This letter was written by 35 year-old John H. Moore (1827-1910) of Co. E, 114th Ohio Infantry. He enlisted on 20 August 1862 for three years service but was transferred to Company F in November 1864. He mustered out with the regiment on 31 July 1865.
John was the son of Douglas Moore (1793-1876) and Sarah Davis (1798-1881) of Pickaway County, Illinois. John was married in 1848 to Martha Padget (1830-19xx) and was enumerated in Vermillion County, Illinois, in 1850′ in El Dorado, California in 1852; in 1858 he wrote a letter to his sister from Grasshopper Falls, Kansas Territory (see 1858: John H. Moore to Sister).
I’m not positive as to the identity of John’s sister to whom he wrote this letter but it may have been Lucinda Wiley (b. 1820), the wife of Richard M. Wiley (b. 1812) — a saddler in Union, Fayette County, Ohio. Their three youngest children at the time were John D. (age 14), Melissa (age 11) and Whorton (age 8).
Camp Marietta, Ohio
Sunday, October 19th 1862
I received the letter you sent me by David Smith. I was very glad to hear from you but was very sorry to hear that you were not well. I inquired of Smith how you looked. He said you did not look very well. I am afraid you are not careful to recover your health. Smith informed me that a part of the time you would have some one to help do your work and a part of the time you would have no one to help you. Until you get better — in fact until you get well — you should have someone to help you all the time. As your health is now, you should not think of doing your work — not even for a single day. You had better pay away all you are worth in the world than to lose your health — perhaps your life. And do nothing which sometimes hurts one’s health so much as a uneasy state of the mind. You should just let the world go on as it will and be as contented as you possibly can. Do not forget these things both for your own sake and my own.
I am getting along very well. I do not think I ever had better health in my life. I can eat all I can get and still am hungry. I am a little sleepy today for I was up all last night on duty. I only slept about an hour, sitting on a stick of wood by one of the camp fires. You could hardly have seen me five steps off, sitting there muffled up in my great coat, enveloped in the fog and darkness. Ever now and then you would hear one of the guards loudly call for the corporal of the guard. Then I would have to go and see what he wanted. He would not let me come up to him without giving him the countersign over the sharp point of the bayonet. I would usually find there, standing outside of the line, someone wanting to come in. They had been out for a short time on business or home on furloughs and were returning to their companies.
There are a number of sesech around our camp. I could hear them last night just across the Muskingum River hallooing loudly for Beauregard and Jeff Davis. If I had had my gun loaded, I should certainly have shot at them, but it was too dark to have hit them except by chance. Hardly any of us ever go to Marietta without having our revolvers with us. Two of them got after Capt. [Ephraim] Brown [of Co. G] the other night and tried to kill him. He came out to camp, got a file of soldiers, went back and had them arrested and brought out to camp and put in confinement.
I sometimes take a short stroll outside the camp. Last Sunday I attended a Catholic Church in Marietta. They went through with most all kinds of ceremonies. There were beautiful pictures around the walls, candles burning, and golden images in abundance. A great part of their discourse I could not understand but they appeared to be — for the most part — in very good earnest.
David Phillips ¹ and Kendal are tolerably well. David has just come out of the hospital. Edson Downy is not very well yet. He is able to be about pretty much all the time. He has a kind of lameness in his feet or one of his feet. Still he seems to enjoy himself very well.
A great many of the old friends are here with me. Corb and Polk Justus — Jason [L.] McCafferty — two of the Hatfield boys — Charley Thomas — Milton Dick. I can scarcely turn my eyes without seeing a dozen or two of my old acquaintances. Old Moses Counts and Alex Crawford are cooking for our company at present. For our dinner today we had beef and pork, potatoes and beans, and very good light bread and coffee. But we do not often have so good a dinner. But it is now 24 minutes after 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Most of our company have gone to hear our Chaplain preach one of his short sermons. So I shall quit my letter for today and go to church also.
Tuesday, October 21st, 1862
I shall now try to finish my letter. Yesterday morning we had a big white frost — the first one this season in this part of the state. I understand there have been one or two heavy frosts up with you. It is much warmer here than at home. Marietta is about 120 miles south of Circleville. I was about 50 miles further from home this summer while away with my show than I am now.
I saw Alex Ramsey Sunday evening after he got back and inquired of him how you were all doing. He said he was at Orman’s two different times. One day he found you in bed, the other time you were up and about. He said the children were all lively and well and Bravo was in the shop with Orman.
I do not know how long we shall remain at this camp. We are constantly drilling and our guns are being fixed up. This all means something. Almost every day whole boatloads of soldiers go past our camp on their way to Kentucky or Virginia. We know not how soon we may follow them, but we are ready.
To Melissa — I want you to be a good girl and mind what your mother says to you. You must help her work for she is sick and needs your help. You must not go out to play when she wants you to stay in the house. Take your book and get some one to learn you to spell and read.
To John — You must be a good boy and not distress your mother by playing in the house and not doing as she desires you. Young as you are, you might soon be left without any kindly mother to care for you. How lonely you would feel to look around the house and find no kind mother’s eyes to look upon you with delight. If you had no kind mother to love you, how cold and gloomy the world would be.
To Whorton — I understand the well is covered over and so your white head cannot get in that, but still I am afraid all the dangerous places are not out of your reach yet. You must help John to take care of Bravo, but do not let him bite you. I hope you will get over your long crying spells as much as possible. If you will be a good buy, when I come home, I will fetch you a whole pocket full of candy.
Dear Sister, I must fetch my letter to a close (indeed, I think it is time). Just as soon as you get this, I want you to answer it without fail.
— John H. Moore
Direct to Co. E, 114th Regiment O.V.I., Camp Marietta, Ohio
¹ Cpl. David Phillips (1841-1863) served in Co. E, 114th OVI. He died 29 March 1863 on the hospital boat Nashville at Young’s Point, LA.