Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings, written November 3, 1861 at Camp Lyon Birds Point, Missouri

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Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings, written November 3, 1861 at Camp Lyon Birds Point, Missouri


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


November 3, 1861


Midway Village Museum






Camp Lyon Bird’s Pt. Mo.
Nov. the 3rd, 1861
My dearest one,
Our Company together with several Regiments being under marching orders & as I have a few minuits [sic] in which to write my love I will improve them. Where we are going I do not know, but we will be gone at least 2 weeks as we have that many rations of provisions with us. The infantry are now standing with their [Jacks] in their Bereks [sic], ready for orders, + our horses are all sadelled [sic] + ready too. I think our destination is either Cape Gerideau, or to Paducah, but wherever it may be, I will write you as soon as I get there. Am well as usual (that is first rate). My Bro. is getting a little better, & today I succeeded in getting him a furlough, as soon as he gets able to
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go home. Am trying to get Bros. Alfred & Henry transfered [sic] to our Company, it would be much more pleasant. My Bro. Alfred felt quite bad as I just now left him at the hospital + bade him goodbye Could hardly get him to release his grasp upon my hands, but I told him that I would return in a few days ande [sic] the Lady nurse promised to take good care of him! How hard it must be to be sick in camp. The Cavalry service is much more healthy than the infantry—but few in our Co. who are sick.
Received a lette [sic] today from Bro. Chas at Washington. He says they are bussy [sic] drilling, + could hear distinctly the cannonaiding [sic] of the Rebels on the opposite Side of the River. My love this is a pretty day. The Sabbath day—how different it must be in Freeport from what it is here at the Point today. I do hope
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those who have the management of this war on our part will now prosecute [sic] it vigorously so that we may [know] how long the Rebellion will be permitted to last. hope that it will be gotten along with this winter.
My love you must write me when I give you the directions.
Just as I am writing George Purington (a nephew of [Inge] Purington of Freeport) came in to my tent from the Frederickstown fight. George and myself are the only ones from Freeport that have been in a fight with the rebels. You will hear a good sermon tody [sic], [and] you, how I would love to be with you.—but wait until the good time a coming. My love, as we are about to start good bye love. I’m your ever Affect. one with much love + kisses. C.T. Dunham

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings, written November 3, 1861 at Camp Lyon Birds Point, Missouri,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed July 19, 2024,