This letter was written by Isey W. Cutbirth (1829-1902), the son of George Washington Cutbirth (1804-1880) and Sarah Foster (1804-1879) of Giles County, Tennessee. Isey, a yeoman farmer, was married to Elizabeth Jane Floyd (1832-1912) in March 1849.
Isey was 33 years old when he enlisted in Co. H of the 5th Tennessee Cavalry at Columbia, Tennessee on 15 July 1862. Enlistment records state that he had blue eyes, red hair, a light complexion, and stood 5 feet ten inches tall.
This letter was written to Capt. William O. Rickman (1833-1868) of Marshall, later White County, Tennessee. He was the captain of Company H, 5th Tennessee Cavalry (US) during the Civil War and eventually commanded the entire regiment. [Note: This regiment was also known as the First Regiment of Middle Tennessee Cavalry]
William — a carpenter by trade — was the son of Richard S. Rickman (1809-1870) and Mary Jones (1810-1838). He was married in 1858 to Nancy Anna White (1839-1913), the daughter of Thomas and Nancy (Cresswell) White of Williamson County, Tennessee. The child identified only by the initials P. O. in the letter was [Prestley or] Presley O. Rickman (1862-Aft1882). Another child, William Thomas Rickman (1866-1932) was born after the war.
After the war, Capt. Rickman served as the commander of a band of militia in Tennessee attempting to root out ex-Confederate guerrillas and restore order which placed his life in danger — especially in Franklin County where there was an attempt on his life in 1867. He died in 1868 but I have not yet learned the cause of his death at age 35.
October 27th 1863
Capt. [William O.] Rickman
This will inform you that I am in here without money, friends, transportation, or any prospect to get myself or family away from here. My descriptive list was never given to my wife but given to Col. [Henry Rutgets] Mizner at Columbia [Tennessee] and my wife has never seen it and she has never drawn anything on it. I can’t get the military authority to take my case in consideration so it leaves me without power to do anything and I want you to do something if you please so that I can get back to Shelbyville with my family as quick as possible. The way things is now, my family has nothing to eat nor no way to get away from here. The cars don’t come here regular and I do not know what to do.
The commander here — Lt. Col. G. W. Grummond ¹ — says that he cannot give me transportation on my leave of absence and if I got away from here I would have to hire a waggon and I have no money to get a waggon with and it would be a dangerous trip for me to start even by myself.
Capt., if you can find out that you will go back to Columbia and could order me back there I could meet you there. I can’t do anything until I can get an answer from you.
Yours in haste, — I. W. Cutbirth
P. S. Tell Sam Morrow that G. Coffee and his family is here and well. A. J. McKizzids is here from Illinois and says that Kinch is well and will be here as soon as he gets his crop gathered which will be about 3 or 4 weeks from now. The Gibson boys and George and Dave is all out there and all well.
¹ Lt. Col. George Washington Grummond (18xx-1866) served with the 14th Michigan. He was stationed at Fort Granger (Franklin, Tennessee) in early 1863 and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in October, serving briefly as temporary commander of the fort. He died near Fort Kearney while leading an attack against the Sioux at Lodge Trail Ridge, sometimes called the “Fetterman Massacre.”