McClelland Letter #5 Soldiers Letter Index McClelland Letter Index Page 16th OVI Home Page McClelland Letter #7
Letter (#6) from Private John F. McClelland, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to his wife, Rachel Lockhart McClelland in Millersburg, Ohio
Somerset, Kentucky - January 26, 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 near Somerset, Kentucky, where the 16th OVI had been deployed for the Battle of Mill Springs . The regiment was late in arriving and did not participate in the battle which was the first significant victory for the Union in the Civil War and the second largest battle in Kentucky.

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.

page 1
McClelland Letter 6 page 1
page 2
McClelland Letter 6 page 2

Sammerset Jan. 26th '62

Dear Rach
I sit down today to write you a few lines. This is a beautiful Sabbath day. you may believe me or not there is little or no Sabbath day in the army. Between Cleaning guns & clothes & being inspected we spend the sabbath. But dear wife I have worked it today so as to find time to write to you. I am well in every respect at present. I rec'd two letters one from Alexandres(?) and the other from Samuel Giffin. They are all kind brothers to me but I have something that seems nearer and dearer to me that is you and the three dear little ones. I hope though that the time will speedily come when I will be permit-

ted to enclose my little family once more in my arms. I never knew what it was to be absent from my family so long at once & it is pleasing to me to hear that you are getting along so well & enjoying good health. We are all moving along in camp. Our rations are three crackers a day & a tin ful of coffee as often. I am getting slim but I thank God that I enjoy good health. I have been looking with open eyes for a letter from you & hope that I will receive one soon. Our next march will be from here to Knoxville Tenn by way of Cumberland Gap a distance of some 120 miles. It ppears that we have to do our fighting traveling through mud & water. They are a very poor set of folks here & are making a great deal of money by selling pone to the soldiers. The talk was when I wrote the last letter to you that we were going to leave here immediately but when you wrote direct your letter to

page 3
McClelland Letter 6 page 3
page 4
McClelland Letter 6 page 4

Sommerset Ky & tell ma all about every thing you can think of. They have the small pox within four miles of us. Giffin sent me $5,00 and six postage stamps & when I am out of crackers I pitch into the pone but it does a person no good to buy any thing to eat at before the inmates of the tent when they have not the means to get the same. But tell Lucy & Allie and one I call Rach to lay up a lot of food so that if I ever live to get home I will have a chance of getting filled up again. Lucy tell Aunt Jane that I am fighting for her as well as you & that when I get home I will fix a hearty dinner [off?] her. I think we will whale the scoundrels out against harvest if we live. Yesterday there were six hundred of Zollicoffers horses taken past here. They looked as though they had been badly shot with stake oats but I can not write much at present. I hope that God will bless you & that he will grant you a mind strong enough to endure your trouble. I would like to see you and those dear little children but it is impossible at present. I hope that you will not forget to write to me often because we are moving from place to place & have to write whenever we we can get a chance. I received Wash's letter. Newton Gorsuch is with us now and looks as mischievous as he used to when he would walk up the lane with Lucy. But you Rachel do not fret about me. I am getting along

full as well and better than I expected I would when I left home. I never dreampt about you till the other night. I dreampt that I had stepped up on the doorsill of the house with the little ones gathered round me and a general kissing ensued. But I want you to write how you get your flour and whether your potatoes froze & whether you sleep sound or not & all the particulars. It is a strange thing to me that I have traveled in the wet and slept in the wet & never had the toothache since I left home. But I must stop Rachel at present hoping that in some future day we may meet no more to part until we are called upon to pass through the dark valley and shadow of death.

I am your Husband Truly

J. McClelland


This is the original envelope which contained the above letter sent by John McClelland to his wife, Rachel:
Envelope for McClelland Letter #6

Somersett Ky
Jany 27

Mrs. Rachel McCleland
Holmes Co
McClelland Letter #5 Soldiers Letter Index McClelland Letter Index Page 16th OVI Home Page McClelland Letter #7