This letter was written by Benjamin Rohrer (1821-1909) and his wife, Sarah (McFarland) Rohrer (1826-1916), of Baughman, Wayne County, Ohio. They wrote the letter to their son, Allen K. Rohrer (1845-1864), a private in Company E, 169th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, not long after he had been mustered into the regiment. Allen enlisted in May 1864 with William Orr and his son, Smith Orr, for 100 days service. They left Camp Cleveland for Washington D. C. on 19 May 1864. Privates John Eckert and Arthur Morrow (1841-1864) of the 169th OVI are also mentioned in the letter.
The 169th Ohio participated in the repulse of Early’s attack on Washington D. C. in mid-July 1864.
Sarah’s portion of the letter includes a reference to Pvt. Daniel Buchwalter (1843-1918) of Company A, 12oth Ohio Infantry. Daniel was shot in the water while making good his escape from the City Belle transport steamer when she went ashore at Snaggy Point on the ill-fated Red River Expedition in Louisiana. He avoided capture by the Revels, however, and survived the war.
Allen’s brother, Joseph Rohrer, added a note at the end of the letter.
May 29th 1864
My Dear Son,
This is Sunday afternoon. We were all to meeting to Fulton but Joe and I wonder where you are at. A week ago today you were a looking at the Capitol of our country. We that was not bad business. I think that Arthur Morrow did not get to see as much of Washington as you did for he wrote a letter on Sunday morning to his sister Bell. I heard it read on Wednesday evening. It does me a great deal of good to hear a letter read that comes home where you was for we were looking for a letter from you but we did not get one from you until last Friday. But I do not feel like scolding for when I heard how you had been engaged, I could not help but say that you had done very well to write as soon as you did. I want you to remember and write often for we are very anxious to hear from you.
I suppose you have heard what a hard time the 12oth Regiment has had. Poor Daniel Buchwalter was shot in the water. O’ it is too bad to think about. What trouble this cruel war has made and is still making.
How is your cousin Smith Orr getting along? Poor boy, I think that it must be hard for his to stand the marching on and on and on that you spoke of in your letter. If you have not been with him any, I want you to hunt him up and find out how he is getting along. He is in the Orrville Company. Laury Davisson was here yesterday and she said that she had wrote to William Weaver and that she had wrote all about the 120 Regiment. Mary J. Douglas and Tilda Douglas went to Smithville yesterday afternoon. I suppose that John Eckert will get a letter from Mary Jane soon for she was here last Friday and she said that she was going to write to him soon, and then she got one from him that evening after she left.
I suppose you think that we know all about the letters that comes from the regiment that you are in. Well if I don’t, it is not my fault for when I see anybody that has any acquaintances in that regiment, I ask them plain when they heard from them.
Tell about your pocket book. We had not heard that you had lost it. Why didn’t you write to us when you were at Cleveland and we would of sent you some money. Your Father saw Tip Wertz yesterday and he told him that you lost it the second day that you were at Cleveland. Father paid Tip a little bill yesterday. How did you get along without money? Did you sell your watch or did you borrow?
As Joe told you, we washed the sheep yesterday & I noticed your sheep had a scabby face. It is the only diseased sheep in the flock. I guess you ought to come home and see about it. We had Nett hitched last Friday to haul stones. She done bully. She looks a little neater & ___ a little slicker. Joe tried to ride Nett once before and she made a few ___ jumps and he jumped off saying I don’t like to ride her that way. I tell you she jerked the gut ache into me.
It will be a week next Tuesday that Douglasses heard from Robert. We all begin to feel very anxious to hear from him. I wonder if you and John Eckert hain’t very glad that you did not enlist last fall or winter for three years. Don’t you think that you will be glad when the 100 days are up? I am sure that I will be if you are spared to get home. I thin that I will be very thankful to the almighty for his great goodness.
I must quit writing and leave room for all to write. Till Douglas was here last Sunday. She sends her love to you. Give my love to John Eckert and all the rest of the good folks. I want you to write every week whether you get a letter from us or not. We will be punctual about answering your letters. I thought that I would see a letter from you last Wednesday — that we would answer it that night and send it on Thursday and then you would maybe get it on Saturday. But we did not get yours until Friday evening. Be a good boy.
From your affectionate mother, — Sarah Rohrer
May 29, 1864
This is Sunday and they are all gone to meeting except myself. We washed sheep yesterday afternoon. Father threw in Wilson Douglas, Jacob Edwards & myself washed.
Last Sunday I was at Buchwaliter and John Johnson was there in the evening. When I was coming home I met Hanna Hornbarger & Emma Mangle. Hanna sends her best love. Em sends her warmest love to you. She says her heart is with you the same as yours at her goose roast. She says you promised to write.
— Joseph Rohrer
As two or three dishes on the table are often acceptable, so perhaps a mess from each member of the family might be acceptable to you and I will write a few lines at a venture. Lucy & John, however, will not write, but they are well & while Mother was writing, John laid his face on the low chair and went to sleep and slept over an hour.
Lucy goes to school every day but she dropped corn this year. The weather was so uncertain & rain every few days that we were afraid if we would get the whole field ready at once it would surely rain before we could get it planted so we got half of it ready for Saturday afternoon. Our crew was Lizzy Martin, Jaky Leisy & Lucy for droppers. John Leisy, Joseph & myself for coverers and we planted nearly the half. Then on Tuesday — that was last Tuesday forenoon — we planted the balance of the field. Our crew was Jacob Leisy, Lizzy Martin & Mary Wilson & Maty Leisy fr droppers. Mrs. Colp, Abe Robinson, Joe & myself to cover. We finished the field before 11 o’clock. So you see we still have plenty of hands & good ones too.
Enclosed I send you five dollars.
Your affectionate Father, — Benjamin Rohrer