1863 Civil War Letter - 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry - Van Dorn Attacks Franklin, TN

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1863 Civil War Letter - 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry - Van Dorn Attacks Franklin, TN

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Item No. SQ1515089

Offered here is an interesting Civil War soldier letter from two brothers to their parents at home. The authors were Sergeant Isaac D. Landis and Private Gideon W. Landis of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry. It is dated April 14, 1863, from Franklin, Tennessee, where the 9th Penn waited as part of Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland. In the letter the brothers describe Confederate General Earl Van Dorn’s April 10 attack on Franklin in detail, with the 40th Ohio being mentioned as having taken all of the casualties. When Isaac needed to attend to his duties, Gideon took over and finished the letter. It reads, in full:

Camp of the 9th Penna Cavalry
Franklin Tennessee April 14th 1863

Dear Parents,
I now apply myself to the pleasant task of writing to you again to let you know that we are still enjoying good health. We received our letter on Sunday last and was surprised that you had not received our last letters but suppose you have got them by this time. I was sorry to hear of Grandmother sickness but I am afraid her days are about numbered, although I hope she might survive at least untill this terrible rebellion is over. We have moved our Camp since I commenced writing this letter and it rained all day, which is another more than it has done every time we have moved camp since we came here. We have a pretty camp but no shade, although we might as well get use to the hot weather gradualy. The rebs made an attack on us the other day. They came a charging into our Picketts and five came right up to the Pontoon bridge and undertook to take an officer prisoner when the infantry guards shot three and took the others prisoners. I tell you it was a dear charge for Van Dorn. He intended to take this Place that day and the next he was to take Nashville. His men were all drunk & he thought there were only about there Thousand men here and was shure of taking this place, but he slipped up on it slightly. I suppose we will stay here quite a while as I do not think Rosecrans will attack them, but wait for them to attack us:

I D Landis

[now written in Gideon’s hand] as Isaac had to go out with the forage train I will send this off: We are enjoying good health wich is the greatest Blessing that a Soldier Can have: We have a great deal of duty to do here. But that has been our lot ever since we have been in Service and is nothing new: Van Dorn made a sorry Charge on us the other day: our Loss was 3 killed 3 wounded and 4 taken Prisoners (all of the 40th Ohio Infantry). The Rebel loss was heavy. Wee took 70 Prisoners, Buryed about 20. But their Loss is not known. But deserters say their Loss is over 300: I wish you would send a Silver Pendon (watch pendon) with a screw and a Mainspring the size of the piece I enclosed and Charge them with the hands and we will pay you on pay day: We expect to be paid in a few days. Wright often and we will do the same: They will not go for forage. Isaac is back: yours

G W Landis

The letter was written upon both sides of a stationery sheet measuring about 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. It is in excellent condition with very light toning, light wear to edges and corners (rough on the left edge where one of the brothers removed this sheet from its twin), and creases where originally folded.

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