1864: David Nichol to Annie Nichol

David Nichol

This letter was written by Sgt. David Nichol (1839-1925) of Independent Battery E (Knap’s Battery), Pennsylvania Light Artillery. David enlisted in September 1861. He was wounded at Wauhatchie, Tennessee, on 29 October 1863, when they were attacked by a powerful rebel force while attached to Gen. Geary’s column as it approached Chattanooga. During that engagement, the battery suffered a heavy loss and more than half the horses were killed. He recovered from his wound, however, and was promoted from Sergeant to First Sergeant on 15 October 1864. He mustered out with the battery on 14 June 1865.

According to military records, David stood 5’7″ tall, had a florid complexion, hazel eyes, and dark brown hair.

After the war, David married Laura E. ___ (1850-Bef1920) and settled in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, where he was employed as a revenue collector and later as an insurance agent. His parents were Irish immigrants.

Knap’s Independent Battery served with distinction through several campaigns and important battles during the Civil War. These included Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. See James P. Brady’s book, “Hurrah for the Artillery” (1992).

Knap’s Independent Battery right after the Battle of Antietam


Addressed to Miss Annie Nichol, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, Care of P. M. [Post Master]

In Camp, Bridgeport, Alabama
April 3d, 1864

Dear Sister,

I am on guard tonight so I thought I would spend the spare time in writing this. It will make the time pass away more quickly for I often get tired waiting till the hour arrives for my relief. Bother your letters came duly to hand and I was glad to hear you all continue to enjoy good health. The second one that come I could not imagine who it was from till opening it. I thought there must be something wrong knowing you was not in the habit of writing two letters to my one. But after all there was nothing serious. You need not be afraid how many you write as I can read them.

So Lizzy was very much put out about the taffy? You can just tell her for me to rest contented & calm her mind. That I appreciate the motives that prompted her to run so far the same as if I had received the taffy. I am sorry she went to so much trouble. While there, I never noticed it and only you mentioning the matter I would not have been any the wiser.

Have you heard anything about Lieut. [James A.] Dunlevy lately? Has he any notion of starting?

I suppose you have the trouble of moving over by this time. Had you anyone to help? How do you like the house and the location? I suppose the landlady will make innumerable calls — she has her headquarters so near. Tell mother I was glad  to learn that I possessed some shirts being under the impression I had none & that I was sporting my big brothers while at home. Well the best of people is liable to be mistaken sometimes.

Jim & Jno. Loudon was up to see us tonight. They call often & we have a good time generally. We were out a riding one day last week. They enjoyed the trip and intend going again. They don’t think they will leave here before June. I think they ought to stay as long as they have work & good health as I know they will not get in as good a place again. Tom is well and contented.

Tell John the first opportunity he gets of selling my tools to do it. I will get him a revolver the first chance but they are not one in the Battery now.

The Regulars have left here & we are in full possession of the quarters. Have got our new horses & harness & are ready for the service once more. But they are no signs of a move yet.

My respects to Mr. Chamberlain. Tell Mattie I feel very much flattered by the compliment paid me & return it with my best wishes. Remember me kindly to Mr. & Mrs. Riddle. I was much pleased to hear of John’s advancement. Hope he will be able to fill it properly. He has much to thank Mr. Riddle for.

My love to all and write soon. Remember me to Andy & family. Yours affectionately, — Dave


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