Letter from Noah E. Stump Company E, 25th OVI - 1864
All five brothers survived the war, to my knowledge, although three received wounds during their service. John and Alfred were both wounded in Chancellorsville – John so severely that it ended his military service. William was wounded at Gettysburg, and both William and Alfred at Deveaux’s Neck. Alfred was also taken prisoner in September of 1861 during an independent expedition deep into Rebel territory."
Transcribed text of letter:
Fort Mitchell, S.C.
Sept. 11th, 1864
Your letter of August 1st reached here last night very unexpected as I had almost given up all hopes of ever hearing from you. I thought perhaps you had left Ionia and gone to some other part of the world. I had made up my mind to write to your father next week and try to get some information and as I took that notion I think that I shall write to him soon. I want to correspond with everybody that I can get to write to me. I have but very little duty to do myself and plenty time to write. I am very anxious to hear from my Uncle, Aunt and Cousins in Michigan. I also want to write to pass away time and for improvement in writing and composing letters as I am a very poor hand in both. If there is anybody where you live that would like to hear from this out of the way place, tell them to write to me and I will answer promptly. And while you are telling them to write please don’t forget yourself and write as often as you conveniently can. We are a great way from home and our mail is very slow coming through. Although, we take great delight in reading them (letters) if they are three or four weeks old when we get them. Your letter was written August 1st and received Sept 10th. I am much pleased with your letter and have read it a dozen times over.
We are still doing garrison duty at Fort Mitchell near Port Royal and also picket duty along the west side of Port Royal Island. Everything is quiet along our lines but we can see the Rebels on the other side of the channel. But they keep out of our perch[?]. I understand they came across several times last winter and spring and captured small squads[?] of pickets stationed along on Skull Creek.
You asked me what I think of this war and its termination. I think it will terminate by an unconditional surrender of the Southern Army and all public property in the Confederacy and that is the only way that we can expect the war to end very soon. Although, there are men that would go in for peace on any terms, but they are not in the army they are in the North. We have lost too many men to ask for peace on any other terms but our own and I think our cause is getting brighter and more encouraging every day. So, I think if the government will get out a few hundred thousand men on this last call Gen Grant will make a short job of it. I don’t think they will want all of the men in the last call but it is best to have them all out and make sure. I think the soldiers are more determined now in putting down the Rebellion then they ever where before and I think it hard and disgraceful for us to make any propositions to the Rebels for peace, especially the Soldiers that have fought for three or four years and have been made cripples by their fighting and now give up and say you have been fighting and got crippled in a useless war. It would be insulting to them. My three brothers have been wounded and they are willing to stay three years longer rather than let the Rebels gain their independence. Although, one of my brothers is severely disabled and not able to be in the Army. He is at home now but will come out again if he will be excepted but he can never carry a gun. He might get a position where he could fill his place and do something, he has had some very good chances but was not able to go at that time. He has been doctoring ever since he went home, he thinks he will be cured up soon.
You want to know what kind of country this is. I call it a delightful country as far as I have seen. The land is very level and cut up with rivers or channels which divides it into islands. The land is very rich and but very little of it is cultivated since the war broke out and that is done by Negros. The whites all left when they heard of the approach of our army. Most of their houses are burned down and nothing remains but the chimneys. A few of the inhabitants have since come back and taken the south but most of them go north. I saw several towns here that go ahead of any town I ever saw for beauty. Beaufort goes ahead of any town or city I ever saw in any of the northern states and is but a small place. I will tell you what the natives raised here this summer on their farms; corn, sweet potatoes, watermelons, cotton and peanuts and all the fruits that are raised here are grapes, figs, lemons and oranges. In the fields and wood we found plenty of blackberries and huckleberries last summer. Fish and oysters are also very plenty. We can have them all the time if we don’t get too lazy to catch them. I can not tell much about the people here as there are but a very few inside of our lines and the government supports them. Negros are living here by thousands. I suppose there are two thousand on this (Hilton Head) Island.
Well, I must bring my letter to a close. I wrote longer than I thought I should and still did not write what I intended to write when I sat down. I will write again as soon as I can and will try and do better. Please write soon and give all the news. My brothers here are all well and my folks at home are well as far as I have heard of them. My Mother has moved to Prairie Depot, Wood Co., Ohio.
I will send you my photograph as soon as I can get it taken if you will except of it. I have not got any now. Tell your Husband to write, I would like to hear from him.
Co. E. 25th Regt. OVI
Hilton Head, S.C.
Users contributing materials to this site must agree to the following provisions: You confirm that your submission does not violate copyright or other applicable laws, and that appropriate credit has been given to the creator of this item. You give consent to the use of this item (including text, files, and other information) on this website and by its affiliates and partners. You agree to hold harmless the proprietors of this website, as well as its affiliates and partners. Contributors bear sole responsibility for user-generated content.