July 1863 Letter - 67th Pennsylvania Chaplain Edward C. Ambler, Captured at Winchester, Describes Life in Richmond's Libby Prison - "Kiss the children for me."

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July 1863 Letter - 67th Pennsylvania Chaplain Edward C. Ambler, Captured at Winchester, Describes Life in Richmond's Libby Prison - "Kiss the children for me."

175.00

Item No. 5718665

A very interesting July 1863 letter written by Joe Ambler to his sister regarding their father, Edward C. Ambler, who was Chaplain of the 67th Pennsylvania. Ambler had been captured along with the majority of his regiment on June 15 at Winchester and was, when the letter was written, imprisoned with other captured officers at Libby Prison in Richmond. Joe wrote that another member of the 67th, just released from prison, had brought a letter from their father. Joe then copied that letter in full, in which Ambler described having had all his belongings confiscated: “They took my watch, and all my clothes—my valise is gone and my diary.” He mentioned a Chaplain Brown who was Ambler’s “companion in tribulation.” “There is between us a mutual friendship,” he wrote. Ambler mistakenly reported the death of Surgeon Robert Barr, who was alive and well. Assistant Surgeon Thomas F. Corson was wounded, he thought, but could not be sure. He lamented, “three of our men died in the Hospital from wounds and when I left Winchester there were thirty five wounded men. I have heard of the names of others which makes about 40 and I make 12 counting officers who are dead.” Further details of the horrors of the hospital were stated before Ambler closed the letter with a sincere wish: “Oh if I had wings like a dover and were let out of this cage, how soon would I fly to my lovely mate…. Kiss the children for me.” Ambler would be released another month later, surviving his Libby prison ordeal. The letter reads:

Annapolis
July 16 / 63

My own dear Sister
I shall not be able to write a lengthy letter for I have several letters to write and a big ironing to do and it is nothing but calls, calls, continually. One of the 67th boys just from prison has just gone out. It is no use to repeat what he or any of the others say for all tell different stories. Yesterday a boat load of paroled men came in and Father sent us a letter by one of them. It was written with lead pencil and on a little piece of blue paper. I will send you a copy. We are all as well as usual except Mother. She worries so much it makes me sick. She says do not worry about us. We are in no danger whatever. She says thank William and you for your kind offer, but tell you she must be here to welcome Father. We are all grateful to you. Jennie says she is going some time. We were told yesterday (that we) by Major Milford who has the care of all those on the flag of truce boat that we might expect Father next Sunday. Give our love to all. I would write more but think it would please your letter to have me copy Father’s letter, so here it is. —Joe

Hospital of Libby Prison July 13th 1863

My Dear Almira, I dare not say all I desire to say for fear my letter will be seen. I have now been a prisoner four weeks. I have nothing left but the clothes I had on my back. They took my watch, and all my clothes—my valise is gone and my diary. I saved nothing but the money I had in my pocket which was one hundred dollars and which they now [have] taken from me here and from all the officers but gave me a receipt for it to be returned when we are liberated. Ten dollars they have voluntarily handed me after a week. I suppose they thought I needed it to buy something to eat. I am not sick now, but I am very weak and suffer with a cough arising from a cold I have caught since I came here. I am much more comfortable in the Hospital than I was before. Chaplain Brown is with me. He is my companion in tribulation. He is a good Methodist brother. There is between us a mutual friendship. I trust we are a help to each other. I hope you will not distress yourself about me. God will take care of me and will in his own time deliver me, and then I shall try to get an audience with the President, and lay before him some matters in relation to our treatment. Dr. [Robert] Barr I think from all I can hear was killed. Dr. [Thomas F.] Corson I hear was wounded but cannot hear where he is. Three of our men died in the Hospital from wounds and when I left Winchester there were thirty five wounded men. I have heard of the names of others which makes about 40 and I make 12 counting officers who are dead. There are in the Hospital some ten men with their legs amputated. One man died this morning with dysentery. A large number are to leave tomorrow morning and the Hospital will be thinned out. I send this by Jacob Billman who I suppose will go to Annapolis and who will hand or send this to you. I hope the time will come before long for me to go. Oh if I had wings like a dove and were let out of this cage, how soon would I fly to my lovely mate. God bless you my faithful wife and sustain you amidst your trials. I presume you have seen many of our boys before this and that you are informed about me. All I write is subject to inspection and I must wait patiently that I may tell you face to face all about my trials and hear from you of yours. Until then let us hope and pray. From your loving husband until death E.C. Ambler

Kiss the children for me.

The letter was written on a stationery sheet measuring about 5” x 8”. It is in excellent condition with minor foxing. Even toning throughout. Creased where originally folded.

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