Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 17, 1863 from Franklin, Tennessee.

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Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 17, 1863 from Franklin, 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. He married Sarah (“Sadie” or “Saddie”) E. Cummings September 22, 1862 in Freeport, Illinois. 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. After returning to Freeport he was again surveying, but in 1872 was admitted to the Elgin Insane Asylum, where he died January 27, 1878.


Christopher Theodore Dunham


May 17, 1863


Midway Village Museum







Head Quarters Third Division,
Army of Kentucky,
Franklin Tenn. Sunday May 17th 1863
My Darling Wife.
What shall I write my darling to day? is the first question which is suggested to my mind. If you were here no doubt pleanty [sic] of matter - to talk about could be furnished, but the pen is gliding I find inspite [sic] of me – [Well] just returned from church where I heard quite a good sermon from a bland Presbyterian who is of the rebellious tinge, heard very good singing - but came near going to sleep two or three times when the tall & venerable preacher came to my rescue by starting out suddenly with a flow of eloquence &c. I saw quite a no. of good looking faces - but they all bore the expression of Sadness & (sorrow. the ladies) no doubt they were in deep meditation concerning their friends who are playing the part of traitors in dixie & perhaps the future too was made visable [sic] to them & in the which they saw. a pretty good chance of being compelled to go South & join their bretheren [sic]. Me thinks I see you now sitting in your ma's room quietly looking out upon the passersby & wishing - wishing your own husband was among the passing multitude & occasionly [sic] your eye will wander to the window where I used to love to look at you long ago - or at the pretty yard with it's [sic] carpet of green, I understand you have ben [sic] [renevating] it considerably -
How long a time do you think
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it will be until I see you again?
That time will a [sic] happy one to us will it not love! Oh how much I do long to see your dear smiling face again. But I will be “patient” and await with a cheerful and willing heart that desired time. My dear wife you have grown on my affections more & more every day. Since your sickness your dear image has been before me constantly & I am made so happy when I think of you - at the same time sorry to know that you were suffering so much pain. But I thank God that he has Spaired so far to me my darling one and I will trust in him for the future. How little did we know the loss each others society would be when you left me - or when I left you at Danville - but every increasing day Strengthens my attachment to you. I some times think I love you better than anyone could love a wife - but that of course is as supposition. Why should I not. You gave me your dear hand and heart to me & almost your precious life. Oh may I be always worthy of that plighted faith - & love of yours. Your Ma wrote me & I answered it yesterday -! I have just returned from my Bro’s tent. He is very sick. was taken voiliently [sic] this afternoon at about 3 or 4 o,clock [sic] Last eve he went in swiming with some of the boys of the company & came near drowning - he was taken with a cramp whilst in the water & although a good swimer he would have drowned had it not been for the timely help of the boys & this after noon he
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Had taken a little beer & although but very little. & the bad state of his stomach gave him the cramps again. Just previous to the attack he had been walking around the camps with some officers of the Regt. He was taken instantly & had a succession of cramps for several hours. He would call for his mother & Sweet-heart & for me. I came instantly. he recognized me but at times he suffered extremely taking several boys to keep him on the couch. The Surgeon says it was congestion of the brain. I think now he will get along well. He has slept over an hour. He undoubtedly will have quite a spell of sickness and must be carful (sic).
My Darling how long Shall I be compelled to write you in stead of speaking to you in person! however you know I delight in writing you. how much more pleasure do I take in writing my Sweet one than in any other thing. You must be quite prudent darling in riding out when you first try it remembering that you will get your Strength gradually: when you get able you must call on Mrs. Bigger: She feel So lonesome & you could cheer her up a little could you not. She is a good friend of yours. Tis now quite late so good bye my darling one and may you have a Sweet nights rest & pleasant dreams. I dreamed the other evening or night that my Darling was with me & that you looked So lovely & natureal (sic) – C.T.D.
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Monday. Morn. 18th. Good morning my Sweet wife. How are you all doing this fine morning here. My Bro is much better this morning & will get along I guess. How Shall I commence writing this morn. My head seems like a blank & I’ve no thoughts. we will breakfast in about 1/2 hour. & wish you were with us to See what camp fare we have. it is good enough for soldiers.
This has gotten to be a very dull place in regard to Skirmishes &c. Nothing of interest transpiring the enemy do not choose to bother us & we do not them. What do you all think love of General Hooker’s opperations (sic)! do you not think he had a great many men hooked up! Why does not Stephen write me! I’ve written him & he does not appear to hear from me. You know I’m anxious to hear from you all very often – does your (Burg?) friends call & see you often! Our troops which were captured will be back here pretty soon - & go to work again. I cannot interest you this morning in writing So I will wait until I receive a letts (sic) before writing more. Your ma wrote me that Mr. Brown had returnd (sic) . You remember he was in Freeport when I first came at your house & I (guess?) he had quite a “notion” of you then – when I had not. but now I’ve a “notion” & he has not at least “not as I no”. How will you busy yourself this Summer. Had you not better get a few good books & read – you must not try & work. No my dear be very carful (sic).
May I hear from you Soon. Your Affct. Husband C. T. Dunham
To his Darling Wife Sadie

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 17, 1863 from Franklin, Tennessee.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed June 22, 2024,