1864: Delos A. Sprague to Mary Jane (Sprague) Scoville

This letter was written by Delos Sprague (1845-1864) who enlisted as a private in Co. G, 67th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on 26 December 1863. He died of disease on 16 September 1864 at David’s Island in New York City and is buried in Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Delos was the son of Jonathan Sprague (1807-1877) and Olive Carpenter (1809-1887) of Leroy, Lake county, Ohio. He wrote this letter to his older sister, Mary Jane (Sprague) Scoville.


Addressed to Mrs. Mary J. Scoville, Hillhouse P. O., Lake county, Ohio

Hilton Head, South Carolina
March 8th 1864

Dear Sister,

I take this opportunity to write to you and let you know how I get along. I am in the hospital at present but I feel as well as ever. I have had the measles and the mumps but I have got well now but the Dr. thinks that I am not fit for duty yet. He says I am too slim for a soldier anyway.

I received a letter from Mother today dated February 8th. Tell Mother that William and Enos Sumner and their boys are here but I should [say] they are not exactly here but they are on an island about 5 miles from here. We have got a good place here in the hospital. We have beds to sleep on and good victuals to eat such as bread and molasses—sometimes butter. And we have beans and meat and cheese and apple sauce. Tell Mother that I did owe Mr. Pitkin twelve shillings. This is a good place here but it is very warm in the daytime and cold at night. I wrote to Mother yesterday and I got hers today. Mother wants to know how I like my officers. I have not been with my regiment long enough to find out yet. The regiment went home on a furlough shortly after I got here so I have not been with them much. There is some talk of my being detailed here in the hospital. if so, I shall have a much easier time that I should with the regiment.

Allen Wheeler is on the island with the rest of the boys. He enlisted in Cleveland. Eben Sumner and his father have had the smallpox but they are well now. Has Roderick Comstock got the post office yet?

I have not done my washing yet as there are no tubs or kettles here in the hospital but I hire it. Cost 5 cents a garment. There is not much to be seen here but sand and the sea. Tell Mother that I did not go to Uncle Sam’s before I left and that I left Columbus the day that I wrote. I cannot think of any more to write. I have not got any postage stamps but I suppose it will go just as well but you will have to [pay] for it.

Write as soon as you can. Direct to Delos Sprague, General Hospital, Hilton Head, S. C.

— Delos Sprague


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