1862: Theodore Fitch to Cornelia E. Mapes

This letter was written by 26 year-old Theodore Fitch (1836-Aft1910), the son of James Platt Fitch (1813-1890) and Cynthia Ursula Mead (1812-1893).

Theodore wrote the letter to Cornelia E. Mapes (1843-Aft1920), the daughter of Benjamin Mapes (1810-1873) and Sarah Mather Selleck (1819-1890) of West Farms, Westchester County, New York. Theodore and Cornelia were married in July 1863 and settled at West Farms. They were living there in 1877. In 1880, they resided in New York City where Theodore was employed as a “gas collector.” In 1900, they resided in Manhattan where Theodore was employed as a “clerk” at the gas company.

I can’t find an active service record for Theodore during the Civil War. It appears he only served in the NYC militia or national guard.

Theodore’s brother, Edward Hawley Fitch (1840-1864) served in Co. C, 5th New York Cavalry during the Civil War. He was captured by the confederates at Culpepper, Virginia on 13 September 1863 and was confined in the prison at Andersonville, Georgia, where he died sometime in 1864.

1862 Letter

1862 Letter

Addressed to Miss Cornelia E. Mapes, West Farms, New York

New York [City]
January 30, 1862
5 o’clock P. M.

My Dear Cornelia,

Your kind letter has just come to hand. Right glad am I to hear from you again. You know when lovers write each other they are always anxious to hear from each other. Do you know the reason why? It’s because love is so impatient. It wants to be hearing from the one it loves all the time. No wonder it’s the greatest thought one can have. When it can bring the greatest joy and happiness the mind can bear. I am happy because I know that I am loved. Oh Cornelia, I shall be so glad when the time comes that shall make us one. I wish you were older (I should not have said that — it’s wrong to wish.) Oh well, one will get tired waiting sometimes, but life flies swiftly by and then when we look back it won’t seem so long after all.

I have had what you may call a variety week so far. That is, Monday night I read my library book through Tuesday afternoon. I went skating up at the Central Park — such fun you know. It snowed that afternoon and the faster it snowed, the faster came the Ladies and such a lot of fun then. Oh how they did enjoy it. I had the good fortune to have several falls and had the pleasure of getting up again and trying it again. The ice was rough in places, and when it had snowed a little while it made the ice appear as if it was good skating all over the pond. That deceived the folks and such a lot of tumblers you never saw the like — Ladies and all.

Skaters in Central Park in 1862

Skaters in Central Park in 1862

Tuesday night was a great night for me. I had to go to drill. The right wing of the regiment had to have what’s called a division drill. THe right wing of our regiment consists of 4 companies between 3 & 4 hundred men. We had to drill at the Division Armory on Elm & White Street. The company’s armory is at 13th St. & 6th Avenue so we had to march near two miles to drill. It was horrid walking. It was slip and step on each other’s heels all the way down. We drilled until ¼ before 12 o’clock. Oh wasn’t I tired, and wasn’t I stiff all next day. Just think of it. I have got to go drill tonight.

Wednesday night, Louise and I went to Brooklyn to see a cousin. Had a good time. Got home safe & sound. I think I have done very well, do far this week, don’t you?

Do you know how many rainy or stormy days we have had this month? I can tell you. So far, just ½ of the month. I hope next month will be a little pleasanter.

If New York City hasn’t had her share of fires for one while, I should like to know who has. From Friday night till Sunday morning, there were eight fires involving a loss of property to the amount of eight hundred thousand dollars and I hear that two men have died from injuries received at one of the above fires.

You speak of Joe Miller. I know him. He and his brother keeps a shoe store in Grand street a few doors down from Mr. Caulkin’s office. Gay boys. I saw him out to our church one Sunday night not long ago. You need never be ashamed to ask me to get you anything you want because I deem it a great pleasure to get you anything that you want. One of these days, you know, I will have to get a great many things so I might as well get in the way of it now.

These many lines all in love. From your own, — Theodore

¹ The 1862 New York City Directory shows Joseph E. Miller, a dealer in shoes, at 139 Grand Street. His brother, William Miller, at the same address is identified as a “plater.”


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