Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 6, 1861 at Camp Mandin.

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Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 6, 1861 at Camp Mandin.


Christopher Theodore Dunham was born Sept 24, 1836 in Berkshire, Tioga County, NY. He moved to Freeport, Stephenson County, IL around 1856 and in 1860 was elected county surveyor. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted as a corporal in Capt. Atkin's company in the 11th Illinois Regiment of the Union Army. He transferred to Noleman's Calvary Company and was mustered out July 5, 1862. He returned to Freeport where he again enlisted under the President's call of July 1. 1862 and was elected Captain of Company F, 92nd Illinois Volunteers. With his background as a surveyor, he was detailed as Topographical officer on the staff of Brigadier General A. Baird, commander of his regiment's division. In 1864 he was tendered by Governor Yates the commission of Lt. Col. but turned it down to remain on staff duty. He was also attached to HQ 3rd Div. Army of Kentucky and HQ 1st Div. Reserve Army Corps. In 1872 he was admitted to the Elgin Insane Asylum where he died January 27, 1878. His early letters were to his fiancee Sarah Cummings, spelled "Saddie"later changed to "Sadie". They married in the fall of 1862.


Christopher Theodore Dunham


June 6, 1861


Midway Village Museum






Camp Mardin June 6th 1861
My Dear Saddie
This morning I was so happy to receive a letter from you, that I hardly know how to express to you my sincere love and admiration. Had expected ere this & hardly know the reason why I did not get one – supposed there was some good reason so I waited contentedly untill [sic] it came this morning – Was surprised to hear that it had been so long – twelve days since you had heard from me – Have written twise [sic] since that time & perhaps ere this date you will have received them.
I should be very happy as I stated in my last letter to hear from you as often as you could find time to write, & I certainly will take time
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emediately[sic] to answer. Some of the boys here receive letters nearly every day – My lovely Girl. I assure you that I do appreciate the warm and affectionate letters which you write & I beg of you Dearest one, never to have any doubts or fears as to my faithfulness towards you. Now that I am assured – that you love me – my hopes, happiness & all future success dearest one are centered in you. If I know that you are happy, I shall rejoice – If sorrowful I shall sorrow with you. In regard to my enlisting for three years – I do not think it will be necessary for anyone to serve that length of time – believe we shall see the end of the war (at the fartherest [sic]) at the end of Eighteen months and in one year or less believe it will be pretty well decided. & I will Dear Saddie – pray with you that
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there may be a speedy termination of the war, & that all our hopes may be realized; & when you ask me not to forget you – among the many beautiful & accomplished ladies who visit our Camp I feel more proud of you than ever – to know you feele [sic] an interest in me, and as the ladies of which you speak at different times visit our Camp ( the accomplished one quite scarce) I feele [sic] proud to know that there is one not a thousand miles distant whose voice is more musical – whose ways are more pleasant & whose heart is as brave & last but not least, - - who cares more for me than they all could care.
I should be very glad to see you – to see you all before going on a Southern Expedition which if the Regiment is sworn in – we will make ere long.
Our worthy Col. Mr. Wallace has
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returned from Washington and has been at leave day before yesterday to see General Prentice & see if it could be so arrainged [sic] that the boys could be permited [sic] to visit home before going for the long term 3 yrs[sic]. I am not informed yet what was the result of the conference. In order that the Regiment be accepted for the 3 yrs. 4/5th of the men composing said Regiment must be in favor of it by vote, & as I understand it, if 1/5th on taking a vote of the Regiment are against the 3 yrs. propposition [sic] - then the Regiment will not be accepted I hope & trust that the boys will do their duty. but do believe that if they are not permitted to go home – that not more than 2/3ds will be in favor of the 3 yrs.[sic] propposition [sic]. I thank you for your kindness dearest one in regard to
(letter ends at this point.)

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 6, 1861 at Camp Mandin.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed March 3, 2024,