This letter was written by 40 year-old Thomas Davidson Showers (1822-1887) of Stovertown, Brush Creek township. Muskingum county, Ohio. He wrote the letter while serving as a 1st Sergeant in Co. A, 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) from a camp near Winchester, Virginia, in April 1862. Showers was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of Co. A in July 1862, and to 1st Lieutenant of Co. E in May 1863. He was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate in January 1865. He had previously served in the Mexican War. [Source: Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, 1892]
Thomas wrote the letter to his wife, Elizabeth (“Lib”) F. McConnell (1825-1912), the daughter of Thomas Buchanon McConnell (1794-1861) and Margaret Swingle (1802-1865). They were married in Muskingum county on 6 April 1857. Thomas was a farmer by occupation. He died on 5 April 1887 of Bright’s Disease.
According to the regimental history, the 62nd OVI was ordered to the battlefield at Winchester on March 23, 1862, “where it assumed a position in the center of the Union line in support of a battery. That evening, the 62nd advanced to the very front of the battlefield, where it witnessed the Confederate withdrawal. The day after the battle, the 62nd advanced with the rest of the Union army three miles past Strasburg. On March 25, the regiment marched to Mount Jackson, where it engaged in a skirmish with the Confederates. The 62nd next marched to Edinburg, Virginia, where it encamped until April 17, 1862, when it advanced to New Market, Virginia, reaching this new location on April 18.”
[Camp near Edinburg, Virginia]
April 12, 1862
This is Saturday and we are out on picket again….when the rebels…ous coming in. About how many…[page torn and creased]…and so I do. You may not like to hear of the shells whistlings about us but you need not fear about me for there is an eye over and a hand to protect me that I trust in and I fear no evil. God’s will be done. No more tonight.
April 15th—I have not had time to write anymore until today. It is raining today and I am in my tent, and while I have a few leisure moments, I will improve them in this way as I think that you are always glad to hear from me and I like to write to you when I do write.
Well, Lib, I am happy to inform you that soldiering has made a decided improvement on the morals of our company. With the right training and seeing how unbecoming it looks in others of which we see occasionally, there is but very few that you will hear swear at all and we have had nothing in [paper creased] since we left Ohio.
Well, Lib, we have received our pay and as Lieutenant Sharp started [home] before we received it and I have no good chance of sending it home from here as there is no Express office nearer than Winchester, I will not send it now for I don’t like to risk it by mail from here and I expect a change in my position shortly. And if so, I may need some of it. But if I have a chance, I will send you some anyhow. If you are anyways near out of money and I have no chance of sending, write and I will send some in a letter and risk it.
Well, Lib, this is….The boys are all…they think things….Everything is g…Boys and birds….Sweeter than….Did yesterday…You think I…[paper torn & missing]…upon us and the shells whistled about us considerably. But we have got used to shelling and we marched on just as if nothing was going on till we got to our posts and then our batteries opened fire and worked right smart of music overhead for awhile. The boys is getting dinner and the shells [just now] whistling over our heads. This is the first shell they have throwed since we were out here before. They seem to know us without a salute every time we come out here. The Rebel batteries has ceased firing and nobody hurt.
Well, Lib, I would like to hear how the election went off this spring and who is elected and so forth. I would like to have a letter from Samuel as I have received no answer from him yet and I have received no letter for about 3 weeks. I want to tell Sy and Bill to write some Sunday if they can’t get time through the week. Tell the girls to write too [even] if I don’t write to them. They can see your letters.
The Brush Creek boys is all well and hearty. There is but 4 sick in our company and they are all able to knock around camp but not fit for duty. I weigh 200 pounds down weight.
Write soon. Direct your letters to Co. A, 62nd Reg. O. V. USA, care of Capt. Wm. Edwards, by way of Winchester, Va.
No more at present. My love to all inquiring friends—the most to you and the children. Yours as ever, T. D. Showers
To E. F. Showers