These letters were written by Jacob D. Row (1835-1910) to his wife Hannah (Knepp) Row (1838-1899) whom he married on 30 June 1861 in Holmes, Ohio. Jacob was the son of David Row (1811-1858) and Sarah Alleshouse (1814-1881) of Crawford, Coshocton county, Ohio.
At the age of 29, Jacob was drafted at LaPorte, Indiana, in September 1864 into the 15th Indiana Infantry and later transferred into Co. B, 17th Indiana Infantry (which was converted to cavalry late in 1864). Before being drilled or even issued any arms, Jacob was transported with other draftees and substitutes by train, under guard, all the way from Indianapolis to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to join his regiment. They found them bivouacked one mile outside of the “little one horse town” in sight of Lookout Mountain which Jacob—a flatlander from northern Indiana—judged to be about “four miles high.” After his first taste of guard duty and “hard” camp life, Jacob returned to Louisville, Kentucky, with his regiment who were to be converted to cavalry.
After waiting weeks for mounts, Jacob rode his old gray horse—“as old as Methuselah” he claimed—on only one march with his regiment—that being from Louisville to Nashville from 28 December 1864 to January 12, 1865. From that point forward he was hospitalized in either Gallatin or Nashville, Tennessee, from 12 January 1865 until his discharge on 27 July 1865. Most of this time he was “playing off” as he called it. “If they send me to my regiment, I tell you I shall not stay with it long,” wrote Jacob to his wife. “The first chance I get, I will parch a lot of corn in salty grease and eat a good deal of it and that will make me the diarrhea. Then I will get the piles again. Then I will tell the doctor it is altogether from riding so he will send me to the hospital again. I am bound not to do Lincoln much good in regard of freeing the negroes if I can help it.”
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 1
[Undated, October 1864]
Dear and beloved wife, I will write a few lines to you. We have parted on Friday noon—probably for the last time—but I hope not. It if it God’s will, we shall meet again to part no more till death will separate. Dear wife, I shall start to Indianapolis this evening. I do not know if I get a furlough or not, but no matter how that is, I see where I stand [that] I must put my trust in Him who rules the universe.
Dear wife, do the best you can and remember me in your prayers and sighs to God. Maybe I will be at home again in two weeks, but my friend C___n Hawblitz will inform you and will write to you from time to time. From your dear friend, — J. D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 2
October 30th 1864
I landed here in town the next morning after I left home. Then there was no quarters prepared for us. Then I could a went home again but I would not do it—it would have cost me about seven dollars but the rest of the Liberty boys that belongs to our regiment went home except D. Smith. We laid around a few days and paid $1.50 cents for boarding a day. Finally we organized as many as was here of us and went to camp in the fairground (called Camp Loomis). There is only about 60 men of the 17th Regiment here now. Our Liberty boys have not come back yet but we look for them every day. The rest of the Liberty boys that don’t belong to our regiment have, I think, gone to the front.
I expect no more furloughs. We may get them and we may not. We do not know how long we will stay here. Probably we will leave this week and maybe we will lay here 3 or 4 weeks yet. We are perfect Know-nothings here. We have plenty to eat—such as it is—beans, sow belly, ham, beef, soft bread, hard tack, coffee, and sugar.
I have stood guard 2 days and 2 nights since we are in camp and have to stand again tomorrow & night. I don’t like to stand guard a bit. I like well enough otherwise so far. I have not sold my revolver and don’t [want] to sell it anymore. Tomorrow I will try and get my pay for boarding myself while at home on furlough. It is $3.75 the government is obliged to pay me. Some of the boys have got theirs already.
I will give you the markets in this town. Hay $25 per ton, corn $1.00, Potatoes $1.00, cabbage from 12 to 25 cents per head, and everything else in proportion.
Our barracks are comfortable but no stoves. Horse stalls to sleep in, 4 laying in a bunk. It it was very cold now, we would actually freeze to death. We have only one fireplace—that is our cooking fire. If anyone should come to Indianapolis from our neighborhood, they shall go to the Palmer House and there enquire for the fairgrounds (or Camp Loomis) where they can find me. I have not much more to write, dear wife, for the present—only that I am well. I had the diarrhea very bad yesterday but I feel very good today. Hoping you are well. I give you no directive where to write, not knowing how long we will stay. Please hand this letter to all the friends. I will write soon again.
From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 3
November 5, 1864
We left Indianapolis last Thursday at noon and arrived at Louisville, Kentucky that night at midnight. We got an hour’s sleep and got on the train again in the morning and landed here last evening where we was layed [up] in the Zollicoffer House and placed under guard. This is the first time we was under guard yet. We was to be started for Chattanooga this morning but it is now noon and we are here yet. I cannot tell anything about this place. It was dark when we came in and we are not allowed to go about.
Dear and beloved wife, do not trouble yourself about me. I am getting along with the rest of the company. Since we left Indianapolis, we have [had] hard living. We got our breakfast at 11 o’clock and our dinner we will get at about 5 this P. M. The railroad is guarded all along between Louisville and Nashville. The guerrillas are making attacks on the trains almost everyday but we got through this far safe and good luck as we did [since] we have no arms of no description—only a few revolvers, and these would be no account unless in close contact.
Excuse me for not writing more to your satisfaction. I am sitting on my knapsack and writing on my knees. My mind is scattered and we are on the move and knowing how soon we may be attacked and no arms to defend ourselves, and again, I must write in haste. We may be called to move every minute. I will close for the present and remain, dear wife, your true husband, — Jacob D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 4
November 7th 1864
I wrote to you from Nashville, not knowing how soon we would leave there. We left there I think the same day I wrote the letter and landed here yesterday morning. Here we joined our regiment and went to camp. We are under moving orders to return to Nashville again, expecting to start today and arrive at Nashville tomorrow. We are going there to be mounted and equipped. We have no resting place and don’t expect to get any. If we stay at Nashville any length of time, I will give you directions to write to me.
Chattanooga is nothing but a one horse place; all surrounded with hills and mountains. We [are] camping about a mile from the foot of Lookout Mountain. This mountain is about 4 miles high and the clouds are lower than the mountain. It is raining here in the hollow everyday.
There is nine of us messing together in one shanty. It has neither roof nor floor and last night the rain poured in on us in torrents. You better believe we skedaddled. A goodly number of our boys laid in the water 6 inches this morning. A good many of the 17th [Indiana] Regiment are barefooted and almost naked.
Old Hood is trying to make his way to Kentucky again and the troops are all taken from Atlanta and the town destroyed and sent to the troops after Hood. It is believed that Hood will make an attack on Nashville. There is a great many troops sent there now to hold the place in case he should make an attack.
If I would want to write everything that I hear and see—and the knock abouts and hardships that I have to go through—I could be a writing all the time. Yesterday and this morning I struck my meat on the end of a stick and held it over the fire to fry. This morning Moses Shinnamon ¹ gave me some cranberries. I stewed them in a little tin bucket, sweetened them with sugar, and crammed in my hard tack, and it made a first rate breakfast.
I will write to you from every place we get to if I have time so that you can keep track of me, and I wish you would hand my letters around to the neighbors. Please write to me in haste and address [to] Jacob D. Row, Company E, 17th Regt. Indiana Volunteers.
With this I will close and write again from Nashville on return there. I remain your husband, — J. D. Row
¹ Moses Shinnamon was one of the drafted men who joined the 17th Indiana at the same time as Jacob Row. He was mustered into the regiment on 3 October 1864 with Row but did not live to come home. He died on 11 May 1865 from wounds received in the fighting at Selma.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 5
November 25th 1864
Dear and beloved,
I have just now seated myself to answer a letter that I received from you but a moment ago dated November 18th. I am the first one in our squad that received a letter from home. I have looked for a letter from you for a whole week and it come. I received it with joy and gladness. I am more than glad to hear that you are well and all the neighbors but I am sorry to hear that Lydianne is sick. I hope though by the time this letter comes to hand, she may be well again. I should advise you to get along with Elick’s in peace as much as possible and if you wish to stay there, or at Levi’s (which I would rather you would), then I will pay them for board and trouble when I return. It does seem to me more like home if you would stay there with some of the friends than go away. But do as you think best.
I wrote a letter to your Father’s today telling them you would come home, but if Levi’s would let you live with them and you would do so, I think you would be well cared for. I wrote a letter to Levi informing him that we returned from Chattanooga to Louisville where we are now in camp. I am well and have been all along. I am as brisk as a bird, as hearty as a horse, and could work like a beaver if I had anything to do. I weighed 168 with my blouse on in Chattanooga. I think I weight about 172 or 3 now. We have plenty to eat by buying a little along occasionally. I have $16 left yet from that money I took along but I spent a little every day.
David Smith is about well again. Yesterday I washed my clothes and his. I washed 3 pair of shirts, 3 drawers, and 3 pair of sock. It made me very tired because it was the most work I done in a day since I am out. The less we do, the less we want to do. We had very cold [weather] here for a few days past but the weather is now moderating. I drawed another blanket—my old one is almost tore up. And I drawed a rubber [blanket] and a cavalry jacket. We are no longer mounted infantry; we are turned into cavalry and are now encamped here awaiting our horses and equipments. We have a good probability of staying here all winter. The government can’t furnish us any horses now. They have not got them. The most of the boys think there is a good prospect for us going home on a 15 days furlough to buy our own horses. We are not doing any duty at all, therefore I wish you would stay about home yet awhile [as] any hour I may come home—and again, I may not.
I have got so much to write since I got your letter, I cannot write it all on one sheet.
At Chattanooga, I suffered extremely at nights with rheumatism in my left leg. There we laid on the ground in mud and water. Here we drawed new tents, then laid rails down, corn fodder, and straw on top. We [then] spread down our rubbers on the straw, then our blankets over us and go to sleep and snore like so many hogs in a dirty pen.
There is 4 of us eating and sleeping together. I and Dave Smith, Wm. C. Rose, & Jeremiah Murray. ¹ I think Levi knows Murray. He lives 1½ miles from Walkerton. I think I will close my writing. It is getting late. Hoping my life will be spared to return to you again, my dearest and beloved wife, please give my best respects or the letter to all the neighbors and friends—especially tell brother Adam and the rest of the friends to write me a letter. You must try and raise our springs at home if you can as I expect no pay before next summer under the present circumstances. I think we will also draw one hundred dollars bounty. We have the promise from the Governor for it but we are not sure of getting it. You will hear from me once at least every two weeks as long as we stay. You must may yourself contented as well as you can and care not for me. I get along. I remain your true husband.
Address [to] Jacob D. Row, Comp. E, 17th Regt. Ind. Vol. Louisville, Kentucky
¹ David C. Smith, William C. Rose, and Jeremiah Murray were all drafted into the 17th Indiana with Jacob Row in the fall of 1864. Even after joining their regiment in Chattanooga, these men no doubt together as new recruits—especially draftees and substitutes—were often slow to assimilate into the organization and were often the butt of pranks and jokes. All three of these men mentioned by Row survived the war.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 6
November 25th 1864
Dear Father & Mother-in-Law,
I embrace the opportunity to let you know that I am well at present. You are aware that I am drafted in the military service and am now in camp at Louisville, Ky. When I left home my wife said she would go to Ohio to her father’s. She may probably be at your house before this letter reaches you so I need not be so particular in writing. She can tell you all the circumstances. We have been down to Chattanooga, laid there one week, then set back to this place to be armed. The probability is we will stay here this winter. Yesterday I washed my clothes for the first time since I was in the army. It was a very nice day but we had extremely cold [weather] for a few days. Some snow [fell] but not to any amount.
In Indiana where I live, I heard men say that there is plenty of Christians in this war and it was a righteous cause—the Lord is on our side &c. I can say with truth if there is any Christians or righteous men in the army, I have not seen them yet. From early morning till midnight I don’t hear anything about me but cursing, swearing, damning, and hurrahing for hell, that I sometimes think the very ground shakes where they stand on. I have often wondered that the Lord God suffers the wickedness to be carried on to such an extreme. I have one great consolation here—that is, I am bunking with 3 nice, moral men. The one is a member of the Methodist Church and a brave man. And if I do sleep and eat with 3 upright men, it does not make me any the better satisfied. I would like to be at home in peace with my wife and be after my occupation. I always had enough to eat and a good bed to sleep in. Here I have to take it as it comes. But if I keep my health and live to come back again, I shall not begrudge this year.
I cannot be punctual in writing on account of the inconvenience so I hope you know how to excuse me and when my time is up, I will come to see you. If Hannah comes to see you, please let her stay with you as long as she chooses and I will pay you for all the trouble. I will close. Write soon. And I remain your friend, — Jacob D. Row
Address: Comp. E, 17th Regt. Ind. Vol., via Louisville, Ky.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 7
December 4th 1864
Dear and affectionate wife,
I received your letter today. I shall not write much in answer to it. I have been sick ever since I wrote the other letter. I am up and around some every day. If you wish to go to Ohio, I say go. Sell our corn for what you can get. I shall not come home on furlough.
Dear wife, I am so weak and trembling, I will close. You will not hear from me again till I am well. Hoping to see you, my dear honey, again. From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 8
December 17, 1864
Dear and Affectionate Wife,
I received a letter from you today enclosed with the one from Levi. I am glad to hear that you are well. I have been very sick but I am gaining strength fast again. You write that you are at Levi’s and will stay till I come home in furlough. Dear wife, I cannot come till my year is up, if I live. I know you would like to see me, dear wife. I would like to see you [too]. You wrote I shall not trouble myself about you. I do not [for] I know you will fare better than I do no matter where you are. If they want you to come home, you can go. I wrote a letter to my mother this week informing her you would come home to stay till my year is up. You will see about all the particulars in Levi’s letter so I need not write much more. It is getting late and I have to go on guard for the night. In my next I will be more punctual but you will be glad to hear that I am almost or entirely well again.
Write soon again. From your husband, — J. D. Row
To his wife, Hannah
December 18th 1864,
I just now come into my tent to eat my breakfast, being relieved from guard [duty] for the present. I stood nearly all last night, wading through the mud half knee deep, which you may consider not a very pleasant thing. But I feel frustrated this morning. I will give you a description of what we draw to eat. We draw beef, pork, beans, potatoes, onions, soft bread, crackers, coffee, sugar, sour kraut, pickles, salt, vinegar, soap & candles. This is what we draw but not all at one time—now a little and then a little—so that we sometimes run out of everything. Then we have to buy off the peddler women and pay two prices.
I think the mail has went out this morning so I will not put my letter in the office till this evening, hoping you will get it this week. If we sent some things home the week, then I will write again to let you know where to get them. I think we will send to Walkerton. Direct to Truman Rose. But I will let you know. No more at present. Write soon. From J. D. Row to his beloved wife.
This is Sunday and I wish I had clean drawers to put on. The gray-backs [lice] are biting me awful just now.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 9
December 20th 1864
Dear and Affectionate Wife,
I have today received a welcome letter from you dated December the 16th in which you wrote you was sorry that I was sick. It is true, dear wife, I have been very sick but I have not yet been homesick and don’t expect to get homesick although I would very much like to see you and have a good conversation with you and all the friends. But this cannot be for the present. There is now almost 3 months of my time expired and I shall await the expiration of y remaining nine months with a patient heart, and with my thoughts fixed on you, my dearest dear, hoping and knowing the time will roll on and the nine months will pass away like a cloud in the sky and the future will become bright and we will eet again at the end of my year with our love and joy renewed. But I will close with this and return to my old subject.
I received a letter from you and Levi a few days ago and I wrote an answer to them right away, which letters I think you will get this week, in which I wrote to you that I was very sick—which is true—but that I am gaining strength fast and you will be glad to learn that I am now altogether well again. I am somewhat weal and my appetite is not quite right yet, but still I call myself well again. I hope you are also well which is my entire wish.
Further, today we are drawing our saddles and in a few days more I think we will draw our guns and then it will not be long till we leave here. I have got an old gray horse to ride—as old as Methuselah—but I am a going to kill him in a few weeks. Then I can lay by, thank the Lord. When we break up camp here, I think we will go direct to Nashville.
The cold weather is left us now but we had incessant rain for several days and it was so muddy, it was almost impassable. Last night it blowed up again and the ground froze hard last night. But now it is warm and thawing again. I sent my one pair of pants and blouse and part of my knapsack home. Jim Smith will go and fetch them to his house and Dave Smith’s also. He will let someone know so you will find it out. Then I want Levi to go and fetch them and pay the cost on it and I will make it all right with him. We sent them to Walkerton, directed to Truman Rose with a lot of other things belonging to the other boys.
You need not trouble yourself about me and I don’t want you to because I am of good cheer and hope to get along well with the rest of the boys. If I can ride my old horse to death—or kill him some other way—then I will be all right. You may bet I will try my best to kill him, Well, I will leave the old horse alone and come to a close, hoping you will write to me again soon and I will do the same. From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
Address: Co. B, 17th Regt. Ind. Vol., Louisville, Ky.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 10
January 12th 1865
Dear Affectionate Wife,
I received your letter the 5th from December 29th at Camp in the Woods late in the evening. I am glad to hear you are well and going to Ohio but you will be surprised when I tell you a little of my knock arounds. We [left] camp at Louisville December 28th and marched 12 days till we came to Nashville; camped in the woods every night. The last day of our march, I was taken down with the piles so bad that I could not keep up with the command. I finally got into camp that evening late and it commenced to rain. We struck our tent, I made my bed and laid down. Directly the doctor sent for me and I went down [where] he examined me. Then our captain came in and asked how he found this man and the doctor told him I was very bad—I could never stand riding. Then they counseled and thought I could drive an ambulance. I told them I could not—I never drove a team. Then they told me to go back to my tent and I went and laid down again add there I laid till the next day about 10 o’clock—and also the 10th of the month—when all at [once] I was to report at Brigade Headquarters. Not knowing what they wanted, I done so immediately. When I got there, the ambulance was ready to convey me and many more to Nashville Hospital No. 15, where I was admitted and staid that night and yesterday till 2 o’clock when I was taken on an ambulance to the Louisville Depot (and about 200 more besides me).
We went on the cars and was sent back 26 miles to Gallatin. We got here last night after dark [and] was placed in the hospital where I am now. I have a very good bed to sleep in. I am sitting on my bed with a piece of board on my knees for a writing table while I am writing to you, my beloved dear wife. Do not trouble yourself about me. I have a good place and I am well satisfied if I can stay in the hospital. I know not what they intend doing with me but I rather think I will be placed in the Invalid Corps to do guard duty. I would be glad if I never had to go back to my command.
Dear wife, if I was with you now, I could tell you a great many strange things but I hope the time will arrive when I can tell you all that I remember. I must close for the present but I will write again in a few days as soon as I find out the direction to this place. Then I will tell you some of our transaction while on the march. I hope you are well and all the rest of the friends. Dear wife, rest contented about me. I have a very good appetite to eat. I could eat more than I get most of the time. So no more.
From your husband, — Jacob D. Row to his wife
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 11
January 19, 1865
Dear beloved and affectionate wife,
I will inform you that I wrote a letter to you and one to my mother a few days ago but you may not have got them. I am in the hospital here at this place. I come here on account of having the piles but at the present time I am perfectly well and cured of the piles and am in good spirits. Dear wife, I will let you know though that the first few days I was here, I was almost starved to death. I had a good appetite and we only got two meals a day—and only half rations at that—so my guts was pinched pretty, but I worked it pretty well after all. Our boss cook is a dutchman so I went in the kitchen one evening and told him I was perfectly well and would like some employment. Then he got me detailed in the kitchen to carry water, wood, and such like. Now I fare first rate—plenty to eat and drink 3 times a day. Now if I was permitted to stay here, I tell you I would get fat. I have no particulars much to write for this time and I know not how soon I may be sent to my regiment again. And there is also talk that we will draw two months pay before we will be sent off but I cannot testify to the truth of these rumors.
My post office address to this place is: Jacob D. Row, Cavalry Carps Hospital, Gallatin, Tennessee
Beloved wife, I would very much like to hear from you and what luck you had on your journey to Ohio and how your parents, my Mother and family, and all the rest of the friends are getting along. But I think it is not necessary for you to make any attempt to write to me to this place. I think I am not allowed to stay here long. I froze my feet pretty bad two weeks ago today on the road from Louisville to Nashville. We have very pleasant weather here now—cold nights and very pleasant and warm in day.
When this letter comes to hand, beloved wife, I hope it may find you in good health as it is about to leave me. I think I must close. It is getting late and my candle is about burned out. Give my best respects to all enquiring friends and tell them I live fat in the cooking room as long as it lasts.
From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
to his wife Hannah Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 12
Cavalry Corps Hospital
January 22, 1865
I have not much to write for the present but it is Sunday today and I have my morning’s work done in and around the kitchen so I concluded to write a few lines to you and let you know that I am still in the hospital and I am perfectly well and hearty. I hope these few lines may find you well and all the rest of the friends. I would like to receive a letter from you [and] to hear how you are getting along. I would just mention a little about the John Luke note. Likely Jno. Price has collected it and if not, then I wish you would ask John Luke for it yourself, and if you can get the money, appropriate it for your special use. I cannot tell you how long I shall stay here, but if you wish to write to me, address: Jacob D. Row, Cavalry Corps Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tennessee.
The soldiers in general are of the opinion now that we will have peace before long and if that should be the case, I may not be ordered away [from] here for some time. As soon as the draft comes off, I want you to give me the names of all drafted. You know you cannot expect much news from me as long as I am here, but I will [write] from time to time and let you know how I am getting along. I do not know where my regiment is now and I don’t care neither. I am satisfied if they keep me in the hospital and if they sent me to my regiment, I tell you I shall not stay with it long. The first chance I get, I will parch a lot of corn in salty grease and eat a good deal of it and that will make me the diarrhea. Then I will get the piles again. Then I will tell the doctor it is altogether from riding so he will send me to the hospital again. I am bound not to do Lincoln much good in regard of freeing the negroes if I can help it.
I will close for the present. Give my best respect to all the friends and write soon. From your absent husband, — Jacob D. Row
to his wife Hannah
Address Jacob D. Row, Cavalry Corps Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tenn.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 13
Cavalry Corps Hospital, Ward H
January 31, 1865
Dear beloved wife,
I embrace the opportunity in a late hour this evening to forward a few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you also well and in good health. I have wrote several letters to you since I am here at this place and have received no answer yet but I blame myself. I did not give you the direction at first. But if my last letter went through, I expect a letter from you in a few days. We have had a regular muster here in camp today. Of all the men here, we have the promise of the officers in charge over us that we will draw two months pay now pretty shortly. If I draw pay, I will forward thirty dollars to you. I have now only $2.00 of my money left anymore. After this I will keep only a little money with me. If I have none, I [will] spend none.
I have not much to write but, beloved wife, I would further let you know that the small pox are raging pretty extensively here in this hospital. We have now 8 or 9 small pox cases here in the hospital.
I am still working in the cook room. I know not how long I will stay here, but I think under present circumstances there is a probability of me remaining here for some time. We have a post chaplain here [and] we have preaching twice a week. We have very good meetings too. The preacher says he will start a big meeting and try and have a revival among the soldiers.
We had very cold [weather] for the last 10 days but now we have fall weather and today it rained a little.
Dear and affectionate wife, I am pretty troubled at times when I come to think of the condition I left in and not knowing anything of it when I left home. I truly beg of you to write to me how you are getting along. Write to me about your present circumstances. Let me know how your father and mother are getting along. Oh how I long to see you all once more. I sent many a sigh to all of you, but it availeth me nothing. But I pray God that the time may come when I shall once more see you all. With these few feeble lines, I shall close. Write soon. From your absent husband, — Jacob D. Row
To my wife, Hannah Row, New Bedford, Ohio
Address Cavalry Corps Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tennessee
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 14
Cavalry Hospital, Ward H
February 6, 1865
Beloved and fond wife,
I received your letter of the 29th last night. I was glad to hear from you once more. The letter you put in the office at Plymouth and also the one you wrote directly after coming home, I did not receive. But the one Keyser wrote to me concerning the saw, I got while I was at Nashville and I have answered it, telling him that my part of the saw was not to be sold. But should I have known that he charged the neighbors 25 cents a day for the use of the saw, I should have conformed the selling of it. Keyser had charged some of the neighbors 25 cents a day for the use of the saw while I was at home yet and I told him it will not do. So I thought he had quit it. Keyser wrote me a very hasty letter and an angry one, making threats what he would do if I would let Mr. Hawblits have the saw. I wrote to him I felt sorry indeed that my friends had to quarrel about my things while I was yet a living. I told him when I was dead once, they might fight and quarrel as much as they pleased about it.
Fond wife, I would further say that I am well at present—only I have a very severe cold and cough. I [am] so hoarse that I can hardly speak loud. I hope, beloved wife, you and all the friends are well. I wish Solomon would write me a letter and let me know how he is getting along with his school.
I know not how long I will stay here but I think I will stay some time yet. I am still working in the cook room. I got my boots half-soled last Saturday. It cost me $1.50. Now I have only 50 cents left anymore. You wrote if I needed money, you would send me some. You need not send me any money. I don’t need any now and I expect to draw two months pay in a few days. Then I will send some of it home to you. I hope you may get along with our friends while you remain in Ohio. I need no stamps while I am here. The government sends my letters free. I have a good many stamps yet. I will close for the present and remain your true husband, — J. D. Row
Address: Cavalry Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tenn.
To my affectionate wife, Hannah Row, New Bedford, Ohio
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 15
Cavalry Hospital, Ward H
February 10, 1865
I seat myself to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you, your father and mother, and all the rest of the friends in good health. I am looking for a letter from you every day. I received a letter from you a few days ago & was glad to hear from you. I wrote one to you a few days ago but I have not much to do just now so I thought I would write again. Further, there is from 2 to 3 dying here every day. Today they are sending off about 70 from this place. Last night there was 50 coming in again. I think they will send me off in the next squad. Always wait before you write till you get a letter from me so you know where to write to.
We have had very cold [temperatures] here for the last few days. We had about 4 inches of snow. I don’t know where my regiment is and I don’t care. I would be satisfied if they would leave me here till my time is up. I am not as much afraid of the hospital as I am of the rebel bullets. I have a good time here. I wish you to write to me every week or answer every letter that directions are given in. I have no news to write.
Peace rumors have died away and I think we have to fight another four years. I would like to know where brother Adam is. And I would also like to know if my mother is pretty stout and hearty and how they are getting along. With this, I will close for the present and await an answer from you, my beloved wife.
From your absent husband, — Jacob D. Row
Cavalry Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tenn.
Dear wife, I wish a many a time if I could only be with you, but I hope the time will speedily roll round that I can once more have the opportunity of embracing a fond wife. I hope I may return to you again—a wiser and a better man. My heart rejoices within me when I think of meeting with you again. I know I shall be glad when that minute comes when I will give you my right hand and a sweet kiss upon your cheek. I am lonely now but I shall once more be happy on this earth. With this, I will close and return to my work again with my thoughts fixed on you, my affectionate wife, Hannah. — Jacob
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 16
February 20, 1865
Dear affectionate wife,
I received two letters from you last evening dated February 12th & 14th. I am glad to hear you and all the friends are well. I am well at this time. I got a letter from A. H. Price last evening stating that Levi’s sawmill burnt down to ashes and he (Price) is a going to move out of our house into his own. He wrote he cannot give that piece of ground away for the third. He says he will clean it and put it out for the 3rd if I pay him for cleaning. I wrote to him to let it lay. He says your father was there to see them last week.
I was glad to hear your parents are so kind and good to you. I hope you may get along well together till I return home again. Johnathan is only about 60 miles from here. We have very nice and pleasant weather. The fish worms is a crawling around on the ground and the turtle dove is building her nest.
I must close for the present and go and get dinner. I will write again in a few days. I remain your husband till death, — Jacob D. Row
to my wife, H. Row
Address Jacob D. Row, Cav. Corps Hospital, Ward H, Gallatin, Tenn.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 17
February 21, 1865
I just seated myself to write a few lines to you in haste. I wrote a letter to you yesterday and late yesterday evening the orders came that this hospital is to be broke up immediately. Now I think I have to leave here in a day or two. I do not know where I will be sent to but I think probably to my regiment. The hospital is to be moved to Nashville. A rumor is that all men that are able will be sent to their regiment. So it is. Therefore I would say write no more letters to me to this place. So you may wait in writing till you get another letter from me. Then I will give you the address.
I am well and stout but I have the scurvy in my teeth. My jaw aches all over. If I cannot get it cured, I think I will lose all my teeth after awhile.
Dear wife, I hope you are well and all the friends. My best respect to you all. From your affectionate husband, — Jacob D. Row
to Hannah Row.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 18
Cumberland Hospital, Ward 18
February 28, 1865
Dear and affectionate wife,
I take the pleasure of writing a few lines to you and let you know that I am well, hoping these few lines may find you well also. The hospital at Gallatin is broke up and I was transferred from there to this—the Cumberland Hospital—on the 24th of this month. I do not know how long I may remain here. The doctor comes round every morning and I tell him there is nothing the matter with me. So he told me this morning he would send me to my regiment in a day or two. I begged of him to let me stay till after pay day. I paid out the last cent I had today for postage stamps.
It is almost two weeks since I got the last letter from you and I am getting lonesome. This hospital is like a jail to me. We [have] 12 acres of ground to ramble over but still we are in a solitary confinement with guards placed around us. At Gallatin I had a good place. I was at liberty to go where I pleased and plenty of everything. I am expecting a letter from you everyday. I think you wrote one directed to Gallatin which I think will be sent after me. My address to this place is Jacob D. Row, Cumberland Hospital, Ward 18, Nashville, Tennessee, but it is not necessary for you to write to me here. I may be gone before you get this.
The weather is very nice and pleasant here now. The gardeners have already set their onions out and their cabbage plants are big enough to set out.
If they send me to the regiment, I will try and play off if I can so as to be sent back to the rear again. I don’t think that I am in duty bound to kill my fellow men and I will not do it. With this, I will close hoping to write to you again in a few days. My regiment is either at Gravelly Springs or Mobile. No more at present, give my best respects to all enquiring friends. From your absent husband, — Jacob D. Row
to his wife Hannah, New Bedford, Ohio
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 19
March 7th 1865
Dear Affectionate wife,
It is a very pleasant morning and I have nothing to do so I concluded I would write a letter to you to pass away time and let you know how I am getting along because I know you love to hear from me every week. I am well—or at least as well as usual; only now and then a slight diarrhea and a little cold. I am still remaining at Cumberland Hospital in Nashville. How long I will remain here yet, I am unable to tell, but expect to be sent to my regiment ere this time. But I am still here trying to play off as much as I can. I think I will remain here anyway now till after payday. I am now altogether out of money and have to beg my tobacco. Our grub here in this hospital is very short. It is cut down almost to half rations so you may know that I do not get any too much to eat. I got plenty of everything while I was at Gallatin, but since I am here, I am losing in flesh and spirit every day. But I don’t care about that.
The boys all say anyway to keep from the front. I am well enough contented here. I have several very good companions with me & we pass off the time as merrily as we can.
Last week we had three days continual rain but the weather has cleared up and the sky is bright and clear. The sun shines forth bright and pleasant, and the blue birds in camp sing forth their morning songs as praises to Almighty God, which is cheering to my heart. When I can hear the fowls of the air, in an enemy’s country as it were, to offer up songs of prayer and worship ( to our) or to their creator.
With these few feeble lines, I will close hoping you are well and all the friends. If you wish to write to me, you can do so and direct to Cumberland Hospital, Ward 18, Nashville, Tenn., and if I am gone before the letter comes, they will send it after me.
I remain your true husband, — Jacob D. Row
To his wife, Hannah. My best respect to my mother.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 20
Cumberland Hospital, Ward 18
March 8, 1865
Respected and beloved wife,
I now seat myself to answer to several letters that I received from you and brother Solomon a few minutes ago dated respectively as follows, February 24th, 27th and 28th—the two last named ones on one sheet and in one envelope. I was truly glad to hear from you all and especially that you were all well and getting along well. I was wonderfully surprised to hear of so many marriages in Solomon’s letter. While I was perusing the names, I was still thinking, now the next one must surely be his own but I read the names over a second [time] cautiously but no Solomon. It seems almost impossible that you can have so many weddings without him being one [of] the many.
Well, I have not much to write. I have wrote two letters to you since I am here.
But our corn ground must lay idle this summer, I think. I can see no possible way of getting it out. I don’t feel inclined to take the third and pay for the cleaning of it. If Adam goes to Indiana, I think he will see to it that our wheat is cut and gathered in a manner right, and if our things are not cared for, I don’t think that we are gone to nothing yet because I expect to get out of this accursed war and I expect to live when I am out. Well, in short, I hope all will come right.
I would say this much to brother Solomon, if he sees any possible escape of the draft, that he shall take the advantage of it. For my part, I would rather prefer 10 years among entire strangers than to fight one year for Old Abe and the freedom of the niggers. It is very little that I will do if I can help it. When I was yet at Gallatin, I gave a lot of Christian Commission books to our chaplain telling him to send them home to you. I would like to know if you got them or not.
With these few lines I will close hoping to hear from you soon.
From your true and absent husband, — Jacob D. Row
To his wife Hannah
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 21
April 6th 1865
Dear Affectionate Wife,
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present hoping these few lines may find you and the friends all well. I got a letter from Levi a few days ago stating they were all well and that brother Adam is living with them again and that he is at work rebuilding his mill again. Levi says that Keyser has enlisted. I pity Susan and their little children because I know she will have a heap of trouble when John is gone but it is just like him (foolishness). Levi, I think, has done wiser than Keyser has. He (Levi) says they have their quota all in but four and he says they have money for 3 more. He has already paid $72 dollars and says he will do his share in securing the last one. I think if money saves a man from going to the army, he should freely contribute and then stay at home with his family. Therefore, I think Levi has done wise.
We had quite a lively time here on hearing of the capture of Petersburg and Richmond. Flags was displayed from almost every house top and you could hear the cannon roar and the muskets rattle in every direction. Tennessee is back in the Union. Yesterday was the inauguration of their governor. His name is Brownlow. Nearly everybody knows or has read about him in the papers. The legislature is all convened now at the State House. I hope they may do some good for the sake of the country.
General Thomas [is] in Nashville now. I belong to his command. It is supposed he will come here to inspect the hospital tomorrow.
It is now almost two weeks since I got the last letter from you but I am looking for one every day. Everything looks very green and attractive here now. The trees are out in leaves and I seen peas the other day almost 6 inches high. The peaches has all been in blossom for the last 3 weeks. I will close for the present hoping to hear from you soon. Give my best respect to your father and mother and all the friends. From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
Address Cumberland Hospital, Ward 27, Nashville, Tennessee
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 22
April 9th 1865
Your letter of March 30th came to hand April 7th. I am glad to hear you are well and getting along well. I am well at present [and] hoping these few lines may find you and all the friends in the same good blessing. I drawed two month’s pay and I don’t want to keep all my money for fear of spending it so I will enclose $15 and send it to you and if you need any money, use it. As soon as you get this letter, write and let me know.
Today, I think, is Easter Sunday but I do not know for sure. Anyway, it commenced a raining last night and rains all day today so that the ground is nearly everywhere covered with water.
I got a letter yesterday from A. H. Price, He says that Keyser gave his credit of enlistment to the City of Indianapolis. Rather a [damned] trick from Keyser. Price says he made 300 lbs. of sugar & 16 gallons of molasses. Then he complains the season has not been favorable. I wrote to him I think he done remarkable well or I am a poor judge. He further says that everything has come down to what it was last winter a year ago. Things has not come down any yet in Nashville. Everything is extremely high—and I think the water will get pretty high too if it keeps on raining much longer.
We are looking every day to hear the news—Peace, Peace declared. The soldiers are all of the impression that we will be mustered out this fall. You need not send me any postage stamps. I can get all here that I need. I suffer for nothing now—only something good to eat, and that you can’t send to me. Dear wife, you need not trouble yourself about me. I am getting along first rate. I buy me some butter still, sometimes a pie or a cake, and me and 3 of my comrades made us a good oyster supper the other evening. We had crackers, biscuits, butter, and bread. We lived happy but is seldom that we live in that style.
With these few lines, I will close and go and toast me a piece of bread and spread it with butter. My best respect to you all. Write soon. From your husband, — J. D. Row
Address: Cumberland Hospital, Ward 27, Nashville, Tenn.
to Hannah Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 23
April 24, 1865
Your kind letter of April 17th is at hand. I am glad to hear you are well and the friends the same. I have almost recovered from my spell of diarrhea although I am yet very weak and poor. If you would see me now you would think I had a long spell of sickness.
I got a letter yesterday from J. W. Keyser dated April 12th. He says he is well and likes soldiering very well but he would rather be at home. He brags mightily with the bounty he received. He says he sent $475 home to his family and then he goes on in as much to say he done well. He don’t want the assistance of no one. I wrote him a letter telling him I wished him well and hoped he would get home again. I think you had not got the money that i sent to you when you wrote or you had of let me know. The letter that I got today was enclosed with one that Abraham wrote. You want to know if I think I can come home before my time is up. I don’t think that I can. If the war was to close today, it would probably be 2 or 3 months before I could come home. I think the best for you would be to wait patiently till my time is up. I may probably be discharged before my time is up; I can’t tell. All I ask is my health and strength and if it is God’s will that I am permitted to return home with sound limbs and body, I know that I can make a living. And if I didn’t get $400 or 500 bounty, you know we have a good piece of land and if it is half cultivated, we can live on it. But it is foolish for me to talk about anything like this now.
Well, with this I will close, hoping you are all well. I have sent to my regiment for my descriptive roll. When it comes, I will make application for a discharge. But I do not know how soon or how long that will be. No more at present. From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
to his wife Hannah
Cumberland Hospital, Ward 27, Nashville, Tenn.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 24
May 5, 1865
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you and all the rest in the same blessing. Your letter of April 25th was received yesterday. I am glad to hear you keep so admirable well. You say you received them $15. If you need any of it, use it.
I got a letter from brother Isaac yesterday stating that he has been sick for the last two weeks with the yellow fever. He wrote the letter himself dated May 1st stating he feels somewhat better today but evidently he says he feels bad enough he is afraid it will turn out bad with him. I was so troubled and concerned about him yesterday after I got the letter that I felt bad myself. A few days back I expected to get home soon but since reading the papers this morning, I think I will have to stay nearly or quite [all] my time out.
The 51st Ohio Regiment where Lewis had enlisted is encamped 4 miles from here but I can’t get to them. I got a letter from Levi last Sunday stating they are looking for me home soon. I wrote to him I think myself I would get home before long, and he should [get] his wife to have the old rooster ready in the pot till I come because I wanted something good to eat. My regiment is at Savannah. I don’t expect to see them anymore till they return to this place to be mustered out of the service. I am surprised to hear how things have come down in the North and everything is so high here.
With this, I will close hoping to hear from you again soon. From your husband, — Jacob D. Row
to Hannah Row
Address Cumberland Hospital, Ward 27, Nashville, Tenn.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 25
Sunday, May 7th 1865
Your letter of April 29th is at hand. I am glad to hear you are well. I am well at present but I am not as well as I was before I came in the service. I saw in your letter you still think I will come home soon. To tell the truth, I do not know if I will be discharged before my time is out or not. The hospital is full of rumors and the men are talking and speculating about going home, but we can’t get anything definite. I will give you my opinion. I think there will none in the hospital be sent to their regiment anymore. All men in the hospital with descriptive rolls will be discharged within the next 10 days and them without descriptive rolls will be sent to their states or go home on discharge furloughs. Such, I think, will be the case. Anyways, I don’t think that I will be here any more at the expiration of 2 weeks.
Johnathan is only about 40 miles from here and I think undoubtedly he has got his box before this time. I would have liked very much to be with him when he got the box. I went with one of my companions to town last week to get a box for him sent from Michigan by his mother with abundance of good cakes.
We have got very hot and dry weather.
With this I will close. My best respect to all. To my wife, Hannah Row, — Jacob D. Row
If I should happen to leave here this week, I will let you know at once. — J. D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 26
May 12th 1865
Your letter of April 30th and May 4th is at hand. I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you the same. I received a letter from friend A. H. Price today. He says Jacob Long and B. Dice are back from Iowa again. J. Long bought Neiswanger’s land and Dice bought close to town. He says there is a great many moved to our neighborhood this spring and more a coming. Some wants our house to move in but I wrote to him our house is not for rent as I expected to come home yet before harvest.
Last Sunday I thought I would be transferred to Indianapolis this week, but it is now Friday evening and I am here yet and I think I have to stay now till my descriptive roll comes from the command. It will be here in a few weeks and then I will be mustered out at once. I think I will get to cut our wheat myself. You must make yourself as much comfortable as you can. I will come to fetch you as soon as I can after I am mustered out if the service. Isaac Fleming was sent away this week. Now I have no acquaintance left in the hospital, but I am as comfortable as ever. I am thinking of you and our home continually. I can tell you, dear wife, I would like to be at home but I must be contented. I know it will not be long anymore till I will come home.
With this, I will close for the present hoping to hear from you again soon. From your absent husband. Give my best respect to all enquiring. — Jacob D. Row
To my wife, Hannah
Address Cumberland Hospital Ward 27, Nashville, Tenn.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 27
May 29th 1865
Dear beloved wife,
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present. I am still remaining in the Cumberland Hospital not knowing when I will get away. Some of the hospital boys are leaving today. I do not know where they are going to. Several of them stepped into my room just now to give me goodbye. Some think they are going to their states and some think to their regiments.
It is reported my command is on the move this way and is at Chattanooga now. If so, it will be here in a few days, but I am doubtful if my regiment will come back because it is a Veteran regiment and they may keep it yet awhile. But that does not hinder me from getting my discharge. They cannot keep me longer than my year no how. And the orders is to discharge one year men immediately. If I had my descriptive roll here, I might be at home before this time. If my regiment comes back here, I will try and get my descriptive roll and be mustered out so as to get home till harvest if I can.
With this, I will close, hoping to hear from you soon. I hope you are all well. Write as soon as possible. — Jacob D. Row
Our Ward No. 27 is full of patients—sick and wounded men. So I have plenty to do now. I am baggage master in this ward. I do a little nursing sometimes too but only when I take a notion and as soon as my regiment comes, I shall leave this hole of a place. — J. D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 28
Cumberland Hospital, Ward 27
June 3, 1865
I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you in the same blessing. Your letter of May 21st is at hand. I am glad to hear you are all well. I am still yet in the hospital but think I will be sent away next week. You need not write to me again till you receive another letter. I do not know where I will be sent to. I think it is not probably that I will go to my command. I will either be sent to Edgefield, Tennessee or to Indianapolis.
News—I have none to write so I will close. As soon as I leave here, I will write to you again. My best respect to all, — J. D. Row
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 29
June 7, 1865
Mr. Abraham Row, Sir,
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all in the same good blessing. I received a letter today from Hannah dated May 31st & mailed June 3rd. I am happy to hear she is well. She looks for me home soon. Indeed, I cannot tell when I will come home. All the Wisconsin men in this hospital started for their homes today and some of the Ohio and Indiana men will leave tomorrow for their state where they will be mustered out. I tried to go along with this squad, but the doctor would not let me go. The Second (2nd) Brigade of the Fourth (4th) Division of Gen. Wilson’s Cavalry Corps arrived here yesterday to turn over their accoutrements and equipage to be mustered out at once. The latest I heard from my regiment, it was yet at Macon, Georgia. But I think they will come back too soon. The next squad that leaves for Indianapolis, I again will try to go along if I can. I want to get home till harvest if I can.
If you have any chance to send this letter to Hannah, I wish you would do so and tell her not to write to me again till she gets another letter with directions because I shall try to get away here. No more at present. — J. D. Row
To A. Row, Esqr.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER 30
South Bend, Indiana
June 27, 1865
I arrived this morning in South Bend at 10 o’clock. I am going down home this afternoon. I have leave of absence for 30 days at which time I have to report at Indianapolis for me to come & see you. I am dirty & ragged. My clothes are full of holes and I am out of money. Harvest is just at hand. You will excuse me for not coming.
I do not know when I will get my discharge. Johnathan & Henry are both in Indianapolis. They will be at home this week. Johnathan will come to Ohio immediately. I cannot come to Ohio till I come back from Indianapolis again.
I will write again in a few days & give particulars. — J. D. Row