John Shuman, 88th Indiana Volunteers – September 30, 1862

Dear Father and the rest of the family,

I in form you that I am still well and feal [i.e. feel] well and I hope these few lines will find you all the same, except Aron – I understood he died the twenty third and got buried the twenty fifth. I was very sorry to hear such newes for when I left I did not think I would hear such newes as that is. But it is no more than we have to meat with some time our selfe. I heard that Jacob was sick. I would like to hear from their [him?] as soon as possible and I hope these few lines will find you all well. I suppose Mary Ett? was very sick yet. I would like to hear from her as soon as I can. The rest of the boys is all well and in good spirit. … [talks about various people, writing, names, letters, etc.] …

General Nelson got shot yesterday in Louisville by General Davis from Indiania. It was about eight o’clock in the morning. We are in general Reussau  Brigade [General Lovell Rousseau]. Now came in his brigade yesterday and I am glad that we did. I will let you further know that I see. Most of the boyes that is in the forty fourth except bass? Shoup? and James Tuck and John Heller and Lou Bats [or Bots / Butts?]. I hant [havt – [aint]] see them yet but they are all well, so the rest of the boyes said. I dont think that their is any danger of having a fight hear for their is to maney troops hear now. For their is some two hundred thousand hear so they say and some says their is more than that. But I know their is a heavy forse hear now. …

Old Goviner [Governor] Morton [Oliver P. Morton] from Indiana was in Louisville yesterday and general Boiels(?) was their and they had a fist fight. Goviner Morton blacked general Boiel(?) eyes for marching his men around for nothing, and when we got the newes we give three loud cheers for Goviner Morton. We only marches threw town ten times since we are hear and hant done any good yet. But I think that has come to an end now. William Culver wrote to me. He would like to know who was the ones that had give out on that march were we had that day. Charles Roadman [or Rodman?] was one, that was all that I know out of our company. Their was some more out of our company but I cant tell their names. …

Their was thirteen died out of our brigade on that march. Charles Roadman hant got over it yet and he wont for a while. He is in camp now but he looks poorly now. They cant tire me out so quick as that comes to. But it was awful hot that day and in the middle of town it was as hot as a bake oven and it was so dusty, what made it worse and no ere stering? what ever. … [talks about getting a newspaper, etc.] …

We are camp near the river now. I would like to go and see the forty-fourth when I get time. … Dear Father and Mother, you dont need to troble you selfe a bout me for I am well and I like soldier life very well as long as I keep well. But it is miserble plase for sick folks. … John Shuman

Source: eBay auction February 2011



U.S. Grant about importance of getting needed supplies from Louisville to Nashville

28 February 1864,

Grant writes to logistical mastermind General Robert Allen in Louisville regarding supplies requested by Allen.

It will be impossible probably to supply the number of Artillery & Cavalry horses called for within this Military Division but I would suggest that now all on hand be forwarded as rapidly as possible to this place and others be procured and forwarded as fast as they can be purchased. I will order this distribution from here.

U.S. Grant / Maj. Gen.


Louisvillian sculpture Ed Hamilton designs the ‘Spirit of Freedom’

The first national memorial to black Civil War veterans. Erected in 1998 in Washington, D.C.


Washington DC – Shaw – U Street Corridor: African-American Civil War Memorial

Spirit of Freedom, the African American Civil War Memorial, located at the eastern entrance of the U St/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro station at U Street and Vermont Avenue, NW, was dedicated on July 18, 1998. Designed by sculptor Ed Hamilton and architect Marc Doswell, under the commission of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the memorial honors the contributions of of black soldiers and sailors to the Union cause during the Civil War.

The memorial features a 9’1/2″ bronze sculpture with a front high-base relief of three infantry soldiers and a sailor, and a backside low relief of a family group as the soldier, a son, leaves for the war. The sculpture sits on a two foot tall, granite-clad base. Five surrounding granite
walls contain 166 burnished stainless steel plaques listing the names of 208,943 soldiers and sailors who served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. The plaques are arranged by regiment. Included among the names are 7,000 white officers who served with the troops.

The memorial was initially proposed in a resolution by the Washington, D.C. City Council in 1991. In 1992, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton presented Resolution 320 to the House of Representatives, and it was signed into law four months later. A nonprofit organization, The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation, was formed to build the monument. Much of the $2.6 million in funding came from from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as compensation for the disruption caused by subway construction. The land was donated by the U.S. National Park Service. The plaza was dedicated on Sept. 12, 1996. The monument was not completed at the time of its unveiling on July 18, 1998 because of construction delays. The complex was transferred to the National Park Service on October 27, 2004 and is managed by the National Mall and Memorial Parks of the NPS.

The greater U Street Historic District, roughly bounded by New Hampshire Avenue, Florida Avenue, 6th Street, R Street and 16th Street, in the Shaw neighborhood of northwestern Washington DC, is largely a Victorian-era neighborhood, made up of row houses constructed in response to the city’s high demand for housing following the Civil War and the growth of the federal government in the late 19th century. The area was predominately white and middle class until 1900, but as Washington became progressively more segregated, the U Street Corridor emerged as the city’s most important concentration of businesses and entertainment facilities owned and operated by blacks, becoming known as “Black Broadway” in its cultural heyday. The late 1960’s saw the neighborhood begin a fall into decline, marred by violence and drug tacking, that would last well into the revitalization and gentrification of the 1990’s.

Greater U Street Historic District National Register #98001557 (1998)

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker practiced medicine at Louisville female prison, won the Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army.

Places and dates:

  • Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861
  • Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861
  • Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickamauga, September 1863
  • Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864 – August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.
  • Battle of Atlanta, September 1864.

Entered service at: Louisville, Ky.

Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y.


Her Medal of Honor citation reads:

Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, “has rendered valuable service to the Government. and her efforts have been earnest and _____ in a variety of ways,” and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and

Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and

Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made:

It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.

Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865.

(Medal rescinded 1917 along with 910 others, restored by President Carter 10 June 1977.)

General Jefferson C. Davis

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-11-23-56-pmDavis, Jefferson C., brigadier-general, was born in Clark county, Ind., March 2, 1828, was educated at the county academy, and, at the age of eighteen, enlisted for service
in the Mexican war. For bravery at Buena Vista he won a commission as 2nd lieutenant in the 1st artillery. In 1852 he was promoted 1st lieutenant. In 1858 he was placed in charge of the garrison at Fort Sumter, and, as an officer under Maj. Anderson, took part in the occupation and defense of that fort. In recognition of his bravery on this occasion, he was promoted captain and given leave of absence to recruit the 22nd Ind. volunteers,  of which regiment he became colonel. Being assigned as acting brigadier-general to the Department of the Missouri, he distinguished himself by bravery at Milford, Mo., and won promotion to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers. He commanded a division at the battle of Pea ridge, March 8, 1862, and took part in the battle of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, and the siege of Corinth, and after the evacuation of that place by the Confederates, May 29, he was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee. On Sept. 29, 1862, he chanced to meet in Louisville Gen. William Nelson, his superior officer, from whom he claimed to have had harsh treatment, and, in a quarrel which ensued he shot and instantly killed Nelson. Gen. Davis was arrested, but was not tried, and was soon afterwards assigned to duty in Covington, Ky. He commanded a division forming a part of McCook’s right wing at the battle of Stone’s river, Dec. 31, 1862, where he so distinguished himself that Gen. Rosecrans recommended him for promotion to major-general. In 1864 he commanded the 14th corps of Sherman’s army in the Atlanta campaign and in the march through Georgia, and on March 13, 1865, he was brevetted major- general U. S. A. for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Jonesboro, Ga. He was promoted colonel of the 23d U. S. infantry, July 23, 1866, and served on the Pacific coast, in Alaska, and, after the murder of Gen. Canby by the Modoc Indians, in 1873, succeeded to the command of the department and forced the tribe to surrender. Gen. Davis died in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 30, 1879.

Buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, Hamilton County, IN Section 29, lot 1

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8 & Research by Mark Davis

General William Bull Nelson



ON page 669 we publish an illustration of the ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL NELSON BY GENERAL J. C. DAVIS, which took place ten days since at Louisville. Our picture is from a sketch by our artist, Mr. Mosler, who visited the spot
immediately after the affair. The Cincinnati Inquirer
gives the following particulars:

When the alarm was raised in Louisville that the enemy were marching on that city, General Davis, who could not reach his command under General Buell, then at Bowling Green, went to General Nelson and tendered his services. General Nelson gave him the command of the city militia so soon as they were organized. General Davis opened an office and went to work in assisting the organization. On Wednesday last General Davis called upon General Nelson in his room at the Galt House, in Louisville, when the following took place:

GEN. Davis. “I have the brigade, General, you assigned me ready for service, and have called to inquire if I can obtain arms for them.”

GEN. NELSON. “How many men have you?”

DAVIS. “About twenty-five hundred men, General.” NELSON (roughly and angrily). “About twenty-five hundred! About twenty-five hundred! By G—d! you a regular officer, and come here to me and report about the number of men in your command? G—d d—n you, don’t you know, Sir, you should furnish me the exact number?” DAVIS. “General, I didn’t expect to get the guns now, and only wanted to learn if I could get them, and where; and, having learned the exact number needed, would then draw them.”

NELSON (pacing the room in a rage). “About twenty-five hundred! By G—d I suspend you from your command, and order you to report to General Wright; and I’ve a d—d mind to put you under arrest. Leave my room, Sir!”

Davis. “I will not leave, General, until you give me an order.”

NELSON. “The h—l you won’t! By G—d I’ll put you under arrest, and send you out of the city under a provost guard! Leave my room, Sir!”

General Davis left the room, and, in order to avoid an arrest, crossed over the river to Jeffersonville, where he remained until the next day, when he was joined by General Burbridge, who had also been relieved by Nelson for a trivial cause. General Davis came to Cincinnati with

General Burbridge, and reported to General Wright, who ordered General Davis to return to Louisville and report to General Buell, and General Burbridge to remain in Cincinnati. General Davis returned on Friday evening and reported to General Buell. Nothing further occurred until yesterday morning, when General Davis, seeing General Nelson in the main hall of the Galt House, fronting the office, went up to Governor Morton and requested him to step up with him to General Nelson and witness the conversation that might pass between Nelson and him. The Governor consented, and the two walked up to General Nelson, when the following took place:

GEN. DAVIS. “Sir, you seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day.”

GEN. NELSON (sneeringly, and placing his hand to his ear). “Speak louder, I don’t hear very well.”

DAVIS (in a louder tone). “You seemed to take advantage of your authority the other day.”

NELSON (indignantly). “I don’t know that I did, Sir.” DAVIS. “You threatened to arrest and send me out of the State under a provost guard.”

NELSON (striking Davis with the back of his hand twice in the face). “There, d—n you, take that!” DAVIS (retreating). “This is not the last of it; you will hear from me again.”

General Nelsen then turned to Governor Morton, and said: “By G—d, did you come here also to insult me?”

Gov. MORTON. “No, Sir; but I was requested to be present and listen to the conversation between you and General Davis.”

GEN. NELSON (violently to the by-standers). “Did you hear the d—d rascal insult me?” and then walked into the ladies’ parlor.

In three minutes General Davis returned, with a pistol he had borrowed of Captain Gibson, of Louisville, and walking toward the door that Nelson had passed through, he saw Nelson walking out of the parlor into the hall separating the main hall from the parlor. The two were face to face, and about ten yards apart, when General Davis drew his pistol and fired, the ball entering Nelson’s heart, or in the immediate vicinity.

General Nelson threw up both hands and caught a gentleman near by around the neck, and exclaimed, “I am shot!” He then walked up the flight of stairs toward General Buell’s room, but sank at the top of the stairs, and was unable to proceed further. He was then conveyed to his room, and when laid on his bed requested that the Rev. Mr. Talbott, an Episcopal clergyman stopping in the house, might be sent to him at once. The reverend gentleman arrived in about five minutes.

Mr. Talbott found General Nelson extremely anxious as to his future welfare, and deeply penitent about the many sins he had committed. He knew that he must die immediately, and requested the ordinance of baptism might be administered, which was done. The General then

whispered, “It’s all over,” and died in fifteen minutes after he was conveyed to his room. His death was easy, the passing away of his spirit as though the General had fallen into a quiet sleep.


General Lovell H. Rousseau

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-11-21-30-pmRousseau, Lovell H., major-general, was born in Stanford, Lincoln county, Ky., Aug. 4, 1818, his father having emigrated from Virginia. He received the ordinary school advantages afforded the pioneer settlers of that early period and then devoted his attention to the study of law. Subsequently he removed to Bloomfield, Ind., and was admitted to the bar of that state in 1841. He became an active political leader at once, and was elected to the state assembly in 1844 and to the state senate in 1847. He took part in the Mexican war as captain of the 2nd Ind. regiment of volunteers, and received special mention for his gallantry at Buena Vista, Feb. 22-23, In 1849 he made Louisville, Ky., his home and there opened a law office, where he soon attained prominence as a criminal lawyer. He was elected to the Kentucky state senate in 1860, being the choice of both parties. On the outbreak of the Civil war in 1861, he used his earnest efforts to restrain Kentucky from joining the Confederacy, and was especially active in recruiting troops and providing for their proper drill and equipment. He resigned from the legislature to serve better the Federal cause, and to this end he proposed and established Camp Joe Holt, near Louisville, which became a prominent rendezvous for troops. He raised the 5th regiment, Ky. volunteers, and was made colonel in Sept., 1861, becoming brigadier-general on Oct. 6, following. He led the 4th brigade of the 2nd division, Army of the Ohio, at the second day’s battle of Shiloh, and greatly distinguished himself by retaking the headquarters abandoned by Gen. McClernand the day before and otherwise contributing to the success of the Federal army on that day. He again distinguished himself at the battle of Perryville, Ky., on Oct. 8, and that day gained his promotion to major-general of volunteers. He was next in the field at Stone’s river on Dec. 31, and from Nov., 1863, to the close of the war, was in command of the districts of Tennessee. He led an important and successful raid into the heart of Alabama in 1864 and defended Fort Rosecrans during the siege of Nashville. He resigned from the army on Nov. 30, 1865, and four days later took his seat in the Thirty-ninth Congress, to which he had been elected as a Republican representative from Kentucky. In June, 1866, Gen. Rousseau made a personal assault on J. B. Grinnell of Iowa, for words spoken in debate, and was, by resolution of the committee appointed to investigate, recommended to be expelled. The house, however, adopted the minority report to reprimand him, whereupon he resigned his seat. He was re- elected during the subsequent recess to the same Congress and served on the same committees as in the first session. He was appointed on March 28, 1867, by President Johnson, a brigadier- general in the regular army, being given on the same date the brevet rank of major-general U. S. A., and he was assigned to duty in the new territory of Alaska to receive that domain from the Russian government and assume control of the territory. He succeeded Gen. Sheridan in command of the Department of the Gulf, and continued in that command with his headquarters at New Orleans up to the time of his death, which occurred Jan. 7, 1869.

Source: The Union Army, vol. 8