1863: Mortimer Scott Longwood to Milo Longwood

How Morty might have looked

How Morty might have looked

This letter was written by 25 year-old Sgt. Mortimer (“Morty”) Scott Longwood (1838-1913) to his parents Milo Longwood (1802-1883) and Rebecca Scott (1803-1882) of Aberdeen, Ohio County, Indiana. Morty served in Company C, 7th Indiana Infantry. In the letter he mentions his younger brother, Pvt. Theodore (“Dory”) Longwood (1843-1877).

This letter was written just three weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg. The 7th Indiana was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Colonel Ira G. Grover, a lawyer and state legislator from Greensburg. It had 437 men on the field on July 3rd, of whom 2 were killed, 5 wounded and 3 missing.

The 7th Indiana had been left behind at Emmitsburg on July 1st to guard the corps trains with orders to wait until relieved by one of Brigadier General Stannard’s Vermont regiments. By 10 a.m. no relief had arrived, but Colonel Grover decided to leave for the front anyway. On the way word came of the battle and the regiment hurried its march, reaching the battlefield in the early evening. They were posted on the north side of Culp’s Hill, going into line next to the survivors of the Iron Brigade.

This strong and fresh regiment added greatly to the security of Culp’s Hill that evening. Col. Grover was later brought before a court martial for abandoning his post guarding the trains, but was exonerated.

A family history states that:

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.

Addressed to Mr. Milo Longwood, Aberdeen, Ohio County, Indiana

Camp Near Warrenton Junction, Va.
Sunday, July the 26, 1863

Dear Pa & Ma,

A few days ago I got a letter from you. I think it was wrote on the 10th. I was glad to hear that you were both well and getting along so finely with your harvest. It pleases me to hear of your getting along so well. We have the greatest reasons to thank our neighbors for their kindness towards you. I am anxious to hear from you again.

We have been on the march ever since the 6th of this month. I think we have wrote you several letters since the fight in Pennsylvania [Gettysburg]. We are now back into Virginia again. I suppose that the Rebels are somewhere near Winchester where we will go. When we leave here is hard to tell. I don’t think we will have any fighting to do very soon. We have been brought here to get provision and clothing. We have been where the Rebels had our provision cut off. We could not get grub nor send out any mail. They captured several of our officers and men while we were coming out here. We have taken some of them. We got some 15 or 20 in Warrenton. Our boys are all in good spirits.

The weather is very hot and water very scarce. We have to go about one mile for water. That is the case of so many being sun struck. Water is so hard to get. We had a good rain last night. We are getting along fine.

Dory is well. He has gone out to pick some blackberries. He stands the march very well.

I will have to bring this to a close as the mail is about to start. I can’t write much and my ink is gone. I will write more soon. Excuse this poor letter. I wish I had more time to write to you. We are all well. I just sent a letter to Frank. Write soon. Good bye. In haste.

— M. S. Longwood




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