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Letter (#9) from Private John F. McClelland, Co. B, 16th OVI,
to his sister-in-law, Jane Lockhart in Millersburg, Ohio
Cumberland River area, Kentucky - February 16, 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 sister-in-law, Jane 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 River Feb 16th '62

Sister Jane

I seat myself this morning to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well & hoping these lines will find you all enjoying the same blessing. The waves of time has wafted us far from home but I am thankful to God for the health & strength which he has granted unto us through the hard ships which we have been called upon to endure. We are now in the midst of enemies but it is pleasant to believe that we have a God who looks & smiles upon us from day to day; One who is worthy of our highest attention. I will not attempt to give you a history of our travels from the fact that I have neither time

nor space. We are now within 18 miles of Cumberland Gap and are making all preparations for a most horrible & bloody struggle with the enemy at that place. There was about a hundred of our Cavalry went out on a scout for the purpose of seeing the situation of things at the gap. They found 25 canon planted there. They ran against a party of pickets killed 5 of them & took 9 horses & 12 guns & 42 prisoners & made good their escape. We probably will have a battle before these lines reach you & God knows how many of our brave boys will fall. But I put myself into the hands of God feeling that he will do that which is right for me & for others. I intend to go forward willingly & fight the battles of our country. May the God of battles be with

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with us & cheer us on untill this rebellion is put down. I must stop this by saying a few more words asking you to forgive all wrongs I have done you if any. I will now attempt to give you a history of our eatables for several days. we have had mush without milk & eat mush without a table on a dry pan & it was eat by many a dry mouth but still we were anxious to receive it when hungry & the misery of it when we buy any thing good & attempt to eat it before the rest. they look so anxious at you as though they were willing to participate in the struggle. And that causes the heart of benevo-

lence to throb & that causes whoever it be to raise his hand & divide it among them & then it does no person any good. The boys of our tent are making their brags that they can get wives most any where when they go home. I want you to look sharp. The people are very poor in this portion of the country. I would not live here if they would give me 2000 acres of land for nothing. We are all talking today expecting to move tomorrow to the battle. I do not expect that we all dwell together in the tent again. Generall Carter [Samuel P Carter] of [?] has chosen our regiment for his bodyguard. But Jane you can better imagine how I would like to see Rachel & the children than I can tell you & if God spares me & them I hope that we will have the pleasure of meeting again never more to be parted by rebels. Write soon and direct to London Ky & it will come to me.

I remain your friend. John McClelland

This is the original envelope which contained the above letter sent by John McClelland to his sister-in-law Jane Lockhart:
Envelope for McClelland Letter #9

Miss Jane Lockheart
Holmes Co
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