"absent So long from those I love": The Civil War Letters of Joshua Jones

Eugene H. Berwanger


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 205-239

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"absent So long from those I love": The Civil War Letters of Joshua Jones

Edited by Eugene H. Berwanger*

Joshua Jones served in the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment from his enlistment on July 29, 1861, until his death on September 30, 1862.1 His regiment was part of the Iron Brigade, one of the most outstanding military units in the Civil War. The brigade consisted of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin regiments; the 24th Michigan; and the Indiana 19th. Until 1863 it was the only unit on the eastern front to be composed solely of troops from the Old Northwest. Created as part of a military reorganization on the eastern front in October, 1861, the brigade remained undistinguished until the Battle of South Mountain (September 14, 1862) when General Joseph Hooker used the word "iron" to describe its valor.2 The Iron Brigade continued to serve with distinction through the Battle of Gettysburg, in which it lost two-thirds of its men. In the following months the brigade was strengthened with units from the eastern states. Losing its character as a western division, the Iron Brigade continued, but as Mark M. Boatner explains, "it never recovered its former punch."3

Much of what is known about enlisted men in the Iron Brigade comes from Wisconsin and Michigan sources. In his definitive study of the brigade, Alan T. Nolan relied heavily on manuscript sources from those two states. He lists only three manuscript collections for Indiana, and among them, only one, a diary, was kept by an enlisted man.4 Joshua Jones's letters home during his brief military career are a valuable addition to what is known about the life of the common soldier in the Iron Brigade, especially those who served in the 19th Indiana.

  • * Eugene H. Berwanger is professor of history, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • 1 [William H. H. Terrell], Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana (8 vols., Indianapolis, 1866–1869), IV, 398.
  • 2 Alan T. Nolan, The Iron Brigade: A Military History (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1961), 3–28, 130.
  • 3 Mark M. Boatner III, The Civil War Dictionary (New York, 1959), 428.
  • 4 See Nolan, Iron Brigade, especially 386.
  • INDIANA MAGAZINE OF HISTORY, LXXXVIII (September, 1992). " 1992, Trustees of Indiana University.

Aside from his letters, and his service and pension records, little is known about Jones. He was born in 1838 and may have lived his childhood and adolescence as a farm lad near Muncie, Indiana. On March 20, 1859, at the age of twenty-one, he married Celia Gibson, whom he had known for ten years. Their only child, George (Eddy) Edgerlie Jones, was born on June 3, 1860.5 What impelled Jones to leave his young wife and child for military service is unknown. He may well have been swept up in the wave of patriotism that spread throughout the North following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April, 1861. Urged on by Indiana's Governor Oliver P. Morton, volunteers from throughout the Hoosier state responded favorably to President Abraham Lincoln's call for troops. Large numbers of them congregated at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis to be organized into regiments and assigned to duty. In July, 1861, young men, most from central Indiana towns such as Muncie, Winchester, Franklin, Spencer, and Indianapolis, were mustered for a three-year tour of duty into the 19th Indiana Volunteer Regiment under the command of Solomon Meredith. A Republican and friend of Lincoln, Meredith had strong antislavery leanings,6 but if he influenced his men's thinking about abolitionism, it is not evident in Jones's letters. Jones never mentions slavery or any contact with blacks, although it seems likely he would have encountered slaves or free blacks in the Washington, D. C./Virginia area.

The letters clearly indicate the hardships of war. Jones was committed to the Union cause and hoped for an early Union victory. As the fighting became more intense and camp life less stationary, however, some pessimism began to creep in. Guard duty, unappealing food, and marching in cold, wet weather lessened his zeal for military life. By 1862 Jones was mentioning the possibility of death more frequently, all the while hoping for a leave of absence that would give him temporary relief from soldiering and a chance to see Celia and George again.

The letters also indicate that Jones was more contemplative than the average enlisted man. Bell I. Wiley, in his study of the Union soldier, reports that most enlisted men spent their free time gambling, drinking, or seeking other pleasures and that they frequently went into debt to engage in such entertainments.7 Perhaps because of his religious beliefs (although he does not dwell on the

  • 5 Joshua Jones files in "Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who served in Organizations of the State of Indiana," Record Group 94 (National Archives, Washington, D. C.); and "Pension Records of Volunteer Soldiers who served in Organizations of the State of Indiana," ibid.
  • 6 Roy P. Easier, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (9 vols., New Brunswick, N. J., 1953–1955), IV, 196. See also Nolan, Iron Brigade, 20–21.
  • 7 Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (Garden City, N. Y., 1971), 247–75.
topic) or because he saw the war as a means of profiting personally, Jones did not partake in such activities. Indeed, he seemed to have taken advantage of those who did. He loaned money at interest and sent his earnings home; he also sold personal items that others might want and appeared especially pleased when he made a profit. That this was a conscious effort on his part is demonstrated in his statement to Celia that "Some is Smart and Some aint…."

Jones's correspondence indicates that he had some formal schooling or at least private instruction. Although his letters, compared to those written by his company commander and his surgeon, have deficiencies in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, they are superior to many—perhaps most—of those of his contemporaries.

Jones's letters, for the most part, were written to his wife, Celia. Following his death she continued to live in the Muncie area until the Great Depression of the 1930s. She married again, at sixty-five years of age, to John L. Driscoll in 1903, and became a widow for the second time in 1929. Her last years were spent in the home of her son and daughter-in-law, George and Mary Jones of Muncie. During her widowhood and second marriage she saved Jones's Civil War letters and passed them on to her son and grandchildren.8

  • 8 The Joshua Jones letters are presently the property of Ralph Becker of Fort Collins, Colorado. Mr. Becker's wife is the great-granddaughter of Joshua Jones. "Declaration for a Remarried Widow's Pension, February 11, 1929," in Jones file, "Pension Records of Volunteer Soldiers who served in Organizations of the State of Indiana."

Camp Morton Indianapolis1
Aug the 1th 1861

Dear Wife & little Boy & friends

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well hoping this will find you all the Same.

Well Celia we got our uniform yesterday & we are going to get our guns tomorrow & we leave here a Saturday [illegible word] for Washington City I will Send my Clothes to the Depo in Care of Garret Gibson2 if I can get my likness I will Send it too. I Cannot Come home any more untill the war is over if I live I will be at home when the war is over & if it falls to my lot to fall in Battle it will be in defence of my Country tell all that take themSelves to be my friends that I bid them farewell for my life is not Insured I dont know that I Shall ever have the pleasure of meeting you all any more or not but if I dont you must all take Care of your Selvs while I am exposed to the Enemy who are trying to distroy our government I look for nothing but hardships Exposed to bad weather poor grub & long marches & dodging bulets and Sords & bayonets we may Come through Muncie but I dont know whether we will or not

I will write when we get in Camp I guess I have wrote all for the time So farewell friends and Relations yours till Death

Joshua Jones

  • 1 Given the conditions under which they were written, Joshua Jones's letters are amazingly legible and easily read. As was true of many of his contemporaries, however, Jones infrequently used any marks of punctuation, including periods at the end of sentences, and frequently failed to capitalize the first word of a sentence. In addition, he used capital letters for many words, particularly those beginning with s, c, and y, that are not generally capitalized. To make for easier reading double spaces have been used to indicate sentence breaks in this transcription. Although every effort was made to determine Jones's intent, arbitrary decisions concerning capitalization and paragraphing were sometimes unavoidable. Location of headings, greetings, and closings has been standardized to correspond to modern usage. Words, dates, and abbreviations that were inserted above the line have been brought down to the line. Words that were preprinted on Jones's very distinctive stationery have been transcribed in bold-faced type. Jones often drew hearts or flourishes at the end of his letters, frequently including the name of the person to whom the letter was written as well as his own. His and his wife's names were often connected in some way. These flourishes have been omitted. Words or phrases inserted in the margins have been placed at the end of the relevant letter after Jones's signature. Explanatory words or phrases have been placed in brackets; words that are unclear but for which an attempted transcription has been made have been followed by a question mark and enclosed in brackets; illegible words have been so designated in brackets.
  • 2 In all probability Garrett Gibson, an early pioneer in Delaware County, was Jones's father-in-law.

Washington City Camp Calarama3
Aug the 19th 1861

Mr. J. W. Abrell4

Sir I take my pen in hand to Write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present hoping these few lines may find you all in good health We are Encamped on the North Side of the Potomac River on mount Calarama in view of Washington City and Elexandria we Can See the Ships on the Hudson bay5 we can hear the Secession Cannons evry morning very plain This is a wet morning it has Rained evry day but three Since we have been hear I Seen the Battle ground of Arlington hights6 the timber is all Cut to Smash with Bullets it is all pine and Cedar and loral on the mountains in the valeys it is porsimmon and Tamberac and Spruce Trees I want you to write and tell me whether George and Wm Ross has gone yet or not I would like to See George in Ranks here Runing up and down the mountanes I Rather think it makes aman look up for the ground to be out all night on a Scout and come in in the morning and Eat a little dry bread and cold meat then Rap up in a wet blanket and lay down on the Side of the hill with your feet against a rock to keep you from Sliding down the mountain and a Rock for a pillow if you want one the other night when we was a Sleep in our tents the Alarm was raised that the Rebells was coming it was just like a lot of Scard hogs Runing over one another and falling down Some got Stuck with Bayonetts while others got bumped with guns on the heads.

there is Sevral boys here that would just as Soon be at home. We will [be] Called in to Action in 2 or 3 weeks then the fun comences

  • 3 Camp Kalorama was a temporary facility on Kalorama Heights, where a government hospital for communicable diseases was located. Today the Kalorama Heights triangle is bordered by Massachusetts and Connecticut avenues and the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway; it is bisected by Kalorama Road. Margaret Leech, Reveille in Washington, 1860–1865 (New York, 1941), 205.
  • 4 According to Ralph Becker, whose wife is a great-granddaughter of Joshua Jones, John W. Abrell was Jones's brother-in-law. At the close of this letter Jones—as was his wont—wrote the names of those to whom the letter was sent, J. W. Abrell and Rebecca Abrell, presumably John's wife.
  • 5 The reference here is unclear. Jones may have meant that portion of the Potomac River just to the east of present-day Theodore Roosevelt Island. It is wide enough to allow ocean going vessels access to the city, and Jones would have been able to see it from his location on Kalorama Heights.
  • 6 Undoubtedly Jones means Arlington Mills, where a clash took place between Union and Confederate forces on June 1, 1861. Arlington Mills is located between Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. E. B. Long, The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861–1865 (New York, 1971), 81.
I have wrote all that I can this time you must write just as Soon as you get this and tell me all the good news So No more at present Yours with Respect

Joshua Jones

Washington City Fort Smith7
Sept the 12th 1861

Dear Companion

I am well this morning and hope this will find you the Same I Received your letter and was glad to hear from you, but you did not write all that I wanted to know well now I Can tell what many others Cannot night before last while I was on gard our pickets was attacted I was on the Reserve we was rallied and the Bullets fell like hale around us

yesterday about 3 oclock we marched 4 miles towards Farfax Courthouse there we was fired on by the Rebells the [brim?] Shells flew and the Cannon Balls whistled and the dirt flew all around us they are just now barying one of our Regiment the report Sais that the Rebells lost one hundred and our Side Six and 7 wounded I did not get a Shot we was in the Rear of the brigade8 next Sunday we are going to have another trial at them I seen what I never seen before if I live through the next Battle I think I am all right now Celia go to Patrick Carnickles9 I Sent twenty dollars there for you keep this till I Come home I think we will be all rite when I get back the hardest time I ever Saw has ben in the last too days I cannot tell you half but keep your Spirits up

  • 7 There was no Fort Smith in the Washington, D. C., area; however, the reference in this letter to the fighting around Lewinsville implies that "Fort Smith" may have been a bivouac located on the Smith farm, about two miles east of Lewinsville. Jones refers throughout his letters to "camps" that were probably only temporary bivouacs. He and comrades undoubtedly named these areas, but they never had any formal designation as camps. For locations see George B. Davis, Leslie J. Perry, and Joseph W. Kirkley, The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War (Washington, D. C., 1891–1895), plate VII.
  • 8 The 19th Indiana was transferred into Virginia, just across the Chain Bridge from Washington, D. C., on September 3. There the men began constructing Fort Marcy, an earthworks guarding the approaches to the bridge. The first attack mentioned by Jones refers to a skirmish that occurred near Lewinsville, Virginia, on September 10, 1861. Lewinsville was four miles from the bridge. As Jones indicates, the 19th was also engaged on September 11 near Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, where several Civil War skirmishes occurred. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 12, 22–23. Jones's estimates of casualties at Lewinsville and in subsequent battles are, of course, often erroneous. For more exact figures see relevant reports in U. S. War Department, War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 vols., Washington, D. C., 1880–1901). These volumes are hereafter referred to as Official Records.
  • 9 Jones probably refers to Patrick Carmichael since there was a family of that name in the Muncie area.
I am bound to raise or fall nothing Bothers me but my little family that I left be hind

write Soon Farewell

Joshua Jones

E Street Hospital Washington City D C
October the 5th 1861

Dear Companion

I will have to Say to you that I am not well10 the Second day (Sept 14th) after I wrote your last letter (Sept 12th) I was taken Sick I was taken with a Chill and fever and it Run in to the Tifoid fever I never was So Sick in my life but I am geting better I can Set up in bed and write a little at a time I am very weak and poor it has Cut me down very fast I laid in my tent a little too long I got Cold on my lungs I have a bad Cough

I am well taken Care of here I am in a good ward and have a good attendent ward No 27 You must not let my being Sick discourage you for I think I will get along now if I dont get a backset my Side hurts me more now than it ever did before I would like to hear from home mighty well I have not had a letter for a long time but there may be Some letters at the Camp for me

I Suppose you got that money that I Sent to you keep that money it is better than gold it is worth 3 cts on the dollar at Indianapolis and in kansas and Nebrasca it is 7 cts on a dollar it will be payday again the 2nd day of November then I will Send about 25 dollars

I dont want you to forget me I want you to Remember where I am and what I Come here for

John and Rebecca [Abrell] I want you to Remember that I am not out of Reach of letters yet I guess the old man does not Care where I am or what becomes of me I have never got a word from him yet he appears to [be] very distant to me I dont know why it I dont think I ever done him any harm in my life that I know of

I would like to See you all being Sick makes me think of a great many things that I would not think of if I was well I am

  • 10 Jones was among the 40 percent of the 19th Indiana that became ill at this time. For a while Federal authorities feared that Confederates had poisoned wells in the area, but this rumor proved unfounded. More likely, the lack of sanitary conditions caused the outbreak of typhoid. Jones's illness must have been severe, for only the worst cases were taken to the hospital. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 20–22.

Map by Graphic Arts Department, Audio-Visual Center, Indiana University, Bloomington. Based on George B. Davis, Leslie J. Perry, and Joseph W. Kirkley, The Official Military Atlas of the Civil War (Washington, D. C., 1891–1895), plate VII.


Map by Graphic Arts Department, Audio-Visual Center, Indiana University, Bloomington.

geting very tired of Staying in bed so long I hope I can walk out in a few day in to the hall I must Stop writing I am So weak and tired you must all write to me

Joshua Jones

Well Celia I cant write much this time11 I am too feeble to Sit up long at a time I do not know when I will get away from here but you may Direct your letters the [same] as before and I will Send for them if I Stay here long oh how I would like to See little George but it is no use to think about it Write often your husband till Death

Joshua Jones

From a poor Soldier to his wife and little Boy good by

Loved ones at home Ever of thee I am fondly dreaming12

Thy gentle voice my Spirit can Cheer

Thou wer the Star that mildly beaming

Shone ore my path when all was dark and dreary

Still in my heart thy form I cherish

Every kind thought like a bird flies to thee

Then never till life and memory perish

Can I for get how dear thou art to me

Morn noon and night where ear I may be

Fondly I am dreaming of thee.

Ever of thee when Sad and lonely

Wandering afar my Soul joys to dwell

And then I feel I love thee only

All Seems to fade before affections Spell

years have not chilled the love I cherish

True as the Stars hath my heart been to thee

Never till life and memory perish

Can I for get how dear thou art to me

I am ever fondly thinking of thee.

  • 11 Jones may well have written this letter in brief stints since it appears to be addressed first to Celia, then to John and Rebecca Abrell, and finally, after Jones's first signature, again to Celia.
  • 12 Following are the words of a song entitled "Ever of Thee" by George Linley and Foley Hall. For words and music see Heart Songs Dear to the American People…(New York, 1909)s 222–23.

Courtesy Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Oct 12th 1861Washington City
Headquarters Camp Fort Craig13
Regt. 19th Co. E

Dear beloved

Wife I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am geting better Since this morning I got your letter I was So glad to hear from you I have got out of the hospital but I am very weak but I think I will get along now I hope this will find my dear in good health and little boy also well Celia you Said you got that money all Safe our Regiment moved while I was Sick we are on Arlington hights 1 mile from long Bridge a Cross the Patomac South of Washington garding Fort Craig well Darling about them feathers I think if you Can get them for 30 cts a pound you had better buy 25 or 30 pounds if you can get new feathers what do you think I have to lay my oilcloth down and lay on that my bones are geting Calloused Celia I would give my intrest in this war to See you and our little boy I have often wanted to See you but never So bad as I do now I would not take a thousand dollars for your picture but I got it wet I laid out allnight in the rain the case is alittle Spoiled but the pretty girl is there yet that is all I care for we will have a Sweet time when I get home but when that will be I do not know there is some talk of us going to Hatras Inlet on the North Carolina Coast a long ways from here.14

Celia I Sent my boots with my clothes but not my hat I expect that kigers folks got them for Vols but I dont know whether they did or not I dont want to loose them Sam Pruitt paid me that too dollars be Sure to pay Haines for that wheat15 I dont know what

  • 13 Fort Craig was located approximately one mile south of Arlington. Davis, Perry, and Kirkley, Official Military Atlas of the Civil War, plate VII.
  • 14 A military expedition under General Benjamin Butler captured Cape Hatteras in August, 1861. On October 4 Confederates attacked an Indiana regiment stationed near Chicamacomico, North Carolina. Apparently Jones's comment was made in response to rumors about increasing troop strength in the Hatteras area. The 19th Indiana, however, remained near Washington, D. C. See Long, The Civil War Day by Day, 24.
  • 15 Volentine, or Valentine, Kiger from Delaware County served with Jones in Company E of the 19th Indiana. Later, in July, 1865, Kiger was transferred to the 24th Indiana Volunteer Regiment and was mustered out of service in October of that year. [William H. H. Terrell], Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana (8 vols., Indianapolis, 1866–1869), IV, 398; Kingman Brothers, pubs., History of Delaware County, Indiana…(Chicago, 1881), 95. An Isaiah S. Pruitt from Delaware County—possibly the Sam Pruitt to whom Jones refers—also served in Company E of the 19th Indiana. Later, in 1864, Pruitt was transferred to Company E of the 20th Indiana (Reorganized) and from there was apparently moved to the Veterans Reserve Corps before he was mustered out of service. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398, 438. David T. Haines was engaged in the wholesale and retail grocery business in Muncie between 1848 and 1853. His later entrepreneurial ventures include railroad development and the grain business. G. W. H. Kemper, ed., A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana (2 vols. in 1, Chicago, 1908), II, 643.
else to write I have wrote evry week to you I love to write to them I love So Dearly

Nomore at present my Sweet little wife

Remember who loves you above all others

Your husband till Death

Joshua Jones

Write to me Soon as you get this

State of Virginia
Fort Craig
Nov the 7th 1861

Dearly beloved and ever Remembered Wife

I take the pleasure of writing to you to let you know that I am well at present

hoping this may find you in good health.

your kind letter of the 20th of Oct Come duly to hand you Spoke of your feelings when Seeing others Sporting around home Well my dear Celia Can you imagine the feelings of the one who loves you so dear when he thinks of a qyiet home and a tender loving wife and little Sweet boy often do I think of the hapy days when I Could Sit down to Breakfast with you and See the little boy Stick his head up in the Bead and laugh while we was eating and talking to each other as hapy as too kings my dear I can See now that we lived as pleasant a life as any too on earth, oh Shall it ever be my most hapy lot to meet my beloved wife and little boy once more; if it is the will of Almighty god that I Shall I will promise mySelf never to leave them again to be Compelled to Stay any length of time untill I am Stricken down by the hand of death.

but dear I have a narrow path to travail while this Rebellion lasts oh Could I take my Super with you this night and have a long talk with you it would be one of the greatest pleasures that ever I enjoyed oh may the time Speedily Come when Rebellion will [be] put down and peace Restored once more for I think that I Shall never Return untill the Stars and Stripes is floting over all the States in the union god forbid that any other flag Should ever wave.

I want our little boy to be learned to do as he is told and be manerly to evry body I do not want to See a bad little boy like Some Children when I Come home. Well Celia I am going to Send you thirty dollars for you to take Care of you will find it at the Bank in Muncie

You need not Send any Clothing to me.

I got a letter from Pery Ross yesterday here is a Ring in Rememberence of your husband you must Save all that you Can for I will


Courtesy Ralph Becker.

be So glad to see that my dear is trying to help me I want to have the good of my hardships when I get home.

give my love and best Respects to the old folks and Susan also write Soon and a good long letter

nomore at present but Remaines your husband till Death

Joshua Jones

Sweet Wife good By

Arlington Hights
November the 12th 1861

Dearest little Wife

I Received your letter or Johns Rather last night I had just wrote a letter to you a day or too a go

I have just Come off gard I had a hard night of it I Stood at the magazine 4 hours and upon the parapet 4 hours to gard the Canons the magazine is what the Canon balls and Cartriages is kept in it Rained Some and the wind blew pretty Cool it was dark and I Could hardly See to keep on the parapet wall it is only 6 feet wide Well my Sweet little wife you wanted to know if I had [nocked?] any more apples Since I was at paps or not I have not it takes money to nock them here a good apple Sells for 5 cts here and you know that I am too Stingy to pay that my little Sweet I thought that I Seen more pleasure that time with you than ever I Seen in all my life without you

I often think of the Sweet times we have had togather I do beleave that we love each other the best of any too in the world. You Said you got that Ring I Sent you well I am going to Send another well it is in the other letter of the 7th of November you Said you had Sold the [dog?] that was Right

tell me if you have paid David Haines you will find thirty dollars at the Bank for you I drawed 26 and mad Some making Rings and Some washing Close for the boys I dont Spend much I want to have a big pile when I get home write good long litters when you write take that paper to the Bank and get gold for it keep in good heart and Save all that you Can and it will be all Right when I get home I am well and in good Spirits. I look a head to a better day I have not much to write this time. I feel Sleepy and bad to day I will write more the next time No More at Present I Ever Remain your Husband Till Death.

Joshua Jones

Arling[ton] Hights
Fort Craig Via
Nov. the 24th 1861

Dear and loving little wife

I Can inform you that I am Enjoying a Reasonable portion of health and it is my greatest wishes that this will find my loving wife and Sweet little boy in the Same State of health. I Received your loving letter and was glad to hear from you when I Seen your hair and little Georges I Could not help Sheding tears I never had Such feelings in my life it was almost like meeting with my lover. The hapiest day of my life is to come that will be when I Can take my loving wife by the hand and lay my arms around her and kiss her sweet lips That is the Day I am longing to See you know how well I used to like to have holt of your little hand I can almost feel it now you know I like to feel it too my Celia and the good times we used to have and that we will have when we See each other again is all my [Studies?] but that day is not known when we will meet but here is a consolation the longer I have to Stay the more money aint that So Celia can you dout that I love you when I have Risked my life in this Rebellion and put up with all of the hardships of Soldiering just to make a Raise for the Comfort of my little family you know that it must be horrible to my mind to have to be absent So long from those I love So well besides the exposure and hardships I have to bear with who is doing mor for their family or Country than your little boy

The grandest Review that ever was known your boy was at it was helt between Munsons hill and Baleys Crossroads on the 20th of Nov 1861 Seventy thousand troops 104 Canon 17 batteries you will See the account of it in the papers it was a grand Site.16

well Celia if you put the money in the Bank it will draw 6 per cent interest although I am willing for you to keep it but evry dollar is one when a man gets it by the hardest put it in the Bank if you want to.

tell me if you got them feathers I will have to Stop it is time for dressparad here is my heart and Some of my hair.

  • 16 William Howard Russell, special correspondent of the LondonTimes, described the review as follows: "Today a grand review, the most remarkable feature of which was the able disposition made by General McDowell to march seventy infantry regiments, seventeen batteries, and seven cavalry regiments into a very contracted space, from the adjoining camps…. Among the 55,000 men present there were at least 20,000 Germans, and 12,000 Irish." William Howard Russell, My Diary North and South, ed. Eugene H. Berwanger (Philadelphia, 1988), 327–28. Bailey's Crossroads was located about three miles south of Fort Craig.

give my best Respects to your father and Mother tell them I want them to write often

No more at present I ever Remain your husband till Death

Joshua Jones

Write Soon

Arlington Hights
Fort Craig Via.
Dec. the 18th 1861

Dear Parents

I again Embrace the present oportunity of addressing you. the truth Compelles me to Confess that I am not atall well, but this goes hoping to find you all Enjoying good health and a pleasant life we have just got in from picket gard where we was very much exposed to danger and the Inclemency of the weather both night and day for five days we was on the out posts within one and a quarter [miles] of the Rebell pickets I was not well when I Started and I am Still no better the picket line is about ten miles west of here and we left Camp at eleven oclock and marched out there with our knapsacks on with a heavy lode in them and haversacks full of mule meat and dry hard bread and a canteen full of water and our Cartriage boxes on with 40 Rounds of Cartriges in them which Contains a long ball weighing one ounce and an ounce of powder

we got there about sundown very tired and warm and I was put on a post with two other men where the Rebells generally passed they killed one of the Wisconsin boys there three days before that, there we Sit in the cold all night with gun in hand watching for them and listening for them to fire at us but I did not see a Rebell or hear a gun fire but the boys down along the line on the Right wing Said they heard a Shot or too but Some of them if they hear a brush crack it sounds like thunder to them, the next day our Company Crossed the line and went forageing we went in to an orcherd and got Corn where the union troops never went in and all got out alive we got too loads of Corn foder and all there was too Rebell Cavalrymen passed in Site of us but they went off double quick, this trip is the cause of my having a bad cold hard Cough and Sore lungs which is very unpleasant. I Received aletter from Celia to day Stating that you was all well which I am always glad to hear this is a hard life to live but I can bear it all if I can here of you all being well but if I Should hear of Celia or the little boy being Sick or if She was dissatisfied any way or misused and I have to Stay here and could not come to take care of her I would have the most miserable life to live of any human on earth because I hope the day is coming when I can have a little quiet home with her once more and Enjoy the peace and pleasure around our own peaceable fire Side I want you all to write to me for it is cheering to Read a letter from you and the pleasure that a Soldier Enjoys otherwise are few and far between.

I will close for the present by asking you to answer Soon I ever Remain yours untill Death

Joshua Jones

let Celia Read this letter

19th Regt. Co. E
Camp Craig
Jan 8 1862

Dear Celia

I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well, and hope these few lines may find my dear Wife and little boy in the very best of health. Well Celia as there is not any thing of Importance going on in Camp I will have nothing new to tell you you wanted me to Send you a present well I dont know what to Send but when I go to the City I will try to get you Something I am going to Send my little George a picture of Col. Ellsworth who was killed at Elexandria while taking down a Re-bell flag17 if you Cant read this writing I will get Some body to write for me but however. Celia I will not Send any money home this time but look out next payday for Sixty dollars I bought a watch for twelve dollars and a half and Sold it to Isaac Branson for Eighteen and a half next payday18 Some is Smart and Some aint Smart

well Celia I will tell you what I have been thinking a bout I think if pork is only worth $2.50 cts per hundred you had better buy about two hundred pounds and Salt it down it will be a good thing for us for pork will be high next Summer but do as you think best I would like to know what has become of my Corn you may Sell my watch if you can get ten dollars for it and if you Cant you may Send it to me and I will Sell it and Send you the Cash I heard that Vol Kiger was maried I guess you will get

  • 17 The incident occurred on May 24, 1861. James T. Jackson, proprietor of the Marshal House in Alexandria, shot Colonel Ephraim E. Ellsworth as he attempted to take down a Confederate flag that Jackson insisted on flying from the roof of his hotel. See Russell, My Diary North and South, 163–64, for a full account.
  • 18 Isaac Branson from Delaware County served as sergeant of Company E, 19th Indiana from 1861 until April, 1863, when he was commissioned as second lieutenant; still later, in January, 1864, he became first lieutenant of the company. Report of the Adjutant General, II, 172, IV, 398.
that money of him yet you Said you had bad luck So had I = I got your likeness Case Spoiled So we are even aint we duck.

I will Close my letter by Remaining your admirer and husband till Death

Joshua Jones

Write Soon good by

Fort Craig Virginia
Feb the 6th 1862

Ever dear and beloved Celia

your letter Come to hand last night and found me well and glad to hear from you but Sorrow to hear that Eddy was not well but I hope when this Comes to hand it will find my little Sweets both in good health, you Said that Mat had been Saying Something about our money well Celia you know that I would Rather that you would have our money than any body else for it belongs to you and me and we are just the Same as one you done just Right with the money and So we are Satisfied it is no body elses bisness I told you to do as you pleased with the money just a purpos to See what kind of a wife I had to contrive and I find out that I have got just as good Industrious and prudend a women as any man and it makes me love you dearly to think that you are doing all that you can to make us comfortable after I get home as many of a women would have Spent evry cent of that money while her husband was Risking his life for it besides the hardships he had to under go.

I can Say that I have Sent as much money home as any other man in this Company there is men here that has got wives at home that is needy and they are Spending their money for whiskey and geting drunk and buying all other foolery that does not profit them one cent. I dont buy any thing but paper or Something to Send to you not even an apple or pies or Cakes for they Sell them awful high.

I have Sold my watch for 15 dollars and the fiddle for 5 if they come. I can Send 75 or 80 dollars next time I am going to make all I can.

well darling about you going to See Martha I have nothing to Say you can do as you please with your own money about them pies and Cakes and other thing I think they would be So good it has been So long that I have had to live on hard dry bread and it light bread too or hard Crackers and a little fat rotten cold pork Sevral of the boys have got boxes of provision Sent to them one woman come and brought her man Some provisions I can get any thing that you are a mind to Send but dear I havent got but a little


Courtesy Ralph Becker.

money not any more than will pay the express on the fiddle and watch I loaned it all out but you can pay the express there and get a Receipt for the box if you want to but I hate to ask you to Send it and pay the expence [for shipping it] both for it is too much you can use your pleasure about Sending it I Sent a numberell [an umbrella] to Haineses Store by a man that was here after a Soldier that died is [it] was Directed to Garrett Gibson I want you to get it and keep it here is your miniture but you must be Sure to Send Eddys and yours back and take good care of this one you Spoke about me having to lay on my oilcloth you cant help that and if them that talks about it dont like it let them lump it. I think I will be at home in the Sumer or fall you need not be uneasy for I love you and I know you are pretty and virtuous too and I dont want a better woman than my little Celia. I have not got the watch yet you Said that picture looked natural I thought it was a poor picture I will have another one taken if I have a chance and send it to you / look on the other Sheet I will Close my letter on this I am out of paper19 here is a kiss for aint it Sweet it ought to be I have Saved it long anough I dont know what to tell you only that you are pretty and Sweet and a good loving kind little wife and would like to See you and hug and kiss on them Sweet lips kiss Eddy for me and tell him to be a good little boy till pap comes home again

No more this time

your Ever loving husband

Write Soon,

Joshua Jones

Camp near Elexandria Va
April the 2nd 1862

Dear and Ever Remembered Wife

I take my pen in hand this morning to answer your kind letter which I Received lastnight and to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines may find my Celia and little Eddy in the Same State of health.

Well Celia we are not gone yet but we are looking to go evry day there is So many troops to Ship that it takes a good while to all get on the Steamers but it will not be long till we will get on for our division goes on board next we are just laying here in the

  • 19 If Jones did indeed include another sheet with this letter, it is no longer extant.
laurel brush Ready to go any time20 Well Dear we got our pay a day or too a go and I Sent 55 dollars to the Bank on deposit Cap Wilson Said he would make them give me 6 per cent Intrust So I Sent it there in Stead of Sending it to Pary21 I did not get all that was coming to me or I could Sent more I will Send 50 dollars next time I got them postage Stamps and was glad to get them but I did not get the picturs I do wish you would Send them I will Send mine and then I do want yours I got the watch and fiddle I got 5 dollars for the fidle and twelve for the watch next pay day I Save all of the money that I get to Send home to keep my pretty Sweet wife and little boy and my Self when I get home keep in good Spirits Dear for they cant kill me I am coming home if any bod[y] does then we will have a good time the balance of our lives I think your father and John [mite?] write to [me] oftener if they thought any thing of me but it is all Right I will Remember them while I am fighting to Save their as well as my own Country I will Close for this time by asking you to answer Soon and Send them pictures write good long letters and tell all of the news that you can think of. your Ever loving husband

Joshua Jones

when this you see
Remember me though
many miles a part we be
good by Celia
here is the picture of your ugly husband who is in the army
this is a Laurel leaf

Via Camp Near Fredricksburg
April 28th 1862

Well my Dear Celia

I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am geting along as well as could be expected although I am not very well but it is my hearts Desire that this may find you well and Enjoying

  • 20 Jones's unit was prepared to embark for the Peninsular Campaign, which took place between April and July, 1862. The 19th Indiana, however, was part of Irvin McDowell's division, a division that Lincoln insisted on keeping in northern Virginia to protect Washington, D. C., from Confederate attack. Instead of going to the peninsula the 19th was moved toward the Rappahannock River and Fredericksburg, Virginia. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 47–52.
  • 21 Luther B. Wilson of Muncie was captain of Company E, 19th Regiment from its organization in 1861 until he was mustered out of service in April, 1863. Report of the Adjutant General, II, 172.
life pleasant I can get along if I can hear of you and the little boy being well, for you are the main dependence for pleasure and Satisfaction the longer I Stay a way the more I think of you and the better I love you I am geting tired of this way of living it is So hard and disagreeable I am not well half of my time any more it Raines So much and we have to lay on the cold and wet ground and nothing that I like to eat we was 5 days with 2 days Rations and 4 of them days we was marching hard Crackers and old tuff beef and no Salt and we had to Roast it on the fire I got a letter from Pary last night he Said Some of the friends did not like it because I talked of Sending my money to him I want you to tell me who it is if you know I think it would be Safer in their house because it is not So apt to get burnt up you may give that Certificate to Pary then if any thing Should hapen you will not be to blame it is not because I think that you cant take care of it but I dont want you to be to blame if any thing Should hapen that the certificate was lost I will Send 50 or 55 dollars more in 2 or 3 weeks and I will let Pary go to the Bank and get the Certificate let me know how much money John Abrell got and who he give for Security you may look for me home this Sumer or fall you may dry apples and get evry thing that you can I am coming home on a furlow if the war is not over but I think the war will Soon be over then I will be the hapyest man in the world when I can be with my Sweet wife and little boy but live in hops and do all you can for our future Comfort and pleasure I will have to Stop for this time Write Soon give me all of the Satisfaction you can about evry thing

Ever Yours Respectfully

Joshua Jones to Celia

June 26th 1862

Dear Companion

I take my pen in hand to Inform you that I Received your letter of the 16th Stating that you was all well it found me in good health & Enjoying my Self well as it had Rained all night & when I got up this morning I was Surrounded by water & in my nest the water was about two inches deep & I am not dry yet. it Stormed tremendous hard it has Swept away the Rail Road a gain.22 there

  • 22 Some troops of the 19th Indiana were given the detail of keeping the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad between Fredericksburg and Acquia Creek Landing in repair. Nothing in the letters implies that Jones was part of the repair crew, but if he were camped near the line, he certainly would have been aware of the damage done. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 58–60.
has been 3 men drowned Since we come here but none of our Regt but Thomas Gilbert tried to cut his throat23 you Said that you got that money & my likeness also. I dont know whether I will Send any money home this pay day or not for our year is up the 29th of July & we have to pay for all of the clothes that we drawn over the amount of $42 but I will not have but little to pay if any but I think I can make a Speculation a trading.

you Said that you had planted garden Stuff & was going to make apple butter & fix things all Right that is Right you will never loose any thing by it for I am coming home on a furlough this winter if we are not discharged Cap sayes he will get me a furlough if it can be had at all. I think Mat has made a wild Shot if he knows when he is well off he had better keep out of the army for it not a place for pleasure nor a field for play unless he wants to play with lead balls & Sometimes they throw them pretty hard & they Rattle a Round like hail

tell mother that I will Send her a present just as Soon as I can get one that is worth Sending tell her that if She will keep in as good Spirits as I am all will be Right.

I cant get home this summer but I will come next winter I think I am going to join the artillery if I can get off from Cap Wilson, here is a paper for you to Read & a card as a token of my love for you I wish you would Send me a Muncie paper you can Send it as I did this. I Sent you two more pictures how do you think they look & who do you think they look like keep in good heart I think I will get to kiss your Sweet lips again Someday, well I must bring my letter to a close I am on Poliece to day corporal of the Poliece Squad, kiss Eddy a time or too for me oh how I would like to See him & his mother.

No More but Remaines your Most Affectionate Husband

Joshua Jones Cpl24

  • 23 The best study on morale among northern troops is Bell I. Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (Garden City, N. Y., 1971). Wiley notes that morale fell when soldiers suffered long periods of illness and when conditions in camp became difficult. He writes that no reliable figures on suicide exist but notes that "accidental" shootings of soldiers with their own guns were very common. See pages 275–96. Thomas H. Gilbert of Delaware County served as wagoner for Company E, 19th Indiana during its entire three years of service. He was mustered out of the army in July, 1864. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398.
  • 24 Although Jones was never listed as a corporal in the Indiana adjutant general's report, in his service records the muster of December, 1861, indicates that he was a private, that of March, 1862, lists him as a corporal. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398; Jones file, "Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who served in Organizations of the State of Indiana."

Stafford co Virginia
July 15th 1862

My Dear Wife

I am once more permitted to drop you a few lines in answer to your kind comunication of the 5th and 8th which come to hand a few minets ago & was Read with great pleasure to hear from home once more & to hear that you was all well & in good Spirits for that is Really the only & greatest pleasure that I Enjoy.

Dear Celia if you only knew what a great pleasure & Satisfaction it is to me to Read a letter from your hand you would Surely feel more Interested in writing to me I began to think that I was Entirely forgotten by my only nearest & dearest friend for it was So long before I got a letter from her. you said that you had put up Some currents & was going to put up Some cherries & had your quilt about half out you are Some[thing] I always knew that you was a Smart girl but I did not like to Say So.

I often think about the Evening that Eliza Jane called me to the house & you was on the bed crying & I talked So hard to you I feel Sorrow for it & hope you will forgive me for it

I did not do it because I did not care but because I thought it the better way to get you Reconsiled you know that I think more of you than any thing Else on Earth for we could have So much fun & Satisfaction with Eachother Runing a Round & taging & catching Eachother & fondling over Eachother So loving, you must have your picture taken Just as nice as you can So it will look pleasing & Sweet & Send it to me.

My Dear wife you must Ever Remember the one that loves you So dear

you Said that you was at the forth [July 4] I was too but I was laying in my tent all day Sick & almost Smothered to death it was So warm I was thinking about you all day & wandering where you was & what you was doing.

We have had a pretty good time while we have been here but we are under marching orders now & will leave here Soon for Richmond or Gordensville.25 I think the fight at Richmond will End the war if they will Stand & fight & not Evacuate but I fear that we are going to have to fight England & if we do I have no hopes of Ever getting home but if not I think that you may look for me this

  • 25 On June 26, 1862, McDowell's corp was incorporated into the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by John Pope. The new army consisted of units stationed in northern Virginia and in the Shenandoah Valley. Although Jones does not say, the 19th was moved from Fredericksburg to Gordonsville to protect approaches to the Shenandoah along the Virginia Central Railroad. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 61.
winter.26 you Said that you got them pictures I got Eddys picture he is a pretty little boy he takes that after his pretty Mother & his Smartness too but his [Sponkeyness?] he takes after his old father.

there has Sevral died here this week it is So hot one man fell out of the Ranks yesterday at dress parade he was Sun Struck he had not been well for a few days tell John that I have wrote him too letters Since he has wrote to me. tell the old folks that I Received their Respects but can not give a letter in Return for compliments tell them to write oh how I would like to See my Celia & our little boy you must write when you feel like it but if I did I would write all of the time I will have to Close for this time asking you to write without delay I will Ever Remain your affectionate & Loving husband until Death

Joshua Jones

farewell Celia Eddy good by

when this you See
Remember me
though many miles
a part we bee

Cedar Mountain
Culpepper Co Va
Aug 18th 1862

My Dear Companion

it is again that I am permitted to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well & hope these few lines may Reach & find you well & in good Spirits. You must Excuse me for not writing Sooner for we have been marching for the last two weeks we made a Reconoitering about two weeks ago out toward Richmond & got in a Skirmish with the Rebels and for a while the case looked a little Billious but we got back by loosing Several prisoners27 they [Confederates] had us cut off Entirely at one time & they dashed around among us pretty lively for a while When we got

  • 26 This comment is made in response to numerous rumors that England and France planned to recognize the Confederacy, a move which would have almost forced the Union to declare war on the European powers. Following the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), such rumors became less frequent, and they were no longer heard after the Federal victory at Gettysburg. James Rawley, Turning Points in the Civil War (Lincoln, Nebr., 1966), 113–14.
  • 27 This was one of a series of raids undertaken by the Iron Brigade between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley in early August, 1861. The purpose was to break Confederate communications between Richmond and the Valley. Long, Civil War Day by Day, 247.
back to Camp we got orders to march the next morning at 4 oclock to Reinforce Banks So we did not get much Rest28 we did not get here in time to get into the fight29 we are now laying at the foot of Cedar mountain on the Edge of the Battle ground I was all over the Battle ground yesterday there is plenty of the Rebells that is harried So Shallow that their hands & feet is Sticking out & Some places there is So many in one hole & since they have Swelled their Shoulders or hips are above the ground & the maggots are all over them it creates a dreadful Smell there is plenty of peaces of arms legs & all parts of men Scatered over the fields I Seen lots of hair & blood & bloody clothes with bulet holes in them & dead horses any amount of them our men is baried alittle better they are baried in trenches there is two trenches about 30 Rods long & there they are layed Side by Side our loss is Said to be over one thousand the Bomb Shells & bulets is laying thick all over our Camp two men was killed yesterday by leting a Shell fall & it Exploded it was a percusion Shell I Can not tell half in a letter but you will See the account in the papers the battle was between Slaughter mountain & Cedar mountain Tell Parys that I have wrote to them last I would like to know how Johns is geting along & whether they are Still trying the Serve the lord & how people Seem to like the drafting in general you used to Say that there was no danger of being drafted what do you think now. what I Say comes true Sometimes.30

  • 28 Nathaniel P. Banks, commander of Union troops in western Virginia, was encountering Thomas J, ("Stonewall") Jackson's troops in the Shenandoah Valley. Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, 1862–1863 (New York, 1960), 123ff.
  • 29 Jones refers to the Battle of Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862. This was the first fighting that led to the second Bull Run campaign. The Battle of Cedar Mountain is also referred to as the Battle of Slaughter Mountain. See Jones's reference in his letter of September 6, 1862. James G. Randall and David Donald, The Civil War and Reconstruction (2nd ed., Boston, 1961), 218ff.
  • 30 By midsummer, 1862, the early eagerness to volunteer for military service had waned in Indiana and in other states, and calls for additional troops in June and again in July made the prospect of conscription to fill quotas very real. On July 17 Congress authorized the states to draft members to fill their militia quotas if necessary. The draft was to be administered by state officials, and by the end of July steps had been taken in every township in Indiana to enroll men subject to conscription. Resentment led to violence in a number of instances. In October, 1862, after still another call for soldiers, three thousand men were drafted to fill Indiana's quota of forty-two thousand. A subsequent accounting indicated that the draft had in reality been unnecessary and that the number of volunteers had exceeded the quota. In March, 1863, a second conscription act that provided for the enrollment of eligible men by Federal officials was passed. William H. H. Terrell, Indiana in the War of the Rebellion: Vol. I, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana (1869; reprint, Indiana Historical Collections, Vol. XLI; Indianapolis, 1960), 49–54. Apparently men were drafted from Delaware County in 1862, but the county experienced no subsequent drafts. Kingman, History of Delaware County, Indiana, 113. For a general discussion of conscription during the Civil War see James W. Geary, We Need Men: The Union Draft in the Civil War (DeKalb, 111., 1991).




Courtesy Massachusetts Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Bart Harter is not dead yet he is too [illegible] ornery31 I will Send you five dollars in this letter I did not get all that was coming to me this pay day & want to Send home anough next time to make out two hundred dollars I loned out Some on Intrest till next pay day

tell Mother to keep in good Spirits tell all of the friend to write if they [illegible] like it all of the boys gets more letters than I do. now my Dear Celia I want you to write me if no body Else does for I love you more than all the world & I am content when I can hear from you I dreamed of huging and kissing you all night last night oh how [happy] I was but how bad I did feel this morning. I must close write Soon

oh how [I] love & want to See my Dear Celia good bye Celia from your [lover?]

Joshua Jones cpl

Fort WarrenVirginia32
Sept 6th 1862

My Dear Wife

I am truly thankful that I am granted the privilege once more of Informing you that I am Still a live & well & Sincerely hope these few lines may find you all well & Enjoying your Selves well. Celia this is one privilege more then I Ever Expected to Enjoy but thanks to the almighty I have come out alive, the Bombardment comenced at the Rappahnnock [River] on the 21st of August & it lasted 3 days at that point we was under the fire three days & nights there then we marched to Gainesville & was Shelled all of the way there & on the Evening of the 28th one mile north of Gainesville we had an Engagement with the Enemy which lasted till after dark33 it was there that I feared that I would End my days the man on my left was Shot down & both of the men to my Right was Shot Jacob Miller was wounded & fell at my feet & his gun hit me on the Shoulder as he fell34 I got one ball hole in my hat & one through the left Side of my Coat we lost 260 that

  • 31 Barton S. Harter was from Delaware County and served with Jones in Company E of the 19th Indiana. Harter was killed at Antietam on September 17, 1862, just one month after Jones's letter to Celia. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398.
  • 32 This letter was written following the Second Battle of Bull Run. The 19th Indiana and other units engaged in the battle were brought closer to Washington in order to rest and recuperate. Fort Warren is perhaps the name given to the bivouac area, for at this time the unit was stationed on Upton's Hill about two miles southeast of Arlington. Fort Warren was located in Boston, Massachusetts. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 111.
  • 33Gainesville lies thirty-five miles southwest of Washington, D. C.
  • 34 Jacob Miller of Delaware County served with Jones in Company E of the 19th Indiana. He was wounded in this encounter at Gainesville but continued to serve with the regiment until he was mustered out in July, 1864. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398.
night on the 30th near the old Bull Run Battle ground we had an other Engagement which lasted till the Evening of the 31st our losses is Said to be Seventeen thousand the dead & wounded lay So thick that we could not help Steping on them when we was changing our position on the field our Regiment come very near all being taken prisoners they did get Several I can tell you all about it when I get home we will not have to fight any more for a while for our corps is ordered back to Washington to rest & Recruit up & protect the capiftal] you need not be uneasy now I think I will get home Safe our flag is all Shot to peaces John Harter & Bart was not in the fight35 they are both cowards we have been under fire altogether 9 days. Cap got your letter to day I wrote you a letter from Slaughters mountain about the 18th of Aug & Sent five dollars in it I have not had a letter for a long time I am going to quit writing I have not heard from your father nor John Abrell nor Pary nor any body Else for two or three months Can it be possible that they have all forgotten me I Sometimes do not care if I am killed only for your Sake I often thought of you during this Battle & thought if you only knew that I was on the Battle field part of the time fighting & part of time Standing watching & listening at the canon balls & Brim Shells So I could dodge them or fall down when they bursted to keep from geting killed I would not had you or Mother to of known Just my Situation for nothing in the world, while you was going about the house or in your bed aSleep I was Either laying on the Battle field in the Raine or Seting up anodding it Rained three days you have no Idea what we have to go through tell Neps that old John has got a Bulet in his neck our Major was killed36 the Adjutants horse was Shot from under him37 I will close on the other Sheet38

  • 35 For Barton S. Harter see note 30 above. John F. Harter of Delaware County also served in Company E of the 19th Indiana. When the regiment's three-year term of enlistment was completed in July, 1864, John Harter reenlisted and served until he was mustered out of the army in July, 1865. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 398, 438.
  • 36 Isaac M. May from Delaware County had been mustered into service as captain of Company A of the 19th Indiana. In February, 1862, he was promoted to major of the regiment. May was killed at Gainesville on August 28, 1862. Official Records, ser. I, vol. XII, p. 378; Report of the Adjutant General, II, 168, 169.
  • 37 Lieutenant Colonel Solomon Meredith had his horse shot from under him at Gainesville and was forced to withdraw from the field. Nolan, Iron Brigade, 131; see also [Catharine Merrill], The Soldier of Indiana in the War for the Union (2 vols., Indianapolis, 1866, 1869), I, 587.
  • 38 The second sheet of this letter is no longer extant. This was the last letter that Celia received from Joshua, or, at least, it was the last that she kept. On September 6, 1862, the day that Jones wrote it, "Stonewall" Jackson occupied Frederick, Maryland, and Confederate troops began the push northward that culminated in the Battle at Antietam (Sharpsburg). The battle, known as the "bloodiest day in the war" occurred on September 17 and resulted in the death of 5,100 men, with 18,000 wounded. James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (New York, 1982), 282–87.

On the Battle field of Tietam Creek Md
Sept. 25th 1862.

Mrs. Jones:

By the request of your husband I write to let you know of his whereabouts and condition. Doubtless ere this reaches you you will have seen or heard through the Papers of the misfortune with which he met in the battle of the 17th of this month. But for the purpose of giving you a more satisfactory account of the matter he desires me to write and tell you to some extent the particulars as they really are. Then to commence I will say that as our Reg't. was making a charge on the rebels—and when they had got within the rebel lines—he was struck by a musket ball, taking effect in right leg—just above the ancle—breaking and literally shivering the bone to attorns, being too severely wounded to get back off of the field himself and the rebels were in too strong numbers at this point—, our Regiment had to fall back a short distance—leaving the dead and wounded in the hands of the rebels—. They took him back into their lines where he remained without any attention being paid to his wound from Wednesday morning—the time when he was wounded—until Friday afternoon when the rebels evaccuated their position. At this time our boys went over and found him and brought him back but his wound was so sore by this time that he could not bear to be hauled in the ambulance—so they carried him to the Hospital on a stretcher—for such purposes—a distance of three or four miles—where he now is and his wound is receiving proper attention, his leg had to [be] amputated—, in consequence of the bone being so badly shivered, they had to take it off about two thirds or three fourths of the way up between the ancle and the knee—just about the place that the garter fastens. He is getting along as well as could be expected under the circumstances. He says to tell Perry Ross—and your Father—that he received their letters—but that they need not expect him to answer them soon—as he is not able to write to any one now. He says that you may expect him home some time this fall—so soon as he is able to come, he will not be any longer able for the service—and will be discharged. I hardly know how to tell you the best way to direct letters to him but think that the safest and surest way is to direct them as heretofore, and I will use my best endeavors to have them forwarded to him at the earliest opportunity. However if you think best you might try one directing in this manner, Joshua Jones Co. E. 19th Reg't Ind. Vol. In Hospital at Keedysville, Washington Co. Md39 But as the Hospital is not a permanent one—and

  • 39 Keedysville was a hamlet midway between Sharpsburg and Boonesboro, Maryland.
liable to be mooved at any time—think the former the surest way—.

I presume that it will be some time yet before he will be able to write himself—and it will doubtless be a gratification to you to hear how he is getting along—. I will therefore take it upon myself to inform you from time to time as I may be able to hear—, how he is progressing. Trusting that you may bear this sad intelligence with becoming fortitude, and in a manner worthy the wife of so brave and patriotic a husband, remembering that though he must suffer much pain and forever the loss of his limb—, yet his life has been spared and that you will soon have the gratification of again seeing and enjoying his presence—that though his loss is a severe one—yet the reflection that the sacrifice was made in so noble a cause will in part compensate for the inconvenience and he will bear through life a living testimony of his devotion for his country and her institutions.

With regards

I am very Respectfully

Geo. W. Greene40

Lieut Co. "E" 19th Ind. Vol.

Sharpsburg Md
Oct 8/62

Mrs. Joshua Jones

Dear Madam

Your letter to your husband directed to my care bearing date Oct 1st came to hand today In reply I deeply regret to iform you that your husband is no more, that he passed from this life Sept. 30th. You have doubtless received this melancholy intelligence ere this, as a friend of his was here several days before his death when all hope of his recovery was gone His leg was amputated below the knee by Dr Obensole of this regiment several days before I saw him (the 20th of Sept I believe) and while I was sick in Washington41 I just saw him about 7 days before his death Since the amputation up to that time the leg had been doing well, but on my

  • 40 George W. Greene from Delaware County first served as lieutenant of Company E of the 19th Indiana. He was promoted to captain in April, 1863, and was honorably discharged from service in March, 1865, after having been a prisoner of war at Libby and other southern prisons for twenty months following the Battle of Gettysburg. Report of the Adjutant General, II, 172; Kingman, History of Delaware County, 114–16, 119.
  • 41 Jacob Ebersole from Aurora, Indiana, was surgeon of the 19th Indiana from April, 1862, until he was mustered out of service in October, 1864, when the 19th was consolidated with the 20th Indiana (Reorganized). Report of the Adjutant General, II, 169.



DR. OTHO SMITH'S HOUSE AND BARN, NEAR KEEDYSVILLE, MARYLAND, SERVED AS A HOSPITAL AFTER ANTIETAM. Courtesy Massachusetts Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and U. S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

first examination I discovered a small gangrenous or mortified spot which extended rappidly in spite of all our efforts to arrest it It is known as hospital gangrene which once started is difficult to arrest He received every possible attention & kindness that could be bestowed on anyone away from home His sufferings were not very great

I was ordered to another post before his death I think he died the following day Henry Marsh of Muncie was Set apart especily to wait on him42

His remains were decently buried in a cemetry near by & a board placue at his head with his name & regt egraved upon it With expressions of deepest sympathy for you in this heavy affliction and the hope that God will give you strength to bear up with Christian fortitude and resignation I am your most sincere friend and obt Servant

J N Green43

Asst Surg 19th Ind Vols.

Sharpsburg Md
Oct 8th 1862

Dear Madam

Dr Green wrote the enclosed letter which he was not going to send as I had writen to My Father of the death of your kind, noble and brave husband, the Drs and I found Joshua at a barn (where he had been taken by the secesh) his wounds had not reed any attentions until we came he was then taken to Keedysville on a litter (he had been put in an ambulance but he could not be hauled so they carried [him] there (3 or 4 miles) where his foot was amputated and did well for a while but mortification set in when he sunk rapidly. I was sent with the Regt after the Battle but afterwards orderd to Keedysville as soon as I came he was glad to see me and wanted me to see to him which I did with the other nurses and a lady from Boston who was very kind to the boys, (she came to wait on the soldiers voluntarily) he received good attention after he was found. A day or so before he died I was talking to him of his relations he said he wanted me to write to you but not then,

  • 42 Henry C. Marsh of Muncie joined the 19th Indiana in November, 1861. He is listed in the adjutant general's report as an unassigned recruit. When the 19th and 20th regiments were combined in January, 1864, Marsh was mustered into the 20th (Reorganized). He is listed there under regimental noncommissioned staff as a hospital steward. Report of the Adjutant General, IV, 409, 432.
  • 43 J. N. Green of Indianapolis served as assistant surgeon of the 19th Indiana from September, 1861, until he resigned in December, 1862. Report of the Adjutant General, II, 169.
when he got better, but he [was] getting worse I spoke to the lady nurse and she and I went in and told him that the Drs had given him up and if he wanted to send any word to you I would write it. he said for "you to take the best care of your seffe and child that you could." "Selia you know I have done the best I could for you". "I am prepared to die", he was in hopes that he would get well until I told him he was going to die. he passed away very quietly not haveing but little pain. Capt Wilson had a coffin made for him costing $6.00. and a head board was placed up for him in the grave yard. Capt Wilson speaks very highly of him as a soldier both on the Battle field and camp I always saw him at his post where ever it was. My sincere prayr is that God may bless you with the consolations which alone come from him and his protection in your bereavement that you may meet togeather arround the throne. You can learn of the date of my Father as I sent a letter to him stateing his death. Remaining your Friend I subscribe my selfe

H. C. Marsh

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.