1864: Thomas B. McWilliams to friend Lottie

This letter was written by Thomas B. McWilliams (1843-1899), the son of William McWilliams (1820-1889) and Lucy Ann Noffsinger (1822-1890) of English, Keokuk county, Iowa. Thomas enlisted as a private in Co. H, 5th Iowa Infantry in July 1861 to serve three years. [Note: He is carried as Thomas D. McWilliams in state rosters.] Thomas was wounded in the side slightly on 16 May 1863 in the fighting at Champion Hills, Mississippi. He recovered and mustered out with his regiment at Chattanooga on 3 August 1864.

After the war, Thomas married (1867) Amanda F. Gore (1844-1870) and then later Sarah R. White (1845-1911). He became a physician in Sigourney, Keokuk county, Iowa. I have not learned of the identity of “Lottie” to whom Thomas addressed this letter. Lottie was generally short for Charlotte.


Huntsville, Alabama
April 24, 1864

Friend Lottie,

Yours of the 30th of March arrived at hand this morning. It found me well and in good health, I hope this may find you in the same state of heath.

We are still at the Huntsville Mills and probably will remain here until our time is out. Everything looks pretty and Spring-like here now. Everything looks very pleasant and charming. The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing their first requiems of Spring. I saw flowers blooming as early as February.

We have 11 weeks to stay yet in the service of the United States.

Give my respects to all the friends at home. I have nothing of importance to write. You must write often as possible. We just have had the boys of Co. D of the 30th Iowa to see us. They look pretty hard, it being rainy and muddy. It rained here last night but it is breaking away now and clearing up. I have just been laughing at our Lieutenant who is now reading Q. K. Philander Doesticks. ¹ To read it is enough to make a fox grin himself right into fits.

I am fat and saucy and weighted this morning — 177! on Fairbank’s scales.

Tell Hartell that I have not forgotten her. I hope soon to be with you and then we will have a good time in general. If we don’t, it won’t be my fault as shure as my name is Tom Mc.

I wish you would choke some of them rebels for me. It would be a great accommodation, I am sure. I allow to bring a pup home in my pocket that don’t bark—only when it bites—and if they don’t want to be bit, they will have to keep their mouths shut. That’s all I have to say to them.

Give my respects to Henry when you write to him. We are looking everyday for an attack but the Rebels will not make much if they will make an attack. We can easy clean them out.

I will close for this time. I remain your friend. Direct to T. B. McWilliams, Co. H, 5th Regt. Iowa Infantry Vols., Huntsville, Alabama via Nashville, Tenn.

¹ Q. K. Philander Doesticks was the pseudonym used by Mortimer Q. Thomson (1832-1875). 

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