These two letters were written by David M. Wynn (1842-1903), the son of Abram J. Wynn (1796-1856) of Plymouth, Richland county, Ohio. David’s mother was Ruth Pickering [or Piquern] (1805-1849) — a native of Scotland who died in 1849. David’s father remarried a second time to Sarah Ann Champion (1815-1870). The only relative David mentions in either letter was Maria Wynn, his younger sister — born in 1844.
David enlisted as a private in 12 August 1861 to serve three years in Co. B, 49th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). He was captured on 31 December 1862 at the Battle of Stone River and exchanged at Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland, in February, 1863. Before he returned to his company on 1 October 1863, he was taken ill with pneumonia and spent several weeks in a hospital at Louisville. He was promoted to corporal on 1 May 1864 and to sergeant on 1 January 1865. He mustered out with his company as a veteran in November 1865 at Victoria, Texas.
The first letter was written while with his regiment near Huntsville, Alabama in July 1862. The second letter was written from Louisville where he was convalescing from pneumonia in August 1863.
After the war, David resided in Toledo, Ohio, where he married Julia F. Rempes (1846-1901) in December 1867. I believe he worked as a traveling agent for the Toledo Mower and Reaper Works. In September 1882, David Wynn was seriously injured when an elevator fell that he was riding in. A fellow employee by the name of George Taylor was instantly killed in the same accident.
On 13 July 1903, the Cincinnati Post published the following obituary notice: “TOLEDO — After attending church twice, David Wynn, 65, a furniture salesman, who was separated from his wife, shot himself in the head fatally. A note to his pastor requested the latter not to tell the cause of the suicide.”
David wrote both letters to his hometown friend, John Griffith (1842-1912), of Plymouth, Richland county, Ohio.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Camp on Indian [Creek]
Near Huntsville, Alabama
July the 4th 1862
It is not with a small degree of pleasure that I embrace this present opportunity to let you know that I am well and I hope these few lines will find you in the same state of health. John, I have not got any letter from you since I sent you that money and if you wrote any letter since, I have not received received it yet and I would like to hear from it. If you did not receive my letter yet that states to you where to get that money, I will tell you in this letter and you can get it yet. There is not any danger but what the money will arrive safe at Shelby [Township, Richland county, OH] and if you go there and ask him for the money, you will get it. And now I will tell you where to go for that money and what you must do with it.
You must go to Mr. D. Cummins ¹ and tell him that Mr. David M. Wynn of the 49th Ohio Regiment sent to John Griffith $15.00 in C with A Co. of the 15th Ohio Regiment and I think that you can get the money and if you think that your word is not good enough, you can take my letter to him and then he will let you have that money. And if not, you must tell me and I will send a receipt for it and you can do with the money what you see fit to. And if I should not get to come, you can keep the money till you get your use out of the money and then you can give it to my sister, Maria Wynn, and tell her that I said that she could do with it what she wanted to and then she cannot say that I did not give her any thing as she did the time that I left. That is sufficient about that.
John, I have not had a chance to write any sooner on the account of our marching all of the time. There [has] been one week but what this army has been on the march till this one and I would just so leave be on the march as to lay here in this camp and there are guards on the camp so that there are not any can go out unless they have got a pass from the general and the general will not give any passes unless he sees fit to. There are some of the boys that are out all of the time and the Colonel is a getting down on them and if the boys are not careful, they cannot get out at all. And there are some that would not live long if the y could not get out to run around and they are a stealing from the men in the regiment and the Colonel is a going to put a stop to it. And the other day there one of the corporals that got a pass and went out and picked a pail full of blackberries and came in and sold them for 20 cents a quart and all that the pass was given to him for was to get the blackberries for the mess. The captain come pretty near taking his stripes off for it and then he said that he would do better hereafter. Yesterday I went out and picked a pail full of them and I gave them to the mess and then that corporal was so glad to get some as any of the others.
John, I cannot think of anything more to write and you must write as soon as you get this. Goodbye. Yours truly, — D. M. Wynn
Direct your letter to Mr. D. M. Wynn, Co. B, 49th Ohio Regt. in care of Captain B[enjamin] S. Porter, ² the 2nd Division and the 6th Brigade.
¹ This was David Cummins (b. @1844), the son of Thomas and Mary Cummins of Plymouth, Richland county, Ohio. He resided in Shelby, Richland county, Ohio in 1860. David’s older brother, George W. Cummins served as the captain of Co. Im 15th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War.
² Capt. Benjamin S. Porter was promoted to major of the regiment on 30 September 1862. He was wounded on 31 December 1862 at the Battle of Stone River and discharged on 4 October 1863.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
August 21st 1863
Your kind and welcome letter came to hand yesterday and I was so busy that I could not answer it any sooner than this morning. I am reasonably well at this time. There was an order came for me to go to my regiment and I was all ready to start and the doctor said that I could not go yet for he said that I am not fit for duty yet and he said that I should not mind that order at all for it did not concern me if i was not fit for my regiment yet and I don’t think that there is anything that is so urgent as they let on. I told the doctor that I was as much fit for my regiment as ever I was and he said that was the way with the Boys when they wanted to get away from the hospital — they would say they was as well as ever and when I came to [be] examined, then they are not fit to leave. I was glad to think that I could leave here and I was mad to think that I could not go.
I don’t know what to write. Things are very still here and there is not anything going on here. There was a General Order read to us and it was that all soldiers that is caught on the street after six o’clock is arrested and took to the barracks and there remain under guard till the next morning and then turned over to their place of abode.
I cannot think there is any [more] to write this time. I had the pneumonia when I was sent here and I don’t think that I will ever be as well as I was again. I am as well all over as well as I ever was but my breast and that is quite painful for some cause or other but I cannot see what causes it.
I must close for this time. Write soon. Yours truly, — David M. Wynn
General Hospital, No. 6, Louisville, Kentucky
[to] John Griffith