1861: Christopher Myers to Harriet (Myers) Johnson

This letter was written by Christopher (“Chris”) Myers (1840-1925), the son of Joshua Myers (1810-1880) and Jane Penoyar (1810-1856) of Lyons, Wayne county, New York. Joshua later remarried and moved to Camden, Hillsdale county, Michigan. Chris wrote the letter to his sister, Harriet (Myers) Johnson (1834-1915), the wife of Aldis Johnson (1821-1898). In 1860, the couple had two children — Edwin (1852-1928) and Louisa (b. 1859).

A biographical sketch for Christopher appears on Find-A-Grave which I quote:

Christopher Myers was born in Camden township, Hillsdale county, Michigan, on December 16, 1840, about two months after the arrival in this county of his parents and his three older sisters. He was reared on the woodland farm on the very verge of civilization, on which they had pitched their tent and begun to make a new home. His opportunities for attending school were few and it was far between them, as all the available strength and spirit of the family were needed for work on the farm while the season lasted. So, growing to manhood amid the scenes of natural beauty of southern Michigan, and free from the blandishments and seductive pleasures of social life, he developed a strong physique and a healthy love of home and freedom, which took in the whole country as the object of its devotion. It was no surprise to his friends, therefore, that when armed resistance threatened the existence of the Federal Union, he was one of the early volunteers.

On August 12, 1861, when he was not yet of legal age, he enlisted in Co. C, Seventh Michigan Infantry, and soon afterward was in the field as a part of the Army of the Potomac. His regiment was in the very thickest of the fighting during the first two years of the war, and took part in 27 engagements, among the most important being those at Yorktown, Fair Oaks, the James, where for seven days, there was almost continual battle and much of it desperate, Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Antietam. At the terrible battle of Antietam he was shot through the thigh and for four weeks thereafter was in the hospital, and then, in November, 1862, he was discharged from the service on account of the disability thus incurred. He returned home but was an invalid for several months, and unable to do continued work of any kind. Recovering his health, he reenlisted on December 12, 1863, becoming a member of Co. K, Twenty-Seventh Michigan Infantry, in which he then served to the close of the war. With this command he participated in many engagements, the most noted being the battle of the Wilderness. After this contest he was detailed for service in the commissary department for about three months, then returned to his company and took part in the capture of Fort Mahoney, being at the very front in the charge and one of the first men to get within the fort. His company also fired the first shot at the battle of Petersburg, After the capture of that city his regiment was a part of the force that followed General Lee until his surrender. Mr. Myers was under fire almost every day for months, being at the front for three years.

At the close of the war he went to Washington, took part in the Grand Review of the army, then returned to his Camden township home and settled on a farm of forty acres which he had bought during the war. Here he lived for a period of thirty years. He still owns the farm but has it now in the hands of a tenant, having retired from active pursuits. On January I, 1866, he was married to Miss Hannah Louesa Pound, a native of Wayne County, N. Y., the daughter of Addison T. and Chloe (Gurnee) Pound, the former a native of Ontario County and the latter of Cayuga County, N. Y. They moved to Hillsdale County in 1856 and bought a farm in Camden township on which they lived until death, the mother passing away in November, 1888, and the father in November, 1900. Mr. and Mrs. Meyers have one child, their daughter, Chloe, wife of S. E. Haughey, of Camden. Mr. Myers belongs to the Masonic fraternity, holding his membership in Lodge No. 245 at Camden, and is also connected with the Order of the Eastern Star, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Patrons of Husbandry.

In politics he has been a Republican from the dawn of his manhood, casting his first vote for Lincoln for president. He has been actively interested in the development of his township and county, and has taken a prominent part in various enterprises looking to this end. As a wise and useful citizen, who never shirks his duty in reference to public or private responsibilities, he is widely known and highly esteemed. (Source: Compendium of history and biography of Hillsdale County, Michigan Elon G. Reynolds, editor)

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TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mrs. Harriet Johnson, North West P. O., Williams county, Ohio

November 6th 1861

Dear Sister,

It is with much pleasure that I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present and I hope that these few lines will find you the same. I got your letter last night and I was glad to hear from you, I tell you. I heard from Bill and Walt and Carlis and Tom and I was glad to hear from them [too]. When you get this letter, you must write to them and let them know how I am.

We are encamped in the same place that we was when I wrote before and we don’t know anything about when there will be any fighting. Don’t you say that [your son] Edwin  says that he would like to see his uncle and I would like to see him as well as he would me. I don’t know when I will get home  again but we have enough to eat and we have lots of fun.

From Chris Myers to Harriet Johnson

November 6, 1861

Dear brothers and sisters,

It is with much pleasure that I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at present. I hope that these few lines will find you the same.

Steven, you must when you get this letter, you must write to Bill and Walt and let them know how I am. Clair [Clarissa], you must take good care of Rebecca. Chat [Charity], you must take good care of your side and Nancy dad [?]. You have got my clothes and my likeness. I sent it to all of you to look at.

From Chris to Alden Johnson

Other Envelopes sent by Christopher Myers to his sister Harriet Johnson but without letters.

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