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Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Military - Letters from the Civil War

Contributed by Kathy Ebert

The two letters below were transcribed from the original handwritten letters by Kathryn M. Ebert, great great granddaughter to Cordelia (Sherrod) Reynolds. Cordelia had two younger brothers who enlisted, fought and died as a result of wounds in the Civil War, and there is one letter shown below from each brother.

Sylvester Sherrod (1833-1862) and Lewis R. Sherrod (1840-1864) were born at Sherrod Hill (Edinboro), Washington Twp., Erie Co., Pennsylvania.   They were the sons of Michael and Fanny (Morris) Sherrod, and the grandsons of Daniel Sherrod, one of the original pioneers to settle the Edinboro area around 1800.  Sylvester and Lewis were the youngest of Michael and Fanny Sherrod's six children.  Their other children were:  Andrew E. Sherrod, John M. Sherrod, Ruhamah (Sherrod) Goodell, and Cordelia M. (Sherrod) Reynolds.

Sylvester Sherrod enrolled 22 August 1861 at Edinboro and was mustered 27 August 1861 at Camp McLane, as a Private, Captain Woodward's Company, Colonel McLane's Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, which became Company D, 83rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  Sylvester was severely wounded in the battle at Gaines Mills, Virginia, on the 27th of June 1862.  He died several weeks later on 2 August 1862 as a result of his wound. The letter from Sylvester below is dated only about one week before he received his fatal wounds.

Lewis R. Sherrod was enrolled 20 August 1862 at Edinboro and was mustered on the same date at Erie, as a Private, Company D, 83rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.  Lewis was killed in action on the 20 June 1864 near Petersburgh, Virginia.    There is a monument to the brothers in the Sherrod Hill Cemetery.  

Anyone having any comments or questions about these letters, or the people mentioned, please contact Kathy Ebert directly.

Letter from Lewis R. Sherrod

The following letter has been transcribed by Kathryn M. Ebert from an original letter written by Lewis R. Sherrod to his mother, Fanny (Morris) Sherrod. "D" refers to his sister, Cordelia (Reynolds) Sherrod, and "R" refers to his sister, Ruhamah (Sherrod) Goodell, wife of John Goodell. Sylvester is his brother.

Camp three miles south Cullpeper Sept the 23rd/63

Dear Mother

I thought I would write you a few lines this morning as I couldent think of anything better to do and am some lonesome for the boys are all on picket. The 20th M E in our Brigade is getting paid off today so we will get ours by Saturday. I don’t know how I will send my money home but think I will give it too the Lieut. and let him send it to Hiram. That will be the safest. We have got eight days ration to cary when we move and I think that will be as soon as we are paid off but it wont make any difference with the box(?) for that will follow the Regt. Oh what fun it is to carry 8 days ration and a lot of clothes but I hadent aught to say anything for I don’t have any gun nor cartridge to carry. I think I have got a good place to what some of the boy(s) have. There has been hard fighting out in the front for the last 3 days but can’t learn how it is going. I will write often and will write when anything turns up -?- any movement. I look for a letter D soon. I wrote to her some time ago that is if she is able to write. I dreamed she was going to be shot for deserting and Wm Phillips waked me up said I was crying. I am afraid we have one in our Regt that will be shot but I think he hadn’t ought to be for he is not in his right mind I think. I haven’t had any letters from John Goodell in a long time. Do you hear from him? Where is Elias Davis that used to belong to this camp. I was just told he stole 12 dollars from Sylvester when he was here but Ves never would have any thing done about it but there was five of the boys knew he done it but rather than have a fuss he said he would let it go. One of our Sargts was just telling me I would like to see him about five minutes but say nothing about for its nothing any way. I will close till the mail comes in and maybe I will get one from some of you.


Well mother I didn’t get any letters so I will write a little more but I haven’t anything to write only I have just had another tooth drawed and my mouth feels rather sore and I am getting pretty near toothless and hard bread makes me git(?) some but I will try and manage not to starve. I spent the last 10 cts I had tonight for a candel to finish this letter so it will go out in the morning but we will be get paid day after tomorrow so I will be all right. Mother keep up good courage I will be home next spring and then I will stay at home after that. I have first rate health and don’t get a bit homesick nor shant if R and the rest of you have good health. Oh what fun I just -?- out and seen a nice little knock down. A couple of conscripts had a fight and they fight all the time. We have a prety nice lot in our Comp but the Comp next to ours is the most set I ever saw. Gamble and fight the whole time. There is the call for roll call so I must close. I will right often and you do the same. Good by from your son

L R Sherrod

Letter from Sylvester Sherrod

The following letter has been transcribed by Kathryn M. Ebert from an original letter written by Sylvester Sherrod to his sister, Ruhamah (Sherrod) Goodell.

Camp near Richmond Va June 11-20/62

Dear Sister,

I suppose you began to think it was about time that I wrote you a letter to let you no how I get along and where I was. Wel I have not been very well for a few days. I have had the yellow senders but am getting quite smart now witch was the first sickness I have had. We are encamped 8 miles from Richmond. I have been here about 5 weeks expecting to make an attack on Richmond every minute but it apears we are not ready yet. Our troops have all got here and and what they are waiting for it is more than I can tell. Without(?) he thinks he can starve them out. For a deirsiter came over to our lines yesterday and said they only had half rations & that evening they raised a meeting or had a quarel among themselves and were killing one another & some said they would go home. Well R(uhamah), I suppose you have heared that we were engaged in a battell befre this time called the Battell of Hanover fought May 11-27 near Hanover Courthouse. Wel we got orders to march at 4 o’clock in the morning. Well up we got roled our blankets some had brekfast & more didn’t so on we started raining as hard as it could pour down so on we went doubell quick some of the way over ditches through mud over logs over up ravines until about 1 o’clock when we came up to them. The fight first commenced with our skirmishers witch we had throwed out. Soon our artillery came up and opened on them first by throwing shells. Soon we came up & a general fight commenced. John, I suppose you would like to no how I felt being the first time I was ever in anything of that kind. I was a little excited at first. After a few shoots took it all cool and was all fight. We were drawn up in a line of Battell in a wheat field. The Rebels were close by a peice of woods. As soon as we would fire we would drop down and load jump up pop it -?--. Some of the balls went 20 feet above our heads into the trees some came spat on the ground and some got spated in the head some in the mouth more in the legs. Wel after fiting about an hour the Rebels though(t) they would make a charge on us so on they came with a yell and holered Bull Run. Well we waited untill they came up within 14 rods when we let them have it and the Bull Run the other way. The fight lasted 2 hours in witch time they got badly whiped. Our Regiment took 172 prisnors in all 650 were taken. So ended a glorious victorie.

I got a letter from Dely stating that she had got home and our folk all well but I will bring this letter to a close I want you should write as soon as you get this so good by

From your afectionate brother

Sylvester Sherrod

Direct as you have Washington DC

Originally posted December 2001, with corrections last posted 1/17/02. Additional correction was sent in Feb 2002 but was never posted until 5/26/03.

This page was last updated on  Monday, May 26, 2003 .

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