1864: Jacob Seery to Lavinia (Coon) Seery

Jacob & Lavinia Seery
Jacob & Lavinia Seery

These letters were written by Pvt. Jacob Seery (1825-1914) who enlisted in February 1864 at age 38 in Co. C, 136th Ohio Infantry. He mustered out of the service in August 1864 after 100 days service. Jacob and other members of the 136th Ohio were brought to Washington D. C. to man the forts defending the city while the troops previously garrisoned there were taken into the field to participate in Grant’s Overland Campaign of 1864. This letter was penned from Fort Worth, a timber and earthwork fortification west of Alexandria, Virginia.

Jacob passed his youth and early manhood in assisting his father, Solomon Seery, and elder brothers to clear the old homestead. Not until he was 25 years old did he commence doing for himself. On Jan. 22, 1852, he married Lavinia Ann Coon (1833-1904), the daughter of Elisha and Olivia (Boyce) Coon. In October 1840, they settled in Crawford Co., Ohio. The couple had four children: Alvaro (1852-1865), De Forest B. (1858-1923), Lorenzo M. D. and Reno Roscoe (1872-1938).

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE

Fort Worth
July 17th 1864

Dear Wife,

I seat myself once more to let you know that I am well at present and hope this may find you the same. I received yours of the sixth yesterday. Was glad to hear that you were well and hope this may also find you well. Well Lavinia Ann, you want to know how I get my washing done. Well I guess I can tell you. I do it myself. That is the best way that I can think of to get it done. I wash once in two weeks and do not have very much to do then. We have a very nice water bowl to wash in. It is all soft water we have here. We go to the creek, soap our clothes. We can make as good suds here as you can with your cistern water.

Fort Worth (upper left) west of Alexandria, Va.
Fort Worth (upper left) west of Alexandria, Va.

Well I was on guard last night which was not very funny. Had to walk two hours at a time which I did not like very much for it made me very tired. The boys that were sick are all getting better. There is quite an excitement here now about going to Mount Vernon — that is where George Washington is buried as you can read in the book and also his farm, garden, and trees, just as they were when he died as near as they can be kept, so say those that have been there. For my part, I have not been there and do not very much [want] to go. Somehow I do not care about going anywhere except it be toward home. I would like very much to go in that direction. Home is a place above all others to me. Although it is not so grand, I prefer it above all other places that I have seen yet. Well, I guess that will do for that sort of stuff.

I have nothing new to write you that I can think of at present. It is very warm here today. The sweat drops from my chin while I write so that it is almost impossible for me to write at all.

I believe I have not told you how many men we have in our camp. I believe there are about four hundred. There are three companies of the 136th Regiment and one company of light artillery. The companies are out on drill while I am writing. I expect that I will have to do some extra duty for not going out with them. However, let it come. I guess I can stand it. I have stood it so far at any rate. Oh dear me, I must close or the flies will eat me up entirely. I never saw the flies so bad as they are here. Nothing more at present.

I remain your affectionate husband. — J. Seery

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Fort Worth, Virginia
August 1st, 1864

Dear wife,

Yours of the twenty-sixth was received Sunday the 30 and was glad to hear you were well and hope this may find you well. I am well also and doing the very best I can. I have just came in from picket. It is very warm here for a few days. We are getting every thing ready for starting home but when we will start I can not tell — it may be soon.

I have nothing very interesting to write today but will try and do the best I can. I was to Alexandria last Saturday for the first time. We heard Joseph Berry was there in the hospital wounded. Wilber Brown and I went down but we could not find him. We then went around and took a view to see what they had there. They everything there that is good to eat and a good price too, you had better believe. Water melons from twenty to sixty cts. apiece, onions five cents, peaches two for five cents about as large as a hulled walnut and all other things in proportion. We saw so many water melons we thought we could not leave without trying some of them so we bought each of us one for 2 shillings apiece. You better [believe] we thought they were good — the best that we ever eat.

You say you hear that Tuttle we will start the tenth. Some think one time, some another. If we start in one hundred days from the second of May, our time will be up the ninth of August. If counted from the time we were sworn, the twenty first. That is a point that seems to not be a point not settled. Enough of this.

You say you write every Tuesday and Friday. You need not write so often. If you do not wish to. You want I should let you know will get to Bucyrus. That [I] cannot do this time for I do not know myself yet. You will please excuse my scribbling this time. I went last Saturday evening to wash off. I fell and hurt my hand which bothers some about writing.

— J. Seery

to L.A. Seery

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