1864: Horatio Dye to Nancy Jane (Thompson) Dye

This letter was written by Horatio Dye (1842-1927), the son of William Dye (1807-1889) and Nancy Meeks (1808-1844) of Miami county, Ohio. In August 1862, Horatio Dye enlisted in Co. B, 87th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and served with that regiment until discharged at Madison, Indiana, in May 1865. While he was home on a furlough, he married Nancy Jane Thompson (1844-1937) on 24 March 1864. After the war, Horatio and his wife farmed and raised their family in Van Buren, Pulaski county, Indiana.

A startling fact revealed in this letter is the contention by Pvt. Dye that the inmates of the General Hospital at Madison, Indiana, were suffering from insufficient rations even though he believed they had been supplied to the hospital. He hints that the officers knew something of its disappearance.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]


Addressed to Miss Nancy J. Dye, Star City, Pulaski county, Indiana

[Madison, Indiana]
December 13, 1864

Dear Wife,

With much pleasure and respect to you I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet alive and on the land of the living. My health is tolerable good and my appetite is very good for our rations is very short. It is not because it hain’t here for us but I think some of the officers knows where it goes to and why it is so. But I can stand it if the rest can. But I would not mind all my starving and all my suffering if I could get some money for you or help you to what you need for to make you comfortable for my friends and neighbors will look upon me as though I did not try to help you any and I think if my friends has any respect for me, they will see that you do not want for anything. If I can get my pay, I will not ask nor expect much of them. I am very sorry if you are suffering for want of anything and I can’t help you and the friends and neighbors won’t help you.

I am very sorry that you have hurt your back. I think father might get you shoes and a little money too if he would try a little. I wrote you a letter from here on the first of the month and I have got no answer yet. I received one from you dated December 1st directed to Louisville. I got it yesterday and I felt very bad and lonely after I read it to think that you was in want. But my dear one, I hope this may find you in better health and not wanting for anything and perfectly satisfied. You must try and keep up courage and not get down-hearted, but I know it is hard for you to live so.

I will now close for the present, giving you my love and best respects forever. Direct to Madison General U. S. A. Hospital, ¹ Section 5, Ward 4, Bed 27.

— Horatio Dye [to] Nancy J. Dye

The weather is cold and some snow. — Horatio Dye

¹ The Madison Military Hospital was a Volunteers Hospital, located in Madison, IN. It was the fourth largest military hospital in the nation with 2,430 beds. Major Gabriel Grant (1826-1912) was in charge of its operation.

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