McClelland Letter #21 Soldiers Letter Index McClelland Letter Index Page 16th OVI Home Page end of McClelland letters
Letter (#22) from Josiah Martin, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to Rachel Lockhart McClelland, wife of Pvt. John F McClelland, in Millersburg, Ohio
Memphis, Tennessee - December 5, 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 primary subject of these letters, Pvt. John F. McClelland, died from disease on September 20, 1862 while a prisoner of the Confederate Army. Rebel forces re-took Cumberland Gap on September 17, 1862. At some point during this action Pvt. McClelland was taken prisoner by the Rebels. He died just three days after the Union evacuated the Gap. It is not known how McClelland was captured, however, based on the letter, below, we know he was very sick shortly before the Union evacuated the Gap. Since he is listed as dying from sickness, we can speculate he may have been too sick to retreat with his regiment and was left behind in hopes the Confederates could care for him. This letter is from Pvt. Josiah Martin, Company B, 16th OVI, a friend of McClelland, to John's wife, Rachel Lockhart McClelland of Millersburg, Ohio. The letter was written from Memphis, Tennessee, about two months after Confederates re-took Cumberland Gap having pushed out the Union forces, including the 16th OVI. Josiah describes his last visit with his friend, as John was taken to the hospital.

Thanks to John F. McClelland, Company B, 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, for giving his life to defend his nation and for writing these letters, full of hope and fear, allowing us all to understand just a little bit of what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War.

Thanks to John's descendants, Valerie Davison and Bob and Judi Hill for sharing these precious family artifacts from the colorful and poignant history of the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the American Civil War.

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

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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McClelland Letter 22 page 1
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Memphis Tenn
Dec 5th 1862

Rachel I resieved your kind letter last evning and I now attempt to answer it. about that mony you spoke about John owed Galloway. I am willing to pay it if I had the mean but I sent all my mony home only what I wanted to use my self so I cant pay it at present and a nother thing he is a yong fellow and does not nead it as bad perhaps as you in the present time. I think he was pretty hard run or he would not said any thing about it. so after him being so anctious to get it.

I would be in favor of letting him wate on it a while. he has made more fus over it now than it is worth so let him swet a while. you wanted Wm. Bigham to write you the particulars about John before he was taken to the hospital. it is [true?] he can tell you more about it than I can. he was sick several days before he got so he could not get around. he sent for me one morning to come over. I went over and found him pretty sick. he wanted to know why I hadn't come over sooner. I told him the reson. I went over evry morning be fore that to see him but that morning I did not get over as soon as [com??]. he told me he was very sick and had some medison to take and was

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not able to wate on him self. it was a very warm day so I made him a good bed in the shade under a tree and stade with him all day. We had a long talk about home affares. he told me he never wanted home as long as he was well but cince he had lost his health he would like to be at home. he talked a heap about his little girles how he would like [to] see them. I think he had an idea that he would get well a gain. I wish I could mind all our conversation that day so I could tell you. he was not [deranged?] then yet and was not until he went to the hospital. I led him to the ambulance and helped him in as he was not able to walk alone.

when the ambulance drove of he shook hands with me and told me to take care of my self and prepare to meet death for it comith as a thief in the night sais he you are exposed to danger evry day and you ought to be prepared for it. but sais he if you wont live to get home your name will live. Poor John. little did I think that would be the last time we would spend the day to gether. I went to see him evry opertunity but he was to week to talk much. he tolde me to send his things home but I had no way of carrying them. when we left they ware all burned. John was a friend of mine and ware always to gether when we could get to gether. Yours trewley
Josiah Martin
Tell our folks I am well

This is the original envelope which contained the above letter sent by Pvt. Josiah Martin to Rachel Lockhart McClelland:
Envelope for McClelland Letter #22

Mrs Rachel McClelland
Holmes Co
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