Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 17, 1861.

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Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 17, 1861.


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 17, 1861


Midway Village Museum






(Note: this letter is missing its first page (or more). The letter goes on for two and a half pages. Another letter begins on the bottom of the third page and ends on the fourth page.)

. . . which imbraces[sic] the forces in Illinois Indiana Ohio & I believe Iowa, thought he could find some work for us [after] a little, Don’t know dear Saddie that I have much to write until [sic] hearing from you again, which I expect soon. I love to write you dear Saddie, and value your letters more than anything else that I could receive from any body, for they seem like So may [sic] pleasant hours in which you are talking to me face to face.
I say you write a splendid letter. How much my heart would have been gladdened had I received such kind and good letters whilst away in Pikes Peak. Dearest, it was for you that I came back. All my interests other wise were there.
You can emagine [sic] dearest, what my feelings must have been whilst absent eight months in the Rocky Mountains. When I tell you that then you were my only idol—that I loved you with all the fervency & earnestness of an humble heart & in that time could not hear one word from you. Although I then believed you
would have written had you not been influenced by others to the contrary.
Yes. I say am glad [sic] that I returned. That I have your love and kind and cheering smiles—& am permitted to do something for my country in the present war, which I could not have well done had I remained in the Territories. Suppose the day will pass away as usual at near sun set comes dress parade_then the visitors come in—the ladies of course honor us by their presence on such occasions. Some of the boys have already made some pleasant acquaintances. frequiently [sic] want permits to leave camp, (have some excuse of course) but really wish to return the visits made by their lady friends. Never do they visit our camp, but what I think of you. How I should like to show you around the camp. Saddie—it is really pleasant here. That picture which you did not like so well, but gave me, looks prettier every day! Have written now more than is readable—will close by bidding you a Goodbye. This I expect to hear from you quite
often. From your affectionate friend. C.T. Dunham
To: Sarah E. Cummings
Saddie I sende[sic] you a rough sketch of my tent which I have for drafting purposes. You see it is surrounded by long Beach. C.T. Dunham
Monday Morning, June 17th,
Dearest Saddie
I received a very kind & good letter from your mother this morning & was sorry indeed to learn that you were unwell, that you were threatened with a fever. Please Saddie do not neglect to do something emidiately [sic] that will prevent you from sickness. My dear do not let anything trouble you—am afraid that you have worried too much on my account—do not, for I am well never enjoyed better health than I do now—I have everything necessary. I should feel so bad to hear that you were sick with the fever that I do sincerly [sic] hope you may get well before it has really got a footing. Am glad that you have are not attending school for hard study would be injurous very [sic]—
This is a beautiful cool morning—much cooler than we have had since coming here. I wish you were well & here to enjoy it. Your mother very kindly invited me to when I came back on a visit to make her house my home—which I will be very happy to do. Now dearest do not worry will you. I will assure you that I will make you a visit before long. If I should ask for a pass at the present time before the organization of the Regiment, others in our Co. would claim the same right & it would tend to make uneasiness among the boys. but[sic] in a few days I think we will be sworn in for three years & then I assure you dearest, I shall be so happy to make you a visit: we are in a few minutes going out to practice shooting at a target. I wrote yo I will write your mother today. Goodbye Saddie & hope you may very soon be well.
From your dear friend
S.E.C. C.T. Dunham

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham , “Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 17, 1861.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed May 24, 2024,