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    Union Officer Letters by Captain Horace Whiting. Three letters written by Captain Whiting to members of the Litchfield family, along with two letters from David T. Litchfield to his mother and father. All of the letters are war-dated, ranging from December 9, 1862 to January 22, 1865, and relate the two men's experiences during the war. Horace G. Whiting enlisted at the age of 24, and was made a Captain of Company C of the 2nd Ohio Heavy Artillery.

    In his first correspondence, addressed to Pling Litchfield, Whiting writes a long rant on the topic of soldiering and how civilians did not realize the difficulties that the men in the army are faced with. The letter, dated December 9, 1862, berates those who think they might do better. Unfortunately, it is incomplete, but it reads, in part:

    "...you at home have no idea how much less comfortable it is out here than at home reading the 'latest War news,' and abusing our good Generals, and wondering why they don't do this and that, how 'I would do it if I was General', &c. Why don't they go ahead? Why wasn't the pontoons ready for Burnside to cross? Why didn't Meigs send Burnside stores? Why - because! If you want to know just how we feel every night, just you take some sheets, get two uprights and one 'center pole'...and pitch your tent in some good muddy place...get one blanket, that's all the Regulations allow: - and an overcoat, put a few boards under your head, instead of a knapsack...Well! It is a little cold, but you are a soldier and you are supposed to take everything as it comes, so you mustn't mind if it is rather cold 'all around the edges', you have no right to wish you could be at home...in fact, you wouldn't be home if you could, for isn't it all for the 'cause'. ...you have been long in the service, are a good soldier, have suffered under the idolized McClellan and by some jealousy at Washington, he is removed, but you have one equally respected and, the gallant Burnside is presented to you as your present commander, hasn't 'Little Mac' recommended him as being in every way worthy to succeed him? Didn't he say 'stand by Burnside as you have stood by me'? You have willing hearts and ready hands, you have worthy and gallant leaders, you want to go on, nay, demand to be led to deeds of valor, but no favorable answer comes back for a 'forward move,' but 'Burn' won't stand it any longer and come what will of it, he will go ahead 'on his own hook'. See if he don't too. Something is wrong somewhere; 'a screw is loose', or, maybe - beg pardon if these are your toes - the radicals are determined that no move will be made until after the 1st of January 1863, at which time they trust, and undoubtedly will demand, that the President will be weak enough..."

    By September 8, 1863, Captain Whiting had seen his fair share of war and was stationed at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He wrote again to Mr. Litchfield, in part: "Again I am in 'active service', again 'in the field' and pretty near 'the front', you see that my 'roving' has not stopped yet, and I commenced it more than 3 years ago - for I like it very much, new scenes, new faces and adventures." Whiting was enjoying himself in the army, and was soon after temporarily promoted to a role of greater responsibility, despite not thinking himself up to the task. On September 30, 1863, he again wrote the Litchfields, in part:

    "I am very pleasantly situated at Bowling Green and have command of all the Forts in the vicinity, acting Major, having five companies under my command, and such a bother it is too. I am not large enough to do so much, and am going to give it up soon. I am the senior, or ranking Captain in the regiment, which entitles me to take command until we get some Majors. I had a pleasant ride from the Green to Louisville yesterday and met a number of the 33d Mass. boys that I know and they are going to join Rosecrans. Genl. Hooker is in command of the 11th Corps. I never saw such romantic scenery while traveling..."

    The two additional letters in the group are from the Litchfield's son, David T. Litchfield, who was a private in the 34th Massachusetts Infantry. His letters to his mother and father contain information about his general wellbeing, and movements of the troops. In one of his letters, dated January 22, 1865, he makes note of the fall of Fort Fisher and the ensuing celebrations. He wrote, in part: "...I wish you could have heard the firing about here on the day the news came that Fort Fisher had been taken, it sounded like a perfect roar of thunder. All the bands in the department were ordered to play."

    A small, yet detailed group of letters detailing the experiences of these two young soldiers. Accompanying some of the letters are their original transmittal covers. Both Captain Whiting and Private Litchfield survived the war and were mustered out of service.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with some light toning and soiling. Light foxing on one letter. Overall very good.


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    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
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