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Charles Heath 6th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Letter

Arm amputated at Dallas, Georgia

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Item No. AR8901JR Category


Early war, six page letter written by Charles W. Heath of the 6th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Dated November 24th, 1861 and written from Camp Wabash in Larue County, Kentucky. Charles writes to his friend, William Madison in Allensville, Pennsylvania. The letter is mostly composed of writings concerning Charles daily life as a soldier. Camp life, marches, picket duty and general news about friends and family. He speaks of meeting such “notorious personages” as Governor Morton and a number of generals including Anderson, Sherman, Buell, McCook and several others. He has also included a small poem “When I am far away wilt thou, Bestow one thought on me, Wilt thou in thy devotion pray, For one who prays for thee”. New to the war, his spirits are jovial and high as the men of the 6th Indiana had yet to experience any of the hardships and horrors of war. Charles would muster with Company H (Jackson County Volunteers) late in September of 1861. With rumors of John Hunt Morgan moving into Kentucky, the 6th Indiana was sent to Louisville to head him off. Charles and the men of the 6th Indiana would be tested during their first engagement at Shiloh. With the loss of 43 men during the engagement, one can assume that the jovial attitude displayed in this letter, was quickly left behind. The regiment would go on to fight at Stones River, Chickamauga, Resaca, Missionary Ridge and a handful of others. They would see their last fight at Dallas and it was here that Charles would suffer a catastrophic wound. His right arm would be amputated during he battle on May 27, 1864. He would manage to survive the wound and be mustered out of service that September. Written in bold, black ink, the letter is easy legible. It has however been transcribed for ease in reading. It still retains he original and wonderful parotitic cover in which it was mailed to William.

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