These two letters were written by Christopher Columbus (“Lum”) McDaniel (1837-1918), the son of Joshua McDaniel (1805-1865) and Henrietta Ann Tekell [or Teakle] (1817-1900) of Randolph county, Alabama. Lum wrote these letters while serving as a private in Croft’s Battery, Georgia Light Artillery (a.k.a. “Columbus Artillery”). Both letters were datelined from a camp near Savannah, Georgia, in 1862. This regiment was organized in February 1862 at Columbus, Georgia, and mustered out of service in May 1865. The battery first served in Savannah but later participated in campaigns in Mississippi before joining Hood’s army in Northern Georgia and Tennessee. Lum was captured at Jonesboro, Georgia, (near Atlanta) on 13 August 1864 and taken to Camp Chase, Ohio, on 2 September 1864. He was paroled in March 1865 and arrived home in April 1865.
The letters were sent to Lum’s sweetheart, Nancy Clementine Childs (1844-1931), the daughter of Simeon Washington Childs (1825-1897) and Mary Ann Hood (1828-1909). The couple were married on 8 August 1865 in Chambers county, Alabama, and afterwards settled in Randolph county, Alabama. Lum was buried in New Hope Cemetery. After Lum’s passing, Nancy moved to live with her daughter and was buried in Mt. Calm Cemetery near Waco, Texas.
[Note: These letters were made available for publication by Richard Jesse — a descendant of Christopher Columbus McDaniel.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
June 14th 1862
It is with the greatest of pleasure I seat myself at the present moment to answer your king and obliging letter which I received this evening and was truly glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well tho’ I was very sorry indeed to hear that your Father was sick.
Miss Nancy, war news is the height of people’s conversation these days but I will say that I have no war news whatever more than some fights that has been fought a good while back. Miss Nancy, I am glad to say that I don’t wish you no harm in the world. You ask me to not flatter you. I will say that you may rest contented and I am also glad that you have that confidence to believe that it is not my intention to flatter you, Miss Nancy. All promises that could be made now almost looks like they would be in vain for the time may never come when I shall be blessed with [an] opportunity of gazing upon your precious form again tho’ I have one request to make of you and that is to let me know if you will trust to Providence as for seeing me again and call me yours as a protector from this time henceforth forever. I merely ask this question as it is my desire to get a correct answer. If it was not, I am certain I would not ever ask it of you [except for] the thought that I have sometimes of not having the pleasure of enjoying myself with you anymore. It is all that I can bear for I know the chance is good for me…[end of letter missing]
TRANSCIPTION LETTER TWO
September the 22nd 1862
It is a great pleasure to me to know that I am permitted once more to drop you a few lines which is an answer to yours of the 7th which landed here safely a few days ago which gave me great satisfaction to hear from you and to hear of [pencil smudged] Miss [ ]. It makes my heart flutter with joy to know I will soon be permitted to go home so I can have the pleasure once more of gazing upon your precious form which will be more pleasure to me that to write ever so much. I can’t tell when I will have the chance to come home but I am in hopes I will get off the next time. I [?] very much at your kind letter. If I had any such a thought as causing you to be my [?] in the least, I would ask no longer to live. I was glad to hear that your Pap was well and I think that a well-composed pen that you sent me.
Miss Nancy, I have nothing to relate to you more than we have moved some miles from our old camp. We have better water than we have ever had. There we have got a very low, flat place and about surrounded with water. (turn over)
It’s for the health of the company [which] is very bad and has been for some time. I can’t see as it gets any better tho’ I enjoy the best of health and have for some 3 or 4 weeks, tho’ before that I was sick for some time.
You must excuse me for not writing more than I have for I expect to get to come home in the course of 3 or 4 weeks. So I will close by saying I still remain your true, loving friend until death.
Write soon. Fail not. — C. C. McDaniel
[to] Miss Nancy C. Childs