This letter was written by 26 year-old musician Edward (“Ted”) Edmund Huddart (1838-1913) of Co. K, 23rd Wisconsin Infantry. He enlisted in August 1862 and was mustered out of the service in July 1865. He entered the service as a “drummer” and exited as a “fifer.”
Edmund was a native of South Yorkshire, England, the son of Edmund and Jane (Parker) Huddart. He emigrated with his parents to the United States in 1845 and settled in Wisconsin. He was married in 1860 to Elizabeth H. Meller (1840-1913).
An obituary for Ted reads as follows:
Edmund Huddart, proprietor of the Holdredge House, South Auburn, was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, Eng., in 1838, and came with his parents to America in 1845, who settled in Ozaukee County, Wis. A few years later, the family removed to Prairie du Sac, Wis., where he lived until the spring of 1860, when he married Elizabeth Meller, and removed to Nebraska, but did not locate, and returned to his former home the following autumn. He enlisted August 23, 1862, in the famous Twenty-third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, under Col. J. J. Guppy, served under Gen. Grant at Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Black River Bridge and the siege of Vicksburg, afterward fighting at Champion Hill and capturing Jackson, Miss. The regiment then went with Gen. Banks on the Red River expedition, and made itself historic by its gallant conduct in repulsing the rebels at Carrion Crow Bayou, the regiment coming out of this fight with a response of only forty-two names to the next roll-call. After the failure of the Banks expedition, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Mobile, Ala. The regiment was mustered out in July, 1865, on the same ground on which it was mustered, at Madison, Wis., only 200 men surviving the 1,000 that marched so confidently out three years before. In 1870, Mr. H. located at Brownville Neb., where he engaged in the mercantile and milling business for nearly eleven years. In the summer of 1881, he went to Lincoln, and established the sprinkling business there. He came from Lincoln to Calvert early in 1882, opening the Holdredge House February 6.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mrs. E. Huddart, Prairie du Sac, Sauk County, Wisconsin
August 10th 1864
My own dear Pet,
I expected a letter by the mail today from you but I was disappointed. Smart brought my last letter but I think I shall get one in a day or two. I received one from Bill & Jane today, They are well. He says you wrote that you were going to see them. They want you to come & stay the fall & winter if you will. I hope you will go & not wait for me any longer. Go & try & enjoy yourself & stay as long as you feel comfortable. Bill writes a very good letter. Says mother is still with Nancy. She (Nancy) must of been very sick & that Polly has another boy. Good for her. About time to stop though. You must not look for any news this time for I have nothing.
We see no prospect of being paid very soon. Don’t care much.
Good news from Mobile. Reported taken. A salute fired here on that account.
I have been writing steady Libbie, to finish that sheet of my diary & am tired of writing. So you must excuse me this time. This diary will be as good as a letter to you. I suppose that you did not expect me to keep track of everything, did you. I’ll send the rest at odd times. All is well!
Now Pet, go to Chicago & pass away your time fast as possible. Be a good girl & live in hopes. Don’t be sad, but rather cheerful. Have faith. May God bless you & Make you happy & contented as possible, my own dear Pet.
From your ever true & faithful loving husband, — Ted
Gloss bless the Pet. All my heart’s pure and unchanging love to you, my own darling. I’ll write again Sunday. A sweet kiss, my Pet, & adieu for this time. Your own Ted.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
August 14th 1864
My own dear Pet wife,
I just received a kind & loving letter from you, Pet, and I am very thankful for it. It had been quite a long time since I received a letter & I began to feel lonesome. But I am alright now. I don’t know what in the world I could of written today if I had not received a letter. Your letter was written July 31st. You said you had just received 3 letters from me. I am glad of it. I hope they done you good. There is more on the road, Pet. One long one — more than a foot long. That is the kind you like, I expect.
I was sorry to hear such bad news from Joe’s folks. It will be hard for Joe. I think it is strange that he has not written me, but the poor fellow had too much else to think of, I expect. You wish to have my opinion in regard to what we ought to do if things happen as you think they will. I will tell you & I know you think the same. I consider it your duty to insist on having the care of his family without he is decidedly opposed to it, which I think he will not be. We are the only ones of our family without children; therefore, it will be the most pleasant for him & us. I know that Joe would rather have his children under your care than anyone else living. You will see what his feelings are when the time comes. If he is in favor of you taking care of them, you can go to keeping house with him, but I should insist on you having a girl to so the work of the house & you take care of the children only. I know that will be all you can do. It will be a good deal of bother for you & you will find it plenty without doing any housework. I fear Joe will be wanting to enlist or something of the kind if he sees that the children are alright. But tell him not to do it. He had better live with you & the children till I get home anyway. I don’t see that there will be anything improper in doing what I have said & if it agrees with your feelings, I shall be very glad. I know you will consider what you would have liked Nancy to do if I had been in the same fix & her as you are. Use your own judgement, Pet, & I don’t fear but you will do right. You may think it a hard task & a great deal of trouble, but Pet, I believe you will derive a pleasure from it, not only in knowing that you are doing your duty, but it will pass away your time & make you feel more contented. Write me as soon as you find out everything for certain & I will write Joe.
You think I must have used up my two months wages rather quick as I had none at New Orleans. Well Pet, you are about right there. But I was about $10 in debt, so I did not have a great pile left to spend. It don’t take long to spent 12 or 15 dollars here, Lib. It cost me 75 cents a week for milk & other little things in proportion if I buy them & I generally do that as long as I have money in my pocket. I stick up to the old doctrine, Lib. “Live as well as you can, save or no save” & I want you to do the same. I’m not extravagant & don’t intend to be, Pet, but I just get what I really need.
I see you are troubled a little with your old feeling. You want to see & come in to one going out. Don’t fear, Lib. There is a good living in this world for us yet. I am sorry that Smart was not more kind. He is not as careful in such things as he might be. But we must make allowance. He mat not feel as we do. I have that book & was going to send it but I found out that they could not frank anything larger that a letter of late. I will get a chance to send it by and by. It is heavy & would cost a dollar or two to send it by mail, I suppose you will think that I might write a longer letter today, but I guess this will do, if it won’t, just send word & I’ll write it longer. I have nothing new to write, all is quiet here.
Now Pet, be a good girl & keep your spirits up; we are about commencing one last year now. Pet, have patience & it will roll around soon. It would pass quicker to both of us no doubt if I could only get a furlough, but I fear that is played out now. If that is the case, why we will stand up to the rack our time out & then ask no odds of anyone. Make yourself contented, Pet, & hope for the best. May God help you & make you happy & give you the best of health, my own darling. Accept my heart’s love & a sweet kiss. God speed our happiness. From your ever true & faithful, Ted.
[on another scrap of paper]
I expect reenlisting will be tried in our regiment soon. Don’t know how many will enlist. Guess I won’t. The 30 day furlough, perhaps, would be nice but it won’t pay to serve 2 years for it. I will write more particulars in next letter, There has not been much said yet. Give my love to all. The mail is being made up so I must close.
Be a good girl & don’t worry. God bless thee, Pet — my own wife. Your own Ted.
I have got some of the diary of 63. I will send it.