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Rachel Stanton/Searles Family Papers - MS 597 mf: Transcripts
Headquarters, Athens, Limestone Co. Alabama
early June 1862?
Once more have we had the pleasure of receiving another letter from you. It came through in 5 days. We were glad to hear you were all well, which found us the same. We have no news to write, any more than we expect to have a fight here. They made the attempt this morning. Whether they did not calculate to make a stand or wheather they wanted to see our strength and how we was situated is more than I can say, but this much I know their information was very limited, for they did not find the pickets of the old 21st asleep. They cam on to them about one hour before day lylit, but the result was a dose of lead through the darkness. We could not tell what the damage was, but in 10 minutes after the allarm our regiment, a regiment of calvary and a battery was on the move, but there has been nothing seen since. What this night may tell is more than I am able to say, but you need not fear for it is nothing but some of those land pirets and they never will want to come but once. It has given the boys something to think and talk about. Things have become very dull here. I do not know wheather I told you in my last letter that we were set up here for a guard to this place. As long as it needs guards we shall stay here if they do not drive us out, which I don't think they will do. There is the 3rd Regt of Kentucky Cavelry and the 2nd Ohio Battery attached to ours which forms a pretty strong guard.
Well I have not got much of anything more to write. I have written an answer to Marys that I received today and will write some to you guys. Please answer this soon, my respects to all and my best wishes to the family and kind love.
Direct to Athens, Alabama, 21st Regt., OVMSA, Lt Curry, Com, Co H. I will think about the stock I have at home. I may take a furlow some of the days and come home. It depends alltogether how they use me here. But I have to be pretty strong for I would not like to have a dishonerable discharge not since I have been in the service so long and never have been repromanded for anything. I am now figuring for to get some stripes on and I shall get them if our boys ever get back that was taken prisoner. They started for the regiment and they are at Columbus, Ohio and we had a letter from our lieutenant and he said they would like to stay there but to tell what I mean as soon as there is a chance for a furlow again my officers sayt that I may go home. I had one all signed up to General Mitchel and he got the order issued by the Secretary of War that they would be no furlows granted for the next ninety days and that nocked it in the head but I have the first chance.
But good day, from Alfred D. Searls.
Please write soon and oblige me, the bugle blows for dress parade, and I must quit. Do write often and let us know how you all are, and who goes to war from there. We want to know who is dead, but there is some that I want to have in silence about six months.
June 22, 1862
Once again I resume the silent medium of correspondence the pen and ink to inform you that we still live and have a pirty good share of health and strength and hope this will still find you enjoying the same health and strength.
We are still on Elk River a guarding the RR and telligraph. How much longer we shall stay is more than I can say. We have no news here at all to write; you have more news than we. What they are adoing at Richmond, we as soldiers know nothing at all wheather they are a doing eny thing their at all or not. They seem to have them in a smaller compass than they have been. The citizens have it here that they have whiped our men all out, killed 60 thousands of our men and took all of our cannon and a great meny of our small arms. Well we know nutheng to the contrary, but I have my doubts about that, for that is not our way of doing business, but still it may be so. But there is a going to be another big move with our forces that I can see. I have not been in the service allmost 10 months fur nutheng. I can tell when they is a move to be made and not hear a word, but what this move is to be, I can't tell.
We have not had eny very late news from you, but I think we shall hear from their this week. Ad is out on a scout tonight on horseback. Where he has gone I don't know nor what his business is. Ad makes a heard soldier. He fears nutheng and they is another to aid him. If they is eny particular business to do, Ad and I have it to do. They is no 9 men in the company that can handel us in eny way and old hicks is said to be the best man in the regiment. Ad weighs 189 pounds, I weigh 200 pounds. We both have bad colds now. We have been away from the tents 4 days and we had to lay out one night in a awful rain and it was verry cold. We have been planking the RR track through a tunnel under a mountain fur our provishion teams to pass through to save going over a large mountain. It saves one days drive nearley.
Corn is tesselling out, cherries is gone, so is plumbs. Appels are a getting ripe. They is a great meny berries here. Blackberries and hortleberries all ripe here now. But I must close for this time. With our best wishes to all, we remain your sons,
Alfred D. Searls.
Direct to Athens, Alabama, Mitchels Division, 21st Regt
Caton, Co H
Please write soon, farewell.
We shall be glad to hear from eny of our friends that feel so disposed to write to us. This is my last stamp.
July 3, 1862
Once again I will try to write a few lines to you. We recieved a letter from you a few days since, which found us as well as this will leave us. I have no news to write more than we had a dispatch last night by teligraph that Richmond was taken. General O.M. Mitchel passed through here last night. He gave us a short speech and said he was ordered to Washington without one hour delay and he was on his road their then. He said he not what for. It raises quite a wonder among the boys here and some of the officers are not behind in wonder.
Tomorrow is the 4th. How much we would like to be home to see how they are a going to celebrate the day. I think it will be a day long to be remembered by the people of Amarica, fur I think the last battel will be fought before that hour. But God onley knows when the thing will be quelled anoughf to send the laboring class home. But I hope before another winter, fur I never want to be out another winter in an army and I know that I should not endure another with the fateague of the past one.
We have pirty easy times now and have had fur the past month. I do not think they can find as much mor hard work again as they have put us through, but perhaps they can. I have no news to write.
I recieved a few lines from Marila and yesterday one from Emely. They were all well there at the East as fur as she knew. We have a pirty regular mail here now, so if letter are mailed rite they will come in safety to us. I have writen 3 letters to Georg since I recieved one from him. Tell him to write to me if he feels so disposed. My reguard to all that may enquire after me and I will close for this time.
Direct to Athens, Alabama
21st regt OVUSA
Cap, Caton, Co H
From your son Alfred D. Searls. Please write soon. My kind love to all the famely. Farewell.
July 3, 1862
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to anshur the leter that we recieved from you. It found us all well and we are well at the presant time.
This year is fast roling along and we still are far from home. But I still live in hope that at the end of this year we may be with you all. General Mitchel past through our fort last night. He is on his way to Washington, but what for I know not. But I hope that it is for some good. We can all think, but that is all. Well, I must draw to a close,
so good by from Addison Searls.
Fort Ewing, Elk River, Tenn
July 9, 1862
Dear Parents, Brothers and Sisters,
Once more we have recieved a letter from you and was glad to hear you were all well. It found us so. I have no news to write. I am in haste fur we have to leave here this afternoon unless the order is countermandid. Report says that we have to go to Washington, our whole division. If such is the case we shall yet partake aportion of the Patomac, but I hope we shall not have to go, for we have done all that was assined for us to do and we have been successfull and have lost but a few men. Now it seems to hard for us to have to go and help clear them Devils out at Richmond. For they are Devils and nothing short. But if I have to go I will take my chances with the rest of them, trusting in an allwise Providance for the best.
I shall write to you soon again, as soon as I know what the move is to be. I expect you are sure, after your fast horses. Well, put a load upon their back in porportion with mine and I can out travel them.
The war news is dull indeed and gloomy. It puts a gloom over all of the soldiers here. If we are sent a Richmond they is a going to be trouble with our soldiers, for they will not stand the imposition any longer that they have had imposed upon them. I am sorry to say it, but such will be the case I think. But I must draw to a close for this time. Tell the children I am much obliged to them for their leters and will answer them when I can get time. With best wishes and kind love to all, I remain as ever, your son, Alfred D. Searls.
P.S. Write soon. Tell me what stuck hogs is worth when you write. Farewell. Direct to Athens,
Regt OVUSA, Capt Caton, Co H
July 9, 1862
I receaved your letter today and was glad to here from you. We have got orders to move to Athens and how much longer we will stay there I can not tell. I have not got much to write this time. Alfred has writen all of the news. Pleas write soon, from you son, Addison Searls to his father. Write soon, goodby.
Once more I take my pen in hand to try to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are still upon the land of the living and are still pirty well at the presant time and I hope these few and poor lines may find you the same. I have no news to write to you. Our Col. has gone to Washington, also General Mitchel with all of the rest of the generals that have noted them since and we understand that the governers from each state has been ordered their also. It is a great mistery to the soldiers what they are all ordered to Washington for, but time will solv the whole mistery. But I am sorry to say that I fear all is not rite at Richmond becaus fur 6 days we have telegraph dispatches from their and now all is silant. We have heard that McClenin took dinner on the 4th of July in Richmond, but it is not confirmed. I am afraid they have made another Bull Run affair of it, but God forbid it to be so. But the worst must out. They cannot keep it concealed allways. How, oh how long must this unholy war be kept up. If I could have my say a little I would go to Washington and their commence and kill 9 out of every 10 their and follow up that source a while and then perhaps after a time they might begin to think of doing something. But we have to submit to the course of affairs. The whole of this western divishion is here now upon this line. They is about 130,000 men that can be brought to bare on Chattenouga within 98 hours if they intend to make a stand their. But I think they never will, for they know our strength too well for that.
You can tell Mr. Welch that I saw Ed and staid overnight in camp with him. He is well. He sais he has not seen a sick day since he has been in the sirvice. He sends his respects to all.
Ad and I went down on the train the night of the 9th, 1862 on purpose to see him. His leg is well, it will not hurt him anymore. Hickory Smith John is in Nashville at the hospital. Ed is quite acious to get home. He is a getting tired of war he sais.
Well, I have not much to write. Father, I suppose it will be impossible fur me to get away before I am discharged. I want to know wheather you can do enything towards wintering my cattel if I do not get home this winter. I have not got eny thing a growing nor no calculations for the winter. Have now betwene 25 and 30 hogs, old and young and one sow to have pigs yet, but they will not sell for eny thing now and I cannot afford to give them away entirely. I hope they will be plenty mash for that will help to keep them this winter, but I am bound to come home in some shape this fall some time if it is among the possibilities. But I must draw to a close for this time. With best wishes and kind love to all, I remain your son, Alfred D. Searls.
Direct to Athens, Alabama, 21st regt OVUSA, Capt. Caton, Co H.
Please write soon and oblige me, farewell.
What does it mean, about Napelien a turning in to help the south and the president calling for 300,000 more men.
Alls well this morning, July 8, 1862
I have forgoten to send this letter for a long time. Here it is now.
It is Addisons.
Fort McDonald, Ala
July 21, 1862
All well dear Parrents, Brothers and Sisters.
Once again I resume my pen to try to write a few lines to you to let you know that we are yet upon the land of the living and are yet able to do the duty alloted to us. It is pirty warm here these days. The thermometer stands one day with another in the shad at 109 degrees and that you know is pirty warm. But we stand it better than ther men that was raised here. As to the health of our regt, it is in better health than they have been since we left Ohio, but we expect to march every day now and if they put us on the road now they will kill a good meny of their men if they march them as they allways have. But let um went I shall go as far as I can see the rest of them go.
I have no news to write. We have to keep our eyes open for these land pirates that is a roaming over the cointery in squads of from 300 to 3,000 and they rob and plunder every thing that comes in their way without respect to party, age or sick. Well, if the people of the southern states will not get up and dust them selvs now tuwrds putting the thing down I hope the whole southern Confederica will sink, never to be known of more.
We expect to make a breack fur the Cumberland Gap that is directley twards Richmond from where we now are. I expect yet to have a hand in with the rebels of Manassey and the Potomc, but I shall keep time with them a while, fur I don't take the pains with my old rifel that I have without my pay back. If I ever get a chance at the rascals I have been near enough sever times, but wer never allowed to shoot. My gun is my looking glass, you can see your face in any part of the mettal about it. If I do say it, I have the most and cleanest gun in the regt. That is a sayeng a good deal, but I am ready to be inspected eny day. The guns that we have now are ver strong shoteng ones. A man is in great danger 12 hundred yards. They are shure at 9 and 10 hundred yards if yoused by a good rifel man. They are what they call the Belgium rifel, ours was made in France.
Do you know what they are a doing at Richmond, fur we get no news here eny more. I have been a looking for letters for sometime. They is non comes, but I shall get a lot of them when they do get along. Well, I must close fur this time fur I onley write becaus I thought you would like to heare from us. Pleas to write soon and oblige us. With our best wishes and kind love we remain as ever your sons
Alfred D. and Addison Searls.
Our respects to all.
Address to Athens, Alabama, 21st regt OVUSA, Capt. Caton Co. H
Adieu for to day. Tell them all to write to us for we are glad to hear from all our friends. Good day.
We are guarding the railroad yet, but we have moved again and expect to leave here evry day. We will let you know at the earlies oppertunity.
July 27, 1862
Dear Father and Mother,
It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to let you know that your letters found us well and I hope that these few lines may find you enjoying good helth and I hope that it mabe so that I can com home this fall to see you, but if I cannot com home to stay I do not want to com home untill the war is all over and if I hav good health that is all that I ask.
We was cald out this morning into line of batle but the rebels concluded to retreat, a very good idea for them.
Well I have not got much news to write this time, pleas to excuse me for this time.
Pleas write soon, from your son
Addison Searls to his father and mother, good by all.
Father if you can just send me cupel of steal pens.
Mary, send me your likeness if you pleas.
August 5, 1862
Hdqts 21st Regt Co H
And once again I resume the pen to address a few lines to you to let you know that still we live and are well and we hope these few and poor lines will find you the same. The weather here for about 8 hours is the hottest I ever saw and the nights are the coolest that I ever saw for the time of year. It is a pretty general time of health here I think, for they is but little sickness in the country or in camp. We have not had but 3 deaths by sickness in near 3 months.
I have no war news at all to write you. I hardly know what to say. I have awaited for some time for letters from my friends in the north. I have not had a letter from Mary since the middle of July. I know not why, for the other boys gets their letters weekley and regular, but I expect to get them all in a pile again as I have had once or twice befor. I shall not write much this morning, for I have just came off guard and I have not sleeped over 4 hours in the last 50. We have 12 picket posts and it takes ninty-five men a day and they are not allowed to sleep or lay their gun down by day or by night. And we have so meny fals allarms that we are brocken every night of our rest. We are all a aching fur them to make the attack, fur we are tired of this suspence. But I will close for this morning and will finish it tomorrow. I want to see if I do not get some letters to answer.
August 6, 1862 - Well, I will try to write a few lines more to you. It is not quite sunrise. We have had a chance to sleep another night without being disturbed, although we are expecting an attack every day and night of our lives. Do not worry about us, fur if it is the will of God to spare our lives we shall come out all rite, but if not, his will be done. My life is in his hands, he gave it and it is his to take again at his will. We may never have another fight, but we all expect, allthough the officers are more allarmed than the private. But I will close this subject. We have a man starts fur home tomorrow or next day to recruit fur our company. He belongs at Westfield, Wood County, he is one of our corporals. He will probably be gone about a month, perhaps longer. I believe I have written all the news of this place. I will await till the mail comes and see if I do not get some letters to answer.
Direct as yousiel to Athens Alabama, 21st Regt OVUSA by the way of Nashville. Please to write soon. With our best wishes and kind love I remain as ever your son, Alfred D. Searls to his parents. I shall write soon again, you do the same. We are out of stamps again, so that I have to countersign. Well, the mail has come and no letters from that contery, so I will close for this time. Adieu.
Please to write soon and oblige me, Alfred D. Searls
August 7, 1862, nothing new or special--all well this morning.
Please write to us soon.
Aug. 25, 1862
Once more I take my pen in hand to write you a few hasty lines to let you know that we are upon the land of the living and are enjoying pirty good health. But when this will get to you is more than I can say, fur we are in the tightest place now that we have ever been in and had we a few more such commanding officers as Gen Buel, we would all be traped. We have lost and had taken prisoners more since he has been in command here again than all we have lost out of this whole division since it came into sirvice and they dos not seem to be eny thing done about it.
It seems to all be rite, but for the sake of the people of the north how much longer is it to go so. Could you know the 4th part of the doings that is a going on here, the people of the north could neather eat drink or sleep till they had an army a moving over this country that would sweep over it like an avalanch. But none but the soldier in the field knows enything of the pruseedings here. We are compleetley sirrounded with the rebbel army. We are a falleng back as fast as we can convenetly without being suspected. They is nearly 250 miles of territory that we held safe and sound while general Mitchel was in command here. We was safe then, all movements made then was known to us, but now we do not know eny thing that is a going on 2 miles from our camp. They have come allmost with sight of our camps and tare up the track and run the cars off the track. They have drove our guards away from bridges and burned them. They are a stopping our pruvishions and mail. We have been 1/2 allowances and not 1/2 of them fur a month and a 1/2 and now we are like to be cut off the whole and they is notheng here to live on, fur what little corn they is left here is to hard to eat. Peaches are about gone and appels they is none.
Well, I must draw to a close. We have been a looking for 3 weeks fur a letter from you, but they has non come to hand yet. I don't know as this will ever come to hand to you, but it is not my fault. I understand that McClenin has fell back 15 miles from his position. That leavs the road open so that Buregard can bring his whole furce to bare upon General Pope befure he can get renfurcements. If he drives Pope back, then he Will bring his furces to bare aganst Buel at Chatanooga and we have no available force their. Consiquently it will give them posshion of this whole countery again. The soldiers here are all a wishing Gen. Mitchel back again.
But good day. Ad is on guard to-day. Our best wishes and kind love to all. Farewell. Please to write upon the receipt of this. Direct Athens, Alabama, 21st regt OVUSA, Care Lieu. Curry, Com Co H. via Nashville.
From your son Alfred D. Searls
Direct to Nashville, Tenn
21st Reg. OV USA
Lieu T.L. Curry, Com Co H
Late August 1862
It is strongly believed the south is a getting the upper hand of us by the soldiers. But we are in the dark and wheather this cloud will ever pass over more than I can say. But if I never get bak take good care of my wife and darling children. Remember we will fill our post till the last. We have proved ourselves no cowards. We have faced the eneyma to many times. Rember us to all our friends.
If Brag comes off best in this fight, we shall have a big fight here in a few days. It will be desparate, if we have one. We are seeing a good deal of trouble in our own regt. now, but we feel in hopes to get it quiet soon.
This may be the last you will have from me.
But if nothing happens I will write in a few days.
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