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Weddell Family Papers - MS 484 MF

Tommy Shanks Correspondence

May 16, 1864

Baltimore, Ma. McHenry
May 16, 1864

Dear Cousin:

It is with pleasure that I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know how we are all getting along; we are all well at present. Hoping these few lines may find you all the same. We got to this place last night and it was Sunday. I tell you it don't look much like Sunday we don't hardly know when Sunday comes but I hope since we have got to camp we may have the Sabbath respected more. This is a very pretty place here. We are right on the Chesapeake Bay; it is not over 3 rods to the water to where I am writing. So we can go in swimming when we have a minute. It looks very nice here.

I have been on the guard every day since we left Westfield and had quite a time running after Hunt and Seat. We got Seat but did not get Hunt. He runaway when we got to Westfield on Tuesday evening and started for Columbus at 3 in the morning. We changed cars at Piquay [Ed note: Piqua, Ohio] and then went to Columbus and we got there about 10 A.M. and we went to Tod Barracks but we could not find them there so we went to Camp Chase and found them all mixed up. Some in one Co. and some in another. So I had to go where I was sent. If I had been there all the time I could have got in the Co. that George [Weddell, 1st Lt. Co.I] is in with the rest of the boys. So they send me and D. Main, G. Garner, F. Smith, A. Austin, J. Cive, Noah Brandeberry, John Nenetten, A. Bushnell, and one or two more in the Perrysburg Co.

We left Columbus the next day after I got there, that was Thursday. We left Columbus and then went to Pittsburgh. There is some pretty places in Ohio around Columbus. We went down on the Ohio River and went along awhile then we went to Pittsburgh, it is a pretty large place. There is some very nice places around there but it was getting dark when we got to the city. They had a good supper prepared for us so we got supper and stayed until about 12 o'clock and then started for this place. We went through Harrisburg; there is some pretty farms around there. We got our dinner there and then started for Baltimore and we got into Baltimore about 11 A.M. and we got our dinner and then went to Fort McHenry. We have got Barracks and they are clean. I guess there is a good many prisoners here. There was 5 who got out last night. They say they are going to get away from the new men, they went out on the roof.

We had a very nice trip though. Here we have seen a great deal if we only keep our health we will get along. There was one man got killed on our way through, he was on the deck and there was a train passing at the same time and our train started up and he fell off and the other train ran over him and smashed him to pieces. He was from Wyandot Co. Every place we passed, the women was all out waving their handkerchiefs and some would hold down their heads. We saw some pretty good-looking girls but not very many. I am sorry our Regt is all scattered around. The Co. that George and the rest of the boys is gone to Delaware, Captain Smith and Lieut. Muir have gone and Capt. Black's Co. has gone. They have all gone to Delaware. It don't seem much like home but we will have to go where we are sent but I did not like to part with them. It did not make much difference as long as we were all together and I don't suppose we will be together will we get home. Don't know how long we'll stay here but I hope that we will stay here a while.

T. Shanks

June 19, 1864

Anapolis Junction
June 10, 1864

Dear Cousin:

I have sit down to answer your kind and welcome letter which I had the privilege of reading the other day. I was very glad to know that you was all well. I am a rather a four hand at writing a letter but I will do the best I can. I am well at present and get along first rate. There is some of the boys complaining Lock Scot went to the hospital last night. I think we will be able to come back soon. Our Co. has been very healthy so far and I hope that it may continue to be so. We have had a very nice rain this morning; it has made the air quite cool and pleasant. We have had some very warm weather but we have a good shower every week or so and it keeps the ground cool and nice.

Our camp is situated in a very nice and cool place and the boys can enjoy the cool shade they want. David Main and I have stand guard every afternoon at the Junction and we have the privilege of seeing a good many soldiers of the 133rd Ohio went through here last night. A good many of them is from Hancock Co. Some of them was down at Toledo last fall. I had to guard 8 deserters a while. They were hard looking men, they were in chains and they stood over them with loaded revolvers. He said he had taken over 300 and they were the worst. He had got them from New York and they were going to Baltimore. They are drafting there and paying a good pile for substitutes and they were going to hire out. There was a squad of our Co. sent out last night to try and catch some more of them but they did not get any of them. There was about 250 paroled prisoners came to the hospital they other day. I tell you they are a hard looking set of men, some wounded and some almost starved to death and there is a good many wounded in these last battles is coming here wounded in every shape and manner. It looks awful to see so many going around with crutches.

David and I had a trip down to Annapolis the other day. We went on Saturday night; we found most all of the boys all well. George was not very well but able for Denty he looks pretty well but it don't agree with him. John Dunipace is in the hospital, I think he will soon get well. He is around most of the time and is well taken care of. Everything is kept in the best of order. He says he won't try it again, maybe he has got satisfied now. David is getting along first rate; all the rest of the boys is well. John Fenton is complaining but is well again. They have a very nice camp and things very handy but it is very warm and they have a great deal of guarding to do.

We was all through the town and the Navy Yard, it is very nice. In the Navy Yard, there is a great many wounded soldiers there. I was astonished to see them so well taken care of. We got some ripe cherries down there. There is some very large cherries down there. There is lots of huckle berries here that will be ripe after a while. Now I want you to keep me well posted in the affairs at home for we don't get very many letters and how you and the girls is getting along. You must perform your duty. There is not many girls here and what is very homely. You must have some very patriotic ones at home by what I hear. I will have to close; I send my best respects.

All yours truly from your old friend,

T. Shanks

July 7, 1864

Annapolis Junction
July 7, 1864

Dear Cousin:

I now sit down to answer your kind letter which I received a few days ago. I was very glad to know that you was well and all the rest of the folks. I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all the same, and the health of the Co. is very good at the present and hope it may long continue. There is not a sick man in the camp at the present. There is some back which I know nothing about. We are still in camp here yet but don't know how long for there is quite an excitement here. The Rebs has got into Maryland. We got a telegraph dispatch on Sabbath night about 11 o'clock to have 3 days rations cooked so we might be ready to march at five minutes warning. So we have got all things ready to march on Monday morning but we have not got any further orders yet.

When we move, we will go in the direction of Harper's Ferry for the Rebels is coming in there pretty strong. The report was that Harper's Ferry was taken but I think not. There is a report that they are going to destroy the railroad between Baltimore and Washington and if that is true we will have to be on our lookout. This morning before we got out of bed, someone said that our 3 Co. from Annapolis was come up. So we got out of bed as quick as we could and went to the Junction and it was our boys. They were coming to meet us. I was very glad to see them but we had to make short stories for the cars did not stop for long. We saw all the boys that is in Co.I. They are all well and in good spirits. George is well and looks pretty well. I would have liked very well if our Co. went with them. It does me good to have a good handshake of an old friend's hand and have a talk with them. Where they are going they did not know but I think they are going in the direction of Harper's Ferry. They just had their guns and their blankets. I think they will return in a few days, as the news was favorable last night.

Our Co. is still on Provost duty and I suppose that is the way we are left but we may have to go in a short while. Now I must let you know how we spent our Fourth. It was a very quiet one for we did not have the privilege to run all over. There was a picnic over at the hospital but we did not get invited over to it. They sent word to the Capt. to come over but he said if they would not invite all the Co. he would not go. I want to know how you spent the Fourth and what kind of time you had at home. Write soon and let me know all the news. Excuse in five letter and all into takes from your affectionate cousin,

Tommy Shanks

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