1862: Peter W. Southard to William Henry Jolly

How Peter might have looked

How Peter might have looked

This letter was written by 20 year-old Peter W. Southard (1842-1910), the son of Jacob Southard (1807-18xx) and Sarah Ann __ (1806-18xx) of Logan, Dearborn County, Indiana. Peter served as a Corporal in Company K, 26th Indiana Infantry during the Civil War. The Twenty-Sixth Indiana Infantry Regiment was organized at Indianapolis and was mustered in on 31 August 1861. It left the state on 7 September and joined Freemont’s forces at St. Louis for the Springfield campaign. It returned to Sedalia where it guarded the railroad until July 1862. It then moved to southern Missouri and engaged in major battles there. It joined Grant’s army at Vicksburg in May 1863. It moved from here to Louisiana and then on to Texas at Brownsville on the Mexican frontier. It reenlisted in February of 1864, went on furlough in April and returned to Louisiana in June. In February 1865 recruits from the 60th regiment were merged with the 26th and it was ordered to Mobile in March. It occupied Mobile after its surrender and the regiment was moved to Mississippi and then on to Macon. The final mustering out was in January 1866.

Peter wrote the letter to his cousin William Henry Jolly (1835-1863), the son of Charles Jolly (1803-1873) and Martha Southard (1813-1914). Charles Jolly was born in New Jersey. During his early years he worked in Commodore Vanderbilt’s New Jersey Shipyards, eventually becoming a foreman. Around 1830 he moved westward, settling in Dearborn County, Indiana, where he became a leader in the pioneer community of Logan. Jolly was one of the founders of the Republican Party serving as a delegate to both the founding convention and that of 1860. He served as Postmaster for Logan and was a master craftsman and builder, having built (1833) a large brick house near Dover, Dearborn County, Indiana for his father-in-law, Benjamin Southard.

Charles Jolly married, 2 May 1833, Martha Southard, the youngest daughter of Benjamin Southard. She was born 1 March 1813 at Hampsted, Long Island, New York, moved to Indiana around 1816-1818, and died at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1914. They had eight children, one son, William Henry, and seven daughters Mary (Mrs. R. A. Keen), Rebecca (Mrs. Miller); Susan Martin, Sally Hayes, Lydia Matthews, Etta Jolly, and Annabell Pratt. Charles Jolly died in 1873 and is buried at Logan.

William (“Will”) Henry Jolly (1835-1863) was born in Logan, Indiana, 17 June 1835. He worked with his father as a builder, stone and brick mason, was a cabinet maker, carried mail for his father from Lawrenceburg, and wrote poetry and pose. During the Civil War, Jolly enlisted in Company G, 83rd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers and served as a nurse in U.S. Army hospitals. By 1863 he was clerk to the hospital steward on the floating hospital The Nashville where he died 30 August 1863 from typhoid fever. He is buried next to his father at Logan.

Peter wrote the letter from Sedalia, Missouri, which was made a military post early in the war and remained such until its close in 1865. It was a major crossroads for railroads and for this reason, it was an active theatre of operations for military supplies.


Addressed to Will H. Jolly, Logan Cross Roads, Indiana

Sedalia, Missouri
June 15th [1862]

Cousin Will,

About ten days ago I wrote you a long letter and also sent you $5.00 (five dollars). I suppose you have received it ‘ere this but have yet received no answer. Our mails are very irregular. One of our company’s are now at Corinth and some of our mail has gone there.

I now understand that we will leave here next (or rather this) week. I am told we will go south either to Memphis or Corinth — more probably the latter. Six hundred State Militia have just arrived to take command of the post.

I indeed hate the prospect of going south for it is so sickly there and so ungodly hot. However, this prairie is a miserable place. The wind blows and the dust is terrible.

Will, I have no news to write you and have only written what I have because we shall leave. I shall therefore close with giving my respects to all. Write soon.

Ever yours, — P. W. Southard


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