1862: Joseph M. Tomlinson to John Tomlinson


This letter was written by Joseph M. Tomlinson (1833-1862) of Battery A, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Joseph enlisted on 25 September 1861 to serve three years in the battery. We learn from this letter that he soon became ill in the service and regimental records indicate that he died less than a month after this letter was written. He died on 14 March 1862 at Nashville, Tennessee.

Joseph wrote this letter from Camp Wood near Munfordville, Kentucky. Batteries A accompanied the Army of the Cumberland under Gen. Buell through Kentucky and Tennessee as the Confederate army withdrew to Corinth.

Joseph was the son of Robert Tomlinson (1796-1876) and Thirzah Munyon (1801-1883) of Charlestown, Portage County, Ohio. He wrote the letter to his older brother, John Tomlinson (b. 1825) who married Rose Mulligan (b. 1834 in Ireland) and resided in Adrian, Michigan.

Joseph was married to Louisa Maria Fargo (1836-1915) in October 1855 and together they had three children — Joseph R. Tomlinson (1856-1913), Mary Isabel Tomlinson (1859-1893) and Frank R. Tomlinson (1862-1927). The last child, Frank, was born in Charlestown, Portage County, Ohio, on 24 March 1862 — ten days after his father’s death.


Camp Wood [Kentucky]
February 12th 1862

Dear Brother,

Your letter came in due season — was glad to hear from you again but it found me rather poorly as I am now just getting around from a run of Fever. I have been out twice since I got up. I have a run of the Bilious Remittent Fever and I find myself quite feeble but I thought I must write you a short letter anyway and so you must see I am not strong by my hand writing.

I am very glad to hear from my brothers & sisters and friends. I have not written a letter for over two weeks till yesterday. I wrote a short one to my wife.

Our Battery is quite healthy. There is now on the south bank of Green River about twelve thousand men. I look for a forward movement of our troops here soon. We heard last night by dispatch that Columbus [Kentucky] was taken by our forces. If true, why I feel as though we had done wonders. I think the war will not last long. We may have a bloody fight at Bowling Green. Still I can’t tell how that will be.

Fort Henry was a good victory for us and we felt fine over it but if Columbus is taken, that is still better for our side. There is now a very large force here and we are looking for some reinforcements of about fifty thousand looking as though we might see some fight yet.

But I am getting tired and must stop. Tell Rose her wines will be very acceptable — also the box you speak of sending. But I must truly close. Kiss the children for Uncle Joe and with much love to you & Rose.

I am your brother, — Joseph M. Tomlinson


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