1862: Henry S. Spaulding to Don Alonzo Spaulding

This letter was written by Henry S. Spaulding (1822-1894) of Co. B, 24th New Jersey Infantry. Henry enlisted as 2nd Sergeant on 30 August 1862 and was promoted to 1st Sergeant on 14 November 1862. After receiving a musket ball in the shoulder during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Spaulding was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of Co. I on 14 December 1862. Following his service with the 24th New Jersey, Henry was commissioned Captain of Co. C, 38th New Jersey Volunteers on 10 September 1864. He mustered out of that regiment on 30 June 1865. [See the Papers of Henry S. Spaulding, 1859-1865) housed at Virginia Heritage]

Henry was the son of Don Alonzo Spaulding (1797-1891) and Julia Ann Clarke (1797-1836) who were married in Edwardsville, Illinois, in January 1821. Henry’s father “was born in Castleton, Vermont and studied surveying while he worked on a farm and taught school. In 1818 he came to Illinois first landing in Massac where he was immediately given a job of surveying a tract of land for the new Johnson County seat. He moved on to Edwardsville where he taught school and did some surveying until he was appointed surveyor of Madison County in 1825. He held that position for ten years. Between 1834 and 1849 he surveyed lands in northern Illinois around Chicago, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri. From 1849-1854 he worked as the chief clerk in the surveyor general’s office in St. Louis, with a brief appointment, December 1953-June 1954, as surveyor general. In 1854 he was appointed clerk in the general land office in Washington, D.C. After six months there he was sent to Florida and spent three years in the surveyor general’s office at St. Augustine. In 1857 he returned to Alton, Illinois where he had built a home in 1832 and where he spent the remainder of his life.” [see Don Alonzo Spaulding Papers, 1818-1871]

[See also 1863: Henry S. Spaulding to Don Alonzo Spaulding]


Addressed to D. A. Spaulding, Esq., Alton, Illinois

Vineland [New Jersey]
September 20th 1862

Dear Father,

I wrote a good while ago to you but have not yet received a reply. I also sent you a Vineland Rural. It is a monthly paper published by the proprietor of this Vineland enterprise.

With the exception of two weeks sickness Lillian has just recovered from, we have all enjoyed usually good health. In fact, my health has very much improved—so much so, that after the fourth effort, I have been accepted in the military service of Uncle Samuel. I joined a company that was being raised in Millville four weeks ago & three weeks ago today went to Beverly. Am now home on furlough & shall return on Monday. Our captain’s name is George E. Dunlap. He was in the Florida War. 1st Lieut. James Smith, 2nd Lieutenant. D. Reed Brown. All of them [are] first rate men. The colonel’s name is Robinson—said to be a fine man.

I sincerely hope the payments will be made promptly this fall for I shall need what little may come to me very much. Anna’s father also needs his. We have both bought here & shall necessarily depend upon the payments in the West to meet our payments here. I shall of course receive no pay short of three months from government & then it will not be very much.

Though I was an entire stranger to the whole company, I was honored with the situation of 2nd Sergeant & had the colonel been elected that our captain & lieutenants voted form I would have stood a chance to be quartermaster. As it is, my situation is a good one for learning the rudiments of the science of war, & directly in the line of promotion.

I have been anxious to assist in putting down the rebellion but had given up in despair after I was rejected in Philadelphia two months ago.

Clinton ¹ was wounded at Malvern Hill before Richmond & taken prisoner. Four weeks afterwards he was exchanged & taken to the hospital on Bedloe’s Island [now Liberty Island] in New York Harbor with the typhoid fever. He has so far recovered to be able to make a flying visit home [and] hopes soon to rejoin his regiment.

Anna is expecting a letter from Helen.

I saw a notice in The Telegraph some time ago of the death of Mr. Walker. The Telegraph is the only source of information we have from the West & would not know how to do without it. I forgot to say that Calvin [J. McMahan] ² also joined the army when I did, Please answer immediately & direct to Vineland P. O., Cumberland county, New Jersey. I cannot tell you where I shall me. Anna will forward letters &c. to me. So far as possible, I will keep you posted as to my whereabouts.

Kindest regards to all. Farewell, — H. S. Spaulding

¹ Lawrence Clinton McMahan was wounded and taken prisoner at Malvern Hill while serving in Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers. He later served as 1st Lieutenant of Co. C, 38th New Jrsey Volunteers with Henry Spaulding. Lawrence was Spaulding’s brother-in-law.

² Calvin J. McMahan enlisted as a private on Co. B, 24th New Jersey Vols. on 30 August 1862. He mustered out with the regiment on 29 June 1863 after 9 months service. He later served as a sergeant of Co. B, 2nd Regiment New Jersey Veteran Infantry. Calvin was Spaulding’s brother-in-law.


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