Nov 17, 1864 – 36th Illinois soldier writes mother in Newark (ILL) from Jefferson General Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana

Camp Joe Holt Hospital, Jeffersonville, Indiana


November 17, 1864

Dear Mother,

Camp Joe Holt Hospital

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-43-40-pmI set down this morning to let you know that I have been moved further north. I got here last night about 9 o’clock. I feel as though I had got into America again. The town and everything looks so much different from what they did in Dixie. Our hospital is situated on the banks of the Ohio River so I can set and watch the boats play up and down the river. Sometimes there is as many as twenty to be seen at a time. [end of page one]

Last night they looked very pretty with their lamps all lit up. I am in hopes that this letter will reach you before [Rable] starts from home for you wouldn’t like to send those Yankees to N*ewark+ While I am here at Jeffersonville. I don’t know but this letter will be rather late. You need’nt send that box until I write again for here we have to get the consent of the Doctor before we can get any which thing in here. Maybe we won’t need it here. I don’t know whether we get any sanataries here or not. I will wait and see before I write for them.

I suppose that Mrs Harriet has commenced her school and that Father has got his [end of page two] corn picked by this time has he not, and you are trying to find something to do on Thanksgiving. Ain’t it most time for *initial indecipherable+ Tremain to get home. I think so if they don’t keep him over his time which they are very apt to do. I notice how are all the neighbors today and I get that letter that letter that I sent to him without the stamps on. I am most out of stamps. I expect I might have some if they would let me stay in one place long enough. I expect I will let me stay here now till they send me to the front and I don’t know for sure that will be. *end of page three+

Well I want this letter to go out in this mornings mail so I will stop writing. Give my love to all and write often. From your boy Franklin

Jefferson U.S. General Hospital Ward 17

Jeffersonville, Indiana
Franklin A. Whitney

Letter source: The Kraig McNutt Civil War Collection


Post-war photograph of Franklin A. Whitney, 36th Illinois Infantry.
He was listed as from Mission, Illinois, when he enlisted as a Private on 2/29/64. He mustered into Company F, 36th Illinois infantry 3/19/64.
Mustering out 10/8/65 in Washington, D.C.


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


John Shuman, 88th Indiana Volunteers – September 25, 1862

Sept. 25, 1862. Louisville, Kentucky

Dear father,

I once more take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and hope that these few lines will find you all the same. I will let you know that the rest of the boys is all well and in good spirits. I will let you know we had another march. We left our camp and
went about ten miles and there we was one day and a night and then we were called back to Louisville. They are expecting a fight hear [i.e. here] before long. The soldiers is coming in here every day. They say Buels [Don Carlos Buell?] army is coming in here today. Buel [Buell] is in town now but his army is coming in here today. They got som [i.e. some] entrenchments dug around Louisville and the other day we was called out in our entrenchment and we was their [i.s. there] till three o clock and then we was called out on picket guard and we came in here last night and then our reg was called out on picket guard except our company, and they havt came back yet.

We are in camp right by our entrenchment, about three rods from them. You ought to see the corn wasted. We help tramp down about 10 akers [i.s. acres] in five mimits [i.e. minutes] the other day and some of best kind of corn we have got. Lots of sweat [i.e. sweet] potato hear – the largest kind. That is all they rais in this country. That and corn. I havt seen no wheat since I left Indiana. I think that their is not much danger of a fight hear. Their is to [i.e. too] many troops coming in here. One of thr artiley is out drilling this morning. It looks nice to see them drill. They have got all brass pieces, they kept bright – as they can keep them. I would like to hear wither they are drafting their or not. I got a letter from Bill Culver last night … [various names, letter-writing, etc] … we may leave here , no telling when we will leave … John Shuman


4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, March 15,, 1864



March 15, 1864

Friend Doern:

Baton Rouge, La., 28 Feb.

On Wednesday the 17th I arrived here and enjoyed finding the regiment as healthy and cheerful as ever. The 22nd and 7th Kentucky and two New York regiments, as well as several batteries are stationed here. You noted several weeks ago, that the 22nd Regiment had mustered in again [veteranized] and will soon come to Louisville on 30 days leave. We do not know anything here about this.

Baton Rouge is a rather lively place, a pretty state house is located here – the inside has been burned out, one has the idea that it will be rebuilt again. The institution for the blind is being used as a hospital. Also I must tell you that in the state election that took place on February 22nd, a German by the name of Michael Hahn was elected as governor.

Charles Gütig


The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, July 22, 1862

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

July 22, 1862

An officer of the 4th Ky. Cav. Reg. writes [that] the news that they had been in the fight at Murfreesboro is based on an error. The First squadron itself, Companies A and C departed for Lebanon on Friday morning before the battle, and on Sunday around midnight all troops located at Lebanon departed for Nashville. Companies of the 7th Penns. Cav. Reg. stay in Murfreesboro.

The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

Letters from 22nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment U. S. – Dec 30, 1863

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

December 30, 1863
From the 22nd Kentucky Regiment

Worthy Anzeiger:

Plaquemine, La.,
30 Dec. [1863]

I should have written you long ago, however, what restrained me from it, was that we were separated a long time from our main army. I was not able to write something of interest and now I know very little that could interest you.

However, I wanted to let you know that we presently lay here as garrison and prepare fortifications because in a few days we expect the enemy here under Gen. Green with about 6,000 conscripted men, whom he is busy catching in the neighborhood.

We are presently busy here distributing a newspaper under the name “Picket Post” published by Cap. Jack Hughes; Chas. G. Shanks, editor, earlier reporter for the “Louisville Journal.” The compositors consist of Thomas J. Collins, earlier of the “Democrat,” E. Napier, earlier of the journal, and my humble self.

Because this newspaper will first make its appearance in a few days, I will send off a sample to you.


The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, October 25, 1862

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

October 25, 1862

Capt. Ruckstuhl received a large part of the horses for his squadron yesterday. Mr. Ruckstuhl still needs a few men for his second company, and young people who prefer the cavalry service to the others, refer to his notice.

The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, July 16, 1862

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

July 16, 1862

Camp Mihalotzy,
near Battle Creek, Tenn., 7 July 1862

Dear Worthy Editor:

Because I assume that you as journalists like news about military movements, and accept and are especially interested in Kentucky troops, allow me to inform you in this regard, and especially the German squadron of the 4th Cavalry Regiment stationed here. I am especially sorry that the subject today is in no way pleasant and will cause many hearts severe pain.

On Sunday morning about 8 o’clock a patrol left, consisting of 6 privates and a corporal from Company E, Capt. Schäfer; seven privates and a sergeant from Company E, Capt Blum; and five privates from Company F, Capt. Church; under command of Second Lieutenant Church; the camp with the order to carry out a reconnaissance toward Jasper (our earlier camp) and about seven miles from here. The way followed was the incomplete railroad leading to Jasper, which for most of the way led through woods and thick undergrowth and from eight to ten feet above the usual surface, As is customary with all reconnaissances, and especially here because the closeness of the enemy, who lay just opposite us and are separated from us by just the Tennessee River. Lt. Churc sent an advance guard of three men, including Sergeant Philipp Altenburger of Company G, about fifty yards in advance while the rear guard followed slowly with rifles and carbines ready to fire. Not quite four miles from here beams (crossties) are thrown all over for perhaps a stretch of 100 feet, so it’s totally blocked, and is difficult and most dangerous for horses and riders.

The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, June 24, 1862

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

June 24, 1862

We extract from a letter to us from Capt. Henry A. Schaeffer from the 4th Kentucky Cavalry regiment dated Camp Wardrace [Wartrace], June 20, that the detachment now under his command is stationed in Jasper, Tennessee, 200 miles from Camp Wardrace [Wartrace], under the command of Capt. Blume, until he returns again. The men are well and in good spirits. Their patrol that was supposed to last 10 days has lasted three weeks. They went through a lot of severe strain, and officers like the soldiers made their camp in the open without shelter, because they were in a hurry and could not take their tents with them. The saddle blankets were their beds and their saddles were their pillows. The rumor of their being captured or slaughtered is entirely without basis, because they also have not been in danger once, with the exception of one time on the way to Chattanooga, where they had to travel narrow paths. Capt. Schaeffer spoke gloriously about Lt. Henry Walter, who in command of the advance guard captured a number of Rebel cavalry between Jasper and Chattanooga; as well, he expressed praise over the fitness for duty of Capt. Blume. Further, he confirmed the death of the soldier Henry Burg from Louisville [and] from the Hecker Regiment. He was killed by the explosion of a bomb during the bombardment of Chattanooga, as the regiment left the skirmish field, also five others were wounded at some time or other.

The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –

4th Kentucky Cavalry (U.S.) letters published in the Louisville Anzeiger, June 17, 1862

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-14-25-pmLouisville Anzeiger

June 17, 1862

Lt. Hooker of the company of the 4th Kentucky Cav. Reg. to which the deceased John Collins from here belonged, writes in reference to his death.

The young Collins received permission to set out with a detachment of 40 men on a patrol. It went to McMinnville, where they took 8 to 10 persons prisoner. On their return they pitched camp around 11 o’clock at night and stayed in it until breakfast. While they ate, a superior number of Rebels approached and asked them to surrender; Collins did not want to surrender, pulled his revolver and fired six shots, after he saw all was in vain, he threw his weapon down and asked for pardon; the answer was a deadly shot from a cavalryman, who rode within ten paces of him. Lt. Hooker remarks that only two men from the company were killed and not eight, as reported.

The Louisville Anzeiger, a German American newspaper, and translated into English by Joseph R. Reinhart.

Kentucky Digital Library –