These three letters were written by Solomon Shoman [or variously Showman, Shoeman, Shuman] (1829-1862) who enlisted in August 1861 at the age of 32 in Co. I, 3rd Ohio Cavalry. He was the Quartermaster Sergeant in his company.
Solomon was the oldest child of Daniel Shuman (1797-1865) and Catharine Kellar of Blain, Perry county, Pennsylvania. His siblings included his sisters Catharine (“Kate”) and Mary, and brothers John, Daniel K, and Levi. [See 1862: Daniel Kellar Shoeman to John D. Shuman].
In the 1850 U.S. Census, 21 year-old Solomon “Shuman” was enumerated in the George Borst household in West, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania where worked on the Borst farm. From the third letter below, we learn that Solomon was in Texas in 1860 but it isn’t clear what he was doing there or why he had to leave. It may be that he taught school or worked as a private tutor in Texas before the war.
Solomon did not survive the war. He died on 20 April 1862 at Nashville, Tennessee.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
[The beginning of this letter is missing but it seems certain it was addressed to his brother Daniel K. Shoeman who opted to join Co. M, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry rather than join his brother in the 3rd Ohio Cavalry.]Solo
….a man can save all he makes $14.00 per month will amount to $168.00 a year. At the end of the war each private will receive $100.00 bounty and still further after the war closes there will doubtless be passed a bill giving each man 160 acres of land.
Summing up the whole, I know not that I could make more at teaching or hard work than I will make in the army. I think I will have an office that will pay me tolerably well. You say if you enlist you should like to be with me. I should be very happy, indeed, to have you with me. It would afford me much pleasure to have you go with this regiment. I tried to get a pass for you here but I can not do so now. If you make up your mind to enlist for this regiment, go to Bloomfield, call on some lawyer, have yourself sworn in for Col. [Lewis] Zahm‘s Regiment of Cavalry, take a certificate of the same, and come to Pittsburgh, then to Mansfield, Ohio, by the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad and from Mansfield to Monroeville, Ohio. It will not cost you more than $12 or $15 dollars and that will be refunded to you when you draw your first month’s pay. I saw Col. Zahm this morning about the matter and think there will be no trouble about it.
Should you make up your mind to come, do so as soon as you can. I think it would be about the best thing you could do at present or while the war lasts. Bring as few things as possible along. A good heavy suit is enough and a few shirts and such little things as you need every day. I have all my things here but will send them home as soon as we get our uniforms. I will carry my valise in what you may need.
S. Shoman, Monroeville, Huron county, Ohio
Tell Kate, Mary, John & Levi each to write a line with you. Write without delay.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
October 5th 1861
I wrote you a few days since requesting you to join me if you had any notion of enlisting. I have not heard whether you are coming or not. I have received the appointment of Company Quartermaster since my last [letter]. I must have an assistant in my office and having the privilege of appointing him myself, I should be most happy to have you join me. Your pay would be about $21 per month. Everything such as horse, uniform, board, &c. furnished. I stay at headquarters [and] will not be much exposed to the weather or the balls of the enemy. My labor will be a few hours a day. The balance of the time I will have to myself. The same applies to my assistant. This is a good a chance to get into the service as you will have because you will enlist for three years or duration of the war, if you accept it. Should you and John be able to make any other arrangement at home so that you would stay there and he join me, all right. If his health is good enough to endure…
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Camp Denison, Ohio
January 18th 1862
Dear Brother [John or Levi],
Your letter of the 21st ult. reached me in due time. I should have answered it sooner but we were about to leave Camp Worcester and I put off writing till we should reach this.
The regiment commenced moving by squadrons on the 13th inst. There are now four squadrons or eight companies here and four companies or two squadrons [yet] to come. Monday morning will bring the last in. We marched to Shelby — a distance of 28 miles — and thence to this place by rail. The horses were carried and the baggage put in baggage cars, the men in passenger cars, making in all a train of some twenty cars. We had quite pleasant time coming here. The men were anxious to move and were in fine spirits and some of them considerably under the influence of spirits.
Camp Denison is located fifteen miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio. The camp encloses about one thousand acres of land on the south bank of the Little Miami River. There is nothing grand or romantic about the location of the camp. There are now in this camp about seven thousand men, being three regiments of cavalry, six of infantry, and some artillery. The whole of them out on drill or dress parade will make a fine appearance.
We have been here but two days and my time has been so much occupied that I have seen but little of the other regiments or of the camp. The weather too has been bad and the camp very muddy. A few days more and I will be able to see more. I know not how long we shall stay here or where we shall go. There is some probability of going to Texas. Should we go there, I shall be on hand [to] deal out vengeance to some of the hell-hounds who exiled me from there in 1860 and if I can, I shall try to enrich myself at their expense as much as they impoverished me when there.
I enjoy soldier life much and think I shall continue to do so.
Brother Dan is on the Potomac near Washington. I have not heard from him. Give me his address. I want to write him immediately. We have not received any pay as yet. I think we will receive some next week. Remember me to all enquiring friends.
Your brother, — S. Shoman