These two letters, dated September 21st and November 27th, were written by Sylvester Beatty (1838-1862) who enlisted in Co. K 101st Ohio Infantry in August 1862. He was killed in action shortly afterwards at the Battle of Stone River on 31 December 1862. Both letters were written to his Uncle Jonathan Beatty and Aunt Caroline Beatty.
Sylvester was the son of John Beatty (1811-1877) and Mary Ann Ottinger (1816-1877) of Seneca County, Ohio. Sylvester had a younger brother named Henry Kale Beatty (1840-1918) and an older brother named Hiram Beatty (1836-1907). Hiram is mentioned in this letter as enlisting with him in the 101st Ohio, leaving a wife (Delila) and two children (Elnora and Ardilla) at home to fend for themselves. A pension record for Sylvester tells us that he was married to Margaret Melissa Long on 23 November 1860 in Sandusky County, Ohio. Sylvester’s younger brother, Henry, enlisted April 23, 1861 in Company “H” 21 Ohio Infantry and was discharged at Columbus, Ohio on Aug. 12, 1861.
After returning from the service, Henry Beatty married Jane E. Riley on Dec. 18, 1862 but after she died less than a year later, he married Sylvester’s widow, Margaret (Long) Beatty in September 1864.
Sylvester wrote the letters to his Uncle Jonathan Beatty (1821-1900) and Aunt Caroline (Shoup) Beatty (1836-1910) — Caroline being only a couple of years older than himself. Jonathan and Caroline resided in Jackson, Stark County, Ohio at the time.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
September the 2, 1862
It is with the most pleasure that I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you in the same state of health. Well, Uncle, I am a going to tell you that Hiram and I are in the army in the 101st Regiment of Ohio.
Well, Uncle, it has been a good little while since I heard from you or anyone from that part of the country. Well, Uncle, I will tell you that I left a woman to get through the world in some kind of a way and Hiram left his woman too with two children to take care of. The men is nearly all gone from Seneca that is fit for service.
Well, Uncle, if you are not gone to war, you do not know how it does go to leave so dear a wife at home with none but an old mother of hers to help her. Well Uncle, I want to know how many of the boys is gone to war from that place that I node [knew] and what the rest is a doing. And tell Emily Forbes’ man that when he comes along again, he may stop in if he will. He did not know that we was there, I guess.
Well I must tell you a little about the life of a soldier. It is pretty good by times and pretty bad by times. When we are at camp, I like it pretty well, but when we are on duty at night, it is not so nice as one would imagine it would be — especially if it rains. We have got pretty good grub here and when we get out on picket we get all the hens that we can eat. Whatever we come across that we cannot eat, we take it.
Well, Uncle, I want you to tell me what your woman’s name is and how many children you have and what their names are. Well, Uncle, I did not state to you my woman’s name. It was Margaret M. Long. She wrote to me. She said that all the family was well. Tell Clint if you see him that I want him to write me a letter too and also Lovina to tell them that I would be glad to write to all of them but I can’t. I will try to write to someone of you once a week. Nothing more at this time but remember me, — Sylvester Beatty
to Jonathan Beatty
Direct to Co. H, 101st Regiment in care of Capt. Noble via Cincinnati
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
November the 27, 1862
My dear Aunt,
It is with pleasure that I write to you t let you know that we are well at present hoping that these few lines may find you in the same state. Well, Aunt, I received your letter that Uncle wrote me and was glad to hear from you all. I got it about six weeks ago but you must excuse me for not writing sooner. I was on a march and had no paper with me so I could not write to you. One of the boys in the company that is a cousin to my wife gave me paper to write to her or I could not have wrote home.
I got a letter the 13th of October from home and they was all well at that time they wrote.
Aunt, we are now in camp at Nashville in Tennessee. This is a very large city but the place looks very bad now. The Rebels had been here and when they found that they could not hold it they burnt the bridge and many other buildings that makes the town look very bad. Then comes the Union troops. They burnt the fences for wood so the farms around the town is like the pariah. There is thousands of acres that has no fence on it.
Well, Aunt, we are not going to freeze when the secesh has got plenty of [fence] rails. We have had some pretty hard times and we have ha some good times. When we was after the rebels driving them out of Kentucky, we was marched night and day for two weeks and the water was scarce and muddy. This is what I call hard soldiering in my mind.
Well, Aunt, there was an accident happened here this morning. The cars run off the track, throd [throwing] off five cars — upset them — killed none but broke some arms and some legs of the people. The ladies car stop with two wheels on the track. They was none of them hurt. I think that it was very lucky. The cars was very bad mashed up.
Nothing more at present but remember me your nephew, — Sylvester Beaty
to Caroline Beaty
Direct to me
Co. H, 101 Regiment O.V. I.
in care of Capt. Noble
by way of Nashville, Kentucky [Tennessee]