1st Ohio Light Artillery, 1862 Letter From William Tomlinson, with Battle Content

Four-page letter, written in ink by Corporal William Tomlinson from a camp near Nashville, TN on November 20, 1862. Tomlinson enlisted as a private for four years’ service on September 25, 1861 and mustered into Battery A of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery. Here, he writes to his brother about the Battery’s march from Nashville to Louisville, KY in pursuit of General Bragg following a brief hospitalization.

After camping outside of Lawrenceburg, KY for a week, Tomlinson writes that they “run into the Rebels & routed them after killing some 40,000 besides those that were wounded. Some of our men were wounded, none killed.” The following day, before leaving camp, “the Rebels commenced firing in our rear. We had quite a fight all in the woods. Lost some 15 killed & I don’t know how many wounded.” Overall, Tomlinson notes that he and his comrades have been fortunate in battle, which he attributes the expertise of his commanding officers: “Our Officers make it a point to get range before we expose ourselves & then fire as fast as the men can handle the guns. I have made my head bob many a time when the balls whistle past. You will never hear a ball that is going to hurt you.” Immediately following this altercation, Tomlinson headed to Perryville, KY “before the dead were buried and camped on the battlefield one night. The Rebel dead we left unburied.” He acknowledges that such brutality is “hard,” but that he has grown accustomed to it: “When we were going south last spring our boys were fast to see a fight. The first we knew we heard the guns at Pittsburg Landing. I see all the fighting I wanted there. Were on the lines from 11 o’clock till night through the hardest of the fighting of that battle.” He closes, lamenting the number of casualties and “families [that] have been broken up since this war broke out.”

Tomlinson was mustered out on July 31, 1865 at Camp Cleveland, OH. Letter dimensions 7.75 x 10 in. Includes printed transcription.



Creasing associated with a letter, two brown stains at top of each page, though not detrimental to the content.

Estimate: $200 - $400
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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