This letter was written by Andrew Fite (1832-1895), the son of John Fite (1799-1850) and Eliza Starr (1803-1859) of Harrison county, Indiana. He was a graduate of Floyd County Seminary at Greenville, Indiana. After graduation, he taught for a time and then became a carpenter, joiner, house-building contractor. In the 1860 US Census, Andrew’s occupation was given as “waggon maker.”
In 1862, Andrew enlisted as a private in Co. C, 66th Indiana Infantry in August 1862. He was promoted during the war to orderly sergeant but declined a promotion a captaincy offered him. He mustered out with his regiment in June 1865.
This letter describes the movements and fighting of the 66th Indiana in the vicinity of Kennesaw Mountain in early July 1864. Andrew enclosed the attached newspaper clipping.
In 1854, Andrew married Levinia Sappenfield (1833-1908) and made their home in Bradford, Harrison county, Indiana, during the Civil War. Also serving with Andrew — and mentioned in the letter — was his older brother, Samuel Leete Fite(b. 1828).
Addressed to Mrs. Levinia Fire, Bradford, Harrison county, Indiana
Postmarked from Nashville, Tennessee
Near Chattahoochie river, Georgia
July 8th 1864
Your letter of the 26th of last march was received on the 5th day of July just as we had started on the march to this place. We were at that time some six miles South of Kennesaw Mountain. We left the front of Kennesaw on the night of the 2nd July and marched round to the right. On the 3rd we took position on the right of the 23rd Army Corps and on the 4th of July we advanced, driving back the rebel skirmishers and took a position on high ground. A little before sundown the Rebels charged the 66th Illinois who were out skirmishing at the time. The 66th sharpshooters stood up to them and our whole division advanced to support the skirmishers. We went forward while the 2nd Iowa, 66th Illinois, and a couple regiments from the 4th Division charged the Rebels and drove them back. As soon as night set in, our regiment advanced, took position on a ridge, and threw up breastworks. In advancing to the ridge, a rebel battery opened on us and commenced shelling. We hurried forward, the battery limbered up and moved to the rear. We took the ridge and by working nearly all night, a last had a strong position. That night was a wearisome night long to be remembered. It was the third night we have done almost without sleep. But in the morning we found the Rebels had left our front.
In the afternoon we moved out here since which time we have been resting. Our company had no one killed or wounded by the enemy but West Langford ¹ was severely wounded with a pick while working on the fortifications. One of the boys of the company accidentally struck him with a pick. I am afraid he is severely hurt.
I am glad to learn that your health remains tolerably good. And I hope when this reaches you, it may find you well and Grandfather in better health.
My health is tolerably good but some days the heat almost overcomes me. Sam is well also. I am sorry to learn that “things” are so high up North and money so depreciated. But I trust and pray a change may take place soon. O! God, may this cruel war soon and people learn war no more. We are continually pressing closer toward Atlanta and when it is taken, I suppose the Army will rest.
Write soon to your affectionate husband, — Andrew Fite
P. S. Say to Bro. William Brackin that if I am spared to an opportunity, I shall write him. He surely does not know what difficulties we have to encounter — how hard it is to get a chance to write — and present to get material.
I hope William will not think hard of me. He could write 5 to my one and then have an easier time than I have.
My love and respects to all, — Andrew Fite
¹ Corporal Wesley (“West”) Langford (1834-1919) was from Harrison county, Indiana.