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Friday, January 6, 2012

Thomas Covert, Letter #4

Fourth in a series of letters my great-great-great-grandfather wrote home from the American Civil War, exactly 150 years ago.

Camp Dennison, Jan. 6th, 1862

My Dear Wife:

It is with pleasure that I now take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we have safely arrived here. We started out Saturday morning at 8 O'clock and got here about 8 Sunday. Our quarters here are a great deal better than they were at Warren. We have barricks here and two large stoves in them. The building is about one hundred feet long and about 25 or 30 wide, with a stove in each end of them. They say that there is a few cases of the Small Pox in one of the Hospitals about one mile from here. There is as near as I can find out about Seven Thousand Five Hundred men in camp now and I tell you we have got a nice camp here.

There was two deaths in camp today, I do not know what Regement they belong to. One died with the measles & the other got poisend by drinking whiskee.. I lost my cap that you liked so well out of the car window yesterday. I went to look out of the window and my cap fell off just as it was always doing. The 2nd Ohio Cavalry leave here next week for Fort Leavenworth, Cansas. They are the Regement that was at Cleveland. I sent you five dollars by Mr. Barnard the morning. We left Warren I drew Eight dollars. I tried to get it fixed so that you could draw a part of my wages before we left Warren. I spoke to the Captain about it but he said that the Colonial was so busy that he could not do it then but I could have it fixed just as well when we got here. So I will get fixed as soon as we get straightened around. The Artillery were shooting at a target from one hill to another the other day when there was a man got in the range of the cannon and had his shoulder shot off. He died of the wound. And there was one of the Zouves went to steal sheep & the farmer see him and shot him through the heart, so I guess he wont steal any more sheep. The Zouves are real thieves any way. I have not got any shirts yet but will get some before long. It was as cold this morning here as it was at Warren when we left and I think colder but it is warmer now.

Jim stayed at Warren to take care the sick. Nothing more at present, but I remain,

As Ever

Thos. M. Covert

Direct your letters to:

Thos M. C.,
Camp Dennison,
6th O.V. Cavalry Regt.,
Care of Capt. Bing.

If you see Binghams Boys tell them to fetch you 2 bushells of Apples.

Write Soon.

Along with his grumbling, Covert has flashes of wit; I like the story of the cap -- presumably riding in a railroad car was novel enough that Covert wasn't prepared for the consequences of it falling off "as it was always doing" -- and of the Zouave who won't steal any more sheep -- and they illustrate two kinds of yarns Covert likes to tell -- ones where he's made a fool of, and ones where he can make wry pokes at the expense of those who offend his moral sensibilities.

Why are his letters sent care of Captain Bingham? Is it the officer's responsibility to distribute mail to his men? Is he the same Bingham whose Boys should fetch Phoebe two bushels of apples? Is he "the Captain" in his official capacity, but "Bingham" when it comes to matters back at home?

Posted by benrosen at January 6, 2012 02:10 PM | Up to blog

Where did the Coverts live? Cleveland?

Posted by: Shoshana Rosenbaum at January 6, 2012 08:03 PM

I think the Coverts lived in northeastern Ohio, probably Geneva. I know some of my mother's family were buried in Geneva.

Posted by: Karen Rosenbaum at January 11, 2012 03:36 AM
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