I recently posted about a soldier in the 20th Ohio named Charles Mount
Four of his letters home survived the war and are in his widow’s pension file on Fold3.
Here are my attempts to transcribe them, though some words are unclear. I tried to add modern spelling, spacing, and punctuation to help make them easier to read.
On the final letter, he wrote the start of it on the bottom half of the page, then the last half from bottom to top of the top half. It was a mess, and he also had a habit of writing in the margins, both on the sides and then back at the very top. I tried to put everything in a sensible order but could not find another closing that fit, so those lines seem to dangle, but at least they were generally legible and sensible.
Emphasis (underlining) is in the originals. I used italics for illegible words.
Camp King Dec. 10, 1861, Tuesday afternoon
My Dear Wife & Children
I hope you are well & sharing the blessing of health with me. I am writing in great haste with my sleeves up to my elbows, having just finished wiping dishes. Major Rigby is expecting to leave for home in a few minutes & I am in a great hurry to write you a few lines again. I wrote you yesterday. If it is as warm with you at home as it is here it will be very necessary that that pork should have a strong pickle put on it. If it has not been done already, request Mr. E. Estill to do it for me if G or Mr. – has one is not at hand.
If there is anything that you want done that you deem it necessary for me to know about, please write. This is decidedly a romantic county in this locality. It is said that the land here, although in places very hilly, is worth $100 per acre. I was out one afternoon with 2 others after straw & I was delighted with the scenery. We called on some 4 farmhouses, one of which is said to be sesesh, notwithstanding we were treated with marked kindness & civility, had quite an interesting chat and when we left let us each have a paper of the latest date.
My dear wife, believe that your Chas. is doing well & in good health. I wish that you was in such a case. It would rejoice my heart.
I commend you & the dear ones to the protection of our Heavenly Father.
With my love to you all & to inquiring friends, I remain your affectionate husband, Chas. Mt.
I had a testament given me last night.
— Letter 2
Sat. Morning 10 o’clock, Dec. 14, 61
My dear wife I would be glad if you & the children as good health as I am.
I made a great discovery in the bottom of the basket, a nice roasted chicken. A 1,000 thanks to you again. How shall I repay your kindness? The first opportunity I have of sending you cranberries or any other thing you will let me know you wish, I will send.
Get what cranberries you wish at Elliott’s or anything else he may have that may add to your comfort.
If Mr. Harmon has not taken the measure Sylvia or Ella a pair of shoes, it perhaps had better be done so that they can get them.
Shoes for Charley & Martha it may be had better be bought at Mr. Cox’ or illegible & though last not least you need a pair if you have not got them, you will please get. If you need money let me know, or there is a few accounts which if not paid in soon Gideon will look to these things. I hope you will not be backwards about writing to me in time, that you may be cared for in time.
Those cakes which were put in my satchel, I have them except one. You will think it strange perhaps that I loved them so well at home & get here, have cared so little for them. Their turn will come by & by perhaps.
I would say that when Lieut. Rogers got in camp, it was night & had no supper & the men that came with him had no supper. I done what I could for their comfort & took W.R. into our tent & opened the basket of good things which you sent. He partook of the biscuit, butter & cakes & divided most of the apples to the boys that there happened to be in. I had not discovered the chicken there.
Mr. Dunedin(???) gave us a pail full of apples as we passed his house. I have a few yet. We can get them here in camp 2 large ones for 5 cents, or small ones for 1 cent apiece.
I remain your affectionate husband, Chas.
— Letter 3
City Barracks – Cincinnati – January 24, 62
Good morning my dear Phebe. I hope you and the children are well as Corman & that you have rec’d 3 letters from me since a week ago last Wednesday, for they have been sent from my hand, and I am very sorry that they have not reached you. I am entirely well so far as I know except a cold & that, after coughing & spitting a while I am relieved for the day.
Will you suffer me to take the time to write to Gideon. I guess I will try to have a letter each for Frederick for him by Wednesday evening & one for you on Thursday evening.
I write now go & eat breakfast for we have flights of stairs to descend before we reach our table. We cook & eat out-of-doors & sleep in the 2nd story above the basement.
I will try & get my 2 shirts & white gloves washed as I hear that it can be done for 3 cents illegible to be illegible.
The Ohio River is higher than it has been for a number of years past, so I am told. I would like very much to see it.
I toasted some bread for myself & buttered it with some of that roll which you sent me & it helped a good deal as our cooks did not have a very good meal.
There is a talk of the company being taken out this morning for recreation & to see the rivers.
Wm. Ball of Co. A who worked for me at Jms. Chambers has just come up from Warsaw on furlough & I expect to send this by him & it will reach you Saturday morning. Good for the luck.
It is now near noon & I have just finished washing our new bed tick & hung it up to dry.
The men that went out in Company’s this forenoon are now in & I will try for a nap this afternoon.
I will be obliged to you to send a dozen illegible sticks by Will Baer when he returns.
This from your husband Chas.
— Letter 4 (it begins in middle of the first page)
Friday evening ½ past 4 o’clock
I have been out in the city about 3 hours taking a look at the river wholly & in part submerged.
Went to see the city reservoir, bought some foolscap paper 15 cents, illegible 8 stamps, 2 quarts dried peaches, at 10 cents a quart for you & ½ ¼ tea for self & Miles at the rate 1.50 lb., but I guess I could get as good elsewhere for 1.25.
Coffee is 2 cents.
I would like to have got some apples (move to middle of last page) for you, but I had nothing to carry them in. Can you get any in town & at what price? I can get fine apples 5 cents t or lb. What do you have to pay for them there?
I am glad of the opportunity of sending this to you as it will reach you so much sooner than I expected & I hope that you and the dear children are well as could be expected.
Write often & much.
From your unworthy, Chas.
Top of first page: Friday evening ½ past 6.
While Billy Ball is blacking his boots & brushing his clothes I have been writing. I am writing more than I expected. I thought I would use the upper half of this sheet in writing to Sylvia, as you will see on the upper half of this on the other side is to be read from the bottom upward.
We have so much confusion here I hardly know what I have written.
You will make all allowances.
I wish I was to be the bearer of this like I was the other time, but I guess it will not be so this time.
From your affectionate husband, Chas.
(Last section starts in left margin on final page, then moves to the middle of page and goes upward.)
I know exactly one man to my knowledge in this city to my present knowledge, that is Benjamin Fogal, illegible once but now in the provisions trade 39 Vine Street. Elliott & the merchants of our place do business with him J. Johnson particularly.
He has been here to see me & I called on him in his office today. He told me Martha Young & her husband called at their house yesterday. Illegible – perhaps his? name I do (not) know nor could he recollect. He wished me to call & go to church with them.
I have made an acquaintance with Wm. Waddle of Mt. Vernon, an illegible Presbyterian, a fine young man, I think.