This letter was written by William Marcus Cloer (1828-1910). He was married to Susannah Ledford (1842-1871) in 1856. At the time this letter was written in September 1862, the couple had three children—Sarah E. Cloer (1857-1956), Jacob (“Bud”) Miller Cloer (1859-1941) and Eugenia (“Lucy”) Cloer (1861-1937).
William served in Co. D, 62d North Carolina Infantry. He mustered into the service at the age of 34 in July 1862 for three years or “the war.” William was taken prisoner at Cumberland Gap on 9 September 1863 and sent to Camp Douglas, Illinois. In January 1865—after 15 months of confinement—he applied for the oath of allegiance, claiming “to have been loyal” and enlisting “only to avoid conscription.” He was transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, in mid-March 1865, and then received at General Hospital No. 9 in Richmond, Virginia, on 21 March.
A link to other letters by William M. Cloer.
[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]
Addressed to Mr. John B. Cloer, Franklin, Macon county, N. C.
Sullivan county, E. Tennessee
September 8, 1862
I this evening take up my pen to inform you that I am well and I hope when these lines come to you they will find you all well and well satisfied for there is no use of being any other way. Therefore, I beg you one and all to grieve no more on account of me being gone from you for it can’t be helped. Very often I get to studying about home till it don’t seem like I possibly can continue myself here but reflection overtakes me and calls my mind too. There’s a better day a coming and I will be at home if I live sometime—and I think it will be before very long for it is the general opinion that peace will me made in a short time. We get this news from good authority &c.
I could tell you a great deal of war news but I recon you will get it all in the papers. One particular I will tell you. It is confirmed as a fact that Old McClellan is killed and all his army killed and taken prisoner that too place on last Friday—was a week ago, &c. I must write a little of a thing for it is impossible for me to write all that I want to.
We have moved 17 miles further to Zollicoffer’s Bridge but we don’t know how long we will stay here. But there is no talk now of us leaving. We moved on the 5th of September and come in a few minutes &c. I am better satisfied now than I was at first but I never will be at peace till I get home &c. I am going to write some things that I would not if I had not promised what I wrote should be the truth. Part of the time since we have been in camps, we have had plenty to eat and part we have had half enough and part we have had none. And part of the time our flour has been full of worms and what we could pick out, we did, and what we could not pick out, we ate. And you know we did not like that. And today for dinner we got flour that a dog would not eat and we threw it away and took an ax and went to the depot and knocked the head of out of a barrel and took good flour. I never saw as many mad men in my life as was here about the flour &c.
I am sorry that I can’t write all I want to but all the paper in these camps would not hold all that I want to write. But I think I will be at home in a month or two and then I can talk it all out with more pleasure than I can want. When you write to me I want to know how you all are getting along about something to eat and what the prospect is for crops. I think there is no chance only for hundreds of people to perish and die. I have saw big fields of corn and good land that will make 20 bushels of corn and I have saw some fields of corn that is dead. I could tell you a great deal more about crops if I had time.
We have got good camps and plenty of straw to lie on and we have to carry our water ¾ of a mile. It is good, pure limestone water, and it agrees well with the most of us—very well with me. Two of the boys is not able for duty—-Jack Carpenter ¹ and Will Cabe. And Joe McConnell was so bad off he got a furlough and went home with [Philip] Shope and Howard to stay till he gets better. We are camped in a very nice place but it is powerful hot. We are in an old field without any shade. We drill twice a day 2 hours at a time and the rest of the day we do what we please. The people here is very clever. They give us as many peaches as we want but there is no apples and when our boys is sick, they are taken in and and waited on like children, all at free cost, &c.
I have been well all the time, only last Saturday I was the worst off I ever was in my life with the headache. About sundown I thought I never would see day anymore. But I wet my head with camphor and soon got better and in the morning I was well.
When you write to me, if you are all well, I want to know it. I saw one of Uncle Elisha’s boys. He was at the hospital at Johnson’s Depot. He has been sick but is getting better. He lives in Caldwell county, North Carolina. I had not time to talk much. We was about getting on the cars when I found him out, &c.
We have drawn 30 dollars of our bounty money. We will get the rest in 8 days. We was one day too late to get it all. I had no chance of sending any home. Joe McConnell was gone before I knew it. Kiss Sarah and Bud and Lucy for me and when you write to me, send me a bunch of your hair and of all three the children. When you write, direct to Zollicoffer P. O., Tennessee, 1st Independent Regiment N. C. Vols., Co. D, in care of Capt. R. M. Henry.
God bless you one and all. Nothing more now. — Wm. M. Cloer
¹ Private Andrew Jackson (“Jack”) Carpenter enlisted in Co. D, 62nd North Carolina in Macon county, Georgia, on 14 July 1862.