1862: David Luddington to Mary S. Cunningham

This letter was written by David Luddington (1837-1908), the son of David Luddington (1804-1885) and Mary Elizabeth Edwards (1811-1893) of Porter county, Indiana. David enlisted in Co. G, 9th Illinois Cavalry in October 1861. He mustered out of the regiment on 27 October 1864.

Luddington wrote the letter to Mary S. Cunningham (b. 1841), the daughter of Horace Cunningham (1781-1882) and Caroline Elizabeth Tree (1810-1880) of Porter county, Indiana. The letter pertains to the return of the body and personal effects of Mary’s older brother, Cornelius Cunningham (1837-1862) who died of disease on 25 August 1862 at Helena, Arkansas, while serving in Co. G, 9th Illinois Cavalry.

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Recruiting Poster for the 9th Illinois Cavalry


Helena [Arkansas]
September 18, 1862

Dear Friend Mary,

I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I received your letter dated September the 10th and was glad to hear that you was all well. You wrote in your letter that you wanted me to send Cornelius’ things home. They was on the way before I got your letter. Capt. [Henry M.] Buells’ nephew was down here and I sent them with him when he went back. If you have not got them yet, I think you will find them at the Express Office in Valparaiso.

You wanted the size of his coffin. The length of the top outside is 6 feet 7 inches, 6 feet from the bottom. Two feet in width and fifteen inches in height. I will send a little hymn book that was overlooked when I picked up his things.

The regiment was ordered out yesterday with 6 days rations. I don’t know where they went to. they may have gone down to Vicksburg. Everything is quiet here now. I must bring my letter to a close. So goodbye for this time. I remain yours truly, — D. Luddington

to M. S. Cunningham

You must excuse my bad writing for I have taken so much opium and quinine that my hand trembles so that I can’t write by spells.



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