1862: Edward T. Jameson to James Jameson


This letter was written by Edward T. Jameson (1839-1910) who enlisted as a corporal in the 4th Independent Massachusetts Light Artillery on 17 November 1861. He was promoted to first sergeant and then accepted a commission as 2nd Lieutenant on 13 October 1865 just prior to mustering out of the service at New Orleans.

Edward was the son of Charles Jameson (1809-Bef1855) and Jennette E. Robinson (1805-After1865) of the Shetland Islands. He wrote the letter to his older brother James Jameson (1831-Aft1865) of South Reading, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. In July 1882, Edward married Elizabeth L. Homans.

From the regimental history: “The Battery was mustered in, Nov. 18, 1861, and on the 20th embarked for Ship island, Miss., the rendezvous of Gen. Butler’s New Orleans expedition. It was among the troops present at the surrender of Forts Jackson and St. Philip; debarked at New Orleans on May 2, and three days later proceeded to Carrollton, where it remained until June 16, 1862. On that date one section under Lieut. Taylor reported to Lieut.-Col. Kimball of the 12th Me., crossed Lake Pontchartrain and went into action at Pass Manchac, La. The battery as a whole was not engaged until the battle of Baton Rouge, Aug. 5, 1862, where it lost 1 killed and 5 wounded in addition to many of the horses. It remained at Baton Rouge until the 21st, when it moved to Carrollton and occupied Camp Williams. On Oct. 5 one section reported at Algiers, and on the 28th, the rest of the command moved to Fort Pike, where the health of the men materially improved.”

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Matthew Wilmot and is published by express consent]

Addressed to Mr. James Jameson, South Reading, Mass.

Fort Pike
November 17, 1862

My Dear Brother James,

I received your welcome letters dated October 27th and October 19th on the night of November 13th and was glad to hear from you once more and to know that you was well and hearty as a brick and hope his will find you in health. I received a box by Adams & Co. Express shortly after our arrival here and mentioned it in my last letters that I wrote home. Oh, I’m so much obliged for your kindness to me. Sometimes when I look back and think of the kindness and goodness you have shown to me who deserved it so little, I feel pained to think that at times I have been cold and ungrateful to a dear Brother who always did his best to please me.

There are very few brothers in an army not of the same flesh and blood. I have a friend almost like a Brother, one who has been kind to me and with whom I have slept and toiled with—Sergt. Major T. H. Manning ¹—who now lies very low with diarrhea. He is in the hospital at Algiers opposite New Orleans. He was so sick that he could not come down with us to the Fort but had to go to the hospital. He is a man amongst a thousand—one who values honor and truth high above all other things; a nobleman, one of nature’s kind. I am afraid he will never get up again although he may. That disease is more to be feared than most any other that I know of in this cursed country. If a man drinks too freely of liquor here, he is a gone sucker in a very short time. A man must be careful of his habits, drink, food, and everything that pertains to his comfort. You cannot go “blind” here the same way that it is done at home.

I received a New York Herald from you at the same time with the letters. I see nothing has been done on the Potomac. Buell—according to all accounts—has let Bragg slip through his fingers; the aforesaid Bragg bringing off any quantity of stores and provisions—just the thing the rebels wanted most.

On the 9th of this month I sent home to Mother a five dollar bill. I forgot to mention it in her letter because I had so much to write. By the last letters from home i received two photographs—one of my dear Mother and one of Charlie. Don’t you think Mother seems a great deal older than when I sent away? I know she worries and is fearful that some harm will befall me. Now she ought not to feel so. I am afraid for fear she will be worrying herself sick until she gets the letters stating that I am in good health. For particulars of our expedition, see Mother’s letter. I remain as ever your affectionate brother, — Edward T. Jameson

Thomas Henry Manning

¹ Thomas Henry Manning (1838-18xx) served with Edward in the 4th Independent Massachusetts Light Artillery. He enlisted on 17 November 1861 and was promoted to First Sergeant on 1 October 1862. He accepted a commission as 2d Lieutenant on 15 August 1863 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 13 October 1863 just as he mustered out of the service. Manning gave his occupation as “tinplate worker” when he enlisted.



1862: James Hervey Mitchell to Cousin Amanda

This letter was written by James “Hervey” Mitchell (1841-1915) who enlisted at age 20 in September 1861 at Peoria, Illinois, to serve three years in Co. I, 47th Illinois Infantry. He mustered out of the service as a sergeant in September 1864. Hervey was the oldest son of Samuel Mitchell (1809-1890) and Eveline B. Howard (1819-1898) of Whiteside county, Illinois.


Camp Rienzi, [Mississippi]
July 20, 1862

Dear Cousin Amanda,

I sit down to answer your kind letter. I am still enjoying good health for which I am thankful for there is nothing that is requisition for country more than perfect health. We are still encamped at Rienzi, 20 miles south of Corinth. The rebels are getting saucy around this region. There is great talk that they are going to attack us in our present position. All I have to say is that they will meet with a warm reception for we are prepared for them and are well fortified. I think the war is about on the turning point If energetic measures are adopted, I think the war will soon come to an end. But if our men continue as they have done previously I am afraid that the Rebels will get some advantage which will prolong the war. I hope that the Government will come down on the Rebels now and show them no mercy. That is the only way to bring the war to a successful conclusion. I look with great anxiety for the result of operations before Richmond. If our men succeed in taking that, I think that the war will soon be over. But it is hard telling. If the Rebels are sharp, they will take advantage of our present state and make all their mischief before that 300,000 men are equipped and sent into the field for we can then fight them once more on equal terms. I hope that they will soon be in the field for we have not men enough to successfully cope with them for we have to guard every little town that we take which of course must weaken our force. And the Rebels feel around till they find the weakest point and then they will concentrate and attempt to break our lines. But I think that our generals are wide awake. They will not attack us unprepared.

I should like to hear from Calvin. War is uncertain and there has been terrible fighting at Richmond and I cannot be without my fears but that he may have fallen among thousands of others.  But my fears may be ungrounded. I hope so. I suppose that he writes often to you. Give him my love and tell him to give them fits.

Is there any excitement up North about enlisting? I hope that we will come up promptly to the cause and emulate the example of thousands of her citizens who have gone before. This rebellion must be crushed or it rendered valueless. All our noble countrymen and our pleasant firesides and farms will lose their attractions to us when we are deprived of a government of which we so much love and respect. But I have no idea that the Rebels will succeed in their designs but I cannot help having some misgivings at times as to the length of the war. Sometimes I think that the war will close in 3 months and then again I think we will have to serve our 3 years. It is a perplexing subject. But I think that everything wise and proper will be done by the President about the war.

Give my love to Will’s folks and tell them I answered their last letter—also Dan’s. Give them my love and send all them men that they can spare to help us out of this little scrape. Tell John that he must save that Morgan horse for I expect after we finish this war that we will have to fight England a round and I think that I will try it a horse back next time. I am about tired of tasseling [?]. Give my love to Martha. Tell her that I received a letter from Uncle Sam. Their folks are all well. I must close for want of more room. Write soon.

From your cousin, — James H. Mitchell

to Amanda

Give my love to Belle & Hattie and to be good girls and mind their mother and father. I should like to have them learn to write so they can send me a letter….your cousin, — Hervey


1863: Samuel McConochie to William Campbell

This phenomenal letter was written by a 45 year-old Scottish emigrant farmer named Samuel McConochie (1818-1901) of Scott township, Columbia county, Wisconsin. Samuel’s parents were Robert and Elizabeth (Hannay) McConochie who died in Pickering, Canada East. Samuel was married to Margaret Nisbet (1820-1899). In the late 1840’s, the couple came from Canada to settle in Wisconsin and from the birth locations of their seven children we know they remained there until 1869 but must have returned prior to the 1870 US Census and were enumerated in the 1871 Canadian Census. Samuel and his wife died in Ontario, Canada.

How Samuel might have looked

Samuel addressed the letter to Scottish emigrant William Campbell (1829-1914), the son of Robert Campbell (1802-1888) and Anne M. Muir (1804-1884). William came to the United States in 1842 and in 1870 was enumerated as a store clerk in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw county, Michigan. His brother Gabriel, mentioned in the letter, came to the United States in 1844, and was a student at the University of Michigan at Ypsilanti before serving in the 17th Michigan Infantry.

In his letter, Samuel summarizes his views on the progress of the war and the gloomy prospects of restoring the Union. Clearly he is truly troubled by the condition and status of the Negroes in America for whom “no friendly hand is extended.” He adds, “No right of citizenship is offered them—no equality; but instead they are hated and despised & maltreated over the North. And some of our State Legislatures are now endeavoring to pass laws prohibiting them from settling within their borders. What a burlesque on human liberty. The hatred & blind prejudice that have existed among ourselves toward the poor Africans I fear will have a serious affect on the issues of this war. Had they got proper encouragement at first & soon after been armed & equipped, it would have been a serious blow to the South. But I fear the golden moment is past and the North will not awake from its lethargy until they meet the negroes by thousands in the southern ranks.”

Addressed to Mr. William Campbell, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Postmarked Cambria, Wisconsin

Rosedale [Columbia county, Wisconsin]
March 23, 1863

Respected friend,

I am happy to acknowledge the receipt of your kind letter of March 9th. Were happy to learn that our Michigan friends were all again restored to the enjoyment of their usual health. It is gratifying to know that your brother Gabriel ¹ at a distance from home, will in all probability e’re this be able for duty again with his command. It is to be hoped that an honorable peace may soon be concluded & that those who are now in the field defending the country’s rights, may soon return to their peaceable avocations again. It is really lamentable to see out neighbors and acquaintance who one year ago were strong, active & healthy, a returning back from the scenes of strife—some in their coffins, others lacking an arm or a leg, & numbers with their constitutions so shattered that they will only be a burden to themselves & their friends for life. Such scenes are common here and no doubt are also with you, and will exist to a greater or lesser extent over the whole country.

I am happy to inform you that at the present time we are all in the enjoyment of our usual health, although we have suffered considerably in our family from severe colds, mumps, & during this damp rainy open winter. Friends are also well. Archibald Thom ² has had considerable sickness of late in his family. About six weeks ago Mrs. Thom gave birth to a son, which is doing well, but the mother has not yet fully recovered. Three of his family were attacked with inflammation on the lungs, but are able to be around again. [Our son] Samuel continues to improve in health and strength. He wishes me to ask when you are coming to Wisconsin so that he can have the pig ready for you & also whether you can bring the jumping kitty to him. We had a letter lately from Mr. Nisbet in Canada. Miss Nisbet & other friends there were well. Have you heard from there is winter?

Well you and your friends did not like the plan I proposed for bringing the war to a close. Neither do I like it if any better terms could be obtained for the North. But really I cannot possibly see even a glimmering chance of anything better yet, but fondly hope that the prospect may not continue long so dark as it has been. My chief hope is now in starvation & the aid we are to obtain from the negroes. Apart from these aids, the idea of conquering the South & keeping it in the Union appears to me quite preposterous.

In support of the position I can only afford space for two or three reasons—viz: The South appears to be about the equal of the North man for man on equal ground. We cannot reckon on having more than two to one or double the number of soldiers in the field against the South. But will twice their numbers suffice to conquer them? Rather doubtful. The southerners are at home, they are in earnest and united, can choose their battlefield, entrench & fortify themselves, have all the freemen able to bear arms in the battlefield, while their slaves are at home raising the necessaries of life &c. The nature of the country, climate &c. are all in favor of the South.

Now we will look for a moment at the state of matters in the North. The North is divided in sentiment respecting the war to a lamentable extent. This division lessens & weakens the resources of the government. We have a large army in the field well-equipped, but jealousy exists among its commanders & the vast amount of desertions shows that hundreds of our soldiers have not their country’s cause at heart. Speculation & money making—the damning curse of the North—have been following our armies through all their stages. A draft of 500,000 men under the late Conscription Act is soon expected, and what do we already see? A large proportion of our young men that had not previously enlisted, are leaving the country and going to Canada. Some of our near neighbors’ sons are making preparations to leave. This exodus is not confined to old countrymen & Democrats but some who were reckoned good Republicans & these Americans are providing their sons with money to leave the country. About 1400 who were drafted in this state amounted to almost nothing. In one county where 200 were drafted, the United States Marshal was able to find only two men. Now if 500,000 more men are wanted, where are they to be got? In this county there are certainly not enough of men left now to till the ground & harvest the crops.

If you have any colored men to spare in your part of the country, I wish you would send some here. In respect to the poor down-trodden African, from him we may hope for much, but how can we in reason expect it. True they are promised their liberty—freedom from their masters—freedom from their home & early associations to be forcibly driven in exile in[to] a foreign country. No home is offered to them in the North or South. No friendly hand is extended to them in the North. No right of citizenship is offered them—no equality; but instead they are hated and despised & maltreated over the North. And some of our State Legislatures are now endeavoring to pass laws prohibiting them from settling within their borders. What a burlesque on human liberty. The hatred & blind prejudice that have existed among ourselves toward the poor Africans I fear will have a serious affect on the issues of this war. Had they got proper encouragement at first & soon after been armed & equipped, it would have been a serious blow to the South. But I fear the golden moment is past and the North will not awake from its lethargy until they meet the negroes by thousands in the southern ranks.

This day is rainy & cloudy & perhaps my mind has partaken too much of the general gloom. Please write soon & point out the bright prospect you see in the side of the North &c. I love to exchange views & gain information.

— S. McConochie

Please present our kind compliments to your Father & Mother & all friends &c. I intend writing to your Father when I have any news worth writing.

¹ Gabriel Campbell (1838-1923) was the Captain of Co. E, 17th Michigan Infantry—a company composed predominantly by University of Michigan students. “They were mustered in during the summer of 1862 and only two weeks after the left the campus, they were fiercely engaged at the Battle of South Mountain, where Drayton’s brigade of Confederate troops were strongly entrenched behind stone walls on the crest of a steep mountain and had supporting batteries in commanding positions…[the 17th Michigan] charged and drove the enemy from their position [and was] afterwards known as ‘the stonewall regiment.'” Gabriel wrote a poem following the battle entitled “South Mountain.”  [Source: University of Michigan, by Wilfred Byron Shaw] 

² Archibald Thom (1837-1914) was the second eldest son of William Thom and Agnes Mitchell of Dunbarton, a small town in Pickering Township, Ontario. He married Sarah Gordon, daughter of John Gordon and Nancy Graham in 1861 and together they raised six children. Arch was hired to run the Elmsdale general store, along with the post office. He resided in nearby Katrine, where he ran a farm and at one point during the 1870’s, taught school as well. In 1893, he purchased the weekly newspaper, the Sundridge Echo from R. Hewitt. He took a parner, John Harper, and they moved to Sundridge.


1863: Isaac Daniel Romig to Malinda Romig

Isaac Daniel Romig (1836-1895) was 26 years old when he enlisted as a private in November 1862 in Co. F, 172nd Pennsylvania Infantry—a nine months (drafted militia) unit. He mustered out of the service in August 1863. The regiment moved to Washington D. C. in December 1862, where they were sent to Newport News, Virginia, and shortly afterwards to Yorktown, arriving there on 12 December 1862. They were on garrison duty at Yorktown until April, 1863, which is where Isaac wrote this letter.

Isaac was the orphaned son of Daniel Romig (1803-1845) and Hannah Steller (1805-1850) of Snyder county, Pennsylvania. Sometime in the late 1850’s, Isaac married Malinda Jarrett (1840-1925). Together they had 10 children: Daniel (1859), Irwin (1860), Perry (1862), Isaac M. (1864), Charles (1866), Harvey (1872), Mayme (1876), Blanche (1880), and Cyril (1881) and an infant son buried at Row’s cemetery on 19 Sept 1875.

The first letter was written by Malinda to Isaac in March 1863, and his to her in early May 1863, at the time of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

An obituary notice states that, “On January 29th 1895 a gay party of citizens left in a sleigh to attend the Owl Club sleighing party and dance in Middleburgh. After the dance the party left and at about 2:00 AM as they approched Kreamer crossing the sled was hit by a ‘double header’ freight train. Several of the party goers were injured one requiring the amputation of her arm on site. Isaac and his son, Charles, were killed.”


Addressed to Isaac D. Romig, Co. F, 172nd PA Regt, Yorktown, Va.
In care of Capt. H. Harrison

Our Home
March 11, 1863

Ever true and beloved husband,

I received the newspaper that you did send on the 6th and the package of pictures &c. I received on the 7th, and I looked over them and ransacked them over and over again and again, but not a syllable, not a word wrote. I knowed that it was against the law to send letters under package postage. I enquired for letters but no letters for me. You may think that I got very uneasy about it and thus I enquired day after day, still getting more uneasy, and still no letters. I could not think what was the reason of the neglect or delay.

Yesterday after the mail had went up, I send Henry after to fetch me my letter, but he came back telling me there were none there. My desperation had arrived at a great degree, when last night—the 10th—I received your three letters mailed on the 2d, 4th, and 6th of this present month, which relieved me and showed me that your letters were delayed while the paper and package went on. The reason why some of your letters are delayed so long until they reach me is that they generally reach Kratzerville by way of Longstown, instead of coming up from Selingrove, but which former taken route they are delayed 3 or 4 days at least. But you can not conceive how glad the children were when they heard that good story of the coming Easter. They jumped for joy. Now don’t neglect to send it to them. The pictures that you did send up pleased them all very much.

We are all well at the present time and we hope this will find you all well. My boy Henry wishes to know what he shall call the name of the Smith’s colt. He wishes me to ask you and tells me that you shall write it to him how you would wish to have it called. The Snyder’s cow is so thick and clumsy that she hardly can go through the stable door any more. I never seen another cow thicker and don’t know what is the reason, except that it is that she is big with two or more calves. We have to lift her up every morning, not because she is so poor, but because she is so clumsy that she cannot lift herself up without help.

The neighbors are all well as far as we know, excepting little Bellerophon Diefenbach who is very sick and weak at present with the sequence of Scarletine. We heard that Perry Tarrelt offered you a substitute but he has yet another one to spare to substitute himself. Mary Kratzer got 2 boys on the 28th—twins, 2 fine and heart lads.

The weather continues to be very changeable and sloppy all along as it had been all winter. Last Saturday we had fast snowing all day but the snow fell so wet and heavy that it was not over 4 inches in all, and ever since we have had some snow or rain every night; and although we have had much snowing of late, we never had sleighing above one day at a time all winter.

I think I will close again for this time. My [hired] girl has left me again; she said that she could not stay longer than the 1st of April anyhow, and since I had the boy, I thought she might go now. About Father and Fred App, you need not trouble yourself as we think that App will have no cause in law to complain.

I will now close in earnest, remaining your ever true and loving wife, — Malinda Romig

To Isaac D. Romig

Addressed to Mrs. Malinda Konig, Kratzerville, Snyder county, PA


Yorktown, Virginia
May 1, [1863]

Dear true, sweet, beloved wife and children,

And I will sit down to inform a few lines to you that I am well at the present day and I hope that these few lines will find you and the children in the same state of good heath. And further I let you know that I wrote a letter to you and to Daddy Romig but the mail [has been] late over two days.

The reason was while they are a fighting and the boats was all taken up with soldiers. [There] went 18 boats past here. Four gunboats went along up the York river and it was a great excitement here in the fort at that time when the soldiers went by here and the next morning they brought an officer down here. He got killed the same day at West Point and yesterday he got buried here at the fort. And yesterday 4 or 5 hundred of cavalry came in the fort [See Stoneman’s 1863 Raid]. They was at Richmond on [?] and they destroyed the railroad on some [blast?] for fifty miles so the rebels can’t get their provisions in Richmond and Hooker will take Richmond now if he can although he got Fredericksburg already but had a great loss of men on our side and they got rebels—between 4 and eight hundred prisoners of the rebels at the fight at Fredericksburg. In that fight the loss of our men I cannot tell for I don’t know it.

This I wrote in the office while the regiment was out drilling. I wrote this and they came in and and so I will come to a close for this forenoon. Good day to you.

Yorktown, Va.
May the 9th

And I let you know that I received your letter that you wrote me on the 4th day of May and tonight I got it and I was glad to hear of you and that you got feed enough for the stock to feed and I got a letter of John Romig tonight. They [were] are all well at that time.

We got rain this week and today it was warm all day. This afternoon the boats came back again. I was sitting at the river bank when they went by. And so I will close for the night. I send my best respect to you and write as soon as you get this letter. This from your husband, — Isaac D. Romig

[to] Melinda Romig]  And goodnight to you.

1864: Unidentified “Will” to Friend “Jennie”

Unfortunately there are no clues in this letter to aid in the identity of this soldier writing from Brandy Station where troops were being amassed in the weeks before Grant’s Overland Campaign. He wrote the letter to his friend “Jennie” who apparently was a school teacher. My hunch is that she and the soldier were from New York State.


Brandy Station
March 25, 1864


I received your kind letter of the 17th with feelings of interest and pleasure. I had thought to await your return but now you perceive with what stability of purpose I have to govern my absolute sway. I could not wait no longer. Therefore, excuse the old soldier for intruding upon your time while among your friends in Pennsylvania.

It strikes me, school ma’am, that this visit has been in contemplation for a long time. Some three years ago you were going to Pennsylvania a visiting. I never have heard of your going but if that one has been made & this one an extra, then you must laugh & call me green for being behind the times.

Well, enough on this subject. Times passes very well with me, all things considered. Unusually dull times for soldiering—nothing much to busy old time with. But the time is not far distant when there will be no excuse. Soon we can bid goodbye to these quiet days & go forth upon the plains [of] Virginia to meet a foe, terrible & determined.

We received orders the other night to start out the order was countermanded. Gen’l Grant arrived in this department yesterday. The army is to be reorganized under his orders. A Grand Review is expected of the entire army which, of course, will be a big thing before he leaves.

Now a word upon a former question. Still there is no call for it as you are fully aware of it & know the circumstances concerning your letters. I was not sure that you knew it but I see that you are awake to the idea. I have not heard from Newt or Lib either since my return. I have written to both. It has been sometime since I heard from home. Your letter was the last that I received from that quarter. I wrote to Charley sometime ago but I do not receive any word from him. Perhaps the address was wrong. If you know what his address is, please inform & if I was wrong, I will try again.

Now with the congratulations upon your visit that nothing may serve to mar the pleasure of your project and purpose, I bid thee adieu for the present.

Respectfully your friend, — Will

[to] Jennie E. H.

Write soon