1864: Timothy Dwight Root to his brother

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A tintype of Sgt. William C. Myers of the 14th Ohio Light Artillery taken in Jackson, TN in 1862

This letter was written by Timothy “Dwight” Root (1845-1871), the son of Timothy Root (1803-1891) and Adeline Lewis (1806-1897) of Austinburg, Ashtabula county, Ohio. Most likely Dwight addressed the letter to his older brother, Edward L. Root (1842-1911), or to a younger brother named Eli Wheadon Root (1847-1922). Another brother, Pvt. William E. Root (1844-1864) of Co. C, 60th OVI, was killed on 25 May 1864 at North Anna River.

Dwight mustered into the 14th Ohio Light Artillery on 8 February 1864 and served until 9 August 1865. This letter was written in mid-July 1864 while the Battery participated in the Atlanta Campaign May 1-September 8, 1864. During that campaign the battery marched over 400 miles, expended in all 5,832 rounds of ammunition, had three men killed and 18 wounded, and two horses killed and 15 wounded. According to military records, the 14th Ohio Light Artillery used four 6-pounder and two 12-pounder Wiard rifles during the war (see header image).

Dwight mentions the death of his close friend, Harvey Cook, who enlisted with him in the  14th Ohio Light Artillery on the same day. Harvey died of disease on 2 July 1864 near Decatur, Alabama. Dwight mentions his burial outside of Decatur but Harvey’s body was later reinterred at the Corinth National Cemetery in Mississippi (Gravesite B-29).

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CDV’s of Dwight’s parents: Timothy and Adeline (Lewis) Root of Austinburg, Ashtabula county, Ohio

TRANSCRIPTION

Decatur, Alabama
July 15th [1864]

Dear Brother,

I received your letters dated June 23rd and July 1st last night but will hardly get an answer started this mail as we have been moving today from Fort No. 1 to Fort No. 2 and I find it no easy job to clean and fix up old quarters so that they will be healthy and comfortable. The boys are in good health and spirits. We are now getting about as many blackberries we can eat and they go a good ways in keeping off camp diseases.

Our Lieutenant [Allen L.] Callender has left us. He resigned about the last of June and we were turned over to Lieut. [John J.] Calkins of the 1st Michigan who was with us about a week when he was ordered to the front and Lieut. C. Miller of the 1st Ohio succeeded him. The boys all like him but he can’t stay always as his time is out in August.

Harvey Cook died at the hospital in the second of this month after an illness of about two weeks. We buried him the next day on a pleasant knoll just out of town and surrounded his grave with a neat little fence. He was deranged at the time of his death and passed away without a struggle. So the boys are dropping off one by one—none knowing whose turn will come next.

We had a man desert our command about a month since. His name was [Ralph] Hartwell from Geneva. He had been in the 29th [OVI] and enlisted in our Battery last spring. ¹

We do not have any driving to do here and spend our [time] running around and fishing. But one gets poorly paid sitting three or four hours in the hot sun for a few small fish. I could not make a true statement in regard to those distances as there is no map to be got and as there are no more news to write, I shall have to close. Write soon. From your brother, — Dwight Root

Direct to Callender’s Post Battery, Decatur, Alabama


¹ Ralph Hartwell (1843-1871) enlisted in Co. B, 29th OVI on 1 November 1861 and mustered out after 1 year’s service on 29 October 1862. The muster rolls of the 14th Ohio Light Artillery indicate that Ralph enlisted on 1 February 1864 but provide no additional information regarding his service in that battery. We learn from Dwight’s letter than he deserted in mid-June 1864 after only four month’s service.

1 Comment

  1. A few letters by this family, 2 from Adeline (Lewis) Root to her sons, one Edward, the other Dwight, are for sale on eBay now 3/24/2020

    Like

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