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Letter (#12) from Private John F McClelland, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to his wife, Rachel Lockhart McClelland in Millersburg, Ohio
Encampment on the Cumberland River, Kentucky - April 15, 1862
Web Author's Notes:
Images of the following letter were provided by Bob and Judi Hill. They were found in a box of papers owned by Judi's mother. The letter is from Judi's ancestor, John F McClelland, a private in Company B of the 16th OVI, to his wife, Rachel Lockhart of Millersburg, Ohio. The letter was written from an encampment on the Cumberland River, just west of the Cumberland Gap, where the 16th OVI, along with other Union forces, were staged, ready to assault and take The Gap.

Additional history tells us the letter's author, sadly, was later captured during subsequent action at Cumberland Gap and died of disease on September 20, 1862, probably as a Confederate prisoner.

Below the images of the letter is my attempt at transcription to the best of my ability.

Thanks to Bob and Judi Hill for sharing these precious artifacts from the colorful and poignant history of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the American Civil War.

Please note the contrast of the letter images has been enhanced to make them more readable. Spelling is transcribed as near as possible to match the original author's and end of sentence periods were added, when necessary, to make reading easier.

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Cumberland Ford April the 15th 1'62
Dear Wife

I write you a few lines this morning to let you know that I am well. I wrote you a letter last Sabbath and before I had scarcely got it done we were called with our Arms to leave. We did not know where we were going but we marched towards the Gap our company only so we kept on marching until we came within five mils of the Gap where the road forks. The Colonel divided our company and took one half of it to the left and the other portion of it were stationed down the main road. It was raining slightly and remember we started on this

voyage without any rations. I believe I had one slapjack and it had commenced to mold - however I got hungry and I run my hand into my sack and it put me in mind of a little pig rolled on by an old sow. You see it was not very well baked and when we rested on a march we could lay down we would lay down when I accidentally squeezed the raw dough out of it. but I must quit writing foolishness. giving you my word and honor that I'll never forget that old cake. But the question comes up with you what did John get to eat. Well I will tell you - four of us were placed on picket on mile from the forks of the road. We were placed right before a house door. I went up to the door and knocked and the inmates had gone to bed

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who were slaves. The oldest wench got up and asked me what regt I was from. I told her when she said Lord bless the Ohions - says she. I will bake you a couple of pones. I paid her ten cents apiece and lived very sumptuously - but nothing occured during the night worth mentioning. The other portion of the company went in sight of the Gap and laid there until day light when they fired a volley but the rebels would not come out. They love their fortified home very much. everything indicated a general attack on the Gap in a few days. There were two regiments passed ours yesterday and one today but I must draw to a close. I am in very good heart feeling hat God will deal justly with all men. This may be the last letter

that I shall write before the battle at the Gap unless it is postponed a week. I send my respects to all inquiring friends hoping that you will take into consideration the ups and downs of a soldiers life and remember us all in your prayers. I remain your Affectionate husband

J. F. McClelland

This is the original envelope which contained the above letter sent by John McClelland to his wife, Rachel:
Envelope for McClelland Letter #12

Flat Lick Ky
Apr 16 1862

Mrs. Rachel McCleland
Holmes Co

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