This letter was written by James M. Tillapaugh (1827-1877), a 33-year old physician living in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1860. James was commissioned a captain on 9 September 1861 and served initially as an officer in the Commissary Department. He was later a provost marshal in District 1. He returned to Racine and his medical practice after the War.
Dr. Tillapaugh wrote the letter to his wife, Angelina (Wells) Tillapaugh.
Addressed to Mrs. J. M. Tillapaugh, Racine, Wisconsin
Washington [D. C.]
October 13, 1861
My Darling Wife,
I feel much disappointed that I get no more letters from you. I have written you some 4 or 5 letters but have received but one. I am sure you can improve on this if you try very hard.
When I tell you that we start for the camp in the morning with forty-five, four-horse teams loaded for our division, you will have some faint idea of the amount of business we are doing and this vast rain can carry only enough to last one week. I assure you this business requires my undivided attention for the whole day and sometimes in the night.
A box of honey or anything in that line would come in play but be sure and send me a straw tick and some quilts or blankets as to you may seem best. Send a sack that I may stuff it with straw for a pillow.
If your father [Hamilton H. Wells (1808-1864)] thinks he can endure this rough life, I will give him the job of killing the beef for the Brigade. I must know, without delay, if he is coming because I cannot wait much longer for him. I was in Gen. McCall’s Division four miles above chain bridge on Virginia’s sacred soil. Your father cannot reach me without a pass so he must write me, if he crosses, what day he will start and what time he starts and I will meet him in Washington. If I should not meet him at the cars, he will go to 452 Pennsylvania Avenue where he will see L. B. Miller boarding, who will tell him where I am.
I cannot urge your father to come, but I believe I could make it pay him better, or as well as it will in Racine, if he does as he has done for a few years back.
Tyrell frightens me when he says it will cost $40 or $50 to get my horse here so I guess on the whole, you better do nothing about sending her. I shall look for and expect an answer to this letter as soon as you receive it.
Say to Frank I will answer his letter as soon as I get time. I think of you all very often and long for the time to come when we shall meet again. It is now late and I must close this disconnected letter. I expect to come and see you the coming winter unless we go too far south.
Good night, my pet. May you be protected from all harm by that God who has always been so kind to us. I remain yours as ever, — J. M. Tillapaugh
P. S. Continue to direct until further notice.
Capt. J. M. Tillapaugh
Commissary of Subsistence Vol. Service
Washington D. C.
P. S. No. 2
Should your father nor Tyrell come, you need send nothing but your unchanging love, which is of more value to me than all else.