I have just been informed that I shall be sent out on Picket duty to-morrow

Head Quarters, Company A, 129th Ills. Vols.
Camp Near Bowling Green, Ky., Nov. 6th 1862

My Dear Wife

I write to you to-night from the fact that I have just been informed that I shall be sent out on Picket duty to-morrow & perhaps be absent a couple of days. I intended to wait until Sunday [the 11th], but you know how uncertain our movements are.

I am in the enjoyment of excellent health & trust Providence has bestowed the same blessing upon you. We anticipate marching orders in a few days; we know not how soon. Genrl. Rosseau’s division was inspected & reviewed to-day by General Rosecrans, which nearly completed his duties here, & we will immediately be ordered forward.1 As yet we do not know our destination.

We have had considerable rejoicing over the election returns received from every part of the North. Under Democratic rule the country must be sane??2 We have nothing yet from Livingston. I should like to see Job Dye elected, but hope the bal. of the ticket elected is democratic.3

I am not well posted, but, judging from what I hear, I think Abolitionism has died out in the Army, if in fact it ever existed.

I was in Bowling Green a short time to-day on business. The City has been almost destroyed, almost all the good citizens have been compelled to leave. That class that remain can be fully illustrated by the saying of the old woman in the Revolution, when called upon by some soldier & not knowing who they were, she replied, “If you’re Whig, I’m Whig; if you’re Tory, I’m Tory.” The Rebels held the city for many months;4 very many of its finest buildings are in ruins.

We get mail daily now. The cars run through from Louisville. Lieut. Smith has just retired. Have you any idea how we sleep? In the first place, I could not tell when I undressed unless to wash or change clothes. I put my overcoat on, draw the cape over my head for a night cap, & roll over. I would give considerable to-night to occupy my old place by your side.

The weather has been quite cold for a few days. It was trying to snow all day but is more calm to-night. I very frequently get too cold & have to hunt the fire. We have plenty of wood, however, & get along very well.

I shall look for Gagan [sutler] in a few days with those pictures. I intended to write to the S. School on Sunday but shall not now have an opportunity. I have been somewhat disappointed in not hearing from any one in Pontiac. I thought I had a few friends left there. Give my love to all. Write as often as you can. I love very much to hear often from you. May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you. Farewell.

Your affect. Husband

  1. Brig. Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau commanded one of five divisions assigned to General Thomas’ center wing of the Army of the Cumberland. General Rosecrans maintained his headquarters at Bowling Green until Nov. 11, when he transferred his headquarters to Nashville. O. R., Ser. 1, Vol. XX, pp. 11, 31, 35. []
  2. Congressional elections held in Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania on Tuesday, October 14, had resulted in gains for Democrats, except in Iowa, where the Republicans carried the state. Three weeks later, when the voters went to the polls in more Union states, the Democrats made more gains at the expense of the Lincoln administration. They elected a governor in New York, and registered significant successes in New Jersey, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The Republicans, however, retained control of the House of Representatives, with victories in New England, the border states, California, and Michigan. E. P. Long, The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac, 1861-1865 (New York, 1971),278,284. []
  3. Job E. Dye was the Republican candidate for sheriff of Livingston County to succeed Edwin Maples. History of Livingston County, p. 266. []
  4. Bowling Green had been occupied by Confederate forces in early September 1861. It had anchored the Confederate center of the defense line in the West until its evacuation in mid-February 1862. Union victory at Mill Creek in January, the capture of Fort Henry on February 6, & the investment of Fort Donalson made the Confederate position at Bowling Green untenable. []

About Colleen Theisen

Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.

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