Center for Archival Collections

Reference Services | Manuscripts by Subject | CAC Homepage

Rachel Stanton/Searles Family Papers - MS 597 mf: Transcripts

Correspondence - January - March 1862

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, January 15, 1862

Jan. 15, 1862
Camp Jefferson

Dear Parents,

I take this oppertunity once again of writing a letter to you today to find out what we have done that we cannot have another letter from you. It is now over 3 weeks since we have heard and Ad and I have writen 3 letters to you, but we shall write no more till we hear from home. We are pirty well with the exceptions of bad colds and I hope this will find you all well.

I should like to see you all, but God onley know when that time will come, if ever. If reports be treu we have onley just begun in the war, for I expect that England, France, and Spain will soon be upon our shores to open the blockades in the south. They will undoubtedly syde with the south and then we shall have our hands full. But God will be upon the syde that is right.

I have not got much news to write. We have been here in this camp about a month and how much longer we shall stay here but I think it will not be a great while. If all reports be true our men have not got much time to fool away. Perhaps I shall stay the 3 years out and perhaps I never shall get back. That is more than man can tell, I expect, but the will of the all wise be done, not mine.

It is dreadful weat and mudy here. It has and does rain about 1/2 the time. You have heard perhaps long before you get this that the army in eastern Ky have disbanded, burning their wagons, tents, guns and camp equipage and left. All they have taken with them was 9 pieces of canon that they had with them, but there is a large army of cavelry after them. I have not heard how they made out. We have expected an atack upon Buckner every day and do yet, but when the attack will be made or wheather they will ever be one made I cannot tell.

Well, I must stop for this time. I do not know wheather Ad will write or not. He is on guard today and it rains too. It is an awfull time for mud here. We have some awfull cold nights here, but a very little snow.

Please write soon, for we are both acious to hear from there. Give my best respects to all that may enquire after me. Tell them all to write to me and then they all can do as they are a mind to, for I shall write no more to eny one till they write to me. 3 cents is worth as much to me as eny one and I have 3 and 4 letars to some and I a quit the business. With kind love and best wishes, I remain as ever your son,
Alfred D. Searls

Is it not curious that we do not get more news of what they are a doing in Washington. I have not seen anything that was of but little importance and we have a Cincinnaty paper here daylley. Farewell, my address is Camp Jefferson, Ky - 21st regt OVUSA
Care of Capt Caton, Co H

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, January 20, 1862

Jan. 20, 1862
Camp Jefferson

Dear Parents.

I recieved a letar from you a few days since and was glad to hear that you was as well as you ar. Father, try to take care of your self as well as you can in that unhealthy, unsettled climate. It has been a very unhealthy winter. It has been a warm open winter. It has been one of the most singular winters here that I ever saw. We have had a great deal of rain. It has rained one half of the time for the last 2 weeks and it has not quit yet. We have had some of the hardest thunder storms that I ever witnessed. Perhaps you think that you have seen mud, but I can tell you that you know nothing about mud. The roads, the fields, are all alike. The mud is very near hub deep everywhere.

We should of moved on this week, but the rains have stoped us fur we cannot move our luggage. We shall probably stay here for a month unless the weather should be very fine. But I do not think it will be a week till the batle will take place at Bowling Green. The troups that is a head of us are now upon the move and they will undoubtedly have the thing done long befure we can reach them. They have got men enough with out us and I don't think they will wait for us. I was at General Mitchel's quarters last eavning and I over heard enough to satisfy myself that the thing was soon to take place. But I am not at liberty to tell what I heard nor it would not be proper for me to tell eather. For this letar may never reach it's destination. But we shall all hear in less than 3 weeks news that will make us all tremble that liveth to hear it.

As to the health of the camp, it is not as good as it has been before this weat weather. The boys are exposed too much. We have to stand guard 48 hours out of every 6 days and then we are in the mud all the while and stand no mater what the weather is, rain or snow, freeze or thaw. It is all the same. It is very warm here now. It is spring in every appearance. The birds of all kinds are a singing and the frogs are very lively. Ad and myself are in comfortable health. We have both got bad colds and coughfs, but I feel in hopes that our constitutions are strong enough to ware it out. They was one of our boys out of our company died upon the 15th ult. with the inflamation upon the brain. I took care of him the last day of his life and was with him when he died. He was from Wood Co. His body was sent home. He has a wife and 2 children. He was a very wicked man. It is one of the meny warnings that we have to prepare for that great...

A few minutes ago they was one of Co. A men shot himself by acident. He never strugled. The ball it went into his right brest and came out his left shoulder. They is more left that is too careless. It was the case with him, carelessness. As to news, I have no news to write this time. And I will close hoping this may find you all well. And I want you to write as soon as you get this. Ad will write a letter I guess...

I do sometimes think of home, but have but litle hope of ever seeing it again. But God's will be done not mine. Farewell. Perhaps this may be the last that you may ever have from me. But God only knows. My best wishes and kind love to all.

I remain your son, Alfred D. Searls
Address Camp Jefferson, Ky 21st Regt OVUSA
Farewell my dear parents, brothers and sisters. Tell them all to write to me.

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, January 21, 1862

Jan. 21, 1862
Camp Jefferson

Dear Father,

I will try to write a few lines to you. Know that I am very well at presant with the exception of a bad coughf. We are in camp at Camp Jefferson yet and we are ditchig our camp and probily will stay here for sometime yet. We have lost three men within 5 days. Won man in our company he did with the brain fever and Co G lost won with the fever and yesterday Co A lost won man. He shot him self through the brest and did instently. In the 33 ridg lost one man Saturday. Two brothers got to fighting about the raition and won brother shot the other and kild him instently.

Well I must draw to a close for this time. So good by. Pleas write soon.

To Mr. E.G. Searls from your son Addison Searls. Direct to Camp Jefferson, Bacon Crick, Kantucky

Hello Mary, I hav not much news to write to you this time. I am vary well at presant and I hope that thes few and poor lins will find you the same. Well I must stop for it is time for the lites to go out.

Please rite soon, yours with respect to Mary Searls from Addison Searls

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, February 10, 1862

Camp Jefferson
Feb 10, 1862

Dear Father,

I will try to write a few lines to you. I am well at present and I hope that this few and poor lines will find you the same.

We recieved you letar to day and was glad to here from you, for it seems along while between times. We are in Camp Jefferson yet and I think that we will stay here for some time yet and whether we shall go on or not but I wish that it would come time to do something before long, for it seems long enough to lay here so long.

I have not got much news to write this time, pleas to excuse me for this time. Pleas to write soon.

Mr. Addison Searls to his father E.G. Searls

Direct to Camp Jefferson, Bacon Crick, Heart Co., Ky. 21st Ridg, Co H in car of Capt Caton, OVUSA

Well, Mary, I recieved yours today and was glad to here from you. We are well at presant and I hope that this few and poor lines will find you the same. We are in camp at Bacon Crick and probably will stay here for some time yet and I wish that we would eather go on to the batlefield or move back to our ane state. I hav not got much news to write this time for laying in camp we do not have any news.

Give my love to all, pleas to write soon and I will answer all of your letars.

Pleas to direct to Camp Jefferson, Bacon Crick, Heart Co, Ky
21st Ridg, Co H in care of Capt Catn
from your brothers, Addison Searls to his sister Mary Searls

Pleas to excuse all bad spelling and words.
So good by, yours truly, A Searls to Mary Searls

Father if you will please send me 3 or 4 stamps. I sent my money home and we have went a month over our time of pay and I cannot get them here if I had thousands of money, for they are not for sale here. And I find that my letars go shurer when paid. Perhaps we shall get our pay in a few weeks - adieu.

Alfred D. Searls
Write soon

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, February 16, 1862

Bowling Green, Ky
Headquarters, 21st Regt
Ohio Vol, Feb 16, 1862

Dear Parents,

I take this oppertunity to let you know that we still live and where we be. We have got at last the long dreaded place Bowling Green.

You will see this is the 18th Feb. Since I commenced this leter we have made a big change. After I commenced leter, general Michle give orders to strike tents and march immediately. We was 20 minutes in packing up and getting underway. We had a hard march from Green River. We marched 42 miles in 2 days; the first day 18 miles, the 2 days we came through. We drove old Breckenridg in 10 miles on double quick and the people say they never heard such swaring as his men made. We double quicked it 13 miles without a stop of eny kind. They threw a few shells, but none of them took affect. We never lost a man nor hurrt one. We killed some, but don't know how meny. They was across the river and they had burned both bridges, railroad and pike. But we crossed the river on the pieces that lay a float on the watter. We carried all of our tents and camp equippage on our backs and up a steep ledge of rocks about 60 rods, where they was onley room anough fur one man to walk at a time. But we are camped in town. We expect them back every hour, fur we hold Nashville and Columbus, so they could not get in their as they expected to and our boys are a driving them back onto us. But let them come, we are ready fur them. We hold their forts, twelv in number, and some of them is very strong. I can tell you 2000 men ought to of held this place against 40,000 if they had of been the right stuff. We was to soon fur them, they did not expect us under 2 weeks. We took a great deal of propperty, but they burned up a great deal of stuff. They burned their pork hous up where they had 35,000 head of hogs slaughtered and packed. One of our shells, the first, fired the big depot. The next shot killed 2 men and disabled an engine that they was a loadding to start off with. Then they left on foot. There was a great meny small arms burned up, guns of all discriptions, one cannon. They was 10 engines burned here. They were in the depot. We are a fixing up some of them and will have them ready to run in a few days. We expec the cars in today. We have men a fixing the track as fast as we gain the ground.

I recieved a leter from you this morning and was glad to hear from home and to hear that you were all well, but was sorry to hear you had such tidings from the land of my birth. I hope they will prove better than is expected. I do not blame you for wanting to go and see the old folks once more on their earth. For all things is fast passing away and the places that now knows them will soon know them no more forever. I feel very much disappointed in not getting a leter from Mary. I feel very acious and we are a mooving so often that we cannot get our mail. But I hope and trust we shall see this thing done before a great while. But God only knows when that time will come.

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, February 18, 1862

Bowling Green, Ky
Feb 18, 1862

Dear Father,

It is with pleasure I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and I hope that this few and poor lines will find you the same. We are in Bowling Green and expect to go on to Nashville, Tenes. and we expect to whip them all before long. They never returned a shot, but retreated on doublecwick and if they would not stand fire here they will not fight anywhere, for they had this place well fordfide and some 1000 men would whip 4000 of us, but they will not stand fire and I hope that these rebels will soon be done with here and we will return home agane to our friends.

Well, I must stop for the present. Please write soon.
From Addison Searls to Mr. E.G. Searls
So good by. Direct to Bowling Green, Ky 21st Reg OV USA

We are a suffering awfuley for the want of something to eat. We have not had eny thing in the shape of bread fur 3 days. A little salt beef is all we have got and God only knows when we shall get eny. They is a plenty but our comesaries are a filleng their pockets and a starving the men in doing it. But if there is not a change soon there will be a rebelion with our men and that is certain. But I must close for this time. As to our health it is not good. I have not spoken aloud word for near on 2 weeks. My lungs is so bad that I cannot lay down level. I have to allmost sit up to sleep. I think some times that I never shall speak aloud again, but I do not know.

I have just eat my breakfast and I have censumed about 1/2 pound of salt beef ? 2 salts and one beef 3 waters, but when we get some crackers all will be right I guess so. Well, I hop you are all well and will keep so. Give my love to all my friends. I will bid you farwell.
From your son, Alfred D. Searls

Please to write as soon as you get this or get home and let me know how things get along and how things are. I hope the girls will come home with you, but I do not know wheather I shall ever get back their to see eny of you.

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, February 28, 1862

February 28, 1862
Camp Andrew Jackson,
Nashville, Tennissee

Dear Parents,

I take this chance to let you know where we be and that we still live and are pirty well. I hope this will find you the same. We have had a pirty hard time of it for the last 2 weeks, but hope to have it better soon now, for we all look for this thing to close before a great while now. We have not had no very bloody batels yet, but if we hav't done some tall marching then I don't know. We are now 4 miles south of the Cumberland River and of Nashville. We are at work establishing a perminant camp. Our general said this morning that he did not think we should ever go eny further than where we are now, but he cannot tell it all, no more than I can. They fly before us like chaff, this army is breaking up as fast as it can. We see lots of them every day, a going home. Their time is up. I cannot write much this time. I wrote a leter to you the other day. I have a leter in my hands that was sent to Capt. Caton in this regtment directed to A.K. Edsall and wrote to him. The name signed to it is E.H.L. Lane and I cannot solv the thing myself. My sister Emelys name is in the leter, they is a part of the leter that no one can read. I do not think it was mailed at Locke, N.Y. Jan 31, 1862. You going down there you may find out so as to give me some light on the thing. I shall preserve the leter till I find out what it means. It seems by the leter that he is in the same company with me, but I know he is not nor in the regiment eather.

Well, I must close fur this time. I do not know wheather Ad will write this time or not, but I think he will. My bes respects to all friends and tell them that I have wrot to them. I am obliged to the whole of them fur the answers to my leter that I have wrote to them and they may want to hear from me again and they will over the left ? but I must close fur this time. Hoping to see you all some day, I remain as ever your son,
Alfred D. Searls,
Write soon - farewell - direct to Camp Andrew Jackson near
Nashville, Tennissee, 21st Regt OV Cap Caton, Co H

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, March 9, 1862

Camp Andrew Jackson
March 9, 1862

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure that I have fast recieved another letar from you and was glad to hear that you was all in good health and that you had got safe home from your journey and that you had the pleashure of seeing once more those aged parents upon earth. But yet it is but a moments amusements and sattisfaction. But let this pass for the present. This is the dullest time and the strictest times we have seen yet. They is nothing in the shape of print allowed to come here. All of the news we get is by letar and they are far betwene now, fur they is no one that writes but Mary and you. The rest of my what was supposed to be friends have forgotten that I am a contending fur their privelages that they enjoy. But it makes but little difference to me for my career will be shorten in the world. I have a deep rooted disease that is fast waring me out. I have not spake a loud word fur over a month now and I sometimes think I never shall.

Ad has a prity bad cold, otherways he is well and fat; he weights 185 pounds now. We are now in Tennissee 4 miles south of Nashville, the Capt. capitol. The whole of Buells forces is a concentrating here for what purpose I know not. I understand that all war news north and south is stopped now, but I hope the war is about played out. We have the report here that Manassey is taken, but wheather it is so or not I cannot tell, but hope it true.

I have no news to write this time. This is a beautiful contery what I have seen of it, but the weather is more changeable than it is where we live; warm days and freeze very hard every night. The wild plum is in full bloom here now. The talk here seems to be that we shall go on into Georga and Allibamy and perhaps to Florriday, but I cannot tell what fur, fur the rebels have no large force together here now and we hold them in such a shape that they cannot concentrate eather if they want to.

But I must draw to a close for this time. You speak of my geting a furlow for a while. I cannot, and if I could it would cost me $30 to get home from here. I have got to travel about 1000 miles to get home and fare here is differant to what it is in the north. I never want to come home till I come to stay, but I make but litle calculations of ever comming home. If my health was good I might think differant, but all is well as it comes along. I find no fault if it is God's will be done, for he dos all for the best. My best wishes and kind live to all that thinks enough of me to inquire after me, and I remain as ever your son,
Alfred D. Searls
address me Camp Andrew Jackson, near Nashville, Tenn - 21st Regt AU Co H, Capt Caton, write soon and oblige me. Remember me to the younger children. Farewell.

Alfred Searles to E. G. Searles, March 29, 1862

21st Regt OV USA
Col. I. L. Norton
Co H
Camp Van Buron
March 29, 1862

Dear Parents,

I take this oppertunity this fine spring morning inthe sunny south to answer your ever welcome letter of the 12th which came to hand yesterday and found us as well as yousiel. I hope this may find you all well. We are encamped on Stone River, 50 miles southwest of Nashville. We are a building bridges now, 7 in number, 4 railroad and 3 pike bridges that the scamps burned here in one little town. But their day is about done. I think from the best infurmation that I can gain the battles are about all fought.

I have no news to write to you this time, for I do not take the news now days. I shant write much fur I have no stamps and I have not got much faith without they are prepaid. I sent $10 of Addisons home with mine and told Mary to send it imediately to you. We shall draw our pay again befure a great while and then Ad says he will send the ballance to you and I will see that he does.

So, as to the letters that you spoke of, I never have recieved but one from Luisa, one from D Coml, which was on the road one month and 4 days, and them are all. I have answered D.C. but I must close for this time. Hoping to hear from you soon and see you all in the cours of the summer. I bid you all good bye, my love to all, please write soon.

My address is Camp Vanburon, Murfers borough, Tenn
21st Regt OV Co H Campt Caton

And except this from your son Alfred D. Searls to his parents
E.G. and M. Searls

MS 597: Stanton/Searles Family - Introduction | Transcript List
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War Collections