Christopher T. Dunham to wife Sara E. (Sadie) Cummings, written February 25, 1863 while camped near Nashville, Tennessee.

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Christopher T. Dunham to wife Sara E. (Sadie) Cummings, written February 25, 1863 while camped near Nashville, Tennessee.


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


February 25, 1863


Midway Village Museum






Head Quarters Third Division,
Army of Kentucky,
Camp near Nashville Tenn. Febry, 25th, 1863.
My Darling Sadie
What shall I write you this evening! how much do I wish that one of your Sweet letters was before me that from them I might gleen [sic] some ideas for a letter: but alas, they are not. no doubt many a one of those epistles which you pened [sic] for me, to pleas [sic] as me are laid up on some old rusty & musty shelf in some post office. the occupant of which has not gumption enough to send it to the propper [sic] quarters. but darling it is a very great satisfaction to know that you recieve [sic] my letters and so long as I know this my loving wife shall hear from me
Now my love I would love to write you every day if I had any thing to write about- but being as this Army has since my connection with it- - stationed for a good period of time at one place there cannot much occur which would be of interest to you, but I write more peticularly [sic] because I love to correspond with my darling and if I were at home no doubt but I would write many letters to you every day, or rather speak them by word of mouth. This is the light in which I view letter writing or letters of love and friendship, & my darling (you will excuse me for recuring [sic] to the past) you know how much I used to love to
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write you. if you have not distroyed [sic] any of the letters there must be quite a heap oh: it was your letters to me which I gave you for safe keeping which you burned. I ought to have known better. I was just looking over my trunk & find that you did not leave one of your letters so you will find that hereafter they will be looked after, & I shall be careful how I show them to you. You only according to the laws of man & wife had a right to burn but half of them. I suppose you have sat up pretty - late this evening sewing. did you not say you were about to make a "uniform" thats [sic] nice work for a girl "spose". Well my love whilst I'me [sic] writing the rain is spattering against the house & the wind whistling through the trees telling of a bad day "to morrow". We are very well situated here - I think we will be untill [sic] we are lost in the large Army at Murfresboro [sic].
Last night some of our Cavalry had a skirmish with the rebel cavalry about 14 miles from here at the town of Franklin. The rebels attacked with about 2000 strong but were badly beaten by our Cavalry. do not know the peticulars [sic]; will write you when known. My love how do you get along, do you have what things you wish! My sweet girl I want you to get every thing to make you comfortable; do you keep your feet propperly [sic] cared for. now it is Spring you must get if you have not a good pair of india [sic] rubber shoos [sic] - so that you will not cetch [sic] cold whilst walking when the ground is wet or damp. I deam [sic] it of great importance as I know how quick I feel sick with damp feet. and if you are not
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feeling very well - you had better get some medicine at Dr Prentice; he is a good Dr. I believe. You know how you dislike to take medicine & I do not think much is good, but he (Dr) can give you some mild medicine which will help you
I believe that my Darling will - take good care of herself as she knows how well I feel to know that my Sadie is well & especially when absent from her. & If you should get sick I could not stay in the Army. no I would be with my loving one - My Darling it makes me feel bad that so many of my men are dying how [lest I] since coming into Ky. but the other Co. are loosing [sic] as many. every thing [sic] is done for them which can be done but to no account it appears. You never ask me any thing [sic] about the General in your letters - but I will volunteer & say that he is quite well. He speaks of you occasionly [sic]. How would you like to go to Danville Ky. again - Won't those secessionests [sic] feel happy as the Rebel Soldiers are very near there & no doubt will be there ere you get this letter. Quite a large force is reported coming into the State & a few days ago several hundred Cavalry were at Nicholasvill [sic] where you stayed all night you know, but I do not think they will stay long before the "Yanks" will make them "Git". [sic]
Now my darling good night may you have sweet dreams Your loving Husband
Mrs. Sadie E. Cummings

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to wife Sara E. (Sadie) Cummings, written February 25, 1863 while camped near Nashville, Tennessee.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed June 18, 2024,