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James Wilson Davidson Papers - MMS 1673
James Wilson Davidson enlisted August 22, 1861, in Company A, 49th regiment, O.V.I., which was mustered in at Camp Noble, at Tiffin, Ohio. He was elected 2nd Lieutenant of his company, and on July 9, 1862, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant for meritorious conduct. At the battle of Stone River, Tenn., December 31, 1862, he was severely wounded in the right leg, from which disability he was discharged on July 21, 1863.
Nov 16th 1861
My Dear Wife
As I was very much disapointed this morning when the ----------a letter from you--------received-----------that came the first of the week and this numbers the third one I have written----that----if I could but----week I would feel as------that---------The captain received a letter from his wife and so did Lieut Gray he received rather sorrowful news being the death of his wife's brother and she is very anxious for the Lieut to resign and come home he does not know what to do about as they will not accept of his resignation on that excuse they are very particular about what a man's reasons are for resigning before the[y] accept them as our Generals are a heartless set of men have nothing but millatary gizzards. We are going to have a change in our Major Generals General Sherman is going to be superceded by Genl Buel[l] and he is coming to review us tomorrow for the first time. The general suposition here in camp is that we will be ordered to move forward now in a few days by our new General. Which I hope will be so for the sooner we move forward the sooner we will get home if we get home at all and I am getting very anxious to get home again and the prospect is very slim if we stay here all winter. The paymaster has not come around but we still keep looking for him and have the promise that he will be here tomorrow but it seems to me that tomorrow never will come as that has been the cry for the last two weeks. As I am sitting here writing tonight the Capt sits on one side of me reading the Louisville Journal and biting his finger nails while Dan Grubb sits on the other side of the stove cursing the Rebles[Rebels] and our Genls for not letting us go right into them and cutting them to pieces and that appears to be the motto of all the boys in the company as they are getting tired of this life of inactivity and so am I but I would rather move towards old Eden now than any place I know of at this present time. And I do say that if we have to stay here this winter that I will go home and see you if I have to desert for I do not see any us of so many officers staying here when there is nothing to do. I told Col. Gibson as much the other day he laughed and said he guessed I would not desert but I told him if I could not get home any other way that I would if I could get a chance to as I will have to admit that a man's chances for deserting is mighty slim as everything in the millitary line is gaurded so very close but I will give it a trial if they do not let me go without.
James Foster received a letter from James Watt yesterday saying that they were all well and that he would not enlist again untill some of the broadcloth of Findlay enlisted he named Milt Taylor Marsh Thompson Ben Hyatt & several others that I think is very sensible I think. Have you heard from John since he left with the 21st as I hear there is considerable sickness in that Regt. I believe that I will write to him tomorrow and find out about it. Give my respects to all the friends in Eden, and all my love to Mary, Jane.
From your afft
Camp Florence Alabama
June 14th, 1862
My Dear Wife
As this is the first opertunity[opportunity] I have had to write to you for a week I suppose you will begin to think that I have forgotten to write. But not so for I have wanted to write to you every day and did write one letter on the march with my pencil and sent to you from Iuka, where we stopped to rest for one day. We have been on the march ever since Corinth was evacuated and have at length arrived at the Tennessee river opposite the city of Florence Alabama one of the richest southern towns I was never as surprised in my life as I was at the difference there is between northern Miss. & Alabama Miss is nothing but a rough broken forest with a farm partly cleared up ever[y] ten miles while Alabama is all under cultivation and some of the largest and finest mansions I ever saw. The second day that we marched in this state I started in the morning before the Regt & followed the Rail Road in company with Sgt Major Green of our Regt and several boys out of Cotters Battery and when struck the wagon road I found that we were about five miles ahead of the troops and we stopped to rest and while resting we saw a large mansion about one half mile from the road (as the planters in this country never build there[their] houses near the road always having a nice graveled road and park in front of them) we thought we would go up and get some dinner. So we all went up and called at the door and asked if we could get some dinner. But our answer was no sir we have nothing to eat for ourselves and wont let you have anything to eat. I thought it very strange that a man living in as good style as he was, certainly had something to eat but said nothing more but started through his negro quarters which were pretty extensive as he had, so his overseer told me 200 slaves men women & children we went down to the bottom of the hill (as all there[their] planters build there mansions on elevated ground) and found a splendid spring fixed up in splendid style and fine shade trees all around we concluded that would be a nice place to wait untill the Regt came up we had not been there long before there was about forty soldiers & officers come to the same place to rest and then the little niggers began to come around as thick as fleas some of them perfectly naked others with nothing but there shirts on and commenced dancing and singing plantation songs all secesh but they would be union if they dare but there massas were all secesh and would flog them like the debbil[devil?] if they would sing union ones. After we had been there a few minutes the big niggers began to come around us as it was Saturday afternoon and they had there holiday and they are the blackest niggers that I ever saw regular full blood African and they brought down there fiddles banjos & bones and gave us some plantation sport we had all the sport we wanted with the niggers then I talked with some of them and they told us that there master had plenty of grubb but would not sell it to union soldiers but would give it to the secesh soldiers and that he had two sons in the secesh army but had not heard from them since the battle of Shiloh but said if they had fallen it was in a good cause that is the way they all talk through some parts of this state but where we are now they are pretty near all union. We passed through Tuscumbia a very fine town five miles here but it was pretty well vacated all we saw was niggers but it was last Sunday morning early and I suppose the white population were not up yet. We arrived here Sunday afternoon and our Regt and the 26th Regt were ordered to build a couple of flat boats to ferry the troops across the river on and I was detailed to take charge of the men and build the boats, that is the reason that I did not get time to write to you before and I have just got the boats finished and started down the river to what is called the lower landing where the most of the troops are lying and we expect to move forwarded tomorrow so you must not be uneasy if you do not get letters regular from me as when we are on the wing we have no chance to write or mail letters but I will try and send you a letter once a week and oftener if I can and when we get into camp I will write every other day as usual. The Capt has been over in the city of Florence and says they are all very fine people living there and they sent us over some very nice bread apples plums potatoes horseradish and other vegetables so that we are living very well now. But I am going to come home to you just as soon as I can after we get through marching again as there is no chance to get away while on the wing. Give my regards to all the folks and all my love to you and Arthur. I would write more but I have not time as we have to get ready to march just as soon as we can. Kiss our dear little baby for me every day his dear papa and your affectionate husband.
Camp Near Stevenson Ala
July 13th, 1862
[sideways along top margin] Direct to McCooks Division 49th Regt via Nashville
Being out of stamps and there being no chance of getting any here I have to send all my letters through without --- J.W.D.
I again take my old pen to write you a few lines to jog your old memory in regard to the couple of letters I wrote to you while we were lying before Corinth and after the evacuation that I have never received an answer from but as our mails have been so iregular[irregular] the last two months you might have written and they have never come through to me. I am well with the exception of a slight touch of home sickness. We have been doing some very hard marching since we left Corinth Miss we left there on the 10th of June and the first 24 hours after leaving Corinth we marched twenty miles through the hardest country that you or any person else ever traveled through ----- --- you have been through wood co. it is a flower[?] to it that is Northern Miss from Corinth to Iuka Springs which is a very nice little southern town near the line of Alabama, and there is some very fine springs and fine buildings which were calculated for a summer resort for Southern gentry & ladies. But the roads we had to travel through from Corinth to that place were through swamp and pine forest and dusty roads as it has not rained in this country for six weeks and the dust is so thick that you can hardly see your hand before you. We laid over at Iuka one day to gather in our men as they could not stand such hard marching after lying still so long especially when so hot as it is here. It is just as much warmer than in Ohio as it is between there and Lake Superior. We then marched 28 miles to Florence Ala where we had to stop seven days and build boats to cross the Tenn. River. I did not get any rest -------------------- to take charge of the carpenters------------ boats after they were built -------------------- over and went on our wagons----------- knowing when we were going ----------------------- to stop was ------ where -------------------- and they have saved[?] time ---------------- nothing to --------and good quarters[?] -------------------- three miles from town to--------------- we were not allowed to leave ------------------ and see the ----- but they ------------------ see us. They were up to our camp ------------------- Capt Gray got permission of --------------------- to go with the teams after-------------- staid all night but the next ---------------------- he had got done eating his breakfast and was sent for and put under arrest. But such is the fate of war. Capt Langworthy resigned at Florence and left us at Athens I suppose you have seen him and heard all. We then marched to Huntsville where we stopped a week to wait for further orders we generally get our orders about 10 o'clock at night to be ready to march the next morning at three and in the Army orders are orders & must be obeyed. We spent our fourth of July in that camp it was seven miles on the other side of Huntsville and a heavy gaurd[guard] around camp no one was allowed to leave it was very pleasant you know we did not see any difference between the fourth of July and any other day our duties were just the same. We left that camp on the sixth and arrived here on the eleventh and here we are waiting for more orders not knowing where we will go next but expect to pitch into the mountains as we are right among them. We are seventeen miles from Battle Creek where Joe is stationed. I sent him word by one that I ----- in Stevenson the next day after we camp ------------------------------------ was down here and could not get leave of absence long enough to go and see him so yesterday he came riding into our quarters in a fine captured charger and you better believe I was glad to see him and he me We just sat and talked old times over untill long in the afternoon when he said he must get back as he only got excused for that day but I told him he could not go so he put my cook on his horse and sent him to town with a message to the General ------------------------------ with me and just left a couple of the------------------------ and the same old Joe he let me read a ---------------------------and from you a few days ago. I was very-------------------------- that you was all right and forked end ------------------------------------------- hear from you soon. Joe and I just ------------------------------only had old Dun and Yeassy with us we ---------------------- would not care for anything else in the army --------------------------------- you to bind yourself to any Regt for three years for I tell you it is a long time to live out of civilization and travel all over creation just where ever these Brigadiers are allowed to march you for I tell you it is hard business and I am going to get out of it as soon as I can. Joe says he is going to write to you pretty soon some of these times Tell Yeassy I would like to get a scratch from him if he has time to scratch a few words to an old Brother soldier give my respects to all the boys and tell them to go in and fight for there[their] country now while it is called for fear that it may be everlastingly to[too] late.
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