CIVIL WAR LETTERS
JOHN MATHENY
1854 to 1929



The Report of W. H. H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, Roster of Enlisted Men, 1861 - 1865, Vol. VII, page 101, shows John W. Matheny as a Private in Co. “A” of the Seventh Cavalry (119th) Regiment, who mustered in at Porter County unit on August 24, 1863, and was transferred to Co. “C”, 7th Cav., re-organized.

7th Regiment Cavalry (119th Regiment Volunteers)

A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer, Copyright, 1908, gives the following information for the 7th Cavalry:

Organized at Indianapolis, Ind., and mustered in October 1, 1863.

Left State for Union City, Tenn., December 6, 1863. Attached to the District of Columbus, Ky. 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, December 1863.

Waring’s Cavalry Brigade, 16th Army Corps, to January, 1864.

1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 16th Army Corps, to June, 1864.

1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to November, 1864.

2nd Brigade, Wilson’s Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, to December 1864.

1st Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to June, 1865.

Dept. of Texas to February, 1866.

SERVICE: Expedition to Paris, Tenn., December 14-23, 1863.

Action at Huntington, Tenn., December 27.

Expedition from Union City to Trenton January 22-24, 1864.

Bolivar February 6 (Detachment).

Smith’s Expedition to Okolona, Miss., February 11-26.

West Point February 20-21.

Okolona February 21-22.

Ivey’s Hill February 22.

Hudsonville February 25.

Regiment complimented by Generals Smith and Grierson for soldierly bearing and conduct during the Expedition.

Near Raleigh, Tenn., April 3.

Wolf River April 8.

Near Raleigh April 9 (Detachment).

Cypress Swamp April 10.

Sturgis’s Expedition to Ripley, Miss., April 30-May 9.

Sturgis’ Expedition to Guntown, Miss., June 1-13.

Ripley June 7.

Brice’s Cross Roads (or Tishamingo Creek), near Guntown, June 10.

Ripley June 11.

White’s Station June 20 and 26.

Byhalia Road, near Colliersville, July 2.

Action at Port Gibson, Miss., July 17.

Grand Gulf July 19.

Tallahatchie River August 7-9.

Hurricane Creek August 9-12-14 and 19.

Oxford August 9 and 11.

Lamar August 14.

Colliersville August 28.

White Station October 4.

Near Memphis October 4 (1 Company).

Memphis, Tenn., October 20 and 24.

Nonconah Creek October 29 (Co. “F”).

March through Arkansas and Missouri in pursuit of Price September-November.

Action at Little Blue, Mo., October 21.

Independence October 22.

Big Blue and State Line October 22.

Westport October 23.

Mine Creek, Marias des Cygnes, October 25.

At the Marmiton, or Battle of Charlot, October 25.

Grierson’s Expedition from Memphis to destroy Mobile & Ohio R.R. December 21, 1864, to January 15, 1865.

Capture of Verona December 25, 1864.

Egypt Station December 28.

Lexington January 2, 1865.

Duty at Memphis and along Memphis & Charleston R.R. till June, 1865.

Expedition from Memphis into Northern Mississippi March 3-11, 1865.

Moved to Alexandria, La., June 6-16.

Consolidated to 6 Companies July 21.

March to Hempstead, Texas, August 5-26.

Duty there and at Austin, Texas, till February, 1866.

Mustered out at Austin, Texas, February 18, 1866.

Regiment lost during service 1 Officer and 47 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officer and 243 Enlisted men to disease. Total 294.

Synopsis of Letters Received by James Matheny (father of John W. Matheny) during Civil War

#1. 13 Aug 1863 from Robert Watson Co B 13 Ind Vol. Foster’s Brigade, Folys Island near Charleston, SC warns John not to enlist.
#2. 23 Aug 1863 from John W. Matheny Camp Shanks, stood guard in thunderstorm, no blanket, slept on floor in wet clothes, intends to ask for discharge after bounty is paid, plans to have picture taken for mother.
#3. 15 Jan 1864 from JWM Hickman Station, KY arrived there from Union City TN on 13th, coldest weather in 10 years, eating corn cakes without sifting or salt, mixed with water, weighs 154, not been paid yet, requests 50 cents worth of stamps.
#4. 10 Mar 1864 from JWM Camp near Memphis, TN has been sick for 2 weeks, hard times for last 3 months, “expect you heard about our fight before”, this time fought 5 days - killed a great many lost a good many, didn’t take prisoners - “shot them down like hogs”, hardest cavalry fight since war broke out, possibly going to Army of Patomac, James Marquis is chaplain, parents have new home and neighbors, requests Uncle George to write, direct letter to Camp Grearson, TN.
#5. 17 Mar 1864 from JWM Benton Barracks, St. Louis unit left camp 1 Sept after Price went within 25 miles of Little Rock, turned and went to Cape Girardeau, then toward St. Louis, boarded boat to Jefferson City, overtook rebs who were supported by one brigade under command of Maj. Geo R. Marmaduke on 22 Oct near Independence - 6 miles from Kansas line, chased them to “big blue river”, took 1200 stand of arms & 3 (?) stand of colors, rebs broke again to Osage river, stood again and took another licking, chased them out of United States about 100 miles into Indian territory turned back after crossing Arkansas river, 6,000 men & 7 (?) generals, going to Nashville in a few days, direct mail to Memphis TN.
#6. 22 Apr 1864 from JWM Camp Pickeren, TN report of General Pope (?) coming up river with 20,000 men, Union shells can reach 8 miles from fort, scouting every day and bringing in prisoners, darky soldiers “fetched a garilly.” lunch is sow belly, bread, beans and coffee, 3 or 4 die each day, much swearing and stealing.
#7. 24 Apr 1864 from JWM to Aunt Mary Camp Crisbeck, TN weather is hot, no fighting except skirmishing, will go to Chattanooga in May, circus showing nearby.
#8. 11 Jun 1864 from JWM White Station, TN not out of saddle much for last two months, just returned 3:00 am from raid to Miss., hard fight 10th of month, “got as completely whipped as...any fellows since the war broke out”, enclosed article from Memphis paper, commanded by Gen. Sturgis, lost 16 pieces of artillery and 350 wagons, loss greater than paper states, rebs 40,000 strong, expecting another fight soon, was in hospital, order just came to go out, must go.
#9. 19 June 1864 from JWM White Station, TN hot weather, was in hard fight since last letter, our force 12,000 cavalry, infantry & artillery under Brig. Gen. Sturgis, 5 or 6 thousand colored troops, reb force said to be 40,000, Col. Brown shot in leg, many wounded in our regiment, Uncle Jimmy Marquis preached yesterday afternoon, most peaches he ever saw, corn high as head, wheat nearly ready to cut, country town up, corn $7 bushel and scarce, butter 65 cents to $1 pound, eggs 45 to 50 cents doz, milk 20 cents quart, Gen. A. J. Smith gone down to MS, got letter from Lidy Gray, direct letter as before.
#10. 20 Aug 1864 from JWM Camp White Station, TN received 2 letters and picture, Gen. Smith in MS with 7500 men, he started with them but took sick and came back, well now, Jesse Merical got back this morning, Charles wanted to come with him, “rather see him buried than in the army”, afraid father will be drafted, talked to Jimmy Marquis Sunday morning, didn’t get newspapers, thinks father wore his necktie when picture was taken.
#11. 27 Dec 1864 from JWM per Waldo F. Brown, Delegate Christian Commission, to Brother sick with fever in Foundry hospital, getting better, kind nurses & dr., direct letters to Foundry hospital, Louisville.
#12. 13 Jan 1865 from JWM Brown Hospital, ward 6, Louisville, KY sick for good spell with lung fever in right side, thinks he may never be fit for field service again, took sick on boat and lost pocket book, no money but 4 or 5 stamps lost, sending this letter with no postage, poorest boarding since he’s been in service, bread & coffee for breakfast & supper - bread and small piece of half boiled beef and onion soup for dinner, no pay for nearly 9 months, asks father for loan of $5, “tell Aunt Polly fortune teller has hit my case pretty well so far”.
#13. 27 Jan 1865 from JWM Brown Hospital, Louisville, KY health about same as latest letter, wishes he had been home to go to quarterly meeting, 18 months longer till discharge, weather very cold, no snow, no sledding, paper says intercepted telegraph from Lee says Ft. Fisher & Wilmington must be held or he will be forced to evacuate Richmond, asks father to send some tobacco.
#14. 10 Feb 1865 from JWM Louisville, KY health getting better, warm enough for shirt sleeves, new chaplain, small pox is thick, wants to go to Memphis when river opens, takes about 2 weeks to go on boat, thinks he will be paid $160 owed to him when he gets to camp, thinks draft is unnecessary - enough men now to clean out rebs by fall, says he is enclosing nice piece of poetry.
#15. 14 Feb 1865 from JWM Brown Hospital, ward 6, Louisville, KY received letter from father with news that a box of necessaries has been sent, will delay tomorrow’s trip to Memphis to wait for it, advises father to pay the $200 if draft goes through so he won’t have to serve, today’s paper reports rebs are evacuating Richmond and Charleston to concentrate forces in SC to try and crush Sherman, tells Nancy to hurry and learn to write so she can write him a letter, tell Eva he has eaten so many Secesh chickens that he doesn’t like chicken much any more, doesn’t expect to be home until his time is out, reports that there is some nice land in MO along the Pacific railroad, can’t say much about Kansas because he didn’t get over 300 yds in, camped on MO-KS line, went into KS to get some corn for his horse, fed him in MO, made his bed and slept in KS, poorest country he saw was Ark., reckons that Uncle George is living with John and if John is drafted he will send George in his place so he can run the farm.
#17. 24 Feb 1865 from JWM Hospital 15, 3rd Division, Nashville, TN on 22nd was transfered to this place and is now on duty, went to express office on day he had to leave Louisville, but box had not come, left with heavy heart, today’s report is that Lee has whipped Grant and drove him back, but he doesn’t believe it yet, 100 guns fired in Louisville in honor of Sherman’s recent victories, direct to Hosp #15, field branch, Nashville, TN
#18. 19 Apr 1865 from JWM Hospital 15, Division 3, Nashville TN sorry to hear that Uncle Andy was drafted, his box arrived at his tent while he was eating dinner on the 14th, apples and sausage were spoiled, broken bottle that he supposed contained preserves at one time, butter and socks and tobacco were all right, John Lowry had forwarded it from Louisville, freight was $1.05, asks father if he is the man Eli Demer sued for assault - about the first trial that was held at their house, weather very warm, much rain and waters are high, Mobile is in our hands, listening to hear of Johnson’s surrender, thinks he might be home by 4th of July, thinks rebellion is about played out, on 15th got news that Lincoln was killed, all flags dressed in black and put at half mast, man got stabbed for saying it was a fine thing that Lincoln was dead.
#19. 20 May 1865 from JWM Cumberland Hospital, Ward 19, Nashville, TN #15 hospital broken up and many men discharged, expects to be mustered out in a month or so, very nice place, chaplain preaches twice a week, good library, heavy storm last night - 4 railroad bridges between here & Louisville blown down, corn is knee high, green onions-green salad-green peas in abundance, if home would have a mess of squirrels be fore night, last stamp-no money.
#20. 1 Aug 1865 from JWM Alexandria, Louisiana answering father’s letter of 28 June, arrived here on 28 June, mustered for pay but pay didn’t come, drew new horses, arms and equipment, guns shoot 7 times without reloading, all companies have different colored horses, “best fixed now that we have ever been”, expects to march to Texas or New Orleans to be reviewed and mustered out but not sure, hottest country he was ever in, can see many things you can’t see up north-figs in natural state, quinces, palm leaf for hats and alligators, Jess Merical deserted, he & 7 or 8 others with their horses and equipment left regiment on night of 3 July, scouting party sent in pursuit, caught up with them in about 40 miles, one scout killed, one wounded and balance came back with no prisoners.



Letters 1 to 10
Letters 11 to 20
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