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Object Name Letter, Original
Catalog Number 2015.022.00017
Date June 21, 1861
Scope & Content Letter: original letter written to "Dear Parents". Head Quarters, Fairmont, Va. June 21, 1861

Transcription:

Head Quarters
Fairmont, Va. June 21st 61

Dear Parents,

Since writing my former letter, we have moved Head Quarters to Fairmont Marion County Va. on the Monongahela. It is a very pretty place indeed, and is the County Seat of Marion. There is a suspension bridge across the River on Thousand feet in length, and a short-distance below (?), these are (?) Rail Road bridges a very fine stonestructure. A the Hotel where we board, there are several handsome daughters of Old Virginia, but in the midth of all these, we are surrounded with danger on all sides. Last evening Brigadier General Morris, sent our a dispatch to our Colonels informing him our attack was to be made on this place, and for us to be prepared to meet th e enemy. We immediately sent for aid to Beutors Ferry, and the Home Guard here offered their services, making in all 5 companies. The picket guard was stationed about a mile from town, and at the approach of the enemy 3 guns were to be fired, which was the signal for us to be in readi

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ness and they were to return to Camp about 3o clock in t he morning, the guns were fired. and all the men were ready and buckled on their armour for the affray. I was sleeping in the office at the time, in Company with the Quarter Master, and several friends. Every one was on the qui vive, and the Quarter Master rushed out with a musket, while we poor fellows had none, and had to look out for ourselves. AFter all the companies had been formed, and drawn up in battle array, anxiously expecting the enemy they were doomed to sad disappointment, at hearing proved a false alarm. It seems that the guard hearing a noise in the bushes, thinking it was spies, commanded them to halt, but the noise still continued, when they fired and retreated to quarters. No enemy approaching, the companies marched out to where the firing was, and lo and behold discovered a dead cow. For awhile the different companies maintained profound silence, "and as the old Virginian said there was shoot in their eyes".
So we were fortunate as not to be attacked, it seems that one of th e companies of our Regiment, stationed at Marrington under Capt. Cable was, or at least a part of their. The Capt. with a squad of 20, had gone out among the hills scouting, and it seems was on the track of some who

[page 3]
were holding a secession meeting. Capt. Cable commanded the building with his men, where he was fired into by the men inside, and one of his men killed, and two wounded. He kept them in there until almost 3o clock in the morning when he started on horseback for this place, for reinforcements. A detachment immediately started out, and up to the hour of my writing have not returned. Fears are entertained of their safety, as it is quite dark and they have had plenty of time to go twice the distance and return. Capt Cable has obtained documents, and are now in his possession, which will if the men are found, be treated with lynch law - or in other words be immediately hung without a judge or jury.
One of the mens name is Jesse Hunt, can it be any of our relatives? I trust not. Two men were arrested last evening who are spies.
They belong to a Secession Company, which left this town about 3 weeks since. The citizens wanted us to shoot them, and they said if we did not, and would let them out, they would. The Col. deeming it not safe to retain them here, received a dispatch for him to send them to Grafton which he did.
This is a very dangerous place indeed, (?) it to being a town of some importance, and being

[Page 4]
the place where one of the bridge burners reside. also the residence of the Hon. Mr. Pierpont who has just been elected Governor of the Provisional government by the convention at Wheeling. A secession company was raised here, and the men know all prominent points from which to attack us. They have intentions of burning the iron bridge here, but they are afraid of being overpowered by our forces. We have the most dangerous positions of my Reg. in Western Virginia, because we are all separated from each other, and a band of secessionists could come out of the hills, and go along the line and cut off each company, at the different stations.
My old company is Stationed at Farmington another very dangerous place, being surrounded with hills also being the residence of another bridge burner, but Capt. Dodd is a man ready for any emergency. I pass over the road most every day, and the boys all seem to be in fine spirits. Capt. Morris of Co. "E" 20th Reg. yesterday went out in the country, and returned with a s secession flag.
He says he would not take the best farm in Ohio for it. He will get elected to Congress on it any rate. It is suspected Gov. Wise is advancing to this part of th e country. He will meet with a warm reception.
More troops are to arrive here to nights. Direct to Fairmont Va B & O.R.R Care Col. Mortons
Yours Aff. Son
John

[In space on top of first page]
Col Kelly who was wounded at the battle at Phillipi passed over the road to day on his way to Wheeling. His a fine looking (?) and from appearances is a brave man The manner in which we are fighting in nothing more than Indian warfare. The enemy will not meet us out in the field, but fire on us from concealed places such as behind trees - hill and stump. It is very dangerous yet our men seem never to mind it and press on anxious to meet them. Henry A Wise is coming in this (?) a large body of troops and the Major said this morning in one week we may expect a big fight right here in Fairmont.

[Along left edge of page two]
By holding this up to the light- you will perceive this is secession paper, having their motto and their flag with nine stars. You can scarely see it where the writing is on it,
Creator John