1863: Martin Nixon to Sue R. Nixon

This letter was written by Martin Nixon (1845-1926) who served three years as a private with the 17th Ohio Independent Battery. Martin enlisted on 15 August 1862 and mustered out at Camp Chase in August 1865. Martin is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Section WH EN, Site 20775. His brother, Morris H. Nixon, also served in the same Battery but did not enlist until January 1864.

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Martin was the son of Thomas Nixon (1815-Aft1860) and Sarah Murphy (1814-1898) of Springfield, Ohio. Thomas was a well-to-do paper manufacturer. In the late 1860’s he appears to have moved into Cincinnati where he specialized in cardboard.

The letter is not dated but we know it was 1863 because “Capt.” Charles Rice’s signature is on the envelope and he was not promoted to be captain of the Battery until July 1863. Nixon also indicates it was a Sunday, and August 9th fell on a Sunday that year. Martin wrote the letter to his older sister, Susan R. Nixon.


Addressed to Miss Sue R. Nixon, Springfield, Ohio
Soldiers Letter, Chas. S. Rice, Capt. 17th Ohio Battery

Camp at at Vicksburg
August 9th [1863]

Dear Sister,

It is very lonesome in camp. It being Sunday, everything is is quiet. Lemonade stands are closed and business suspended. The Boys not knowing it to be Sunday did not close until dinnertime. I hope they will keep it in mind next week.

Sue, it is very seldom that I know when Sunday comes. It is all the same in the army — Sunday or Monday — for we have the work and the same kind of grub — sow belly and crackers are all the go in the Battery. Sue, it is no use keeping it quiet any longer. I been in service about one year. I suppose you know that without me telling you.

The supplies are sent especially in the company. I am willing to serve my time and do my duty but I would like to have plenty to eat. I don’t like this way of soldiering — buying all that I want to eat. The Boys blame the Quarter Master but I don’t know whether it is his fault or not. But there is a blind owl somewhere. There are about 40 sutlers within 400 yards of our camp. I will give you a list of things in a few minutes. It is scandalous the way they charge. If it wasn’t called rascality, I wold eat and steal everything they had.

I suppose you think that my temper is at its highest state by the way that I write but I can’t help it for I am our of humor. The horn blew for supper and I went and what should I find but the meal spoiled and then I had to do without.

No more at present. Love to all. From your brother, [Martin Nixon]

List of Sutter Goods:

Can Fruit — one quarter.
Canned peaches $1.25
Canned Butter $1.25
Canned Milk 75 to $1.00
Peaches, three for 10 cents
Everything in proportion



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