Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 7, 1865 from Nashville, Tennessee.

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Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 7, 1865 from 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. 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 7, 1865


Midway Village Museum







Nashville Tenn.
May 7th 1865

My Darling Sadie,

What shall I write to you this time my sweet one! Shall I tell you how anxously [sic] I’ve waited and watched at for a letter from day to day! but I knew my gentle wife would rather recieve [sic] letters than write them – would you not! this is quite likely but it is also quite necessary to sow a little seed in order to reap a bountiful harvest.
Did you attend Church to day[sic] love! I presume not. I attended the M.E. Church in the morning & in the afternoon the Catholic. and this is the first time that I have ever been in an Irish Church or Catholic – and whatever good I might have obtained at this particular meeting can be attributed to the choir as the music was spleandid [sic] & could not fail to produce good impressions in any persons (hardened) heart. Aside from the music I think the whole performance a farce a gorgeous show intended to dazzle
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and blind the poor ignorant classes or followers for I cannot believe the priests themselves, nor the learned & educated members that they conform to these forms & ceremonies because there is any religion or efficasy [sic] in them. such position & splender[sic] & outward show make them adhearants [sic] to such a false religion –
I am in hopes my sweet wife that I will have an opportunity pretty soon of sending to you your “Mockingbird”. He is one of the best of singers & me thinks how my darling one will be pleased when she recieves [sic] him – You do not say any thing[sic] concerning the money which I sent you & I have mentioned it two or three times. I wish always when I send you money or anything else that you would acknowledge the receipt of it as soon as received. this will save me much trouble & worring [sic] in enquiring[sic] &c &c. Will you remember love?
We have had quite warm weather here for several days. and also pleanty [sic] of dust & such dust. so finely pulverized that it will insinuate itself through a brick wall I believe.
Here lonesome I find myself darling without you as I knew it would be but I do not
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allow myself to get into sad modes [sic], but hope for the good time coming – dear – To day [sic] I thought I would give so much to see you & should I permit myself to consider the matter much, I might resign & leave for home but should the war close soon I could do better to remain until the Regament [sic] is mustered out of the service –
Sadie cannot you manage to write me oftener? Why cannot you write me three times per week. Should you fall off so much in your writing to me you must expect that I will fall short too - but I think my dear girl loves to write me only she does not get at it often enough -

How do you manage to spend your time? You must do something besides read. You must have outdoor excersise [sic] & get pleanty [sic] of fresh air. Are there many officers resigning now & coming home who live in Freeport –
How are times (to use a common expression) now in Freeport. Are many merchants falling in business – I am afraid that immediately following the mustering out of the army there will be a great many persons in Stephenson Co. which will give [boths] a stagnation
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to expenses in connextion [sic] with the coming down of prices. Sadie I spoke about coming south to live after the war but I have given the idea up entirely – believing I will be as well off in health North or South – I presume you will attend Church this evening love I will close as I wish to send the letter off in time for the mail – Hopping [sic] my darling is enjoying Excellent health & in fine spirits & sending you many “kisses” & give my love to the Family
I am Your dear Husband C.T. Dunham
To my darling Sadie

Original Format



Christopher Theodore Dunham, “Christopher T. Dunham to his wife Sarah E. (Sadie) Cummings written May 7, 1865 from Nashville, Tennessee.,” Midway Village Museum - Digital Collections, accessed July 16, 2024,