Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 9, 1863 from Franklin, Tennessee.

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Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 9, 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 9, 1863


Midway Village Museum







Head Quarters Third Division, Army of Kentucky,
Franklin, Tenn. May 9th 1863

My Darling Wife –
Today I rec’d your mothers [sic] kind letter - dateted [sic] May 3d & oh that for once I could see you & answer it – vebally [sic]! what a grattification [sic] it would be to me. My darling one how happy I was to hear that you was getting a little better. Me thinks I now see you looking better and hopeful for the future - yes my darling girl and - sweet wife, do have courage & we will soon be permitted to see each other - I know how hard & trying it is for you to have your husband absent from you when you are so sick & sometimes I think I cannot endure it. I feel like busting the chains of military power, & law which is so severe on us at the present, & coming to comfort my dear darling sick wife - but you know that would not do - a court martial would shortly follow & I would then be disgraced which I would be willing to bear - for you - but you could not. No I know my sweet wife could not see her husband deserting his post at this our Counties [sic] trying hour. I think as you do, my sweet one, that General Rosecrans ought to have let me come home & seen my dear, when she was so sick & that his principle of allowing persons to go home to save pecuniary loss & also to save the life of the applicant –
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not a very good principle. for what soldier would not rather loose [sic] every Cent of money or all his property rather than loose [sic] the opportunity of being with his near & dear friends when they are so sick! - Your mother did not quite under stand [sic] me when I told her that only those who applied for furloughs & leaves of absences were permitted to go home - who could show to the Genl [sic] commanding that they would loose [sic] large amounts of property by remaining - & those who applied on the ground of their own personal health - are permitted to go - So you see our friends may be ever so sick - we cannot visit them on that ground, but we can do so by [stateing] we could be the looser [sic] of much money, & by a surgeons certificate that it is necessary to save our own lives. So Rosecrans takes a pecuniary & selfish view of the subject I think & so do all the officers - think so, but my honey I will promise you that no - effort will be spaired [sic] to see you as soon as possible. & I wish you to reast [sic] easy as concerns my health for I am now well and in no danger at all. Oh my good one tell me in your next letter all about your sickness & what room you are in - I sometimes think you are up staires [sic] in your room & then I think you are in the room which opens into the parlor - Many times per day my eyes wander away across the land of Tenn. Ky. Ind. & Illinois & come peeking into the door for you, wont [sic] it be so nice when they come really! You must thank your dear ma for writing me & tell her I do like to have her write every day & that she need not say anything –
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about mistakes or poor composition or poor penmanship for you all could not make worse errors & mistakes than your humble servt [sic] (C.T.D. ). Am sorry that your ma's eyes are sore - undoubtedly she has been broken of her rest considerably Darling how do you rest? do you sleep well? I am so sorry for you darling. I accept the kisses you sent & return as many more. Your folks appear to be quite busy in - working at the mill [Seat] setting out trees & c. Where is it? how far from town.
Today has been a pleasant one again - I've been working in the office considerably to day but I ride out towards evening around the camps for exercise & to see the troops - We are living very well my dear now that box of fruit &c which you sent me was very nice Lieut Elkin just received a box from home and we are living very well indeed - So are the soldiers - our Head Quarter Camp is real pretty - I will try and give you sketch of it pretty soon & send it to you.
General Hooker I learn has not succeeded in driving the rebels from their old ground but he has returned to his old encampment - I do not know how successful he was - but I guess he punished the enemy considerably. I presume the 8th Ill Cav. was in the fight & also my Bro [sic] Charles - I shall look anxiously for the results - We have very fine fortifications here now - could withstand successfully the attack of five times our numbers - Tis now quite late so I will retire on my couch & finish in the morning - so good night my own sweet darling wife until morng [sic] may God protect
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you & me also & us all
Sunday Morning, May 10th/63.
Good morning my sweet wife - may you feel as refreshed from your night's rest as this beautiful morning air is to me - pretty Sabbath day. A good nice breeze is blowing - so that although the sun shines without obstruction by clouds - the air makes it very agreeable in camp. I am going to church this morning on the opposite side of the river. they have quite a good & respectable congregation & pretty good singing - how much I do wish I could have my pretty darling wife to accompany me. or that I were in Freeport to accompany her this day - How pleasant it used to be - love to go to church at Freeport. How much I used to wait for my darling & happen on the road about the time she would. I wish I could send you some present from here - something for my love but I guess I will be obliged to bring them. You must not worry about me sweet one try & be cheerful & happy & you will soon be well & I know I will never be absent from you again when you are in such a delicate condition – Accept all my love darling I live only for you & I do hope this war will soon be closed that I may be with you - all the time - Do you worry much about the loss of our dear little babes? Sadie no doubt the all wise Providence knew best. Good morning love & I shall expect a letter every day –
Your affct [sic] husband CTD
Freeport Ill

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 9, 1863 from Franklin, Tennessee.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed May 26, 2024,