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Letter (#4) from Private John F. McClelland, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to his wife, Rachel Lockhart McClelland in Millersburg, Ohio
Camp Dennison, Ohio - December 11, 1861
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 Camp Dennison, Ohio, where the 16th OVI and other regiments were preparing to enter the war. The letter seems to end abruptly with no signature so it is assumed one or more pages are missing.

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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McClelland Letter 4 page 1
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McClelland Letter 4 page 2

Camp Dennison
Dec 11th, '61

Dear Rachel,

It may be pleasing to you to hear how I am getting along. I am getting along very well taking everything into consideration. We draw half a loaf of bread a day to the man; the meat we got is very strong and I do not use much of it. The principle diet I live upon is bread and coffee and sometimes rice; sometimes [gress?] beef, not over once in a week some of the boys growl a great deal but I cram what I get down and let it [?]. I received your letter to-day with much joy and satisfaction and in answer to your question I did not

allow Mr. Davis to get one stick of wood below the new road. I owed him two dollars and told him to cut some wood above the new road, where the road cuts it off by itself. If he does not take it then tell him he cannot have it at all. So far as Davy Livingston cleaning the hillside we made no permanent bargain, but if he wishes to clean it, let him clean it so that he can take his pay off the ground in cropping it, and in cutting the wood give you a share of it; but understand I want all the timber that can be worked up at all in rails. But I left the management of the affairs in Alberts hands, and when any of them tells you what "John said" tell them to go to Albert and whatever he will do I will abide by it.

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McClelland Letter 4 page 3
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McClelland Letter 4 page 4

Well Rachel I am glad and very glad to hear that you are all well; indeed there are a great many sick here. John Stimmel is very sick and was carried the other day to the hospital. But Rachel I have not room to tell you about all who are sick. Newton Gossuch [Gorsuch] is very [dancy?]. We got at him last night and washed him all over very effectualy. There has been ten died out of our regiment since I joined it. I am very thankful to you for the good advice which you gave me. I intend to live an honest man or die a brave one and you know that I have a wife and three dear little ones whom I love but have been accused by my neighbors for not loving.

You know something of the truth of that. Well Rachel I must tell you something about my undertaking. I was sent out as one of the Brigade guards to go along the railroad in different places and watch to see whether any soldiers would try to escape by getting on the cars. I was ordered to put in my haversack enough of bread to do me twenty four hours. I started and filled my time which was one day and night. [They] were three reliefs of us. I was on the first. My post was in front of the hospital close up to the railroad track. While I was standing there one of the inmates of the hospital wanted [wandered?] across the track to do something you know what. I let him across. His face looked familliar to me although I had no idea I knew him. And when he came back he looked at me. I asked him his name he told me his name was Robert [Lysle]. It was the same Bob that worked for Albert shortly after we were married. He had been there sick some six weeks, lost one eye and almost the other. But Rachel I cannot tell any thing to do you any good. Well Rachel I was relieved every two hours while on brigade guard and to remain off four hours. We had no place to sleep without going into the hospital where there are 150 laying sick. I thought it were best not to run in where there are all manner of diseases & so I and my partner upset an old work bench that was boarded up on each side and then unbuckled our blankets from our sacks and buttoned up our over-

no further letter available.

This is the original envelope which contained the above letter sent by John McClelland to his wife, Rachel:
Envelope for McClelland Letter #4

Mrs. Rachel McClelland
Holmes Co
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