, fully expecting an attack, in our front & that they would Shell our Camp. At 9 PM we were again called into line and marched back to the Camp again, At 3,30 AM on Sun Morn, we we were called into line & ordered to get 48 hours rations ready, & be ready to move at a moments notice.
Everything went along all night until 1,30 PM, when the Rebels opened on us from 4 different Batteries three in the opposite mountain & one on Maryland Heights, The shelling was terrific, the Shells bursting all around us. We were then ordered to retreat to the Side of the hill, at the rear of our Camp. This had been a thick woods but had been cut down since we camped there. About 3 [the] Batteries opened on us from that side, And the way the Balls whistled, was a caution, If ever I was afraid it was then, balls bursting within a few feet of you & coming from all sides,
At 6 PM we marched to the foot of the hill, in an open lot, & formed in a line of battle, Expecting to be attacked in the course of the night. About 8 PM we changed our position a little, moving to the right when some Rebel Cavalry charged from the woods down on us, causing a complete stampeed [sic], the whole Regt broke some of the Companies [turned], & fired into the others, It was an awful time, I fired my Gun & then ran a short distance & fell on back & loaded & fired again. The firing lasted about 20 minutes when order was again established. Some say it was an Infantry Charge & others it was nothing at all, but more say that it was Cavalry.
There was about 10 killed & 15 wounded, two were killed out of our Company. Knight & [Disbro]. We were not disturbed through the night again. The next morning about 6 the Rebels again opened on us, right in front, Shells were flying & bursting all around, I never shall forget it. About 7, Colonel [ ssi] Came and ordered us to form in line of Battle one [sic] the hill, stack our arms & Surrender, as they had no flags of Truce up.
Talk about swearing, I never heard more, than when the Boys were told that we had surrendered, some acctualy [sic] cried, We then rested on the Ground and in the evening they paroled us.
At 9 AM we left the Ferry for Fredrick MD. we marched 16 miles yesterday camping about 5 miles from our present Camp, we arrived here this morning at 10 AM together with the rest of the 12000 prisoners that were paroled, how long we shall stay here, we can not tell, probably not long. We have got to go either in Balt or Washington & report, then what, I can not tell, We were paroled with the understanding that we should go home, it is doubtful whether we go or not. It is a wonder that our Regt escaped with so little loss.
I saw Jackson, he does not look as I expected he would. he dresses so poorly. I never saw such a miserable set in my life, to call themselves Soldiers. To day we are all here except Crowl. he is nurse in the General Hospital, most likely he will [come] on, I told you about having lost my watch, I have got it again all right Waters was taken prisoner & was paroled, [Just] as soon as I get settled I will let you know where to write to me. I have not heard from you in two weeks very anxious to hear
Best love to all
Other information on the battle at Harpers Ferry:
What is “paroled”? It is a release, or exchange, of prisoners of war.
Today in the Civil War:
The battle of Antietam, the War’s bloodiest battle
I take this opportunity of writing you a letter again. We have had a lovely old time since our march from the Ferry. That was one of the roughest time that I ever had, talking about marches that was a rough one. After I wrote you at Monocacy Junction, we left the next morning, for Baltimore, as we thought but it turned out it was for Annapolis.
The first days march from Frederick, towards night I fell out could go no farther. I felt so tired that I could hardly move. The next morning we got up at 4 AM & caught up with the Regt, We started again at 8 AM, & about 5 I fell out again, I could positively go no farther. The next morning 12 of us did not start with the Regt, we waited until it got cool & they walked about 4, miles, then hired a two horse lumber waggon [sic] to take us to Elliotts Mills 19 miles, then we staid until 9 PM, getting our supper, We had a tip top time & found it a great deal easier than walking. It cost us  a piece
We got to Elliotts Mills about 3 AM, then we laid until 7 AM, There we got a pass for 12 to go by cars to Annapolis, by Cars, Saturday we went to the Relay House got there about 8, staid until 4 PM, from there to Annapolis Junction, staid there all night, coming on here yesterday morning, getting here about 6 hours in advance of the Regt.
Today it is reported that we are going to Camp Douglas Illinois, & again it is reported that [each] Regt is going to its own State. That is almost to good to be [true]. It seems that the Government is giving the Cold Shoulder to us because we are prisoners, [Our] hang to march 125 miles. right on the line of the Balt & Ohio RR, & now sending us to Chicago.
One thing is certain that we will be violating our parole to take up arms, I should not be surprised if they send us to the Frontier to Fight the Indians, It makes but little difference to me where we go if they only use us well. If they only leave us some where & not keep us moving all the time, it would answer.
This morning, a lot of us boys went down the Chespeak [sic] bay to go swimming, there we got lots of Oysters, all we cold eat & had a Salt water Bathe,
The only trouble with our marching is we get no chance to [march][?]. I shall be glad when we get settled so that I can get some news from you. It is so long since I have heard form you, When you write please send some money in small bills As we can not live on our Rations, alone, it is impossible.
I saved several things to bring home to Charlie expecting to come home, of course if we were paroled but I guess we will get cheated. I am better off than most Boys. I have got all my things & threw nothing away & most of the Boys did, some threw everything away but the clothes they have on,
Today the Boys had a regular row on the ground. the Boys tore down a Sutters [tend] & destroyed & carried off $3000 worth, it served them right. I told you not to send me any Tribunes, I am sorry because any thing in the Shape of news is cut off. I suppose I must have some mail in Baltimore but I do not know whether we shall get it or not it is doubtful.
Today all is Excitement in camp, all wondering where we are going too [sic] & what is going to be done. I send this letter by Mr Cookingham, father to our [2d] Sergeant. Hoping to hear from you very soon when we get settled I will write as soon as we do
Love to all
Maggie Rosa Mother
Charlie & Yourself
(do you [stay] at Lyons this Year)
I send you by Mr. Cookingham, a Cap Box full of Caps, three or four Cartridges & a Grape Shot. I had two or three pound Cartridges of powder, Cannon powder, for you, I will keep them in case I do come, I had a [ring] made from a mans bone in his [arm ], at the battle of Seven Pines, it was a Union Man. I have seen a great many things that I would like to have brought you, if I could, I shall have a seven Barrel Revolver for you when I get home I also send you a Confederate Bill.
If I had known that they would not have searched us prisoners at the Ferry, I would have brought more things along. I said in my last (next to last) that I was sorry that you did not come with me, but when it came to the march, I tell you I was glad, you never could have stood it,
I said in my last to Father, that I had got my watch back from Waters. Then I expected to get it, He was in town & had shown it to some of the Boys & said he was going to give it to me. He did not come near me, & I began to think he meant to cheat me. If Francisco is willing I wish he would keep $25 for me, of his money unless he returns the watch.
Charlie I tell you, it was rather exciting times the day before we surrendered, the way the balls whistled around our head’s was a caution. I have seen a great many high times since I enlisted & a great many good times Building up a big Camp Fire at night, & laying around it smoking & Singing. I have found boys that I know from all parts here, the other day I [saw] [D ] [Billos], he is Sergeant in one of the Companies in the 126th Regt, I have also seen boys from Ohio & all over.
I wish you had been with us the other day, when we left the Regt. We went into a Secesh House & got our dinners 7 of us, they began to show what they was & began to curse the Union, they charged us 30 cts a piece, we went off & paid them nothing, told them to charge it to Uncle Sam. I tell you the Secesh have to suffer, when the Boys [find] [it out]. Nothing does me more good than to go right [in] [&] ransack everything. The only thing that made me feel bad was having to bury our boys at the Ferry I had to see to that.
I think it is most probable that I shall get a furlough to come home where ever we go, at least I hope, so. There has been a great deal of talk of sending usto Minesota [sic] to Fight the Indians. I will write again as soon as we get settled.
What is a Secesh? A Confederate soldiers or sympathizer
Camp Douglas Ill
Co D 111 Regt
I suppose you would like to hear a little from me, again.
Last Tuesday night we had orders to cook three day rations, during the night. The best of it was, our three Days rations consisted of one ration of Beef & one of Potatoes. At 3,30 wednesday morning we got up & prepared to march, & got the best breakfast we could under the circumstances.
Quite an amusing incident occurred in the morning before we left, Some of the Boys, got a limb of a tree & stuck loaves of Bread, & some of our hard crackers, they then formed in line, & marched around the Ground to the musick [sic] of the Drum, it was a good sell on our quartermaster, as he did not furnish us all our rations.
We left the Camp about 6,30 for Annapolis, there we took the Boat for Baltimore. After a very warm & uncomfortable ride we arrived at Baltimore about 2,30 PM, then after some delay marche’d to the Balt & Harrisburg RR Left Balt at 9 AM, There I made friends with the Fireman, & fired for him 30 or 40 miles, had a good time with him, We arrived at Harrisburg about 6 AM, There we changed Engines & started for Pittsburg [sic]
I enjoyed myself very much on the trip riding on top of the cars, from H to Pittsburg is a very hilly country. the Road runs along the bank of the Susquehanah River. At [Atoona] we changed Engines & staid there one or two hours. Here the Citizens brought us out some sandwiches & Coffee which tasted good to us, after our rations of salt Pork & Crackers. From there we rode all night & arrived at Pittsburg, about 5 AM,
There we marched to a large hall and had our Breakfast, of Coffee Crackers Sausages Cheese, & Pickels [sic], furnished by the Citizens. Then took the Pittsburg Fort Wayne & Chicago RR for Chicago. After we got started, I got another Engine & fired again for a few miles.
At New Brighton the Ladies turned out, en masse, & brought us [pris] cakes, apples & grapes. A little maid brought me a nice Loaf of Bread, already spread with Butter, I left my Card with her, At every little place as soon as the Train stopped, the Ladies Brought us Bread, [Pris] & Apples. One thing is certain we are used better here, than we were even in our own State, Rode all night again, & got on the Engine 54 & fired a while to get an appetite for my Hard Tack, as the Boys call the Crackers,
We arrived at Fort Wayne, about 9 AM. Then I got off, to have a good wash, There I met a young lady, who invited three or four of us over to get Breakfast charging us nothing, left another card, We left Fort Wayne about 12, 30 AM, At Wausau the Ladies turned out again & Brought us some good things, Some of the Young Ladies brought some warm Tea & Coffee, for the Sick, The Boys were all taken sick all to [sic] once, so as to get some tea,
In the afternoon passed over some [ ] We arrived at Chicago about 10,30 last night, then marched up to our present Camp, arriving here about 12 AM. This Camp they say will Accommodate 15000, men it is a splendid place, if it was clean, you can imagine how clean it would be 8000 Rebel Prisoners living here the last week.
It is the strangest thing thing [sic] in the the world to me their sending us to this Camp so far west, It has been report [sic] in Camp for a week past that we were going to Minnesota to fight the Indians. I should much prefer that to remaining here, I think we will be exchanged, before long, that is if they exchange any more, which I hope they will,
We have lost 8 or 10 men since we left Lyons, some of these were left on the Road, & will probably be sent on, Waters has not been heard from yet. I hope he comes to Lyons that you will get my watch. They say here now that, we are going to Drill, tomorrow I do not see how we can drill According to our Parole, but then we can see nothing here, nor know nothing but what we see. This is the greatest place for Rumors, everything [heard] something,
Hoping to hear from you soon, & that you will send me $5,00 & oblige
Love to all
Maggie Rosa Charlie
This week in the Civil War:
September 22, 1862: Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation issued by Lincoln
Co D 111 Regt
N Y S U
Oct 1st /62
I have just received your letter from Lieut Moon, and was very glad to hear again, as it is the first that I have heard form You, since, the letter by Lieut Granger, I have read the letter by Lieut Moon, but not the other I presume it will be sent on here.
You ask me about Disbro1, I guess I can tell you as much as any one, about him, as I stood near him when he fell, and helped bury him. It is a mistake, his being shot by one of his own Company, as after he was dead, one of our Balls were tried to put into the hole in his head, & would not go. It was a Pistol Shot from a horse Pistol, in all probability by some of the Rebel Cavaraly, as we have no such arms. It is almost positive that, he was shot by one of the Rebel Cavalry which attacked us in our Rear. It would be dreadful to think of his being Shot by one of his own comomrades. It is universaly [sic] acknowledged that he was shot by some of the Rebel Cavalry.
He lived about 15 minutes after he was found the Sunday night of the Battle, The next morning I took a Squad of men, some of our Friends, and went down to bury him. We dug his grave, in the most retired and Shady place that we could find, right at the foot of a large Oak . We buried him, wrapped in up in his Blanket and Overcoat & Cap with the hole in it. I cut his name on a Board, like This J Disbro Co, D 111 Regt, and placed it at the head of his grave, So that he could be found, if wanted. All of us could go right to the Spot in a moment.
Disbro was Shot right over the left Eye, the Ball coming out at the Back of the Head. Disrbo was in the same Mess with me and I thought a great deal of him, as also did the other Boys, He was always kind and obliging, especialy [sic] when I was sick, offering to do any thing in his power for me. I do not know that I can tell you any thing more Except, that I knew the [Plan] of his Grave & took some little Trinkets out of his Pockets, which was sent him by Mr Cookingham. He was always the first to do his duty, always volunteering, never having to be detailed,
I am glad you got the money, for my Watch, & would be glad if you get a good chance if you would get me another, & send it to me, as I need it a great deal, especially when on Guard, I can hardly get along with out it then, I want a Hunter Watch. If you get a good chance buy two just alike one for Charlie I guess you can get good ones for $15 a Piece. I have made $12 on that [there] Watch, now it only cost me $13 last winter.
I suppose you Received that Package I sent by Mr Cookingham, those few things to Charlie, if I had known I should have had as good chance to send home as that, I should, have had more.
You say that it was reported the we were coming home on a Furlough, we all expected that in Camp, but there is no such thing in store for us, we will either be Exchanged soon or we will, be sent to the Frontier, The Dailies for several days past, say that is our destination. For my part I do not want to stay here long. Our Major told us last Sunday night at Dress Parade, that he should do all in his power, to have us soon exchanged. You had ought to see us Scrabble when the Mail comes in, and in the morning when the Daily Papers come in to see what our Destination is & see what they say about us. There will be trouble if they undertake to make us drill, before we are Exchanged, I for one will not do it, & break our Parole so.
The 9th Vermont had a Row here yesterday and refused to take up arms, even to go on Guard, Some of the militia have to be Called out to Compel them to. The other day we had [ ] [ ] on the Ground, One of the Sutlers called our Boys Harpers Ferry Cowards, the Boys took everything he had & broke everything to pieces. Served him right. I never saw boys so mad in my life.
I saw Simeon Reynolds here yesterday here, he is in business here now, We are very glad to see any body from home here. We are quite comfortable here now considering, our Quarters, The boys say that there is lice here, but I doubt it some, If you & Mrs Williams send a Box, a can or two or Preserves would come very acceptable, to eat on our Bread as any Bread goes tough when sick.
I have not been very well since I have been here, our ride wore us all out, as there is no rest when Traveling, as we do. If we go out west we will have to march over 80 miles, that is the only trouble. Time alone will show what we will do. I would like very much [ ] fate of the Republicans since I left as we care more for Home News than any thing else,
Tomorrow I am going to have a Pass & and go down in the City, when I shall get a chance to see the Place It is rumored that the Rebel Companies are on the way to Washington to propose terms of Peace, I hope this is not so, as it will not do any thing Honorable. The Boys are all pretty well Hoping to hear from you soon.
With love to all
M T Stacey
1 Disbrow, John M.–age,18. Enlisted 6 Aug 1862 at Galen to serve three years. Died , no date.
Who were Sutlers? They men who sold a variety of goods and stock out of wagons. They set up shop mainly to sell to soldiers, and very often exploited them by charging exorbitant prices. It was an uneasy relationship between the soldiers and the Sutlers, and conflicts often occured.
Camp Douglas, Chicago:
Co D 111 Regt
N Y S V
I guess I have received all the letters, from home, except the one directed to me at Annapolis with $2,00 enclosed which I hope to get yet, In your last letter you said that, it seems to be a settled thing, that we are to go Minesota [sic], I hope if this is so. You will come out here yourself as you can come for $11,00 2nd Class.
I hardly know what to send home for, as if we are on a march as we surely will be if we go out west, it will be only a trouble. But if we stay here, a can or two of Preserves would go tip top to eat on Bread. Also you may send me a pair of woolen Stockings, as the Army Stockings are so large and coarse. I have not worn mine yet. Cotton socks would be too cool for the west. If we go West, a Cap with a fur Band around it to turn down. I should not want it if we do not go west. I do not think I should need any Bandages.
You asked me if I lost any thing on our march. I lost nothing on the march, but a Blanket, I picked up another one, on my last days march, I lost my Havensack, the night of the Battle but got another one, Just as good. Some of the Boys, when they got to Annapolis, had got nothing, literally nothing. They as soon as they got tired threw away every thing, some on the first day’s march, Hundreds of dollars worth could have been picked up after us. Yesterday we [drew] some [men] Blankets, a great deal better than the others.
I have kept a full Diary, & recorded everything of interest since I enlisted. I find it a Capital thing to refer two [sic] especially when writing. I have written two letters to George, but have got no answer, yet. You asked me what papers I would like. I would like the Lyons Republican & Occasionaly [sic] the N.Y Tribune, the Republican by all mean’s.
I have seen the Paragraphs from the letter’s that I wrote you, the boys have been reading them & wondering who wrote them. You made one mistake, in the letter I wrote about the Battle, saying that if I was ever afraid it was then, that is a mistake. You ask me to write all the paticulars, I am sure I write everything I can think about. Some times I think too much, Though it is not much trouble, nothing else to do.
I have thought of one other thing a small bottle of Pickles they would come good. We have been having lovely times for the past week, The boys seeming to think that because they are Paroled that they can do as they like, they have tore down Sutlers Stands. I do not blame them for that as the Sutlers called them Harpers Ferry Cowards, 2100 boys from the Camp, ran the Guard on Friday. That is a thing, I should despise myself if I did.
If I can not get out legally I will not get out at all. I got a pass on Friday & went around the City, Chicago is a great deal cleaner City than I supposed, Some Splendid Buildings. We find Sutlers things Cheaper here, than any where we have been before At the Ferry, we had to pay 5 cts a slice for Bread 25 cts for a Pres, 28 cts a lb for Butter, 10 cts a Quart for milk 25 cts a pound for Sugar. Here every thing is Cheaper but Fruit, Peaches 5 cts a piece Apples 2 for 5 cts Grapes 25 cts a pound & everything else proportion. You may be sure that we can enjoy but very few of these luxuries.
last night, Sunday, the boys had another row on the Ground, & tore down over 60 rows of fence around the Camp Ground. This is very foolish of them as [it] only keeps us in closer confinement. The boys heard our Major say yes today that we would not be exchanged this winter & that we would not stay here, so what will be done is hard telling. It troubles me but little, as I am contented any where. About Furlough’s Some of the boys from the other Companies are getting them for 20 days. According to the Articles of war we are entitled to Furloughs a year of 20 day’s each, we have hardly been in Service yet,
You spoke in a former letter, about my not going on Picket, oftener than I can help it, Do you think that [I] shall stay in camp, when I get such a good chance to get out, I like the duty, the more because it is so exciting.
I can think of nothing more of interest to write this morning, as often as I find any thing of interest, I will write & keep you posted
Hoping to hear from you soon
Who were Sutlers? They were men who sold a variety of goods and stock out of wagons. They set up pretty much to sell to soldiers, and very often exploited them by charging exorbitant prices. It was an uneasy relationship between the soldiers and the Sutlers and conflicts often occured.
I am getting anxious to get my back letters, of which I am confident, there must be several. On Tuesday morning were were ordered to pack Knapsacks, Coats & Blankets, and form a line at 10,45 for Inspection. We marched to the Square to be Inspected by Genl Tyler which lasted till one AM.
During the night, we heard the Cry of Fire, such a scrabbling the boys all taking out their things, before they knew where the Fire was, It turned out to be a pile of Rubbish opposite Co A’s Barracks, which did not amount to much.
Yesterday one of our Boys Died in the Hospital, his name was Austin [Legg]1 of [?] Berlin, he died of Intermittent Fever. Tom Hooker has been pretty sick, for the past few days, with a very bad Diareeah, Tom looks quite pale, There is but little danger in that however. Most likely you will see some of the Lyons boys home before long, as the major gave Orders, last night at Dress Parade, for every man that was not fit to do military Duty to be reported. And I know we have several.
One of the Palmyra Boys has got a Substitute by paying $111, & is expecting to leave for home this morning. Good for him. I had a talk with the Capt last night, he seems to think that we will not soon be exchanged. but that this will be our Winter Quarters, if this be so, I suppose we will see you out here, or some of the Friends, before long. I would rather be exchanged & go to Drilling again, As I think it doubtful, if we drill here. It would make a great difference to us, if we knew what we were to do.
I see there is a great deal of talk about, who was to blame about the Surrender at the Ferry. I find but one expression among all of the men not only our Regt, but all that were taken & that was that Miles was the man. Why did he order our Guns to cease Firing on Sunday morning, when we could plainly see the Rebel Signals with their white Flag, he must have known that that was not right, Some of the Artillery Boys kept Firing even after the order & it had to be repeated. All Cursed Miles & said if it had not been for him, we would not have been so. I do not think we cold have held the place over 48 hours, with out Reinforcements, even with the Hights [sic]. We were so completely Surrounded.
However this is all past now. I am not sorry now, that we have been through what we have. I do not think that I could have got in a Company, where there are better Commissioned Officers, They all seem to be Just the men for the [place] and are liked by all the boys. And we have also a Model Orderly sergeant Augustus w Green2 of Sodus. I do not think we could have been more fortunate nor do I know a man in the Company, that could do as well as he. Dan Hutchings3 tried to get it, but I would rather have given $50 than have had him in the place, he is not liked by any of the Boys, First Corporals[ ] [ ] him a great deal & what would [Ord ] do.
We are living better now. We have regular meals, & sit down to a table & live some thing like [it] & yet I miss home comforts. I am a little sorry that I brought Your Rubber Coat, it is heavy to carry, but if we stay here all winter, I presume I shall need it
Hoping to hear from you soon.
I forgot in my last letter to ask you to send me a set of Brass letters, such as they mark Bags & Boxes with, only have them separate & a Bottle of Ink in my box. Size of the letters about 3/4 of an inch or inch would be a little better. They are just what I need to mark my things with And I know I can make enough to more than pay their cost, as the boys all need their things marked And I know I can make a good thing out of it.
I will give you now, the routine we have to [ ] with every day, here in Camp. Roll call at Sunrise, breakfast at 7 AM from then until noon nothing to do but read & write, at 12 dinner At PM for four days past we were to have the Rules and articles of War read, at 5 PM Supper at 8,30 Roll Call, so you can see Just about what we have to do, We were ordered to Drill four hours a day when we came here, but the boys made so much fus [sic] about it & swore they would not, that I think they will not do it.
The boys are having it pretty much their own way now, the night before last they tore down over 50 rods of the line fence & yesterday over 40 took French leave & went down in the City, the Guard not offering to stop them, A great many of the Boys are deserting out of the Regt here, they are booking their Passage on the Boats in Buffalo & other ports,
I think I shall put up with a great deal before I leave, What good would it do to Desert if you cold not go home, & if you, you will surely be caught. The punishment of the boys that have left us is to be very light, compared to what I thought. They are to be returned to the Regt, & they pay all expenses, It will however cost them about $50.
We get mail here twice a day, at 11,30 AM and at 5 PM, I get the Daily Chicago Papers by paying 5 cts a Piece, which but few will do. I have not received the letter directed to Annapolis, to me with the $2,00 enclosed yet. I do not know what to think about it now.
Charlie asked me to describe the Revolver I have got for him. It is a small Seven Shooter weighing about a pound it is in perfect order & is a splendid looking piece & will just suit him I know, I have also got the Belt & all acoutrements. It will make his eyes water, Charlie may be glad that he never came here as he never could have stood the march,
Yesterday Some of the Ohio & Indiana Regts, three months men, were mustered out of the Service & [Recd] their back pay, it made us think of a time to come but a great way in the distance.
Yesterday we had a good time about Rations, the Quartermaster of the Ground wanted us to take some, stinking meat, and we refused to do it, so we had no dinner, he came to terms in the afternoon. You asked me in a Previous letter whether Crowl, was Company Mess Cook he was a Company Cook & a good one at that.
You also asked me if we slept out of doors. We have about a third of the time, You have heard of the heavy Dew’s here, they were so heavy that they wet our Blankets completely through In the morning, they are just like a Fog. I got used to it however and did not mind it.
Could you make out any thing with the Map of the Ferry, that I drew, it was very imperfect but then I expected to come home & then I could explain it, It would give you a good idea of how, we were situated. We are now drawing the Clothes that we lost on the march, And I think the next will be to draw our Guns & Acoutrements & then next go west.
I can think of nothing else to write, I suppose you have seen where we have to go when Exchanged.
Love to all
Boys all well
What is “French leave”? Desertion
What is a “substitute? Conscription and “substitution” in the Civil War
Chicago Oct 10th 7 AM
I received your letter on Thursday, & I was glad to hear that we was so soon to have a Box from home. It was not so what Williams wrote home, about we having all that is needed.
You can judge for Yourself, we have Coffee & Bread & sometimes Beef & that [is] none to tender nor is any to [sic] fresh, half the time it is not fit to eat. Suppose the Beef was good, at supper I think. Coffee & Bread is quite dry. I can not drink the Coffee since I was sick at the Ferry. I am sure I shall be glad to get a few things.
9 AM Billy Waters just arrived & brought our things, all right except the Honey, that run all over the Trunk. I am very much obliged for my things, I tell you they are just what we need I do not care who says any thing to the contrary. I can tell you that it will taste good to me.
I guess William is sorry he did not send for any thing, but he will not make any thing out of me. Williams is noted for his tall lying, it is acknowledged to be the tallest Liar in the Company. When on the march he steals everything he can lay his hand on, or draw as they call it. On the Road from Harrisburg to Pittsburg, he with a lot of others, got off at a Station, & went in to a poor Widow’s & took over 30 cans of Preserves & Fruit, from her Cup board, right before her eyes, he is a hard case, though a good natured boy.
Who sent the pears loose in the Trunk, Williams claimed them. You asked me about my Boots. They wear tip top & will last me two months yet with a little fixing yet. I am more determined than ever, not to wear Army Shoes. I just got a letter from you directed too [sic] Harpers Ferry, but have not got the one Directed to Annapolis yet, but I think I shall yet.
Yesterday morning Mrs Stone & Althea Yager drove to the Barracks to see me and to the 126th to see the Clifton Boys. they both gave me a Cordial Invitation to come out & see them & spend the day, They live only about a Mile from our Camp. I shall most certainly do it as it will be quite a change.
It is very cold here to day, so that we need our Over Coats. We are but a Short distance west of the lake, & the wind blows very Cold. I think it will be lovely here in winter. I shall be glad to get the Gloves & Hat, even if we stay here whether we will or not.
The boys organized a Debating School on Wednesday night last. Subject of Debate Resolved that the work’s of Nature attract man, more than the works of Art. Decission [sic] in favor of the Affirmative. the meeting was postponed until last eve, but that got played out as one of the Learning Debates,
Thomas Hunter was in the Guard House for getting drunk, Last night the boys had a dance in our Barracks, and enjoyed themselves tip top. During the Day, you can see the boys playing Ball, Running Races & at all sorts of Games, in which some of the Officers join in.
The Ladies of Chicago, are very good to our sick boys, bringing them in, in their Carriages, a great many Delicacies, I will tell you how I got sold yesterday when I was talking to Miss Yager, one of the Soldiers Stepped up and asked Mrs Stone if she had any milk, supposing it was some of the ladies, that brought in things, I felt mean.
You asked me if I went out to meeting, last Sunday. How could I, I can not get a pass, only when my turn comes. Mr Brown came on Sunday but had no service.
Sat 7 AM We have just had the Coldest night of the Season, we have just got a stove up in the Barracks.
I am very much obliged to Rosa and Maggie, for the Cakes & letter. I hardly know what to make of our life here. Yesterday it was reported that, we were going to New York State to be held as reserves, until exchanged, but of Course we do not believe it unless we hear it positive.
last night we had a fire on the Ground, two Baracks & a Cook House was burned up, & do not know what occasioned it.
I have got a very bad cold now, but will soon get over that.
You said that A Williams writes such long letters, does he send more news than I do In the course of the week. This makes the 4th letter this week. I try to send you all the News. The reason why A B Williams wrote home that we are living so well was, he had just got a letter from home with money in it & he did not draw rations. it was the same Case with Barny.
I think a great deal of Francisco, he is a little Gentleman, & is always the Same, So is Hunt, I am Disappointed in Williams. I see the Advantage of Being a Corporal now, I have no duty to perform at all here, such as Carrying Water & Cleaning up Barracks. I Bunk with our 2nd Sergeant, Charlie Cookingham1, Son of the Gentleman that Brought those things home to you.
It is reported that Mr. Gavitt is coming out here in the course of a week, if so you could send my watch by him. You did not say whether you were going to buy Charlie one Just like mine, I [hope] will. I will send Charlies Revolver Home as soon as I get a good Chance, Its a Beauty, but he must keep it dry & keep a little grease on it, and be sure and not let it rust.
We had a very heavy back mail from Harpers Ferry, yesterday, In which I got several papers. I am glad to get the Lyons Republican, if you will send me that is all I ask. That story that Williams wrote about that Dutchman jumping down a Bank, 150 feet high is no such thing. No one knew when he Jumped off or whether he was killed or not.
I suppose you have heard a great deal about drawing things, it is no more nor less than taking things with out lease. I am glad they can not say that I have been concerned in it, I have kept clean of all such things. I do not see any use in your giving me so many lectures, on keeping out of the Rows here, I should think you knew me better than to think I would be engaged in any such things.
I think with out exception our Co has the roughest name in the Regt, I do not think they would disgrace when engaged in Battle, & I [think it] is there they will make them selves heard, & that for good.
I saw Mr Bronson yesterday from Lyons.
Our Camp lies about 4 miles west of the the City, right between the Illinois Central & Lake Shore RR. The Street Cars run right past the Camp so it is but a few moments ride to the Center of the City.
I tell you what I would like, that is a couple of Flannel Shirts, something that would not Show dirt very easy, & yet look nice, Something like, what was sent to Barny in the Box, I think we will need two Shirts here, and have the Army shirt underneath.
We have got several men in our Company, that are playing up sick in order to get discharged. I despise such actions.
Hoping to hear from you soon
Co D 111 Regt
I received your last letter on Saturday last, & was glad to hear so often from home.
You asked me, to whom you should write, to get me a Furlough. I do not think there is any use in trying for it. But Nevertheless you can try Major S B Smith 111 Regt is the man to apply to, we are under him now, You may be sure that I would be willing to ride any way, so as to come home for a short time.
It was reported here on saturday that we were to be Mustered out of the U S Service, into the State & go to our own state & be held as reserves. I suppose there is as much truth in it, as in some of the other Rumors, which is no truth at all. I do not think we shall stay here all winter. I do no think they could keep the Boys, a great many are leaving every day & going home, I do not approve of the plan & yet I do not blame the boys.
It was reported here on friday the Genl Tyler (who has command here) said that we will either be Exchanged within 10 days or we would go to N Y State. I hope one or the other will be so, as it is to [sic] confining here .
Monday 6 AM. I got a pass to go down in the City yesterday Afternoon from 1 to 5, so of course could not go to meeting at that hour. We had inspection again yesterday morning from 10 to 12, We were inspected so as to see what clothes we lacked, or what we needed. It seems to be the order of the Day, to have something going on, Sundays, I do not know why it is.
Last night some of the Company A & T’s men got up a Row & tore down some of the outside Fence, It don’t seem as if the Boys could be contented, unless in some mischief, I can’t see that they will make any thing by it.
It seems to be given up here, by Officers & men, our going to Minesota [sic], They seem to think that we shall stay here until exchanges. I hope this is not so, if we are not to be exchanged this winter that we will go into a little warmer Quarters. It is so perplexing here, we can not tell, one day before another what we are going to do. But then this is a part of the Trade.
I have received a letter from you, with a $5,00 & a $3,00 Bill in but not the one with $2,00 in.
We had a Battle in our Square the other night, between the Right & left wing of the Regt, It was fought with hard Tack, or Crackers. we compelled the Enemy to retreat, but the[y] [railed] again & was compelled to Raise the White Flag, It made a good deal of Fun for us, with out some such thing we would die of Laziness.
Williams has been sick for the past few days, I think he has got the Ague*. I have got a very bad cold, just enough to make me feel miserable.
We are living a little better now you may be sure with all those good thing’s from home Now. look at our Breakfast this morning. Hard Tack & Coffee & that so poor, the [Kettles] are all grease, not being washed clean. Six boys out of the Company, are detailed every day to wash dishes, & carry Water, We have two boys that have cooked for us, since Crowl left.
A great many of our Boys are sick, generally 10 on the Sick list every morning, I do not know what is the Cause of it, unless it is the Diet & poor Water.
Billy Waters thinks he paid a good price for the Watch. I think it was worth all he paid for it, I know it was worth that to me, I hope You will get a chance to send me another, soon.
I never have said much about My Superior Non Commissioned Officers, I do not think there is a company on the Ground that has poorer Non Commissioned Officers. There is our 4th Sergeant Warren1. he is no more fir for the place than Charlie Sherman, he is despised by all the Men & then there is, Dan Hutchins, I am sorry they ever accepted him.
I can see the Reason you can not tell better what is going here, One writes one thing and one another, so it is hard to tell, You could tell but little by Williams’es letters, as he has always drawn so much. I know that I have tried to make the best of every thing, and have not told all we have been through or have seen. A great deal of it falls on our Officers, they have always been behind time in everything that related to the welfare of the Men, This is truth and all Confirm this story. The most of the Blame falls on the Capt, as he is the Superior Officer. I have not wanted to say this, but will tell it just as it is.
Tell Maggie that I am much obliged for the letter & will answer when I write next,
Must close Breakfast Call
Love to all
* What is Ague? A 19th Century term for the recurring fever and chills caused by malaria.
7 AM Oct 14th
I think if all the reports are true, that our troubles have not commenced yet. It is reported that we have got the Small Pox in Camp, Three men were taken from the 126 Regt (And that lays right by us) to the Hospital, that had got it. if this is so, I pity the boys, one thing is certain [I] shall not be afraid of it, And if the boys in our Co got it, I can nurse them, but you may be sure I do not like it well enough to nurse any one else.
I think we shall get one months pay this week this I know, And the Orderly told me that he thought we would go home then. Our Ajutant [sic] told the boys yesterday, that there was no use in the Boys Cleaning up the Barracks, as we were going to New York. Things look now as if we were about the move somewhere, And the most likely place for us to go is to our own State.
One thing is certain, if the Small Pox break out in Camp & spreads much A great many of the Boys would leave.
Jessie Cooley & H [Ca ] left last night out of the 126 Regt for home, they bought Citizens Cloths. I do not like that style.
Tuesday Oct 15 6 AM. Yesterday at 11 AM, I got a pass & went to mrs Stones to s[p]end, coming back about 5 PM, I have not enjoyed myself so well in a long time. As soon as we got there, I felt perfectly at home. I enjoyed my dinner very much. Mr Stone has a splendid place here in his house, he has, his Billiard Room, His Pictured [sic] Gallery & such splendid Drawing Room & Parlors, His place is about a mile & a half East of our Camp. I have got a Cordial Invitation to spend the day with them, every day I can get out,
Mrs Stone Comes on the Ground every day, in her Carriage with Jellies & such things for the Sick in the Hospital. All She seems to talk about or think is the Poor Soldiers. Althea Yager, is with her & has been with her since April, I have not spent so pleasant a day since leaving home, Althea Say’s I am the only one in the Regt that She has seen, give the Military Salute when meeting Ladies. Mrs Stone wishes You if you come to Chicago to come there directly & make that your home while here, She says on (no) account will she consent to your Stopping any where else, I know you would feel at home.
Those things that I sent for at the Ferry I do not want now. It is truth, as I have since heard that they got the Small Pox at the General Hospital. if this prevails, I think the Boys would be justified in leaving.
I think I never told you the Motto given us to fight under. The Sunday night at the Ferry after the Fight, Brig D Utassi (D’Utassi), rode along our lines & said, My Boys You have two things to do tomorrow, Fight Like Braves and Die Like Christians.
At the time we did not expect to Surrender & expected to be engaged in an Awful Fight. When Utassi, told us we had Surrendered one of Co A’s Liets, McIntyre [ ] Palmyra, Drew his Sword from his Scabbard & would have [taken] it in too, had it not been for Segoine. Did I ever tell you that Segoine, said we were not Gentlemen, nothing but Soldiers, how do you think I felt then, & when he rode at the End of the Regt, on the march & Swore he would Shoot the first man that fell out, a great many such incidents as this, occurred to show what he was. Where was he the night of the Fight but staying under cover of the woods, while we were Fighting & then they said he was wounded, it is no such thing, if it was so, he fell down & the boys run over him,
Everything is quieting off Lately, if there is any such thing as our being paid off and discharged from the US Service I will Telegraph, Yesterday morning the Chicago Tribune said the latest Advices from Washington are that the Paroled Prisoners are to be soon Exchanged or Discharged into the State Service.
Love to all
Father seems to think that he can not trust you to carry a Revolver. I think there is but little danger in carrying one as long as you are careful The Revolver is a little Beauty, in prime Order, it was brought from New York & never was taken from the Rebels. There was lots of chances to get them the day we surrendered, but we were afraid, they would scratch it. I saw lots of Revolvers broke up. I even went as far as to cut a hole in my Coat, to hide my money.
Things begin to look brighter at the Camp now. All seem to think that we are going home, one of our Sergeants asked the Ajutant [sic] for a Furlough & he said he would get one soon enough.
Another thing, that I don’t want to be told, Augustus Green, our Orderly has applied for the Lock Berlin School & still another, we had drawn part of our Clothes, but were ordered not to draw any more until we knew whether we were to be Exchanged or Discharged.
And still another Genl Tyler, said that we would be soon Exchanged or Discharged into the State Service. One of the Boys, had a letter from Auburn & they say the are cleaning up the Barracks, for us, If we are Discharged into the State Service & sent to Auburn, I do not think we will be held there. The Boys are all Betting on their going home in two weeks, That is too soon, I do not think we will go until about the middle of next month, as our Officers do not get their Commissions until they have been in Service three months, & that will be the 7th of November. I should prefer being Exchanged too [sic] going to, Auburn & laying all of the three Years Though I should not object to going to my own State, or to going Home. If we are Discharged I shall go on the Road again,
If I can get on Father has not said whether he has bought you a watch or not, or perhaps you do not want one. I received a letter from Father yesterday, In which he says he had not heard from me, about the Trunk, I wrote Just as soon as Billy arrived here.
The Boys are bound it seems to disobey Orders, in every way possible. At our Dress Parades 5 PM, we are ordered to Present Arms, or give the Military Salute to the Commanding Officer. The Boys obeyed to simply placing the back of the right hand against the Front Piece of their Cap, until the order, Shoulder Arms. Not one third of the Company will do it. Last night the boys turned out to Dress Parade at 4 PM & had to drill for an hour, a great many of the Boys protest that they will not Drill until Exchanged. I think there will be trouble when they compel the 111th to Drill. I can not see, but what we are breaking our Parole, if we Drill. For my part I should prefer to drill an hour or two if it was [r]ight, but I can not care about getting into trouble, But of course we have got to obey every Officer over us no matter who it is, or whether right or wrong.
We see nothing of Chap Brown, & do not know where he keeps himself. I hope Mr Gavitt will come out here & succeed in getting me a Furlough. I think it would be safer to come by 2d class by RR than to come by the Lake this Season of the year. We can see a little of the Lake here.
I hope you will succeed in getting you a nice Drum. Have you joined Millers Band yet, or why do you not.
We had a Fire on the Ground last night. 12 company Barracks & Cook Houses were burned to the Ground & men are reported to be killed, The boys lost almost everything. The Fire broke out among the new Illinois Troops & burnt out Two or three Regt. Of course it is laid to the Harper Ferry Cowards. The 659  Illinois are the toughest Regt, that were paroled & are always in to trouble. You should go over the Ground after the Fire as I did this morning at 5,30, There were bushels of dead rats laying all over the Ground & such large one’s.
It is reported here this morning that, we were to be paid off & Discharged, If this is so Most likely we shall see New York again. The Companies Sergeant offered to bet $20 that we spend but three Sundays more in this place. He is one that would be apt to know things look that ways now.
Ask Father what he paid for his Rubber Coat. I have had a great many offers for it, but did not know,
Our boys have great Times here, there are a few who make a practice of going out & getting Drunk, & raising a Row & disturbing us all, they seem to think they can do as they please which is a great mistake.
We have got a very cold Barracks here, but do not intend to fix them up, until we know what is to be done. I got nearly a pound of splendid Black Tea, the other day of Althea Yager, which tastes tip top as the Quartermaster furnishes [furnishes] us no Tea now, he is trying to see how cheap he can board us. he has got down to 16 cts, therefore makes 30 cts clean on every man
Love to all