The Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, 6th Ohio Vol. Cavalry

For a brief biographical sketch, see “Who was Monroe McCollister?”


Camp Cleveland, Ohio
October 14, 1862

Dear Companion,

It is with great pleasure that I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you the same. I arrived at camp yesterday about eleven o’clock. I almost missed the train. I just got there in time. I did not get awake as soon as I had ought to. At Mantua Station as the train was starting up, I was looking out of the window and as I took my head in, my cap catched in the window and dropped out of the window and so I had to go without a cap till I got to Cleveland and then I bought one and then I went up to camp and as soon as they seen I had tools to mend, I had three pair to men right off. So I went to town and bought some leather and went right to work. I believe if we stay here long enough, I can make it pay.

All the drafted me were ordered out at three o’clock in line and the quartermaster general made a speech to us and he said we must make our own choice in what regiment we wanted to go. If we did not, he would have to assign us where he thought we was needed in a regiment. We have our roll made out and a sufficient number to have us assigned to the 2nd Ohio Cavalry. He said we would probably be assigned today or tomorrow—that is, those names that are handed in as their choice.

This morning there was a telegraph from Governor [David] Tod that there would not be any assignments made to the cavalry regiments but we had our papers handed in and accepted. Now the question is whether they can put us in infantry regiments or not. I hope they can’t for we would not get to see much fighting for the cavalry has to drill longer than the infantry before they can do any fighting. But if we can’t go in that, I’ll try and get in the 20th [Artillery] Regiment but I am still in hopes we will get to go in the cavalry. But there is no telling what will be done with us. They most all say they will not make another choice if we can’t go in the cavalry but I believe I would rather go in the 20th [Artillery].

I was too busy to write sooner but I think you will get this tomorrow. The probability is that after we are mustered in, we will get a furlough for a few days before we are sent on to the regiments. Substitutes are now selling at 140 dollars.

This is all I can write at present. Write soon. Address as before. Care of Capt. Schlong, Camp Cleveland. I got that letter that you had wrote. It was brought to the barracks about fifteen minutes after I had started home.

—Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland, Ohio
October 14, 1862

Dear Companion,

It is with great pleasure I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you likewise. I must let you know that I am cook at this present time for Company A which has sixty odd men. The company is not full yet. We must have about a hundred men. They elected me cook for this week or till we get organized and then I think I will be elected permanent cook. I have an assistant to help for one man can’t do it all. They all pay me five cents apiece for this week out and for what I have done before and when we get organized, they are to give me 20 cents per month each person and that exempts me from guard duty which is the worst to do in the soldier line.

The cooking is very steady business. We have not much time to rest. I got up very early this morning and hurried and got through with breakfast and got to writing. I did think for a few days that I would like to be here as well as to home but I don’t think so now. I would like to be with you now. I feel sometimes very lonesome when I think of home—to think how we was fixed and had to break up housekeeping. But I hope we will be as happy as ever within a year. A____ and me was over to Cleveland on Sunday and there I seen what I thought paid me very well. We seen a steamboat come in and schooners, lots of them. Sunday here seemed like a week day. There was working going on here in camp and in town too along the lake. This is all I can write for this time.


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Camp Cleveland, Ohio
October 29, 1862

Dear Companion,

It is with great pleasure I take my pencil in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you and all the rest enjoying the same state of health.

I got into camp last Monday about eleven o’clock and I was surprised to see the change. They had gone and bought a stove and paid for it themselves. It cost us 16 cents a piece and we have now got a floor in our barracks and it is now pretty comfortable.

Our company is getting very much reduced—there is so many getting substitutes. They are selling now at $200. That was yesterday, and the day before $225 and $210.

If I had a known what I do now, I would a stayed [home] a day or two longer. There is no more prospect now of getting mustered in than there was before I went home. We don’t know when we will get a furlough. I heard a man say yesterday that he had asked the adjutant when we would be sworn in. The adjutant said we would not be as long as there could be a substitute hired for to volunteer, and what was left of the drafted men, they would be right to guard property now. This is what a great many thinks. But some thinks not.

The weather was not as bad here as it was in Newton [Falls] last Sunday. It is quite pleasant here today.

Yesterday there was a man got a letter from the 105th [Ohio] Regiment that had a son killed in the battle they had the last week ¹ and in the letter it was stated that Florentine Simons ² was wounded seriously. And at the bottom of the letter was [a note] that Florentine had died from his wounds. His father has gone to where he is, so this man said. I don’t recollect the man’s name but he is a drafted man.

Well I must bring my letter to a close. Write as soon as convenient.

Address Camp Cleveland, Ohio, Care of Capt. Shlong, Co. A

No more at present. Yours truly, — Monroe McCollister

Seclar is that man’s name that got that letter.

¹ The 105th OVI participated in the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky on 8 October 1862.

² Sgt. Florentine M. Simons (1843-1918) was 19 years old when he enlisted in Co. H, 105th OVI. He was discharged on 1 January 1863 at Louisville, Kentucky, for wounds received on 8 October 1862 at the Battle of Perryville. He survived the Civil War but was killed when he fell from a street car in 1918 at the age of 75. He was from Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio.

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[Camp Cleveland, Ohio]
[17 November 1862]

Dear wife,

I must say that I have felt bad for a few days thinking I would not get home before we left Cleveland but I think now I will get home sometime so that I can stay over Christmas and New Years. I am sorry that I did not take some money with me when I started from home. I have been in need a great many times for a few cents. The first week or so when we came into camp this last time, we had not near enough to eat. But we have enough now. I have not even a stamp to put on this letter but I guess I can get one of some of the boys.

I am glad I took that blanket for I have needed it. It has been very cold here. I am writing this letter by candle light. I wish I was with you tonight. I know I would feel better satisfied if I had you in my arms tonight. I have to sleep alone tonight. Andrew Mead ¹ has gone to help bring in a deserter from Ashtabula. He is an officer. He got to be the 2d Corporal but he says he won’t accept of it. His wages would not be any more than mine—14 dollars [per month].

My candle is nearly burnt down [and] I must close. Write as soon as you can for I like to hear from home—although I may come home before you get this. I cannot tell. I may take a notion and come home if I can get the money. If I don’t draw my money that is my bounty and one month’s pay that we will get as quick as we are mustered in. So much from your faithful husband, — Monroe McCollister

You must read this to your folks. Goodbye. Think of me though I’m in Camp Cleveland.

¹ Andrew Mead (1840-1934) served as a corporal in Co. E, 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He was later transferred to the 7th U.S. army Veteran Reserve Corps. His name sometimes appears as “Mead” in military records. Prior to his enlistment, he lived with his parents, Joseph and Rhoda Mead, in Milton, Mahoning county, Ohio.

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[Camp Cleveland]
[Late November 1862]

Dear Wife,

I was glad when I received your letter. I was looking for one 2 days before. I must inform you that I bought a likeness case—one of the large size for two pictures. I got my likeness taken yesterday and when I come home, I will get your likeness taken.

They talk of moving us as quick as we are mustered in but I am a coming home before we leave here if I have to take a french furlough. I must tell you that I have got two government blankets now and one of them I  am a going to bring home when I come and leave it. The way I got it was this. When I went home, I got the other time, I left my my blankets in the captain’s office and when they moved while I was to home, there was a man got my blanket—that is, he slipped it away thinking he could keep it, and when I got back I went to hunt for my blanket and could not find it in the office. So [Lt. Eusebius S.] Austin told me to take one off the pile. I did so and in a few days, Dan Jacobs told me that there was a man over in his barracks had a blanket marked with my name on so I went over and made him give it up. That is my luck. I wanted two and now I have got them.

We are getting a few recruits every once in awhile. They talk of mustering next week. I hope they will.

Dear companion, I am very lonesome sometimes when I get thinking of home and how we could have lived this winter. But I will tell you Andrew Mead and me are a going to get out of it as soon as we can. We have got a plum if it will work but we don’t care so much about it till we go to Washington. We want to see part of the world before. Don’t say anything about it.

Well, I must close for I have got to do some work. Write as soon as you can and don’t forget him that has been so faithful to you for the last 4 or 5 years. I hope you don’t forget me though distant lands between us be. Be of good cheer. If I don’t get out of it, I have got  a good position in the army. There is a boy here now that was in the regiment for about a year. He says I have got as easy a position as can be got. Well, I must close so goodbye. I hope I will see you before long. No more at present. — Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland
December 4, 1862

Dear Companion,

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and enjoying good spirits, hoping these few lines may find you likewise. I arrived in camp about 11 o’clock and drawed my uniform all in the forenoon. I am not anyways sorry that I enlisted as a saddler. I need not stand guard or drill unless I have a mind to but I will drill here for I like it.

About coming home, I can’t say when that will be. We are not mustered in yet. There is a few that had furloughs did not come yet. They will have to be sent after. The mustering officer is here ready to muster us in. As soon as we are mustered, we will get a furlough if we wish. Those that did not come when their furlough run out will not get a furlough again.

It is not muddy here in camp now. It is froze solid and wore down smooth on the parade ground. Those that were assigned to the 98th Regiment started for Nashville, Tennessee, yesterday evening. They had to prepare rations for five days to take along. The 72nd and 55th [Regiments] started also last evening for their regiments. George Stoltz left with them.

The 6th [Ohio] Cavalry—those that were assigned—are liable to leave any moment, but the volunteers will not leave perhaps for 3 or 4 months.

I have not received that letter that John sent or no others. I expected some others by this time. The Camp Cleveland Post Office is moved up to the upper end of the camp and the letters are brought down by a man detailed for that purpose every day. When you write, address to Camp Cleveland, Ohio, care of Lieutenant E[usebius S.] Austin, 6th O. V. Cavalry, U.S.A.

No more at present but remain yours truly, — Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland
December 16, 1862

Dear wife,

It is with great pleasure I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you likewise. I received your letter last evening. I was a going to write again. I thought perhaps you did not receive my letter being I did not get one sooner.

I must inform you that we are not mustered in yet. We organized last Thursday. We was divided into two companies making only in each company about 70 men. They say we won’t be mustered in till we have 95 men. Some of the men think we won’t leave here before the first of March. If the officers would agree and let one or the other have some of their men and fill up one of the companies, then we would very soon start for Washington. The Colonel of the regiment was here and took the drafted men that belonged to the 6th [Ohio Cavalry]. They started this morning at half past seven. He wanted to take all of us that had enlisted. When he came here, he telegraphed right to Washington to get orders to take us [but] by some cause or other he did not get the orders. We was all pretty sure we would have to go. Some of the men [even] sent home their clothes thinking they would not get home on furlough.

Our Captain’s name is G[eorge] W. Dickinson, 1st Lieutenant E[usebius S.] Austin, 2d Lieutenant [William C.] St. John.

Perhaps you have not heard of the shooting and killing of a man here in camp—a private in the 124th Regiment. He was to the city and got drunk. As he was coming back in camp, he [was] taken by the orderly of the 20th Artillery and walked into the guard house. As he shut the door, the 124th man drew a revolver and fired. It went through the door and hit him in the left breast. He was taken in an omnibus to the city to his father’s where he died in about two hours. The man did not want to give up the revolver. He threatened to shoot any man that attempted to take it but a man at last coaxed it away from him. He was taken to jail and that is the last I have heard from him.

We drill 4 hours a day from 8 to 9 and 10 to 11 in the forenoon, and from 1 to 2, and 3 to 4 in the afternoon. When I get a furlough to come home, I cannot tell. I could have one now for ten days but I have no money and after we are mustered in, we may not get a chance for it’s likely we will be sent on to the regiment as soon as there is men enough to muster in. There is a great many here in the same fix. If they had money, they would go home. If I would have known what I do now, I would have taken my tools. I could have had several jobs since.

Well, I believe I must close. Direct your letter to Camp Cleveland, Care of Capt. Dickinson, 6th O. V. Cavalry

— Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland
January 3, 1863

Dear Wife,

I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I arrived at camp about eleven o’clock yesterday. The company had moved to another division and was just fixing up the barracks. They had been used for horse stables. There was no floor in or no bunks. They furnished us lumber. We have fixed them up first rate. Andy Mead and me have the best bunk in the barracks—right over the stove.

The 124th [OVI] Regiment left day before yesterday. The 125th [OVI] is leaving now. The 20th Artillery and the recruits for old regiments, the 10th Cavalry, and the Sixth [Cavalry] are in one division. There is no telling when we will leave or when we will be mustered in. It is not likely before March.

Dear Angeline, I hope your eye will soon get well and your throat. I catched a cold last night by some means or other. Dear Angeline, you can’t imagine how I felt yesterday morning but I kept it down. I thought I would not get a furlough again before I would go to Dixie. But I hope I will and I think I will if we stay here all winter. I hope the war will close and I can come home before long so we can live together again. And if we do, I hope we will never be parted again—especially in this manner. But the Lord’s will be done. Everything for the best. Don’t forget me though in distant lands I be. We used to write them lines in our letters but little did we think that we would be parted in distant lands. But Angeline, it will all come right. We may perhaps live a happier life than ever we did yet.

Daniel Jacobs, Harkelroad, Andy Mead was all that went to camp yesterday. Andy did not receive any order but there was one sent to Milton, Mahoning county. It was just an excuse. I don’t believe he had any orders to order us in. Dan Jacobs was here when they sent them orders. There was just a few men here, There has several run awau again. [Lt.] Austin is now after them. It was none of Austin’s doings that we were ordered into camp. I am glad that I did not receive the order any sooner. I am glad that I took my trunk. It is a great deal handier than a satchel and a good place to keep my tools.

Well, I must close. write soon and let me know how you all are. No more at present.

— Monroe McCollister

Halt at this. Keep this to yourself. Well I will have to close for this time. Write soon and let me know how you are getting along. So much from your affectionate husband, — Monroe McCollister.

Address as before

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Camp Cleveland
January 13, 1863

Dear Wife,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and enjoying good spirits under the circumstances. I received your letter this forenoon and was pleased to get a letter from home and [to hear] that you was getting along as well as you wrote. We are at Camp Cleveland yet. You was very wrongly informed about us leaving. There is no prospect of us leaving here for a while yet. Our companies is about full—or nearly so—but they talk of raising another two companies. That is what the Major [Amandar Bingham] was appointed to do but I don’t think it can be done. Some says there must be the four companies raised or we won’t be mustered and if that is the order from headquarters, we will never be mustered in because I don’t think there can be two more companies raised by volunteering.

I must inform you that I an doing well at half-soling. I have paid them two dollars that [I] owed Andy Mead and bought myself a pair of suspenders and got my stripes put on which cost me 66 cents, and some paper and envelopes and a lot of postage stamps and a comb and several other things which I had to have. And if I have luck and keep my health, I will send some money home of what I earn here in my bunk. I will send you some postage stamps in this letter because I can get plenty of them here when I want them.

I have never asked for an excuse from drill yet but what I got it when I wanted to mend boots. I have half-soled the Captain’s and both of the Lieutenant’s boots and they think I can do the thing up just right. I am going to keep the good will of the officers and I can get along first rate. I have had it only to stand guard once since I have been in here this time and then I was a Corporal of the Guard.

And now I must mention about them sausage. They are a great help to me. About once a day we have nothing but dry bread and coffee and then I fry a piece of sausage and fry my bread in the grease and it goes first rate. I was over in town yesterday a getting some leather and I bought some sausage as I was about out. I have enough now to last me 4 or 5 days. If your folks come here, you may send me some and I will remember you for it. And if I can get home before we leave here, I will bring your mother a present of something. And tell Sissy I will bring her something if she will be a good girl.

Well, I must bring my letter to a close. Write soon.

William Ramalia is here in our company. He came in last night. He passed examination. He gets his uniform tomorrow. Tell John to come out here. It will pay him. They have got the United States Hospital finished and the stables for the 10 cavalry horses. There was a lot of wounded soldiers brought in here last evening—upwards of 200. No more at present.

— Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland
January 23, 1863

Dear wife,

I again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am middling well at present, hoping these few lines may find you and all of the rest enjoying good health. I received your letter today and I see on the envelope that it was dated yesterday.

I have been sick for the last five or six days so that I have not done anything at shoe mending of any account since a day after I wrote the last letter, but I am now so I feel pretty near right. I had the chills one evening and a bad cold settled on my lungs. I broke the chills up and took medicine that I got at the hospital 4 days and it did not do me any good and so I throwed the medicine away and now I am doctoring myself and it’s doing me more good than to take their medicine. They give nothing but quinine, let the case be what it will.

There was a man of the 10th Cavalry crossed the [picket] lines [and] a guard shot him and hit him in the leg. He was carried to the hospital and only lived 4 days. The man that shot him has been promoted to a corporal but I would not like to be in that fellow’s place that shot him. Several of the boys have threatened him pretty hard.

They talk of mustering next week but there is no certainty of it. They talked of mustering this week but it did not come off. And now they say next Wednesday.

You did not write whether Jonah had given up the receipt and paid the rest of the due bill. Please inform me whether he made out. The tax was more than it was. And where Jim is going when school is out.

Well, I must close. Write soon. No more at present.

— Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland
February 9, 1863

Dear Wife,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I arrived at camp safe and well, hoping these few lines may find you all well. There was three of us went up on the cars together. When we got to camp, they had moved again but my things were taken care of. I have got a good bunk again. As quick as I was in and got my things together, I had to go to work at mending [boots].

About leaving here, we don’t know anything about it yet. We have no orders as yet but the Major [Amandar Bingham] has gone to Columbus to see if he can’t draw our back pay and then move us off. The other company has not drawed their bounty yet but they talk of getting it on Wednesday.

I got a letter from Frank Riggle today. They have drawed their money and they’re getting furloughs now. Frank will be home before long. Jeff Ramalia was here in camp today. He started for Newton Falls on the afternoon train.

I did not get that letter that you wrote. I expect that letter is lost. I forgot to leave them due bills. I will put them in this letter. Well, I must close my letter for this time. By the next time, I can perhaps send some money. No more at present.

From your affectionate husband, — Monroe McCollister

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Camp Cleveland, Ohio
February 19, 1863

Dear Wife,

I again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all likewise.

I received your letter yesterday and I was somewhat vexed to think that being I away from home, them mean men that they want to take advantage, but you tell Old Dickey if he days anything about me owing him on book, he might have settled with me before I left. And if he wants to settle with me very bad, tell him that I say he will have to come where I am. And that money of Jim’s—the interest—I am not obliged to pay it every year the way the note reads. He did not do as he agreed. He should have got that other money and then I would have given him such a note and the interest he will have to wait till I draw some pay or if you can get them bills collected. I will send you five dollars in this letter. You may pay the miller and the rest I don’t care where you pay it. You might pay Bill King that forty cents. I will send this receipt too. I did not think of it till after I had sent that letter. And then you can tell Jonah what the tax is. And Ben Thatcher, I did not think that he would deny a little debt like that. The book will show when it was done. But if he can live longer with it, then I can do without it.

[Regarding] that picture, I would have bought one with a frame but I could not get it home without fear of breaking it. They have some nice frames and they look nice in a frame. I want you to take the best care of it you can from not getting it dirty or soiled and it may be that I will send money home so you can get it framed. It will be a nice thing in years to come. And if I should never get home again, it will be a record of some importance. About all the men in the company got one.

You wrote you could not find that article or indenture between Jim and me. It was left in that small drawer with the notes and the rest of my papers. That is the last I know about it.

In your letter next time, please inform me if you got that newspaper. I subscribed for one and they said they would send it right on to Newton Falls. It is a monthly paper entitled The Soldier’s Friend—only 25 cents a year. It is in my name.

Well I must say [something] about leaving here. All I can say about that is that we have no orders as yet but some thinks that we will leave here next week but I don’t. Although when the Major [Amandar Bingham] was at Columbus, they told him to be in readiness—leave or stay. I hope you will get this money. Write soon. No more at present but remain your affectionate husband until death, — Monroe McCollister

You made me think of home when I read your letter. It was such a lovely one. Them verses that you wrote made me almost feel as if I could cry. There is a good deal of meaning in them words. I wish I could get home a week or two before we leave here but I guess I can not.

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Camp Cleveland, Ohio
Tuesday evening, February 24, 1863

Dear Wife,

I again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same state of good health. I have not received and answer from you since the last I wrote. I expect one tomorrow but I thought I would write tonight for I may not get time to write tomorrow. We are now under marching orders. We leave here Thursday morning at eight o’clock. We drawed three days rations to cook and take along. It takes three days travel. We will have to ride day and night. There will be no place to stop till we get there.

The boys are all in pretty good spirits. There is some of them mad because they can’t go home and meet us on the road on Thursday but the Major [Amandar Bingham] has ordered no furloughs or pass to be given. He says the times of furloughs has gone by. I am a going to take my trunk with me to Washington. The Lieutenant said it might be such a thing that when we get in the field that I would have to throw it away on account of getting transportation but I can get it along with me that far. It will go with the boxes of provisions.

I bought or have now thirty sheets of paper and thirty envelopes and I bought a portfolio to put it in so that I am pretty well fixed and I am going to take $1.00 worth of postage stamps. I bought a package of paper and envelopes and in it was this that I will send in another envelope which perhaps you will get about the same time.

Wednesday evening. February 25th. I now will finish my letter. I received your letter today and was very glad that it come as it did as we leave here tomorrow morning. We drew one rubber blanket today—a very nice thing for the rainy days. I have just now sent  to get 75 cents worth of stamps. I have now 50 cents worth. I will send you some in this letter.

We have very nice weather here today. I hope it will be as pleasant tomorrow. We had quite a busy time today a fixing to start. I presume we will have a nice time a riding one day but after that we will get tired of riding. I hope we will get through safe and as quick as we get to our landing, I will write to you and let you know how to direct your letter. You need not write till you get one from me as it perhaps would not follow the company.

The Major is not a going with us now. He is going to stay and recruit for the regiment awhile. He says we won’t be there long till he will be with us. There has several of the boys deserted.

[No signature]

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Washington, District of Columbia
February 28, 1863

Dear Wife,

I now again take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well, hoping these few lines may find you all likewise. We did not leave Cleveland at eight o’clock Thursday morning as expected. We missed the train in the morning and had to wait till 3.50 P.M.  We arrived in Pittsburg, Pa., about 11 o’clock that night and changed cars there and arrived in Harrisburg about 11 o’clock Friday. stopped there about 15 minutes and then started for Baltimore, Maryland. arrived there about 4 o’clock. We then had to stop there till eight o’clock and then we started for Washington. arrived there about 11 o’clock Friday night. We was then marched into a barrack erected for that purpose—a very large building [that] will hold about 4 or five hundred—a very comfortable place for soldiers. [There is] a room next to this for to eat in. This barrack and [eating] room is erected for the purpose of entertaining soldiers that come in here in the night. We will not be apt to stay here more than today and tonight. We had a free supper in Baltimore given to us by the Soldier’s Relief.

While we was stopping there [in Baltimore], a man by the name of Smith and me were walking through part of the city. There was a coal train run over a man cutting him through the abdomen, killing him instantly. He was a brakesman.

Well, I can not write anymore at present as it is so crowded in here and others [are] wanting to write on the boxes that are here so I will close for this time. Write soon as you receive this and by the next time I write, I can perhaps write more about this place.

Address your letter as follows:

6th O. V. Cavalry
Halls Farm, Virginia
Care of Capt. Dickinson

No more at present. From your affectionate husband, — Monroe McCollister

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Camp Potomac Station
March 11, 1863

Dear Wife,

I now again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you all in good health. I have received no letter yet from you since I last wrote to you from Washington. I must now inform you [of] my trip up to this time. The last letter I wrote to you was when we was in the Soldier’s Retreat rooms in Washington.

We left there Sunday morning, March the first [and] marched to Hall’s Farm, about 8 or 9 miles. The way we went, the mud was about ankle deep. When we arrived there, we was all tired and hungry and the teams with the rations could not get along as fast as we could and those that had money was the best off. We went to a man’s house by the name of Hall and he had nothing to sell but some pies and finger cakes. He keeps kind of a sutler’s shop and we had to pay 20 cents for a small pie and all other things that he keeps in proportion.

Well the teams arrived near night and we got our tents pitched and that was the first night for us to sleep on the ground. I come across Houser. He was there waiting for his discharge. He has got the piles. He had a tent alone and a little stove in it so I stayed all night with him the first night. I left that blanket with him. He is a going to take it along with him home so you will get it.

We expected to get our equipments there but the orders came Thursday the 5th to draw 5 days rations and cook them and start for the regiment. So on Sunday morning we marched to Washington and got aboard the Juniata and sailed all night and arrived at Aquia Creek Station about 9 o’clock Monday. Got off there and took the cars and soon arrived at what is called Potomac Station where the old regiment is laying. There is about 11 regiments of cavalry laying close around here and 2 or 3 brigades of infantry close [by] here.

Brother [John W.] Lockhart and me were round looking through the different regiments of infantry today. There is no Ohio infantry regiments laying close here. We are 4½ miles from Fredericksburg. Our pickets and the enemy’s talk together across the Rappahannock [river] so Jim McFarland told me. He had just come in off of picket. There is a good many acquaintances here—some that I did not think of that I knowed.

We are encamped along the side of a hill. We have dug in the ground a ways and walled it up with poles and then put our canvas on it and got fire in it so it is quite comfortable. We have warm days and very cold nights. This is a hilly part of the country. I have not seen a fence since we left Washington. It rains here about all the time and it is very muddy.

Since I commenced this I received a letter from you and I was very glad. I was afraid you did not get that letter.

We have not got our horses yet but we will get them in a few days. We drew two mules today to pack things on. They use them to haul hay on and other things. I fixed a packing saddle today.

The talk is today that we are going to Texas to fight the Indians and Secesh there but there is no telling whether it is so or not. I like this place a great deal better than I did at Hall’s Farm. You have better believe that Washington is well-fortified. The rebels need not try to get it—it is impossible. I was in one of the forts one day—Fort Ethan Allen. Perhaps you can see it on the map. The boys in it are very tired of the war. I was talking with several of them. They think it is just prolonged by the officers to fill their pockets.

I have no leather any more now and I don’t know when I can get any either. It was on Sunday when we left Washington and I had no chance to get any. I could make a good deal of money if I had leather now. We perhaps will get some pay about the last of this month. I want you to inform me if you have got that newspaper yet and if you have not, I will write to the editor and find out about it.

I got two letters from Charley since I got here. Well, I must close hoping these lines will come to hand and will find you all well. I am enjoying excellent health now and I hope I shall continue to as that is one of the greatest blessings man can enjoy. I was sorry to hear that Father got hurt as he did. He had better sell that horse and get a gentler one as it might be the means of him losing his life. Write as soon as you can as I like to hear from home often.

Address to me: 6th O. V. Cavalry, Virginia via Washington, Care of Capt. Dickinson.

No more at present. From your husband, — Monroe McCollister

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Camp at Potomac Creek
March 15, 1863

Dear Wife,

I again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and enjoying good spirits under the circumstances, hoping these lines may find you all enjoying the same state of good health. Dear friends, one and all, this is what is called Sunday. All that has been done here today is we have drawed our rations and the rest of the regiments and what is mounted of this [regiment] has been on dress parade and inspection. Us not having horses, we don’t join in it. We have our brass band in our brigade and I can tell you they can play some cheering tunes and it is a nice sight to see five regiments of cavalry all in line with all their equipments on for inspection.

I thought I would write today being it was Sunday and I had nothing else to do and thinking of home, I sat down to pen a few of my thoughts. I was thinking this morning when I got up how I would like to be home just today and go to meeting if there was any. It seems kind of lonesome for all. We have first-rate boys and all in good spirits, it seems.

This war seems to me like a foolish thing on the part of the rebels for what will they gain?  If they keep on fighting, they can never whip us. That is impossible in my mind, and to look at the devastation of property which they owned is wonderful to behold. There is scarcely any houses anymore left where they used to live. Fences are all burned and the woods—all the timber is cut down and little houses made, and burned where we are encamped now. It was all woods [and] now it is nearly all chopped and used up. There won’t be no timber left for fencing this ground. By the looks of the ground, it is good. There has been corn raised here. The stalks look to be pretty good size. We are close to a house where an old man lives. He says he had three sons and the Confederates came and took them and forced them into the army. He still lives here. He says he don’t have enough sometimes but still he contents himself as best he can. Our quartermasters of the different regiments give him some rations, I understand.

The only timber that grows here mostly is white pine and cedar—no beach or white oak that I have seen. The cedar is the best kind of wood to burn. I would like to have some of these pine trees in our door yard.

Well, I must bring my letter to a close. I started a letter from here last Thursday. I think you have got it by this time. Please write as often as you can and don’t trouble yourself about me as I will get along if there is anybody than can.

Oh, there is one thing more that I must write. Friend [John W.] Lockhart was up to Fredericksburg today to see some of his friends that is in the 140th Pennsylvania. He says  that our pickets on this side of the Rappahannock river were taking and sending letters across to the rebels and they was caught at it and one letter found of our boys that had considerable information in it stating all the men we had over here and what they was and there was a great many nine-months men and that we was tired of the war and a great many things that should not be. He was arrested and the pickets has been moved back from the river now so they can’t have a chance of communicating across. This is the way that our army meets with so many disasters.

I now will close to write again after I receive one from you. No more at present. — Monroe McCollister

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Camp Potomac Station
March 25, 1863

Dear Wife,

I again take my pen in hand to write a few lines to let you know of my whereabouts. I am  just middling at present, hoping these few lines may find you all in good health. I have written two letters since we arrived here and have as yet received no answer but am expecting one everyday. The reason that I write before I get one is because I can send it with Lieutenant [Josiah E.] Wood [of Co. D] to Newton Falls as he is expecting to go every day as quick as he gets his furlough fixed out.

We have the measles in our camp now. There is three cases of it in our company and several in the others. I feel today as if I was a going to have it. There is one man has it in the same tent where I am in but those that have had them has had them light. I would rather have them here than to have them sometime when we were on a move and out in the storm.


Gen. William Woods Averell

I suppose you have heard of the great cavalry fight [Battle of Kelly’s Ford] that our regiment was in the other week—the greatest battle that ever was fought on this continent and only exceeded but once in Europe. Orders came Sunday the 15th to prepare 3 days rations and two of forage to start on Monday morning—every man that had a horse able and fit for duty. Monday morning came, everything ready in due time. General Averell with detachments from several of his regiments and one battery of artillery left camp on Monday to reconnoiter the Rappahannock river up to the Orange & Alexandria Railroad with instructions to cross and proceed in the direction of Culpepper and wake up Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry who were reported to be in that direction. The force reached Morrisville—eighteen miles out—during the afternoon when a portion of the advance guard proceeded directly to Kelly’s Ford, twenty-five miles above Falmouth, dispersing a small body of the enemy near the ford and discovering that it was guarded by dismounted cavalry pickets on the opposite side. During the night a force under Lieutenant Col. Curtis of the First Massachusetts Cavalry was detailed to advance toward the railroad at Bealeton Station and to Elk Run in the direction of Warrenton.

At 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the forces advanced, Col. Curtis, as above indicated, and Gen. Averell with the main force toward Kelly’d Ford. Shortly after daylight the advance guard found it well defended by dismounted cavalry sharpshooters concealed in houses and behind trees and fences. The approaches to the ford on both sides were rendered impassable by strong abatis which was trees and brush piled in while the water was over four feet deep. After several attempts to cross under a hot fire, a platoon from the First Rhode Island Cavalry, led by Lieut. Brown, dashed into the stream followed by the ax men who soon removed the abatis. The gallant fellows were met by volleys of bullets but so sudden and surprising was the movement that 25 of the rebels were captured before they could get away. The force immediately followed and the artillery was taken over with the ammunition in the feed of the horses carried by the cavalry and repacked on the other side.

After halting and resting a short time, Gen. Averell ordered the column forward and had proceeded but a mile or so when Fitzhugh Lee’s whole brigade were discovered advancing in vigorous style. Our men were immediately brought into positions supporting the battery which opened at once while the main body of them formed for a charge. Our men had the edge of one strip of woods while the rebels had a like position in timber opposite with a wide and clear field between the two. Advancing out of this and both forces appeared in the open ground, the rebels advancing rapidly on our right with the intention of turning that flank and on our left with the purpose to charge it. On our right they were speedily repulsed by the artillery and on the left by a gallant charge under Col. Duffy who is now acting Brigadier General of our brigade. The rebels stood only a moment, then turned and fled back into the woods in disorder, leaving their killed and wounded on the field. After reforming, Gen. Averell again advanced and took up position a mile or more beyond, believing the rebels would again attack if opportunity offered. This proved true and the rebels soon advanced again, this time with their artillery, Their cavalry came up on the chase in admirable style but they were met by a terrible onslaught from the 6th Ohio Cavalry and 5th Regulars and the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry which turned them back in confusion, they retreating down our line by the flank which enabled our remaining squadron to pour in tremendous volleys from their carbines, emptying hundreds of saddles and completely repulsing the whole charging force. They did not molest us again. General Averell held his position until sundown and then returned to the north side of the river.

The enemy’s loss is severe, reaching no doubt 200 as their wounded were found everywhere. Our loss will not exceed 50 in killed and wounded. There was only two killed in this regiment and several wounded. Lieutenant [Josiah E.] Wood in Company D got a saber cut on his head. Capt. [Norman A.] Barrett got his horse shot from under him. This makes the 2nd horse that was shot from under him.

We have not yet got our horses but are expecting them every day. We have drawn caps, canteens, and haversacks. The talk is here in camp that they are preparing for another draft. Please write to me about it in your next letter and send me a newspaper—the Warren paper if you can get it, or the Cincinnati paper. By putting on a one-cent postage stamp, it will come through. There has been papers got here from home. It would do me a good deal of good if I could get to reach a home newspaper.

Well, I must close at present. I am out in the woods a sitting on the ground writing this and I must close and go and get something to eat. It is now just one.

March 26, 1863

I now again will try to write a few more lines. I said yesterday that I felt like having the measles. I feel different today. Perhaps I may escape them. We expect to get some pay next week and if we do, it will be very acceptable as the old companies have not had any pay for several months.

We have very changeable weather here. There ain’t two days alike. It snows and rains about all the time. This is the worst month that they have down here. Well, I must close. Write soon and often as it takes a great while for a letter to get here. Address as before.

From your husband, — Monroe McCollister


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[Camp Potomac Station—this is a continuation of the letter begun on March 25, 1863]

For you Angeline
Dear wife,

Now a few words to you in secret. I must say that I have not felt the necessity of a letter since I have been in the army as I have since we got here. It seems so long since I have had any words from you. If you was as anxious for to get a letter from me as I am to get one from you, you must think a good deal of me. There is not many minutes goes round that I am not thinking of you and the children. How I would like to be with you now.

I have seen a good many days of pleasure in Camp Cleveland but I don’t think that we will ever have as good a times as we had there although we may have. All I hope for is that I will keep in good health for it is a poor place here to be sick. I wish you would write once a week and then I would not get a letter too often. It is two weeks today that I sent a letter to you and it will be two weeks next Sunday that I started one. And when you get this, I can not tell as Cy Wood has not yet got his furlough finished.

We have good times a singing and reading the testament. Friend [John W.] Lockhart and me sings every morning and evening out of a hymn book he brought from Cleveland—the Soldier’s Hymn Book. The talk is here that the war will soon be ended. I hope it is so.

Well I must close for this time. if I get time, I will write more before he goes home. Write soon and forget not him that has been ever your true lover, — Monroe McCollister

Sunday, March the 29th 1863

I now will finish my letter and send it by mail as there is no telling when Cy Wood will get his furlough as it has to be approved by Gen. Hooker.

I must tell you that I am getting the measles. I was up to the doctor’s this morning and he says I will no doubt have them.

I received one letter from you last Thursday just two weeks from the time I started one from here. It is two weeks today that I started one. I am looking for an answer tonight or tomorrow. This is a pretty large letter but I guess it will go through for three cents. Well, I will close for his time. I should have sent a letter sooner but I have been waiting to send it with Wood. No more at present,—Monroe McCollister

Address 6th O.V. Cav., Va. via Washington, Care of Capt. Dickinson

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Potomac Station, Va.
April 1, 1863

Mrs. McCollister,

At your husband’s request, I pen you a few lines to inform you that Monroe is not very well yet. He wrote you that he thought it was the measles but the Doctor don’t know as it is. He is considerable better this morning. He would of wrote this himself but it is pretty cold and he was afraid of taking cold and Lieut. Wood was in a hurry, but I think he will be around in a day or two again. We shall do all for him we possibly can for to make him comfortable. He wrote you a letter Sunday last. Enclosed is a stamp that he requests you to send him a county paper if you please. No more. Yours with respect.

— Monroe McCollister
— J[ohn] W. Lockhart

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Potomac Station, Virginia
April 10, 1863

Mrs. McCollister
Dear Wife,

It is under rather unfavorable circumstances that I inform you that I am very sick at present yet I trust this may find you enjoying good health. I have written you two letters and have not received an answer yet. I have been sick for two weeks. I was taken with the measles and it has run into the typhoid fever. I have been very sick and I do not feel quite as well this afternoon as I did this forenoon. I don’t have the care and treatment here that I should and I often think if I could be at home where I could have some care, that I should get along quite different. Yet I hope I shall soon get better.

There is no news of importance at present. I hope and trust that you will write often. It would do me good to get a letter from you for I desire to hear from you. I will write soon and let you know how I get along. Give my kindest regards to all inquiring friends. I remain as ever, your devoted husband, — Monroe McCollister

Written and subscribed by Andrew Mead

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Dumfries, Virginia
April 26, 1863

Mrs. McCollister
Dear Madam,

It is with regret and pain that I attempt to inform you of the death of your husband. He departed this life on the 17th day of this month as near as I can ascertain. He was in the hospital some 20 miles from here [at Potomac Station]. We moved after he was taken sick. I believe he was sick 4 weeks from the day he took sick till the day he died. He had the measles and took cold and the typhoid fever set in.

He left his tools in my care and he had his clothes all with him when they took him to the hospital. I will box his things that are here and express them home. I will send them to Drakesburg or to Newton Falls just as I can get them expressed. He had some little accounts against some of the boys in his company. They all say they will pay all they owed him and put it altogether and send it home to you just as soon as they are paid which I think will be in a short time. I will do all I can towards sending home his things. We have a very poor chance to attend to such things but I will do all I can for you.

If you want any information, write to me and I will let you know all about everything I have any knowledge of in reference to your deceased husband. I am assured you have the sympathies of all who knew him. We honor him as a fellow soldier, as a patriot, and a man, and hope the unseen hand of a kind Providence may bless you under these trying afflictions.

Direct for information to 6th Ohio Vol. Cavalry, Capt. Gray, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, Va.

Yours with respect, — Andrew Mead

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Aquia Creek Landing
Hospital, 2nd Division Cavalry Corps, May 12, 1863


I have the pleasure of informing you that I went to camp yesterday [at Potomac Station] after Monroe’s pay and the captain paid me 44 dollars of your husband’s pay and today I express the same to you by Adams Express Co.  There is 40 some cents more but we could not make change.

The chest of tools you spoke about, the captain told me had been sent to you. I visited the grave of your husband while there. The remains cannot be moved till cold weather. If you have anyone there that would come and see to it as soon as cold weather comes, I will see that the company will pay the freight on the body for you. I have wrote to you once before about it. I can not find out anything about the money he had when he died. If I live to see you, I will tell you all about it when I come home. I will come and see you and bring his rubber blanket with me. It has got his name on it. It will [be] something to remember him by.

No more this time. As soon as you get the money, please write and state the amount you get.

Direct your letter to Hiram Ingals, ¹ Aquia Creek Landing, 6th OVC, 2nd Division Hospital Cavalry Corps.

¹ Hiram Ingals (1820-1864) was 44 year-old when he enlisted as a “Farrier” in Co. B, on 1 November 1862. He was wounded on 28 May 1864 at Hawe’s Shop, Virginia, and died on 2 June 1864, at White House Landing, Virginia. Hiram was the son of Benjamin Ingalls (1783-1860) and Susan Lillie. He married Ann Jane Chase (1820-1890) in 1840 at Whitestown, Oneida county, New York. Hiram and his family were enumerated at Cuyahoga Falls, Summit county, Ohio, in 1860 where he earned a living as a blacksmith.


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Potomac Station
June 2, 1863


I am at this place at present. Your husband lies about 20 rods from my tent. I will put up some boards at his grave with his name on them.

Your letter of May the 14th I received and was glad to hear from you. May the 12th I sent you 44 dollars of his money and I have not heard anything from it. I sent it by Adams Express Co.  If you have not got the money, you go to the express office and tell them to pay it over to you. it was his 4 months pay that I sent to you.

As for [Andrew] Mead, I don’t know about him for I understand that he has sold some of his tools. If it is so, he is not to be trusted. It is a rare thing to find honest men here. I have got his oil cloth blanket and I will do as you direct me to with it. I shall try to come home in the fall and if I do I shall bring the body with me if I can and all that I can find that belongs to him.

I have to write this letter on my knee and I don’t know as you can read it. I shall go to my regiment in a short time and then I can let you know all about it. You will do me a great favor to write and let me know as soon as you get the money. I sent three other ladies their money and they have all got it, but yours I have not heard from. Please write as often as you like and I will answer all of your letters for I like to correspond with anyone that will take the trouble to write for we are glad here to hear from anyone that is in our own state, whether we know them or not.

The money that your man had in his shirt pocket, I think it is there yet for it was not taken off from him. I will give you all of the particulars the next time that I write. That will be as soon as I get to the company. Please direct your letter to:

Hiram Ingals, Potomac Station, 6th O. V. C., Co. B, Virginia, Army of the Potomac, to follow the regiment.

Yours truly, — Hiram Ingals ¹

¹ Hiram Ingals (1820-1864) was 44 year-old when he enlisted as a “Farrier” in Co. B, on 1 November 1862. He was wounded on 28 May 1864 at Hawe’s Shop, Virginia, and died on 2 June 1864, at White House Landing, Virginia. Hiram was the son of Benjamin Ingalls (1783-1860) and Susan Lillie. He married Ann Jane Chase (1820-1890) in 1840 at Whitestown, Oneida county, New York. Hiram and his family were enumerated at Cuyahoga Falls, Summit county, Ohio, in 1860 where he earned a living as a blacksmith.

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Warrington, [Virginia]
December 28, 1863

Friend Mary,

It is with pleasure I am permitted at this time to inform you that I am still in the land of the living and in good health at this time and I hope these few lines will find you and yours in the same condition. I was glad to hear from you once more. your letter of December the 21st, 1863, I have before me at this writing. i was surprised to think that you disbelieve me in telling you that I did mark your husband’s grave for I put a board at the head of his grave with his name on it. I helped take him from his bed and put him in his coffin and he had on nothing but his shirt and drawers and stockings. This is the truth and anyone tells different tells you a falsehood.

That man Wayer [?], I had a talk with [him] about his lying [about] your husband’s tools and I think all he knows about it is what I told him. Ask him if he was buried alone and ask him if it is in the open field or in the woods and you can soon tell whether he knows or not. I have marked out the number of soldiers that lie with him there and it is in the open field with two trees by the side of him.

giurt[Sketch with caption, “Soldier’s graves at the Potomac Station. The largest board is your husband’s grave. There is no fence there.”]

I took your letter to the captain and I told him if he owed you three dollars, I wanted him to pay it right off. He told me that he paid it to Mead. I asked him what he was willing to do about sending the body home. I told him I would give ten dollars towards it. He said he would get a furlough for me if he could and send me home with it. If he cannot get one, you send someone here and we will pay for carrying him there. I have done all that I could for you and I will do all that is in my power to do for you, you know that. I have my duty to do here and I cannot go when I like. We are in winter quarters at Warrington—about forty miles from the Potomac Station.

I don’t know when I shall come home for I have got 23 months to serve yet. If I don’t come before my time is out, I will bring him home then. I don’t think our troops has got possession of the place but I don’t know. My ten dollars is ready at any time for you if you can get anyone to come here after him and the company will make out the rest. If anyone comes, I will go with them after him and I will see him put on the cars and the faire paid so you will be sure to get his remains for I never would give my money in to any body’s hands. I will see that the money is used for what it was intended for. We are all ready to pay our share at any time we can get anyone to tend to it. So no more this time.

Direct your letter to Mr. Hiram Ingals, 6th O.V.C. , Co. B, via Washington to Virginia

Write as often as you like and I will answer all of your letters. Wayer has told you a lie and you must not think strange of that for the most of them will steal too.

Faithfully your friend, — Hiram Ingals ¹

¹ Hiram Ingals (1820-1864) was 44 year-old when he enlisted as a “Farrier” in Co. B, on 1 November 1862. He was wounded on 28 May 1864 at Hawe’s Shop, Virginia, and died on 2 June 1864, at White House Landing, Virginia. Hiram was the son of Benjamin Ingalls (1783-1860) and Susan Lillie. He married Ann Jane Chase (1820-1890) in 1840 at Whitestown, Oneida county, New York. Hiram and his family were enumerated at Cuyahoga Falls, Summit county, Ohio, in 1860 where he earned a living as a blacksmith.

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