Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mrs Caroline Grant
Care of Wm Hill
South New Berlin Jan 18 1863
Mrs Caroline Grant
It was a great pleasure to receive your kind and sympathising letter. It is a consolation to know that others feel for us in our afflictions. We have three children left Urania was 16 the 29th of last July Daniel was 14 the 6th of April Evangeline St. Clair was 9 the 29th of March last I have but one brother. His name is Amos lives in Guilford 13 miles from here & works at the cabinet & bedstead business, has five children named Aaron Mary Grover Charles & Susan. My sister Mary Davison lives in Penn on the farm that Uncle Gailord owned & Maryann Gailord lives with them. They have four children Warren their oldest is married & lives with them, Eunice the oldest girl married Foster Fanning and lives at Cutehouge LJ Rachel the youngest married a sea Capt & lives at the same place Maria married a scotchman John Burns Walker, He has gone to the war sister Rachel Sweet lives at Tipton Cedar Co Iowa, Her husband is not preaching now I think as the last letter that we had from there stated that he and his oldest son Wm Wallace had enlisted into the army & were at Davenport Iowa. They have five boys & one girl John [Orlans?] do the second lived with us until he was 21 years of age he lives near his parents has a wife & one boy. Daniel Elijah & Henry Leroy the 3d & 4th enlisted into the army last year. H Leroy was the one who died in the army at Pittsburgh Landing They were in the 11th Iowa Regt Company. E. I think Daniel is under Gen Grant but am not sure Daniel is about 23 yrs old. Leroy was about 21 Wallace John and Daniel Married sisters by the name of Hatch Wallace lost his wife about two yrs since Leroy was not married There are two younger boys George Alonzo & Dayton Marks & a daughter Mary Elizabeth some 11 or 12 yrs of age I can tell you nothing about our Ohio cousins as I never have heard from them except through the Conn friends & do not know where they live I should like to have visited them when I went west five yrs since had known where to find them Sister Urani Horton lives about one mile from here has two children Jane 5 last July Lowel about 4 yrs old Sister Elizabeth left two boys Giddings 14 last July Foster Fanning 9 yrs old this month Their Farther is married again & lives in this place sister Maria lives with us Urania has the [mrble?] yet that Abbie sent her when I was at your house in Wiss 14 yrs ago last Sept I was rather surprised to receive a letter from Hattie in Oct containing a photograph of herself & her brother Charles & also mentioning about her sister Mattie as I never knew that she had a sister or any brother except Daniel I should be glad to see my Conn friends & should visit them if my circumstances would admit and hope that some of you will visit us Remember me to your husband to your sister Mary & all the rest of the friends From Your affectionate cousin
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to:] Mrs. Caroline Grant
Lockport, Ill. [Illinois] June 29, ‘63
Dear Sister Caroline,
Mr. Russell was home on Sat. and wished me to write you that he had the money on hand to pay you up, as soon as you send the notes & release: wh. you will please do, directed to me, here, and Mr. R. will be up again in a few days, and will pay & arrange for sending to you. I suppose it had better be in a draft on Metropolitan Bank, on some other wh makes it perfectly safe to send --
I left Memphis June 16 at 2 P.M. & arrived in Chicago June 19 at 8. A.M. staied till the P.M. of the 20th then came down home, found a dozen or two friends at the depot to welcome me, one when John has boarded invited me to tea, & Mrs. Stowe who lives opposite us, insisted upon my spending the Sat. with her, wh. I most gladly did.
Mond. I came to my rooms, & commenced cleaning up. Everything was very dusty, but a few days work put all to right again. John & I are now boarding with the family who live in the larger part of our house -- Shall do so while the hot weather lasts, we do not know what is before us, but if all is well, I shall return South in the fall, either to be with Mr. Grant, or in Hospital labors, as may [semhist?]. Mr. Grant came over to Memphis the Sat. before I left, and staid <till> to see me safely on the boat. A dear lady & her daughter from Ft. Pickering, Memphis, were my travelling companions -- It had been a great comfort to both of us to be when we could see & hear from each other so often, and it was hard to come away, but I had been quite unwell for some time, & did not dare to stay in that climate longer, in summer heat.
Mr. Grant is very thin & not very strong, but hopes to be able to take such care of himself, as to be comfortable, if his health is worse we will come north for a few weeks. He can [illay?] be spared from the [camp.?] for his mind moves all the machinery -- Still, his assistants are brave faithful men, and do all they can to spare him -- The place is a dangerous, as well as responsible one, for guerrillas infest that region, and are determined to break up the Memphis & Charleston R.R. [railroad] I spent two weeks in a tent in Mr. G’s camp a little while before coming home -- the excitement & discomfort would soon finish me at this season of the year -- you can have no idea of war, till when its results are seen -- The day I came over the R.R. (M & C) the track was torn up, & we had to wait to have it repaired, and only for a guard of three Co’s of Inf. we should not have escaped an attack by guerrillas -- Mr. G was delayed coming to M. by the entire stopping of the train one day. We feel that thus far, God has been very good to us, to spare us Mid so much of danger -- May His mercies continue. I found from all reports of John, good reason to believe he had done credit to himself, & parents -- He had been faithful <and> & trusty, and some of our friends say, shows uncommon business talents. We thank God for it, and hope he will continue to do well -- He looks so much older than he is, & is trying to have a good manly appearance, & keeps himself neat & [comely?]. I encourage it, & hope he will not neglect the inner man.
Much love to Father & Mother, and to you all from John, & your aff. sister Abby.
& John must go to school, we don’t know where yet, perhaps at Beloit, Wis.
[Separate piece of paper] John has been in the P.O. as clerk since March 1st it has been employment to him, & gives him an idea of business, & of people. He has had only $15 per month, & hoards himself wh. of course is scarce enough to pay his board ($3 per week), but it has done him great good.
Willy is much as usual. His pure spirit will shine in Heaven, & we shall forget the trial his feelings it to us here, I am going this P.M. to the funeral of a mother who has left eight children behind & could trust all with God. How mighty her faith must be! Her family were among our first friends here --
Do tell me all about Father & Mother, Marcus & Daniel & your children, & yourself, yea, all about every thing I am interested in, I am glad you could visit Mary, (I want to know about her) & spend some time at John’s. I wish I had your photograph & Daniels, & A’s, & E’s. Don’t forget me if you have them taken. Love to all the friends.
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Lockport, Ill. [Illinois] July 20, 1863.
Dear Brother & Sister,
Brother Daniel’s letter & the papers enclosed were received Tues. last I notified Mr. Russell Wed. Fri. he came up & brought the money, but when he found I was going to send the money to you, & wanted a draft, he kindly offer’d to get it for me in [Johit?] & sent it up. So it came Sat, but that day I had not time to write, but think to day is soon enough Mr. R said he preferred to pay up now, & borrowed some at six per ct, for that purpose -- The exchange was $3 wh. he deducted. I hope it is all right, & that the Draft for $809. will reach you safely.
Was glad to hear about all our home family. I often think we do not know half enough of each other. But we are all so busy each in his or her own way.
I know nothing of Phelp’s family of late on of Elizabeth. I wrote to sister E. & to Abby. Last winter, but have heard nothing since.
I hear occasionally from John. Have a photograph of Gertie & baby, which is beautiful. Wish I had yours both & your children, also Marcus’ --
It is 10 days since I heard from my husband, he was then well as usual, was at Memphis on Business -- The mail will be in soon, & may be I shall have a letter today.
John is still in the P.O. as clerk, will remain not much longer for he needs some rest before going to school -- He finds it quite confusing, but is able to meet it: is looking quite pale, in part perhaps because not much in the sun --
I am drying cherries just now, we have a good many, and nothing eatable, is better than stewed dried cherries. It is a great deal of work to pit them but how good they will taste to Mr. G. next winter! I have picked some for him too by the [rule?], to 7 lbs pitted cherries 3 ½ of sugar, 1 pint vinegar, tablespoonfull of each ground cloves, & cinnamon, (they are delicious:) sealed together slowly for an hour --
It has been very dry here, for weeks, so as to injure gardens & all vegetation, but last night it rained hard, with prospect of more -- Love to all the family, & accept much for yourselves, from your aff. sister Abby.
Willy has fits as usual -- he suffers a great deal, tho not consciously always --
Our country seems to be blest with successes just now.
What a disgrace the N.Y. visit is! It is not the last one that will come of drafting, we expect trouble in this state & in this vicinity, unless there is military force present in every town I hope Lincoln will be firm. He is too easy, & those about him too politic, or selfish. Let me know if you get this all [...] noon. John brings in a letter from his father, written last Tues. he was then well --
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Nov. 29th, 1863.
My dear Brother,
When I received your kind, letter it was not my intention to neglect answering it so long, but it came the week of the Teachers Institute and of the exhibition, and when my time was not occupied with other duties I was preparing my clothes &c. for the closing exercises. And this last week I have been trying to do some of my sewing mending and such things as I shall have no time the coming term for I must study very hard. I find that the catalogue which you sent me is very different from the old one which Auntie had and that I am much farther behind than I thought for it is only by unwearied application that I can be prepared to enter the second year at Holyoke the coming year, but I mean to prepare myself if an all wise Providence does not prevent. Within the last week I have been cutting and making me a new calico dress. I have not yet put on the skirt and so do not know exactly how it will look, but I think it will fit pretty well. The closing exercises of Grant, River Institute were said by all to have been very good. Seven ladies and six gentleman “performed” and I believe I told you that I was among the “elect” and I have had the pleasure of hearing through various sources that my essay The Twilight of Being was considered by the audiences the best that was read and Will Jewell had the best oration too. Dec, 3rd The greatest amount of snow which we have had since I have been here fell last Sunday, but it is melting away very fast. My dress is now completed and sets better than I anticipated. I will try and think to send you a piece of it, and of my silk in this letter.
The Winter term commenced Tuesday. I shall have to study very hard this term. My studies are Cicero, Ancient History, and Physical Geography.
I was sorry to lose, Pet -- I hope Grandma will not write me a letter about how troublesome she got to be. I am glad [Brights?] is such a good cat. But when I go home there will be something missing -- a vacant-spot -- for you know Pet has grown up with me from a child, and she seemed human to me. I hope you had her decently buried,
The project of going to Delaware strikes me more favorable than any of going farther south would, and just as favorable (and I do not know but more so) as any plan I have heard you speak of. If Father intends to go on to land I should think he would better go as soon as possible, if not get into some permanent business but not be changing around from one thing to another as he has done all his life for “a rolling stone gathers no moss” you know I want you and Father to get settled in some comfortable place where you can enjoy a little of life...and I do not have but a farm in Delaware where you could have all these nice fruits and the climate would not be severe if you could get a house with pleasant surroundings would be as good a place as you could find. But still it would seem too bad to have to take up what [money?] you have at interest. Could not the land in Wis. be sold for considerable though I do not know as it is a good time to sell land now. Well I must quit talking about this for I get myself more in the dark every word I say. I do not know exactly what to say about the [demise yoke?] I am afraid I should not like it very well. It seems to me also that a double sleeve would look rather clumsey but you may do as you think best about it. Cousin Willie is in the vicinity of [hatchey?] [Miss.?] Phill has been discharged from the army and is teaching in the southern part of the states. Mary is enjoying her self very much in Plainville. As to money I shall need about six and a half or seven dollars as soon as possible for my tuition for this term is now due which will be five and a half dollars. I shall have to buy a new Cicero which I presume will be in the neighborhood of a dollar. Aside from these things I do not know as I shall need any more till spring. I was very sorry indeed to hear of Aunt [Aurelia’s?] death. Auntie will feel that she has lost a great deal. Love to all,
Your aff daugh.
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
La Grange, Tenn. [Tennessee]
Dec. 1, 1863.
I have found it impossible to ascertain any thing sufficiently definite to warrant my writing to you in accordance with any implied promise made in my recent letter to Father. I now take my pen rather to satisfy you that the matter is not out of my mind than to give you such definite information as I would like to give and you would like to receive.
Since I wrote you I have been mainly, at the plantation here, The work connected with it draws to a close very slowly. The weather is sometimes too cold to pick cotton -- though as yet we have had no snow = and very little ice -- sometimes it is too rainy or muddy & always the days are short. I hope we shall be through in a week, however. The crop -- as I told you in a former letter -- is very light. The frost has had upon it the effect which it had on many a corn field at the North -- and, but for extravagant price at which cotton sells, the crop would scarcely pay for picking.
The gentleman who has had special care of the Cotton crop this year will make bare wages at a very moderate rate. He was to have two fifths -- be supplying seed &c. he will probably get $600 in all. Had the season been good, however, he would have made $10,000 -- but he ran all risks of invasion by guerrillas and loss of life or captivity.
He has made an arrangement for next year that will probably be a success. He has secured about 400 acres in the vicinity of Memphis, which he is to be allowed to use free of charge. He is to be allowed to hire Contrabands (Freedmen, we are learning to call them) at such terms as he shall arrange with them, and is to be allowed provisions for them from government, on condition of paying for the same at close of the season. He will also be allowed the use of unserviceable horses & mules paying for their forage at close of season. The arrangement can scarcely fail to be a good one for him. It is one, however, that no other man would be likely to secure; and is a part of the fruit which his arduous and faithful labors the present year have produced, better than a crop of Cotton would have been.
As he will devote himself almost entirely to Cotton, it is possible that I might secure in connection with him a position in wh. you could accomplish somewhat. A dairy kept in connection with his establishment, would doubtless be profitable if carried on wisely -- not for the purpose of making butter & cheese, but to supply Memphis with milk. This article, delivered at houses, commands always 10 cts a quart, and in winter more. There are, however, many draw backs to the profits which such a price might seem to imply. This is not a country in which nourishing grapes grow naturally -- or even with cultivation as they do at the North. There are no fences in the vicinity -- soldiers & fences, at least in a [...] country -- cannot co-exist. Cows are scarce, & would need to be brought form the North, at considerable expense, and no little risk.
Garden vegetables might be cultivated profitably. The demand is practically unlimited, and the prices good. The fence difficulty is here as prominent as in the dairy business -- though it might probably be conquered by the construction of new fences, well nailed. I do not suppose Mr. Wallace (the gentlemen referred to above) will think it best to take up either of these branches of business. He will cultivate cotton mainly if not solely. This has the advantage of not needing fence so much as most other things; since cattle will not readily eat it, nor at all so long as they can get grass. of any kind.
I mention these things since it seems to me that you cannot safely enter on any thing in this direction unless it be of this nature. If you feel inclined to enter upon these things or something like them, <let> perhaps you had better write me soon as possible. I cannot say that it will be best for you to do this, but I will still keep the matter under consideration.
I think you can answer this before I shall leave Memphis.
My Reg. is, as I suppose, at Chattanooga now -- and probably participated in the recent battle there. With love to you all I am,
Your aff. brother,
P.S. I mail for you two Memphis Bulletins -- a daily paper -- in which you may find something to interest you. The guerrillas on the river bank and elsewhere are a great annoyance now -- and if you were here I do not know but the order requiring the citizens to arm might embrace you.
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Daniel Grant
Memphis, Tenn. [Tennessee]
Jan. 4, 1864.
I have now been in Memphis some ten days, and have looked (hitherto in vain) for a letter from you. I have reason to fear that a letter of which I have heard, but which I have not been able to find, was from you. At all events I have concluded to write you some things which you may be glad know and which may be of use to you practically.
I am about to leave the Contraband Department, perhaps permanently and go to my Regiment, which is now (or was two weeks ago) at Pulaski, Tenn., 175 miles (in a straight line) East of Corinth. As the region from Corinth East is not held by our forces, and is unsafe for travel (aside from the fact that it has no modes of conveyance) I shall be compelled to go a round about way probably by Cairo Louisville and Nashville. A long route is this -- to Cairo 130 miles (straight) to Louisville 225 to Nashville 175, to Pulaski (which lies between Nashville and [Decation?] about 30 miles North of the latter) 70 miles Total 600 miles in straight lines. (I measure them on a map) To this must be added at least two thirds -- making 1000 miles.
I have completed my work at La Grange The results [...] have been small. The frost which destroyed so many corn fields at the North worked equal disaster with Cotton fields in this Latitude. From our 500 acres of Cotton, which in any ordinary season would have yielded 100 bales and sometimes 250 we gathered only 5 bales. These we sold for $1512.50 -- a part at 72 cts. and a part at 62 1/2 cts. Of course we could not pay the laborers. We settled with them on the principle of the Bankrupt Law at 10 cts. on the dollar -- with which as they <never> had always heretofore had 00000 for their wages they were tolerably well satisfied. Those who received most had $17 and those who received least 10 cts. They for the most part recognized that they had been cared for, (at Uncle Sam’s expense -- the $1500 would not have paid one sixth of it) and well used, and were willing to try another year’s experiment in the same way -- Perhaps they will be able to, but not with me as a leader. The principal crop we have raised this year is one of ideas, and in this particular we have been successful -- we have shown that negroes, can & will work as freemen. I am satisfied. A small crop (100 bales) would have given us $30.000 -- more than paying all expenses -- while an abundant crop 250 bales would have made for us $75.000, In any case no portion of it would have been mine, and as it has resulted it is fortunate it was not to be.
Jan. 6. The weather has been unprecedentedly cold for the past 6 days. The last day of Dec. was stormy -- first rain then snow -- then a freeze -- and at day light New Years’ morning the Thermometer was 10 [degrees] below Zero. Several instances of death by freezing resulted -- among the most distressing of which was that of a party of soldiers sent out from Fort Pillow the night of Dec. 31, to arrest smugglers -- The whole party are probably dead by this time -- and five of them including the Lieut. who commanded them were dead New Years morning frozen stiff. The rest were so far gone that at the latest news no hope was indulged of their recovery. It is probably that hundreds of negroes have perished. There has scarcely been an hour of thaw since the year came in, and the roads where much travelled are smooth as a floor and hard as ice.
I came on board a Steam Boat to day to go to Cairo -- but the ice is so abundant in the river, floating down in large cakes, that our Captain is slow in starting, <We> and the Boat is likely to be slower in making the trip. It is said that navigating is already closed, both in the Ohio and Mississippi, above Cairo, and though river men affirm that below Cairo it is never closed yet a few more days like the last six would render it very difficult. The water is unusually low, which renders the case worse.
When I began this letter I thought I had found an opening for you <to> but it seems that I had not. It was a chance to cut wood from an Island near Memphis. The place has since been taken by Government to get wood for R. Roads. All enterprises of this kind have in them a good deal of uncertainty and I felt it undesirable to have you come to a point where I could not help you either by counsel, or influence with the military authorities who, even more than civil authorities, need careful handling. Still the opportunity seemed so good that I had determined to advice you to take it if I could complete arrangements. <As you> It was a chance to cut wood at the rate of 50 cts a cord from about 100 acres of heavy timber. The cutting and piling on the bank would cost about $1.25 & when seasoned it would sell at $3.50 or $4. Several draw backs would attend upon the scheme -- among them the influence of floods which might at any time stop the work, and if not well guarded against, carry off the wood. The laborers must be paid, before the wood would season, requiring considerable capital to do work enough to come so far from home. The fact, too, that the Govt. makes soldiers of able bodied negroes, who must <do the> must do the chopping would greatly increase the difficulties -- for labor would be scarce.
A good many people are coming from the North to engage in Cotton culture. Some of them will do very well, others will lose all, money, health and life.
I think it probable that I may yet be able to find something for you. I would like to have you write me how much money you could invest. I suppose it must be comparatively small -- and for many reasons should be so used as to be reasonably safe from loss. Whatever I owe you, I hold myself ready to advance on reasonable notice -- I suppose it does not exceed $200 -- probably is not so much but in the tempest tossed life I am in I cannot keep accounts, and lose my memoranda three or four times a year.
Write me as below
Your aff. brother
Chaplain 12th Ill. Inf.
Jan 7. We started to day at 1 P.M. Progress slow and a good deal probability we shall have to return to Memphis. Weather still cold river full of ice.
Jan 11. We are at last so near Cairo -- (8 miles) that I may assume we shall soon be there. We have had a long and difficult trip -- though not particularly unpleasant. The weather has been very cold but we have been comfortable. I finish this letter and will mail it as soon as I arrive. With much love to Father, Mother, Caroline, Marcus & the children I am your aff. brother Joel Grant.
Letter 7 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mrs. Caroline Grant
[Bollius?] Jan. 9th 1864.
Dear Cousin Carry,
I am alone in the house this evening and at last the long awaited opportunity for writing to you has arrived; and I am so glad for I have thought of you a great deal, and of writing, ever since a little while after I reached home. I presume you know that I had a pleasant and prosperous journey. Mr. Anderson accompanied me to New York. As pleasant as I can expect travelling alone, for I usually have as much, perhaps useless, but nevertheless unavoidable, anxiety as real pleasure. And yet I am very fond of travelling; with company, if possible, if not with my worried, for baggage and the like for companions. Are you surprised that I have waited six months for an opportunity of writing? If you could know the quantities of work I have performed you would sympathize and not wonder. I have had no leisure. In the Fall, mother was sick six or eight weeks, then I had a very great deal to do, and would get dreadfully tired. I was not disturbed nights, father took care of her then. She had rheumatism and suffered very much, it settled in her knee which was swollen badly and so lame that she could not raise it or put her foot to the floor. We hired a woman two weeks. When mother’s knee was setting better her eyes became very sore and painful. She is quite well now, not so strong as before her illness but very comfortable. Father and she have gone to a lecture, the object of which is to fill our quota (twenty three) of volunteers, only six are wanting and I hope those will be gotten this evening. It is the third meeting of the kind, the audience is addressed by one or more <two> speakers and a brass band is employed to give music. I attended the other two but did not care to go out to night. One reason that I have so much to do is owing to a change in my ideas and habits in regard to certain things. Quite unconsciously to myself I was acquiring a taste for mending and neatness while at cousin Mary’s. I learn often times a great deal more than mother thinks is necessary, but she is quite pleased with my lately developed talent for mending and brings forward piles of old things to repair which had been laid aside for want of time on her part and inclination [...] mine. Now I mend every hole and sew on all my buttones which is a change indeed in me. I read some, and have read two large books to mother and a third we read together.
O, cousin Carry you can not imagine how I have wanted to see baby and cousin Mary and all of them, the sweet little thing I have felt much a longing for her. I have not heard from Flemington for a long time. I suppose they are as busy as ever.
We have an unusually lively time this winter a great many of my evenings are passed out. Christmas Eve we had a Festival. There was a Christmas tree which looked beautifully and was loaded with gifts and the Hall was trimmed beautifully, then there was a man to act the part of Santa Claus which he did wonderfully well. New Years Eve I invited the Reading Club to our house to watch the Old Year out and the New Year in, we had a very nice time, we made molasses candy and played. There are about sixteen in the club. I am a member of a French Class, which meets once a week. I am quite well and [fleshy?] We heard to night of cousin Fanny’s death. It seems very sad. How is Abby? I want to hear from her very much. Willy Stone is in the Invalid Carps & is in Phila. [Philadelphia] very pleasantly sits [natid?]; he doesn’t recover the use of his hand and arm. I hope you will come and see us whenever you can. I want to see you a great deal, do come when you can. How are Mr. & Mrs. Grant? My love to cousin Daniel and Erastus and family and to Abby when you write to her.
Your aff. cousin
Letter 8 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Chicago Sunday April 17, 1864
I write just to let you know that I am here and well.
I have engaged to sell the land for $2400,00 I did not see as I could do better & come to look again I could not conclude to go on to it.
I think you better send to Mr. Holmes to <colect> collect the interest on the 5-20s soon as he can I am of the opinion <it> gold is more likely to fall than rise. Let him collect the interest & pay it when it is collected.
Expect to leave here tonight for Ohio.
Rec’d no letters yet shall not now till I get to Austinburg
Love to all
Your aff Husband
Letter 9 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Huntsville, Ala. [Alabama]
May 4, 1864.
Your letter of April 1 with one from Mother and Marcus was rec’d several days since, and I have been trying to answer it, but no favorable opportunity has presented itself -- the present being scarcely <prer> more favorable than some that preceded it. The clouds are thickening, however, and no one can tell what a day may bring forth, or how soon the thunderbolts of war may be falling on every side, if indeed they do not strike. A forward movement has been ordered, & it is now expected that we shall go to Chatonooga, perhaps, further Our Reg. with others, left Pulaski last [Frid?] (April 29) and reached this place so as to leave yesterday morning to go towards Chattanooga. By R.R. Huntsville is 63 miles from Pulaski. As I had charge of a Reg. I Library & some other things that could not be carried with the troops on a march I came by R.R. The distance over-land is only 48 miles, & but for the destruction of certain bridges would be some 5 miles less. Decatur, which I passed on the way here -- being about 20 West of this, and 40 South of Pulaski, it is said has been attacked to day* -- with what result is not yet known -- but the trains have not passed here to day, nor have any gone from here <to it> there. No considerable danger is apprehended, for Decatur can hardly be taken, & if it should be, as it is South of the river (the Tennepee) the result will not be likely to affect this side. As time rolls on, however, the rebels will probably break up the R.R. at some place, or places, interrupting our communications with Nashville, and perhaps subjecting us to short rations -- for the country here is so desolate that if cut off from the North we should be puzzled to find food. Still if the country has any thing, we should take it in that case however much it might incommode the inhabitants -- such are the necessities of a state of war. I cannot tell what the army here is to do -- but there is much land to be possessed land that will not be secured by the sacrifice of many lives, I fear.
It is not as easy as I could wish to state what it is best for Daniel to do. I am better and better pleased with the portion of the South which I am permitted to see. The region from Nashville here is lovely -- the land in the valleys and by the streams is very fertile, while the hills -- of which there are many -- are clothed with timber, or covered with pasturage. The long summer seasons save much labor in gathering fodder for the winter months. The land is much more desirably than in W. Tennessee, and the people (natives) seem quite as healthy as in Illinois -- But the uncertainty of political & military affairs -- the fierceness of the hatred that in some minds exists towards Northern men -- all these make it unwise, at present, for most persons to attempt any thing. Still every thing seems to indicate that Northern people will eventually come here in large numbers -- and that they will be happy and prosperous here. Indeed I think that in a year the question will probably be decided how far settlements may be made with the hope of peace.
May 5 On board the cars for Chattanoga. <It> I write with a pencil because pen and ink are out of the question here. We are now far advanced towards Chattanooga -- probably not more than 10 miles off. I left my lodgings at Auntsville last evening at 8 o’clock. The appointed time for trains to leave was 9 o’clock -- but it is one of the annoyances of a state of war that every thing is uncertain -- and in fact no train left till 12 1/2 -- and then only a <passenger> freight. We came along pretty well to Stevenson -- 60 miles -- where we arrived at 5 1/2 in the morning. Since that we have had many delays, & now at 4 1/2 P.M. we are still some 10 miles from Chattanooga. The day has been very warm, almost hot. The season here has been very cold & backward. The trees are now leaved out, but are at least three weeks later than usual.
The country from Huntsville [here?] is very mountanous. We struck the Tenn. River at [Bridgeport?] (30 M.W. of C.) where we crossed it. The Road has since, often, passed along its bank with the River to the left and precipitous bluffs to the right. The River is exceedingly beautiful as is the scenery generally.
5 P.M. We have just arrived. I sit now in plain view of Lookout Mountain the scene of a fearful combat and substantial victory, and now the cemetery for soldiers. It lifts its form high into the air. You remember that a part of the battle was fought above the clouds. None but a power divine would seem sufficient to overthrow a force that held its lofty top & giddy precipices.
I find (by report) that our Division, & consequently the 12th left this place this morning -- Contrary to my expectation they were taken up by the cars about 50 m. West of this, & thus arrived much sooner than they otherwise would, and in a rested state. Where they will stop I do not know but I presume I shall be able to join them to-morrow. There is something awfully impressive in such an advance into the country of an enemy so heartless, vindictive, treacherous & cruel. Certain it is that many will never return -- possibly only a small portion.
But I must cease descriptions I was greatly interested in the news you imparted -- also in the intelligence contained in Mother’s & Marcus’ letter. Give my love to them -- as also to Father, Daniel & your children. Whether any of you will meet me on earth is of course largely uncertain -- while it seems scarcely possible that you all should. Let us all look rather to our gathering in another world.
I am favorably disposed to the idea of Daniel’s coming to some part of the country where negro labor can be secured. I suppose it is impossible or at least inexpedient to attempt the removal of such persons North -- and that habits of society there are such that negroes can neither be well used nor happy. If Daniel does not lay out too much work I think he could lease or perhaps purchase land which he could cultivate to advantage with the labor of negroes -- The great thing is superintendence, & good management. The crops that to me would seem advisable would be either cotton, tobacco, or flax -- with corn, & vegetables enough to suply the establishment. If he is to undertake such a thing at all -- since it is too late for this season -- he had better be ready by October to begin to lay his plans, & it occurs to me that he had better not bring you with him at once -- Let me know the result of his visit to Wisconsin -- & other things respecting his plans -- Address as below your aff. brother
Chaplain 12th Ill. Inf
*Later the reports were very much exaggerated. Indeed the whole matter seems to have been a kind of trick on our part to hide our movement.
Letter 10 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Flemington [New Jersey] May 16 1864
Dear Brother & Sister
Carrie’s letter came duly to hand and we were very sorry to hear of the death of Erastus’s little boy and of the painful circumstances attending it. Though there is His satisfaction that the dear one is safe from all harm and enjoying that presence & loving kindness that is better than life and they now have certain treasure in heaven which may help to draw their heart where their treasure is --
I enclose you a certified check for the interest on my note for one year and owe you an appology for not attending to it sooner. Will you be kind enough to give me the date of that note as I have neglected to put it down and would like to make out the mortgage from date unless you would be likely to want the money when you have decided what to do -- We have not heard from the Rail Road a decided answer Though I think there is a pretty good chance for me to get the appointment. Will most likely know by the middle June or it may be before as they expect to open the road by the fourth of July -- Have had a very good offer for part of our farm 150 dol. per acre and have some considerable notion of selling it think we could get that price for the larger half of it independent of building lot, on the [front?].
Want to hear from Daniel in regard to his visit westward and hope he will give us a detailed account. I went down to Maryland fore part of April and found that really desirable properties were as high there as here, that is properties near R Road and Baltimore with good buildings & good land in good order -- Like the land North of City very well it was easy to work. Generally well watered buildings in general not desirable -- Found the low priced land similar to that in the State of Deleware, lying in large tracts and comparatively poor -- We have had a very fine rain and the country is now beautiful a feast to the eye to contemplate Grass looks luxuriant, wheat growing finely -- Little Carrie is growing finely and begins to say many words but does not make any sentences as yet is healthy and a great eater -- Gets rather more indulgence than some of the others did at her age probably because she sits at my elbow. Will pack and forward that carpet [warp?] soon --
My feelings are about as they have been for sometime I am not so anxious to lay up a large Estate as to see those about me enjoying life in a sensible way and when I am so situated that I can afford to spend the amt of money necessary for such [end?], and wife & family will make themselves comfortable will be situated to my hearts content. Think with what we now have and situation on R Road can afford to do it or could by selling and change of situation accomplish the same end -- My friends all appear to be wise and I the only fool among them which is bad for them and worse for me But (that which cannot be cured -- Must be endured) I cannot see that it is at all necessary for you to go to Idaho and am not satisfied that your welfare would be better insured by that course than any other -- Still work at the shop most of the time and find that it is just the same hard and to me disagreeable work that it was years ago but perhaps a little worse now on account of my unsettled state of mind.
Shall be glad to hear from you both, and and to see any or all of you at any time -- and to do anything in my power to forward your happiness --
We have Glorious news from the Army and have hopes that we are beginning to se the beginning of the end. We are to have a draft in our Township this week for 38 men to fill up our quota of calls to date, I shall have to run the chances with the others --
Head my life insured in a Mutual Co of Newark, the other day for the sum of 3000 dols in favour of Mary and by the payment of 101 dollars (and interest on that amt in notes for 4 years) for ten years secures the policy without further payment should my life be prolonged beyond that time --
It is very evident that but few of us think enough of the future life and that too many that are considered as christians are as anxious or more so about the good things of this life. It is much easier to have Ideas than to carry out those ideas into actual life -- Too many forget that it is the little graces and kindnesses of heart and action, every day self denials, that make the charm of life. We are too apt to think that our own ends must be accomplished without regard to the happiness or welfare of others -- Christianity is doubtless the cure for most earthly evils but must enter into all actual life to work its cure and bring about its greatest good -- day by day, -- hour by hour -- every where -- constant as the sunlight -- Gentle and refreshing as the falling dew. May it be our portion and of all others --
Letter 11 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
2 Div. 16 A [O?] embracing 12th Ill. Inf
Ackworth Ga. [Georgia] June 9, 1864.
As a part of the army invading Ga. I have been very busy for the past six weeks. We have been at one place but a little while at a time -- often only a part of a day -- often have changed places during the night, sometimes of necessity and sometimes for [sceresy?], and all along we have been operating with an army so large, and as an insignificant part of the whole, know next to nothing of the purposes of any four movements. The work done we ascertain first, in many cases, by papers received from the North a week or ten days after. This campaign has been different from any in which I have ever had a part in several particulars. It is longer -- most of the important movements in which our Reg. has acted did not last more than two or three weeks.* Here we have had long marches -- have been in the field six weeks and would be glad to have the assurance that in six weeks more our work would be done.
What we have accomplished you have learned from the papers, though details of it you can never know fully. We have advanced about 100 miles into Georgia -- a state that hitherto has been less affected by the war than any other in the South -- we have dislodged that Southern army from Dalton -- a very strong position -- [Resacea.?] Calhoun, Kingston, Dallas, & various other places of which if you have not a recent, and a good map you can have no idea, for nearly all of them are new. We are expecting to make another move to-morrow the object of which will be to dislodge the enemy from all his positions this side of Atlanta at least. In what direction we shall move, or where we shall be placed, I have not the least idea -- nor has a single officer or man in our Reg., much less what dangers we shall encounter, or who shall live to tell of them.
I have stood the campaign very well or rather, I am standing it well. I believe I wrote you that I was sick at Pulaski. We left Pulaski <read> May 1 (about) -- May 10 we were near [Resacea?] -- 15 m. S of Dalton, in the wilderness -- in a country not quite as rocky, but more hilly than Litchfield Co. We were in a position confronting the enemy, & during the day had made an advance of about a mile. At 8 o’clock in the evening there came on a most terrific thundershower -- at the same time we were ordered to retreat -- back to the works occupied in the morning. We saw no foe -- heard none -- but such was the order -- and in the rain & darkness & mud we obeyed getting wet to the skin, & when at about 2 o’clock we found a place to stop -- bed clothes were wet -- ground was wet -- everything soaked & the rain still continuing. I was attacked next day with chills &c. but with proper care have escaped their influence since.
June 13. We moved from Ackworth the day after I wrote the above. We moved but four miles however -- to a placed called Big Shanty -- a Depot on the R.R. [Kenesand?] Mt. is before us about 3 m. occupied by the [rbs.?] & it is (we hope) the last position they will take before retreating to Atlanta. We have been here three days -- two of wh. (yesterday & to-day) have been very rainy -- pouring -- pouring -- pouring -- until every thing is full of water. Nothing has been <do> done of a marked character -- All we have done is to wait & suffer.
June 14. Your letter, with that of Daniel dated May 29 came yesterday P.M. I was very glad to hear from you & all the people at home -- & to know that so many favors are continued to most of them -- I am sorry my leisure does not admit of my writing you in reply as much as Id wish, but I must omit much I would gladly say. I do not pretend to be able to judge, but I have a feeling (not worth much) that it is well for you not to go to that place in Wisconsin. What Daniel ought to do I cannot now tell at all -- May God keep him and us all from any steps that shall involve those we love in trouble -- or prove otherwise than for the present & eternal good -- My love to Father & Mother -- to Daniel & Marcus -- to all your children -- from any of whom I shall be glad to receive a letter -- Direct as you find my name below
Your aff. brother
Rev. J. Grant
Chaplain 12th Ill. Inf.
* We moved from [Padueah?], Ky. Feb 5, 1862 -- took Ft. Henry Feb. 6 -- Ft Donelson Feb. 16, after three days fighting -- the dreadful battle of Shiloh lasted but two days (April 6 & 7 1862) and that of Corinth 2 (October 3 & 4, 1862) Our advance on Corinth lasted a month, but in all that time we moved only 20 miles (May 1862)
Letter 12 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newburyport. Aug 10, 1864.
My dear Caroline,
Thanks for your letter. Every day I have been wishing to write to you & could not. Last week I was so [prosnate?] with heat & being tired, that it seemed plain that I must not attempt to take a trip to Conn. before Sept. I am often [north?] year all in spirit. My love to your father, mother, husband & children.
The rain of a week ago, revived the vegetable and the animal world here. The red sun & floating dust shows the dryness now. Three children have died of dysentery within a few days more children are ill with it. It is said that 150 children have been carried off north it in Cleveland, Ohio within a month.
Our daily prayer meeting fr. 4 to 5 p.m. began the first of May is still continued. It is a means of grace & have made it a point to rest beforehand and attend. Tho I have not attended much the last [...] weeks. I am better & have to be present to day. It is held in [Cong?] Pres. Back North & 2nd Advent churches [around?]. This week it is not the Whitfield ch. in State St. very near. Asa & [Joshua?] that felt, that help must come from God alone. In him alone, is there help for you & for me, & for our country.
Abbie wrote me a pleasant & good letter from Winsted, Ask her to write again. In love.
Z.P.B. [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
Ms. L G. Hill is at Cleveland, Ohio. She goes then to see Licencta.
Letter 13 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Newburyport. Aug 18, 1864.
My dear Caroline,
My letter of last week must have reached you soon after your last was mailed. I am sorry not to see Daniel before he leaves.
The enclosed I found today in a periodical. My own thoughts are there [lothed?] so much better than I could express them, that I hailed the idea with delight of transcribing them for your husband & yourself, as suited to aid you both in your embarrassments, & your earnest wish to know the [...] of [dirty?]. The government of God is the model for the parent, & for the teacher. May light be shed on your pathway. The great thing is the good of those whom our heavenly Father has committed to our training, that we may train them for his service & glory, [ending their?] socialticrate their powers that they may better receive & understand his wrath & have moral capacity & obey him on earth & in heave.
With much love to you all In great haste, yours
Z.P. Barnister [Zilpah Polly Grant Banister]
A copious rain fell here yesterday refreshing the very thirsty earth. The Monthly Record of the [Frice?] Paints [Heans?] of Indies. Try for Aug 1864 -- N.Y.
Letter 14 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Austinburg, Sept. 6th, 864.
My dear Aunt,
Some time ago I took a letter from the office directed to mother, which as she had gone to Iowa I forwarded to her there. I took the liberty to open the letter, thinking it might contain something for me, and can testify that the draft came safely.
Today I had another good full letter, containing also one <another> from Eddie to mother. I will certainly write to Abbie before long, but today I feel like writing to you.
Mother started west the 11th of Aug. with a large part of our goods & had a prosperous journey, and arrived in Grinnell in pretty good health. The boys had rented a small house near the farm, and she expected to keep house there for them, but became so homesick, and so discouraged at the prospect of building at the present high prices, that she made herself almost sick by worrying and seemed so changed from her former self, that the boys were alarmed for her health, and almost feared she would become insane. Under the circumstances they concluded it was best for her to come back with her goods, and for them to sell out their stock and abandon the project of improving their farm any further at present. On the sheep they took out in July, they have cleared $700 profit, and they expect to sell their other stock to good advantages. They have also a fine crop of corn and a $100 worth of hay, so that they feel well paid for their summer’s work -- But mother is so distressed in view of her discouraging circumstances and reproaches herself so much for having made such a mistake, that it does seem as if she never could be contented and happy again. --
We have [...] home here, and it is a question pressing heavily upon my mind just now, what we would better do. Thedie came with mother, and we three would constitute quite a family, and besides one or more of the older boys would be likely to be with us occasionally. But I have made all my plans to go to Painesville after this term, and it is not certain we shall any of us want to be here long. We can not now rent any very desirable house, and would it be best for us to buy under the circumstances? Both my brothers-in law offer mother a home with them for the present, or indeed as long as she chooses to stay, and Thedie could board at the Institution and go to school. But would mother be contented long with such an arrangement? I confess that I am much concerned for her. I fear that unless affairs take quite a favorable turn, she will never get over the breaking up of our family and her own unfortunate move to the west. We all try to take as cheerful a view of it as possible, and to make her feel that no one will blame her, but she can not seem to see any thing but poverty and ruin before her and the family.
I think that $500 would fully cover the loss, in expense of moving and sacrifice upon sale of furniture, and the estate has suffered several greater losses within the last ten years, which none of us though of, worrying about, but this mother thinks is the greatest mistake any body ever made.
I wish that something could be done to divert her mind from dwelling upon this subject, and have thought that if it would be convenient and pleasant for her to visit her friends in Colibrook, especially if she could be made to feel that it would be a satisfaction to them to see her, and that she could do any good by going -- it would be the best thing in the world for her. She is now with my sister Jones -- I spent the day with her yesterday (she got into Ashtabula Saturday night), but she seems not to have any plan for the future, or any more idea that I have what is best.
Do not let what I have written alarm you. I trust mother will seem more like herself, when she gets rested. Meantime I may not hear from you, or if you choose will not write to mother? I have though that if Abbie was gone mother might relieve you of some of your cares if she should go to grand [...] awhile. Please remember me affectionately to each and all of your dear family.
With much love
Mary E Banister
Letter 15 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
E. Point, 6 m. S of Atlanta Ga. [Georgia]
Sept. 26, 1864.
(At this place the R.R. divides, one branch running to Montgomery Ala, and another to Mason Ga. A few miles this side of Montgomery, the road branches again, and the place is called West Point. In our advance S. of Atlanta, We destroyed both the Road that leads to Montgomery & that which leads to Mason, making great fires with the ties, laying the rails upon the fires, and when well heated, bending them into all the shapes the soldiers’ fancy suggested, sometimes putting them wire like, around a tree. This brought us to the battle of Jonesboro 22 m. S. Atlanta Aug <Sept> 31, & resulted in the capture of Atlanta, Sept. 2 and great was its fall.)
I know not that any please of business, or care can fully justify me in your sight, or my own, for my long silence, and my omission to write home. For some reason I find it difficult to write a short letter when there is so much of which to speak, and to write a long one has been impossible up to this, hour, and even yet it is scarcely possible <so>. Amid scenes so surprising, so full if importance, since our nation’s destiny seemed dependent upon them, so full of toil, and inconvenience, so calling for aid & sympathy <from> for sick and wounded & dying, it seemed scarce possible to attend to anything not directly necessary. If a little relief came (which was rare) it seemed important to use it to secure the rest without which nature would give way, rather than to use it for purposes, wh. were desirable & yet admitted of postponement or entire omission*
But enough of this. We have ended the campaign, 125 days after we began it (up to Sept. 2) and after having fought over <all> every foot of ground from Dalton to Jonesboro, and <taken> captured positions that seemed [Gibraltars?] for impregnability. Our troops may well boast, now, that nothing can stand before them.
Many brave men have fallen -- I cannot tell how many -- but in our Reg. 25 are dead, either killed (15) or dying of wounds (10). Thus either of the battles of Donelson, Shiloh, or Corinth, was <were> more disastrous than this whole campaign, with its frequent skirmishes. Ninety Five wounded <be> makes out our total casualties 120. In the Division to which we belong (2nd Div. 16 A.O.) consisting of eight Regs & a Battery there have been 115 deaths from wounds in the Hospital -- the killed I can not state. In the same time there were 40 deaths from disease.
The losses of the rebels during the same period have been immense, but years must elapse before we shall know the exact number, and perhaps not even then. The newspapers will have given you nearly as accurate an account of these things as I can.
There is no doubt that we can, and shall, wipe out this rebellion if the people of the North will stand by us, and re-elect our President. It is this we need to have done now. The election of the Chicago candidate would render nearly certain the disruption of the Union with is consequent interminable series of wars, by which your descendants, and mine would be tormented indefinitely, and from which we, personally, might not escape. But I cannot for a moment believe that the people of the North will do such a thing.
It is a dreadful evil -- the war in which we are engaged, but it could not have been avoided except at the sacrifice of national character, & hope.
I have often thought of <the> a remark I heard Father make when I was much younger than now -- perhaps not more than 10 years old. It was on one of those evenings when, as was not unfrequently the case, some of the neighbors -- Uncle Sam (Cowles) & Mr. Rollins came in and talked of affairs in church and state (Here let me say that from those conversations I learned no small part <amount> of the political, civil, and ecclesiastical knowledge I possess -- though neither they nor I thought of it -- I took it in by absorption -- and this should teach us to make, as far as we can, our firesides instructive) Then Father said of the system of slavery, “It must end, in some way it must die, either it must go out in blood, or by a peaceable allowance of the slaves’ rights.” How true! And how little did I anticipate then that it would be mine to see the bleeding mangled dead & putrefying corpses, that would fill grave yards by the acre that are fulfilling <showing> this prophecy. Nearly 4000 buried at Shiloh -- half that number at Corinth, a greater number than at both places during this campaign, & even then the circuit of my own narrow observation is not filled.
I have but little reason to complain of my state of health, having been well the greater part of the campaign. I have been exposed continually -- have had no other cover then a rubber blanket for the most of the time, and none but the coarsest food, and yet have been well with the exception of a few days. Indeed this part of Georgia is, I think among the most healthy regions in our country. We have not had a hot night during the summer, though many a hot day. I think white men could labor here as well as any where -- indeed they have labored this season, as the huge works of the rebels, and our own testify. The regions through which we have passed have but few slaves, not more than one to three whites as testified by the census of 1860. The population is sparse, not more than a tenth part of the land being under cultivation, the rest is still a forest, not heavily timbered, but yet in its natural state.* The soil is poor in comparison with that of Illinois but quite as good as that of most other parts of the country. It was occupied by Indians until about 30 years ago, when they were removed beyond the Mississippi.
Our Reg. came to this place Sept. 7. It removes to day, going Northward -- perhaps to Rome. I shall delay a day or two for the purpose of packing up the Reg. Library & will endeavor to write more in a day or two.
Thurs. Sept. 29. We (i.e. myself and some 20 of the Reg. that remained behind to take care of the “stuff” that the Reg. could not take with it) came to Atlanta yesterday, expecting to get away on the cars. We loaded our baggage, and were expecting soon to start, when orders came to clear every car for the shipment of troops. Of course we are still left. There seems trouble in our rear. The rebels discomfited at this point have undertaken, it is thought, to destroy our communications, and thus bring starvation upon us. The country here has nothing in it, and, if they can sever us from the North, we should be be reduced to great suffering. We have little apprehension of this, and yet they may annoy us much.
I had a pleasant visit from Wm. Burton of the 15th Ohio Battery day before yesterday. He is 20 years old, appears very well, has been in the service 3 years almost, and has good health. His Battery has not lost a man during this campaign.
I have in one way or another missed my pay for a long time. It is seven months since a Paymaster visited the Reg and then I was not with it. There are due me now 13 months’ pay. When I receive it I shall try to settle your [claim?] against me. With love to all, I am your aff. brother,
Chaplain 12th Ill. Inf.
(direct as above)
*I might add that much of this time pen ink and paper were scarcely obtainable.
*We have neither seen, heard nor felt mosquitos --
Letter 16 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed from] U.S. Sanitary Commission
Soldiers’ Home Cairo, Ills.
[Addressed to] Mrs. Daniel Grant.
[Stationary] U.S. Sanitary Commission
Cairo, Ills. [Illinois] Nov. 9 1864.
Dear Sister Caroline,
It is a long time since I received your last, but the cares of this establishment, with the heat of summer & flies, & fleas & mosquitoes, &c, &c, have kept me almost wholly from writing except to my husband.
I went north to rest a little, three weeks ago, & spent five days in Lockport, four in Chicago, & three in Beloit: the trip to C. [3?]65 miles is always a tedious one, but I had to have a change. John who had been spending three months with me, went up with me, & went on to Beloit, I went to L. & there to B. and left him there to go on another year with his studies: this year will fit him for admission to College. He is very anxious to go to Yale, but I am afraid we cannot [...] it. He is a great comfort to us, and his teachers in B. speak well of him, so do the family (Rev. Stephen Pats) where he boarded last year. He now boards (as a special favor) at Mrs. Judge Keep’s who has a son Fred about J’s age, & a great friend of his: it is just across the college yard. J. rooms in the middle college -- there are six ministers sons on the same floor. J. had a fever (billions) here, was in bed a week, & was far from well when I left him in B. but to day I got a few words from him, saying he was well, & in “full pursuit of knowledge.”
Willy, I found much as he has been for years. Mrs. Spenser takes good care of him as well: he has grown some in a year, and looks sweet tho’ vacant. O, how I wish he could be restored to health.
I have so much comfort in John, I often wonder why God couldn’t have spared us the three others in their health & beautiful life, I know & feel that “He does all things well,” and acquiesces in His will, but how pleasant it would have been to have all those children now, that He gave us.
I arrived at this “home” Fri. morn last. Sat. had a letter from my husband from Rome, Ga. was well, & thinks to come home ere very long, it is nine months since he left. There will be two very glad hearts when he comes. If he can get long enough leave of abscence, it may be he will make a short visit to Conn. tho he has said nothing about it. I wish we could go together, tho I scarce see how I could leave here long enough. Our numbers are large as ever 409 soldiers eat breakfast here [sand?], morn, 117 at supper last night, 227 to night.
Much love to all the family, especially father & mother, I am so thankful you can be there to make them so comfortable. With much love I am your aff. sister
Letter 17 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Bolton. Nov 17, 64 Thurs. evening
My Dear Carrie,
I received your truly welcome letter this evening & <as> I am all alone in the house tonight & have been since yesterday morning. Husband is away on business & Mary & her husband have gone, to Waltham & Boston on a visit. He was obliged to go down to be ministered out by service & so stays and makes a visit. He arrived home the 8th in time to vote. Bolton only gave 18 Democratic votes I guess a less number than ever before, We had speakers from Boston to address us in a short time before Election & our minister preached a political sermon. The Sunday before Election our country has done well to put in Mr. Lincoln one more I think our country would have been ruined to change the administration at this time I hope now the rebellion will be put down before long but what a sacrifice of life & money has already been made & how much more will be necessary is to us unknown I am so glad you are going to spend the winter with Mary. Why can’t you when you get ready to go just come here & see us first? It is so much easier to go when you get all packed up & ready than it is to begin & pack up a new every time besides if you don’t come this winter I don’t think you will ever come. If you get more settled down in the [Petrolium?] region I give up all hope of ever seeing you again. I did not see you half enough. If you will come I will devote myself Entirely to you & let everything else go as much as possible. Now is the time, bring Minie with you & then she will have made her visit in Bolton & Abbie can come visit her mother. I must tell you here, that Mr. Wallis saw a beautiful situation sold in Hollis N. Hampshire which I was out there on my visit & came pretty near buying it. He wrote to me to come home & see it but I didn’t get the letter but after I got home we went to see it. It was a nice house with 19 rooms it & a room that used to be a store & could easily again be fitted up for one. And another small house I believe with 7 rooms & a shoe makers shop & five or six acres of land & a nice new barn nicely done off. Every thing was in excellent repair all painted white barn & all the buildings, it had been owned by a wealthy man from Boston who made it his summer residence & kept Everything in perfect order & it used to go into the List for $5000, & it was sold for $2000, & Mr. Wallis was there & saw it sold. It was a great bargain, the man that owned it was dead. It was offered him Mr. Wallis when we went to look at it for $2200, but he did not decide to take it, & now the man won’t sell it. Mr. Wallis is off now to look at the place he has pretty much made up his mind to get out of this farming for he perfectly hates it, although it used to be his great ambition to have a farm. I rather think that he will <will> now get off from this farm, he will not work on it, so if ever you come, now is the time, perhaps. I can’t tell how things will turn, he is spending a great deal of time in going about & looking for some other business, I have no desire to go onto any other farm for I had as [...] be here, on a farm as any where Else I dont think farming is profitable for us, however I think we have made a living since we have been here & I often wonder where the [...] comes from. I hate to let go of this farm but I dont know but I shall think best to, all things considered you said nothing of your arrangement, for the portion I suppose you had not time to say what you would want to if you said any thing. I have not heard from Mary Hill yet & have sent in vain to the office for a letter from one of you but I know neither of you know have to spend the time to write I did hope she would conclude to come on here this fall but I know she must have been tired & she felt more like going home & get rested & take a fresh start some other time. I could not make out fro your letter how long she staid with you, nor whether Daniel staid & voted but no matter. Lincoln is in again & all is well. Mary & husband have concluded that it will not be convenient for them to visit you & others that way this year. It is necessary for him to go right into business, his father & brother in law are ready & waiting to take right hold with him & it would not be best for him to delay them ad simply for a visit which he may make some other time & need the relaxation more. I had a very pleasant visit at New Haven I did not see David & Emelin. They all make it pleasant for me to be there. I went to church Sunday & one evening & thought it was so pleasant to live in that city & I couldnt help wishing that I could live there too & I came home & said I wish I could live in N. Haven, Have you ever been there? Mr. Baldwin said he was sorry he had not moved into the city 25 years ago. Cornelia said their new house was all paid for & she & family seemed quite happy in it although she had not got quite regulated in it. I went to see Fredrick’s wife & she seemed calm & contented, could just see how she could get through another year & keep her cow & Gratia her daughter seemed contended there & did not care to go to New Haven to stay more than three days when she might have staid two or three weeks if she had wished. But she would rather be at home with her Mother & work on hoop skirts at which she could make about $10 pr month & board herself if she could have enough work, & her mother & Emeline could earn about the same each, but they could not have work enough & Emeline has got to find something else to do this winter. Marion said she should rather be at home with her mother than to live at David’s or Cornelia’s its so much more quiet there at home, & really it does some good to be quiet for a little while. I have enjoyed these two days alone very much all alone in this great house for two nights & three days probably. I staid two night & two days in Hadbyme & it seemed to me they were the gladest to see me there than any where else I went, they begged me to stay longer & said all they could say to induce me to stay longer & I wanted to stay longer there & to all the other places & I just feel that I want to make that visit over again & just go to some place & stay till I fairly get through with that family & then go to another place but I suppose I shall never got that [round?] again. Only think one person, Mr. Crissey that I saw there has already passed away & which I was there visiting a young man here in health when I left was taken down with typhoid fever & was buried before my return.
Friday evening Mr. Wallis has returned & no place bought yet so we shall remain here awhile longer it seems, Mary & husband did not come home this Evening. Advise come if you can & write as often as you can I can not write half I want to say & it seems I want to see you all the more for having seen you so short a time, it seems as though I did not say any thing I wanted to when there.
I dont know when I shall have another such an opportunity for writing only think what a rest. I think they will all be home by 7 oclock this evening. I have spent every minute of the time I could in looking over letters & accounts & writing this letter & one to Warren Barton in answer to one he wrote me since my return. I did not stop to eat a mouthful yesterday for breakfast till after 7 oclock in the evening I have had no dinner to day because I am so absorbed in writings & looking over things I dont feel hunger. It is now near 5 oclock give my respect to Deacon Grant & wife & Marcus I hope you will get off soon as possible to Flemings I am glad you let Edward go there I guess light is beginning to dawn into your understanding.
If you donot come on here you may take that green dress & shoes to Flemington with you if you can I may be as likely to get it from there as any where & if you need such a dress & can wear it you may have it & the shoes too. It is not worth while to sent them by Express I need them very much & must make me another dress which is quite an undertaking for me. The woman that fitted that is dead & I fear I shall not get another such comfortable fit. I looked in the close press three times to make sure that I had got every thing I suppose something must have been hung over it perhaps. If you [need?] the dress have it & welcome I guess I Have enough of the same to make me another I care more for the making than any thing else. Many dont help me sew much now. I am so very glad you are going to Fleming this winter. You will come & see me if you can wont you Dont mind the little Expense of traveling here. You know your husband & children would not if they wanted to go any where If he does well there you would not mind that little will be but a drop in the bucket
Aff. your aunt.
Letter 18 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
Steamer Marble City
on the way from Cairo to Memphis
Dec. 31, 1864.
Dear Sister Caroline and all the Dear ones at Home Mil Brook, Ct.
I cannot tell when, or what, I wrote you last, though I am painfully conscious it has been too long -- and that many a thing has occurred in my history that I ought, in kindness, to have informed you of, and doubtless many a thing has occurred with you that I might have heard of had I written. I mean to write one letter before the year closes, though it is now nine o’clock P.M. of the last day.
I have been so much on the wing that it was hard to tell where I would be, though both in the past (and probably in the future) a letter sent to Cairo will reach me more surely than by any other course.
I did not accompany the Regiment from Atlanta to Savannah, in that trip which for boldness, success and grandeur, perhaps surpassed even that protracted campaign in which I did take part, and which resulted in the capture of Atlanta (Sept 2) and afterwards in the fearful battle and glorious victory at Allatoona Oct. 5. In truth I was much the worse for wear at the close of Oct., and feared another campaign might be very hard upon me if indeed I could stand it at all. Providence opened the way for my relief. A request came from Col. Eaton Sup. of Freedmen’s affairs on the Mississippi for my detail here to assist him and so I was ordered around here. I left Nov. 12, upon the last train that passed from Atlanta to Chattenooga -- having in charge about $60,000 money recently paid the troops, which I afterwards sent to 360 persons by Express or Draft -- a work which took me several days. Afterwards I had a visit at Cairo, finding Abby as well as she has been for several years and successfully managing an important and difficult institution, where during the 11 months ending Dec. 1, were received 90,000 soldiers, and 190,000 meals furnished them. I then went to Memphis, and reported according to order, and learned that I was wanted at Little Rock Ark -- to take charge of schools for Freedmen in that state. By Col. Eaton’s permission I was excused till after the [...] days, that I might once more go to Cairo, and I am now on my way to Memphis, where I expect to arrive tomorrow morning, and there go early next week to my post. My journey will be down the Mississippi to mouth of White River, thence up to Duvall’s Bluff (not on any map that I have seen) thence by R.R. nearly west 45 miles to Little Rock. The distance from <Vicksburg> Memphis is about 600 miles by that course, though I suppose hardly 150 by the bee line.
If you prefer to send a letter to me directly address
Chaplain J. Grant
care of Col John Eaton
Lock Box 42
It may be, but is not probably that for some reason, I shall not go to <there> Little Rock, and hence I do not wish letters sent there now. I am yet as Gen. Sherman said of his troops, “in the air,” i.e. I have not lighted, and fixed my place.
My health has improved much since I left Ga. My hair which was fast coming out, is growing again, naturally, i.e. with out any artificial aid, <and> though it is somewhat mingled with gray, foreshadowing the time when I must have a hoary head if I live (and retain any hair as I sometimes have though I should not) and in other respects I feel better. Wonderful have been the deliverances I have had. Our Regiment has had 38 killed and 151 wounded the past season, and, how many have shared a similar fate since Nov. 12 I cannot say.
But I can tell no more of the thousand things of which I would like to write. I want to say a few things about Daniel. Is he liable to the Draft? If so had he not better volunteer? A private soldier is now almost the only one that can make anything in the war. The high prices of every thing swallow up an ordinary salary like mine. Three years ago I bought an entire suit for $45. Recently (and by favor) I paid $55 for a coat $25 for a vest & pantaloons. A meal cannot be got for less than $1, of the same kind we used to get for 50 cts, &c. But the money is not all the consideration. If he is able he will eventually have to go, I think, for one year at least, and if he volunteers he will get a good bounty -- if he is drafted none. Moreover, it is something of which we should <be> have reason to be proud that more than one of us had been in the army. Of course if he is physically disqualified that ends the matter. I hope, and believe, that a year more will end, if not the war, at least the necessity for a draft.
If he does not think it best or is not able to enter the service, then I will do my best to assist him for which I am now in a better condition (perhaps) than ever before, but I am strongly inclined to think if he is not exempt -- that he had better squarely meet his fate at once.
Sad times are these, but God has called us to them, and we must do our duty. God is also carrying us gloriously through them. “In due season we shall reap if we faint not.” It is a long time to hold out.
With the promise to write without waiting so long again, & with love to clear Father & Mother to Daniel, Marcus and your children I am
Your aff. brother,
The boat joggles so much that I would not write, except that I know I ought, and that the time with all its inconveniences is better than I am likely to have soon again. The writing is, I believe, even worse than usual -- and that is bad enough. Tell your children from me to learn first and foremost to write (after learning to [spell?]), This is a lesson I have for years impressed upon John, and he bids fair to be a good writer. If Daniel could write as well as is <he could joi> desirable he could join the army and probably not be in the field a month. Our Generals Colonels &c, have a great deal of writing to do and if there is a really good writer, they are sure to find him out. There are too few of them. John has already had the offer of a Detail for that work if will enlist. Of course he is too young.