This letter was written by 35 year-old 1st. Lt. Isaac Paul Tichenor (1826-1900) of Co. E, 3rd Minnesota Infantry. Isaac was mustered into the service on 8 November 1861. He was dismissed 1 December 1862.
Tichenor was born in Galway, New York and came to Wisconsin with his parents from Amsterdam, Montgomery County, New York in 1839 when he was 13 years old. He was married to Mary Frances (Love) Tichenor (1829-1904). His residence in 1861 was Hastings, Dakota County, Minnesota, where he was employed as a Hotel Keeper. By 1870, after the war, Tichenor returned to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he became a prominent produce commission merchant.
The Third Minnesota mustered into service at Fort Snelling in October and November of 1861. In late November the regiment departed for the South. The officers and men spent much of their first year on garrison duty in Kentucky and Tennessee as part of the Army of the Ohio. Shortly after the Third arrived in Kentucky, Henry C. Lester became the regiment’s colonel. Lester had been a captain in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and he quickly drilled the Third into a disciplined and competent fighting force. This, along with his care for the well-being of his men, earned for him the confidence and respect of the regiment.
A January 19, 1862, letter from “Quad” that was published in the January 29, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal mentions Lieut. Tichenor. It reads: “Lieut. Tichenor of the 3d Minnesota, paid a visit to this camp on Sunday and Monday last. The Lieut. looked as though he was in good quarters, and well fitted for his position. His Regiment is encamped near Lebanon Junction, about thirty miles from this place. He says they are aching for a fight, and thinks the Minnesota soldiers will compare favorably with the best of them.
Addressed to Vernon Tichenor, Esq., Waukesha, Wisconsin
Headquarters 3rd Regiment Minnesota Volunteers
Camp Dana, Kentucky
December 18th 1861
I received a letter yesterday from Orson and today one from Vernon and also some papers from both of you. I was glad to receive both of them, I will assure you. But I am more anxious to hear from Mary. It is over two weeks since I have heard from her. The last letter was written three days after she was confined. I can not account for the delay. Tenney agreed to write every other day to me during her illness. I am very much afraid that something is wrong.
Our last march was only seven miles. We are having some pretty heavy picket duty to do. We have one bridge 1 miles from camp to guard; another 3 miles north; another 7 miles north, another 3 miles south; another 13 miles south. At the nearest bridges we are relieved every 24 hours. At the other two we take seven days rations. Night before last, I was at one of the bridges with 1 sergeant, 3 corporals, 24 privates. During the night, an attempt was made to burn the bridge (all R.R. bridges). We fired seven shots — with what effect I do not know. Tomorrow our whole company is ordered to take seven days rations and guard a bridge over Salt River, seven miles from here, [for] seven days.
Gen. [Don Carlos] Buell, the commander of all the troops in Kentucky — about 120,000 — takes the field in person in a day or two, and it is said that [Simon Bolivar] Buckner is advancing towards us. There must be a battle within a few weeks, and I am in hopes it will be a decisive battle.
Orson seems to speak as if I was discontented. I would not have any [of] you think for a moment that that was the case. On the contrary, I never enjoyed myself better in my life. There is just enough excitement to suit my temperament. We [are ] having most delightful weather. Blue birds are singing and also meadow larks. The thermometer will range from 20° to 50° above zero — pretty warm for the 18th December.
Our company is Co. F, 3rd Regiment M. V. You will direct for the present at Louisville. We have a postmaster that goes down every day and brings the mail to us. This letter is to the whole family as I have not time to write at present to individuals. Remember me to inquiring friends.
In haste, — I. P. Tichenor