1862-63: Theodore Longwood to Rebecca (Scott) Longwood

These letters were written by Theodore (“Dory”) Longwood (1843-1877), the son of Milo Longwood (1802-1883) and Rebecca Scott (1803-1882) of Aberdeen, Ohio County, Indiana. Dory mentions his brother, Mortimer (“Morty”) Scott Longwood (1838-1913) in the letter. They both served in Company C, 7th Indiana Infantry.

A family history states that:

How Dory might have looked

How Dory might have looked

Theodore Longwood was known as “Dory” to his family. He was five years younger than his brother Mortimer. Mortimer enlisted in the 7th Indiana, so Dory followed him one year later – being assigned to the same company. Dory was a private and older brother Mort was a sergeant. Dory’s luck ran out on August 19, 1864. He and brother Mortimer had been part of the siege of Petersburg – which lasted for nine months. During that time the two brothers, along with soldiers from many regiments, were sent to capture the Weldon Railroad which ran from Petersburg to Weldon, North Carolina. Union Generals realized that they had to completely cut Petersburg off from any outside Confederate support, and the railroad was one of those lines of support. During that action the rebels under General Beauregard put up a fierce fight. In the two day running battle union forces lost 212 men killed, 1149 wounded and 2879 missing. Most of those missing men were captured by Confederate troops and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp – Dory was one of those unlucky men captured by the enemy… Theodore was always “sickly and weak” after the war. He married and had one child but died early at age 34.

See also — 1863-64: Theodore & Mortimer Longwood to Milo Longwood.


Camp Joe Reynolds ¹
Indianapolis [Indiana]
October 1, 1862

Dear Ma,

I wrote you and Pa a letter yesterday but I guess there is no harm to write another one today. I did forget to tell you how to direct your letters when you write to me.

Today finds me well and hearty. Today is our general muster. We will fight sham fights which is a very pretty sight. They had a very heavy fight here yesterday. We could hardly hear anything but shooting.

I have just got two letters from Aurora. They say they are all well. They got a letter from Mort since the fight [at Antietam]. He was not hurt at all.

I must be in a haste for it is almost drill time and I will have to quit so goodbye all. Write as soon as you can. My letters yesterday will give you all of importance. So I am still yours most truly, — Theodore Longwood

Direct to me — Camp Joe Reynolds, Indianapolis, Ind.

¹  Camp Joseph Reynolds was located between the canal and the White River, one and ½ miles from Camp Carrington.


Camp Carrington ¹
Indianapolis [Indiana]
November 29, 1862

Dear Ma,

I sent you and Pa a letter yesterday but I have just got a letter from you this evening so I thought I would write you another on e in answer to it. I was glad to get the post stamps and paper although I have plenty of both. I have got about 75 cents worth of paper but I will use it all and I thank you for them. I will repay you by writing to you often.

I was glad to hear that you all was well. I am so glad to get a letter from you. I can read it so easy. I can read it just as well as I can my own hand writing. I am also glad to hear that Pa is a getting along so well with his hay. I hope he will get 20 dollars a ton for it. I am glad that he is hauling it to Millersburg while the roads is good. I hope he will get a good price for his wheat.

I am still well and hearty. I am getting fat again. I think I have gained several pounds since I left home. You said you wished you knew whether I wanted anything. I do not need anything for I have bought a pair of gloves. I have not got them gloves yet. when they come, I can take them to Morty if he needs them, and if he don’t, I can sell one pair for a good price. I could make it pay if I could take several pairs.

I am glad that you got a letter from Morty and that he was well. You said he was near Harpers Ferry. I suppose you have got a letter from him since I have the letter I wrote to you yesterday tells where he was when he wrote to me. So there is no use for me to write you the same in this. The box that was sent to him is at Harpers Ferry, I suppose. I wrote to him and told him where it is so he can send after it. I think he will get it some of these days.

I think Burnside will do some good before a great while. The weather is quite cold here. It is snowing today. It looks like it would be a big snow storm before it quits. I have got a nice gum blanket.

Lights out so I will write a few lines more. I am glad that you and B. still go to class. I pray that God will bless you and keep both well. There was preaching here in camp last Sunday in camp. We all have the privilege of going to the city every Sunday to meeting if there is no preaching in camp. They give a testament to each soldier. I was glad to get the nice verses that Aunt Mary sent to me. There is two of our squad sick with the measles. You need not worry about me for if I should get sick, the boys that is with me would take care of me like a brother for they are so kind to me. They are all very nice fellows. We have a very nice man for our Orderly Sergeant. He is one of our 7th boys now.

This is the morning of the 30th — almost another month is gone. Oh how fast the time does pass. It seems to me that Sunday comes every two or three days. On the 15th of next month, there are four months wages due me from Uncle Sam. That is $52.00 dollars. I cannot get it until I get to the regiment for the boys, when they went, they took the payroll with them. They will give it to the Capt. and it will be alright when I get there. If I should not go until Spring, it will amount to right smart by that time.

It is snowing very hard this morning. It has been snowing all night. It is about three inches deep now. I have not got the privilege of going a rabbit hunting here as I had when I was at home.

I hope you have had a wood chopping before this snow. I will try and get that coffee and send it to you if I can get. I will have to wait for a few days for the boys have sold all they have got at present.

You do not know what pleasure it gives me to get a letter from you. You can not imagine how much good it does a soldier to get a letter from home. I thank you a thousand times for you most kind letter. I hope God will keep and bless you and Pa until we get back. Ma, you will see some verses I have composed on the last beam of summer and the parted friends. It is not very good but I do it to pass away the time. I pass my time in writing while others play their cards.

I hope God will still give me grace. So now this is the second sheet I will bring my scribbling to a close. So I remain your most affectionate son until death, — Theodore Longwood

The last beam of summer
Hath spread from the hill
The fleecy snow is falling
And the days is growing shorter
And the nights become cold

The fair buds we cherished
And strove to keep fair,
Haven by one perished
Despite of all our care.

Yet the sweet faces
That I proved so much is no more
Still the Autumn hath grace
And gladness in store.

I know they will not forget me
While I go to other shores
I hope I will soon meet them
Again with their smiles.

¹ Camp Carrington was established as a Civil War camp in 1862 in Indianapolis. It was named for General Henry B. Carrington, who served as Colonel and Brigadier General in the Union Army. It was one of the largest of the twenty-four camps established during the war in the Indianapolis area, and was located between the Canal and Fall Creek near present-day 15th and Missouri Streets. When it originally opened it was known as Camp Murray. It replaced Camp Morton as the main training camp when Camp Morton was established as a POW camp. During the last year of the war practically all the Indiana regiments were organized there.


1863 Envelope

1863 Envelope


Camp 7th Indiana
Saturday, April 26th 1863

Dear Sister,

After so long a time I will try to write you a short letter as it has been some time since I have wrote you a letter. You will understand that I have got to the regiment. I left the hospital on the 11th. Then I stayed at the Camp of Distribution until the 21st on which day I started to the regiment. There was nothing of any note transpired on my journey more than I had a very pleasant trip on the boat while it was ploughing its way down the Potomac to Aquia Landing. From there we got on the [steamer] by the name of Rockland which landed at Bell’s Landing. From there we marched to the regiment, the distance of about one mile from there.

I wish you could of been here when I come in the tent. Mort was on his back almost asleep when I stepped in. I woke him up. He was very much surprised when he woke to see me standing in front of him. We laughed and cried both once. You never saw two boys as we was. We have had very pleasant times talking about old times. He ask me questions until he gets tired and then to rest him, I would commence my clatter and keep him answering questions until he had no peace. And then the next he got hold of my knapsack and there was nothing in it that was not seen by him.

Then to get me acquainted with a soldier’s life, we got orders the next morning to get three days rations ready and prepare to march. We got into line and before we had time to execute the order, it was countermanded and we returned to camp where we are now. We are still under marching orders and we are liable to be called away at any time.

It has been very stormy for the last two or three days. Nearly all of the boys that stay in our tent are out on picket. There is but three in here now — Mosh James, Tinker, and myself. The pickets has to stay out 5 days at a time. It will be my time in a few days.

Our camp discipline is very strict. The first thing we have to do in the morning is to blacken our boots clean, our guns, and get ready for inspection at 7 o’clock A.M. Company drill at 9 o’clock and dress parade in the evening. And then [those] that has their gun and clothes in the best order is released [while] those that does not keep their guns bright has to do all the sweeping about the camp. I will give Morty praise for he keeps his gun and clothes as neat as a pin and all the officers and privates would do anything for him. He always does his duty as a soldier and by so doing, he gains friends every day.

I wish you could see our little tent. I know you would laugh to see us cooking a pot of beans and eat our own bread and dinner. I am well satisfied with the soldier’s camp life. We have about 55 men in our company and about 45 able for duty. All is quiet here now.

Doubleday’s Division made a quite successful reconnaissance on last Tuesday. They went to Port Royal and crossed the Rappahannock and captured several Rebels and some important papers and returned yesterday.

Morty got a letter from William last evening and one from Carrie and also a pretty letter that Willie sent to him. Mort says he will answer them in a few days. I would write one to Carrie and Willie today if I had time. I will have to be in haste for it is almost time for our dress parade. When you write again, please tell me if you ever got the three pictures I sent you. Morty and I sent our pictures to Ma this morning. I have not had a letter from Aurora since the 16th of February now. As I have nothing of importance to write, I will close for the present. Please look over all mistakes and I will try and do better next time. Please write soon. I still remain your affectionate brother as ever.

Yours truly, — Theodore Longwood


July the 12th 1863
Near Hagerstown, Maryland

Dear Ma & Pa,

This morning I thought I would try to write you a few lines to let you know he we are getting along. I have nothing of importance to write to you this morning more than we are both well and in the best of spirits. I have not wrote you a letter before for some time but Morty has wrote several to you both. I wrote one to George Ake. yesterday and Morty wrote one to you at the same time. Perhaps he gave you more of the particulars than I will be able to give you at this time. We have not wrote to you as often as we would liked to have done since we have been on this last march but I think you will excuse us when I tell you how hard it is for one to write when on a march. The most of the time since we left our old camp at Falmouth, there has been no chance to send a letter. It is just one month today since we started on the march. We have been on the march nearly every day since. Now I will have to stop for we have got marching orders to go nearer to the front. The rebs are but a few miles from us now. I will finish this as soon as I can.

July the 17th — now I will try to finish my letter. Since I first commenced to write this letter we moved in front of the enemies and fortified but while we was there, they crossed the river and gone to Virginia again and of course we are after him. We have marched about two hundred miles since we started but I think we both enjoy better health now than when we started. I never saw the boys in such good spirits as they are now. We have a good prospect of getting home. The rebs are about played out. The papers appears to have nothing in them but new victories for us. Lee has lost about one third of his army since he came to Pennsylvania. He was very glad to leave this part of the country.

We are now near Harpers Ferry. We are waiting now until they get the pontoons across the river. perhaps we may stay here a week. I do not know where we will go from here but I suppose we will go to Virginia. I think we will have a chance to come home before out time is out for I don’t think the war will last much longer. I think all the hardest fighting is about over — at least all looks favorable at present.

We received the shirts and socks you sent us but we have not heard anything of the box that was sent from Aurora. Morty and I send you a thousand thanks for your kindness. We have plenty of clothes and can draw new whenever we need them. We got a letter from Sally a few days ago. They was all well. She wanted to know if my sore foot but me on the march. It has hurt me since I left home.

Now, as it is getting late, I will have to stop. Please write as often as you can. I hope you get along fine with your harvest. Morty sends his love to you both and I still remain yours as ever. All well.

Yours truly, — Theo. Longwood


Monday, July the 26th [1863]
In Camp near Warrenton Junction [Virginia]

Dear Pa & Ma,

I received your kind letter of the 16th and was very glad to hear of your getting along so well. I expect you are getting very anxious to hear from us again as we have not wrote to you for about a week as we have been on the march so we have had no chance to write. There will be a mail leave camp today so I thought I would try and write you a few lines to let you know where we are and what we are doing and what will be more interesting to you, to give you to understand that we are both well and in the best of spirits.

We stopped here day before yesterday. We are on (near the railroad). How long we will stay here, I cannot say for our stay in any one place is uncertain as long as Old lee is on the move for we have to watch his movements. I think we will whip him out after awhile. Then we will get the rest. We still drive the rebs before us. I think our General is a trying to get between the rebs and Richmond. If we do, I think we will give him a good whipping. We give him a good thrashing at the last fight and we did not get hurt so I think we can whip him again without getting hurt. I think the rebels are getting about played out.

You spoke about Old John Morgan’s raid in Indiana. No doubt but you was much frightened but I think it the best for us that the rebs make such raids in the North. You may think that is queer, but I will tell you for what reason I think so. It looks like they cannot get any to eat at home and have to make raids in the North to get something to support their army. Then we can whip them easier than we can in their own country, for we can surround them and they cannot get reinforcements. I think Old Morgan has run himself in a trap so he will not get out. Old Lee was in the same fix when he went to Pennsylvania. he was very glad to get back. If we had no more to fight that what force Old Morgan has got, we could whip him in 15 minutes. But we have a few more out this way. When Lee made his raid in Pennsylvania, he had about one hundred and twenty-five thousand but he lost some 25 or 30,000 before he got back.

Well I have filled one sheet but I hardly know what with, so I will proceed to finish on this. we got a letter from Will last night. They was all well when he wrote. He told us all about his going a soldiering after Morgan. I would liked to have been there to went with him. No doubt but Molly and Sally was scared when Will went away. I hope Morgan will be captured before he gets back. Perhaps his raid will make some Union men after they find out that the rebs do not care anymore for them than they would for a Union man.

We have a fine time since we come back to Virginia. The officers give us the privilege of getting all the chickens and calves and cattle we want to make up for what the rebs took when they was in Pennsylvania. We have been marching nearly ever since we left Falmouth but we are all in good spirits. We have stood the march fine. My foot has not hurt me at all. We all have had better health on the march than when we was in camp. There is scarcely a sick man in the regiment. When we are in camp, it keeps us laughing all the time for the boys are making fun whenever we stop and while on the march. If you could see us cutting up and laughing, you would not think that we was the boys that we was the boys that has marched about 300 miles since the 12th of June. We are pretty near back to the place where we started from.

We got the socks and two shirts and the handkerchiefs but the boxes has not come yet. I expect it will not come until [we] stop marching now. As it is almost time for the mail to go out, I will have to stop. I hope you will get along fine with your harvest. We have plenty of clothes and everything to make us comfortable and we are well and all right. Please tell all of the folks that I will write to them as soon as we stop marching.

So goodbye. Morty sends his love to you. I still remain yours as ever. — Theo. Longwood


1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Mary A. Stevens, Aurora, Indiana

July the 28th 1863
Warrenton Junction, Va.

Dear Sister,

It is with pleasure I sit down to write you a few lines to inform you that we are both well and in good spirits. I got a letter from you while we was at Frying Pan Church. One also just after the Battle of Gettysburg. I do not remember whether I answered it or not. If I did not, please don’t think hard [of me] for we have been on the march nearly every day since we left Falmouth which was on the 12th of June. We have not had a chance to write to you as often as we would have done if we had been in camp. Morty wrote Frank a letter a few days ago. We also got a letter from Will. Yesterday we learned through him that you was neither killed nor scared to death by old [John] Morgan. He was spoke about his going a soldiering. I wish I could have been with him on that expedition.

Some of the people in Hoosierdom can see a small part of the sorrows of war, but I think if they could [come] to Virginia where there has been the great armies roving for more than two years, we destroy more since we have come in Virginia this time than we ever did before. The generals send out foraging parties every day to capture all the horses and cattle that can be found. I think the Rebs will be sorry that they ever made a raid in Pennsylvania. Old Lee was very glad to get away from [there]. He said he would never go back to Pennsylvania again.

We have just got the news that John Morgan has been captured with all of his force. I guess they will get tired or invading Northern soil. I think that the Southern Confederacy is getting almost played out. They have lost several very important points this spring and old Gen. Lee has had his army badly cut up since he first started to Pennsylvania. He is in the Shenandoah Valley. I suppose his intention is to go to Richmond but we are nearer there than he is so perhaps it is our intention to head him [off] at Richmond. We have stopped here on the railroad merely to get supper. Then I expect we will be on the march again but for what point, I am not able to say. We have marched about 300 miles since we left Falmouth. We have stood the march splendidly. There is scarcely a sick man in the regiment. The boys are all in good spirits. The prospects at present look fair. I thin the war will not last much longer.

I would like to see you all very much indeed but I suppose we will have to be content until the war comes to a close. I got a letter from Ma today. They are all well. She said when Old Morgan passed through Indiana, they got all ready to move away. I wish I was there. I expect we would laugh at it after it is all over and Morgan captured.

Now as it is getting almost time for the mail to leave camp, I will have to close by sending my love to you. Mort sends his best respects to all of the folks. Please write as often as you can. Tell ___ and Charley to write as often as they can so I still am yours as ever, — Theo. Longwood


August the 31st 1863
Rappahannock Station, Va.

Dear Ma & Pa,

This evening I again attempt to write you a few lines to inform you of our situation. We are in the same place we was when I wrote to you last. There is nothing new going on more than usual. We have nothing to do more than to go on picket every two or three days.

There is no signs of our leaving here yet for some time. We got a letter from Charlie and Willie Sutton while they was out there. We was very glad to hear from you that you was getting along so well but sorry to hear that Pa was so sick. I hope that he will not remain sick long. I hope ‘ere this reaches you that he may be well. May it find you all well and in good spirits. I have just wrote two or three letters to Aurora today, so I am getting quite tired and as I have nothing of importance to write, cannot write you a very long today.

We have been mustered today for pay. I suppose we will be paid off again if we stay here long. We have not heard from you since we sent the money to you the other pay day. I do not know whether you have got it or not. I have wrote two or three since. I am afraid we don’t get all of the letters that is wrote to us, but I will keep on writing if I don’t get any. We get them pretty regular from you. We got a lot of post stamps in the letter that I received from Charlie and was very glad to get them for we can’t get them here without a good deal of trouble. We also got two check[ed] shirts that you sent by mail. Also a dollar’s worth of stamps that you sent some time ago. We are a thousand times obliged to you for your kindness. I hope we can repay you by sending you a few dollars. That is the only way we can help you now while we are out here. I hope it will not be long before we can come home. Things look quite favorable now — more so now than it has been for a good while.

We have got the news here that Fort Sumter and Wagner has surrendered to our men and that our gunboats is firing into Charleston City. I hope we will soon hear of the fall of that place.

Our pickets and the Reb pickets are very friendly. They talk to each other perfectly friendly. You would think it queer if I tell you that they both use water out of the same spring, but nevertheless, it is true. They say they wish that the war was over for they are getting tired of fighting now.

It is almost time for the mail to leave camp so I will have to stop. Please write soon and as I still remain yours as ever, — Theo. Longwood

Morty send his love to you both. All well.




October the 17th 1863
Centerville, Virginia

Dear Pa & Ma,

I believe when I last wrote to you we was near Racoon Ford on the Rapidan River, but we are a long way from there now. We have done some hard marching since we left there as an army of this size generally does. We traveled over 60 miles in less than 3 days. On the 10th, the army all gathered together near the Rapidan. It was supposed we would advance on towards Richmond but all at once we was ordered back on the 11th and before we got two miles from the river the Rebs had followed us and when we got to a little town by the name of Stevensburg — which was on a higher position than where the river — we could look back and the rebs was shooting at our cavalry which was covering our retreat.

They followed us to the Rappahannock River which is about 10 or 15 miles. We got there and prepared to give them battle from our forts that we built before we advanced towards the Rapidan, but the Rebs thought it best for them not to come too close to our works, so they went back and have been trying to flank us on the right ever since. They wanted to get in between us and Washington and cut off our provision. So of course the next thing we had to do was to try and beat them to Centerville where we beat them by hard marching.

We left the Rappahannock on the night of 12th at midnight and marched all the next day [&] that night until 11 o’clock without stopping to get either breakfast, dinner, or supper. So when we stopped we got our supper ass it was then and lay down then in the morning. At 3 o’clock the orders was to fall in so we started and marched all that day until almost dark when we got to this place. I think you never saw as strong a place as this is. There is one chain of forts all over those hills. We did not get here any too quick for the Rebs was shelling our rear all the way. But we are alright now if they will only fight us.

There was very heavy cannonading yesterday about 3 miles from here. We are in sight of the old Bull Run Battlefields. We are on a range of hills that overlooks the valley where all the fighting was done at the last mentioned battles. The Rebs has tried two or three times to capture our wagon train but only resulted in them getting a good whipping. I could count a hundred large cannon on those hills. Some of them are 12 feet long and shoot a 32 pound ball; other 20 pound balls. I hope that we will get to fight them here.

I never felt in better spirits than now. We have been digging rifle pits in front of our regiment. Mort is out now helping dig them. We are only about 15 miles from Alexandria. If the Rebs don’t fight us here, I don’t know where we will go next. The Rebs may try to go up in Maryland again. If they do, they will get a worse whipping than they did before. We can tell better in two or three days. I hope the next news you hear will be the Rebs has got a bad whipping.

I have nothing more of importance to write you this time so I will have to make my letter short. Perhaps you will see more in the papers concerning our last movement than I am able to give you. I have not got any letter from any of you for about a week. I am getting anxious to hear from you. We have not got that box yet. We are in the best of spirits. Morty sends his love to you all. I will have to stop for the present but still remain yours as ever, — T. & M. S. Longwood

Please write soon. Love to both. Excuse this short letter.

October the 22nd 1863

You will see that I did not get to send this letter away on the 17th as I expected. We have marched two or three days since that time. We did not get much of a fight out of the Johnny’s — as we call them. On the 18th we was ordered to march so we off in great spirits expecting to find some of them. Well, sure enough, we did. We went across the old Bull Run Battlefields where we saw a great many relics of the hard fought battles. On the evening of the 20th, we was stopped in front by the Johnny’s near the Thoroughfare Gap. The 3rd Division of our Corps was sent out to attack them but they found them perty plenty. Then the 1st Brigade of our Division was sent out also. They done some perty heavy skirmishing. Then our Regiment was sent out on picket all that night and did not get any sleep and yesterday we was put out as skirmishers but when we went to find them yesterday morning, (they was like the Irishman’s flee) they was out and gone and we have not seen any of them since.

We are now on the west side of the gap. I expect that they will go back to the Rappahannock River. We have got orders to march again in the morning at 4 o’clock. I don’t think we can get much of a fight out of them this fall. They will not stay in one place long enough. Well now, it is about  8 o’clock P.M. so I will have to close. All well and in good spirits. We got your letter yesterday. I will finish on page 6. We also got a letter from Will. He started our box on the 9th. I suppose it is at Washington now. We are looking for it every day. — Theo. Longwood


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