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Robert H. Caldwell Papers: Transcripts - MS 623

Correspondence from Robert Caldwell - June 1862

June 1, 1862

June 1st/62
Upon the R. Road 8 miles from Athens

Dear Father

I received your letter last night containing that poetry, I must say that the poetry was first the thing, and takes well among the boys, it reflects great credit upon the author. I think that as I can detect some familiar phrases in it, that I can come pretty near guessing the name of the author it will be the most popular song of the Co for some time. I suppose you are aware that Co I. Turns out some good singers. Co I. Is at present guarding a large R.R. Bridge, 8 miles from Athens, it is the largest bridge upon the line of the Decatur & Nashville R.R. it is 70 feet in height and 500 feet in length and spans a deep gully between the hills. We have got the finest kind of quarters, built of boards and rails, we are upon a high hill overlooking the bridge. We have fell timber around one side of the hill, and are engaged in constructing a Rifle pit and have got it almost finished, it is to be 30 rods in length. The ditch is about 3 feet deep and the bank about the same height which brings it up to an ordinary sized mans shoulders the bank is encased with rails and timbers and is from 3 to 4 feet in thickness, which is considered bullet proof. The Bridge is of great importance as there is only one that at present is destroyed between this point and Nashville and when that is reconstructed communications will be open clear through from that city to Huntsville by R. Road. A train passed here this morning containing a force of Mechanics that are going out for that purpose[.]

In your letter you stated that the peach trees were in bloom, and that there was a prospect of a good crop &c well speaking of peaches puts me in mind of telling you that I never in Ohio saw one 40th part of the amount of peaches that I have seen in Tennessee and Alabama. They grow right in the woods, along the roads and in nearly all the fields peaches are to be seen in abundance. I never saw peach trees hang so full, we will just live in clover in a short time. As a general thing they will begin to ripen the latter part of June. Wheat is ripe and ready to cut I have eaten new potatoes of good size larger than hens eggs, Mulberries, the woods are full of them and we have just as many as we could wish for, cherries are ripe, but not very plenty in this state, like apples they don't flourish well This part of the country is pretty well timbered, there is some whitewood, on our way down to this place we passed through a Pinery there were some very fine trees among them, and would turn out some very fine lumber. But dinner is ready and I must go for a while as my appetite is quite sharp on account of having been at work upon our Breastworks._______ I have just finished eating a good dinner. We had some very fine fresh mutton that did not cost Uncle Sam nor ourselves anything for that matter. Where did we get it you ask? Don't be too inquisitive, this is a Secesh country and some things are now and then declared Contraband, by way of variety we substitute fresh pork. We have on hand at the present time a barrel of corned beef, mule meat the boys call it and as we have no particular relish for that kind of meat, why we ________ well at the present rate of consumption the mule meat will be in existence 100 years from this time. ________ I suppose Juliet has got home long before this. I wrote her a letter the other day, in your next, write something in regard to the mill, I would like to know what disposition you have made of it. Tell Mose Willson I would like to have him answer my letter I would like to hear from him. Capt Vantine sends his respects to all. Your letter was dated May 7th[.] please write often. I have only had 3 letters since arriving at Huntsville[.] what is ex-Capt Gibbs engaged in[.] Did you get the $20 that I sent you by G. Claghorn[?] I sent it with Capt Vantines money package, and his package was sent to his wife. Mine was enclosed with his and directed to you. Claghorn has not yet arrived.

June 3, 1862

Fort McDonald near Athens
Ala June 3rd __62

My dear kind parents

You can hardly imagine how overjoyed I was to receive a large number of letters from the loved and loving ones at home. I received one day before yesterday four yesterday and four to day. also from home and from Wm I also received one from G. Wight. They were dated Apr 13th, 16th, 13th, 30th, May 7th, 19th, 20th, 22nd, 18th. a part of them were from Juliet, some of them written from Oberlin. Oh you cant tell how much better I feel now that I have heard from home. next to seeing ones friends is to hear from them in the shape of letters. You will see by the heading of this letter that we have named our fort, we named it after the man on whose farm we are at present encamped upon. day before yesterday I wrote to you and informed you that our Co was at present guarding a very large R. Road Bridge near Athens, and it had become necessary to throw up fortifications. Capt Vantine gave it the above name, we have got some very extensive Rifle Pits one of them 30 rods in length. we have also fell timber all round enclosing several acres of ground and are now ready for them to come on. Father in one of your letters you said that you could not congratulate us upon not being present to take a hand in the late great battle. I can glory in such a Father and feel proud to think that I am blessed with a Father that is so imbued with patriotism that he is not only willing to allow both Sons to leave him in his old age, but if need be give them both up to die, if by that means he can further the interest of his country, if all men were as patriotic this war would soon be brought to a glorious close. Rest assured that as far as I am concerned, you will never have to regret having done as you have, and I trust that before long we may again be united, to remain so until an occasion of the present nature once more turns up (is such a thing is possible) when I trust I shall not be deaf to the call of my Country. Please accept my thanks for that Leslie. I am pleased to hear that business is so brisk in Elmore. Mr Gibbs (engine?) turns out just as I told him it would. I told him it was to light to saw shingles I guess he will not glut the market with that article. I received those Lilace blossoms, also the rose, nearly every person had to smell of them I will answer Aunt Marys letter before long, John Ryder and A.W. Lucky will make admirable nurses. I see that Mudenol is still at Elmore, as good a cracking a joke as ever. I must say that Craiglorn and Beach are fine soldiers, Beach has not got a discharge but we think ourselves well rid of such poor timber. We have just received the news of the taking of Corinth and 30000 prisoners good news if true Mitchel fired 34 guns in honor of the event. I trust it is true, a big thing it is. Dixie for the times, is just the thing and takes well some pretty sharp things in it. I was glad to hear William so well spoken of You wish to know what I think in regard to your selling the mill, you say that you think you will be able to effect a sale at a low figure I would say that taking every thing into consideration I think if you can get any thing near its value you might let it go. I think if you could sell the mill and retain the lots, it would be better than to let all go. You know it is quite uncertain about when I shall be at home, timber is also getting scarce, and the frame is very unsound also the boiler is getting old and unsafe under a high pressure. Therefore if you can get what you think to be a tolerable fair remuneration you had better let it slide. There is also great danger to be apprehended from fire, when controlled by renters, as they will not be so careful as though they were more interested in it. I am well pleased to think that you will have an opportunity to rest this summer as I know full well that you are not able to work in the mill. I received a letter from G. Wight and will answer it today. You may expect me to write after and I know that you will do the same. The mail runs regularly now 3 times a week. We receive the daily papers and keep posted in regard to what is going on. I am enjoying the best of health.

from Robert

June 3, 1862

Camp near Athens Ala Jun 3/62

My dear Brother

I received your long and very interesting letter this morning and need I say that I was much pleased to hear from you. I take all back that I said in my former letter about some certain things relating to the conduct of your Div[.] Immediately after sending it I was sorry that I did so for fear that I had judged too hastily, The first reports that came in were not very complimentary for some of the Ohio Regts but later reports contradicted the foul slanders, and went on to state that those very Regts mentioned so disapprovingly had done some of the very best fighting of those memorable days, and the 72nd was mentioned in particular as acting the part of heroes in that struggle. all honor to the brave 72nd I have since read of the part taken by your Div. and Brigade Commanders and must say that it reflects great credit upon them they deserve it all. I am inclined to think that it will not be the good fortune of the 21st to meet the 72nd at Corinth[.] I heartily wish it might. Our Regt is very much split up at present on account of several of the Cos being engaged in Bridge guarding. Our Co is guarding a very large bridge upon the Decatur & Nashville R. Road. We have thrown up breastworks and felled trees taking in a space of several acres of ground, we have digged one Rifle pit 30 rods long and another of smaller dimensions we expect to have some fun at this place. we have a plenty of fresh pork running round camp and frequently a fine hog is confiscated and brought upon our table[.] We live like Kings and enjoy ourselves amazingly.

We hear that Corinth has been taken with a large number of prisoners 30000 report says, but that would be too good and I fear it is exaggerated. Gen Mitchel fired 34 guns in honor of the event. Bully for you boys[.] Oh that we could meet with some such good luck, as to be ordered in the direction of Corinth, then there would be a possibility of eventually meeting with a much loved Brother. It would tend to soften the rigors and privations of a soldiers life to have those around us that we love, but news is scarce and I will close Please present my respects to Doctor Rice, and also Lieut Rice, and all that I am acquainted with.

Your Brother Robert

(P.S) I received that Fremont Journal, and read it with interest

June 10, 1862

Fort McDonald June 10th 1862

Dear Father

I received your kind letter of May 29th and was very glad to hear from home. The weather as you seem to think, is quite warm, but our Co is located upon a high hill, and we have a fine breeze nearly all the time. You seem to fear that the health of the Regt is not good and that there is danger of our not standing the heat of summer &c Now I am glad to be able to inform you, that the health of the Regt at present, is excellent, there are very few in Hospital at and near Huntsville to be sure there are quite a number back in hospital at Nashville but they continue to form the Regt from time to time, there are very few getting sick and so you need have no fears on account of sickness. Our Regt of late has generally succeeded in secureing a good camp ground with good water, which is always a very important matter The warm weather makes the sweat run pretty freely, but you know that it is healthy to sweat. You will remember that I have been accustomed to a pretty warm place in the mill, and I have now no fears for the result. The weather is not so extremely hot down here, but the season is of greater length. the nights are quite cool sometimes uncomfortable so. I suppose somewhat similar to the nights in California. In one of your former letters you stated that you thought you would be able to effect a sale of the mill, but upon low terms, and asked my opinion in regard to it: I answered it and told you that I thought if you could get any thing like a fair remuneration for it, you had better let it go[.] You know the frame is unsound and will not last much longer, and the boiler also is getting quite old and unsafe under a high pressure. if you could dispose of the mill and retain the milly and it would be much better, but if necessary I should not hesitate to let all go, if you could get into business of some kind that would be easier for you I should like it very much. The hardware business would be a good thing in Elmore, and something that would not require much labor to carry on[.] Elmore is growing and the man that starts in that business in E is the one that will prosper without a doubt. I should be pleased to hear of your going into it. I was pleased to hear of your renting the mill as you have done.

The best thing that can be done with that Beuch is to ride the coward on a rail. he is unsound timber he has not got a discharge. Geo Claghorn has not yet arrived at the Regt the Capt received a letter from him written at Pittsburg Landing, he did not know when he could get to his Regt[.]

I was glad to gear that you received the $20.00 and glad to hear that you had almost cleared up you old indebtedness, a few more payments will clear it up entirely. The Pay master will be hear in a few days. I don't know what kind of a chance I shall have to send money this time, but will not risk it by mail unless you say so, probably somebody will be going home before long. I shall seize the first good opportunity of sending it.

Hereafter my pay will be somewhat larger than it formerly has been, I now receive a Sergeants pay to date from the 7th of this month. The Capt has kept his promise. I was raised over the head of the 1st Corpl. I don't know how he likes it, but it matters not.

Lieut Wood sent you a $5.00 Confederate note it is worthless in this locality and that is the case with the trash wherever our Army has a foothold Greenbacks go at par in this vicinity

Capt Vantine sends his respects to yo[u]
from Robert

June 1862

Dear Mother

You cant tell how glad I was to receive your short but interesting letter as it is so seldom that you write, that I am So glad to see that ever welcome fine hand writeing that I could tell at a glance among ten thousand letters.

You need have no fear about the sun and warm weather affecting my health, the only effect it has is to make me sweat, and that I was used to at home. If I should happen to get very sick if it is your wish, although it will be quite expensive I shall if possible obtain a furlough and visit Elmore, but I am inclined to think that I shall have no occasion to apply for one. it is quite difficult to procure a furlough unless there is something very urgent pending. I dont expect to see E__ until this little family quarrel is settled. God speed the day that sees its settlement. According to your advice, I have commenced bathing regularly every other day. There are several large springs in this neighborhood that form quite a stream, the water is as clear as crystal and cool as any spring water. I mean to be very careful in regard to what I eat. I get my washing done by the negro women nearby. I had been troubled some with the headache but not much of late, Green Tea cannot be had at any price here Black Tea is not fit to drink, consequently I drink but little coffee as I prefer good water. I change shirts at least once a week and sometimes oftener. Mother positively I dont sweat as much as I used to when firing in the mill, I have less work to do, but when it comes to marching I expect to perspire pretty freely. I don't blame you for feeling so solicitous in regard to my welfare, I wouls not be natural if otherwise and my only wish is that I may merit all your kind wishes. I am much pleased to hear that William is so well situated and suited.

We have received news of the evacuation of Corinth and of Gen Halleck being in pursuit of the fleeing rascals, we have also heard that our forces succeeded in capturing 10,000 prisoners, pretty good that[.] We also received news of the defeat of the rebels before Richmond. McClellan is doing something after all that his enemies have said against him.

Capt Vantine lately made me a present of a nice set of what do you call it, a knife, spoon & fork, made so that you can close them like a knife. they are of German Silver, there is also a nice case to put them in and I can carry them all in my pocket just like a pocket book[.] They cost $4.00 in Cleveland I take good care of them and intend to take them home with me. Charley says he is in hopes that we will be at home in time to eat some of those grapes. Love to all


Do you know that I will be 21 next Saturday, feel age creeping on very perceptibly
...ha, ha, ha good for 80 years yet I hope

June 14, 1862

Fort McDonald near Athens Ala Jun 14/62

My dear Sister

Your welcome letter of June 5th was received on the 12th and I can assure you, read with interest. You need have no fears about my failing to receive your letters in the future, as the mail now arrives regularly three times a week.

I guess that I have received all of you back letters now, as I have received several. Shortly after arriving at this place, the back letters commenced arriving and continued to do so until I have now had something like 15 in all. You know how much good it does one to get good letters from home.

I am glad to hear of the continued prosperity of Elmore, and hope it may continue until it becomes the chief town of that section, which it is bound to do, if it continues to improve in the same ration that it has for the past two years[.] Ryders block will indeed look grand and imposing, but you had ought to have been with me at Nashville, to see some of those Marble front Business houses in that city, I cant describe them on paper, wait until I get home. I have got a thousand things to tell, when that happy time arrives. But of course the business of our little city wont justify Marble fronts at present. I am glad to hear that the citizens have at last concluded to build sidewalks upon Main Street, many is the tumble that I have had on those old shin breakers that used to revel in the Sobriquet of sidewalks, but now all old things are to become new old fogyism must stand aside and make room for the more enterprising youth, Young America.

Ah. ha. new house. Mary White. Just what I have expected of Eli, good luck attend them.

I was much pleased to hear that Mose was having blinds put on his house, just tell him if he don't answer my letter, that when I get home I will be under the necessity of putting a blind on his eyes, just tell him that, hell know what I mean. Tell him to set out lots of strawberries as I intend to wade through his patch next Spring. Strawberries are all gone here, so are cherries, plums are ripe. Oh how I wish Mose was with me, if the sacrifice would bring him I would be willing to go barefoot, the rest of the campaign for the pleasure to be derived from his company. Other folks as a general thing are dull in comparison with him, his company would be such a good antidote for a tinge of homesickness or anything of that nature. don't forget to tell him to write a good long letter, as he knows so well how to do.

Don't indulge the thought that I am homesick as I am not, as dearly I would love to be at home but not until this fuss is settled, but the fact is I am 21 to day, and that thought sends my mind back so many long years, imagination pictures in my mind the scenes of early childhood passed on the farm, when without a thought or care for the future I whiled away my childhood days, never for a moment allowing any thing to mar my happiness. and then a change came I was sent to school to the H.E. Clark in Fremont, and I distinctly remember those feruleings that I received at his hands, merely for wishing to continue in my practice of idleness, but I cant blame him in the least, and only wish he had put it on a little more frequently, if I was really to derive any advantage from its application. Next came the most momentous period of my existence, I who had always remained at home surrounded by the influence and good teachings of a kind Father, Mother Brother & Sister and who had never for a moment been thrown upon my own resources, I say I was in a moment to break all those fond ties and throw myself in the seething maelstrom that was at that moment threatening to engulf our own beloved Country, if happily by my sacrifice the blow might be warded off and our divided and distracted Union, once more be brought within the folds of peace and happiness

Oh can I picture the intense anguish with which my very Soul was racked when the parting moment arrived, and for the last time probably for years, and perhaps forever I seized those loving hands that had ever done their utmost to promote my welfare and as I wrung them in silent grief I was obliged to turn my head to hide my emotions, for fear that this outward show of grief might add to theirs, but enough, the deed was one of my own free will, and I am thankful that through the long intervening months, Surrounded by toil, exposure, and danger I have never for a moment regretted my choices, and I am thankful that I had a brother, in whose bosom burned the fires of Patriotism to such an extent, that he too forsook everything dear to his heart, and became a wanderer, in support of the same holy cause, and again I am doubly thankful that I am possessed of parents that were willing to make the sacrifice, how noble and good in an aged Father and Mother to cheerfully send their only sons, that doubtless they had often looked upon as the staff upon which to lean, when their steps should become feeble, Oh if any body is worthy of praise it is that Parent that willingly offers his children upon the Altar of his Country. Who can tell of the sleepless nights that are passed by them thinking of what might be the fate of the absent ones. Then do not wonder that I am in a thoughtful mood to day, and that this letter may appear somewhat lifeless, but let me hope that another anniversary of my birthday may find our family once more united.

I am enjoying the best of health

June 19, 1862

Fort McDonald June 19/62

My dear Sister

Your welcome letter came to hand to day, dated June 9th. I can assure you that it received a warm welcome, as do all of your letters. I am happy to state that I am enjoying an almost fabulous amount of good health in fact I just more than enjoy myself down here in Secessia, the land is flowing with milk an d honey, I was almost going to say, but it is a fact, honey costs 12 ½ cents per pound, and the milk, well_______ we don't trouble anybody for that, we are all adept in the art of milking. I cant say that I have any great or important news to communicate, sufficient to say that Fort McDonald is still in possession of the Federals, with a fair prospect of continueing in that state during the remainder of the war Our worth Capt is well, as are nearly all of the men. The health of the 21st is quite good.

Oh you had ought to see and taste of some of those almost magic pies that I made to day, We had drawn flour, and as the country round about camp is teeming with berries of all kinds, some of the boys went out and gathered some whortleberries & blackberres and with a slight turn of the wrist, I brought forth some of the most delicious pies that have yet been eaten in the Confederacy[.] I took four out of the Capts oven but a few moments ago, and positively I do wish that you could reach down here and get one of them, but doubtless the effect would be to make you ashamed of your own baking and that would be cruel indeed. I also made some biscuit for dinner, they were amazing fine ones, but I will own that I forgot to salt them, however that difficulty was overcome by Salting the gravey that I ate upon them. hurah for me I get along where others will complain of starving Mr Rogers is eating one of my pies at this moment, and declares that they cant be surpassed. John Anderson is looking on and just now made this quaint and characteristic remark, well I tell you boys laying jokes all on one side those pies are just a leetle the nicest thing that I have yet seen in the South, I am sufficiently flattered[.] Well I declare I shall have to leave some white paper this time. I received letter from Father to day and propose to answer it in a few days, (next Sunday) I will look for Mothers letter every day, I am sorry Aunt Mary has left, she was so good and kind and such good company. I received those roses in Fathers letter, was much pleased to see them. In my imagination I can see that bush of yellow roses in the front yard, I hope I may see those dahlias before the frost cuts them

Well I believe I am done.

(P.S) Please tell Mary Luckey that it is also a very pleasant day down in Alabama, also that I am well, and do as my Superior officers tell me to do, Tell her that I received a letter from her dated apr 23rd and a few days ago, and almost immediately answered it. Please present my compliments with this message. from your loving brother


June 22, 1862


Camp near Athens Ala June 22/62

Dear Father

Thinking that a letter from the land of Secessia might not prove uninteresting to you, I propose to occupy a few moments by glancing it some of our recent movements in Northern Ala, and also note the effects produced by the advent of Genl Mitchel among the fire eaters of the above mentioned district. In order to take a comprehensive view of our operations since that important event took place, it becomes necessary for me to go back for a period of something like nine weeks, which will bring us up to the time that the famous Lincolnites first menaced the Sacred soil of Ala[.] You will remember that in one of my former letters, I stated that we crossed the Tenn & Ala line upon the morning of Apr 10th I shall never forget what my sensations were, upon that lovely spring morning, We had been hurried from our slumbers at midnight to enter upon a long and tiresome forced march. our way led through swamps and over some of the worst roads imaginable, we were also obliged to ford streams and undergo all the different privations, incident to the life of a soldier, all of which was cheerfully met, as we had been informed that there was fun ahead[.] Daylight found us emerging from this dreary waste and entering upon one of the finest countries that it has ever yet been my fortune to witness. Extensive and will tilled plantations, met the eye upon every hand, with the splendid and majestic residence of the wealthy planter rising from a pleasant knoll, surrounded by natural and ornamental trees of every known variety. Cast your eyes a little beyond, and you will see what at first light strikes the beholder as being a fine and flourishing village, upon questioning some of the knowing ones, you will receive the information that you are gazing upon the negro quarters of a well regulated plantation. there are perhaps 25 huts in all, built in regular order, of one story each, all whitewashed and producing a very pleasing appearance, in the morning sunshine. In the distance are seen the everlasting hills, with the different ranges rising above each other and piercing the very clouds that are seen circling around the summits, each successive range farther in the distance, and growing more indistinct, until nothing is to be seen but one uneven, blue line outlined against the heavens, with here and there a sharp peak shooting up __ up until its summit is lost to human observation among the morning mists. It was indeed a grand sight but in this case distance lent enchantment to the view when I called it to mind, the many weary miles that I had traveled over the Cumberland mountains in Eastern Kentucky during the famous campaign of Genl Nelson in that locality. We continued on in our rapid march, passing on through some of the finest scenery imaginable, until the church spires of Huntsville began to be visible in the distance, but the particulars in regard to the capture of that beautiful city are familiar to all, and it is needless for me to occupy space by repeating them here, suffice it to say that by this master stroke of his, Genl Mitchel was placed in possession of what might properly be termed, the great Artery of the Southern States, namely the M. & C. R. R., the route by which the Rebels had been constantly engaged in conveying troops and munitions of war, between their two great armies, By this movement of our worthy General, communications were completely severed between their Eastern and Western forces. By the aid of the rolling stock captured, He was enabled to control a larger amount of territory than he otherwise should have been.

Mitchel now entered upon several brilliant and successful movements, by which he became possessed of much valuable information, relative to the designs of the enemy[.]

An expedition was sent against a large force of the enemy concentrated at Bridgeport, after a sharp engagement, the enemy was scattered in confusion we captured a large number of prisoners, also two pieces of cannon[.] And now we have assurances that after a desperate conflict of two days duration Chattanooga has fallen into our hands, our forces were completely triumphant at that place driving the rebels back in great confusion. Thus you see that our worth Genl is not content after striking one brilliant and effective blow, to lie supinely upon his back, and allow an active and vigilant enemy by well concerted movements to counteract its effects but victory follows victory in rapid succession until at the present time, not only northern Ala, but Eastern and Middle Tenn are freed from the oppressive yoke of Secession rule and all this has been accomplished within the short space of ten weeks, with a force not exceeding 12000 effective men. I notice that his services are thoroughly appreciated in the proper source as Gen Mitchel now sports two stars upon his shoulder straps. His cars are now in constant operation transporting army stores for Gen Buell, who is said to be crossing the Tennessee River at Decatur[.] large trains heavily loaded are constantly passing over the Road from Elk River. The goods are shipped by the way of Columbia, and are transported from the latter to the former place by means of wagons, where they take the cars and are shipped to their destination[.]

Communications by telegraph are established between Buell & Mitchels lines There is considerable speculation going on among the knowing ones relative to the future movements of the former Genl

There is a class of men in the army known as Grumblers, who are disposed to find fault with everything that does not exactly suit them They appear to never enjoy themselves so well, as when finding fault, either with the quality of their rations or the quantity allotted to each man, and frequently over that they are just on the verge of starvation &c when it is a known fact that we are supplied most liberally with everything necessary to our comfort and well being Too be sure there are times when by a chain of circumstances unavoidable, rations will for a time become a little short but I have never yet seen the time when I could not obtain a sufficient amount of food. There are others that are continually imagineing themselves to be sick, and who, are hardly ever ready to do duty, when ten chances to one there is nothing ailing them but homesickness to such I would say better stay at home, the army is no place for men that are not ready and willing to undergo the privations that are at all times incident to the life of a soldier. Now as for my self I believe that I can truly say that although I left one of the best homes that man was ever blessed with, surrounded with everything calculated to make life pleasant, blessed with kind Parents, a loving brother and sister yet I forsook all willingly, to battle in the cause of my Country and I have yet to see the time when I can say that I regret having done so, and look forward with cheerfulness to the time when we shall once more be a reunited and happy family

June 22, 1862

Camp near Athens Ala Jun 22nd/62

Dear Father

I write to let you know that I am in the employment of good health, with a fair prospect of it continueing so for some time to come, I read a letter from Juliet to day dated May 29th it had been delayed as also had one that I got from William dated Apr 2nd. We were payed off to day for three months receiving $39.00 apiece I don't know what kind of an opportunity will present itself for sending money home but I shall avail myself of the first good opportunity It is very much with me as it was with the woman that bought the new handirons and so on through until she had a new set of furniture throughout, but I hope not quite so bad. After being to the post of Sergeant I found it necessary for me while on duty as Sergt of the guard, to keep the exact time, in order to know when to post the reliefs, it all falls to the duty of the Sergt to see that the reliefs are posted at the proper time, and in order to do so I found it necessary to have a watch, and I soon found out that very few men were willing to keep a good watch to lend to others, so I was obliged to make a purchase of a watch, and as such I regretted it, as I have always been very anxious to send as much money home as I possibly could. I did not wish to buy a cheap one as that would be the most expensive in the end, so I bought an American Lever Hunters Case watch for $20.00 such an one as A.W. Luckey paid $35.00 for that he gave to James, the watch has been running for about four months and given the best of satisfaction I bougt it much cheaper here than I could have done in Ohio. If I am to pay for it so that I would feel it so very heavily, I can send about $25.00 home this time and as I now receive $17 per month, when we draw our next two months pay I can send about $20, and after that I shall be even once more. You may do as you think best with that letter I never was cut out for a letter writer.

from Robert

June 24, 1862

Fort McDonald, June 24th/62

My dear Sister

I received yours of June 15th this morning and hasten to answer. I am really glad that you are so prompt, in writing, as there is nothing under the sun, does me so much good as letters from home, Yes indeed I did enjoy myself reading those letters, when they came, it matters not how long a letter may have been upon the road, so long as it conveys the tidings that all goes will with those at home, it is interesting to me.

Your last letter indicates that you have your hands full with your large family of Young Americans. u_g_h_ I am glad that I am not in that branch of business, teaching the young ideas how to shoot, but perhaps I did not better myself in comeing to a place where we are taught to engage in shooting of an entirely different character. but I like it much better. every one to their taste you know.

That was a very characteristic answer of yours that you made to that Port Clinton Home Guard, and one that he merited, if he had half an eye, on the welfare of his Country, during the last twelve months, he would never have made the enquiry that he died. You used him just right, I like your spirit.

Speaking of that Boquet of roses that was presented to you, puts me in mind of Huntsville, beautiful City, I can never tire praising its beauties, I don't mean its confounded female population, no, not by any means, I can never admire anything in the shape of a Secesh, be it ever so comely. Darn the tribe, how many, many, weary miles over mountains and glen, have I helped to chase them, consequently I cannot look with the least degree of allowance, upon any of the Genus homo Quite a breeze disturbing the Methodist wing of your society at present, never mind a large portion of the Angels fell from their exalted position, once upon a time, which but had the effect to render the remainder more pure, a thorough purging now and then would be a good thing for all the different branches of the Church, there are black sheep in every flock. You say Mother has a new bonnet, well I am even with her, I have bought a bran new McClellan Cap, you had just ought to see it, they are all the rage now nearly all the non commissioned officers of Co I have bought them. We have been having delightful weather for the last few days, very warm with a cool breeze blowing which makes it very comfortable in the shade, we have as yet experienced no evil effects from the heat, all that is necessary is to keep within the shade and you are all right. There is a white Sulphur Spring close to camp. This used to be a Summer resort, a few years ago. The ruins of an extensive hotel are yet visible destroyed by fire a few years ago, but you see I must subside or more (but gaily?) speaking, dry up[.] How is Willie, please have him write, I like his letters, they are so good and honest, perfectly characteristic of him.

I forgot to mention that I stand in need of a few stamps, don't send many at a time they are liable to miss carry.


I am well and hearty

MS 623 - Robert Caldwell Papers - Introduction | Transcript List
Manuscripts by Subject | Civil War CollectionsU. S. in Wartime Bibliography