Letter to Rachel Walters from David Walters
This two-page letter is from David Walters to his wife Rachel while he is stationed at Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the third letter from David to Rachel in the collection, and comes a few weeks after David mustered in at Indianpolis, Indiana as a private with Company I of 90th Regiment, 5th Indiana Cavalry. The notation “Per John S Louderback” at the close of the letter may indicate that the letter was handwritten by Louderback for Walters. (The same handwriting on the cover seems to indicate this letter was enclosed in an envelope, museum ID 0.256400.3, postmarked Indianapolis, Indiana, September 30, 1862.)
In his missive, David Walters describes how the soldiers have been in camp for about a month and some of the novelty of soldiering has worn off, although he assures his wife that “I like soaldiering fine.” The letter begins with David alternately expressing his resignation to God’s will and trust in His “rules” while longing for his wife. David also continues to detail camp life, explaining his daily schedule and that his Company has received weapons but no orders yet as to where they are going next. Other regiments however are rapidly marching through camp and David expects to receive orders soon. David sends Rachel a miniature, a ring, and some of his clothing. He also sends $25 to Rachel along with apologetic instructions to move in with her father so that she can receive better care, indicating his worry about how life is at home in his absence. David also relays information on how their friends are doing that he has seen at camp, saying that he has seen Clay Sellers of Fulton and that he is “takeing the best care” of William House who is in the hospital.
Rachel wrote a response a week later on October 7, 1862 (museum ID 1991.0291.42).
Soldier’s Certificate No. 2665, David W. Walters, Private, Company I, 90th Indiana, 5th Cavalry; Compiled Military Service Records M540 roll 80; National Archives, Washington, DC.
Camp Jo Rannels
Sept 29th 1862
My dear companion,
Thru the mercys of a kind God I am permitted to drop you a few lins to let you no that I am well & hearty All thine and shall separates us we can think of thins past the future is all unknown to us there fore we have to trust in that kind being that rules & over rules all thing for our good I like soaldiering fine I have gained in flesh ever since I am here we have drawed our armes consisting of a saber & revolver we will not draw our Horses for a few days & we may not draw them this week There is five companeys that have drawed ther Horses & have marching orders but dont no when they will leave. the regt is a bout full but is not fully organised I have bin expecting a furlow home for the last three weeks but I have given up all hopes of geting one you must do the best that you can trust in God & all will be right for he careth for him. I Still feel that warm desire for you that I ever did & my Prayers is that we may ever be bound to gether with that love that binds husband & wife to gether
W[illia]m House has bin sick or un well ever since we have him here. he is now in the Hospital he feels a little better than he did yesterday Perhaps by good treetment he will be a bout in a few days again The most that he complains of is a severe pain in his brest I am takeing the best care of him that I can & will continue to do so as long as he needs it this per haps is one of the main things that we live for is to help one another in thimes of need
We have Company drill twice in the fore noon & Batallion drill in the after noon lasting from two till five P.M. &dress Parade at six P.M.
There is a great many soldiers passing thru here it has averaged one Regt a day ever since I have bin here There is about three thousand five hundred in this camp this is a regular camp of instrucsion all the recruits for the old Regts come here There is cavailry Infantry & battery all here together
I send you $25.00 I want you to pay it to father I want you to have father to moove you to his house & to your old home where you will be better cared for than if you would stay a lone I am sory it is so that you have to fall back on his [crossout] care But I feel that our contry [page 2 of letter] needs my help & I am willing to do all that I can & eaven give my life for your libertys & our beloved childs I send my miniature & when this you see remember me. I want you to send me yours & Willies likeness as soon as you can I may possibly get home but dont look for me till you see me coming My Eyes is still week & I want you to send me my goggles as I doubtless will need them I allowed to brot them [crossout] with me but forgot them
I would just say that this money is for your father so that you may understand my letter I am a going to send my brother & my cloathing to you soon & you will find in them a noice pair of boots which I got for you Clay Sellers of Fulton is here he is a recruit for the 29th Regt I guess that I had better bring my letter to a close least I should weary you with my long letter Pleas rite as soon as you get this & let me no how you ar geting a long I hope that the thime is not far distant when I may again return home & enjoy your warm in braces & pleasant smiles & sweet kises I never new what it was to be absent from you before but weep not for me trust in God & all will be rite I would farther say that the 99th is here & that the Roil Center Boys is here I will close by saying fare ye well for this thime but I trust not forever if we should not ever meet here on this ground of sorow let us try to live in that way that we may meet in that world where no sorow cometh & where we will meet to part no more So fare ye well
D W Walters
Rachel J Walters
Per John S Louderback
This ring I also send you
D. W. W.