These two letters were written by Ivory Bassett Saunders (1841-1862) who enlisted as a private on 5 October 1861 in Co. A, 6th Ohio Cavalry. He was not long in the service; Ivory died of “typhoid fever and congestive chills” on 5 May 1862 at Camp Chase.
In May 1863, Ivory’s mother — Rachel T. (Bassett) Saunders — filed for a “Widow’s Pension” stating that Ivory was her legal son; that she and Ivory’s father — Stephen Tillotson Saunders — were married in Wayne, Erie county, Pennsylvania on 16 February 1840; and that her husband had died on 8 February 1863. Her son Ivory, it claimed, was a minor (though he claimed to be 21) when he enlisted and she relied on his earnings to supplement the family income. She was awarded a pension of $8/month.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mr. S. T. Saunders, Bloomfield, Trumbull county, Ohio
Camp Hutchins ¹
January 5th 1862
I arrived at Camp Dennison on Sunday (today). Upon leaving the train we were marched into comfortable quarters that had been prepared by us. We lodge in barracks better than those we had before. It is a very good camping ground and is a very pleasant situation. We had a safe and pleasant journey on the cars, changing trains but twice. I have seen Bick Anderson and more that I am acquainted with. There are a company of zouaves next to us on the south. They are the worst company on the ground. There has been two or three of them killed by the citizens who caught them stealing.
We are in good spirits and I do not know but that we shall have marching orders again before long.
A man was killed by a cannon fall on him a few days ago (accidentally). Bick says it is nothing strange to see a dead man here. The small pox prevails here to some extent.
As I have already wrote a letter before this and have another to write, I must be brief so goodbye.
— Ivory B. Saunders
6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
Care of Capt. [Amander] Bingham
¹ The Oak Grove Fairgrounds in Warren, home of the Trumbull County Agricultural Society, was selected for a training camp and named Camp Hutchins in Congressman Hutchins’ honor.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Mrs. Stephen Saunders, North Bloomfield, Trumbull county, Ohio
Camp Chase [Columbus, OH]
April 10th 1862
I arrived in Warren about an hour before it was time to start. Took the train for Cleveland at ½ past 3 in the afternoon, arrived there at 8 o’clock, waited about ½ of an hour, changed trains [and] come in to Columbus some 2 hours before day. Waited till morning and then those of the boys who had baggage that was heavy paid 2 shillings and had themselves and luggage conveyed to town.
Arrived in camp [and] found that the boys had pitched their tents and that many of them had moved into tents though none of Capt. [Amander] Bingham’s men had moved. Those that had moved into tents found them very uncomfortable and some of them have moved back.
We shall not move till we are obliged to. No pay has been received yet and we do not know when we shall receive any.
No more at present. Goodbye. — Ivory B. Saunders