These two letters were written by Frederick Allen Copeland (1845-1926), the son of Allen Amasa Copeland (1808-1881) and Mary Ann Kittredge (1814-1895). Frederick’s parents came to Ypsilanti, Michigan from Lowell, Massachusetts about 1840. His father was a merchant at Ypsilanti for ten years and then moved to Battle Creek and in 1853 to a farm near PawPaw. In 1860, Frederick’s father went to Baraboo, Michigan, where he remained until 1869 when he relocated to Minnesota.
Frederick entered the Union army when he was fifteen years old, enlisting on 3 December 1861 at Baraboo, Wisconsin, in Company F, 3d Wisconsin Cavalry. In the spring of 1862, the regiment went to St. Louis, and to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Company F was sent to Fort Scott, commanded by Maj. B. S. Henning. Company F participated in the engagement at Montevallo, Missouri and again at Prairie Grove, Arkansas. The 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry then went to Van Buren, Arkansas where they burned several steamers. In the spring of 1863, they went to Fort Scott and Company F remained there until the spring of 1865, guarding the post and scouting in Missouri, Kansas and the Indian Territory. He rose to the rank of lieutenant before mustering out of the service.
In a diary entry by Captain Charles W. Porter of Co. F, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry on 31 December 1862: “Fred A. Copeland of our company lost his horse and was obliged to appropriate a “donkey” for his use. The only way he could keep the lazy (or very smart) beast up with the company was to put an ear of corn on the end of a (sugar) “cane stalk” and hold it in front of the animal, when he would hasten to overtake it. The boys gave Fred the name of ‘Balam,’ a name he did not fancy and in order to get rid of the accursed name he disposed of the beast on arriving at camp.”
Frederick married Cora M. Rodolf (1851-1935) at La Cross in October 1874.
The letters are addressed to Augustus (“Gus”) J. Teed (1845-1928) of Pawpaw, Van Buren County, Michigan. He was the son of Philip W. Teed and Celinda Brown.
Addressed to Mr. A. J. Reed, Paw Paw, Van Buren Co., Michigan
Headquarters Fort Scott, Kansas
February 12th 1863 [should be 1864]
Yours of the 1st inst. was received last evening was glad indeed to hear from you so soon. I expected you was married ‘ere this or you a going to be an old bach like me. I should think that the young folks are throwing themselves away pretty fast by the way you write. Then Lizzie B. is married, is she? I do not know what I shall do now.
Gus, you need not be surprised if you see me inside of two months. I am a going to start for home about the first of next month and if I can make arrangements, I will come around and give you a call. My calculations now are to go to Niles & get Wallace Smith and then come up and see you.
Gus, why does not Charley Wilson write? I have not heard a word from him. Is he dead or alive, or is he married?
Give my regards to all the folks. I remain your friend, — Fred. A. Copeland
Headquarters 1st Brigade
District of South Kansas
May 22d 1864
Yours of the 10th of last month was received a long time ago. I was at home then in Wisconsin. I arrived here on the 1th of this month [and] had a very good time indeed. I was calculating to go to Niles and get Wallace Smith & come up and see you but circumstances would not admit of it. But never mind, Gus. When we do meet, we will have all the gayer time.
What is the reason Charley Wilson does not write? I wrote him a letter about 6 months ago and have not heard a word from him. And where is Maria Downing? I have not heard from her either.
Gus, I would like to have you come down here. I would [show] you how to fight guerrillas. They are as thick as leaves in the forest.
My folks are all well, I believe. I left home on the 9th. Gus, I more than made the girls get around when I was at home. I had the whole sway. I have changed my mind since I wrote you last about getting married. I have got me a little woman picked out. I have a mortgage on one & am going to foreclose when the war is over.
Well, I don’t know of any news that would interest you so goodbye this time. Give my regards to all inquiring friends.
Yours truly, — Fred A. Copeland