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Kehrwecker Family Papers - MS 641
I have just got in with a blackberry party, with which I was sent out and found your letter awaiting me. It was quite unexpected, as welcome as it was unexpected, though I had made inquiry about you in some of my letters.
Your letter afforded me much satisfaction as it spoke of things in so plain and intelligent a manner it seemed that I could see things just as they are. Speaking of the fine crops and good prospect of abundant fruit, it makes me feel as if I would like to back in good old Ohio. I tell you, John, Ohio is a mighty fine State, especially when compared with this country. Here is want and desolation, in Ohio, abundance and plenty. Here are hardships and privations, in Ohio, pleasures and enjoyments. Here is tumult and war, in Ohio, tranquility and peace. Here are enemies and no women, in Ohio, friends and plenty of women.
The days here are very hot and the nights cold and since the evacuation of Corinth we have chased the Rebs (and captured some, too) making some long marches these hot days with but little to eat (sheetiron crackers and salt meat) and the ground to sleep on at night. These are some of the hardships we have to endure to say nothing of the battles we have been in, which by the way I don't dread as much as the other, although I have been where the enemy's ball and shell flew prety thick around me. I have, however, escaped so far uninjured. I tell you, John, war is no fun, but I have no desire to quit it until there is no longer any cause for it, until rebels are completely whipped and rebellious states return to their allegiance. Then no one will rejoice more than I to return home and shake the old paw of such fellows as you and others.
Well, John, I have been favored by fortune some since I have been in the army with all that I have suffered and the best thing that has happened me has happened quite lately. I have been promoted Captain of the largest company in the Regt., having command of two Lieutenants, twelve non-commissioned officers and ninety-four privates.
I wish you could be here and see us drill. It isn't much like the drilling we used to do. Here, I have seen ten thousand men move at once. Our move at Corinth when we started after the Rebs was as grand a sight as I ever witnessed. About one hundred thousand men moved at once.
Sergt. [Orson D.] Merriman has just passed by. I showed him your letter and after reading it he spoke of it in quite high terms. How is the Fourth going. I have written this early because I had more time just now than I am certain of having again very soon and I not have had the time now but officers was omitted for today.
We are now encamped five miles south of Corinth, Miss. We looking, however, for marching orders every day. The probability is that we will go to Richmond.
I shall be very glad to hear from you at any time and don't wait for me to answer before you write again, for it is very uncertain when I will have opportunity. Give my respects to Mr. Maxwell and the boys and also give my address to our folks if you have an opportunity and tell them that both Rob and I are well. I see Rob occasionally. He says he has seen Fred well and hearty.
I will have to send this without a stamp, as I have none and can't get any. When you write, John, give an account of all the little occurances in the neighborhood, especially about the girls.
Capt. J.H. Rhodes
Co. K. 43rd Regt. O.V.I.
Camp near Corinth, Miss.
John Kehrwecker, Dear Cousin,
I take my pen to let you that I am midling well and hope that are the same and that I reseved very kind letter and yesterday the hole Regt. came back and they was all glad to get back to Camp Chase and the talk is now that the Regt. is agowing to reorganize fore three years for state duty and them that wont enlis fore three years will be dischred and think I take my dischreg, for the officers are to cross. The colonel gets tite and he is a mean man. Otherwise we had a lieutenant from Co. I and he was first rate man, but now the Capt. has come back and the first leut is sick, the second leut is a first rate fellow. I close about this now.
There has been quite an alarm in camp fore two or three nights about spies. They cot one last night and one of the sentinels shot at one other and he run. Last Saturday we was ordered to our guns and be redy for fear the rebs would brake out, but there was noting of it. The officers are afraid they will get hert, so they tried to se if would do anything.
I must close now, fore I have no more to write at preasant. You told me that you would send me some money if wanted it. Don't want any at preasant, but if you will send me som posteg stamps I will pay you as soon as I draw my pay, wich will be son. I send my best respects you all.
Camp Chase, O.
Co.C, 85 Regt.
in care of Capt. Bunker
Mr. John Kehrwecker,
It is so hot that we scarcely need a fire to cook our victuals, meat being the most we have to cook, which if we left out where the sun could shine on it would almost disappear. The best we can do is to lie in the shade and keep cool as possible. The lizards and other "varmints" which are quite numerous, keep up a mighty panting and I discover that they can't stand it long in the sun but are compelled to break for the shade, just as other people have to do.
I received your letter of the 20th ultimo, also a copy of the "Herald", both of which were very welcome. I was considerably struck with one of your observations, that while going to and from the Baptist Church you were thinking "what a privilege!" Yes, truly a great privilege, such as we don't have down here, but would be very glad to have. To be at home in the midst of friends, peace, and plenty is far different from being far from home in the midst of enemies, war, and deprivation, but a great many never think of it, don't realize it, and therefore, cannot appreciate the blessings which surround them. Let them go into the field and it is my opinion that they will soon learn the value of such privileges.
I learn from Will that you have enlisted for three years. "Bully for you." I don't think you will get sick of it unless you fare harder than we have and I assure you we have fared pretty hard.
I think Morrow County ought to raise her one hundred and sixty men with the bounty they will get without much difficulty, though I notice that in some parts it is thought drafting will have to be resorted to. These stay-to-home soldiers as we call them in my opinion will not amount to much unless they enlist with a view of entering the United States service. My opinion is they should have little more than thin clothing and subsistence. It is rather a cheap way of becoming a soldier, simply to lay in camp at home and out of danger.
The people, or rather the government, begins to see the mistake in calling for only 500,000 men about a year ago. It was then that I told them it should be just a round million, it would make the war shorter and cheaper, both in men and money, but the government took its own way not listening to what I said. And I would now make it a million and raise 500,000 instead of 300,000.
Another mistake is the government has been to tender with rebels, acting as if there was danger of hurting them or their property. We are now guarding the families of and property of men who are off in the rebel army fighting us and we are not allowed to appropriate any of their property to our poorest wants. I saw a soldier who was shot, but not killed, for picking a few berries through the fence, simply because they were not his property. A third mistake is we have not been allowed to make any use of the nigger. The consequence is their masters can be away fighting us while their niggers are at home raising plenty to eat. I would use them to dig ditches, wells, cook, and drive teams and save our soldiers. We could use about 200 to pretty good advantage in our Regt.
Please write and give all the news. Address as before.
Ask Fred Renz how he gets along with John Cook. I understand that he gets along with one of his girls.
I received your letter last night and was much pleased to hear from you. Your letter found me enjoying good health. I truly hope when those few lines reaches you they may find you still in the same good health and enjoying yourself, as you seem to like camp life so far. I hope you will all like it and have all the fun you can while in camp down there, for perhaps when you go away you will not see such good times. But keep up good courage and don't think of anything els but good times.
Well, I will tell you how I have spent this forenoon. This morning the boys took a notion to go down to camp, so Hat and me thought we would have to send something down, so we went up to Steve's and got some apples to send down, for we hadent any time to prepare anything els to send down. This time we did not know of their going down today till this morning. I'll bet you would give a cent to seen Hat and me this morning, striking out with our fixups on to get some apples for the boys. And from Steve's I sent to Uncle Fesses on double quick to help the boys off, for it was getting late and I wanted to see them on the road. And then I return home and spent the balance of the forenoon in the orchard under the trees in the shade and this afternoon finds me scribling those few lines to you.
This eavening there is prair meeting to John Cooks. The girls all says they must go just to see Arvil. Well, no more about this. I will tell you I would liked to been at home last Monday night when you was down to our house. I would give more to seen you than all the folks I saw while I was gone, but I suppose it was all for the best, but I could not think so that night we got home. I was so sorry that we went away. When we heard the boys had to go the next day it most got me down to think of the boys going so soon and so unexpected to us. We dident think of such thing when we left home.
Well, I must bring my scribling to a close this time. I don't know weather you can read them or not. My pen is so good I can't write at all. You must excuse poor writing and composing and I will try and do worse the next time.
Oh, I must tell you I heard you have got to be that oficer. I expect you feel so big that little folks could not see you, but I am a coming down and see you step around.
I must stop writing for fear you will get tired of reading such a good letter as this, so no more this time.
From your friend, Jennie C.
Good night this time. Write soon if you think this worth answering. I will do better next time, so good bye.
Most respected friend,
Tis again with great pleasure I embrace this opportunity to answer your kind and welcom letter, that I received a few days since and indeed we was all very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing which is the greatest pleasure in this world.
I have began my letter, I hardley know what to write, as there is nothing going on hear that is worth writing about. I will try and do the best I can. You know that is all that is required of any one.
In the first place I will tell you off a few weddings that has taken place in a few weeks passed. Harrison Shaw is married to Jane Waltermire, Henry Benedick to Livona Place, Philander Powers to Mattie Mann. We frequent hear of weddings, but very frequent hear of the death of our dear friends. I attended the funeral of Mrs. Myers last Wednesday. She was sick about two weeks. Chancy Woods' wife was buried the same day. Today Theodore Wood's funeral is to be preached at the Christian meetinghouse in Pompey. He died the honorable death that a great many of our poor boys has died, fighting for their country, which is the duty of all men. If we loose this government, we loose the best the sun ever shone upon. This is one good consolation our soldiers had, they are fighting in the best cause they ever fought in. Kind providence has brought you safe thus far and I hope the good Being that reigns over us all will spare your life to return to our Beautiful Ohio and hear meet with kind friends that you left your country to defend though many miles doth part us, but I remember you with many others and hope before another six months shall rool around this wicked rebellion may be chrushed and all our boys will be at home. But is there not a great many that will never see their dear old homes again and many friends that is waiting their return.
Last Sunday Cyrus Devore's funeral was preached in Waldo. Leroy Lawhead has came home. He looks very poorly. He is not able to sit up all the time. Your folks are all well. I saw Mollie and Caroline last Wednesday at the funeral. Today is Sunday and they have all gone to Dutch meeting. We have no meeting today at the Baptist. There will be meeting next Sunday. Oh, how I wish you was all hear to go to meeting once more. Do you ever think of the many good times we have spent together. Oh, yes, I think of them often, very often. They never will be forgotten by me.
This is a very pleasant day, but very lonesome. The folks has all gone from home and I feel very lonley. Cicero started to Mo. one week last Monday. Madora Schofield has just come down hear. She says she is going up to see Ricca this afternoon. The girls are all well as far as I know, but Lettie. She has been sick for a few days passed. I think she will be well in a few days.
Well, I have written all I can think of that is worth writing and perhapse more than you will think worth reading, but if you was hear I could tell you more in one hour than I could write in one day. I think this will be sufficient for the present. Therefore, I will close by asking you to overlook all mistakes and please write soon to your true friend, Mollie.
Give my best respects and well wishes to Wm. Wheeler and Marion Curren and all the rest of my acquaintance and reserve a large portion for your self. Now, John, will you please write soon and tell me when you think this war will come to an end. No more at present, but remain true and affectionate friend.
Mollie C. Brenizer
Time will change
And friends will part
But distant cannot change the heart
And mayest thou ever have a friend
To cheer lifes weary way
That will ever prove a blessing true
Till that eternal day
Forget me not, forget me never
Till yonder sun shall set forever
This beautiful summer morning finds me seated in my school room, surrounded by the green forest & in hearing of the amusing songs of the little bird that flutters its self in the open air to draw the attention of some passer-by to draw their minds for one moment from the transitory thing off this planet that performs its daily revolution around the sun & in the morning is lighted up with the lamp that gives light to all the inhapitants and has a fixed standard to illuminate its self in the eastern horison. We can but think of man in his fallen and deprived nature and exclaim, how great are thy works, oh God. And in the midst off all this our nation is cursed with a wicked & an unholy war.
I will just say before I proceed farther that I received your very kind, interesting & welcomed letter yesterday, the 23rd. It found me well & I was glad to hear that you was well. I hope these few ill-composed short lines will find you in the enjoyment of good health. There is nothing of earth that is more pleasant than good health. I was to visit Mr. Leander Dixon last evening & he is very poorly. He has been sick every since one year ago last May. He was in the army & got a discharge & has been a doctoring ever since. Last summer he was so he could go around, but he is confined to his room now. He could not speak out loud last night. I think he has the consumption.
There was a lady came in to see me and detained me from finishing my letter this morning. As it is schooltime I will have to quit writing for the present.
Friday 26th, two days later.
This morning finds me well & at a delightful task, that is a writing to one of our defenders. O.D. Merriman was home last week from Tuesday to Saturday. He looks just as he did when he went away.
This morning while on my way to my school, I was a walking under the leafy branches of the green forest, a meditating upon the priveledge that I enjoy & how much pleasure a person can take while injoying the surroundings of nature, uninterrupted by any thing that would brake their meditation, but I did not forget to think about the privations and hardships of our many thousands of noble hearted defenders that give to us the many pleasant scenes that we enjoy. I do expect if we had not of been protected by those defenders that our own dooryards would of been sprinkled with human gore, running from our veins. I sometimes think that we are not thankful enough to our noble hearted defenders for the blessings that we enjoy, for which they have sacrificed everything for, even friends that are near & lifes & homes dear, to restore to us that which our forefathers gave to us by sheding their own blood.
They are a prepairing for to draft, but there are some that thinks they will resist the draft, but I guess that when the time comes for them to go they will be willing to go. Up in Holmes County in this state they fortified themselves to fight if it should be necessary. Some of the 3rd Ohio boys that had been exchanged but had not gone down to the land of Dixie thought they would have some fun, so they took their muskets and amunition & went up there and scared them out off their wits & they run like killsheep dogs. They took about 25 prisioners, some horses & their arms and swore some others & wounded some two or three, but they did not like the smell of powder. They had a stone fence built for the fortification that was so strong they could almost shoot through it with their muskets.
Cardington has got to be a regular battleground. They whip every man that comes in there and says one word about Vallandingham. The next thing he knows he don't know nothing. I will give you a list of those that have got whiped; George Retter, Philip Retter, Jake Retter, George Hineman, the duch tanner, Charley White, Gehile Lawhead & a good many others that I don't know.
9 o'clock in the morning.
I am a going home tonight. I teach where I did last winter.
I am at home & found our folks all well. You will please excuse me for making so many stops in my letter, for I have wrote when I would have time. When I am away from home I cannot sit down and write a letter without stopping like I can when I am at home. The militia meets at Westfield today to make preparations for the draft, or to see who is able to go and who is not.
I am in hopes that this unholy war will soon be done away with. I think that it won't be long untill the war story will be told, well the sooner the beter.
Is the river between you and Vicksburg? Doubtles you are tiard of reading my letter, so I will close by saying you will please write soon as you can make it convenient. Oh, I almost forgot, I thank you very kindly for that card that you captured. I wish you good success, a safe journey, & a happy return.
Yours with respect, Susannah Shaw
We heard from Joshua this week and he was well. I always feel glad to hear from those that are a standing between us and the enemy of our country. You will please excuse all mistakes, poor writing & spelling & composition. Please write soon.
Susannah Shaw to John Kehrwecker
My Dear Friend,
I received your verry kind letter last night dated June 19th & was much pleased to hear from you once more. I am well and I hope when those few lines reaches you they may find you enjoying the same good health.
It is very warm here today and it makes me feel pretty lazy. We had a fine shower of rain last night that laid the dust for us. The Fourth is most here again, but you won't be here to help Mr. Barr tend grocery this time. I wish you could be here to spend the day with us, but I hope you will have a good time on that day. I don't know of anything a going off here, only the melitia is to be called out for drilling, all those that are not over age, they take them from 18 to 45. Some of the boys say they won't go, but I fear they will have to.
I don't know where I shall spend my Fourth yet, but I expect it will be at home. I don't know but what I could spend it at home as well as any other place, for if I should go anyplace I would be thinking about those that are gone that a year ago was alive and well and to home with us but now they are far away, sleeping the sleep that knows no waking, never to return to us again. While there is others that I hope is yet alive and well that was at home a year ago, I will think of them and wish they are ahaving a good old time on the Fourth day of July.
How I wish the news would come that Vicksburg was ours. I would think then that there would be some chance of your comming home, but Lord only knows when that time will come. I hope it may come soon. We will all be rejoiced when that time comes.
You spoke about the Butternuts, that you would like to have a squad of them to drill. I believe I will get up a company of them and send them down to you. There was some out to Sunday School a week ago last Sunday, with their pockets full of butternut breastpins, but they was ashamed to wear them for fear some one would see them. Well, no more about the Butternuts this time.
I have been to Sunday School every Sunday since it commenced but one, and then it rained so I could not go. We have a very good Sunday School this summer. So far we have from 60 to 80 scholars most every Sunday. Our classes of young gents is pretty scarce, that is the most we miss at our school.
I will have to stop writing for this time. I have a chance to send this down to the ofice tonight and I will have to finish it.
You wished to know the names of my scholars. I will give you a list of them; Augusta Shaff, Mary Shaff, Welthy Jane Stoe, Lovina Clark, Matilda Clark. They read in primmers.
Kind friend, excuse this poor letter, for I can't write nor think of anything to write that will be worth reading. I will write to you soon again, perhaps next Sunday and then I can tell you all about the Fourth and I will try to do better. No more this time. Write soon. I remain yours truly, good by.
Far away you be
Read this and think of me
We received yours of the 26th last a week ago yesterday and father got the $20 of which he has acount of and he has accounts and date of all you have sent home. You need not trouble yourself about that, for he keeps good acount of all he gets.
The news about Vicksburg is supposed to be true, that you boys have taken it. We hope that you have escaped uninjured. We hope you have taken it with small loss or no loss at all.
You will have to hurry up down there, for they are comeing a little further up than they ever have come. Lee came up in Pennsylvania and had quite a battle there at Gettysburg. He got whiped out with considerable loss. His rebels loss was 30,000, including 23 Cols. and 13 generals, 1200 prisoners captured and is believed there is no enemy or rebel in the state. Our loss I don't exactly know. We heard today that Morgan and his crew has come in to Cincinnati and had capture Camp Denison. How true that report is we don't know. It may be a false report. We will find out tomorrow I guess. Father is going to town.
Last Saturday the Butternuts held their convention in Cardington. They were a little quiet about it. They all gathered in the forenoon, about twelve o'clock they come through town on wagons. They stop on public square and hurrah for Vallandigham and dared our men to touch them. While saying that, there were some or most of the Company I boys [3rd O.V.I.] around there, so Charles Benedict step up to pull a Butternut's breast pin off of fellow that were on the wagon, pull a little to hard, so that breast pin and the fellow and three others came down. The one he pulled the pin off came down head first and Henry Keeler got in mess. These were four or five on him at once. He got hurt some before they could get those others off, for there were no other soldiers close by then. After they known it, they soon had them off, but one. Henry made him say enough. He said he gave him enough that fellow was hauled home. Henry was not hurt much. He was stuck in the eye once bad, that was all.
They had their speaking done in Gregory's Woods. There were more fighting done out there than in town. I did not go out there, so I can't tell much about there, only what I heard others say. While the soldiers were out there fighting, the wimen were fighting with each other in town. There three wimen fight. I did not get to see either of them, for there they crowd so it was impossible to get there. Two was by pulling off Butternut breast pin, the other was a quarrel in the evening. About five o'clock the dismissed their speaking. They talk some about arresting the speaker. His name was John Climes. They started for home like thrush dogs. Some came through town, only those that had to go, they went as civil, never said a word. Our boys then hurrah for Brough, the governor. The ladys that had went out on the wagons with their little white flags with Vallandigham and Pugh names on, hid them and look as ashamed as they could be after they came back in town. Such a time I never saw in Cardington.
Next Saturday they are going to have another convention in Marion. How that is a going of I don't know. I guess they will quit holding Butternut conventions if they can't do it better then they did in Cardington.
There was not much going on Fourth. The boys had to go Westfield to elect their officers. They have to drill now. Some fighting was done in Cardington.
[REST OF LETTER MISSING - TO JOHN, PROBABLY FROM SISTER]
I rec. your very kind and good long letter a few days ago, dated July the 1st. I was much pleased to hear of your good health & I hope then those few lines reaches you they may find you still enjoying the same good health. I am well and doing the best I can. I have been a pulling flax part of the time this week, but I don't like the business very much & I don't believe I will follow it up. I think there is some other kind of work that would suit me better. I have just finished my ironing this forenoon and now I am agoing to write this letter & this afternoon I am agoing a visiting.
It is cool and pleasant hear today. Last night we had quite a frost. I think it done prety well for July. Some days it is warm anough to roast eggs, but it don't last but a few days till the wind blows cool and pleasant. Times don't seem much like they use to.
We had a grand convention up to Cardington last Saturday. There was more folks there than a few. There was a big time a picking Butternuts. There was about a dozen fights I guess that day, but I dident see any of them. I kept back up street where I could not see nor hear any of the fun. It was the greatest time I have heard tell of lately. The worst was the women fighting. There was about five or six women fights that day, but I dident hapen to be around where I could seen any of them. I think the men better quit now & let the women fight awhile, they seem to like it so well. Alvy Foust fought three times that day. She swore she would have a girls hide that was there, but she wasent successful anough for that. She tore the girl dress nearly off of her & they raised money there in town and got her a new dress. There was no one killed and not much blood shed. Well, no more about the women fight this time.
I was rejoyced you better think to hear that Vicksburg had surrendred. I am just awaiting to get a letter from you so I can hear all about it. Hat got a letter from cousin Francis last night that was written the 3rd of July & he spoke about two Generals & one private a coming in with a flag of truce & he thought they was about to give up. He said he thought he would have a chance to come home when they surrender. I think they might let you all come home now and see the folks once more.
I was pleased to hear you had such good things to eat down there such as blackberry puding and apple dumplings, now I would like to know who was your cook. I am glad you can have such thing to eat. I expect that is the best times you have when you get something good to eat. The time will pass away firstrate and you are well to enjoy it. I must tell you Melvin Cook is dead and was buried yesterday. He died with the fevers two weeks ago. He was to Sunday School & now he sleeps in yonder grave yard.
I will bring my scriblings to a close. Please except this poor short letter for you good long letter. Write soon. Though far from home you be read this and think of me. Jane. Good day.
Yours verry truly, your true friend, Miss Jane.
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