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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.

James Wilson Davidson Papers


April 8, 1865

Head Quarters U.S. Military Prison
Camp Morton
Indianapolis, Ind.
April 8th 1865

My Dear Wife,

I arrived in Indianapolis last night at half past ten o'clock being one hour later than the regular time occasioned by the breaking of some machinery. I did not get to bed until about 12 oclock. I found the horse and buggy there to bring me out ------I then-------------- until the theatre was out before I could go home as Wagner had brought it down for me and he put him in the stable and went to the theatre. When I arrived at Camp I found the house locked up and all the windows fastened so that I could not make an entrance without a key. I went to Converse and got his key but it would not unlock the door. I then went down in to Camp and found Henry and behold he had the key to the house. You know you thought you had it at the Spencer house but you was mistaken for you gave it to Henry. I was all right then and went to bed but it was very lonesome and I wished that you had came with me. I found the Camp all right but everything appears gloomy and all that is talked about is the assisunation of the President there was seven men in the 43rd Regt that exulted over it and the old soldiers took them and hung them up by the neck and would have killed them if the officers had not have interfered just in time. They have since been put in irons in the little prison by order of Bvt. Brig. Gen. Stevens to await Court Martial since then everything is quiet and every one appears sad. This is a beautiful day here and all the trees are putting forth their green coats and the grass is growing fine. Converse had our house whitewashed all around while I was gone and it looks beautiful. I am going to get some mourning and hang over the door as Gen. Stevens has order that all the quarters shall be draped in mourning. Bell Shurtleff took the measles the next day after we left and has recovered and Mrs Shurtleff is going home with her this evening. Sister went away the day she said she would. I am going to board with Nat. Frank Place has the measles now very bad but they have come out on her very nice and the Doctor says by proper care she will get along without any trouble. The talk is now that we are going to leave here but no one knows where we are going there is one Regt to leave but I think it will be the 43d. I will find out before I write again what the Genls opinion is. Give my respects to all. And all my love to you and Arthur kiss him for his papa and tell him that Camp Morton is all right yet.


November 14, 1865

Burnside Barracks
Indianapolis Ind
November 14th 1865

My Dear Wife

Received your long letter of the 12th today and I was somewhat surprised to[too] for it is the first one that I have received of more than four pages since I came back but I hope that it will not be the last for there is nothing that does me so much good as to receive a good long letter from you telling me all about how you and Arthur are getting along I never get tired reading about Arthurs little cute tricks and sayings, but I think he is beginning to dream rather young and I guess that it would puzzle him some to remember what he dreamed about but if he does I would like to know what the little darling's thoughts were while sleeping. I will go down to the city tomorrow and see if I can find an overcoat for him and send it either by express or by Sam for I think that Sam will go home the last of this week of[or] the first of next unless something happens that I am not aware of at present. I am very glad that you have had his picture taken and will look for some of them in every letter until they come. I am very glad you have not five or six children and I hope that you never will have that many for then I would not know what to do to provide for them and I would not expect a letter once a month from you for I know that you would not get time to write more than often. It does not alarm me because he does not learn fast for I know that if he lives and keeps his health he will have plenty of time to learn. And then when he gets older he will take more interest than he would if he should get disgusted while so young. I saw by the paper last week that Uncle Ben had went into partnership with his sons in the drug business but I did not think that he would go in as a salesman himself. I am of your opinion that he will not make a very good one for I think he will be to[too] honest and give away to much of the profits, in trying to make every one go away satisfied but then perhaps he will soon learn the ropes as his son Sam is a very good hand to learn with. I wish that he would buy John Mays property if he has any notion of buying over in town for I never would want better neighbors than they are. And we ought to know for we have tried them when we needed good neighbors and now that we are in better circumstances I am very sure we could appreciate them. I should think that William Watt would know better than to mind what his old whimsical mother says about his wife being extravagant for I think she is as good a wife as he could get anyplace but that is the way when a man comes behind in pecuniary affairs he is ready to jump at anything to throw the blame on some person besides himself even his wife. If it had not been for her unneccessary extravagance he could have paid everything but I hope that I will not be so. I know that I done and said some very mean things on this very subject, but I never meant half as bad as I said and hereafter I will try to guard against such actions for I know very well how disagreeable they make persons feel and how very bad it looks. I was very much surprised to hear that Phillips wife was crazy for I always thought so much of him and I hope that he will get her where she will be taken care of before anything serious happens. I think that James is rushing things if Mass is on the road again for it has not been very long since she lost her other one. I think that Esthers head is about level on that matter but then as I do not expect to have to take care of them it is none of my business how many they have, but I suppose you will refer me to my own affairs well I will have to admit that I do not want more than one more for I think that is about all that I can take care of. I think myself that if I had been at home you would not have been setting around on Sunday until four oclock with a dirty Calico on for I do think that is one of first signs of laziness and slovenness, but as I did not see it I will say nothing more about it. Sam received your letter about one week ago and said that he would not answer it right away for the reason that he had just wrote to mother a day or two before, he is well and as I said before expects to go home before long as our men have all been mustered out except eight and all the officers remain except Captains Guthridge and Hicks they have both been mustered out and Capt Guthridge has gone home to Lafayette and Capt Hicks is going to start for Illinois tomorrow to hunt a place to settle his brigade one he will leave the brigade here until he finds a place. Mrs Hicks says that she knows the Captain will make more money out of the service than he can in if he only gets a good start once and she says that when he gets settled down in that western country and the people get acquainted with the Captain that he will be elected to some office that will pay better than this does. Success to him but I think he will find the western people to[too] smart for him or at least as smart as the people in Philadelphia, but he is gone and we are all glad of it. We were all examined by the surgeon of the ninth regiment Hancock Corps yesterday in regard to our disability in pursuance to orders from the War Department. I do not know what it was for but I suppose we will know before long. As the mail boy is waiting I will close by sending all my love to my darling wife and baby.

Your True Husband,
JW Davidson

MMS 1673 - James Wilson Davidson Guide
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