All posts by Griff

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

The Death of Brig. Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth

Gen._James_S._Wadsworth_-_NARA_-_528634.tif
Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth

Brig. General James Samuel Wadsworth “was shot through the head on the second day of the Wilderness Battle in early May 1864. Upon hearing of his death, Navy Secretary Gideon Welles wrote in his diary that “few nobler spirits have fallen in this war….No purer or more single-minded patriot than Wadsworth has shown himself in this war. He left home and comforts and wealth to fight the battles of the Union.” In New York City, George Templeton Strong wrote in his own diary: “We have lost a brave and useful man, but this is just the death Wadsworth would have ordered of the destinies had they consulted him on the subject.”

This remarkable journal contains the handwritten notes of the death—and recovery of the body of—Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth who was shot down in the Battle of the Wilderness and died less than two days later in a Confederate field hospital. The information in the journal appears to have been compiled and composed by Captain Montgomery Harrison Ritchie (1826-1864), a son-in-law of Gen. Wadsworth, and an aide to Colonel Dixon Miles. Capt. Ritchie died less than six months later (7 November 1864) of a “disease contracted in the service.”

ritchie
Capt. Montgomery Harrison Ritchie

TRANSCRIPTION

General Wadsworth was wounded on Friday the 6th May 1864 and lingered unconscious until Sunday about 7 o’clock the 8th of May.

<newspaper clipping entitled “General Wadsworth Reported Killed” that reads, in part, “Gen. Wadsworth was killed and not captured as reported this morning. He led a charge, perfectly brave man as he was, and fell at the head of his division, pierced with a ball through the brain…”>

<newspaper clipping entitled “Obituary Gen. James Samuel Wadsworth”>

<newspaper clipping entitled “Obituary, Gen. Wadsworth.”

<newspaper clipping continued> From the New York Times, May 1864, Written by [Henry Jarvis] Raymond, previously editor of the N. Y. Times.

 

Information concerning Brigadier General J. S. Wadsworth collected by M[ontgomery] Richie at Fredericksburg, Va., from 11th to 18th May 1864.

J[acob] Ebersole, Surgeon, 19th Indiana Volunteers in charge 5th Corps Hospital, not from personal knowledge, but from information derived from wounded men of the 4th Division, 5th Corps, was conversant with the general facts concerning the General, whom he had known and served with for a long time. This Surgeon, in whose charge were many wounded men belonging to General Wadsworth’s Division (4th Div., 5th Corps) stated his belief that General Wadsworth had been killed on Friday the 6th May 1864 at the Battle of the Wilderness. No details regarding the death were given by this Surgeon, but being in charge of 5th Corps Hospital, he was in a position which enabled him to express a reliable opinion.

Surgeon [William J.] McDermott was taken prisoner at Stevens House in the Wilderness. He was left in charge of the wounded on the field on Friday 6th May. He was paroled by J[ames] C. Borden, Capt. Co. A, 1st N. C. Cavalry, who stated to Surgeon McDermott that General Wadsworth’s body was in their (the enemy’s) hands: that General Lee had ordered a coffin and that the body would be delivered to an unarmed Flag of Truce.

Surgeon McLean, ¹ Confederate, attended General Wadsworth till his death.

kneeland
Maj. Benjamin T. Kneeland

Maj. B[enjamin] T. Kneeland, New York Cavalry Surgeon, formerly from Nunda, Livingston county, was sent out from Fredericksburg by Surgeon Dalton, Medical Director at that depot, under a Flag of Truce on the morning of the 12th May. A train of ambulances with supplies for the wounded were under the orders of Maj. Kneeland. Maj. Kneeland, being a neighbor in the country of General Wadsworth and well acquainted with him for years past, was the most useful person to take charge of this train. Maj. Kneeland’s instructions were to proceed to the battleground of Friday the sixth in the Wilderness, or as near to it as the enemy would permit, to ascertain concerning General Wadsworth’s fate as accurately as possible and to ask permission to bring back an ambulance [with] the remains.

On the 5th in the morning, Maj. Kneeland reported that he had acquired some precise information in regard to General Wadsworth’s death and the place of his burial, but that the ambulances had been obliged to return from the Wilderness without the body, the forage for the horses and the provisions of the men (drivers) had given out & Maj. Kneeland stated that the officer commanding the escort had refused to remain any longer inside of the enemy’s lines. About one thousand of our men were reported by Maj. Kneeland to be lying wounded in and about the rebel hospital he visited in the Wilderness. The dead remained unburied and the supplies taken out for the wounded by this train were much needed.

Maj. Kneeland was informed that General Wadsworth was wounded on Friday, 6th May, by a shot on the top of the head, the missile remaining in his body [and] that the General lingered until Sunday the 8th in and insensible state; that Patrick McCracken—a farmer—had buried the body on his farm about seven miles from the battlefield. It was stated to Maj. Kneeland that McCracken’s motive for this service was a personal one arising out of his gratitude for kindness received from Gen. Wadsworth when Military Governor of Washington, & when McCracken was a prisoner in the Old Capitol Prison. ²


¹ Possibly William S. McLean, Asst. Surgeon, North Carolina State forces.

² In his book,General Wadsworth: The Life and Wars of Brevet General James S. Wadsworth, Wayne Mahood described Patrick McCracken as a “34-year old native Irishman who had been released in 1862 by Military Governor Wadsworth after giving assurances that he was a farmer, not a spy, and would not assist the Confederacy.” Mahood wrote that McCracken “buried Wadsworth in the McCracken family burying ground ‘with the clothing as he fell on the battlefield’ and covered the coffin ‘with plank and then dirt.’ Afterward he had a ‘large plank planed and marked for a headstone,’ which he placed at the head of the grave.”

 


That General Wadsworth’s character, his acts of kindness, had inspired numbers of his prisoners with feelings of high personal esteem and of gratitude towards him is made manifest from the conduct of McCracken. There likewise lived in Fredericksburg a Mr. Rome, a lawyer, who also had been a prisoner under General Wadsworth in the Old Capitol [Prison]. This Mr. Rome is an intelligent, active, & energetic man, said to have a very extensive acquaintance in and around Fredericksburg. Through him, at any future time, it is probable that more expeditions and [more] safely that in any other way, the family of General Wadsworth will be able to communicate with Patrick McCracken and in that manner, learn more particulars than are at present known to them concerning the General’s fate. Mr. Rome, hearing that Capt. Ritchie—a member of the family—was in Fredericksburg, desired to see him, expressed a strong respect for General Wadsworth’s character and the personal obligations he was under towards the General for kindness received from him when Military Governor of Washington and when Rome was a prisoner in the Old Capitol [Prison]. Mr. Rome stated to Capt. Ritchie that he knew McCracken very well and from his account, it appears that McCracken is a man of about forty-three and a small farmer. In order to get the exact address of Mr. Rome, a letter might be addressed to Mr. T. F. Knox, Fredericksburg, Va., in whose house Capt. Ritchie and Maj. Cutting lived when in Fredericksburg.

homer
Col. Homer R. Stoughton

Colonel [Homer R.] Stoughton, 2nd Regt. U. S. Sharpshooters stated to Capt. M. Ritchie that during the Battle of the Wilderness, he was quite new to General Wadsworth with whom he was acquainted [and] that on the morning of Friday, probably about noon, General Wadsworth led a charge on the Plank Road near where Brock’s Cross Roads intersects the Plank Road. The General was waving his hat and cheering on his men when a shot grazed his forehead. The firing was chiefly from infantry of intense severity and very close. A second shot killed the general’s horse and at the same time one of his staff lost a horse. The General sent an aid for spare horses and soon after was struck by a shot on the top of his head and fell to the ground. ¹ About this moment the enemy turned our left flank and our troops were obliged temporarily to fall back & to leave General Wadsworth’s body on the road.

On the return of the first Flag of Truce, without the body, but with the information about the burial place, the Medical Director Dalton immediately dispatched a medical officer with another Flag of Truce and ambulance. A[rthur] K. St. Clair, Asst. Surgeon 1st Michigan Cavalry was the officer in charge of the second Flag of Truce. He showed great zeal for the mission on which he was sent and promised, if needful, to stay a week inside the enemy’s lines in endeavors to accomplish his object. He deserves from every member of the family to be remembered with gratitude for the service he rendered and the spirited manner in which it was performed. The road to the battleground of the Wilderness was occupied by guerrilla troops and the pickets of the enemy had been advanced so as to prevent any access. Surgeon St. Clair was not allowed to proceed as far as the first Flag of Truce which had been sent out, and on sending in his request that he might be allowed to take possession of General Wadsworth’s body, he was informed that it would not be delivered to us unless General Meade or General Grant made a written request for that purpose.


¹ In his book,General Wadsworth: The Life and Wars of Brevet General James S. Wadsworth, Wayne Mahood wrote that when Confederate surgeons finally examined Wadsworth’s wound thirty hours after he was wounded, “they found that ‘the ball had entered near the top of his head, had gone forward, and was lodged in the anterior lobe of the left side of the brain.’ Thus, [it was concluded] that the general was either falling or bent forward ‘in anticipation of a volley from the advancing enemy.'” [page 254-5].

 


Surgeon St. Clair rode to the Headquarters of the Army, presented the letter to General Lee, commanding the enemy’s forces, and then, after some delay, the body was brought in a wagon to their outside pickets and delivered up to us.

On Tuesday, about 10 o’clock a.m., Surgeon St. Clair reported to the Medical Director [Edward Barry] Dalton at [the Depot Field Hospital in] Fredericksburg with the General’s body in his ambulance.

A room was procured. Dr. [John] Ross, an embalmer brought from Washington for that purpose, was in attendance. The coffin in which the remains had been placed by the enemy was coffin shaped, well made, and painted black. A [metallic] coffin had been brought from Washington for the purpose of placing in it the remains and was brought in to use.

There were present, when the coffin in which were General Wadsworth’s remains, was opened, Major Kneeland, Surgeon New York Cavalry, [Walter] Cutting A.D.C [Aide-de-Camp] to Major General [Christopher C.] Augur, and Montgomery Ritchie. Also two hospital orderlies of Major Kneeland’s. Together with the coffin there came a head and a foot board on each of which the name of Brig. General Wadsworth was written in pencil and the place and date of his death given.

When the coffin was opened, it was the 17th of May. The General is stated to have died on the 8th or nine days previously. After Maj. Kneeland & Cutting and Mr. Ritchie were satisfied in regard to the identity of the remains, they were carefully transferred to the coffin brought from Washington. Dr. [John] Ross, the embalmer, though unable to embalm the body [due to the advanced stage of decomposition], rendered what services he was able.

The enemy had evidently treated General Wadsworth’s remains with unusual respect and they had not been robbed of clothing. Even the white cotton stockings marked J. W. in red thread were on the feet. ¹

From all the authorities, military and medical, in Fredericksburg, every assistance possible towards recovering the body of General Wadsworth was rendered. Col. Shriner, Inspector General, Army of the Potomac, was commandant at Fredericksburg. From the Secretary of War and General Meade down to the surgeons in charge of the Flags of Truce, there was shown a desire to mark their high sense of General Wadsworth’s character and their appreciation of the magnitude of the loss which, in his death, had fallen upon the country and the Army. But one uniform testimony arose from all his enemies or his friends & companions in arms. All bore witness to the sterling worth of his character, to his great courage, and shining patriotism, and to his simple kindness of heart and to his great magnanimity.

It was owing to this general sympathy, to these double honors shown to General Wadsworth’s memory by his enemies and his friends that it was possible to recover and so fully and satisfactorily identify his remains.


¹ In his book,General Wadsworth: The Life and Wars of Brevet General James S. Wadsworth, Wayne Mahood that before Wadsworth’s body was taken for burial by McCracken, Confederate soldiers had taken his hat and boots and every button off his coat. “Bob Archer of the 6th Virginia appropriated the general’s pocketbook and $90, while John Bolote grabbed Wadsworth’s gold watch, and an unknown (to this day) took his ‘elegant’ and very expensive field glasses.” [page 257].

 


On the evening of the 17th May, the body arrived at Belle Plain Landing. It was put on board a steamer and arrived at Washington on the morning of the 18th. On the following morning, it was delivered into the charge of Brig. General [John T.] Sprague, Adj. General of the State of New York who took charge of the body in the name of the State of New York.

END OF TRANSCRIPTION

[Note: Numerous newspaper clippings are pasted on the pages that follow, many but not all are shown here.]

 

 

Advertisements

1864: James Oliver Parmlee to Martha L. (Brown) Johnson

This letter was written by James Oliver Parmlee (1845-1903), the son of Aaron S. Parmlee (1815-1847) and Martha L. Brown (1820-1903) of Warren, Warren county, Pennsylvania. He wrote the letter in 1864 to his mother, who became the second wife of Judge Samuel Porter Johnson (1809-1893) of Warren in 1859.

James enlisted on 5 September 1864 in Co. G, 211th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He remained with the regiment until 2 June 1865, serving “10 months and two days” according to the 1890 Veterans Schedule.

After the war, James attended Allegheny College and graduated in 1869. In the 1870 US Census, he was enumerated in Warren and identified as a “law student.” In the 1901 City Directory of Warren, he was identified as a “United States Commissioner.”

aanyread9

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mrs. M. L. Johnson, Warren, Warren county, Pennsylvania
Postmarked Old Point Comfort, Va.

Camp near Point of Rocks
November 7, 1864

My Dear Mother,

I have received several letters from you since I wrote you last. The last one came this morning dated November 3rd. Although I have not  written in so long a time, you must not be disappointed if this is short as I am rather unwell today. Am suffering from an old fashioned headache a little. I do not know what caused it. It cannot be as it generally was at home, from over eating, as it would be impossible for one to hurt himself in that way here unless he had more money than I’ve got. I rather think it was caused by sleeping in a room in which there was a fire. We have been very busy lately building winter quarters & last night just got our fireplace built and kept a good fire all the evening. If that is the reason, my cure is near—picket tonight in the rain. Do not be at all alarmed. If I should be sick, you shall know it.

I was somewhat disappointed when I found that you missed sending me anything by Charley Dick but I guess it is just as well. He probably could not get here as his regiment is across the river. He has been here and probably he could not get anything to me as well as you could send it from home direct by mail or express. I am afraid also that McKelvy will not be able to get here unless he comes as a commissioner of elections. I think so because one never sees citizens here except sutlers & their clerks. But if you send anything by Andrew Holliday, it will get to me surely. I wish you would send me either by him or by mail a little money. I am out and payday is by no means a “sure thing.” Also as soon as possible, send me a pair of gloves or mittens. If the latter, with one finger separate on each hand. I would like to have you send me a pair of warm flannel drawers sewed very strong. These army drawers are very good for spring & fall but are not warm enough for winter. My wants are numerous, ain’t they?

Picket duty is very trying now. We have enough men in the company for two reliefs of 18 men each & 4 men over, and should have enough for three as some have to go out every other night. It comes on me just about every other time now. No fires are allowed during the night and the nights, if it does not rain, are uncomfortably chilly and I need those gloves very much such times. Make very long wrists to them without fringes., the same way you used to make them.

Johnny Russell is much better [and] will probably be here soon. Eugene McKinney is very sick indeed. I was at the hospital one day at Point of Rocks last week and it is quite a comfortable place—especially if one is very sick. They have very good, clean beds and I saw one or two white ladies nursing the sick. That was more of a sight than anything else, except a little white girl I saw about four years old.

Today I was counting up the letters I have received and not answered and there was more than a dozen. That would not be many at home but here when time & materials are so scarce, it is quite a formidable array to contemplate. I guess my letters to you must do for the whole family. I have so little time. Is Ohma [?] never going to write to me?

You spoke of McKelvey’s thinking there was something on my mind that I did not wish to disclose to him. I think he imagined the greater part of that. There is nothing I can think of that could have given him such an idea. If there was, I should most assuredly confide it to you. I am sorry he alarmed you so needlessly. Of course I am somewhat dissatisfied with some operations I see here, but don’t think I am homesick or anything else the matter with me to the extent that he imagines. True, I should like to see Warren & Warren friends once more, but am content to wait till the times comes that I can do so honorably. I presume Mrs. Ann Cotham intends to write to me. That is generally what folks want of addresses of soldiers. Your letters & issues of October 30th arrived safe. Much obliged for the papers & magazine. Did you see those picket anecdotes in the “Drawer” of Harper?

Affectionately your son, — J. Parmlee

1865: Dugald Cameron White to Eliza A. (Phoenix) White

dug
Cameron and Eliza White in later years.

These three letters were written by Dugald Cameron White, Jr. (1840-1921), the son of Dugald White and Diana Wheeler. “Cameron” wrote the letters to his wife Eliza A. Phoenix (1842-1914), the mother of his infant son, Lewis (“Lewy”) White (1864-1882), while serving as a private in Co. D, 13th New York Heavy Artillery. According to the state’s muster roll abstracts, Cameron was drafted on 13 July 1863 when he was 23 years old. He was not discharged from the service until July 1865. His muster roll indicates that he was a farmer by occupation.

The regiment left the State in detachments, the 1st Battalion, Companies A, B, C and D, leaving October 5, 1863; it served as infantry and heavy artillery in the Departments of the East, until it left the State; and of Virginia and North Carolina; the 1st and 2d Battalions in the defenses of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., and Newbern, N. C.; the 3d Battalion as a coastguard on board vessels of war along the Atlantic coast. Company C served at Fort Hamilton, New York harbor, from September 12, 1863, to October 5, 1863; Companies A and H as siege artillery in the 3d Division, 18th Corps, Army of the James, from May, 1864, at, and in the forces for the defense of, Bermuda Hundred, Va., from January; 1865; Companies I, K, L and M in the Naval Brigade, Army of the James, from July, 1864.

June 28, 1865, Companies I, K, L and M, and the men of the other companies, whose term of service would expire before October I, 1865, were, under the command of Colonel Howard, honorably discharged and mustered out, the companies named at Norfolk, Va.; the men remaining in service were transferred, June 27, 1865, those of Company E to Companies B, C and G; of F to Companies A, C and D; and of H to Companies A and B, leaving in existence five companies, A, B, C, D and G, which were, July 18, 1865, transferred to the 6th N. Y. Volunteer Artillery, second organization, as Companies H, I, K, L and M, respectively.

aacivpenn8

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mrs. Eliza A. White, Gaines, Tioga county, Pennsylvania

Fort Ringgold, Virginia
June 12th 1864

My dear Eliza,

I will now improve this opportunity of writing a few more lines to you to let you know how I am a getting along at the present time. I am enjoying myself first best considering where I am. I am a long ways from those I love but I think the time will come and not a great while first when I can be with my friends and at home too and the time can’t come any too soon to suit me for you know I am a home boy myself—when I am at home, anyway.

We are still at Fort Ringgold. We think we may stay some time yet. This is not one of the healthiest places I ever was in. There is quite a lot of our company sick. I had another short turn of bloody dysentery but I have got it nearly cured now.

My dear Eliza, I have not had a letter from your honored self in nearly two weeks but I think I shall get one this afternoon. I wrote to Mary this afternoon. I got a letter from you since I have from her. Eliza, I am bound you shall hear from me as often as you want to so I write two or 3 letters a week for the last 2 or 3 weeks so that you could hear from me often. How do you like that? If you do not, I will not offend any more. This is a small threat but I can’t help it. I shall fill it through and would if it was twice as large but I guess it will go in a pinch.

My own dear wife, how I would like to see you this evening. I think you would get some fine kisses from me if not more. Well, I did not get a letter from you this afternoon as I hoped to but I may get one tomorrow. I will wait patiently until the time comes and see how it is. I will not write any more until then. Good evening.

My dear Eliza, I begun this some time ago but got a letter from you saying that you was going to our house the last of that week. Well, I did not finish it until I heard from you. Well, this afternoon I got a letter from you and Mary saying that you had arrived at Shoney. I was glad to hear that your health was some better than it had been. My health is not very good today for I came off guard this morning and I am sleepy and have a headache. Eliza, I hope you will enjoy yourself where you are there and I think you will. Eliza, I sent two letters to you to Pine Creek that you could not of got before you came away for I sent one one day and the other the next so I think you did not get them. Eliza, I think I shall be home by winter if this law passes that they are trying to pass for no drafted men to serve more than one year. If that passes, I shall be home by spring. Anyway, I think this war is a going to close soon.

Everything looks like it now. Eliza, butter in the City of Norfolk is 75 cents a pound. Eliza, they say here now that we will not get paid until next pay day. We ought to have been paid over a month ago. It will soon be time for pay next time in the course of a month. Well, Eliza, give the boy four or five good kisses for me. Eliza, I must close this. Excuse this short and miserable letter and want you to write soon and write a good long letter to your old chum. This from your ever true, — Cameron D. White

To Eliza A. White. Write soon, my dear.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Fort Hazlett, [near Norfolk,] Virginia
December 15th 1864

My own dear Eliza,

How glad I was to get another letter from you today. I was as much pleased as a boy with a new top. It had been some time since I had got a letter from you. I had wrote several to you since I got one but I got a nice one tonight, I tell you.

Well, my dear, I am still well as usual and was very glad to hear that you and Lewy were better for my dear Eliza, you do not know how much I do think of you. I could not live without you, no way you could fix it.

I am still where I have been for some time. Oh how I would like to see you this evening. I think you would get kissed.

Eliza, did you get the letter in which I asked you to send me Josh’s address for I lost it and would be much obliged to you if you would be so kind as to send it to me once more so I can write to him again. Eliza, you said that they gave you fits about that picture that I sent you and about her being on picket with me. I did not say she was on picket. Her father called for a safeguard on her property and the General sent 6 men there to guard her farm and house and chose me to go once a day to the home to see that the guard was all right. That was all there was of it and as to the girl, she is called as nice a girl as there is in the country around here. Eliza, I am glad you are a sensible woman for do you think I would be mean enough to be running with a girl and a married man and then send my wife her picture? No never. I have too much man about me for that yet. Eliza, I never saw the woman I would give your little finger for yet and I think I have an honest and virtuous wife and I am bound to be as much as a man and I have been too—in thought and actions—and shall always continue the same. Let the others say what they may to the contrary.

Eliza, we look for pay every day and we must get it soon. And if we do, just as soon as I get mine, I will send you $20.00. And if it was not for paying up the last of that 100 to Pa, I would send it all to you. But I shall soon have that finished. Eliza, I do not know whether you get all of my letters or not for I directed some of them to Gaine and some of them to Marshfield for the last letter I got from you before this you said you was going up the river in three or four days and I have wrote two since besides this one and directed them to Marshfield. And when I got your letter today, I find you are on Pine Creek. You must call for them if you want them but I have wrote so many lately that you will get sick of them. Eliza, do you suppose I would write to anyone I did not love as I am writing to you now. Here I sit with the paper on my knee writing by candle light but all the letters I get from you will get answered very soon after I get them. Eliza, you must excuse this poor writing and bad spelling and poor composing and write soon and often to your ever true Cameron. I would write more if the sheet would hold it but I guess you have got enough of my simple letter for once so I will close for this time. Write soon if you please. This from your Cameron D. White

To Mrs. Eliza A. White

Pleasant dreams to you always.


aacivpenn4

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Addressed to Mrs. Eliza A. White, Gaines, Tioga county, Pennsylvania
Postmarked Portsmouth, Virginia

Fort Hazlett, [near Norfolk,] Virginia
May the 9th, 1865

My Dear Eliza,

I will now improve this opportunity of writing a few more lines to you to let you know that I am still alive and well and hope these few lines will find you the same and all the rest of the Pine Creek folks. Eliza, you will see by the heading of this letter that I am still a soldier and in Virginia yet, but I hope to soon leave it. The most of the officers think we will be discharged very soon but there is a few of them that think or say they think we will be kept until fall. But my opinion is the same it was before.

Eliza, what has become of Dell. Carsall? I have not heard anything from her in a long time. Dell was a good-hearted girl but I do not think she looked any of having spunk enough. Miss Benner, I suppose, still lives? Eliza, your home must be lonesome without Lucy. She was a lovely girl. I should miss her, I am sure. I thought a good deal of her because she looked so much like you. Mira must be quite a large girl by this time. Two years makes some difference in a girl of her age and how is it with Eliza since I saw her last? Has she grown any? She must be quite a large girl for I saw her weigh marked at 144—quite a heavy little girl, I think. How I would like to see her. I do not know as she wants to see me but I am sure I want to see her and hope I shall soon have the privilege.

Do they keep the meeting up on Pine Creek yet? Does John preach yet? I hope he does and will continue to do so for he can do a good deal of good. I have not heard a good sermon since I have been in Virginia. I have heard several different preachers preach or pretend to for they could not preach. The reason why the most of them are here is because they were not smart enough to make any sensation at home and thought they would try their luck in the army. They thought some of them can.

Eliza, does your Father live his religion right up to the schrach [?] as he used to. Eliza, I think if there ever was a Christian, your Father was one. We have mustered for 4 months pay and they say we will get paid by the 24th of this month. If we do, I shall send you some more as soon as I get it. Eliza, did you get the last 2 dollars I sent you? I sent it since I sent the 26 and have never heard whether you got it or not.

Well Eliza, this is the 3rd letter I have written to you since I received one from you and I will never write another one to you until I get one from you. Eliza, I am ashamed to write so many letters but I will not offend in that way anymore and I think you will be very glad of it for such a letter as this is enough to make a dog strike his Father. Kiss Lewy for me as many as 700 times and oblige me much. Write soon if you [will] and good long ones too. So goodbye for this time. Give my love to all. This from your [husband], — Cameron D. White

To Mrs. Eliza White

1861-62: Newell J. Waterbury to Family

3666703_1423925048
Headstone of N. J. Waterbury

These five letters were written by Newell J. Waterbury (1840-1862) who enlisted in the 9th Independent Wisconsin Light Artillery. The battery was organized at Burlington and mustered into the service on 27 January 1862. They did not move to Camp Utley until mid-March and go to St. Louis until the 20th. In St. Louis they were equipped with a battery of six guns. The battery was sent to Fort Leavenworth and equipped for duty on the plains where they were utilized guarding wagon trains. While stationed at Ft. Lyon, military records reveal that Newell drowned on 8 August 1862 in Bent county, Colorado, just days before the battery was ordered back to Denver.

Newell was the son of Levi Waterbury (1818-1867) and Harriet Northup (1821-1896) of Lenox, Madison county, New York. Siblings mentioned in these letters include Mary Waterbury (1843-1911), Sarah Ann Waterbury (1847-1899) and Charles B. Waterbury (1849-1924).

The first two letters were written at harvest time in 1861 from Union Grove, Wisconsin, where Newell worked for his mother’s cousin, Osro Sidney Northrup (1834-19xx). Osro was married in 1858 to Harriet Goldsworthy.

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE

Union Grove [Racine county, Wisconsin]
September 16, [1861]

We are well as usual this morning and hope this will reach you enjoying the same blessing. I received your letter Saturday. I was glad to hear from you. I have not found a place yet for I have not tried. I am at work for Osro [Sidney Northrup] and expect to work for him a month. It is dull times here and not much work for anyone to do. I think it will be best for you to stay where you are. It will be very difficult to get along here. I think that I shall come back in 2 or 3 months. If you can get a place towards Syracuse or Rochester for 2,500 free from encumbrance, and if Uncle Enoch [Boughton Northrup] will let us have about $1,500 and take a mortgage on the land, I will come back and try and help pay for it and then we will all be together if we do not have to go to war.

Stephen started this morning. He wanted to know when I would meet him. If they begin to draft, I want you to let me know as soon as possible for if either [of us] has to go, I shall go. I have told you what I thought about coming out here. We can get some things here a little cheaper but most things cost as much here as there. Write and let me know what you [do] about getting a place there as soon as you can. I do not think Mary had better come out here unless you all come for I think she would be homesick if she could not come home once in 2 or 3 weeks for there is not much to see around Uncle’s—only the folks to work and once in a while a train of cars and once in a while a wagon. Not more than half as much travel here than there.

I guess I will go to Nathan’s and Polly’s before a great while. If I come back, I guess I shall come that way and so see what I can of the country. Love to all, — N. J. Waterbury

 


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Union Grove [Racine county, Wisconsin]
September 20, 1861

It is getting towards night. It has been a rainy day. I have not done much today U thought I would write a few lines once to let you know that I am here yet but such a day as this has been makes me think of Old Ridgeville when it comes a rainy day. When I was there I used to [visit] some neighbors but here I am not acquainted enough to run around much. Went to the Racine county fair yesterday. It was at the grove. It was the last day of the fair. There was one military company on the ground and several recruiting officers. The company drilled some. They [were] not uniformed yet for they had not been at the rendezvous yet. I had a talk with one of the recruiting officers. He said he was going to open his books today at Burlington 12 miles from here [and] wanted me to come and see him Monday. It is to be [a] flying artillery company. I think some of going in the company unless I hear that they are drafting or are a going to in York State for I had just as soon go from here as there. I do not [want] to go as a drafted man from any state for I should like to have a choice in what company I go in. I had rather go in the artillery than infantry.

Our folks must not feel hard about my going. I know they would rather not but there are a great many that think so. But many of them say if I was young or some other thing for an excuse, I would be in a short time. And if Father will promise to stay at home, I guess I will go and serve in my country’s cause. I have not heard of their buying volunteers out here yet. Tell Freeman I shall look for a letter from him to an answer to the one that I wrote to him. Perhaps some of the rest think I might write to them but can’t write all the time for this is the [first] that I have written this week. I could write more if I was not at work by the month providing I could get the material to do it with. I should like to have as many write as feel disposed but I will not agree to answer them all in one day or week. I expect that when I write a letter that foes to Ridgeville, that all will hear that want if it is not directed directly to them individually. I will write some one there before I leave the state. Write soon.

From your brother, — N. J. Waterbury

P. S. If I come back, I should like to have Father get a place if he can.

 


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE

Burlington
November 5, 1861

I am well at present and hope this will reach you enjoying the same blessing. I finished husking corn for [Uncle] Osro one week ago today. He had three hundred and seventy-sen bushels, It was three weeks husking. I worked three weeks for him by the month for twelve dollars per month.

Stephen lost one of his horses last week. I received yours and Uncle’s letter last Monday. I was sorry that you was so unwell [and] hope that you will be better soon. I received the letter that you and Uncle Joseph wrote before Uncle’s folks got home. I sent a paper to you last Thursday or at least put it in the office that day. There was two primers in it for Lillie. When you write, tell me whether you got it.

I came here yesterday and was sworn into the service of the Randall Battery of Flying Artillery. [We] drilled this morning for the first [time]. It is a good company. We have got a good captain. [He] was from York state, received a lieutenant’s commission in the Utica Artillery. I heard him say yesterday that if he wold not have as good a company as went from this state, he did not want to go. Good in morals, There are some professors of religion in the company. It is not full as yet. We are quartered in a building so it is warm enough at present. Probably we shall be here four or five weeks yet and perhaps all winter. The captain is going to Madison to see about blankets and other things the last of this week or first of next. I hope that you will not feel as though I did not want to see you or any of the rest of the folks for I should be glad to see you all. [I] do not want you to feel discouraged [that] I did not come home to help you but perhaps I can help you some where I am. I shall send the [money] to pay that note as soon as I can and as much more as I can.

We are formed in line before our quarters and marched to our boarding hall for we go in and sit down and eat what we want for we do not have any rations in this state. The privates get two or three dollars in addition to the government’s pay for single men and married men gets five dollars in addition to the government’s pay. [Our] post office address will be Burlington, Racine county, Wisconsin.

This will be the best way to direct:

Newell J. Waterbury, Burlington, Racine Co., Wis., Randall Battery

I will send my address to some of the boys so they can write to me if they are disposed to.

 


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR

Headquarters of Randall Battery
Burlington [Racine county, Wisconsin]
December 22, 1861

Dear Parents, Brothers & Sisters, & Friends,

Sabbath afternoon [and] it is by the Providence of God that we are preserved and to Him we owe the preservation of our health and strength of body and mind four our lives are in His hands and He can very easily destroy us at His pleasure. One of the soldiers preaches in the day quarters this afternoon. His name is Edward Funk. He has studied for a German minister. Part of his discourse is going to be in German so I thought I would stay in our sleeping department and try and write some. The company occupies the upper floor or chamber just as you please to have it of two buildings for sleeping about twenty in one place and from thirty to forty in the other. There are stoves in both places. We generally stay in the quarters where we sleep when we are not drilling.

I received the letter from Father and Mary the tenth and one from Albert the 29 of November, one from David and Freeman the 17th December, and Sarah’s yesterday and one or two more that I have not answered as yet but intend to before long. I have so many letters to write that I hardly know what I am going to write when I sit down to write for it seems to me as if it was the same thing over. But when the folks get tired of reading, let me know and I will wait a few months before I write again. But I shall try and answer all the letters in the course of time. I do not get time to write every day. I have something to do most every day.

December 23, 1861

I went to Uncle’s the fourteenth and stayed until the sixteenth. Osro and Harriet come here to mill so I rode out here with them. They stayed at Mr. Fisk’s over night and went back the next day. They were all well then. Aunt said she would foot [?] my socks for me if I would get some yarn and send it to her. Uncle has finished three pair on sleds and sold them since he got home. He was making a jumper when I was there. They had a donation to Uncle. I [left] the thirteenth for Mr. Dickinson’s. They keep up their Sabbath School this winter. They have quite a large [attendance] this winter. I went to the Methodist Church to meeting in the afternoon. They have had meetings two or three times since it was dedicated. It is quite a large church for the place. I have my washing done at Mr. McKensey’s. I pay from 4 to 5 cents apiece. for washing. He is head cook in the mess house. I help wait on the table most of the time since I have been here and help wash the dishes part of the time. We have more dishes to wash in one day than you do in one week.

You wanted to know what we had for Thanksgiving. We had four stuffed turkeys, 5 or 6 chickens, bread and butter, cheese and potatoes. We had a very good dinner generally. I thought of you at home. There is not a day passes but I think of the folks at Ridgeville. I should like to be at home Christmas and New Years for I think I could spend one day in talking—especially if it was not too long. Perhaps some of the young folks would take time to come and see me and perhaps spend an hour or two in asking questions. Perhaps I should come if I had my uniform and pay from the State if I could get a furlough to come. I am in hopes we shall get our uniforms soon. Perhaps we shall know something about it when the Captain gets back from Madison for I guess he has gone to see the Governor about the uniforms. If I should not come home, perhaps I will send my picture after I get my uniform for the folks say the one I have got here does not look like me.

I have got Mary’s and Sarah’s and Charlie’s picture with me. I should like to [see] the others. Sarah wanted to know where my things were. They are at Osro’s—what I have not got here. I was in hopes I could send my things home before now but do not know when it will be so I can. Am in hopes it will be before long.

We had a good exhibition last night. I had a part in the performance. We acted the piece called “Paddy the Piper.” The house was well filled. We got it up in about a week getting it up. I meant to send for the [rural ?] for you and should if I had the money here. If you do not send for it, I will send for it for you when I get the money. I have not took up all my wages for I thought perhaps I might lose it or spend it foolishly so I left it with Osro. I don’t know as I shall get money enough to pay that note but will send part of it if you want it. Sarah said you had caught one mink. I hope you will catch enough to pay for your flour if no more. You must excuse me if I have wrote the same think over for I have been some time writing this for I have wrote about two pages this morning the 24th of December.

— Newell J. Waterbury

 


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE

Randall Battery
Burlington [Racine county, Wisconsin]
February 19, 1862

Dear Father and friends one and all,

I received your letter with those pictures the twenty-third of January and was very glad to get the pictures as well as the letter. I should be glad to see the original.  That one of Lillie’s is a good picture. She looks quite cunning, whether she was or not.

We are not discharged. I shall send some money home when we get our pay which I guess will be the first of March. I should have sent some before but I have not received any for military service as yet. Then I want the girls and Charlie to get their pictures taken and send them to me and I intend to send one or two home with my things when we leave the state should we have the good news come for us to go for it would be such to the most of us.

That was not Stephen’s picture with mine. It did not look more like him than a black sheep does like a white one. I guess that Stephen [Adam Northrup] and [his brother] Amzy [Lewis Northrup] ¹ will send theirs when I do mine. I went to the [Union] Grove last Friday and came back on Monday. The folks were well there. There has been several deaths from the measles in that vicinity. There has been a general time of having them. We have not had many cases in the company—none fatal. It numbers  at present time ninety or more—I do not exactly know. I heard a statement read the other night that all the Wisconsin armed troops was ordered to Cairo and the unarmed to St. Louis. If that is so, probably we shall go to St. Louis which I am in hopes is [so] and before long, though the sooner the better if they want us to help them. If not, I hope they will pay us and let us go. Then I will try and do something else.

Aunt Ann said that I might write that Uncle had not got a place for you if you was coming here to work some place. You ought to be here as soon as the middle of March and before if possible. I received a letter from Uncle Joel [Northrup] today, one from Freeman Monday, and the one that you, Mary, and Charley wrote the 31st of January. I have been looking for one from Albert and the girls and one from David also for if I am not mistaken, they all owe me a letter and don’t think I shall write too many of them much oftener than they do to me. Perhaps they think it is a good while before I answer them. If I write every one individually, it makes me about 15 or more letters for me to write to their one to me. But I intend to answer them sometime as long as money holds out. When you write again, let me know how it is about those notes.

— N. J. Waterbury


¹ Brothers Stephen Adam Northrup (1837-1912) and Amzy Lewis Northrup (1839-1863) were born in Lenox, New York and came to Racine county, Wisconsin with their parents about 1856. Their father was Ira Benedict Northrup (1810-1891)—a cousin of Newell’s mother.

 

1861: William Henry Harrison Hagy to Parents

These two letters were written by William Henry Harrison (“W. H. H.”) Hagy (1842-1862), the son of Martin W. Hagy (1819-1892) and his first wife, Sarah Spain (1817-1875), of Somerville, Morgan county, Alabama.

In the fall of 1861, William enlisted in the “Alabama Hickorys” which became Co. E of the 40th Tennessee Infantry (Confederate) Regiment. The naming of this regiment was somewhat unusual. It was organized at Memphis on 5 October 1861 and was composed of one Florida, one Kentucky, four Alabama, and four Arkansas companies. Since Colonel Lucius “Marsh” Walker was a Tennessean—and the regiment was organized at Memphis—it was presumed by the Confederate authorities to be a Tennessee regiment and so they designated it as the 40th Tennessee Regiment. The designation was challenged by the governor of Tennessee, however, which prompted the Adjutant and Inspector Generals Office to rename the regiment as the “5th Confederate Regiment.”  Unfortunately this only made the confusion worse for there was already another Tennessee regiment that had been designated as the 5th Confederate Regiment, and was known throughout the war as such.

The 40th Tennessee regiment remained at Camp Johnson, Memphis, with Colonel Walker in command of the post, until 19 November 1861, when it moved to Fort Pillow, 40 miles due north of Memphis. With it at Fort Pillow was Colonel Baker’s 1st Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee Infantry Regiment. They remained at Fort Pillow during the winter of 1861-62 and were then transported to Island No. 10 where many of the members of the regiment surrendered when the island was captured on 8 April 1862. William Hagy was among those taken prisoner and was transported with his comrades to Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois, where he died of “camp fever” on 26 June 1862, less than three months into captivity. He was among more than 800 confederate soldiers who died at Camp Butler during the 15 months it was used as a prison camp—victims of “inadequate facilities, poor sanitation, and disease.”

hagy
W. H. H. Hagy’s letter from Fort Pillow with image of unidentified Confederate infantryman.

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE

Fort Pillow, Tennessee
November 21st 1861

Dear Father & Mother, Brother & Sister,

I seat myself down this morning to drop you a few lines to let you know I am well & very well satisfied. We left Memphis last Tuesday and landed here on yesterday. I have seen a great many new sights to me since I left home. Memphis is one of the finest looking places. Perhaps it is very near as large as Somerville. As we came through there, the streets was lined [with] people. I seen more people there than I ever seen in all my life before. There was 15 steamboats there. Some of them was 500 feet long.

As we came up, it rained and blowed in on me & some more of the boys got wet. There is several of our boys sick with the measles. We left John Tunsill, Lem [  ], Pate [Peyton] Cryer, Bill & Dick Draper, Elick [G.] Denton, John [W.] Sandlin, [and] Lee Newsome in Memphis at the Southern Mothers till they get well. They are waited on by woman there. Matt [T.] Chunn, John Smith, Frank [M.] Russell, Pate [Peyton M.] Collins, [and] Bill Hartsell are here with the measles. Three of them are in the hospital here.

AMERICAN-CIVIL-WAR-Main-Battery-at-Fort-Pillow
The Main Battery at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River; drawn shortly after the Rebels evacuated the fortress in June 1862

We have got to the highest mountain I ever seen. We are on the top of it. We can see for 50 miles up the river. We have the river blockaded below us. Our cannons are planted on the edge of the bluff next to the river. The river is about four or five miles wide here. ¹ There is a ditch all around us that no Yankee can cross. There is three thousand negroes working on the fort. This is one of the best forts here that is in the Southern Confederacy. On the side next to the river, the bluff will keep all the Yankees back and on the other side of us is the ditch that no one can cross. If they come over our cannons, we can whip fifty thousand men with our regiment. There is some of the steepest hollers here you ever see. ²

The picket guard is a mile & a half from camp. I have not stood guard but one twenty-four hours yet. We have fine tents. They are floored with plank. The floor is about 2 foot off the ground. I have got two of the finest blankets you ever seen. I hate to lay them down on the floor to get them dirty. If I had any way of sending them home & had some old ones, I would have done it. We have plenty to eat here and nothing to do.

I want you to write me all of the news, how you are getting along with your cotton, & write what John Stuart is doing—whether he is making a company or not. Tell Bill McCarley he had better come to us. We have fine officers. Bill is one of the finest little fellows I ever seen. The boys are all very well pleased. I must bring my letter to a close. I will write you all the news the next time I write. Give my love to all my friends. So nothing more. Write as soon as you get this. I remain your son until death, — W H. H. Hagy

¹ Hagy’s estimate of the width of the Mississippi river opposite Fort Pillow seems incredulous. The river has changed its course since 1861 but modern-day estimates of its width at that time would be closer to a half mile.

² Fort Pillow was constructed by slave labor in the fall of 1861. It was located on the east bank of the Mississippi River and named after Confederate Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow. “It stood immediately below the intersection of the river and Coal (or Cold) Creek and featured three lines of earthen entrenchments—a semicircular outer line of earthworks, a shorter second line atop a prominent hill, and the fort itself, with earthworks six to eight feet high and four to six feet across. A 12-foot-wide, six-foot-deep trench fronted the fort. The fort’s earthworks extended in a 125-yard-wide semicircle, behind which the land fell away rapidly to the river. Deep ravines crisscrossed the landscape in front of the fort, and four rows of barracks stood on an open terrace of land southwest of the bastion.”

 

 


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Fort Pillow
December 5th 1861

Dear Father & Mother, Brother & Sister,

I take the present opportunity of dropping you a few lines this evening as I have written & have not received an answer yet. I am not more than able to write this evening. I have had the measles again but I am getting tolerable stout again. I stayed in the hospital from Sunday till today & I would not stay any longer. They would not give me anything to eat. I think I will be able to help the boys about our house soon. We will stay here this winter. We are all building us a cabin to winter in. Very near all of the boys that came from Morgan has had & got the measles. I can not write very much this evening as I am very weak but I will give you one of the letters in a short time. I have  great deal to write you.

There is not much sickness in camp but measles. You have no idea how I would like to see you all for a short time. If I can keep my health, I can do finely. I have not stood guard but once since I left home but it has not been on the account of sickness.

This is a tolerable fine place here. Our guns came here last night. There is more cannons & more balls & grape shot & bung shells than a few. Our men are practicing every day with the cannon. There was one of our boats tried to pass without landing & we fired a blank cartridge at her & she did not notice it and then we turned loose a ball just before her. You ought to have seen her begin to make her way back to shore. The order is here not to let no boat pass without landing. I believe that is all I can tell you at this time about the boats.

I want you to write how your hogs are getting along & how you are getting along with your cotton & whether it is worth anything or not. Mother, I will think of what you told me as long as I live. I can not write any more. Tell all of the boys howdy. Tell Martha & Cathy I will write to them soon. Give my love to John B. Stuart. There is nothing else I have to tell you. I can not pay postage here for letters as there is no post office here & letters are passed by hand to us. You must write soon without fail. So nothing [more]. I remain your son until death. — W. H. H. Hagy

Direct your letter to Fort Pillow, Tenn. in the care of Capt. [G. W.] Whitfield, L[ucius] M[arshall] Walker‘s Regiment.

Excuse this letter as I am not able to do better at this time.

 

 

1861: Rebecca Somerville to Martha Ann (Somerville) Washington

This letter was written by Rebecca Somerville (1821-1898), the daughter of War of 1812 Veteran Samuel Somerville (1789-1869) and his wife, Margaret (“Peggy”) Eckard (1792-Aft1870). The family resided in Mason county, Virginia (now West Virginia).

Rebecca wrote the letter to her older sister, Martha Ann (Somerville) Washington (1817-1880), the wife of William Meade Washington (1831-1907).

Rebecca’s letter briefly alludes to the state of of excitement that one newspaper referred to as “a border war of a most thrilling and startling character” likened to the reign of terror “almost equal to the darkest days of the French Revolution.” News correspondents reported that “refugees from injustice and oppression, tyranny and wrong, are daily fleeing to Ohio…[leaving their] golden harvests falling unsaved to the earth.” [Source: Weekly Wisconsin Patriot, July 20, 1861 (Madison, WI)]

TRANSCRIPTION

Mason county, Virginia
August the 23rd [1861]

Dear Sister,

Your letter came to hand today. We was glad to hear from you all. Your letter found us all well. I have no news to write but I will do the best I can.

The war excitement has cooled down a little here. I don’t know how long it will last. We still hear of a man getting killed in Jackson county, [in] Ripley. The people there is just like Indians. The Union men and the dis-Unions—when they fall out—they just shoot each other down.

Well I was glad to hear you had lots of blackberries. I want you to write to me and let me know how Hannah and Birk is getting along [and] if they have any little Birk yet.

That horse company is at Mason City yet. They are going to Clarksburg to drill. Dory did not go. They did not like their captain. There was a good many did not go. Their captain’s name is John William Neal—a man that nobody likes.

Well, Ann, I would like to know what you do for factory cotton in your country. It is seldom [found] here and sugar is alit [?] a pound and coffee is twenty cents per pound. Times is hard here. There is lots of families in these little towns that would starve if it wasn’t they was helped. They are the saddest of families. Mostly they have been around begging for them corn and wheat and bacon. They got any quantity for them.

Well, I recon you would like to hear how Peggy is getting along [which is] about like she was when you was here. She cries a lot [and] talks a good deal. Tell Mat that Bob Stevenson is going to marry Andy’s Clendenen’s Mary Ann. ¹ Tell her that John Bird is dead. ² He killed himself drinking. Even too old [  ly] is dead. He killed himself drinking.

Well, I must quit and go and help get supper. You must write to mother. She thinks we ought to get a letter from some of you every week. Answer this soon. So nothing more but still remain your affectionate sister until death.

— Rebecca Somerville


¹ Robert P. Stephenson (b. 1830) married Mary Ann Clendenin (b. 1836) in Mason County, (West) Virginia on 7 November 1861. Mary Ann was the daughter of Andrew (“Andy”) Clendenin (1804-1880) and Rebecca Edwards (1807-1889).

² John E. Bird (1826-1861) of Mason county, (West) Virginia died on 8 July 1861.

 

1883: Leonard Bricker to Republican National Committee

This intriguing letter was written by Leonard Bricker acting as agent for John B. Simmons of Kissimmee City, Florida, in September 1883. In the letter, Bricker proposes that Simmons’ undeveloped land in Florida be leased and the rent collected and set aside for the use by the Republican National Committee to campaign in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama against “the horrid proslavery democracy” that still gripped the South two decades after the close of the Civil War.

“Rev. Daniel Simmons (17xx-1855), a Baptist minister, purchased 640 acres of land from the Spanish Government, upon which he located with his family. He was a man of means and improved his property, but during one of the Indian insurrections the family fled for their lives to Mobile, Alabama. Rev. Simmons never attempted to regain possession of his property around “Simmons Hammock,” near Seffner, Fla., where some valuable orange groves are now located. About 1846 the families of Simmons, McKay, and McCarty left Mobile by the same boat, landing at Chashowiska, Fla. The McKays soon afterward came to Tampa, but the other two families remained in Hernando County until 1849, when Mr. McCarty moved to Tampa.” [Source: The Blue Book and History of Pioneers Tampa, Florida 1914, by Mrs. Pauline Brown-Hazen]

TRANSCRIPTION

Kissimmee City, Florida
September 10, 1883

Gentlemen of the National Republican Committee,

Some days ago I had the honor to write a proposition of Mr. John B. Simmons of this place in regard to raising money for campaign purposes on his claim to the Military Reservation of Tampa. I now have the honor of making still another proposition in his behalf for the same purpose. This proposition is not intended to supersede the former one but to be acted on in case the former one proves impractical.

The Simmons family became separated during the Florida Indian War and never again brought together and only since writing the aforesaid letter has Mr. J. B. Simmons—who is now the representative of the family—come in possession of the family title deeds and finds his title clear to two hundred acres with power of attorney to sell or dispose of 3,000 acres in addition, including a 40 acre orange grove, all of it high Hammock Land selected more than fifty years ago and is of the very best in the state, and is the plantation from which the Elder [Daniel] Simmons was driven by the Indians. It is situated 14 miles east of Tampa and two miles from the South Florida Railroad.

Now he proposes to mortgage that property for from three to five years for all the money which he can raise upon it at 10 percent interest per annum with the privileges of lifting the mortgage sooner if he has a good opportunity of selling and will denote all the money thus obtained for campaign purposes.

Now he desires you to send a suitable party down here to examine the property and his title thereto, with power to act in case that he finds it all correct. This same party—your agent—may control the disbursement of the money provided it is used in the three states of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. At all events, we would rely on your committee to send us the proper speakers to canvas these states as well as the proper organizing forces to plan the machinery for obtaining a full vote and a fair count and a proper return of the same.

We are aware that this is a big job but we think it can be accomplished in the way indicated and the dead line of the horrid proslavery democracy forever broken and our people emancipated from the thralldom of those political criminals. And at the same time we hope that you will find someone to do for poor South Carolina what we propose to for those three states named.

Hoping that you will see your way clear to act in this suggestion very promptly, I remain yours to command, — Leonard Bricker

P. S. Mr. Simmons offer Judge [George M.] Duskin of Mobile and Judge [Samuel Farrow] Rice of Montgomery for telegraphic reference. — L. B.