95th Ohio Infantry soldier's letter/ Battle of Fort Pillow
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Soldier's Letter, 10 pages, 8vo., On Picket near Memphis Tenn., April 14th 1864. Joseph M. Maitland (Co. G, 95th Ohio Infantry) writes pertaining to the Battle of Fort Pillow.

"...Fort Pillow 75 miles above here has fallen into the hands of the Rebs. Old Forrest with a force of four or five thousand attacked the place on day before yesterday. Our force (nearly all Negroes) consisted of only six or seven hundred men. Of these they killed nearly half during the fight, among the rest the Col. Comdg. The remainder were captured and the Rebs have a particular dislike to Negro soldiers they fell to and butchered them in cold blood.

After taking possession of the fort they sunk one of our Transport the 'Golden Age' which was coming down. We have not yet recd our Box of Provisions and no mail yesterday. We are beginning to fear lest our box and mail has been captured. It would be a bad go, if our box of good things is lost and worse than all if our mail is captured. Would'nt it be too bad if they have captured one of your letters to me? I recken they would keep it as a specimen of Yankee literature. What say you? I dont know when we will receive mail or when you will receive this but I dont think they can blockade the river very long. I understand that a force is to be sent from above to operate with our Gen Boats and I think that before many days we will have possession of the fort and the river. I dont think any force will be sent from here as it is expected that the next Raid Forrest makes will be on this place but it is hard to tell as Col. McMillen told Genl. Buckland yesterday that he would send our brigade under his (McMillen's) command that he could recapture the place, but I dont think Genl. Buckland will be fool enough to send our Brigade alone on such an undertaking, but enough on this subject. 

Since I commenced writing it has cleared off and the sun is coming out. I think we will have a nice day yet. In nice weather Picket duty is very pleasant and I would rather on that kind of duty than any other especially if we had only some of our girls from the north with us. After night when all alone with nothing but one's thoughts for company then it is that we think more of home and dear friends than at any other time. I will now stop til after dinner...

I will tell you what our dinner consists of cold beef, dry bread, and hot coffee...not a very great variety is it?

...Just now two very pretty Southern Ladies of strong and secesh procliviture tried to pass through our lines. We told them that they might pass in, but as we had strict orders this morning to pass all in the lines but not out unless they had their pass signed by Genl. Buckland. They plead their cause to their best ability, but without avail. We told them that we were expecting Old Forrest in soon & that we had some Rations prepared for him. They said they were not personally acquainted with Forrest but that they knew some of his men very well. They had expected that their good looks would pass them through, but this was no go. Their name was Moorehead...

Friday morning, April 15th, 10 o'clock A.M. Well Bill, I will now write some more. We were relieved from Picket at 8 o'clock returned to camp, made a breakfast on two boiled potatoes and a tin of coffee. We have also learned that the Rebs have evacuated Fort Pillow and that our boats passed unmolested. Two came in last night and I expect we will get some mail some afternoon. Oh! How I wish I would get some from you and our folks at home. 

Since we went on Picket yesterday quite a member of troops have moved in & camped around us. Two or three Batteries of Artillery and some Infy. and now I think of Old Forrest comes in, he will meet with a warm reception...

Pray for me Bill as I ever do for you, that I may be kept faithful to the Grace already given and that we long we may meet again to enjoy each other society and love as in by gone days...

8 o'clock P.M. Well Bill mail came in this afternoon and not a letter from you. I feel very much disappointed...but I am glad to inform you that our Box came in with the good things from home, though not in very good state of preservation...This afternoon Col. McMillen and Lady paid a visit to the Regt. They were both in fine humor. The Col. made a short speech to us and said he should always remember the many happy associations he had with the Regt. and we had his best wishes for our success and prosperity. I understand him perfectly, he thinks that by...the men up, that most of them will reenlist, but I am very certain that there is one that won't. What do you think about it?

I am sitting all along in my tent, the rest of the boys have retired, or as we say 'Bunked down' for the night, and as I hear their heavy breathing I am assured that they are wrapped in the arms of 'Morpheus'. So you see I have no one to bother me and I can just write what I please...

J.M. Maitland

Co. "G" 95th Reg O.V.S

Memphis Tenn."

Very Fine. Easy to read handwriting. 

  • Item #: OH95

95th Ohio Infantry soldier's letter/ Battle of Fort Pillow

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