The Civil War Letters of Albert West


October 1861 - February 1862

Camp Dennison

 


Shortly after the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, Ohio's Governor William Dennison commissioned the creation of a training camp for the state militia in southern Ohio to protect the state's southern border from feared incursions by rebels from Kentucky. Then Capt. Wm. S. Rosecrans of the Ohio State Militia, acting under orders from Gen. George B. McCelland, purchased land straddling the Miami Railroad tracks near Cincinnati and laid out Camp Dennison there.

Read more about the events mentioned in this section's letters in the Regimental History


LETTER 1

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Camp Denison
October the 25, 1861

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am well at presant and hope these few lines may find you all well. Jonah is still on the mend. I am on Corporal duty today for the first time. I will hav to be out to night at my post all night. I cannot tell when I can com home but I will come as soon as I can. You must do the best you can and I will do the best I can and that is all I can do. Childrain I want you to go to scool every day that you can and learn to read like little men and that will make you grow. Obey your mother. Be good to each other in all you say or do.

I must bring my letter to a close. If you wright to me, direct your letters to Camp Denison Ohio, letter D,. in the cear of Captain C. Elwood 48 regament usm
Albert West to his family

heare is some things for the boys

 


LETTER TO ALBERT FROM CHARLES McFADDEN

Charles McFadden mustered in at Camp Chase Sept 17th 1861 as a Private. He served in 40th regiment company B which consisted primarily of men from Clinton County like the 48th A and D. Charles died of wounds received Nov, 24th 1863 at Tullahoma Tenn in Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tenn. Charles is Albert’s cousin, his Father’s Sister Mary’s son.

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October the 27
Camp Chase
Ohio 1861

Dear Sir,

It is with pleasure that I seat my self to in form you that I am well and well sadesfied with the camp life. I recived your leter and was glad to hear that you ar in the defens of your contry and if there was all the abled bodied men was as anxious to go in the army as you ar this scrape would be settled in les than no time tomorrow.

There was 54 sesh coming to camp today and the camp is in a confusion. The boys is all in tolerable good helth and they ar all giting anxious to Kentucky a sesh huntin. There is about three hundred in seshens in Camp Chase and they ar comin in evry day more or les. There is talk of us goin to Camp Denson in a few days but that has ben the [???] for some time and it is got to be a old song.

We have drawn all of our armes with the [exclusion?] of our over coats. Well Albert I am sory to tell you that Will Bean has not returned sens he left the camp and we have got our company goal of good stout men and the best of all they ar all brave boys. I was pleased at a remark that John Zang made a bout them sesh that cam in camp to day . He was calling them ragged assed Sunsabishes and the best that could make of them they ar hard cases. Some of of them in ther bare head and the rest in ther bare ass Albert they look like they would make a good target to shoot at. It is giting late and I will haf to bring my leter to a close. Pleas rite down and let me know you ar giting a long and I hope that we will be with you in a few days

Derect you leter in the ceare of Captin James Haworth Co. B. 40 Rig Ohio Volenters From C. H. McFadden
To Albert West
Camp Denson Ohio

 


LETTER 2

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November the 15, 1861

Dear Companion,

I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at presant, hoping these few lines may find you well. I received your letter at noon to day and was glad to hear that you had got home safe and was well and well pleased with your visit. I was sorrow to hear that Daniel was not well but I do hope these few lines may find you all well. May God giv you strength and corage to stand firm and unshaken for the liberty and union of our contrey. I want you to prey for me that I may liv so that should I fall in the field of batle and we no more on earth do met go on, I will meet you their where wor is no more and pease forever reigns. The 41 regament left hear last night for Marieta. We do not know when we may be cald a way.

Mrs. Elwood was heare and told me that you thought hard because I could not come home with you. She staid heare too nights and then had to go home with out hur man to. So you can see their is no respect of persons. The Cornel will not let any furlows out yet. We have bin drilling all day and I have to go on Corprel duty a gain to morrow for the first time since you left. It is geting late, I must bring my letter to a close.

Flag of the free harts hope and home!
By angel hands to valor given;
Thy stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven.
Forever flout that standard sheet!
Where breathes the foe but falls before us,
With Freedom’s soil beneath our feet
And Freedom’s banner streaming o’er us?

The 51 regament is going out to night. It is about midnight. I must quit, good by.

Tell W. T. Pierse to come and preach for us some time before long. I could right all night but I must sleep some. Be pacient, be true, my prear is for my contrey and you.

Albert West to family and friends

God speed the day when all ma say my contrey is free and I am at home.

 


LETTER 3

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Camp Dennison
Nov 24, 1861
Sunday Evening

Beloved Companion,

A gain I adress you a few lines. Since I last wrote to you their has nothing transpired in camp worth relating. How ever on yesterday Capt. Elwoodís company was mustered in to the United States service for a period of three years or during the war. We wer 89 in number and a finer company never graced Camp Dennison. Had you bin there to behold 89 brave and true hearte men extending there hand to wards heavan and calling on god to witness that would defend their holmes, their friends; and their wifes and children against those God forsaken rebels who have tried to uproot the pillar of our liberty, this glorious cause which we have volenteered our lives, our fortunes.

I am in the enjoyment of reasonable heath. Hoping that a kind providence still extends to you and my dear children his protection and that your heath is favored with those blessings. I canot state positively when I will come home but I have the ashureance from our Captain that I shall leave between this and the 15 of December if nothing occur or we ar not called away, which I think will not be the case. The health of the camp is good but few of our men sick.

Jonah heath is good and he looks well. This day is not so pleasant as the past. It has bin snowing since last night and the principle part of it melts as it falls which renders it very unpleasant. However we will occupy our new quarters about wednsdy or thursdey which will add a gredeal to our comefort. I reed you kind letter on monday last which I ashure was a great pleasure to me to here of your safe arrival at home. I think if you could come down here in a short time you would be pleased with appearance of the camp. I will close this by requesting you to write soon and often as your letter ar as gladly recieved as writen. I remain your affectionate husband until death Albert West.

Writen by Capt. C Elwood who sends his respects to Mrs. West & family

 


LETTER 4

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Camp Denison
December the 9th , 1861

Dear Companion,

It is with the greatest of pleasure I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at presant and I do hope in God that these few lines may find you all well. I do think that I will come home within ten days if nothing hapens. I want to see you all very bad. Jonah is well and well sadisfied in our company. We do not know wen we will leave hear but some time between this and Christmas they think. I have not to wright any more now but remain your affectionate husband untill death.

Albert West to his family, good by till I see you.

oh lord of hosts! allmigty king!
behold the sacrifice we bring
to every arm thy strength impart
they spirit shed through every hart!

The night come down, the air grows cold,
But still she seemes to heare
The echoes of his faithful step -
Her own brave volunteer!

 


LETTER 5

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Camp Denison
December the 19, 1861

Dear Companion and Childrain,

I take my pen to in form you that I got back to camp safe and sound. Severl of the boys sick with measles and momps. Jonah has the measles. I am well as comon hoping that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I want you to put your trust in God who cares for us all and watches over all. I know he will protect us while I am gon and will bring me back again.

Jane, I must say to you once more for my sake and your sake do not fret for me. It hurts me so to see you greave and weary yourself so. I know it is hard for us to be seperated but I hope in God it will not be long till I can come home and stay with you and our contrey safe and free and rebllion swept away and rebels be no more. Our Heavenly Father has said that we shal be free and I do believe his word.

Now children, a few words to you. Remember what I told you last. Be good boys and obey your mother and be kind to eachother. Donít never tell a story for nobody. Tell the truth at all times. Beakin to wright and send me a letter soon as you can.

I will now tell you something a bout what is going on down heare. Their is more visiters down heare this week than ever has bin heare yet. Miss Elwood was heare when I got heare. Hirame Elwood and his wife was with hur. They went home today. Our guns has not come yet. Our dress soots come today but we have not drawd them yet. Their has been four or five regaments past here this week for Kentucky. That one that I was in at Camp Chase is gone. They past heare Tuesday night about midnight and did not stop.

Barney, if you want to come down about Christmas or New Years and you can have a sight if you do want it. Jane if Barney does not come down, you and some of the neighbors might come. If you do you had better leave the children at home for the momps and meesles are plenty.

Here that is three dollars and fifty sents Thomas Barnet was to pay Will T. Pierce.

I must bring my letter to a close. Wright as soon as you can. I still remain your husband and father Albert West to his wife and children and friends. O may I live to see the day when all these trobles ar past away.

 


LETTER 6

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Camp Denison
December the 23, 1861

Dear Companion,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am in beter helth than I was when I left home. Hoping that these few lines may find you ejoying the same blessing which is far better than gold. I am better sadisfide than I was before I come home. It just seemes to me that it will not be very long till I come home. Jonah has got the measles and is right sick with them but not very dangious I dont think. Their is aleven of our boys got them now. Their is 37 in the hospitl with them now. The momps is plenty thick anuf to stur them up.

Barney you had beter not come down heare now for their is so much sickness here that we will not leave hear before the middle of the next month if we go before spring. If we do not I will come home and tell you all about it. Take good care of my things and I will send you some money as soon as I do draw my pay. They officers say that we will be paid this month now. I must bring my letter to a close, no more at present but remain your husband and friend,

Albert West to Jane and Barney Luckey

Send this to Jane West as soon as you read yourse and oblige me.

Albert West

 


LETTER 7

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Camp Denison
December 26, 1861

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am well and very well sadisfied considering every thing that a soldier has to under go when he has leave a wife and children and all that is dear to him behind and go to meet a tyrant fo who is trying to take away our liberty rather than see you and my children come under their oppressive hand. I will loose my life in your defence but thank God I do not fear them for they ar on the rong road to ever reach our hapy home. They know that we ar right and they ar rong, that they ar week and we ar strong.

I received you letter Christmas day and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well and to hear that the boys was pleased with their drum. Tell them to take good care of it and learn to beat it nice against I come home. I do not know when I will come but I think I will come some time this winter for we will not leave here before spring. Jonah is on the mend though he can not set up yet. He has bin very bad but is guiting a long very well now. Cockses boys arall sick and want their papa to come down very bad.

Jane you can do just as you please about comming down hear. If you do com you had beter not bring the children on acount of measles and momps. We hav not got any money nor guns yet and their is not as much talk about it as their was when I was at home. I set up with Jonah last night. Their is a 11 boys got the measles. They ar all a geting along first rate.

Barny, go to John McVayís and if he has not sold his yearlens you had beter buy one of them for a beef. Setle three dollars and 75 cts that he owes me and pay him the balance. Jane if Gorge Cany will give you that note and five dolers for Bill let him have him.

I must bring my letter to a close. I still remain your affectionate husband and father until death,

Albert West to Jane West and Children
Send me a good New Years letter Christmus gift

 


LETTER 8

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Cap Denison
December the 30, 1861

Dear companion,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am well as common for me to be. Jonah is on the mend. He has bin very bad but is beginning to walk about the house again. I think he will come home in side of to weeks if he mends on. I do not know when I can come to see you again but as we will not leave here before spring, I will come home after I get my pay. Their was a man riding by the cannon to day and was shot and kild. Their was a man in the 52 regaman had his head shaved and drummed out of camp for stealing a boat and running a way.

Captain has gon home to day for the first time since I was home. He said he would bring you that medicen. If he does not come you can send down to his house and get your medicen. You go down your self and see Miss Elwood that will pay you money. When you get your money giv Barney ten dollars and take care of the rest.

If you come down here wright when you will come. If you donít come let me know and I will not be looking for you. Remember me my loving wife in every prayre you offer up. Ask God to protect and shield us all from dangers seen and unseene while we are traveling here below. My prayre is that you may have the blessings of God to comfort you through coming life. I have a hard row to ho here, fore while I wright the most of the rest ar playing cards and swearing so lowd that I cant hardley right for their fuss. One of our boys is laying with the lung fever with but little hopes of his recovery. Now if I should take sick and die or meete with death in any way donít greave for me for all is well. The Lord careth for his children who put their trust in him.

I must bring my letter to a close so no more at presant but remain your affectionate husband and father untill death,

Albert West to his wife and children

Wright soon very soon, purty soon, soon as you can if it ainít very soon.

For a New Years gift I would like to have a kiss but this time it is a clear miss.

 


LETTER 9

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Camp Denison
January the 1, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am in beter health than when I was at home and hav bin better satisfied than I was before. It was very hard for me to leav you and my children dear but putting my trust in God, in his care, I left you asking him to watch over and protect us all till we meat again. Jonah is so he is walking about to day. I received your letter and was glad to hear that you was all well but it made the tears flow from my eyes to here that you was left alone. How you ar to do I do not now but put your trust in God for vain is the help of man.

As we will not leave here this winter I will try to come home and arrange things diferent from what they are. I want you to wright in your next letter what you want to do. Wright and let me know and I will do the best I can for you and do not over do your self. Take care of your self and children if the stock is not tended to. I donít beleave that we will ever get to leave here till peace is made. I must bring my letter to a close. Wright as soon as you get thi and let me know how you ar doing.

So no more at presant but remain your husband and father untill death.

Albert West to family

 


LETTER 10

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Camp Denison
January 3, 1862

Dear Companion,

I take this oportunity to in form you that I am well hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying good healt which is better than gold. Jonah is still mending. Barna may do just as he pleases. He can either be a man or show what he is by leaving you when he knows that it will leave you more to do than you ar able to do, knowing that he is lying on me to save himself. He was not to have any money from me at tall, neither aid he ask for any when we traded. He was to so that field of wheat and did not get that done. He is now dissatisfied with his bargan and wants to throw the blame on me. Let this sufise for the presant, if you think that boy is able to do the wok you had better get him to help you. It will be better for you than to try to do your self. It will be to hard for you to do your self now. I want you to do as you think best for your self as I do not no when I can come home but think I will come in to or three weekes.

No more at presant but remain yours husband and father untill death,

Albert West Jane West

 


LETTER 11

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Camp Denison
January the 8, 1862
Sunday eavning 3 oíclock

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at presant, hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. Jonah is still mending sloly. The rest of the boys is mending. James Inglish, one of our boys, died Friday night with the lung fever and was sent home Saturday. Now if you want any information about anything you must let me know. I have got Henry Cocks to see that you do not suffe til I can get to come home. If that boy will stay with you get him to come.

The talk is that we will get our pay with in ten days. If it comes I will try to come home then as i will not wright much this time. I will tel you about our cook. Mis Sarine has bin cooking ever since I was home. She is a very good cook and saves anough to pay her for hur work so our cooking donít cost us anything. I want you to take goodcare of your self.

It is geting dark and I must bring my letter to a close. I told Henry Cocks that he might hawl your would with our teame.

I must close,

Albert West Jane West

 


LETTER 12

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Camp Denison
January the 9, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am well at presant. Hoping that these few lines ma find you enjoying the same blessing. I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear from you again and to here that you ar all well. That is the greatest satisfaction that I enjoy, is to know that you ar well and doing well. It is a great pleasure to me to read a letter from my boy. I hope it wonít be vry long untill he can wright me a nice letter. Tell Sylvester and Sanford that I would like to see some thing from them. Daniel, I want you all to be good boys, obey your mother and your teachers. This is the beginning of wisdom and remember thy creator in the days of thy youth before the eavil days come when you shal say I have no pleasure in them. I will just say that I was as well satisfied as any man could be until I heard of you being left alone. This has caused me a great deal of troble but you know that I told you I was afriad that Barny would not do when I left. He has to many notions to ever do any good for himself or any body else. I do hope he will do better here after and let us see some peace.

I heard that their has bin a great revival at Centrevill since I left. I hope the work will prove to be the work of the Lord and not the work of man for their is great need of a thorough clensing of hearts about that place. Oh Lord, revive thy work through out the land and call pore sinners home.

Will try to come home about the middle of this month and see you again. I am on duty again tonight. It is now getting late and I must close by asking you to remember me in you prears and wright as soon as you receive my letter,

Albert West to an afectionate wife and children

 


LETTER 13

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Camp Denison
January the 17, 1862

Dear Compainion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am well at present hoping these few lines ma find you all enyoying the same blessing. I received you letter and was much pleased to see you in such good spirits. I do hope that you will enjoy yourself and keep in good hart and take care of your self so that you ma have good health, kind neighbors, and the blessings of God to comfort you untill i return.

Jane, the talk is how that we will leav here in ten days. If we go away I will not get to come home anymore before we leave. I would like to come home and see you all again before we leave but can not if we go now. I do not think we will go that soon but thatís the talk now. I would like for you to come down here if you are well and willing. I rote to T Geffs to come Tuesday or Wednesday. If you can come with them do so. If you canít come wright as soon as you get this. I hav got my pay but we hav not got our guns yet. I cannot wright any more now. Ma the blessing of God comfort you til i return.

I remain your husband untill death,

Albert West to Jane West and little ones

 


LETTER 14

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Camp Denison
January the 28, 1862

Der Companion,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am in common health. Hoping these few lines ma find you all enjoying the same blessing. I pray the blessing of God ma be with you all and keep you from all harm and giv you health and strength to overcome all the trials you hav to undergo.

Last Saturday eavning General Waid come over to camp and said their would be no more furlows given now. I do not know whether I will get to come home or not. If I can I will come. If I do not you know it is a great disapointment to me for you no that I could have come home with you when you was their. It is hard to bear but I will liv in hopes if I die in dispair

It is ten dolars.
I will send five dollars to you and if I do not come I will send you some more before long. I must close. I am your husband until death,

Albert West to Jane West Good by to you untill we meet again.

 


LETTER 15

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Camp Denison
January the 29, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am in common health. I have a very bad cold. I do not know whether I will get to come home this week or not but I will come if I can. I did not get any letter from you to day and it is prety hard to bear. When you left you was sick but I do hope in God these few lines ma find you enjoying good healt. This is my prear for you all. Their is no more furlows but I think I will come home before we leave here. I want you to wright to me whenever you can for their is nothing that givs me so much pleasure as to read your letters and hear that you ar all well and doing well. Remember me and I will you. I was going to send you ten dollars but I will not. I think I will come and fetch the mony to you my self. If I cannot come I will send you the money safe.

So no more at presant but remain your husband and friend untill death,

Albert West

Jane West

 


LETTER 16

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Camp Denison
February the 3, 1962

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am complaining with a cold and a very bad cough. I received your letter and packet and picture in it that I would not take the best horse in camp for. I hope these few lines ma find you all well. I was sorrow to hear of your sad disapointment. I thought of that. I new you would be looking for me and I could not sleep very well. I am dreaming of you every night and want to see you very bad. I will come home before we leave here if I am well enough to come but donít stay up to look for me but take your rest and I will come.

Do they mis me at home do you mis me? Yes. I think I hear some loved one saing, ďOh. How I wish paw was here!Ē How glad would I come at your bidding if I could but get their and stop so much crying and pain and wipe away every tear and my dear loving wife how freely I would come to pertake of all your trobles and shear your fait at home.

But oh our contry called for help from every man and I in times like this will lend a helping hand my contrey it was for thee, sweet land of liberty, for thee I left my home and wife and children dear and started out in your defence a poor but honest volenteer. In God I try to put my trust and ask the prears of all the just that i ma ever faithfull prove and still enjoy a Saviourís love.

I do not know what to say about the place now but if I do not get to come home in to weeks I will wright what I think you had better do. Jane you ma wright how you would rother do in your next letter and I will either come and tell you or wright and let you know. It is to oíclock and I must go to bed I hope you ar all sleeping sound and sweet.

Albert West to his affectinate wife Jane West

 


LETTER 17

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February the 16, 1862
Camp Denison
Sunday twelve Oíclock
Marcing order to leave Monday morning

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I got to camp last night and I am well and all is right we expect to leav in the morning for Paducha in Kentucky now. As we do hav to go I will go with a cherfull hart putting my trust in God asking him to go with me whereever I go and shield me from dangers both seen and unseen and guide me by his grace through coming life. Jane the cause I am going in is a just one. I leav you in the hands of God asking his blessings and protections to be with you untill I return. You need not right untill you heare from me again. Be faithful and put your trust in God and pray for me that I ma come out victorious, return home safe, and that before long. Tell Jonah that I will send his trunk to Viena and he can send their and get it. Their is three regaments leaves hear for Paduca Kentucky tomorrow. I will wright as soon as we land and tell you where we ar and all about our trip from here to where we go now.

I must bring my letter to a close by signing my name,

Albert West your affectionate husband to his wife and children dear Jane West. good by

 

 


Albert West 's letters, documents and photographs are published here with
the generous permission of Michael West. They may not be reproduced
in any form without their explicit permission.

 

 

 

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