This letter was written by Joseph Sheetz, Jr. from Sugar Creek township in Vigo county, Indiana. Unfortunately I cannot find anyone by that name in Vigo county. The only Joseph Sheets in Indiana serving in the military was from Stockwell, Indiana and enlisted in August 1862 in the 8th Indiana Regiment. There was also a Joseph Shuts from Greenfield, Indiana, who served in the 51st Indiana, but both of these soldiers were far from Vigo county. Neither can I find a Joseph Sheets (or variation on that name) in the census records.
Joseph wrote the letter to Lt. Charles Gillmore who was recruiting in Vigo county, Indiana, for young men to join the 6th Indiana Cavalry (a.k.a. 71st Regiment Infantry Volunteers or the “Bad Luck Regiment“). A review of the roster for Co. B does not suggest that Joseph enlisted with this regiment, however.
Addressed to Lieutenant Chas. Gilmore, Co. B, 71st Reg. Ind. Vols., Terre Haute, Indiana
Sugar Creek Township
April 1st, 1863
I called to the City a few days since. While there I observed the handbills at the door of your recruiting office but did not think at that time or I might have given you some information that would have been acceptable. I feel it is my duty as a citizen of Indiana to use every possible means to aid in the recruiting of our armies.
There are several men between the ages of twenty and thirty—“able bodied,” good-sized men—about here in our neighborhood who have expressed their intentions to enlist with the next recruiting officer that came there and there has been no one here after recruits for some time so I think that if you will only come here and go about among them, and request them individually to enlist, you can take in five or ten good recruits; leastwise four men in our company of home guards have told me they intended to enlist in the spring.
I think you would so well to come and try. Enquire at almost any of the houses along the main roads and they can anyone tell you where Riley Yeager—the captain of the guards— lives, or direct you to our house which is only two miles and a half from town. I will go with you myself to see the boys and if enough of them, I will go too.
I hope, Sir, you will excuse all imperfection in this letter and make it in your way to call around here. Yours truly, — Joseph Sheets, Jr., 2nd Sergeant of the Guards
To Lieutenant Gillmore, Company B, 71st Indiana Volunteers