Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 14, 1863 from Triune, Tennessee.

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Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 14, 1863 from Triune, 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.


June 14, 1863


Midway Village Museum







Head Quarters 1st Div.
Reserve Army Corpse [sic],
Triune Tenn. June 14th 1863.

My Darling Wife .
How happy I am my love to be able to write you this evening this Sabbath evening. oh how I do wish I could have spent it with you my love - but as it has been I was oblidged [sic] to make a sketch or survey of some country to day. I passed outside the lines about 10. o,clock & often making a circuit of several miles trough [sic] the woods & fields. perhaps traveling about 20 miles came into camp in [good] season this evening! Had quite an interesting ride too. but saw considerable distressed families of the Rebs - the head of which had been conscripted into the Reb. service.
These families (the poorer class generally) you will frequently meet in Tenn [sic] - a woman or some person who resembles one with a batch of little children huddled around her & she will say she has no one but herself to provide for them - quite different from the families of our soldiers who go to the war - they have no Soldiers Aid Society - Yes dear Sadie you have no ide [sic] how many suffer in this way - & sometimes too when they
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are really union in feelings & sentiment, but came under the cruel law of “Southern Conscription”. So you see dear wife the difference of having a husband enlisted & fighting for a cause you approve of & having one enlisted in a [sic] army you despise and a cause you detest. Oh my sweet wife how much I have thought of you lately. I do so miss your sweet smiles & kind carresses [sic] - do you blame me love! how can I avoid it when my whole heart is absorbed in your love & esteeme [sic] - no I cannot and I always hope I may not. My love you see by the heading of my letter that our army here has been re-organized - Genl. Granger - has now an Army Corpse [sic] - the "Reserve" - is the title of it and a nice command is it too! this arrangement makes it better for General Baird, giving him now three Brigades, 1st Col. Atkins 2d Col- 3d Col - and black batteries - so General Baird now has for his command three Brigades of very fine & good dicaplined [sic] troops - making --- Regiments and --- batteries - you see it would not be proper for me to communicate the No of Regts & Batteries - because the letter - might get into the Reb's [sic] hands & thereby furnish them additional information.
Dear Wife how are you getting along! are you any better than you were - oh my dear Sadie how very glad would I be to come home & see you now, but low [sic] the time for it
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it appears has not yet arrived. Darling I would like to have you send me a few photographs of your self as I want to send a few to some of my friends - have you answered - Julie's letter yet! What a pleasant shower we had this evening my love - I wished you could only have been here in my tent to have heard it - how would you like to soldier with me a while. I guess not - but if the army does not advance I shall have my love here when she gets well - if I cannot get a furlough home - what does Sadie think of that! - well tis pretty late so good night hoping we all will do happy & good. I remain my sweet one your afft husb. C.D.
Monday morning June 15th / 63.
My Dear good morning. I am feeling very well this morning - how is my love? we had a nice rain last night & this morning the trees grass everything looks refreshed. I am not going out to day I am going or intend to stay in my office and finish my map or do some little towards it. what are you going to do to day. how pleased would I be to help you this morning. I suppose you are all going to be busy at something - some go to the farm some to the "Mill", & some at the house
Sadie I want you to learn to ride on horseback - you can take a kind and gentle one and bring it in town & learn cannot
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you - It would be very good for your health - Have you Franny yet, she would be good for you to ride - so when I come home I can have the pleasure of riding with you
In this country here all the ladies learn to ride & do so considerable so darling I think it quite an accomplishment - don't you - I have a little horse here I wish I had for you to ride - Sadie write me after will you - now good bye my love
Your husb. CT.D
P.S. If you have an opportunity I would like to have about 20 lbs of butter sent me - butter here is very high & not to be had always CTD
P.S. [Schemehon] is in Freeport sick but will be here as [soon as] he gets well - you may send with him.

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“Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written June 14, 1863 from Triune, Tennessee.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed July 16, 2024,