[CIVIL WAR]. Archive of correspondence of Privates Levi and Joseph Yantz, 9th Iowa, Robert Wells, 24th New York Cavalry, and others, directed to family members back home, including:

Lot of 22 letters. The majority (7) are from Joseph Yantz, Co. I, 9th Iowa Infantry to "Father, Mother, Sisters, Relations, Friends & anyone else who is interested." One is from Levi Yantz, also Co. I, 9th Iowa. The brothers enlisted in September 1861. Joseph, unfortunately, died of wounds incurred at Pea Ridge, AR. Levi was slightly wounded in the same battle, then again later at Vicksburg, but survived both to muster out in July 1865 at Louisville, KY. Several of these letters are to Julia Herron, apparently a sister. Another letter is from Pete Herron to brother John Herron. Yet another is from Isaac Kittenger, a cousin, with a cover addressed to Julia Herron. 

There are 3 letters from Robert Wells, 24th NY Cav. Another 3 from Philip M. Randell, 144th NY Volunteers. Plus one short note from David Howard, whose unit is uncertain, but he mentions some battles in his note. A manuscript discharge for a Horace Hill, 27th Regiment, is dated 1858.

There are 4 "homefront" letters, 3 by Cordelia (2) and Charlotte (1) M. and one from Electa Liswell, all written to female relatives. Some have soldier's information in them.

Joseph Yantz:

Patriotic stationery and envelope. First with “Jeff. Davis Going to war;” envelope with American flag and quote “If any man attempts to haul down the American flag, shot him on the spot – John A Dix, Sec’y.” Letter from Camp Powers, Mo. Nov. 3d, 1861. 6+pp. To sister (envelope addressed to Julia Herron, Racine Co., Wisconsin). “Levi & myself are well as usual…we are now 40 mile west of St. Louis guarding A R. Road Bridge cross the Merimack river… there are so many sick that we have to stand on gard [sic] 2 days out of a week 54 men out of one hundred is all there is to stand on gard when they are called out 18 at a time for 24 hours – Our Company has hired a Universalist Minister to go with them some pay $1.00 per months other pay .50 cts & some nothing he is a first rate man out of my months wages I pay $100 for ministers, $.30 for a cook & 10 cts for our Brass Band that goes with our regiment this we have to pay every month there are 12 of us in a mess & we have to pay one of the Boys $300 a month… you will probably see a piece in the Chicago New covenant about our company is you can get one. If you see a piece about Co. P 9th Iowa Regiment Captain Powers company it will be us. You wanted to no [sic] whether we were in that Battle at St Louis. NO. There hasn’t been eny fighting done there west of us they had a fight with the rebbels some 60 of the cavalry killed a60 rebbels & took 70 prisoners there were 300 of the rebbells that must be the fight you heard of not far from here our regiment is divided up in 4 different places 14 mls in length all guarding Bridges…. From Joseph to those at home…”

Franklin City, Mo. Nov. 20, 1861. To Uncle, aunt, brother and friends one and all. {looks like Joe}. Mostly personal, but he does mention that Levi had the mumps and now it looks like he was coming down with measles. Both have been going around the camp. Another man that lived in Joe’s tent ever since they enlisted died – apparently he had measles then caught a cold that sounds like it turned into pneumonia.

Camp Herron, Mo. Dec. 8th, 1861. “Dear Father, Mother, Sisters, Relations, Friends and all that would like to hear from me.” From Joseph Yantz. Both sides of standard lined paper plus crisscross on second page. He is well other than a cold, Levi does not feel so well. Tired of laying around camp, also wants a fight. Describes the camp, the tent, how they sleep, etc.

Patriotic stationery and envelope First with “Young America off for the war;” cover with “Real Secession Flag” with an image of a skull and crossed bones on a flag. Camp Herron. Franklin City, Mo. Dec. 11th(?), 1861. He (Joseph) is well but Levi has been not well for a few days, getting better.Colds very common in camp, some others have measles, some have mumps, some have a fever. He is one of the company to go out and chop wood . [This letter seems incomplete]

N.p., Sunday Morn, 24th – Joseph Yantz to Julia Herron. Trying to write but it is so cold he doesn’t think he can, snow is falling, also. He tells her about building a fire in the tent and standing in the smoke to keep warm. “Most of the Boys have got sore eyes standing in the smoke so much.”

Patriotic stationery and envelope. First with Ellsworth with quote from the last letter to his parents; cover with someone in “Liberty cap,” “ We’ll give ‘em JESSIE yet.” Second page of letter also patriotic with man standing with bayonet fixed on rifle, “Our Union defenders.” Camp Coile Rolla, Jan 24th 1862. 8pp. To parents, siblings, friends from Joe. About half-way through he gives a list of what is in their knapsacks – with one days’ rations, “by that time we have over 70 lbs to carry how far we have to march a day I do not no [sic].” “…our camp is in sight of the burying ground &they bury from 2 to eight every day our regt. is the healthiest around there is only about 75 sick in all 30 have died since we left St. Louis….it would not kill us if we had to use a chamber [pot] to drink coffee out of for we have drinked water that wasn’t eny better.

Patriotic stationery and envelope. First with couple, him in uniform, she appears to be in tears to see him leave; cover with portrait of Major General Buell. Camp at ??? August 13 (?), 62. 7pp. To sister from George Clever(?). Very difficult reading.

Levi Yantz:

Helena, Ark. Oct 4th 62. 3pp. Levi to parents. Mentions that this location is a healthy one and there are few sick in the company. “A rebble flag of truce came in to day with 80 of our boys that they took while they wee after corn the colonel took them up to the quartermaster & gave them rations enough to last them back to littlerock. I think that is using the rebbles very well if I had my way they would get rations of lead that would last them further than little rock.” He suggests that the rebels come in whenever they are hungry to get some rations. In the morning they drilled with the 4th Indiana. There were 5 other Iowa regiments and the 25th Wisconsin, also. “One colonel has taken about 4000 Cavalry & gone back towards Jacksonsport to rout out the rebbles he left day before yesterday & said that he would have a fight with them if he had to follow them to little rock. We haven’t heard of him yet deserters are coming in every day they say that the rebbles are starving to death…. Well I don’t know what to say about Martha & the n____r …but if I was there I would kill that black devil of a n_____r before I slept. It makes me so mad to think that a n____r will try to get around a white girl…” Levi does not seem to be very sympathetic to the African American and slavery cause.


Isaac Kittinger to Julia Herron (a Yantz sister):

[Incomplete, missing the first pages, he addresses a Jacob in the text] Signed Isaac Kittinger, “your cousin soldier down in Tennessee or the Land called Dixie.” Cover addressed to Julia Herron. 4pp. He wonders how “such men” can ever go back to a normal existence working their land. Some day they will remember the sorrow they caused others. “Oh my god how sor[r]y I feel that there are such men as Copperheads… Rebels worse then the enemy in front, they are the rebels in the rear, and should stand in the same position of the rebels in the south I am very shure that 3 millions of slaves will be Liberated if the war is carried to its designed de[s]tination. The war is just fairly commenced now you must not look for an end yet by any means for we are just about ready now to doo something.” He mentions that there are six thousand six in Nashville hospitals; just think how many there are in the entire army! “It is astonishing what sorrow this war brings on.”

Raleigh, NC, April 29 / 65, 2pp, Pete Herron to brother John Herron – mostly personal, but he is trying to meet up with his brother in Washington if they get there at the same time.

Philip M. Randall, 144th NY Vols.:


Group of 3 letters from P[hilip] M. Randall, Co. I, 144th NY Vols.; enlisted 8.15.62, mustered out 6.25.65 at Hilton Head. All addressed to John (or Friend John).
- Camp Bliss, Nov. 18,1862 – short 1p. note, they are getting ready to march and are to take 5 days’ rations, but they don’t know where they are going, they think to join Burnside.
- Camp California, April 13, 1863, 3pp. – There are a number of units named in G.O. No 53 – 40th Mass, 22nd Connt., 141st, 142nd, 143rd, 144th and 127th NY Vols., 9th Mass battery and 17th NY battery. They are to take ninety rounds of ammunition & seven days’ rations each, leaving the next morning, again, no one knows where to.
Suffolk, Virginia, April 28th, 1863 – He has seen Secretary Seward riding through town in a carriage escorted by about 500 cavalry.

Robert Wells, 24th NY Cav.:


3 letters from Robert Wells, Co. G, 24th NY Cav, DOD 4.11.65 at Columbia Gen. Hosp., Washington, DC. All to “Friend Baker” or “Mr. Baker”
- Camp Stoneman, April 9th 1864, 4pp. – “I don’t think we shall leave this place very soon for we have not drawn our horses yet… there is other reg. that is a head of us and they will draw horses before we do. This is the head quarters here for all the US States cav and we will be ful[l]y equified before we leave.”
- Va. Sept. 25th /64, 3+ pp. – “we have been doing fatigue duty for the last four weeks. We have built some strong works to protect our rear. I think if the rebs come round here they will get [????fied] …. We are not mounted yet but we are in hopes we will be soon."
- Camp Stoneman, March 24, 1864 – a somewhat disjointed letter, asking for some money since they have not been paid yet.



Georgia, Jun 7th 1864, 2pp 5.5 x.6.5 in. from David Howard, no addressee. Talks about having another Seven Days fight. Unit unknown.

Manuscript discharge 65 x 7.5 in., for Horace Hill, N. Franklin, Dec. 1st 1858. 27th Regiment.



3 letters from Cordelia (2) and Charlotte(1) M. They reference men in service, but there is not enough information to track them down. The letters are to a mother and grandmother. One of the men is possibly in the 24th NY State Vols.

Feeding Hills (Mass), July 9, 1865, 4pp., Electa Liswell to Aunt Harmony Baker - she gives the people currently living in her household. “I have my sons little girl with me she will be five come November….Seth he inlisted [sic] about the beginning of the war for 3 years, did not serve his time out before he reinlisted for 3 years more he came home on a furlough for 30 days it is one year las Jan. when he came home we received two letters from him after he went back & his picture. He was taken prisoner year ago last may & caried to Andersonvill[e] we have not heard from him since, until the soldiers began to come home & then we heard he was dead (Poor boy) he was starved to death in that awful prison, with nothing but a rag to put around him we do not know the exact time when he died but some time last Dec.” She goes on to describe her son’s wife’s addiction to laudanum and how she started stealing to get the money to buy more. She finally was caught and sent to prison, which is why her daughter is with Electa.

Estimate: $800 - $1,000
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