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Robert H. Caldwell Papers: Transcripts - MS 623
Camp Kirby Smith Columbus
I arrived at Columbus Tuestay noon and proceeded immediately to business I made out the necessary papers, and drew the uniforms for the boys, and now they are well pleased, There is a great deal of business to be attended to yet before I can come home, and it is possible that I may not get permission to come home at all, as Wash Bogg went to the office of Capt Dod for transportation home and he was told that all recruiting officers were required to remain with their recruits as fast as they arrived at camp, but I don't believe all that Wash says, and to day I will go and see for myself. I should feel very sorry indeed if I cannot get home as I left all of my things lying round loose and there is my trunk if I cant get home. Some arrangements will have to be made so that I can get it, but I will go and see Capt Dod to day and I think I shall be able to get through. I have been taking that medicine, but I don't need to take any more of it, as I am about well, once more
If possible I will be home tomorrow night. I believe I have no news to write the boys are all well and doing well.
Your affectionate son
Elmore Sept 14th/62
What, still at home, you exclaim, yes, still at home, and yet not so still either as I am on the go, most of the time attending to business connected with the recruiting Dept
I have been in Columbus for the most part of the last week, where our recruits are in rendezvous awaiting orders to go to the regt[.] I was ordered down to Columbus to draw uniforms for the men, also to attend to whatever business that might present itself in our line, I was kept quite busy for about three days, and last friday evening started for home once more, where I arrived the following morning, being obliged to remain over night in Perrysburg to transact business with the Lieut Comd this District.
I leave for Columbus again next tuesday for the last time, as we are expecting to join our our Regt in a short time, We will in all probability be in Columbus one week, and from there we go to Cincinnati and so on to the Regt Col Norton is exchanged and is again to take his old command.
I hardly know where the 21st is, on account of Buells late Crawfish movement, but I think it is not far from Nashville. You will now have to keep your eyes open at Memphis, as Northern Ala is evacuated and the enemy once more holds possession of the M.&c . R.Road. Bully for Buell who, with a force of fifty thousand, could not hold what territory Mitchel took with ten. I see by the papers that Buell is watching Bragg. He is good on a watch, but not much on a bite, but hold on I am talking treason and you know that wont do at these times, when every traitor is being punished so severely for that crime, when taken, they are actually made to walk arm in arm with some of our highest officials, to say nothing of the fine dinners that they are forced to partake of, The thought of being taken prisoner must be awful indeed to a rebel officer.
Mother has made three shirts for you and is going to send them to you by Capt Poe Chaplain 72nd O.V. I t would make such a large package by sending you the drawers also, that Poe would not like to take them as he had expressed a willingness to take a small package to you, and Mother thought you would rather have the shirts than the drawers and so she acted upon it. If you need the money to buy the drawers Father will send it to you, in your next let him know.
When I get to the Regt I will write to you once more.
All are well. You[r] affectionate Brother
Columbus Ohio Sept 18th/62
I arrived here to day and have commenced soldiering once more, I feel very well indeed, as good as I ever felt in my life. The boys are all well and enjoying themselves finely. I must cut this note short as there is a man waiting to take this to the office,
direct Camp Kirby Smith
Care Capt Sage
write and let me know if Father has got home yet
Columbus Sept 19/62
Since writing yesterday, I have been told that we are to leave to day for camp Dennison, I understand we are to leave at half past nine Well I am well pleased with the exchange as we will have much better accomodations at that place than at this camp.
When you write let me know if Father has got home
As we are to leave in about an hour everything is in confusion and I wont write a very long letter. I will write as soon as I arrive at Camp Dennison[.]
But pishaw! I have heard so many camp rumors that I don't quite believe this rumor, however if we go, I will write as soon as we arrive,
I will also write to Juliet from there, as I have got a great deal of business to attend to before leaving I must cut this letter short
Your affectionate Son
Camp Denison Sept 21st/62
Here I am once more in Camp Denison after an absence of twelve long months, Just about one year ago to day, the 21st took quarters in this camp, We numbered at that time about nine hundred and fifty effective men, and now here are about one hundred and twenty fine recruits destined to fill the decimated ranks of our once full ranked regiment. The question very naturally arises, where are those absent men? the answer comes back mournfully enough, the plains of Tennesse, the crowded grave yards of Alabama, if they could speak doubtless they would say, here lie countless number of brave and loyal men that willingly forsook their pleasant and happy homes, to sustain the Government that had so long protected them. Yes, an hundred noble men have fallen from the ranks of the 21st within the last year, and I cant help asking myself who, and how many are to be the victims of the comeing year, These men now in camp, left home with high hopes, but how few may ever return, I declare it almost makes me feel melancholy to think of the probably chances of (liar?), but poshaw what's the use in feeling bad, it wont help the matter in the least. We left Columbus last thursday morning, and arrived in camp the same afternoon, We are quartered in barracks capable of accomodating about one hundred and fifty men each
We live very comfortably and enjoy ourselves amazingly. I don't know how long we are to remain at this point, but in all probability for several days, we are not yet mustered into the service, but expect to be in a couple of days.
I wrote to you twice while at Columbus and in my last, I stated that it was rumored that we were to start for Camp Dennison that day, the rumor proved correct, for once, Washington Boggs has not yet got back, neither has the rest of the boys that left for Elmore on furlough, but we are expecting them tomorrow. I heard that Wash was in Columbus, in company with several ladies, I did not learn their names, but suspect that Mary Boggs and Mary Luckey are with them I should enjoy very much being with them my self, but that is impossible[.]
I have written to Lieut Rice and am looking for him down here, on a visit, if he comes we sill have a good time.
I will write to Juliet to day, My health is excellent
The old camp looks quite natural once more, we are in about the same position that the 21st occupied last fall
If Father has got home tell him to write also, and let me know how he relishes soldiering
but I must close
Your affectionate Son
direct Camp Denison care Capt Sage
If any letters come to me, please forward them to me at this place
Camp Denison Sept 21st/62
Hurrah! once more in old camp Denison, just one year ago the 21st took up quarters here, on about the same grounds that we now occupy. We are enjoying ourselves amazingly (line?) high, and but little to do, although for myself, my time is almost all occupied with writing, as we have considerable business to attend to, preparatory to the mustering of the men into service. Wash Boggs has gone home on furlough and Il bet a cooky he is enjoying his visit, doubtless he will return a married man as it was whispered in E.___ that he was about to commit matrimony. Well success to him.
How are you getting along in Oberlin, guess you are having a rather dry time, as I understand there are but few students attending the institution this fall.
I suppose Father has got home by this time. I hope he enjoyed his visit to Cincinnati. I wonder how he likes soldiering, guess he is satisfied with the service am glad he went at any rate[.]
Oh _______ pishaw there is no news to write There is about 3000 troops in camp at present, mostly recruits for old Regts
I wrote to All _ yesterday and expect to see him down here on a visit in a few days[.]
I enclose a friends photograph I got it in Columbus
I declare I shall have to leave some white paper this time, will try to do better next, dirct camp Denison
Care Capt Sage
Your affectionate brother
Camp Denison Sept 26/62
I saw Washington Boggs to day, and he told me that you had got home once more from your squirrel hunting expedition.
Well, how do you like soldiering, as a general thing is it not a fine thing? lying out without tents, exposed to wind and rain? I have often found it so, so very fine that I could not see the point of the joke. however I am proud to be able to say, that the Caldwells turned out to a man in defense of their Country. We are as you perceive in Camp Denison Will in all probability stay here some time. We are engaged in making out the rolls to enable the men to draw their bounty, will in all probability draw the bounty next monday. My men all passed examination, with the exception of C. Vandyke who is to be sent home in a few days,
I see by the papers that Genl Buells army is in Louisville, also that the 21st is there, so we will have no trouble in joining the regt I am quite anxious to do so as I had much rather be with the boys than in this camp. I wrote to Mother soon after we got here but have got no answer as yet. when you write simply direct
don't direct in care of any officer, as in that case there are a great many preliminaries to be gone through with before a person can get his mail, as he will have to get an order from the Commanding Officer before the P.M. will deliver it to him.
I believe the 3rd Cavalry leave for Louisville tomorrow morning, at least so says Wash who is going back to Columbus where his wife is now staying[.]
There is no news to write so please overlook this white paper. tell Mother to write also, as I am quite anxious to hear from home.
I have written to Juliet I am enjoying the best kind of health
Camp Denison Sept 28th/62
I received your letter of Sep 24th day before yesterday and seize the first opportunity to answer it. I have not yet got the letter that you wrote immediately after arriving home, but it will be forwarded, no doubt.
Washington Boggs is married and was down here last friday and returned to Columbus same day where his wife now is.
I have not yet got that letter that you wrote to me giving a description of your adventures while in K.y. I have had but the one letter since leaving home, but expect to get them more regularly in future. You state that Wash Boggs told some of his friends that all recruiting officers were to be sent home again there has been some such talk and a few have been sent back to their respective stations, but I am of the opinion that the officers of the 21st are to remain in their present quarters for the present.
You say that you have once more commenced sawing, I am in hopes that that man may come on that spoke of taking the mill. I don't think I shall stand in need of any more money as I still have enough to carry me through, if the 21st is not too far distant, however if I should stand in need of any I will borrow it as there will be considerable risk in sending money by letter, as there is no telling how soon we may leave here, The Pay rolls of the recruiting officers of the 21st are made out, and we expect to draw our pay in a few days.
The 115th O.V arrived in camp to day. I cant see why it is o lie in this camp while its presence is so much needed in the field
I have been told that the 21sst is in Nashville, and Col Norton has started to join it. there is not a very large National force in that city and we may look to see it gobbled up at almost any time[.] We had heard that our Regt was in Louisville and were in high glee over it, as we were all very anxious to join it but now our hopes are all dashed and there is no telling how long we will be absent from it
When you write, direct to
Camp Denison Ohio
don't direct in the care of any Officer as it takes too long to get mail when it is so directed. as I have to get an order before I can get my mail
I enjoy good health, and to day am going to eat an oyster dinner with Lieut Wiley Give my love to Mother and Willie
(P.S) I sent a letter by Wash Boggs he said he intended to visit Elmore (will?) away from camp
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