Letters Written to Private Edward B Stevens

from his Family. 

                                                                                    Leavenworth City, Kansas
                                                                                    April 19th, 1862

Dear Brother,

        I received your letter on the 8th of April and it was written on the 3rd. I was very glad to hear from you. I am in the hospital and yet I don't know when I shall get away, for a soldier can't leave the hospital until the doctor pleases to let you go. I had one sort of a back set but I have got well enough to be up round all day and I have a very good appetite. I suppose the regt leaves Lawrence today for Fort Riley and I am afraid they will where I can't get to them, they are going to New Mexico and if they get across the plains it will be hard for me to get with them. There was about 75 or 100 sick men came from Lawrence today, some of them belonged to the 12th Wis, some the 13th, and some the Kansas Boys. None of them were very sick, those that were much sick stayed there at Lawrence. It is not a healthy place for a hospital as it is here on account of the ground being low and damp. You spoke of writing two letters to me since you received any but you ought twice unless you write longer letters so you must no complain, but I will try to write as often as you do if I don't have to much writing to the rest of the folks. I got a letter some time age, he has written to you all about it.
        I have no news to tell you, there is no chance for news out of an old hospital. So you must no expect me to write much. I want you to write and tell me all about your traps such as you timothy seed and weather you sold it or not. You know we had a notion of trading some of our old trinkets so I am kind of interested about how you made out with it. We have been having very wet rainy weather lately, it is a very backward spring I should think for this country. I want you to write about how you make it plowing them steep side hills with you great horse team. I have nothing to write so I might as well stop.
        Please write, From your brother

                                                                                    Joshua Stevens to E.B. Stevens.

Editors note: The expedition to New Mexico Joshua speaks of the 12th, Wisconsin was to take, was called off by the Army. Joshua was discharged from the army on April 29th, 1862 due to his illness and returned home.

                                                                                    Lawrence, Kansas
                                                                                    April 19th, 1862

Dear Brother,

        I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I am as well now as I have been since I had the measles. I am able to eat my rations and I feel first rate. We are going to start for Fort Wriley tomorrow morning (distance) 150 miles, and I think when I march there I shall be [?????] fat and dirty as ever. Dave is well and full of mischief, Joshua is well and I believe he is at Leavenworth yet. I received a paper from mother [????] medicine in it and directions on how to take it. I sent mother $15 dollars in a letter. Sampson has been down to make [??????] a visit, he found them all well. Charley Tyers was here this morning. One sis married a seccesh by the name of wells and lives at Independence, Mo. James Shepard died about two months ago, he belonged to one of the Kansas Cavalry regs.
        Our teams are loading up to start in the morning so I have not much chance to write, tell Joel that I remember him and I will answer his letter as soon as I can. It is getting late so I must close, write often as you can excuse this letter and I will try to write more next time.
        Direct to Fort Leavenworth.

                                                                                    Adelbert V Stevens to Edward B Stevens

                                                                                    Camp Near Vicksburg, Miss
                                                                                    June 26th, 1863

Dear Cousin Edward,

        I will endeavor to write you a few lines today as I have not written to you for a long time. I could not if I should try to excuse myself for so a long delay, therefore I will not attempt to do it. I believe though I wrote to you since you wrote to me, I wrote to you June 24th, 1862. I hope you was not offended at that letter. You was in the habit of using short letters, so I thought I would see if I could not write a short letter as you could. No more of such nonsense. Del and I are well and hope to continue so. We have to go on picket every other day. Our pickets in some places are within 20 rods of the rebel pickets. There is a continual fire kept up along the whole line. We have had three or four men killed and several wounded since we came here in the regiment. We (our Co) had one man shot through the shoulder yesterday. A fellow has got to look out for him self here, If he shows his head there is a dozen ball come flying around his ears. This is a pretty sickly place, more than you think of the Regt is sick. I have stood it so far and managed to dodge the rebel balls. A deserter comes in our lines once and a while and tells a pretty harsh story of affairs inside. Vicksburg must be taken before long or else our army get whipped, (and that is impossible) for our boys are slowly advancing on them all the time. They advance at night and dig rifle pits. It is amusing sometimes to hear talk back and fourth with the rebel pickets. Most of them talk rather discouraging. I was up by the 11th a few days ago, they are having warm times. The 20th Wis is here by us. Tom Kay, John Cabberston and lots of them waterloo's boys are in that regiment. I suppose you heard that Albert Malland was killed. He was in the 19th, Co F. You know that George Marshall of Co F, 12th he died at Humboldt Tenn. last summer. I guess I have written enough for this time. Please write soon. Tell all the news. Direct to Co K, 12th, Wisc Vols

                                                                                    Your Cousin
                                                                                            Gustavus Stevens

                                                                                    Thursday October 8th, 1863

Dear Brother

        It is with great pleasure that I sit down to answer your kind letter which I received last Saturday dated Sept 27th, also one that we received yesterday directed to father with ten dollars in it, we was very glad to hear from you. We are all pretty well at present and I hope that when these few lines come to hand they will find you the same. Mrs. [Mater?] has got her with, they started for Minnesota a week ago today and Father went with them. We will look for him in about a week. I expect that Joshua has told you all of the news before this time. He came home a week ago Tuesday and went to the Center last Monday to enlist and found that Co C was full, he came home and started the next morning for Milwaukee with Morrison. I suppose we have not heard from Charles since you went away.

Friday October 9th 1863

        I now sit down to finish this letter, Joshua came home this morning. When he and Morrison got as far as Madison they enlisted in the 30th Regt and got a pass to come home. I guess that will write a few lines. Walter Holbrook is home on furlough, we are looking for grandfather every minute. Josh left him at the center this morning. Mother said that if you have as good a chance as Charles had she would like to have you by some old clothing and bring home if you come as the [rooles?] are not going to hold out. Joel has come not to go to wood stock. We got a letter for you last Saturday from Adelbert we sent by Joshua and he brought it back. I will send it in this. This is all at present so good by from you sister Laura Stevens. Write soon and excuse this poor writing.

Editors Notes: The previous letter from Laura and the next letter from Joshua were both written on the same piece of paper. On September 21st, 1863 Edward Stevens Joined the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, Company C along with a neighbor William Grey. He would spend the rest of the war in Tennessee. Walter Holbrook was from Henrietta, in Richland Co and served in the 25th Wisconsin Infantry, Co B.

                                                                                    Woodstock, October 9th, 1863

Dear Brother

        I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know how things are going with me. The first letter I received from you was last Saturday night and so Monday morning I started for the Center got down there and saw Morrison he told me the Co was full that you and Bill were in and also that he was thrown out himself but he said we could get into Co D so I enlisted with him and we started Tuesday for the Rock got down there and he heard something about the draft. he thought he would go back if he knew the draft would come off but finally we took the train to Madison, got there and in the morning we began to run about and see what we could find out in regards to soldering as we had went that far and paid our own fare and it was going to cost us about three dollars more each to get to Milwaukee but that was no difference if we could only get in and be sure of passing examination but we didn't know that for we were both discharged soldiers and discharges objecting to reenlistment which socked us big.
        Morrison told me that he thought he could not get in any way and wanted to start back well that was going to leave me alone and go into a strange Co and then if I should go on the Milwaukee and be thrown out I should have to come home on my own expense. Well Morrison told me more about it he said Dr. Downs told him he could not go and that it was not use to try and M said he could draw a pension if he wanted to. The next thing we start up to Camp Randall to see how things were going on in camp got up there and fooled around awhile and enlisted both in Co A 30th, Wis Infantry, went up to the surgeon passed examination and the Capt give us a pass and we rolled for home. We have to go back next Tuesday. I should like to see you boys before you leave the state if there is any show. I will tell you the rest some other time. Write soon

                                                                                    From Joshua Stevens

Editors note: This letter and the previous one from Laura were both written on the same piece of paper. Morrison is Francis Morrison a resident of Henrietta in Richland Co. Francis Morrison has previously served in the 11th Wisconsin Infantry Co D, with Charles Stevens.

                                                                                    October 15th, 1863

Dear Brother,

        I now take my pen to write you a few lines. Morrison and I are sitting on the same bunk writing. I was some disappointed in not getting a chance to go with you and William but I hope all will be for the best if I had thought there would have been any show for getting in to that Co. I should been there before this time, you boys must do the best you can towards taking care of yourselves. Morrison sends his best respects to you and was much disappointed in being thrown out of that company. Not much news to write this time. Tell Bill to write to me.

                                                                                    Direct to
                                                                                            Camp Randall 30 Regt Wis V Co A

No more this time, Write soon

                                                                                    From Josh

                                                                                    Fort Howard, Brown County, Wisconsin
                                                                                    November 21st, 1863

Dear brother.

        I received a letter from you to day. I should have written to you sooner but I didn't know where you were and I was looking for a letter from you every day. I was very glad to hear form you and know that you was well. I am in good health at present we are now at Fort Howard to stay a little while, there is only our Co here. We have got good comfortable quarters here, a squad of ten has a room by themselves the rooms are all plastered and good brick fireplaces. Morrison and I with eight others compose one squad. We have some pretty good times. We are close go Green Bay on Fox river and right back of us about eight rods is a bully tamarack swamp. I was out there yesterday and got all the winter green. I wanted some times we go out there and get dry tamarack poles to burn in the fireplace, they make a bully fire.
        It is Sunday to day and I am on guard on a bridge that goes across the river. The bridge is much as eighty rods long. It is quite a business place here. The largest town is on the other side of the called Green Bay but the railroad is on this side and it is the end of road. There is more or less steamboats here all the time. I was over on the other side last night running round and having a little fun. I happened to see a girl once in a while, last night I had a chap with a gal that was here on a visit to see some friends in town. She came from Toronto in Canada, I tell you but she was a bully Gal. There is not many pretty girls up here for a good share of them are half breed Indians. I don't know but that is [????] it a little but there is a great many that has got some Indian about them and we don't propose to run that kind of stock when we can get any other but once in a while there is one about here that is alright. The clear quill in other words you know what that is. I got a letter from Will a few days ago but it was written nearly a month ago, he had no heard that I had enlisted then he wanted me to be sure and come up there to see him and stop there this winter. He thought we could make bully wages up there besides having some bully times, but he spoke to late. I was soldering when I got the letter, if I had not been probably I should go me a woman and retired as he has. I wanted to see will the worst kind when I was at home. I looked for him every day while I was at home and looked for him when I started away to see if he was not coming with his Sweet Mary Ann back to old Richland but [wary not?] could I see. I got a letter from Laura, Ellen and Father all in one a few days ago. They say they are going to Minnesota as soon as they can sell out there. They are going to a new country to seek their fortune by farming. I hope they may prosper. Laura tells me that Uncle John goes over to the Widow Holbrooks once in a while just to have a little fun and see the village.

To be continued.

Editors note: This letter is from Joshua Stevens. The rest of this letter is missing.

                                                                                    Natchez, Miss
                                                                                    December 17th, 1863

Dear Brother,

        I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am alive and well with the exception of rather a bad cold. I received a letter from you dated Nov 11th directed to Gustavus. I read it according to his directions and will send it to him as soon as I find out where he is. I suppose you have heard about his trouble here. I will give you a slight description of it. He went into the country with three other men and searched a house for arms and when they came back they were arrested by the pickets and taken to the provost marshal. He had charges preferred against him and was put into the jail to await trial. This was about the 14th, of September in about a month he had his trial but was still kept in jail to await his sentence and this it went until left here and went to Vicksburg the night that we left here he got out and stayed around here about a week and when the 33rd, R came up to Vicksburg he came with them and as soon as he go to our camp he was put under arrest again. The next morning we was ordered to march and they took him to Vicksburg and turned him over to the Provost Marshall and I have not seen him since. He promised to write to me as soon as he found out where he was going to and as soon as if find out where to direct I shall send all his letters to him. I forgot to mention that while [???] was with the Regt his sentence came. He is to remain in confinement till the expiration of his term of enlistment and a stoppage of pay of ten dollars a month for ten months. I think that is rather ruff. I received a letter Mother a few days ago the folks are all well at home she said. She expected you was coming home on a furlough until she herd that you was gone. I under stand that Jeff Thompson was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga. Perhaps you will get a chance to see him he belongs to the 11th Batt Ind Vol. If you see him tell him to write to me. Garfield Sylvester was married a few weeks ago to Miss Emma Osborn. I believe that is the way with the most of these brave stay at homes. They are a little afraid to go to the war so they get up a small company of their own and they can DRILL when they please. But enough of this nonsense for this time so good By. Write often, direct to Natchez, Miss.

                                                                                    Del (Adelbert) Stevens


                                                                                    Camp R Washburn
                                                                                    Dec 27th, 1863

Dear Brother

        I was very glad to hear from you again and know that you were all right. I received you kind letter the 25th but, since I got it we have moved from Camp R. Here we have got in to pretty good barracks here but not quite as good as we had in Camp Randall. I don't know any thin about how long we shall stop here. This is the first time that I was ever in this Camp. I suppose you have been here your self enough to know what it is. I don't think I should like it very well.
        Bill sent me a bully letter with yours. I must try to write him a few lines and put in with this. I expect you boys have seen some hard times since you went down there but I hop you will get along alright through this bloody war. There was five or six of our Company started for Chattanooga last Wednesday with some drafted men. I expect they are there now and I would not care if I was there too. I don't hear from home very often. I have seen several of the Richland boys that was drafted. I guess you remember Orin Heath, he is drafted and married too. He married one of the Barto Girls. I had quite a chat with him. He spoke of the time we were down to Rockbridge to the dance and had such a bully old time, he is in Camp Randal now and (Hans?) Todder he is drafted and several others that paid their three hundred dollars.
        I saw my old Capt a few days a go. He is home on furlough. He said Del was well. Dave was not with the Regt. I guess I won't write much more this time. Write soon and as often as you please as ever.

                                                                                    Your Brother Josh
                                                                                            Direct to Camp Washburn, Wis

                                                                                    E B. Stevens
                                                                                            Co C 1st Art

Editors note: Orin Heath was a private in the 37th Wisconsin Infantry, Company H. He died sometime in the 1870's. Orin married Annar Barto. When Joshua refers to his old captain he is referring to his former captain in the 12th Wisconsin Infantry, Co K.

                                                                                    Woodstock, Wisconsin
                                                                                    Friday March 25th, 1864

Dear Brother

        After so delay I now sit down to answer your kind letter which I received two weeks ago tomorrow. I was very glad to hear from you, I also got a paper from you for which I am much obliged. Father got on from you last Saturday dated March 7th, 1864. We are all well and hope you are the same. The 12th, regt arrived at camp Randall Monday and are waiting for their money and clothing. We are looking for Adelbert home every hour. Mr. And Mrs. Daniel Grey have gone to Michigan for a visit. A soldier went by here today, when he was coming we though he was del, but he was Mrs. Grey's brother he belongs to the 1st of Kansas, he came right home from Chattanooga. Ellen has been writing to you, she was pleased with the money, Joshua is at camp Reno. This is all I can think of at present. From you sister Laura C. Stevens to Edward B Stevens.
        Write soon and excuse me for this poor writing and short letter.

                                                                                    Rockbridge, Wisconsin
                                                                                    April 27th, 1864

Dear Brother,

        I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know I am alive and kicking yet I am at home at the present but shall leave for Madison tomorrow. Father has been writing to you today and I expect he has told all the news that is funny. I received a couple of letters from you last winter, one of them I received just before I started on the expedition to Meridian and the other after I got back Vicksburg. I don't know as I can give any excuse for not answering except being rather lazy. It is 10 o'clock shall have to close this time but I will try to write soon

                                                                                    Del Stevens

Editors Note: Adelbert wrote this when he was on Furlough from the 12th Wisconsin and was visiting his family.

                                                                                    Fort Rice, Dakota Territory
                                                                                    August 12th, 1864

Dear Brother,

        I received some days ago was glad to hear from you again. My health is good at present, hope you are well and enjoying yourself, you must remember that letters are a long time coming here. The nearest post office is some three hundred miles so we have to pay five cents for each letter we receive and also for every one we send off. I got two letters this evening, one from Laura and Charles and the other from cousin Elvira, she writes a very good letter.
        Ed, I have been at work all day today, we have lots to do up here and will have until cold weather. Then I think we will have an easier time. We have considerable guard duty to do and the Fort to build. Some are detailed to work on the fort every day so there is but few of us to stand guard. We come on every other day and almost every day between on fatigue so it's rather a joke on a fellow considering the weather being very hot and dry. I never was in as dry a country as this before. The grass is quite shore and looks almost dead although it makes very good feed for cattle and wild animals. It is a great buffalo country here, I have seen the regular live buffalo since we came here and there is a great deal of other game here such as elk, deer and antelope. The gray wolves are so thick you can't rest. I have lots of fun with them nights when I am on guard. I was on night before last, had a gay time trying to knock them down with clubs but did not succeed. I stood close to a bank about 20 feet high where they had been butchering beef cattle. Well you see I was on top of the bank to get something to eat and it was high enough to see them. I would slip along with a big club right over them or almost above them and then I would let drive thunder, how they would lift out of that and then in a little while some more would be there. So you see two hours would pass off pretty quick in that style.
        Ed, I guess I have told bear storied enough for this time. We don't get much war news up here that is we don't get the news for sometime. When you write please give all the news. How is Will Grey and the rest of the Richland Boys. I don't think we shall have much fighting to do here. Gen Sully's expedition is somewhere above here has had one little fight with the Indians or at least we heard so. There is only four companies of us here besides a few cavalry that were left that were not able to go with the expedition. Therefore we have a small force to build the fort and run the whole shebang. I have not seen Frank Morrison for four months, he was at home on furlough when we left Camp Reno and he is now with Co K. He will probably get with us again before long.
        Ed, the folks were all well at home when I last heard from them. I must close for this time. Please write soon. Excuse Mistakes Ed.

Direct to Fort Rice Dakota Territory
No more this evening

                                                                                    From Josh Stevens to Ed.

Editors note: One week after this letter was written Gustavus Stevens who was cousin to the Steven's Brothers died. He was in a Prison hospital near Vicksburg Mississippi and died of Chronic Diarrhea. The “cousin Elvira” Joshua speaks of, is Elvira Stevens, who is Gustavus' sister.

The people in the letters.

Edward B Stevens, all the letters here are to him.
1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, Company C from Sept 21st, 1863 until Sept 21st, 1865

Adelbert (Del) V Stevens-Edwards oldest Brother
12th Wisconsin Infantry, Co K from Sept 21st 1861 to July 16th, 1865

Charles A Stevens-Edwards older brother
11th Wisconsin Infantry, Co D from Sept 21st 1861 until Dec 8th, 1862
42nd Wisconsin Infantry, Co B from Sept 1864 to June 1865

Joshua Stevens-Edwards older brother
12th Wisconsin Infantry, Company K from Jan 6th 1862 until Apr 29th, 1862
30th Wisconsin Infantry, Company A from Mid 1863 to Mid 1865

Gustavus A Stevens-Edwards 1st Cousin
12th Wisconsin Infantry, company K from Sept 21st 1861 to August 19th, 1864

Alonzo Stevens- Edwards father
Mary Judkins Stevens-Edwards Mother
Laura C Stevens-Edwards Younger sister
Ellen Stevens-Edwards Youngest Sister
Joel Stevens-Edwards younger brother
Thomas Stevens-Edwards younger brother
Preston F Stevens-Edwards youngest brother
Capt Judkins or Grandfather-Joel Judkins-Mary Judkins Stevens Father

Lorenzo Stevens-Alonzo's brother and Gustavus' father, Uncle to Edward
Elvira Stevens-Gustavus' sister and Edwards 1st cousin
Albina Stevens-Gustavus' sister and Edwards 1st cousin

Barlow Stevens-Alonzos Brother and Edwards Uncle

Aunt Nancy-Nancy Judkins Garfield-Sister of Mary Judkins Stevens Aunt and Uncle Perkins-John and Julia (Judkins) Perkins-Julia is Mary Judkins Stevens Sister Uncle John-John Carr-Brother of Mary Judkins Stevens Mother.

William Grey-Neighbor of the Stevens family
1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery, Company C

For reasons of Clarity certain corrections have been made in spelling and Grammar in the letters. The content remains the same.

Letters transcribed by Craig Albrechtson