The Civil War Letters of William J. Srofe
September - February 1863
New Orleans & Western Louisiana
"On the 12th of August, Gen. E. O. C. Ord, who had superseded Gen. McClernand in command of the 13th Army Corps during the siege, was ordered to transfer his Corps to New Orleans, which severed our connection with the old 'Army of the Tennessee,' in which we had served since March 6th, 1862."
"Nov. 11th, we were ordered to New Iberia, where we arrived the following day, and camped inside of the fortifications. Although the movements of the army were very mysterious, and no one could tell where he would be the next day, yet as soon as the arms were stacked, the Regiment went to work building quarters, as if they were going to remain there permanently."
John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880
"We are now encamped at the town of New Iberia which is one hundred and seventy miles west of New Orleans. The country is a very fine one and mostly in a state of cultivation. The people are bitter in their dissent against the union. They still preach up extermination and dying in the last ditch although in the parish south of this they have all taken the oath of allegiance except a few."
W. J. Srofe
ENLARGEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
FOR THIS LETTER
Cham de Mors [Champ de Mars?] near New Orleans
Sept 13 1863
I rec. your letter through Mr Fite a few days since and was very happy to hear that you were well. My health has been good all along until four or five evening ago. I was taken with a bad cold and the same has grown worse since. But I think I shall be all right soon. Otherwise I am well. The money that I sent home by Lut. Col. (formerly Capt.) Lindsey has been retained by him. I think as he did not go home via Lieutenant I do not think that it is lost. However should it be lost it is not worth while to be uneasy about and should you rec. all well & good & should I lose it all is well. We shall soon train here I guess as two divisions of our corps has already gone into West La. and Texas & I suppose that we will follow. "Hard[?] Times is coming" however we think ourselves able for the emergency. Excuse my brief letter. Write soon & often. My love & respect to all my friends. Your affectionate son
Wm. J. Srofe
Direct to me Co. H[?] 48 OVI 2nd Brig 4 Div 13 A.C. via New Orleans
Wm. J. Srofe
ENLARGEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
FOR THIS LETTER
New Iberia La
Nov. 22 1863
I embrace the opertunity of writing you a few lines hoping they may find you enjoying better health than they leave me in. I was taken with a very severe cold this day week ago caused by being overheated and leaving my coat off while in that condition but I think that I am improving and I have not yet taken any medicine or been off duty. We are now encamped at the town of New Iberia which is one hundred and seventy miles west of New Orleans. The country is a very fine one and mostly in a state of cultivation. The people are bitter in their dissent against the union. They still preach up extermination and dying in the last ditch although in the parish south of this they have all taken the oath of allegiance except a few. A few days ago our caverly scouts reported a force of rebels five miles from here encamped on the prairie. Our men surrounded before day light and as soon as it was light enough they charged into their camp capturing them all. They were the hardest looking & most distressed looking set of devils I have ever seen. Two thirds were without shoes or hats. Those without hats had tied a handkerchief around their heads. A great many of them had our overcoats which they had taken at different points. I cannot help pitying[?] them a little but when I look back at the hardships they have forced us to endure by perpetrating and supporting this cursed rebellion my pity is relinquished and often changed to curses. However I think many of them or[are?] to be pittied rather than condemned. I do not think that we will march into Texas this winter but we may leave this country soon and go by the way of the gulf to the Rio Grand which is the line between Mexico & Texas. Two division of our corps are reported as having gone there. I do not look for any fighting in this quarter unless some of our small forces are attacked while on a scout. The rebels will not meet us in force. I recieved a letter from John Srofe a day or two ago. He was well when writing the letter. Capt Lindsy will return to Cincinnati soon. I will have him to send what money he owes me to Col Redmon which you can do what you please with. But I advise you to let the Col have it if he will take it. [this is how the letter ends. There is nothing on the last page and no signature]
ENLARGEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
FOR THIS LETTER
New Iberia Louisiana
December 3d 1863
I embrace the opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know I am well and sincerely hoping they may find you enjoying the same. I have nothing of local importence to write. We are without any mail for a long time though I cannot say or see why. We are so for our communication are regular and not incumbered. This place is very near being out of the world I think, although I have always desired to travel and have been a lover of adventure but when I am forced to remain long at one place I like that place to be within or entirely outside the limits of civilization. We are right in what I call (for want of better term) the suberbs of no place with a hope of getting away soon. I learned this evening that the third division and ours which is the fourth will able[?] to leave here within a few days but do not know certain where we will go. The supisition of some is that we will be sent to New Orleans to remain there during the winter but I cannot think so. My opinion which is not very authentic is that we will be sent to the southern border of Texas. Gen Banks has afficted[?] a landing at the mouth of Rio Grande and has taken possession of Brownsville, Corpus Christi and several other important points without any opposition[?]. It seems that our ruse of invading Texas by the overland route through Western Louisiana has succeded admirably in drawing all their available forces from Southern Texas to meet us from this side while Gen Banks secretly organized an "expedition" and took advantage of them in their absence and succeded in landing the same on the 1st of November without meeting with any opposition from the rebels. He could not have landed otherwise without a great loss and a much larger force. I think that he will have to reinforce the army he has there and they being a part of our corps (the 13th[?]) is why I think he will send us there. I wish he may for I am tired of this place. "Ho for the Rio Grande". I don't know where I have "a right" to censure you for not writing to me oftener than you do or not but I think I have. I have not received a letter from you for a long time. Don't you think that I want to hear from you? Can you not get some one to write for you & I think you can. Most any one can write a few lines sufficient to let me know where you are well or not and how you get along. If they cannot write over a sheet of "fools cap" and give the news they can write "how you are" an[d] how you get along. I have written to Uncle Bill several times but have never received an answer. I would write again only I do not know his address. I don't care a darn if Uncle John does not want to stoope so low as to write to an "abolitionist". "All is right". I am one and if he is still miffed[?] about "the letter" I wrote him let him curl his nose. I am sure I am perfectly independent of all "butternuts". I recieved a letter from Willson McFaddon a short time since. They are all well. I also received a letter from John Srofe by the same mail. He was well. All the New Hope boys are well. Give my respects to all my inquring friends if any and write soon from your affectionate son
P.S. direct to me Co. H. 48 Regt Ohio Vol. Infy. 2nd Brigade 4 Division 13 A.C. I am still in command of company "H". Wm. J. Srofe
Head Quarters 48th Ohio Inf.
Pass. Cavallo, Texas
Feb 15" 1864
To His Excellency John Brough
Governor of the State of Ohio
We the undersigned Commissioned Officers of the 48" Regt. Ohio Inf. Vols. would respectfully present the cause for promotion of 2nd Lieut. Wm. J. Srofe and would earnestly urge your Excellency to promote him to the vacant position of Captain of Co. "H" 48" Ohio Inf. to rank as such from the 27" day of June 1863. He has been in command of Co. "H" since that time and to the entire satisfaction of officers and men as is evinced by their petition to your Excellency. We consider that he is not only well qualified to fill the position creditably; but is deserving of promotion as a reward for gallantry in the various battles in which the regiment has been engaged, and for his close attention to his duties as Commander of the Co.
By his energy he has succeeded in re-enlisting three-fourths of his Co. in the Veteran Corps thus evincing his readiness to support the Government in its efforts to crush the rebellion.
Hoping you will reward the meritorious by granting the prayer of your petitioners as Governor.
You Obt. Servts. --
Cyrus Hussey, Capt. Comg. Co. "A".
W. H. H. Rike 1st Lt. 48" Ohio and A.D.C 2nd Brig.
Jno. K. Reed 2nd Lt. Cmdg Co B
Thomas Montgomery 1st Lt. Comdg Co. "C"
Geo. W. Mossgrove 1st Lieut. Comdg. Co. D
James Sowry Capt. Comdg. Co. E
J. M. Kendall 2" Lieut -- Co. E
Daniel Gunsaullus Capt. Co. F
Michael McCaffrey 1" Lieut. Comdg. Co "G"
Andrew M. Cochran 1" Lieut. Comdg. Co "K"
Plyn W. Willis. Surgeon
[Srofe was captured shortly after this application was made. Unfortunately, it does not appear that his commisson as Captain of Co. H was ever approved. J. R. Lynch is shown in the rosters as Capt. of Co. H dating from 11/3/1863. One wonders who signed his application to Gov. Brough! ]
William J. Srofe 's letters, documents and photographs are published here with
the generous permission of Carolyn Srofe and Dan (EBAY ID CD112.4). They may not be reproduced
in any form without their explicit permission.
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