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Letter (#4b) from Private John F. McClelland, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to his wife, Rachel Lockhart McClelland in Millersburg, Ohio
Camp Dennison, Ohio - about December 15, 1861
Web Author's Notes:
Images of the following letter were provided by Valerie Davison, great great granddaughter of John McClelland. The letter was written by John McClelland to his wife, Rachel, from Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where the 16th OVI was training in preparation for being deployed into combat. There is no discernable date on this letter, however, looking at the envelope's postmark, it is determined it was written around December 14 or 15 (1861). Private McClelland mentions leaving for Kentucky "next Tuesday" and the regiment actually left on Thursday, December 19.

Additional history tells us the letter's author, sadly, was later captured during action at Cumberland Gap and died of disease on September 20, 1862, probably as a Confederate prisoner. Below the images of the letter are transcriptions made by the donor, Valerie Davison. Thanks to Valerie 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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Camp Dennison 16th OI

Dear Wife
It may seem curious to you that I write so often to you. every time I change my place I think it nessesary to let you know so as you may make a calculation when you shall hear from me. my health is very good at present. how long it will be so with me I know not. we received our dress parade suit yesterday and I never saw a better looking regiment in my life. they had no coat big enough for me among the number that Capt Spangler received but I got one of Capt Muse which was to large for any of his men our coat is a dark blue and our pants are a sky blue but Rachel I must tell you where we are going and when. we are going to start today. we were

in heavy marching order and we paraded around with our napsacks and canteens on. our napsacks were packed with our fatigue suit and shirts and all we were allowed to take along but after the parade was over the Colonel drawed us up into line and told us to have evry thing packed for we would have to leave on tuesday morning for Kantucky. what part of Kentucky I am not able to tell you but if God spares my life I shall write to you again and let you know where we are. our guns has come and the next thing will be to go through the manual of arms. we will get abored the steam boat at Cincinnati. how far we will go by water I can not tell but Rachel I do not want you to fret about me

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and make the time long for I have got a bully set of fellows with me that will write to you if any thing hapens to me and let you know all about me. we have now to enter in to the solid part of the work and while we do patriotickally we ask the prayers of evry christian in our behalf. if it should be my lot to fall on the field of battle do not fret but let it be our object to serve on earth that we may meet in heaven. well Rachel I must stop writing. I hope "this" finds you enjoying good health and I intend to write the whole truth and nothing but the truth. if I am sick I will write I am sick so as you will know all about me. good by dear wife.

yours truly
John McClelland

well Lucy I want to know if that eye in your head is as black as it was. it appears to me I can see you gathering chips for me. but Lucy if papa lives to get home I know you will get one of the best supers ever he eat. be a good girl, Lucy. do whatever your mother tells you for your mother is a good mother and will not ask you to do anything wrong. my little daughter Albe she comes next. it appears to me I can see you cracking hickory nuts and jumping around at her plays as brite as a silver dollar. But poor wee Josie I suppose she is rolling over the floor picking up spools and running off with mothers thred. I hope I will live to embrace you all once more in my arms. nothing more at present. Yours truly

J. McCleland

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

Mrs. Rachel McCleland
Holmes Co
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