1862: Oliver Edwards to Brother

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 10.51.57 AMThe first part of this letter was written by Oliver Edwards who enlisted at the age of 18 to serve three months in Co. I, 86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Oliver mustered in at Camp Chase on 1 June 1862 and mustered out with the company on 25 September 1862. The regiment spent part of its term of enlistment in western Virginia, doing guard duty, etc., but it was in no engagements. Oliver died on 8 July 1863 and was buried on the Edwards’ farm near Minerva, Stark county, Ohio.

The second part of the letter was written by Lucinda (Maline) Edwards (1820-Aft1880), the wife of master mason Thomas B. Edwards (1818-1865), and the mother of Oliver Edwards (1844-1863). In the 1860 US Census, the family was enumerated in West Township, Columbiana county, Ohio.  Lucinda’s husband, Thomas apparently went as a substitute in Co. F, 10th Ohio Cavalry, where he was a commissary sergeant. He died on 24 April 1865.


June 15th [1862]
Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio

Dear Brother,

I take my pencil in hand to let you know that we are both well and forked end down. I have just been down camp to church. I saw some pretty women there. we was over to the [Scioto] River today. We drawed some darned fine chickens [smudged pencil]. Dave Emmons got out of the river and we went to a little hut and there was 2 big roosters in the corn crib. We took them both.

If you send me a letter with money in it, direct to Oliver, 86th Regiment, Company I, in care of Capt. [Andrew V. P.] Day. I forgot to write it yesterday. — Oliver

Paper is scarce. I wrote on Oliver’s old letter.

October 22, 1862 at noon

There [was] a good many drafted on the third of this month and it raised quite an excitement. A good many of them run off and they sent five hundred soldiers to Canton to hunt them up and take them by force and five or six hundred citizens went to Canton to keep them from going and they took some of them up—Magreager [Archibald McGregor] of Canton for one and took him to Camp Mansfield and fed him on soldier’s rations. That is the place where all of the drafted men rendezvous. They reason they did not want to go was that the Governor said them that belonged to religious societies that was conscientious against fighting might be clear by paying two hundred dollars and they said if two hundred dollars cleared one man, it might another. ¹

Jacob Newcomer was drafted and Bill Crowell and Felix Knidick was drafted. Some hire substitutes and pay five and some six hundred dollars. Your Father went with Lib McConohey day before Saturday to Crestline and he will put her on the train that goes to Winchester and he will come back to Camp Mansfield and stay there three or four days and if he can get a good chance, he will hire for a substitute. He wants five or six hundred dollars and then he will enlist and get one hundred and forty dollars county and thirteen dollars a month besides. And his old captain said he would give him an office if he would go with him and he sent for your father to come out to Camp Mansfield and see him and I don’t know what he will do. I wish this war was over for I have no peace day or night.

Dock says he will go again. You wanted money. I have none to send in this letter but I will send you some in a few days. We got your money all right and I lent it to Daniel Summers at six percent. You must take good care of yourself and write soon for I will want to hear from you. So no more from your mother, — Lucinda Edwards

¹ Anson Pease, the Deputy Provost Marshal of Stark county, testified that “Messrs. [Archibald] McGregor (editor of Stark County Democrat) and [Peter N.] Reitzel were arrested upon the charge of having, on the 6th day of October, 1862, encouraged and incited resistance to the draft, and counseled and advised drafted men not to respond.”  Stark county was ordered to draft 541 men and those drafted were ordered to assemble in Canton on 6 October 1862.  Both McGregor and Reitzel were eventually released after taking the Oath of Allegiance. One of the drafted men, Mr. Roher, was quoted in Canton at saying to an assembled crowd of protestors that “as for himself, he would not turn out and fight in any such damnable war; he was not going to obey the unconstitutional requirements of the tyrant, Lincoln.” McGregor was one of eleven men arrested; others included Ohio Senator Edson B. Olds and John Kees, editor of the Circleville Watchman.

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