October 21, 1863

Camp near New Baltimore, Va.

My Dear Brother: –

As we are laying still today, I thought that I would take up the time in write you a brief description of our movements since we came across the Rappahannock R.

I believe my last was commended at Culpeper and finished at Beverly For; well the next morning after I wrote that letter, we struck tents, and moved about a mile down the river and waited about 3 hours when we crossed the river and formed a line of battle and about the same time our cavalry began a skirmish with the reb. cavl. and we over where we could see all that was going on they had it quiet hard for some time, both sides using artillery pretty freely.

At last we could see the reb. lines fall back, one man at a time until the whole line had withdrawn to a little hill and then they skedaddled in earnest, then we advanced in line of farther about 2 miles over one the roughest hardest pieces of ground that could be found in Va, for where it was nit bushes and woods it was all grown up to blackberry bushes; and it was as hard to march over that five miles as it would have been to march 15 miles on a smooth road; after marching this distance we finished for the night. […]

From your affectionate brother,


Elisha Coan to his brother [Elisha Coan Collection]

October 20, 1863

Camp near Greenwich.  Reveille about three.  Commenced moving at six.  Fell out on a short time when the company commenced double quick.  Heel very sore.

Forded a stream that took the boys to the middle.  I rode over on the  Dr’s horse.  Crossed the rail-road where the rails & sleepers had been torn up by the rebels.  Rebel graves a short distance from where we halted.  Forded another stream.  Attempted to ride over with the  Dr.  With one foot in the stirrup rode over.  Having missed the road, had to ford the stream again.  Got a ride over on an ambulance.  Kept but little with the company.  Passed over the same road we did last Tuesday & Wednesday.  At Greenwich noticed the finest establishment I have seen in Virginia.  Cannot see why we were hurried so.  The manner in which we are marched is unwise, inhuman, and barbarous.  They load and drive us like Jack-mules.  Have the finest camp we have had.  An open smooth field, rails & water convenient for use.  Foggy this morning.  Fair and hot the rest of the day.  Travelled 15 miles today.  Seem to be moving towards the Rappahan[n]ock.  Spelled with 2 n’s also.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir] 

October 19, 1863

Bridgeport, Ala.


Yesterday I was lucky enough to get a letter dated the 9th it was nine days on the way. You last said Jamie had begun to recover, but he hadn’t gotten full use of his fist yet. The one didn’t say one word about him and so I must infer that the little fellow is well. I was sorry to find Guy feverish again. How poor his digestion has always been – nuts, acorns and such like he will have to forgo. I suspect he is like his father. My cold holds on unaccountably. I cough pretty hard and raise. The climate is peculiar – fogs on the mountains and along the [illegible] always chilly mornings […]

Oliver Otis Howard to his wife, Elizabeth Ann Waite [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

October 18, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

Your letter of the 11th. inst was received on 14th., Wednesday. I believe you got my letters Wednesday, now if you should mail a letter to me the same evening I should get it Saturday  evening and I could answer it Sunday. I think we had better try that arrangement you spoke of last year for a while at least. Don’t you think it would be a good plan?

I received a paper from William this week. I am getting along well in my studies. There is no news.

Your Affectionate Son

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur [McArthur Family Papers] 

October 17, 1863

Camp near Centreville Va

Dear Mother

I have just heard of an opportunity to get a mail out, I have only time to write a word to let you know that we are both well. We have been knocking about for more than a week and had no mails out. I have been writing a long letter to Mary at odds and ends, I shall send it tonight and will tell her to send it to you. I will write again in a few days. We hold a very strong [illegible] and no one anticipates a fight here. So you need not feel worried. It is so dark I cannot see the lines and am writing on my knee. We have not had any mail for over a week. We expect to get one tonight. Ned and George are both well. Tell Mrs. Whittier as they are not going to write.

Charles O. Hunt to his mother [Charles O. Hunt letters and personal recollections]

October 16, 1863

10-16 Hamlin to PresBangor

To the President

My Dear Sir

I learn that Genls. Mead, Sykes, Howard, Rice Griffin and others have recommended Col. J. L. Chamberlain of the 20th Reg Me. Vol. for promotion to a Brig Genl.

Col. C is a well educated man and when he entered the Army he left a Professorship in Bowdoin College.

He is a superior man who has proved himself an efficient brave and gallant officer – I take pleasure in recommending him to you favorable consideration for promotion.

You may be sure he will do honor to himself and the service.

Yours truly, H. Hamlin

Hannibal Hamlin to “the President” [Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Collection]

October 15, 1863

Hartford, Ct

My dear Mother,

I received your letter last evening and have been trying to remember what I can have written to give you such impressions. I know that my letters have been very hurried, but I was not aware that they had been especially doleful.[…]

My engagement with Mr. Curtis is not broken off, though our marriage is likely to be postponed. I should of course have told you had it been so. I consented to marry Mr C. because I loved him, simply, and for no other reason; and I love him just as much now as I ever have: perhaps more. If the time ever comes that I have reason to love him less, or if I see that it is wise to undo what has been done, I shall consider myself released from whatever of  obligation now finds me, and I grant him the same privilege. That time, however, has certainly not come, and I can’t believe that it ever will. […]

Virginia “Ginny” Hubbard to her mother, Sarah Hodge Barrett [Hubbard Family Papers]


October 14, 1863

Hd. qrs. 11th Corps Bridgeport Ala.

My dear brother,

[…] We have one of the Soldier’s California Fire-places and my colored man “Nash” came in and kindled a fire before I got up. So you see I am living quite luxuriously. The fire-place is Constructed by sinking a trench about a foot wide & deep and extending outside the tent. This is walled up with flat stones and in ours is covered inside the tent with a flat piece of cast-iron which our “Pioneers” had found somewhere and appropriated. Outside, and usually the whole length it is covered with flat stones – and at a distance of two or three feet from the tent a chimney of flat stones and mud rises to a height about equal to the top of the tent. In the scarcity of stones the chimney is heightened by the use of boards. The inner end of the Trench is left uncovered for a foot or little more and here is where the fire is kindled. Of course two of us have little room to spare in one of these “7 by 9” tents, so our table with writing desk is set over the fireplace and as I sit and write it is very convenient to warm my feet. In fact I am compelled to warm them whether they are cold or not. For our table we have four stakes driven firmly into the ground and the table made of two boards fastened together is laid upon the tops of these. Our little Pine desk which is loaded down like all desks serves to keep the table in place. Since I arrived we have had a floor made to our tent. It was well that it was completed before the rain – the fireplace ditto.

We are located upon a hill and in the enclosure of a Rebel Fort.

We have reason to be thankful that the Enemy did so much digging for our profit – yet we would have been better pleased had they not so unwisely left their rear entirely unprotected. For since it now becomes our front we must needs go to work fortifying. […]

Charles Henry Howard to his brother, Rodelphus Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]


October 12, 1863

Head-Quarters, Department of West Virginia, Clarksburg, W. Va

General Orders, No. 12

The troops stationed at Harper’s Ferry and Martinsburg, W. Va., and generally, on the line of Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road from Monocacy River west to Sleepy Creek, will constitute the First Division of this Department.

Brig. General J. C. Sullivan, U.S. Vols., is assigned to the command.

General Orders [Alexander Simms Buchanan Civil War Collection]