The Civil War Letters of William J. Srofe

June 1865 - April 1866

Post War Garrison Duty in Texas



Following his release from the Confederate prison in May of 1865, Srofe applied for and received a 30 day furlough in early June. Upon his return to the regiment he led a river guard in July and was appointed post Quartermaster in Houston in early August. He received a second, longer furlough in September, returning to Texas about the end of October.

"From the time the Regiment returned to Galveston, in October, 1865, until our muster-out, we performed all kinds of garrison duty, and the officers were more or less on detached service, but we were not well satisfied with our situation or treatment, for we felt that we were detained in the service longer than was actually necessary. In fact, many expressed themselves in such a way as to leave no doubt of the feelings of the Regiment."

John A. Bering & Thomas Montgomery, 1880

"... That is if I can get out the army any way in the world."

W. J. Srofe

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



Houston, Texas
September 17th 1865

My Dear Mother

Your letter dated August 22d was recd yesterday. I was very sorrow[?] to hear that John Srofe had resmued the old trade as he is pleased to term[?] it. I had hope that four years experience as a soldiers in the most noble cause -- and I may also say inexperience human misery -- had sorrow to reform him and that he here after would forever abandon that most disgrace full business -- if it may be found[?] with the term business. I ask forgiveness from God [&?] man for what I have done in the "trade" and hereafter I pledge myself to never[?] follow it again. In the language of Adam[?] I will express myself, sink or [?]. I pledge myself to God an[d] you never to disgrace you or myself by resorting to that the most damable and dishonest of all trades for a support. I look upon it as not only being repugnant to an honest man but as being repulsive to all reasonable thieves. I am speaking from experience. Yes from [?] experience. I may say for I class myself as a victeur[victim?] of its perfidly. I might have been a bad boy but the cursed feather trade seroud[?] to make me worse. Caused me to leave as good a home as any one would wish and gave to me that everlasting hankering for rambling. And last but not least robbed me of an education, defeated early my desires and intentions, besides many other infieries of which I might speak. But I will pass the subject bye hoping that this may be his last trip. [Feather Trade: hunting for plumage of wild birds.] I wrote you last sunday. I was then very weak from the breast bone fever but I am as well as ever I was I think. I am not as much as any common person. I expect John will be mad when he reads this but if he is I don't care one cent. I want that he should be mad. Perhaps it may bring him back to his natural good sense and thought. My regards to all my friends who may inquire of me. Lo[?] Azubah & [?][?] John if he is at home. I had better [?] as I last requested him but I suppose he will not and there is no use to write to you or him about it. Had I known in time I think I might have persuaded him from going. But I started to close. Good bye for the present. Your affectionate son

W.J. Srofe.
Houston Texas.




Galveston, Texas
December 10th, 1865

Dear Mother

I seat myself to write you again. I have written so often since I returned that I almost run out of material to write about. If nothing more I can say that I am very well & sincerely hope that this may find you enjoying the same. I have written some three or four times to you & about the same number of times to John & once to Azubah. As yet I have received no letter from any of you. Don't think you write very often but perhaps I am in a hurry. Our mails are very irregular here. Several of the boys will start home on furlough in a day or two. John Hitsman & Randolph Bryant are among[?] the party. I hope they may have as pleasant a time as I had. I wish you to say to Jacob Fite that I have seen Capt Cochran in regards to his money and he says he only owes him fifty (50) dollars. I have not seen Capt Rike. If he will send me an order on Capt Cochran I may be able to get the money but I would not promise certain. Capt Rike will pay without an order I think. If Hiteman should call on you for twenty five (25) dollars please give it to him as I want some things from Cincinnati to spare[?]. However don't let him have it unless he requires it for I do not owe him any thing. I want you to let me know as soon as possible where Dave Thomas does anything or not. If not I want to try a little speculation this spring if I can possibly get out of the army in time. I must know about this as soon as possible and if Thomas does not do any thing I will want my money any how by the latter part of January. That is if I can get out the army any way in the world. But if he succeeds that will require all my money & I will have to let this other business slide until I can get another capital. I shall rejoice to hear of his making a failure for I think I can make just five times the money in another way. My time with him will be up by the 1st of January. Have my money so that I can get it when I call for it. I shall write to Thomas today that is if he has not already closed the bargain to do no more in the matter. My respects to all. Mr. Espeis[?] family especially. Ever your affectionate son

W. J. Srofe.

[there are a few lines written in the other direction, on top of some of the earlier lines, they read as follows:] I want you to attend to this at once & don't fail to let me know about the matter just as soon as you can. The business I speak of will not require more than half my time & will not require a permanent location in the south. If I cannot get out the sercive against the middle of January I shall be compelled to put it off one year.




Galveston, Texas
March 16th, 1866

My Dear Mother

Yours of the 2d [?] came to hand this P.M. I was very glady to hear that your health had improved. I wrote you a few days since telling you what I thought best [?] that you could buy the place which I was perfectly willing for you to do under certain circumstances. From your last I infer that it is very doubtful where you can buy it or not. This being the case my advise is not to make any repairs -- only what are absolutely necessary to secure the next crop. This can be done by removing the inside fencing & repairing the out fencing with it which can be done with very little expense. I do not purpose expending any money upon the place unless I can buy it. There will be plenty time to repair then. My kindest regards to Uncle Bills one & all. The same to all inquiring friends especiall Mr. Espies. Excuse haste as I am in an unusual hurry & believe me every your affectionate son

W. J. Srofe.

(write soon) I shall write to boy in a day or two.




Headquarters Forty-Eighth O.V.I. Infantry
Quartermaster's Department
Galveston, Texas
March 31st, 1866.

Dear Mother

I sent via express one hundred dollars ($100.00) this P.M. directed to you Ripley, Ohio. It will be there I suppose by the time you receive this. Send for it soon. Let John Srofe have fifty dolls. Take note for same - without interest. My kindest regard to all inquiring friends if any. Write soon. Your affect. Son

W. J. Srofe.

Don't go to any more expense than possible on the old place unless you can buy it. Bud.


So ends W. J. Srofe's correspondence. He was mustered out with the regiment on the 23rd of April, 1866. They arrived in Columbus, Ohio on May 21st.


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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