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Letter (#6) from 1st Lt. Manuel B. DeSilva, Co. E, 16th OVI
Camp Tiffin, Wooster, Ohio - November 26, 1861
to the Holmes County Farmer newspaper at Millersburg, Ohio
Published December 5, 1861
Web Author's Notes:
This is a letter from 1st Lt. Manuel B. DeSilva of Company E, written to an editor of the Holmes County Farmer newspaper in Millersburg, Ohio. It was written while the regiment was in training at Camp Tiffin in Wooster, Ohio.

DeSilva describes the cold and recent snowfall at Camp Tiffin and goes on to talk about the predominance of Wooster and Wayne County in the regiment even though a number of other counties, including his own Holmes County, had significant representation. He also describes a supper given for the regimental officers by the Wayne County Committee and some rather inappropriate speeches against the English, insulting the regiment's new commander, Col. John F. DeCourcey, who had come from England to volunteer his services to the United States government during the war.

The letter was researched and transcribed by long time website contributor John Pierson, a likely descendant of 16th Ohio soldier Pvt. Enos Pierson, Company C.

newspaper article

Army Correspondence.

CAMP TIFFIN, Wooster, O.
November, 26, 1861.

Friend Estill: -- In fulfillment of my promises to you and my friends, I renew my camp correspondence. Well, here we are, amidst cold, snow and winds; scarce knowing what to do. The cold we are getting used to; the snow adds a change to the scenes of camp life, and prompts us, as it did when we were school boys, to throw up our caps and hurrah for - I don't know what unless it be the cold and suffering that must follow - but we did huzza and that, too, with a hearty good will.

As the pure flakes fell softly through the now leafless boughs which once so kindly sheltered us with their green foliage from the burning sun, some of us were so thoughtful as to wonder whether a kind Providence would protect our lives that we might enjoy once more the pleasures of summer's refreshing shade; or are we like the snow flakes, to fall in our youth and mingle with the streams of the past. Well, if we fall and are allowed the privilege of ascending to the realms of light to look down upon a re-united and happy people our reward will amply compensate us for the sacrifice. I am one of those who believe that a soldier's uniform, when worn in the righteous cause, will procure pardon for a multitude of sins.

As for rumors, we have any quantity of them; in fact they come so fast that we get confused, and the better way is to let them all pass unheeded. But we are sure to leave here soon.

Friday night last was a grand time for the officers. The occasion was a supper given by the Wayne county Committee to the officers of the 16th Regiment. We accepted the invitation with thanks, and we would be thankful for many more of the same sort. The order of things was first, eating, second eating; third eating; then, after Officers, Judges and Lawyers had eaten until each become an immense specimen of corpulency: came the toasts - regular and irregular. The sentiments were unexceptionable. I noticed that every thing was Wooster! Wooster!! and Wayne County! Wayne County!! Wayne County!!! In fact they think, or seem to, that this is exclusively a Wayne County Regiment. Well, so far as officers, positions and profits go it bids fair to be that and nothing else. They have now the Lieut. Colonel, and claim the right, left and center of the Regiment, with no doubt of their obtaining the Chaplain and Suttler. Beside this the business men have pocketed thousands by the Regiment being here. With these facts before us I think that the exclusive toasting of Wooster speaks far louder for their egotism and selfishness than it does for their modesty and liberality. They should not forget that Muskingum county has a small claim in the Regiment, in the shape of two companies; the city of Springfield has one company for which they will claim a little interest; and when it comes to the battlefield they will find that 'little Holmes' has a fighting interest in the 16th Regiment, which, too, is entrusted to men who will fight for glory as well country, and they will not wait to be toasted before they claim it. But this claiming everything was not all that sounded harshly to the ears of a few. Some of the toasting ones made it a point to denounce everything that was English, and referred particularly to the last war with England. This, in the presence of an Englishman who had left his home and his title to fight for our endangered Union, was uncalled for and ungentlemanly; so much so that it called forth a reply from Col. DeCourcy, which was officer-like, gentlemanly and patriotic. The happiest efforts of the evening were made by Judge Given and the younger Dean. All in all, 'twas well done. The Committee and the great Moguel, Crandal, deserve our thanks.

With renewed hopes of our leaving to-night

I Remain Yours,

M. B. De S.

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