About the Letters...
The following letters were given to
one of our members by a kindly fellow from Tallmadge, Ohio, named
Bob Lowry, after the member addressed a group there. They appear to
have been written in 1862 from Ft. Scott, Kansas, by a Union soldier
named George C. Ashmun, who was from Tallmadge, though some of his
letters were addressed to West Virginia and Indiana, too.
Interestingly, there are still Ashmuns living in Tallmadge.
Additionally, a Google search revealed a publication in Ohio
Mollus - Sketches of War History, Vol. Two, transcribed
by Larry Stevens, titled “Recollections of a Peculiar Service,”
by Second Lieutenant George C. Ashmun. This may or may not be our
Ashmun, though an intelligent guess is that it is.
All punctuation and spelling were
left as in the originals.
About the Letters' Author...
This is what is known about Ashmun.
He was born on January 31, 1841, in Tallmadge, Ohio. During the
Civil War, he served as a musician in the 2nd Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
and was then recruited into a special Ohio unit charged with
providing personal bodyguard services to President Lincoln. He was a
lieutenant in this unit and took part in Lincoln’s second
inauguration. After the war, he became a physician, described as an
“allopath,” specializing in public health. He was educated at
Tallmadge Academy and Case Western Reserve University’s School of
Medicine, graduating in 1873, and was affiliated with St. Vincent’s
Hospital. He taught at the University of Wooster Medical Department,
Charity Hospital Medical College, CWRU School of Medicine, and
Cleveland Medical College. He later served as a surgeon in the
Spanish-American War with the 5th Ohio Infantry. During World War I,
he served with the Case School unit of the Students Army Training
Corps. He died on June 25, 1929 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
About the Letters' Setting...
Fort Scott was
named in honor of General Winfield Scott and established on
May 30, 1842 at the Marmoton crossing of the Fort Leavenworth
- Fort Gibson military road.
It was among nine forts originally
planned to line the area between the Great Lakes and New Orleans to
separate proposed Indian lands and white settlements. Normal daily
activities included the general construction of the fort and drill
by Dragoons (horse soldiers). On occasion, mapmaking expeditions
were made. The post was virtually abandoned in April 1853 when the
garrison was transferred to Fort Riley and other western posts. The
buildings were sold at public auction on May 16, 1855 as the
government did not own the land. After the outbreak of the Civil
War, Fort Scott was reactivated in March 1862 and again assumed
importance as a military outpost. In 1865, the fort was once again
- John C. Fazio
Sunday April 6th/62
Dear ones at home,
Marys letters mailed the 22nd got here
this morning on account of the rains, the mail has been behind
time it is just a week today since it came in. Not very long,
but we “set our hearts” as much on our letters that if the mail
doesn’t com, as comes & don’t bring us a letter we are weary. I
suppose by this time you are busy cleaning house this last week,
which we do by morning. There’s nothing like having plenty of
room - on account of the rainy
weather in camp was getting quite
muddy & as warm weather was coming on. The Drs. that we had
better change our ground - it also gave the men something to do
& helped keep them contented. Thursday we pulled up & moved
about a quarter of a mile but the ground was poor so that
yesterday we moved again & I’ve got first rate ground besides
being a little nearer town. The first word came to Gen.
Doubleday that a large body of rebel Indians were coming to
attack this Post & scouts were sent out in search of suspicious
individuals but nothing was seen & now we heard that it was a
hoax. Gen. Doubleday rec. an order a few days ago for us to
reinforce Curtiss &  but I heard last night that orders
countermanded Puringtons battalion leave tomorrow for
somewhere, but do not yet know where. They are ordered to draw
seven days rations & a great many of the boys think we are to
start homeward so seven days will take them to Ft. Leavenworth.
 is very sure that unless we can go home before the weather
comes we shall never see home again.
He is well enough to do duty but isn’t
strong & is very homesick Charley looks as fleshy & hearty as I
ever say him. I am as well as ever for aught. I know it makes a
fellow feel a little “old” sometimes to sleep on damp ground. I
have the headache once in a while - about the same as at home. I
drink coffee as much as I want & I don’t think it hurts me. I’ve
got so that I
with hard crackers. We fare very well here, fresh beef every
day. I sent a little paper to you the other day, but don’t know
as it will get there before this does. You will see in the list
of advertised letters one from me it was from William Stone he
has been in Wyandotte since last July but has been unwell so
that he has not been able to perform duty in his company. He
wrote that he thot of going home this spring - If I’m not
mistaken this war will soon be over & be home, I should like
mighty well to farm it this summer with you. I dread the hot
weather out in this country. If they would only let us do our 
go home. I should like it much. It is a great deal pleasanter to
be on the march when it is pleasant than to be lying still - We
have to play for a funeral this afternoon & dress garb the days
are all the same here give my love to all the same relatives &
tell everybody to write. Kate wrote that Mrs. Gardner wondered
(this next part is written on the top
side of the first page in two columns)
she didn’t hear from us as she wrote to us a long time ago.
The last I heard from them was before we left camp D— & answered
it - the same day we got a letter from Charlie Lyman today out
our letters, so I guess we shall “quit” I have just heard
that Purington doesn’t leave tomorrow. write often to your own