Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written October 14, 1863 at Harrison's Landing, Tennessee River

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Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written October 14, 1863 at Harrison's Landing, Tennessee River


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


October 14, 1863


Midway Village Museum







Harrison’s Landing Tenn River
Oct. the 14th 1863.
My Darling Wife,
Your letter of the 27th of September came to hand this forenoon. the mail boy bringing the mail all the distance from Chattanooga in a heavy rainstorm. & now my own sweet Wife I know not how to thank you half enough for so kind & loving a letter. Yes my love it interested my whole sole [sic] to think my poor dear Wife was yet in suspense in regard to my safety after the terrible battle of the Chickamauga had been fought: how I killed you from the inmost recesses of my heart. Oh dear Sadie I can see you now how anxously [sic] you watched the papers to hear from me. Darling you said you love me tenderly. need I have any more exhibition of it to convince me of it – you always was so good and kind so interested in my well fare [sic]. but ere you recieve [sic] this you must certainly have rec’d [sic] my previous letters. So the whole thing –
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will have been explained – what a narrow escape I had indeed & many times since I’ve thought it almost providential that I succeeded in getting away & every person in our Regiment & Many Staff Officers who called on me whilst I was sick all had given me up as captured - My Dear wife I wrote you frequently so that you would know of my whereabouts &c but I presume the Rebs captured a goodly portion of our mail as they have made quite an extensive raid in our rear – on our supply trains &c. Ime [sic] doing well. busy my self [sic] in posting my Co. Books and making out My Quarter Masters returns to Washington & also returns of Ordnance [Stores] &c. and as soon as they are completed I shall send copies to you for safe keeping. I intend to have my accts all square with U.S. A goodly portion of my time is devoted to reading &c. have perused several of Harpers Weeklies. And find some very interesting Stories in them. some of them (you will guess love stories) reminded me of older times when you were my intended. I hope soon to Able to do duty and then I know it will be so much more
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Cheerful for me. I do not know that I will Stay in the Co. a great while longer. I think I shall accept ere long a position in the Topographical Dept. & Stay there during the war. I think [sur] it would do better for me as that is my profession and to [cmmnd] a Co. of mounted Infantry Picketing a little area of county is not enough safe for me. I will send you the act.[sic] Picture he gave it me a few days ago for you – You can prize it as you will but I’me [sic] shure [sic] it is a good & faithful likeness of the original & will do quite an addition to your collection of Pictures. He looks considerable older then [sic] he did whilst at Rockford. I rec’d [sic] a picture of My Cousin Ellen Baird of whom you have heard me speak the eccentric girl. She is now female physician & mattron [sic] of the Kingston Water Cure Establishment Ind. She has given up lecturing on Reform, on the acct [sic] of health – she married a Mr Harman some four years ago & he only lived one year & her sister
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Julia Baird says every [sic] since his death she has worn an expression of Grief & Melencholly [sic] – such was the shock to her and he sympathized [sic] & agreed exactly with her in her peculiar ideas concerning dress & Reform in general. She says indeed that no other person could be to her as he had I know you will laugh heartily at her dress & think it very unbecoming – so do I. I would rather see her attired in a dress. but she claims it on the acct [sic] of health & cirtainly [sic] she does more in the course of one year – lecturing – reading writing practicing medicine –working in the gardens &c than any two of her family - Julia sent me the Picture. I Should have enjoyed my self with you at the “Mill” no doubt you had a good time. Now do not worry concing [sic] me – I will be allright[sic] I hope soon to get our Pay so that I can send you some The [Government owes] the [boys] & myself abut[sic] 4 monts [sic] pay – May I hear from you soon my Darling wife. Yr Affct Husband

C T Dunham
To Sadie
Love to all.

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written October 14, 1863 at Harrison's Landing, Tennessee River,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed July 16, 2024,