1862-64: William H. Wilt to Samuel Stiffler


How William might have looked

These two letters were written by William H. Wilt (1844-1910) of Co. G, 48th Indiana Infantry to his cousin, Samuel Stiffler. William was the son David Wilt (1814-1860) and Anna Stiffler (1822-1888) of Kosciusko County, Indiana.

William H. Wilt of Leesburg enlisted on Jan 16 1862 as a private. He reenlisted on 15 January 1864 as a veteran volunteer and was mustered out of the service on 15 July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky. After the war, he married (1868) to Martha Madden (1842-1879) and later moved to Nappanee, Marshall County, Indiana.


Camp Brown, Mississippi
May 18, 1862

Dear Cousin,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that we are all well and hope these few lines may find you the same. Samuel, I received your letter last week and was glad to hear that you was well. Samuel, we are now in Mississippi. We are after “Old Beauregard.” We have got him about holed up. We are a looking for a fight every day.

Samuel, our men had a little fight last week but I didn’t get to fire a gun. Our regiment was back on the reserve. It made me so damn mad that I wouldn’t shit for 2 days but I think this week will tell the tale.

Samuel, I haven’t much war news to write till this battle is over. You can hear more at home than I can write. Samuel, I just heard some good news. General Polk said we would all get home in 2 months from now.

Samuel, we are on the corner of 4 states — that is Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. It is warmer here today that I ever seen it.

Samuel, I must close for I am getting tired of writing. Samuel, write soon. Give my best respects to the gals.

— William Wilt to Samuel Stiffler

Direct [to] Hamburg, Tennessee, 48th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Co. G, in care of Capt. R. Man


Huntsville, Alabama
May the 14th 1864

Dear Cousin,

I received your welcome letter and I was glad to hear from you and hear that you was well. I am tolerably well excepting a sore hand and my face is broke out a little. I thought first I was getting the smallpox but it happened to not be so and I am very glad it haint.

We are still in Huntsville, Alabama, and I expect we will stay here this summer. We have fixed up summer quarters. We are provost guards here in the city and we have all the fun we want. There is a theatre here every night and we can go in and it don’t cost us guards anything.

Samuel, I wish you would have come along with me. I don’t believe you would have ever rued it for I don’t think we will ever get in another fight. We have bully news here today. We heard that Old Grant was just more than whipping the rebs and has taken 3 lines of their breastworks at Richmond. General Sherman is fighting at Tunnel Hill. Today the cars just come in from there and they brought the news that Sherman had Old Johnston surrounded. I think he will flax it to him.

Well, I shan’t write any more news. You will hear it before you get this. But I want to know why you Union folks — as you call yourselves — don’t get at them Copperheads and clean them out. I want to know whether you are a feared or what is the reason. There is a day when the soldiers will get back and if they don’t dry right up, there will be some of them killed.

Well, I haven’t much to write this time [so] I will bring my letter to a close. Write as soon as this comes to hand.

Yours truly, — William H. Wilt

Direct as follows.

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