The Civil War Letters of Albert West

February - March 1862



On the 17th day of February, 1862 the Regiment broke camp and over the Little Miami Railroad reached Cincinnati the same afternoon, embarking on the steamer Hastings and going out for Paducah, Ky., at which place it arrived on the 20th. A few days after its arrival the regiment was outfitted with old Austrian muskets, which had been changed from flint to percussion lock. While standing in line, on the wharf at Cincinnati, awaiting orders to embark, newsboys came rushing along, crying "Extra' "Extra" Ft. Donelson Surrenders". The general opinion of the rank and file seemed to be "The war will be over before we can get into it." Alas! How little any of us dreamed of what was to come."

Capt. F. M. Posegate, 48th OVI


Read more about the events mentioned in this section's letters in the Regimental History



Direct your letters to Paducah, Kentucky in the care of C. Elwood company D 48 regament

Paduca, Kentucky
February 21, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am in common health. I have not bin very well since I left. When I left home last Saturday I did not think that I would be five hundred and fifty miles from you so soon but a soldiers life is very uncertain. He donít know to day where he will be tomorrow. We ar in Camp Sulivan at Paducha, Kentucky. We ar now in the land of the enemy where the rebels are plenty. Their is ten or twelv thousand soldiers here. We ar camped on the bank of the Tenasee river right at the mouth. This was a secesh town but our men hold it now.

Tell Thomas McVay that Bert and Hugh is here harty and well now. Jane, I am a great wais from you and life is very uncertain and death is taking us on every hand but I trust in God that we will liv to see this war over and meet again on earth and spent many happy days together.

February 22nd

It is raining this morning and we ar in our tents huddling around like chickens in a storming time. The talk is that this place will be attacked by the rebbles in a few days but just let them come. We will meet them half way and whip them to for their generals who hav bin taken prisners say if we gain one or to more battles secesh is gon way forever plaid out. I think the war will soon be over. They say thier is to be about one hundred and fifty thousand of our troops here right away.
I want you to remember me in all your prairs that I ma liv so that should I fall before I return I ma meet you all in heaven where all is lov. Now I do not know what more to right only that we all got here safe after three days and nights travling on the railrode and steam boat. We do not know how long we will stay here but I want you to wright as soon as you get this letter and let me know how you ar all agetting along. Ma God bless and save you all is my prair.
No more at present but remain your affectionate husband and father until death,

Albert West to Jane West and children




Camp Sulivan
Paducah, Kentucky
February 24, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to in form you that I am in beter health than I was when I left home. I hav not heard from you since I left home but I hope in God these few lines will find you all wel. We hav very fine wether here now. We ar not kep so close here as we was in Camp Denison.

Their is plenty of houses here that the rebels left and here tha stand some of them with soldiers in them and some of them emty. Our men took one or to rebel officers who lived here. One man that left the pretiest house and lot i ever saw, we have it for a hospittal. C. Elwood is there waiting on the sick. Their was seventeen boat loads of our troops past here Sunday bound for Tennesee. Jane, this is a nice place but pore land.

We all think that the war will be over so that we can come home by the middle of Aprile or the first of May. Robert McVay was here today and we had a good talk about home and friends that is left behind. I showd him your profile he said it was as natural as life is itself. I would like to see you all but the distince is to great to see you now but I trust in God that it will not be long until we can embrace eachother with joy at home.

We incamp on the bank of the river or betwene the river turnpike where we can see everything that is going on and know their is a good deal of stir where their is between twenty and thirty thousand soldiers now and still coming in and going out both day and night.

If Jonah has not bin to camp yet tell him that I left his knapsack and other things with a man in Captain Robinís office at Camp Denison. He can get their and find out what he will hav to do. I sent his Trunk to Viena the day I started from Camp Denison.

I supose you hav herd from us before now and will here of every move we make. We hav not got our guns yet but I supose we will get them in a day or to. The folks ar friendly and clever here and seem glad to see the union troops coming in there. They say save the union let it cost what it will. That is what I say even should it cost my life and save our contry and leave you and the children free. It would be better than for us all to become slaves but I donít beleave that the good Lord will let them harm me for I do beleive he is a God of justice and will sustain a man in a just cause who puts his trust in him, in God. I truly put my trust and ask the prars of all the just that we ma meet in heaven abov where all is friend ship and true love.

I must close by saying I want you to wright as soon as you get this letter.
Direct you letter to Paducah, Kentucky

Albert West your affectionate husband to Jane West and family.
good by




Paducah, Kentucky
March the 2, 1862

Dear Companion and Children,

I take my pen in hand to wright a few lines to let you no where I am and how I am getting along. I am not very well now. I am taking some pills and I think they will help me. We ar all here and hav not got our guns yet but look for them in a few days. Their is a great many troops here, between thirty and forty thousand they say. Jonah got here Saturday and told me that you was sick and bedfast. You do not know how it makes me feel to think of you at home sick and me 500 miles away and can not come to your relief. Ma God bless you with better health and protect you until I come.

We have had very fine wether for one week past but it has bin raining all day to day. It has raised the waters very high. The river is about eight feet higher than it was. Jonah is still mending. He is better than I looke to se him. I would like to here from you every day if I could but I can not. You must wright as offen as you can and tell me how you ar ageting along.

You sent word about the wheat. I left eighteen or twenty bushel at the mill besides what Barny tuck up thier 12 1/2 bushels and you know I told you Rheda Mathew was to have eight bushels. This would leave about twenty bushels for you. You had better save that wheat at your uncles for fear you do get out. I would like to right more but it is to late now.

March the 3

As the male does not do out til tomorrow, I will write a few lines more this morning. It is cold and freesing here this morning. We hav prety hard times here. I hav bin staying at the hospital for a few days so as to be warm and dry.

Thier was 200 and 25 secsh pirsners here yesterday. Tha was a perty hard looking set of fellows. Some of them sade that they was forst into the army. We think the war wil be over before very long and I will get to come home but if I do not come I want you to take good care of yourself and do the very best you can and I will come when we get them whiped. Tha ar the meanest set of rascals that ever lived and we must whip them out and then they will hav to giv it up. The talk is that we will go back to Camp Denison before long but I do not know whether we will come back thier or not. If we do I will get to come home before long. I want you to wright as soon as you get this and let me know how you are getting along. I hope those few lines ma find your health better than when I left you.

I must close. No more at presant but remain your affectionate husband and father until death,

Albert West to Jane West and Children
good by until i see you all again



Albert West 's letters, documents and photographs are published here with
the generous permission of Michael West. They may not be reproduced
in any form without their explicit permission.



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