1864: Hiram to Libbie

The identity of this soldier has not yet been revealed by research though there are a few clues in the letter. The soldier’s first name was Hiram and his last name may have been White but I can’t be certain of that. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth (“Libbie”) to whom he addressed the letter; they were probably without children as he does not mention any. He wrote the letter from a hospital on Folly Island in January 1864. He was most likely from a New York regiment as he mentions Utica in the letter. He also mentions a “Major Love” in the letter whom I think was likely from the same regiment but I have not been able to identify him either. There was a Hiram White from Utica who served in the 14th New York Regiment but he mustered out of the service prior to this letter.

We also know the author was in a regiment that previously was posted in or passed through Frederick, Maryland at some point in the service.


January 12th 1864
In hospital on Folly Island, South Carolina

My Dear Libbie,

I have just received your letter of the 31st and the news of Grandma’s death. I trust & believe she has made a happy exchange from this world of sin & woe to one of bliss.

It is really quite sickly with you. I am afraid you will get sick yet. I would come & see you if I could but it is a hard case to get a sick furlough and we must be patient & hopeful and trust in the Lord always. Oh! you are a good woman & must not get rebellious before we get this present rebellion of our hands.

I have been thinking of your going to Utica & Mib [?] would be glad to have you. If you could not go with our folks, you might go afterward & stay awhile. I hear by way of Sherman Henderson today that Chet was at Newport now — had enlisted over again & would soon go home on a [veteran’s] furlough. I also had a letter from Major Love tonight at Fortress Monroe. [He is] in the hospital yet very anxious to get to the regiment but still unfit for duty. The health of the regiment & troops is generally good.

Now Libbie, do not get blue & vexed at Irene. She is about as I expected. She would find herself about these days. My dear, you have altered your mind some, eh? Well, don’t worry, my love.

I have not much time to write. You will excuse a poor, short letter this time and when you can, send me on some of powdered rhubarb. Send it by mail if you do not send another box. Give my love to enquiring friends.

I did or do not understand the lambs business. I don’t know, maybe I have forgot. Give my love to H– if you see her. Be a good girl & be contented if you can. I hope to kiss and love you sometime a bunch. With lots of affection, I remain your affectionate husband, — Hiram

It is dark now & love, be a nice little woman. I will try & be a good boy to you yet I hope. From H. White [?]

January 13

A rainy morning. I am feeling very well & hungry. Am waiting for my breakfast. I would like your photograph if convenient. I have not seen my wife since I left the city of Frederick, Maryland. I carried it in my pocket but I was spoiling. It broke the case as my knapsack was stripped of most everything. I lost it. You want my picture?

If you send another box, you better send it as quick as you can. If you have got me a pair of boots, send them. Next time put your direct on the top of the box — also a card of strong paste to write the directions on. But I leave it with you to do as you see fit about sending the box. — H

1862: Thomas C. Zahniser to William Caldwell


   How Thomas might have looked

This letter was written by First Sergeant Thomas C. Zahniser (1835-1862) of Co. F, 57th Pennsylvania Infantry. A family history states that Thomas was a school teacher “till the breaking out of the war when he enlisted (6 October 1861)  in a company of Volunteer Infantry. The following June he lay in the field hospital with fever and was captured by the Confederates at the Battle of Charles City Crossroads. It is thought that he died before the prisoners reached Richmond, but he was never heard of again. He was a generous and popular comrade and being a fine penman was much in demand for addressing home letters for the other soldiers. He was prominently active in temperance work both before and during his service as a soldier.” [Source: The Zahnisers, a history of the family in America]

Thomas was the son of David Zahniser (1795-1874) and Nancy Ann Coulson (1795-1850) of Mercer county, Pennsylvania. He wrote this letter to his brother-in-law, William Caldwell (1819-1890) — the husband of Eleanor Zahniser (1829-1917).

The letter was written from the camp of the 57th Pennsylvania during the late stages of the siege of Yorktown.


Headquarters, Camp Winfield Scott
April 29, 1862

Brother William,

I received your long letter last night dated the 20th. I have written four letters to you since you wrote me at Washington. I wrote one a short time ago. And as we don’t know here what a day or night may bring forth, I thought I would drop you a few lines this morning in reply to your last favor although I have nothing particular to communicate.

The work of preparation is still going on. I think I told you about our skirmish but if I did not, I presume you have heard it often enough for we have seen it in most of the papers. 2 men were wounded in our regiment — one in our company & one in Co. E. 2 wounded and 2 killed in the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers. Since then we had one killed with a shell on picket. There was quite a skirmish the other morning before daylight. Our regiment was out in line of battle but was not called on. The rebels tried to take one of our rifle pits but they did not succeed in doing it. The Massachusetts boys took 18 prisoners and one piece of artillery. They were the only ones engaged in it. Our loss 2 killed, don’t know how many wounded. Their loss must of been heavy. Not a day passes by but what we capture one or more. Some come over on their own accord. The picket lines in some places are not over 300 yards apart. They keep a constant firing between them. The batteries exchange shots night & day.

A balloon reconnoissance is made every day viewing the rebel batteries. The have 3 tiers of batteries which mounts 800 guns. They are strongly entrenched. Language fails me to tell you the amount of work our Army has dine within the last 2 weeks in the line of making roads, breastworks, rifle pits, batteries, bridges, &c. The rifle pits are nearly completed. They extend from one end of the lines to the other — a distance of 7 miles. They are 5 feet deep and 12 feet wide. Roads are being made along hillsides and through the woods in every direction towards the enemy. They are cut through places as difficult and rugged as Sandy Lake Hills and graded as level as a floor, 24 feet wide. Many cannon balls have been dug up which no doubt was shot at the Battle of Yorktown [during Revolutionary War days]. It matters not what kind of weather we have — fair to foul, rain or shine, night or day — thousands are at work all the time. There is a fine stream saw mill in this vicinity which is kept running all the time. Logs are cut and hauled with Secesh property.

Our regiment have done but little fatigue duty. We are kept mostly on picket or to support the batteries. We scarcely get a nights sleep. Night before last we were placed in rifle pits. Last night we stood under arms from 3 o’clock till morning. Tonight we go on picket. Ours is a soldier’s life — “days of danger, nights of wakin’.” But we do it cheerfully, at least the most of us. They are some old grannies among us who had better be at home. Last night there was heavy cannonading but have learned nothing in regard to it. I would not be surprised if this battle was not fought for 3 weeks. McClellan is busy viewing the roads ad breastworks. He is a nice-looking man — wears a private’s coat. He feels confident of success and will do it with as little loss of life as possible. I hope it will be so. But it surely will be a big fight.

The weather has turned in fine after a week of inclemency. Today it is nice and warm. The woods are green. I presume ‘ere this, the farmers would of planted their corn but I guess there won’t be much corn planted in this vicinity. Oh! the desolation! the desolation! of this country. No one can form an idea till they see it.

In regard to the war news, you know as much about them as I do. The Battle of Pittsburg Landing [Shiloh] was bloody & nothing gained by either side. It was nothing but the hand of Providence saved Grant’s Army. At Corinth will be another desperate battle. Halleck will command in person. Has not his Department of the Army done much to quell this mighty rebellion? McClellan laid the plans and he executed them. Such skill, engineering, bravery & energy as exhibited at Island No. 10, Ft. Pulaski, Ft. Donelson, never was known in the annals of history. There are Halleck and Foote, Burnside, Buell, Grant & Pope have covered themselves with immortal fame in quelling this cursed rebellion. It is reported that McClellan received a telegram that New Orleans was taken. If we are successful here and at Corinth, then Jeff may hang his bacon.

Our rations are as usual. We have hard bread all the time. We will be mustered in tomorrow for 2 months more pay & will be paid for the last 2 months this week. I will send the most of mine home. So if you have any notion of coming here and help us through with the fight, we will give you a good percent of carrying our money home. I have enough of money to do me a couple of months. But most all of the boys are out.

As in regard to the hay, I leave you to settle it as you would for yourself (which I think you will). I am well satisfied with what you have done. But as in regard to the boards, I expect to get but little benefit from them. It seems that 3 or 4 have got some of them and no one knows at what price or how much & the rest is going to waste. But of course you know nothing about it. But if you could find out who all got and how much so collect the money no difference who they are. I will pay you for your trouble. By your own statement you sold the hay for 27 dollars. I owe Thompson [Zahniser] over 10 dollars & McKean 45 dollars. In all 55. I think that I will send home 25 dollars which with what is coming will pay off all my debts. I may only send 20 dollars at present, but William, if you could collect the money before the 1st of June so as to pay McKean’s note, I wish you would for he wants the money. Act with Davidson & VanBuren as you would for yourself.

The boys are all well. Mr. Zahnizer is helping to cook. James Zahniser & Lew Suplee send their respects to you. I wish you would wrap us some molasses and send them to us but if God is willing, I hope we will be at home next spring to help you make some. I saw John Bromley yesterday. He, James Michael, & Archie are in the 83rd [Pennsylvania] Regiment. George belonged to the same company that D. McBracken did. John looks well. I was glad to see him. As I write, the unearthly screaming and bursting of shells are ever on my ear. We are all anxious to know the result of this battle. I have no doubt as to the result for I think our Army will be half slain before they will suffer a defeat. Two Ohio Regiments were disgraced for their cowardly conduct at Pittsburg Landing but the Illinois & Indiana boys did well. I can’t think of much more. I will quit for the time being.

May 1st — As I stated in the beginning, we did not know one day what we would do the next. So it proved. Before I closed this letter, after dinner on the 29th, we were ordered to to pack our knapsacks & move about ½ a mile. Our Brigade moved together. The object is to promote health. It kept us quite busy till night to fix our tents. We were called out the next [morning] at 2 o’clock double quick for about 4 miles to some batteries which we guarded till night and then we were taken to a more advanced one and stayed in it till 6 this morning. They tried to shell us out through hte night. We were expecting an attack and was ready to give them a welcome reception.

The night was cool, dark, and rainy. They used 3 pieces — one threw shells and the other 2 balls. About 3 this morning they fired very rapidly. Some of the trees as thick as my leg was cut square cut off. Our batteries were silent & the pickets were ordered to fall back to the pits on their approach without firing so as to decoy them out, but they did not make their appearance. The trees are all more than ½ sawed down so that they can all be felled in a few hours which will be the prelude of the conflict.

We were mustered in a few hours ago for 2 months more pay. There are 4 months due us now. I think we will be paid soon.

I feel quite fatigued and will not write much more at present. I hope that we will get a nights sleep tonight. Today it has drizzled all the time.

The mail goes out early in the morning so I will close this tonight. When I write you again, I hope to tell you of the taking of Yorktown. The capture of New Orleans is still confirmed. Now in conclusion, William, I want you to write me often. Write to the same as we would talk about if I was with you. What you are doing, how oats, corn &c. you put in and in what place &c.  Write all the little items. Give my respects to all the friends.

Thomas C. Zahniser to Wm. Caldwell

Give my love to the children. I hope I will see them all again. William, I want you to get some postage stamps and send them to me as soon as you can for we can’t get one for love or money. I will be compelled to send this without paying it. I received a letter from D. Zahniser the 29th. James Zahniser sends his respects to you and says that he would like to swap a few yarns with you over a long neck bottle, but always looks back with pain to the time he separated you and his old friend at George R. Suplee’s butchering.

I want you to attend to my little affairs till I get out of  debt. I will send my money by mail. You can get the stamps with my money. Tell [my sister] Eleanor to write. It is getting dark and I am sending a thought homeward. Give my love to all. A. Hunter had a fit last night while going to camp but is better [and] able to go round. As I told you in my last to address your letters:

Thomas C. Zahniser
Company F, 57th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers
Hamilton’s Division
Washington D. C.

All letters to this Army are addressed to Washington and then are packed and forwarded.

I remain as ever your affectionate brother, — Tommy

To William Caldwell & Family

Davidson has not written to me about the hay deal with him. Mind that Andrew Elbert pays that money, the mean scamp. Write soon.

1865: William Stoughton Pillsbury to Charles H. Long

This letter was written by Lt. William Stoughton Pillsbury (1833-1911) of Co. D, 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery. He was the son of Rev. Stephen Pillsbury (1781-1851) and Lavinia Hobart (1795-1871) of Sutton, Merrimack county, New Hampshire. Prior to serving with the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Pillsbury served as an officer in both the 4th New Hampshire Infantry and the 9th New Hampshire Infantry.

Lt. Pillsbury probably wrote the letter to Charles H. Long of Claremont, New Hampshire, who became the colonel of the  1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery when it was raised in August 1864. On the 21st of November, 1864, Colonel Long was assigned to the command of Hardin’s division, Twenty-second Army Corps, and the command of the regiment devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Barton. On the 15th of June, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service, and arrived at Concord on the 19th, where it received final pay and discharge.

William S. Pillsbury married Sarah A. Crowell on May 8, 1854. Following his first wife’s death, William married Martha Silver Crowell on April 15, 1856.


Fort Constitution
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
February 10th 1865

My dear Colonel,

Enclosed you will find some more papers for your approval. I thought I had my returns all done & was just about to send them, but on looking them over, I found these that needed your signature. The others I received all right. Also your short letter which was very welcome. I have not been to the city since so I could not deliver all your messages. Wentworth thinks that he wrote to you last, but said that he would write again as soon as he could get time.

We had a levee here in the new hospital last night given for the benefit of our band. Had a very pleasant time — that is, for a New Castle gathering.

[Christopher W.] Harrold is sick — or at least he tries to make out so. It is thought that one of the officers from this company will be detailed. As soon as he heard of it, he was taken sick. You know there has been very much sickness in his family since he has been with the company. However, I think he will recover as soon as the detail is made — providing he is not detailed.

I received a letter from Col. [Henry O.] Kent ¹  last night & sent it to Major [George A.] W[ainwright] as soon as I read it. I wish you would see it & do all you can for him. I think it would be well to sound [Lt. W. Henry] Shurtliff and see whether he is a Benton man or not (it is Jacob Benton that is against Kent). He was always a warm friend of Kent’s and may work for him without any trouble. It would be easy to find out who will support Kent in Co. I and when the men come to go home to election, you can send those that you know are all right. I think Lt. [John C.] Jenness can find out all that you need to know about it. If not, you can in case that Shurtliff is not to be misled.

I don’t know of any news to write so I think I’ll not write any more this time. Respects to all. Write soon. Truly yours, — W. S. P.

¹ Henry O. Kent served as the Colonel of the 17th New Hampshire Infantry. He had a long postwar career as a lawyer, businessman, banker, and politician. He switched to the Democratic Party in 1874 and served as a state senator during the mid-1880s.

1862: John Christopher Newbert to Sister

This letter was written by John Christopher Newbert (1835-1901) of Co. C, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. The 3rd Regiment, Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was organized at Providence as 3rd Infantry in August 1861, but reorganized at Hilton Head, South Carolina, as Heavy Artillery on 19 December 1861. John mustered out of the service on 26 December 1864.

John was the son of Edward and Rosanna (Kenning) Newbert of Providence, Rhode Island. He wrote the letter from Fort Welles on Hilton Head Island. The fort was originally a Confederate fort named Fort Walker but after the Battle of Port Royal when the union forces took possession of the fort, it was renamed after Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.



Fort Well[e]s, Hilton Head, South Carolina
January 18, 1862

My dear sister,

I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. I am well and I hope these few imperfect lines will find you enjoying the same blessing. I have been to a soldier’s ¹ funeral today about 3½ miles from our fort. We marched the dead march all the way to the burying ground and when we got there, they lowered him down in the grave and they fired three rounds of cartridges and then we heard a discourse from the minister and then marched back. The band struck up the State Spangled Banner coming home. When we got home, there was another one in Company D dead. ² He is [to be] buried tomorrow. There is about 65 buried in our burying ground. There is 2 or 3 funerals everyday but not in our regiment — all of them.

But I am mad at myself to think I did not send you some money in my first letter for there is the greatest gang of thieves in this camp that ever lived. Last night I lost my pocket book with 13 dollars in it. I have got 2 dollars owing me and that is all the money I have got in the world and I am glad of it. When I get my next pay, I will send it home and if we are here, I shall want you to send me some things then.

Write often. I have got no letter from home yet and I have wrote 6 or 7 letters.

All is quiet here at present. No news from the South.

I am looking for a letter from you everyday. Send me the Providence Journal. I want to hear the news. No more at present. Goodbye.

Here is a piece of a palmetto tree here enclosed. It grows up 30 or 40 feet high and not a leaf on it but clear up to the top, No more at present.

From your brother, — John C. Newbert, 3rd Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, Hilton Head, Fort Well[e]s, Company C, Capt. Day

Lt. A[sa] A. Ellis got drunk the other day and fell off of his horse. He drinks like the devil but he is clever so far to me. All the rest of the officers thy put a fellow on knapsack drill here to punish him. A knapsack with 32 pound balls in it — two of them,

Goodbye once more.

¹ The soldier was Edwin R. M. Horton of Co. A, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. He died at Hilton Head on 17 January 1862.

² John Bullock of Co. D, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery died at Hilton Head on 18 January 1862. He and Edwin Horton were both buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery, “south of the entrenchments.”

1864: George Tarres to Margaret Jane Tarres

This letter was written from a Union soldier named George to his sister. There is no regimental affiliation attached to the letter and there is no envelope to aid further in the identification of the correspondents. The letter reveal that the soldier’s regiment belonged to Robert S. Granger’s Brigade in the District of Northern Alabama. This brigade consisted on three infantry units in July 1864 — the 102nd Ohio, the 13th Wisconsin, and the 73rd Indiana. The only full name of a soldier revealed in the letter was Jacob Bireley (author’s spelling). By searching the rosters of the three regiments, I found a Corp. Jacob Bierly in Co. E, 102nd Ohio. I then proceeded to cull through the roster looking for soldiers named George.

My hunch is that this letter was written by Pvt. George Tarres (1841-1923) of Co. E, 102nd Ohio Infantry. The only other member named George of the same company who was still on the roster after January 1864 and served until he was mustered out with the regiment was Pvt. George Worley (1841-1910). See also George Worley. George Worley was one of ten children born to David and Elizabeth (Althouse) Worley.

If written by George Tarres, he probably wrote the letter to his sister Margaret Jane Tarres (1844-1910). After the war, George and his sister Margaret lived together on a farm one mile east of Bellville, Ohio. They were the children of William Tarres (1812-1893) and Jane Dunlap Smith (1811-1885).


Dodsonville, Alabama
July the 25th 1864

Dear Sister,

I take this opportunity of penning you a few lines to inform you that we are well as usual and hope when these few lines come to hand that they may find you all well and hearty. I received a letter from you today dated July the 16th. It seems to take the letter a long time to come and go from here. You spoke of some of the letters coming by way of Louisville but they all go through Nashville. I guess there is not any of them marked until they get to Nashville unless they go to Decatur and go on the other road. But still they would go through Nashville. If the last one that I sent you only gets through, it will be a fine thing for it has twenty dollars in it.

If you had of only went along with them young folks on the Fourth of July, it would of certainly been a nice trip for you for there you would of got to see some of the Southern soldiers. But they look a great deal better than some of them did when they were put in there for likely that they are well dressed and that is one thing that most of them are scarce of. We took one prisoner the other day that was along with the rebels and seen them set fire to the bridge at Frankfort [Kentucky] and was in the Battle of Perryville and has been in the front of us ever since. There was a lot of them over on the other side of the river conscripting men and this fellow happened to be in a house getting his supper when our boys come upon him. The colonel [William Given] told him that he would get a chance to go up North where there is plenty to eat. They respect all that are regular rebel soldiers.

There has been considerable of cannonading going on across the [Tennessee] river. They say that it is General [Lovell Harrison] Rousseau. He has come across Wheeler with a considerable of a force. Rousseau is our division commander and General [Robert Seaman] Granger is brigade commander. I should not be much surprised if he does not call on us if he finds they are too strong for him.

Jacob Bireley ¹ got a letter from one of the 163rd [Ohio] Regiment. They are getting pretty close to where they shoot at one another. Have you heard any last word from cousin John? I expect that he gets to see the elephant more than once. There was one of the hundred day men came and stayed five or six days with us. He come to see his brother. He belongs to the Hundred and Thirty-second Indiana.²  They are stationed at Tantallon, Tennessee. He had a leave of absence for ten days.

I was out about a mile and a half to meeting yesterday. Their meeting house was so small that there was no room for soldiers, no windows, and hardly any seats. They do not put on very much style down here. The most of them are rank Secesh. There is very few Union men living round here.

Levi [Sell, Hollibaugh, or Everts] has come back to the company again. When he was coming to the regiment, he saw Coon Oliver and he told him that the young folks around there had growed so much that he did not know many of them. He said that three of his brothers were in the hundred day service.

Now as supper is about ready and I have to work on the fort after supper, I will have to close for this time hoping to be favored with an answer soon. I remain your brother, — George

¹ In the regimental record of Co. E, 102nd Ohio Infantry, Jacob’s name was recorded as Jacob Bierly. He enlisted as a 17 year-old private in August 1862 to serve three years. He was made a corporal on 1 June 1864 and was captured in action at Athens, Georgia, on 24 September 1864. Though he was survived prison camp and was exchanged on 22 April 1865, he was a victim of the steamer Sultana explosion on the Mississippi River on 27 April 1865.

² The 132nd Indiana Infantry was a “100 days” unit that served from May to September 1864.

1864: John A. McIntosh to Sister

This letter was written by John A. McIntosh (1839-1928) of Co. I, 78th Ohio Infantry. John enlisted as a private on 15 January 1862 and was promoted to corporal on 15 June 1864. He was promoted to sergeant on 1 May 1865 just before mustering out on the 11 July 1865.

John was the son of Alexander S. McIntosh (1810-1893) and Ellen Noble (1813-1895) of Madison, Columbiana county, Ohio. He wrote the letter to one of his sisters, probably either Catharine, Jannet or Nancy.

The 78th Ohio Infantry was organized from October 1861 to January 1862, to serve for three years. It left by rail for Cincinnati on Feb. 11, and then by steamer for Fort Donelson on the Tennessee river. At daylight on the morning of the second day at Shiloh it went into the battle on the right and was under fire throughout the day, but with slight loss — 1 man killed and 9 wounded. In August it was in the brisk engagement near Bolivar, but in this affair the loss was slight. For several months it was engaged in movements preliminary to the Vicksburg campaign; participated in the battle of Raymond, losing in killed and wounded, about 80 men; was also engaged in the battle of Champion’s Hill, where it lost 116 men killed and wounded. At Vicksburg it participated in the general charge on May 22, with slight loss, and later was sent to Bovina, where it remained until after the surrender. In January 1864, it reenlisted as a veteran regiment and after its furlough home joined Gen. Sherman’s army at Acworth, Ga. It participated in the battle of Kennesaw mountain and at Atlanta on July 22 it lost 203 in killed and wounded. Of 13 flag and color-bearers of the regiment in the latter engagement, all were either killed or wounded. The regiment participated in the subsequent movements of the Army of the Tennessee till the fall of Atlanta and later was with Sherman’s forces on the march to the sea. It marched up through the Carolinas, then to Washington, and was mustered out on July 11, 1865.


Camp 78th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry
Vicksburg, Mississippi
January 25th 1864

Dear Sister,

I sent myself to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present and sincerely hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessing. How thankful we should be to Providence for sparing our unprofitable lives whilst He is calling others from time to eternity who are as good by nature as we and perhaps better by practice.

I have just come in off picket. We had a very pleasant time on picket but there is quite an excitement in camp this morning. There is some talk of a scout out towards Jackson. Officer’s call has just been blown. We will know pretty soon whether we go or not. Lieutenant has come back. He says that we have marching orders. We are to go to Brigade Headquarters at one o’clock to hear a speech.

That prize drill has come off and we came off second best in the division. The Hundred and Twenty-fourth came out best — so the judges say. The spectators say that our regiment ought to have [won] it. Some of the best military men in the 17th Army Corps say that our regiment did the best drilling that was done on the ground. We have a chance to challenge them at any time by giving them five days notice and I think that Lieutenant-Colonel [Greenbury F.] Wiles will challenge them before long.


Gen. Mortimer Dormer Leggett

General [Mortimer Dormer] Leggett has command of the Third Division and I believe that he is generally pretty well thought of.

I have no more news of importance at the present time. I received two letters Saturday night — one of the 7th — the other of the 11th or No. 6.

Give my respects to all inquiring friends and accept of the same yourself.

I remain as ever your brother, — John A. McIntosh

1853: Milford Clyce to James Franklin Miller

This letter was written by Milford Clyce (1810-1856) of Warren county, Missouri. He wrote the letter to his son-in-law, James Franklin Miller (1826-1899) who married his daughter Nancy Adelia Clyce (1832-1927).

This letter devotes a considerable portion to James’ brother, Samuel (“Sam”) Clark Washington Miller (1815-1888) who was in financial trouble for having secured a note for a Dr. Isaac Cummings Lund. It seems Lund had purchased 80 acres and the mill property from Milton W. Griswold (1818-1855) who had recently returned from California. When the note came due and was unpaid, Griswold demanded his money. When Lund went to retrieve a couple of horses he had on the property, Griswold intervened and Lund shot him.

See also — 1856: William H. Thurman to James Franklin Miller


Addressed to Mr. James Miller, Esq., Barry, Mo.

Pinckney, Warren County, Missouri

Dear Children,

I embrace the present opportunity of dropping you a few lines to inform you how we are getting along. We are all well at present and have been most of the time, with the exception of colds. Little John has had the chills occasionally but has got entirely well of them. Mother Miller’s family was well the last time I heard from there. John Miller was here about three weeks since, I believe. I have not heard from them since, but presume that they are well from the circumstance that it has been very healthy in this section this fall & winter so far. I believe that we have had the prettiest fall that I have ever experienced in all my life. It has been warm & dry with hardly rain sufficient to make the wheat good, but I believe winter has begun in earnest for it is now snowing very fast, but I am glad to have it to say that the citizens are generally prepared for it and should think there be any who are not they cannot say that they have not had time for there has not been a say all this and winter but a person might have worked most of the time.

We have made good crops this year and are pretty generally well taken care of. John and Mary are well at this time. Mary will be confined some time this winter. John has sold his place to a German for eleven hundred dollars. He expects to be in your section this winter to get himself another place if not otherwise suited. He has gone to the prairie today to see to the dividing of 8 negroes in which one eighth part are his. They are from his grandfather’s estate in Kentucky. The negroes are at his Uncle William S. Wyatt’s. I have bought Burgesses place, his hogs & a part of his corn for twenty-three thousand hundred 75 dollars, thirteen hundred of it to be paid on the first of April, the balance in twelve months from that time. I am feeding 41 herd cattle. They are the best lot of steers I have ever fed. I think they will average in the spring seven hundred pounds. I have one hundred and seventy young hogs. The most of them will make fine hogs then if taken care of. I expect to sow in oats all the ground on the Burgess place between the road and the river. The most of which I expect for pasture for my hogs & let them to the river for water. The field that I got from Uncle John Wyatt is mostly well set with clover. I will then have left for corn 157 acres for which to make. I will have to hire one hand and perhaps 2 if I don’t make one myself which I think is rather doubtful for the old complaint still sticks to me, more over I am always busy so that I won’t do to depend upon for a steady hand at the plow, but love to see it moving late and early. You recollect the saying of poor Richard:

He that by the plow would thrive,
Must himself either hold or drive.

Fred is going to school at the District School House on the bluff beyond Mr. Griswold’s. We have not heard from any of you in a long time. I suppose you have not written. Perhaps too busy or like me, put it off from time to time and are then not as well prepared to do it as if I had of written oftener for you know that it’s practice that makes perfect. We are always glad to hear from you and I believe you are the same. Therefore, write when you can. I believe all the relations and friends are generally well so far as I recollect. Your brother Sam has got himself into a bad snap by going Dr. [Isaac Cummings] Lund’s security. Perhaps you have heard of the circumstance, but in as much as I have said a bad snap which I know will excite your curiosity — or rather sympathies — if you have not heard of it. I am not entirely acquainted with the circumstances myself to give you a full detail of the matter (further, I have not space), but the outline of what I know I will relate. Sometime during Lund’s stay at the Mill, Sam went his (Lund’s) security for some two thousand dollars or thereabouts. M[ilton] W. G[riswold] has come back from California, taken possession of everything that _____ had in his possession, has driven Lund off and threatening his life if Lund does not quit using his (M. W. G.’s) private [  ] to his disadvantage. Lund went with Sam and ____ judgement and the officer has an execution but can’t find property wherein to levy the same. They have executed & sold some seventy brass clocks but I don’t suppose they brought much. I think Sam will have to pay some 23 or 25 hundred dollars unless he can make it out of Milt. [Dr.] Lund says that Milt forced him to make a deed to the mill property. Milt denies the statement and says that Lund owes him $2,000 or upwards and has his bond for it executed to Milt before he went to California. Lund went to the store about 2 weeks ago to get a couple of horses that he says are his. He got hold of them but Milt interfered and took them away. In the melee, Lund shot Milt in the lower part of the abdomen but not mortal for he has about recovered. When Lund shot, Milt called for his pistol which was brought but taken away by Bill Hargess and ran crying murder every jump. Milt [went] after him, caught him somewhere about the ford of the creek & beat him very badly, took his (Lund’s) pistol from him, broke it to pieces, and throwed them in the Mill dam. So you may guess they have ugly times. My impression is Sam will have to pay the money for Lund owns nothing but the clothes on his back.

Our railroad men have pretty near quit work for the winter. They are only at work in the dikes and bridges which they want to finish while the water are low. They have got along finely with the work but I think they will not get it done in contract time. I understand they have laid out a depot at Sam’s. The engineers have built a large office at Sam’s. There is two or three boarding shanties there. The contractors have put up a store there too.

Nathan Richardson is dead. He died about the first of this month. Was sick some time. James E. Williams has been here since you was down but did not stay but a day or two. I have many other things that I could write but will content myself at present with what I have written. Tell George M. that I have not forgotten him. Give my best respects to my friends, Uncle John Wyatt & family, John S. Dunham & family, A. S. Huges & family, W B. Toler & family. And accept my well wish for your welfare.

— Milford Clyce