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Letters of
Pvt Samuel C. Trescott
Co. C, 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

Ohio Historical Society
Columbus Ohio

This folder contains transcriptions of letters of Pvt Samuel C. Trescott to his cousin, Cordelia Miller, of Braceville, Trumbull County, Ohio.

[direct care of Captain Burnett]
November 2, 1861 - Cleveland OH
Describes sleeping in wet, hard conditions and getting a sore throat. They expect to be paid soon, though many have already spent most at the sutter's tent. He is pleased with his horse, has part of his uniform, and expects to get the rest of his uniform soon.

November 21, 1861 - Cleveland OH
Will be leaving for Cincinnati in a week and expect then to go into active service in KY. Enjoys the horse drills and expects to be paid soon.

?January 3, 1861 - Camp Dennison
Has just moved into the new barracks (200'x25'). Three tiers of bunks run along one wall and two men sleep in each bunk. Observes that drilling with swords is harder than milking cows. Expects soon to be sent into KY for guard duty. Is convinced that any girl wanting to get married will wait until the soldiers return because then she will have a husband who is up to any type of housework.

February 1, 1862 - Platte City
Notes with pleasure that Hoffman has left their company, hopefully for good, and is playing lackey to the officers. Could this be the
[Henry Hoffmann who wins a Congressional Medal of Honor while with the 2nd Ohio Cavalry?] He sees the land he is in as good land and thinks a good man could become rich. Describes searching a Southern old woman's home for arms while she tells them what her husband's unit is going to do to them. Feels embarrassed at searching a young lady's bedroom, though not so much so that he wouldn't have read her love letters if the captain had let them.

?Feb 1, 1862 - Platte City
Many of the boys are sick, though his health is good. He goes searching for supplies in a house with a woman, her daughter and a young man visiting the daughter. They lit into him but he "staid it outlike a man" and when the young man would have pulled a knife in anger, let him see the pistol on his hip. The next day he goes out with five other man to guard a Colonel and captain as they confiscate a large plantation. The soldiers are back being farmers -- sorting potatoes, cutting and hauling wood, harvesting oats, etc.

[direct care of Lieu Ward]
March 3, 1862 - Kansas City MO
Complains about the way their many sick friends are being "used worse than dogs". Those in the hospital see nothing of the subscriptions raised for them back North. And those who aren't sick have to take over the work of those who are. Objects to the portrait his cousin paints of the northern soldiers as predators of women and babies in the south. Feels that they act like gentlemen. Is having some action and enjoying watching the secesh run. Realizes he's bitter but when he sees "boy after boy put into the ground with nothing to send them there except measles it makes me feel bad all over, when a little care would save them."

March 11, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Ft Scott seems to be six old houses in the midst of wolves, wildcats and rabbits. He's seeing what's left after the border raiders pass through -- the burned out houses and the women and children begging food at the fort. A few of his friends came across a man whipping a black woman and they tied him to a tree and whipped him while his slaves watched. The man went to Genl Doubleday to identify the men who did it but Doubleday wouldn't investigate. They found powder in the man's house and jailed him as a secesh. Thinks the war will be over in 4 months. Half of the men in the company are dead or sick, but the ones left are the good ones.

March 17, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Anxious to leave the fort for some action. Looking forward to the fight. Pleased that he can ride 30 miles a day now and not feel tired. When they were in Platte City, they freed 400 slaves. Believes that Proslavery northerners would feel differently if they could actually come here and see what slavery means. Misses his cousin and the sight of a pretty girl.

April 8, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Is so pleased with the latest letter from his cousin that he will try to keep it, even though they are made to burn their letters when they go on a march. Notes that when the cavalry ride out with their canteens in the morning, they return with them full of milk that they didn't buy. Buffalo robes sell cheap and he wishes he could send one home to her. Feels strong and good and, though Fort Scott is going to be their headquarters, expects to be on the march soon either south or toward home, "though there is not much danger of going home."

April 16, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Suggests his cousin not think about business opportunities out here because she would be, most likely, waylaid on the road by jayhawkers. Took some free time to just go out riding and hunting rabbits. Sees the prairies covered with flowers and encloses some with his letter. Also sees Indians in war paint and thinks they will be leaving the fort soon.

May 2, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Has just returned after a 70 mile ride in 8 hours. Rode all week after secesh. You get used to sleeping in the rain. Guides told them who were secesh and they raided them for food and stock. The people they raid are furious. He would rather be off to the Missouri and Arkansas line to a big fight than worry about being shot from the side of the road. His cousin's friend says the war will take 2 years to get over but he thinks four months and tells her not to believe her friend.

May 11, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
They have a preacher but never hear him preach. He's too busy being with the sick and dying. Thinks they'll continue to lose 5 men a week. Expects to be home in six months. "If it was not for Bush whackers rattle snacks and wood ticks this would be a nice place to live."

May 30, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Hoping to leave the fort for good soon for the Indian nation where there are 5000 secesh Indian cavalry and 2000 whites, some cavalry. Expects they will take Fort Smith in Arkansas, though the secesh say they won't. Complains that they need more men, as the regiments are only half full. Still hopes the war will be over in 6 months. Wants a picture of his cousin and will send one of himself, if she wants.

[direct to Genl Solomons Body guard]
August 24, 1862 - Ft. Scott KS
Got his cousin's likeness and is pleased. Says that if she was out here he could jay hawk her a horse to make up for the one she's lost. Doesn't like to fight Indians. Feels that they're cowards. Has had sunstroke, but didn't go to the doctor. His friend from home took care of him in his tent. The officers are going back to Ohio to recruit. Asks how long she thinks before the war will be over. Doesn't seem as likely to be soon as he used to think. Doesn't like Kansas. Hard land so dry they only get crops one year out of four. But he does like Missouri. Doesn't think Kansas is worth fighting for. If he was home he would enlist again. Knows that if they don't go south, the southerners will come north and he has seen enough of war to not want it among his friends. Asks her to imagine a lot of men coming to your house and taking everything and leaving you without anything to eat.

October 3, 1862 - Sarcoxie
They've just been whipped in a fight but they're going to try again tomorrow. If they win, he hopes they won't strip the dead and kill the wounded as the southerners have done. He's looking at her picture. There will be a hot fight tomorrow morning and he knows he could die but he doesn't fear death and believes that he will live to see Ohio again. He thinks they're "better able than ever to stand the hardships of a soldiers life."

October 14, 1862 - Camp Curtis
In good spirits and enjoying himself. They're 8 miles from Cafsville, 20 from Pea Ridge and Cross Hollow where they expect the rebs to make a stand. Finds the women in the area cross, but excuses them because of the privations they're subjected to. A girl hit him on the arm with a club when he was going to go into her house and he decided that he wasn't ready to die yet. This isn't border territory anymore. Every house is secesh now.

October 25, 1862 - Pea Ridge AK
Rumors are growing that the 2nd is going home to recruit. Doesn't think she'll recognize him if he drops in on her. Thinking now that he'll come home at the end of 3 years safe and sound. They're camping on the Pea Ridge battle grounds where there are plenty of cannon balls and graveyards. A secesh said that it took from Tuesday to Friday to bury our dead, but he knows it wasn't true. He buried the dead all Tuesday night and was done by Wednesday morning. The women here swear worse than the soldiers do. He's the only one who still has his old horse and it has an easy ride. There was a heavy snowstorm last night. Those who like the south can have it.

March 6, 1863 - Camp Chase
They acted as escorts for a lot of Governors. Governor Johnson of Tennessee says that he'll fight the rebs for ten years and fight again. He thinks that's five years more than he wants to fight them. One of the boys walked in his sleep, got his horse equipment and walked into a ditch. He still didn't wake up. He got to his horse and got on him before they were able to stop him. They had to throw two buckets of water in his face before he woke up. The next night he walked in his sleep again and stole and hid a lot of beans. 100 men went to Columbus and destroyed a secesh printing office. He thinks it was the right thing to do, and says it wasn't a mob. They did just what they meant to do.

[direct to Lexington KY]
April 11, 1863 - Mount Sterling KY
They were at Covington KY long enough for him to get a letter but they've been on the march since then through the best country he's ever seen. He likes the KY people, who say they're the best cavalry regiment that's been through the state. "They do not know that all the sick ones have died and been discharged and what are left are only haff of 1250 that went out so gay eighteen monts ago." A slave escaped into their camp and by the rules they should have given him up. But he knows their captain would have let them keep him and when the lieutenant wouldn't, they refused to obey orders, even though he threatened to punish them. When the captain came back, he said they'd done right. He doesn't want to go into houses and force the slaves to come, but he does want to keep the ones who run to them.

[direct to Somerset KY]
April 24, 1863 - Somerset KY
Life has been hard of late, raining all night and without food for two days, but it's only hard on the new recruits. They're five miles from the Cumberland river and can see the rebs on the other side. Hard not to go for them, but expect to come summer. At least there aren't any bushwhackers around.

May 10, 1863 - Somerset KY
Got two letters and a photograph. Very happy. Had a great chase across the river after the secesh. Thinks the war can't last much longer. The prisoners they capture say they've given up any thought of whipping the north and are relying on the copperheads up north to save the south. Encourages her to write to soldiers but asks that the letters not be sober and sedate. Preachers get paid for that. They lost 32 men when they went across the river, and some of them were near their time to muster out. When he gets near his time, he thinks he'll sneak away from a fight.

May 20, 1863 - Somerset KY
Burnsides' old men are here and go down to the river every time there's a secesh scare. She asked if he will admit he's sick of soldiering. He's not. "If I was out of the army and feel as I do now I would enlist again." Claims they take more abuse from the secesh women than from the men. They were hungry and looking for food and went to a home offering to pay. The woman called them names, so they took what they wanted. They stand guard at the river and talk with the secesh guards. They'll shoot at each other for awhile, then stop and go across. The rebs are sick of the war and have given up hope of whipping them.

[direct to Lexington KY]
Jul 12, 1863 - Lebanon KY
They've been marching and fighting. He's never had better health or enjoyed himself more. Seven of them got caught between two secesh commands on a mountain road and some of their company heard the shots and thought they were dead. They're after Morgan and have caught a number of his men. Mostly they charge and the secesh run. One man didn't and said he gave up. He went to hand his gun to someone and then took aim and fired. The horse knocked the gun up and saved the boy's life. They chased down the man and killed him, they were so mad. Later they heard that his brother had been hung and he had promised to kill the first Yankee he saw at his home. The 1st Tenn regiment knew Dr. Baker and said he was a mean man, but a very brave one.

[direct to Knoxville TN; 2se Div 23th A.C. Genl White's Escort]
Oct 2, 1863 - Louden TN
He's well and happy and thinking only ten and a half months yet to serve. He was in small fights at Carlestown, Sweetwater and Athens and a man near him was hit by a shall. Some of their boys almost got captured but in the dust the other side couldn't see who it was. "You can have no idea how things get mixed up in a fight."

Oct 17, 1863 - Louden TN
Things are quiet for the time being. He envies her descriptions of her studies and feels he's gone backwards in his book education, "but I have learned something I hope." He's indignant that his father tells him not to vote for Vallandingham. He knows the man is hated worse than the rebels. "I am not old enough to vote, but I think that a boy that has been in service over two years ought to vote anyhow." He saw a woman in Tennessee chewing tobacco like a man. The women often say that they are going to marry a yankee. He told her that he wasn't old enough to get married.

Nov 14, 1863 - Louden TN
There have been more fights lately. He was with Warford and the brigade was badly cut up. He enjoyed the fight because he had a good carbine and plenty of ammunition, but then they got hemmed in on all sides. "I heard Col Wolford say, as cool as could be 'boys I am going to Louden if any of you are going you can go with me.' Only about half of them got out but he figures the rebels lost the same number. He did pick up a revolver that he hopes to bring home.


Henry L. Burnett
Map to Gen. Burnett Pages
Gen. Burnett's Will
Gen. Burnett's Grave
Gen. Burnett's Promotions
Biography of Gen. Burnett
Gen. Burnett's Military Career

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