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Rachel Stanton/Searles Family Papers - MS 597 mf: Transcripts
Sept. 24, 1863
I suppose you have all looked with ancious eyes and have awaited patiently for news from us, but it has not been in my power to write the past month. But through the mercis of God I am sparred and I take this unocipied moment to try to let you know a small part of what we have passed through. Since the eavning of the first of Sept. we have been upon the go all the time since, and have been a fighting them the rebs since the 10th of the presant month and are still a doing do. Sunday our regt was in the fight from 10 in the morning till after dark. We went into the fight with 575 men, came out with 152, a part of them are prisoners, but the most are killed and wounded. Our Luten. Col. was wounded, our majar is prisoner, our agutent wounded, sarjent majar is killed. All the comishoned officers they they is with us is one Capt, 4 lutenants. Our Col. is at home in Findley, Ohio.
I cannot give you but a very slight thing of the thing, but the generals say it was the hardest fought battel ever fought upon this continent. The enyma cut of our suplies, so we could not get eny amunition. Our regt made 3 charges and drove them without a catridg, nothing but the cold steel. The enyma massed their whole force upon our center, but I think they suferd the worst with killed and I think wee took the most prisoners, but I can't tell. You will see by the officiel reports in the papers.
Addison and myself are yet unhurt. I had 2 or 3 balls scrape me, but did not brake the hide. But we are both of us nearly sick, and God onley knows when we shall see a setled time again. This is the 25 day since we brock up camp and last night was the first night that I have had to sleep for six days and nights. The whole army is a laying in battle line with their acotrments on all the time and non are allowed to go away from their lines. We have got this place prity well furtified and we have dug miles of brest works, and they are of the best kind. The rebs are a trying to cross the river and get in our rear, but I think that old Rosy will be sharp anough and will keep them from getting across.
But I shall have to close for this time. Give our respects to all. Excuse poor writting and I am dirtier than eny of your hogs and verry raged. I have tore my close all to pieces a scirmishing through the thick woods and brush. Give our respect to all friends and except our best wishes and kind love and believe us to be your sons A. and A.D. Searls.
Write soon. Direct to Chattanooga, Tenn., 21st Regt. OVI care Capt Caton.
We will write soon as we get a chance to.
October 2, 1863
Once more I will try to pen you a few lines to let you know that we are still in the land of the living. Alford is about as yousiel, but my helth is not very good. I have bin un well for a month and a half, but I hope to get to rest and recrut up again. I suppose you hav had all of the particulars of the late battel.
We suffered a great deal in this fight. Our old regiment is cut all up. We went into the fight the morning of the 20th and fought all day untill after dark. We had 685 men when we went into the fight and came with 150 men. So you can judg whether we had eny thing to do or not. Our company had 49 forty-nine men and out with 16 sixteen men. We had 25 wounded in our company and two kild ded. Our captain was taken prisoner and the balance of our company. Our second lieut was wounded and died yesterday. Our liuet colonel was badly wounded and sent to Nashville. Our majar and adjitant was taken prisoners. Most all of our wounded was taken prisoners and parold. Then we sent out a flag of truce and brought them in. They are sending them north as fast as they can. We have but one captain left in the regiment and we had five liuets that came out of the fight. Our first lieut is in command of our company and Company C has not got an officer higher than seventh [?] corpril.
Well, I cannot write all today and I do not know whether this will reach you or not. But when the male gets to coming through strate I will try to write again. That is if my life is spared. I have bin through two hard battels and bin spard. But I hope that I never will have to witness another.
We was on the march for a long time and skirmishing with the rebs for some time. Wat I hope that our regiment will be kep in the rear for the balance of our time. We have done our share. But God only knows who will live to see home. But if ever there was a boy that wanted to see home, I am one of them. I feel more anxious than I ever hav before to see home. But I can not get...
Well, father if this reaches you please write soon and let us know how things are a going at home. Tell me where you think of moving to and whether George has got home yet or not. There is little canonading in front today, but do not know whether it will bring on an ingagement or not.
Well, I will have to bring my letter to a close for this time. Please write soon. This from you son Addison Searls to his father Mr. E.G. Searls.
Direct to Chattanooga, Tenn. 21st Regt Co H in care of Capt Caton
No more at present. So goodby. Give my best wishes to all.
Oct. 5, 1863
I will try to write a few lines to you in answer to yours. Your lettr was resieved with much pleasare and I was glad to hear from home again. You must not look for long letters from me now. I am not fit to write much at presant. I have wrote about all of the news in fathers letter and will not try to write much to you this time, for I do not know what to write. Well, May, I would like to com home, but I supose that if my life is spard I will be home with in 10 month from now, pirhaps before. Well, I will try to wait my time paitently, then I can come hoame and be a free man once more.
Well, I will have to bring my letter to a close for this time. Pleas write soon and I will try to do better the next time. When you get this pleas answir soon. Give my best wishes to all and except the same yourself.
No more at presant.
Direct to Chattanooga, Tenn.
21st Regt Co H in care of Cap Catan
this from your brother Addison Searls to his sister May Searls.
Write soon, so goodby.
Addressed to: Miss May Searls
Bellevue, Huron Co., Ohio
October 19, 1863
Again I have a little leshure time and I will try to write a few lines to let you know that we are still upon the land of the liveng and are able to do our allotid duty. But we have to do it upon 1/2 rations and we are cheated out of 1/2 of them. Conciquently, they is meny a hungry boy and empty belly. And we shall not fare any better for a long time I fear, for all supplies have to bee teemed here and it is 90 miles back to RR communication, with a large range of mountains to cross and the heavy rains of late have made them allmost impasssable. And it is the time of year that we get a great deal of rain in this countery and we have got to drive the rebs from their position in our front before we can run the cars through, fur they hold posshion of a part of the RR between this place and Bridgport where the RR crosses the Tenn River. That may seem strange to you, but if you knew the lay of this land, it would not. The road follows the river and valley of Lookout Mountain and it takes a circutas rout to get to this place. Everything is quiet in our front and bids to be for all a man can see, but a few hours and all may be thunder and confusion.
I think our reported reinforcements are a trieng to flank the rebs army, for they has none of them come here. We can see the rebs camps all around in front of us and the two lines of pickets are within speeking distance. The boys exchange papers with them every day and meet each other 1/2 way without their arms and have long chats together. Their soldiers are all very tired and want to get out of the sirvice and a good meny of them are disirting dayly and coming into our lines. The last letter I wrote when they were a shelling our camps, they kept it up all that day and night, but that is the last we have heard from their guns and that was done to blind us of a regular pitched fight they had among their own army. They killed 600 of their own men, so say their disirters that came into our lines. They were Tenn and Georgia and Mississpa troops that had the fight. I have no particulars to write to you, but we would like to hear from them we suppose to be our kin and friends a little oftener. And let me here say 10 months from today will put our full time in and if I don't get letters a little oftener, they need none of my friends their expect to get another letter from me while I stay in the sirvice. I have 3-4-5 letter to different ones that I well know they have got, part if not all, and they lay unnoticed. And I wonder if I should recieve 3 or 4 letters and not notice them, how they would like it. But I have said anough. I will close fur this time. My best wishes to all, I remain as ever, your son, Alfred D. Searls.
Direct to Chattanooga, Tenn,
21st Regt OVI Co H. Good by till I hear from the north.
I have no stamps or I should pay the postage.
Nov 27, 1863
To my dear Parents, Brothers, and Sisters,
This also will bring sad news to you, but the painful truth I am now like meny others forced to tell and that is my dear brother is dead and burried. Oh, it seems hard dear parents, but Jesus heals all wounds, they say. It may seem strange to you that I have not written, but I will tell you I have been away with a suply train. I left camp the 24th of Oct and returned yesterday. When I left Addison was no worse when I left than he had been for a month. Oh, little did I think it was the last time that I should ever see him, but he was taken wurse rite off and sent to the hospital and our lieutenant applied for his discharge and got it fur him about 2 weeks before he died. But he was too weak to move. And all this time I was only 40 miles away and never was notified by him or eny one else of his sickness. He died and was burried the day before I got back.
Oh, none but God can tell how I felt when my comrads told me that Ad was dead. Oh, it rings in my ears yet, and I am allmost crazy to day, fur I am not well nor never expect to be again. It is a lung disease. The doctor said one of Addisons lungs was all gone. I have learned that the Lieu. has wrote to you fur to come after Addison. If you have not started befur this reaches you, perhaps you had better wait a few days till you hear from me again, fur it is a matter of doubt wheather I shall find his grave. I have been a looking for 2 hours to day, but have not found it, fur they are not all marked and they are a burrieng the dead from the battel field by the hundreds. The battel has been raging for 5 days and they are still at it. They have captured nearly all of Brags army and are now a driveng Longstreet. The probibilety is we shall capture the whole of their army and everything they have got. But I don't feel like writing at all and much more about war matters.
Write soon and let me know what to do. I will write soon. And let us all look to Jesus for strength to bare this blow and affliction. Oh, it seems as though I could not stand it. I have his things, all he had, but you had better see about his matters in Wood Co. He has 2 or 3 good watches their somewhere and a fidle and clothings. Some of them are at Dick Dorites, some at Ed Smiths, some at old Charleys. They can tell you if they will about the whole of his affairs their. But I must close for this time. My kind love to all, and asking to be remembered in your prayers. Tell Ge. B. I will answer his letter when I have a little more of a setled mind. Good by. I remain your son till death.
Alfred D. Searls.
Write soon and direct to Chattanooga, Tenn. Farewell.
I have just got back from the grave yard and have been more sucessful this time, for I found my loved brothers grave among hundreds of others. It is in a dry place, nice ground behind the brick church in town. But they is no fence around it at the presant. If you think of moving his boddy, we shall have to get a metalic coffin, and I suppose the sooner the better, while it is cool weather. Pleas to let me hear from you soon. I am a going to try to get a furlow to come home. I have tried a number of times, but I will try once more and see what kind of luck. But I will wait till I hear from you.
I will now close for this time. My love to all, farewell.
A.D. Searls to his berieved friends at home. May the grace of God support us in this hour of trial.
Dec. 18, 1863
Again I take up my pen in answer to you kind and ever welcome letter of the 8th, which came to hand yesterday. It find me not eny better or worse as to health. I was pleased to read that you were all well at home and I hope you will all have your healthes. I have no news to write to you.
Father, as regards Addison's things, I have forwarded his discharge papers to you by a lieutenant of this regiment that has gone home a recruiting for the regt. He will mail them to you from Findley, Ohio. He has no clothing but a rubber blanket and a hat that I could find, but I will here explain a little to you. Perhaps that will relieve minds of curiosity.
While upon the march from Cadie Springs he was not able to carry his knapsack, so it was put upon the Co. wagon, and his shirts, drawers, woolen blanket and all little things that he had were in it. I allso had some clothing and a pair of boots in it. And the knapsack was lost or stolen and we lost all of our things they was in it. Now remember, this was while we were a making the move and had the Chickemaugy fights and you know that our supplies have been and are up to the presant time very scanty and it takes all the transportation to get grub here for the men. Conciquentley, our clothing is very small. I have no shirts nor don't expect to get eny till spring, for the cars will not get here before to supply us. And about the removel of his remains. I can do nothing at presant enyway. It would be a source of great concilation to me fur to send his remain to his native land, but I am bound in chains here. I cannot do anything and it will not be among the possibility fur to get transportaiton this winter.
So, my parents, I think upon the whole we had better postpone it till a future day. Meetting with the the acident that I have in loosing my mony, I am obliged to you with my tobaco and I shall yous up all my paper and envelopes today and I cannot get eny more. 3 cents a sheet fur this paper, 2 envelopes fur 5 cents, and next pay day I will have to pay $28.50 for the dear one gone, and you will readyly see how I am situated. And I expect that my wife and children now this cold winter weather are needding clothing to keep them warm and you cannot tell how it makes me feell.
I have rich relation that mite help me a little under the circumstances, if they would and situated as I am, a doing work that lets them stay by their fires and enjoy their plentis. It makes me feel sometimes as though it would be sweet to take the harts out of such as me. Not a bit do they care for the soldier. Oh, could I be vested with the power to fetch all such out and let them taste for 6 months no wurse hardships than I am now participating in.
I have not had rations so that I could eat a meal in over a month. It is now nearley noon and I have not eaten or drank enything since last night and don't expect to till tomorrow, for some soldier has needed my crackers wurse than I and took them out of my haversack. Steeling is the commonest of all things. But my sheet is nearly full and I will close for this time. Write soon. My love to all. I have tried to the utmost fur a furlow and fur my discharge, but my officers oppose. But they won't 9 months longer. I remain your son untill death. Alfred D. Serles
Dec. 28, 1863
Again I will attempt to write a few lines to you allthough I have no letter to answer nor no news to write. But thinking perhaps that you had written and it had not come to hand, I will not wait longer to inform you that I am still upon the land of the liveng and pirty well fur me. I have no news to write to you. I wrote to George but a few days since and you will read that undoubtedly.
Aretus Miller is here in the hospital yet. He is improving slowly, but very weak yet, not able to sit up eny. I have not been to see him to day, fur it has rained all day and I have wrote a letter to Uncle John and done my cooking. These short days a person dos not have much time after doing his duty that he has to in camp and get eny time to run around, but I intend to see him nearly every day. But our weat weather has sat in now for cirtain fur the next 4 months to come. We have had pirty snug winter weather fur the past 2 weeks fur this countery, but it was dry and cold, now weat and cold. But thank God if my life is spared this is my last winter in bondage fur a time to come at least. 8 months and I am out of this bondage. The time looks long, but if I have my health and should escape all accidents as well as I have done, the time will soon roul around.
We still have hard times fur rations and clothing, but we are a looking fur better fare sometime next month. But I hardley think myself that they will get the cars to running befur February some time, but I hope they may.
I saw all the boys in the 55th a few days ago. They were all well. They are camped about 6 miles from us. I have not heard from my famely fur some time. I don't seem to get eny letters from eny one of late and the camp seems very lonely to me now, for they is one that I allways miss.
Pleas to write to me soon and tell me what you are a doing and a going to do. Give me all news that will be of interest to me. But I must stop fur it is a getting so dark that I cannot see and I have no candles to make light. Give my love to the whole famely. Tell them all write to me.
Direct as when you last wrote. I remain as ever your son, Alfred D. Searls.
I allso send you a paper that is printed here now. They is no news in it, but it is something new.
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