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Rachel Stanton/Searles Family Papers - MS 597 mf: Transcripts
Dec. 2, 1861
Camp Buell, KY.
Well, Father and Friends,
I sent a letar this morning to you and I toled you in that we was to march. We have had a march of 2 miles through an awfull snow storm and we pulled up and stuck down again and have got the snow melted away and am a geting warmed up a litle. We shall stay here 3 or 4 weeks, we expect and then we shall go farther south to help clean the ballance of them rebbels out. Then we shall begin to think of coming back to Ohio.
We that are a concentrating here fur a reserve on the main army that is a head at Elisabeth town of this state. They is some 70 or 80 thousand men their and more a coming in their every day. We have some 40 thousand here in or near this place. We are a reserve for them a head. We expect this will be a death blow to the batle field at presant, at least, and we do not expect to fight much their, but cannot tell but we have them very near surrounded. I find the whole army is about to make its final move and I do not care how soon fur I want to see the thing done. If I am one of the lucky ones to live through and I hope to be, if it is the will of the allmighty, if not his will be done not mine. But I must close for this is 2 letars in one day to you, but I should not of writen to this but I wanted to let you know that my address will be the same as the other letar.
Camp Buell, Lieuisville, Ky 21st Ohio regt. Car of Capt Caton Co. H
Write soon, my best wishes to all from your sons Alfred D. Searls and Adison Searls.
We are pirty well. Have got bad colds and I have the rhumetis in my back pirty bad, but hope to get over them soon.
Tell them all to write to me and when I get time I will answer all. Give the the main war news, for the papers that is sent to a privates never comes to him. I expect it is not allowed, but do not know. I know these dont get taken.
Sunday, Dec. 8, 1861
Dear Parents and Friends,
I take this oppertunity of answering your letar of the 2nd, which came to hand last night and was welcomingly recieved. The contents came safe and we are much obliged till we have a chance to pay you betar. We have not recieved our pay nor I do not think we shall this winter. We are wrongly yoused, for the law is that they shall not be in debt to a soldier over 60 days and we are agoing into our 4 month. We received our second suit of clothes yesterday: a roundabout dress coat, 1 pair pance, 1 cap, 1 pair socks, 1 shirt, 1 pair shoos.
And we have got orders to march tomorrow, but where I know not. We have got a big load. It must all of the load weigh 65 pounds or more, but we do not expect to march on foot as much as we have done.
I have no news to write to you this time. We are pirty well at presant with the exceptions of bad coughfs and colds. And we expect to have them all winter, for we do not have a chance to get over them.
I recieved your letar concerning the war. It was news indeed to me. I think that I have got all of the letars that you have sent me or at least I know of eny missing to me that you have sent. When we get setled in another camp long enough to, I will let you know where we are. I hope that you will write often to us. You need not fear, for the mail route is clear just as far as we go the road is clear behind. Give me all of the war news when you do write.
I hope that you are well. Give our respects to all enquiring friends and them that think enough of us tell them to write to us.
The boys that came back over the mountains got into camp last night with their teems. They wer empty and they have been over 3 weeks a getting back. The teems look like death. They lost quite a number of horses on the way, worn out, brock down and died.
This here seems to bee the center of this state for the stock and provishions for the war. They is about 1200 head of horses and mules in the yards for to be brock to a single line. Some are brock to harness and are colts.
There is a large arma at Elisebath town. They is over 100 there and of our men there now. And they average 2 regs a day that goes through here on the cars, besydes what goes at other points to that place.
The rebels ar on Green River near Bowling Green. They is about 25 or 30 thousand of them. They have not got much to eat and poorly clad. An they are sick to, acording to what they say. They was a man here yesterday from Tenissee. He sais he had a heard time to get away but made his escape. He sais the rebels intend to fight this till the last.
I hope they will be a treaty made soon, for the fighting will be desparate after this. At least by our boys. They will never be held if they are ever led into an action again. The officers will never have eny control over them.
I cannot get Ad to write much - he say I write it all and they is no yous his writing. His respects to all, Farewell. Write soon, I wrote to George and Moses last week, do they get them?
But I must close for this time. I have written a letar to Mary today and I am a geting tired and it is all most time meeting and dress parade.
Write soon, with best wishes and kind love I remain your son
Alfred D. Searls
My address is Camp Buell, 21st AUM
Care of Capt Caton
Camp Harris, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Dec. 15, 1861
As I hav the opertunity to rite to you this evning I will try to do so, for I do not know when I shall hav the chance to rite agane for we hav got wher we shall hav som work to do.
We are within 8 miles of the rebels line and they hav arond evry day. This 8 mils is won camp on both sides of the rode. And for 2 or 3 mils behind us our trops is a crosing the Green River evry day and in a few days we shall go to see old Buckner and I no not who is to fall from our company, but I hop that it will be some of them.
Ar commender Mitchel now and he was here to make us a visit this evening. While on dress praid and he spoke a few words to us. He says that with the help of us and the help of God that he is bond and must hav the best division in the hole union. This is the 7 division, Ohio 6000 infintry and a batery of 24 bras guns and there is some 150,000 here of the the union trops.
We ma stay here fore days and we ma not stay 4 hours. This is all that we can tell of our life. We no not what moment we shall be cald upon to fight. Tho we bare it with pations, for we think God will help us to fight it through and we shall com out victorious in the end and come home to you all agane, if God is wiling that we should.
Well, tell all to rite to me and father pleas escuse my bad spelling and rite soon. Alford will rite all of the particulars of our life. We would like to know where Jas and the rest of the boys is. Father, if Gorge has not pade that money to Jacob Kroner, till him that Henry wants him to send him $1 doler of postig stamps
To Mr. E.G. Searls from his son Addison Searls
Good by all, if I hear I will rite to all agan.
So good by to all of the children.
Remember well and bare in mind
A constant friend is hard to find
And when you get one kind and true
Don't change an old one for a new
I wish you all a mary Christmass and a hapy new yars
Monday, Dec. 16, 1861
Camp Haris - Elizabath town, Ky.
All well belovid Parents and Children.
I sit down to try to write a few lines to you. We are pirty well now, with the exception of colds and coughfs, which is very severe on all.
Ad and George Smith and my self is on picket guard, a watching a rail road bridg. We have been here since Saturday noon and expect to be here till tomorrow befure we are relieved. How long we shall stay here in this camp, it may be a month and it may be no more than this day.
The war question is a getting in an awfull fix and as shure as Congress keeps on in the way she has cenced this war will never be setled in your nor my day. What the big men of our cointery mean in aggitating this question is more than I can tell. It seems as though they was a few men that was a tryeng to see what they could do and with the rest how much damage they can do.
This slavery question it a raiseng a general uproar in the whole south. They the union men of this state sware they will go over with the south if they do not repeal that act.
I know one thing, were I at home and know as much as I do now, I would see the rebbels before I would take up arms again. This fighting fur other states and after they have a place cleared out and wont try to keep them out and guard it, I do not think they are not worth fighting fur, nor I do not think them very loyel men to their cointery.
But I expect to see one of the bloodiest battels before long that was ever fought in they world. Wheather we shall survive it or not is more than I know. God onley knows that fact. This battle will be fought at Bowling Green, Ky. The commader of the rebbels is Buckner. He is strongley furtified and I expect he has about 190,000 men. He has 7 miles of breast work, the roads all blocked with fallen timber and masked bateres, and he has got large guns and lots of them. We have a heard nest of them to rout. They are strongley furtified and heard to get at, but if it must be done we will do it, that is if we can. Our furces her fur to make the attack mst be near 150 thousand men. But I had hoped to had congress done something that would of saved rivers of blood that must flow if we get at it once, for they are determined to fight till the last and so be we.
But I must close fur this time.
From you son, Alfred D. Searls
Write soon. My address is Camp near Elizabeth town, Ky. 21 regt
OVUSA, care of Capt Caton
Camp Harris, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
December 17, 1861
We got orders in the night to march and we have to cook 2 days rations this morning. Where we are bound for I do not know. I will write the first chance I have and let you know of our whereabouts. I expect that we are a going on to Bowling Green to meet Buckners forces, but do not know wheather we shall survive a batle there is more than I know. That I shall leave in the hands of God, his will be done not mine. Farewell dear friends, write soon.
From your sons Ad and Alfred D. Searls.
My address is Camp near Elizabethtown, Ky - 21st Regt OVUSA
21st Regt OVUSA
Camp Jefferson, Hart Co, Ky
December 29, 1861
Beloved Parents, Brothers, and Sisters.
I take this morning to try and write a few lines to you to let you know that we are still upon the land of the living and have health so as to be able to do the duties of a camp life, although it gets pirty hard sometimes. We recieved your letars yesterday from home and was glad to hear that you were all well and I hope you will continue to have your healthes. We are now encamped I suppose for the winter or at least we have orders from Gen McClenon [McClellan?] to remain as we are for the next 60 days. We have our quarters all ditched and bridged, we done that yesterday. You speak of a dreadful suspence their among the people. What do you think it is here in camp where they is so many men and they were hurried here by thousands and tens of thousands all expecting to be led on to battle and now when within a few miles of the enyma we are stoped and commanded to lay here for near 3 months and and not a man of us not even to our conels that can solv the mistery or even guess what the meaning may be. If they intend us to fight, why do they delay till the warm weather comes on us, for our leaders must and do know that our men can never stand a campaign through the summer season, which I fear will be the result, for they are to far apart to setle this question by treaty. The southern people are to stubborn to give up and yet they will not stand and fight like men, even where they are strongly fortified.
Here was old Buckner, he had a fortification that nature had made for him with a little of arts work with it, and it would take 5 men to one to get to him, but he has burned his barracks and has retreated to Nashville, Tenissee. At least that is the news in our camp and we are only 30 miles from their and our troups are stationed from here to within 12 miles of them and our pickets have been a great deal nearer --this camp upon both syds of the road here for 20 miles is like a string of beehives. There is only 150 thousand of us, a little pile of men, but it takes a good deal of ground for them to camp upon and a good meny head of cattle and hogs to feed them and each man only gets 1 pound of meat a day. But this railroad cannot ship things fast enough to feed us, but we have to drive our catle and hogs and teem our bread and coffee with teems. But I must think of closing for this time, as they is no stir.
I have no news to write. Tell the boys to write to me that have recieved letars from me. I would like to have them answer them. I have wrote 2 to George Buskirk since I recieved one from him. With our best wishes and kind love,
I remain your son, Alfred D. Searls.
Write soon, my address is Camp Jefferson, Ky
Ad is out with the rest to hear the preaching and I did not feel very well so I stayd in the tent. I do not know whether he will write this time or not. Adieu
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