The Civil War Letters of John E. Richardson

October 1861 - February 1862

Camp Dennison


On October 15, 1861 John Sullivan, Colonel of the 48th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, petitioned Ohio Governor William Dennison to commission Virgil Moats as a Second Lieutenant in the 48th OVI to raise a company of volunteers in Defiance and Paulding Counties. John E. Richardson, of Defiance County, enlisted in the company on October 26. The company left for Camp Dennison in early November where it was combined with other companies from southwestern Ohio to form the 48th OVI regiment. Richardson's letters to his wife, Rosetta, comense upon his arrival at Camp Dennison.

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



Camp Deneson Nov 17 61

Dear wife
i take mi pen hand to write you a few lines to let you know i am well and harty with the exception of a slite cold. we got her on wensday and got our blanquits the same knight. the next morning we got our uniform and napsacks. we sleap in tents yet but will get into our barracks next wensday. me and fred holts [Fred Hoeltzel] sleap in one tent. we have a very pleasant plase here. hils al around us. the ralrod runs through the center of the camp. there is abut 200 seors in this camp. i cannot tel when i can cum home until mots [Virgil Moats] cums back. that will be the last of this weake. i have got the pleace of 2 seirgent but i dont know i shal keep it. i dont have to stand gard now anyhow. we cant get out of the camp until mots gets back. i have not sean but one womman since we have ben here and she was about 75 years old. we have plenty to eate sutch as it is. it concis of bread meate potatoes rice homeny coffy and shogar. it is not cooked as nice as i have sean but i can eat mi share. we have meting [meeting - church services] her to day. we are 16 miles from the citty. as son as mots gets back i am going down thear and gt mi like [likeness] tocon to send to you. papar is very scarse here at presant so i hafto close. rite as sone as you get this let. yore fater take it to moots and he will tel him how to direct it. i am anksious to here from you and our baby. give mi luve to al that wants it and mi respects to al enquren frends. kiss the baby six ten times for mi. good by fore the present. this is from youre affectionate husband
John E. Richardson



Camp Deneson Nov 25 61

Deare Companion
i roat a letter last sunday as i promist and sent it by mat bell the next day sopossing he wood get to defiance tuesday morning but i heurd to day that he was tacon sick on the road and did not get home until the last of the weeake. i was very mutch disapontid. i exspected to here from you last saturday. thar was some talk yesterday at hedquarters that we should all be sent home but i dont know how true it is. i wil tel you mor abbout it next time i rite. it commenst raning last friday night and turnd into snow and it has cept [kept] atit ever since. it melts as fast as it cums down. it is very muddy. i wish i had a pound of your tallow to put on mi boots. they have not got our house dun yet. they got out of lumber but they wil get it done this weake sertin [certain].
Nov 29 i wated until to day but as i got no answer from you i wil send you this. it is very mudy here now. i wish i could see you and the baby or here from you. fread is well. we are al well. A Conrod is orderd home this morning by the curnal. he starts rite of and i shal haf to close so good by fore the present. rite as sone as you get this. from your loving husban
John E. Richardson

Direct youre letter to John E Richardson
Co f 48 Reg OVA
in care of Capt
V H Moats



Nov 26th 1861

Dear Husband
With pleasure I take my pen in hand to answer your letter which was recieved today but I dont know how long it had been in the office. we was so very glad to hear from you. we are all well except the baby. it has been about sick with a cold. I guess if Mr. Darrell had been here last night he would have thought that we had the Elements of Music Good and strong for the baby cried all evening with the Colic. I have to get up and take it up every morning as soon as the fire is built but we must do anything to keep Peace out of the family. I will kiss the baby sixteen times and a half for you. Sprague’s Company left Defiance yesterday but they are coming back tomorrow. the reason they started at all was that Sprague had to have them in camp such a time and after that they can come home if they want too. Old Pough asked Father what made you go, says he, was John Ex-zi-did or did he go for the moony. I have been setting up for a week. I have got your Cap done at last but I suppose you will not want it now you can afford a better one. When you send your Likeness I wish you would cut off some of your hair and send in it. Father went to Defiance a week ago today. He got some flour and Coffee and one thing another. I think he done rite good dont you? Father Built the stove chimny and moved the stove and the log of the Chimny caught a fire and he had to move it Back until he gets it fixed better. Preacher Fay was here. he thinks the war is about to come to a latter End. I wish it would for one in 4 weeks from tomorrow is Christmas if nothing happens. I hope you can come home then for I am home sick already. the baby is awake and I have nothing more foolish to write. I will bring my letter to a close. write as often as you can if not oftener & I will do the same. you know what a poor chance we have to the Office no more. be a good boy & do your bidding. good bye. fare well. I remain your affectionate wife
Rosetta Richardson
(The whole family send their respects to you)
there is snow on the ground

Onward onward is the loud demand
Freedom’s smile on every land
Onward onward still is heard and hand



Camp Deneson December 17th 1861

Mi Deare wife
It is with pleasire i take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you now that i am wel and harty and have ben ever since i have ben here exsept a slite head ache yesterday. i am corperal of the gard to day. i am on duty two ours and off four ours for 24 ours. mi turn ma not cum agane until weack after next. i have got in to oure new quarters now. it looks a littel more lick living than it did when we had to stand in the mud and eate our daley bread and that puts me in mind of sumthing else. homer mots started home last knight. he will start back next monday. now if you have a few things sutch as chickens turkes butter huny preserves pies or cakes that you do not know whate to do with take them down to aryes store with mi name on them next monday morning and homer will fetch them to me. fredrick is a gointa to send for sum to. send me a towel if you pleas. we are not pad as yet but have the promis evry day. cannot get monney anuf to get mi likeness tacon. if i can get away i shal cum home as sone as i get mi pay but i do not know when thate wil be. i have not got but one letter from you yet and none from any bod else. take good care of the baby and yourself and al the rest of the folks. write as sone as you get this and you wil oblige youre
afectionate husband
John E Richardson
i rote a letter to Cal yesterday

[on back of letter]

Bleeding at the nose
grate salt dried beef and take two or three pinches
To stop the bleeding of a wound apply the inside of puff ball to the wound or use lint and flour. Bleeding at the lungs
eat of raw table salt freely, or take equal parts of powdered loaf sugar and rosin 4 times a day or drink fruts of yellow dook root
Use sweet oil with a few drops of sassafras te added
Rheumatism alcohol and pepper feelon soak the finger in strong warm lye use poultices for a burn take equal parts of sweet oil and essence of peppermint with cotton
a cure for corns take of verdigris 2 oz beeswax 3 oz of ammonia 1 oz melt the two last together and before cold add the verdigris pare the corn and spread on linen tumours
use a poultice made of equal parts of Elm and indian meal mix with weak lye add salt Mortification
give tonic bitters and a glass of yeast 3 or 4 times a day
apply poultices of yeast thickened with the flour of Elm
putrid sore thrat add to half a pint of water boiling three spoonfuls of cayene pepper and two of salt
let it stand one hour dose tablespoonful every hour also use it as a gargle quinsy inhale the steam of vinegar and bind
hot tanry or wormwood on the throat gargle weak ly
Piles make daily use of syringe withe warm water and castile soap Croup wrap up the child to
promote perspiration dissolve half a teaspoonful of spec a cu
anha in half a cup of warm water sweeten and give a half a whole teaspoonful every five minutes until vomiting occurs
Juices and molasses may be given whooping cough
a teaspoonful of castor oil with a tablespoonful of molasses
Dysentary one or two doses of ru bris regulate by a Suitable diet Ersipelas take an oz cream tartar in a quart of water Dose half wineglass every 2 hours use Epsom salts copperas worms strong sage tea
dissolve in it half teaspoonful Sarleratus



Camp Deneson December 29 1861

Dere Companion
i am about half mad. i am. so i am. i will tel you al about it. capt mots told mi about 2 ours ago that if i could get money to pay mi pashag[passage] home i mite go to morning with quil conroade[Aquilla Conrad]. he starts at 7 oclock in the morning and i have ben triing to get it as hard as i can but i cant. it would take about ten dollars. i think thate we wil be pade of next saturday without fale. then i can cum home and no thanks to anybody. i am wel as can be exspected. i have ganed 6 pouns since i have been here. i foregot to say thate i received thate box of good thing. it got here at ten oclock on chrismas. i had chicken for dinner. i was down to milford to meeting to day. it is a plase about half the sise of defiance and about 2 miles from here. i think i will be at home next weake. wel it is about 12 oclock and i haf to go on duty at 8 oclock in the morning so good by. this is from your affectionate husband John E. Richardson



Jan 18 1862

My Dear Husband
I thought I would write a few lines to you as I do not get any more letters from you. I received a letter from you two weeks ago today and after that we looked for you for a week and you did not [...] I have been coming for a [...] get any. I dont know what to think whether [...] Washington or whether you have forgot m [...] hear from us so I thought I would write. we [...] and hope this will find you enjoying good h [...] well and it is not as cross as it was it ca [...] it almost laughs out loud. I think it will [...] me pretty [...] last week and he come here a little while. He says that Hi Davis offers his yoke of oxen and all that he gets if any body will take his place. they go word once while Jim was at home that they was to march and so old Sprague come after Jim but it was a mistake. they have not gone yet. they say they have great times in their camp some stealing chickens some drinking and playing cards while others are singing Hymns. well I hope that is not the case in your camp or if it is with some I hope you do not take any part in it. you can get along without any such work well enough but I think I can have enough confidence in you not to think any such a thing of you. I forgot to say that the baby and Juliaette and me went up to ellr Tee’s two weeks ago tomorrow. that is the only place I have been since you went away but when you come home I want to go to Aunt Sarah’s. there has been good sleighing for a few days but it is raining tonight again. Dave Thenca[?] is very sick. he has some kind of Rheumatism. he cant move himself and cant hardly be moved. I must tell you that elle flary was married to Lit Davis a week ago thursday. My Dear Husband I have never known what trouble was since we was married until now. I am troubled about you more or less all the time but if I do write as if I had the blues I dont want you to be troubled [...] do what is right although I have many foes [...] of which you are the best except One who [...] erless and the widows Guide [...] meeting will go it wont do you any harm [...] our lonesome hours the folks all send their [...] ke to see you but none more than I. [...] at will be interesting and perhaps more [...] d tell you things that I cant write well do as well as you can and come home as soon as you can. take good care of yourself and write as soon as you get this. I will close by subscribing your affectionate wife until Death
Rosetta Richardson
J. E. Richardson

Remember me though far away
Through this unfriendly world you stray
Remember one for ever true
To friendship and to you
good by Roset

I forgot to tell you that Dick Mansfield has sued that note and the time will be out in about 40 days and then their will be an execution out. no more at present.



february 11th 1861

Dere companion
with pleasure i take mi pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you now thate i am well and had a grate time getting to camp in the first place. firstley we did not get away from defiance until five saturday morning. we mist the trane in toledo and had to wate until five in the afternone. we got to clumbus[Columbus] Sunday morning at three oclock. from thar we went to xeney[Xenia?] and wated until hafpast three and then the 68 reg cum along. we got on with them and went to sincanati. the cunducter would not stop the trane at our camp so we had to go to the citty but we got back to camp about ten oclock sunday knight. i saw whitney and elasander boyd and had a good visit with them. i saw dan hoard and a lot of the boys in sprges company. hick sanford and ike vans boy is in the hospatle at clumbus. the boys that cum with us like are new home firstrate. fred holtsal is sick but is not dagers. he has a very bad cold. we hade a snow storm yesterday but it is al gon now and is prety mudy. i sent you three papars. you can take youre choys of the three and give one to your father and the other to some ils. william donley is going this morning and i wil send this letter with him. the inspector was here last weake and sead this reg was the best he had sean and our compney the best one in it. i do not no whate he wod think of it now. since i have got back we brot 11 new men. we have the largs compney now. i got your last letter when i got here. wel i can not think of anything more to write and bil is redy to start. write as sone as you get this and let me now al your trublas. if they dont use you rite they wil her from me in a way they wont like. wel godby. take good care of yourself and the baby. mi respects to granney.
this is from you affectionate
husban John E Richardson

John E. Richardson's letters are published here with the generous permission
of Ralph Baughn, Rochester Hills, MI. Ralph owns the original letters and retains
the exclusive copyright to them. They may not be reproduced in any form
without his explicit permission.

Many thanks to Sue Boggs for providing the background
information on the Richardson family.


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