Text-only version

A Letter from Sergeant Joseph Fisher
Company A, 126th OVI

Original letter in possession of Eric & Liz Davis
Fisher Family History

James Wilson Fisher (1833-1897)
James Wilson Fisher
[letter written to]: J. W. Fisher
Nov 3d 1862
Camp McCook
Cumberland Md

Dear Brother,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines to let you know that I and John are well, and hoping these few lines will find you all in the same state of health.

Well James, I received your kind letter and was glad to hear from you but was sorry to hear of your leg being So Soar [sic]. I think you would better have something done with it before long.

James we have left Parkersburgh and landed at a place called Cumberland in the State of Maryland on the Baltimore and Ohio RR. It is a beautiful place. The town is larger than Steubenville and we are encamped on a rise just above the town, and we can see all over the city. We have a view of the mountains. Their [sic] is three ranges and we can see them all at the same glance for one is just above the other. In short it is the most beautiful view of nature I ever saw.

Well Jim we left Parkersburgh on the 20th of last month at 8 oclock in the morning and arrived at Grafton at 5 in the evening. 104 miles (they do not run very fast on these roads). Well we left Grafton for this place at 6 the same evening and arrived here the next morning at 5 oclock and found the place I have just described. We had to travel from Grafton here by night. Oh! but I wish we could come through in day light to a seen the country. Their is 23 tunnels on the road from Parkersburgh to Grafton, and the number from their here I do not know. I sat up and watched the country the best I could for the darkness of the night. I looked at the mountains while we was going up the cheat river til I had to give way to sleep and fatigue and we almost froze while going through the mountains. We had nothing but old freight cars to ride in. Well James I will have to quit on that for I cannot tell the half.

Group of Sibley Tents Well we hear a great many rumors here in camp and we cannot tell when we will leave here. We may leave in a few days and we may not. It is rumored in camp today that they expect the fight to commence at Winchester but for the truth of it I cannot vouch for. It is about 60 mile from here. It is reported that we will moove [sic] to harpers ferry next moove. Well James I must tell you what kind of tents we have here. We have what they call the Sibley tents [see illustration on left] they are round and in the shape of a cone. They are calculated to hold 20 men and in the shape of a cone. They are calculated to hold 20 men and they have put 20 in the tent that I am in. I have got the most of the Philadelphia Road boys in it. They have put a Sergeant to every ten so as I am 3rd Sergeant I have the tent. They put in 2 corporals to a tent for H. tents and the other tent is governed by the orderly Sergeant. My corporals are James McDonnough and Bayle Albaugh. You don't know him. We have a small stove in each and can make them as warm as a house.

Margaret Long (1834- )
Margaret (Long) Fisher
(1835/6 - )

Well James I am going to send my likeness in this letter and you can set it up in the garden next spring to keep the chickens out. Tell Miss Narny that I delivered her letter to William Narny. He is the first Lieutenant in Capt McCreedy's company. It is company H. John [Fisher-Joseph's brother] is out on picket guard today. Leander [Fisher-a cousin of John and Joseph's] is well and harty [sic]. Tell Ella that I will bring her that candy. Give my love to the boys on the road that I know and to your self and mag [James Wilson Fisher's wife Margaret (Long) Fisher] and I will close by remaining your absent brother

Jo Fisher

126th Ohio Reg
Co. A
Cumberland Maryland
in Care of Capt Voorhes

This letter was the last time Joseph Fisher's family heard from him. He was eventually lost and considered killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. His brother John H. Fisher died in Winter camp at Martinsburg, WVA March 9, 1863. Rev. Leander Fisher survived the war, and died January 22, 1889 in Caldwell County, Missouri.


Walt Whitman
(from Drum-Taps 1865)

Come up from the fields, father, here's a letter from our Pete;
And come to the front door, mother--here's a letter
from thy dear son.

Lo, 'tis autumn;
Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohio's villages, with leaves fluttering
in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe in the orchards hang, and grapes on
the trellis'd vines;
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately

Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent after
the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautiful -- and the
farm prospers well.

Down in the fields all prospers well;
But now from the fields come, father -- come at the
daughter's call;
And come to the entry, mother -- to the front door come,
right away.

Fast as she can she hurries -- something ominous --
her steps trembling;
She does not tarry to smooth her white hair, nor adjust
her cap.

Open the envelope quickly;
O this is not our son's writing, yet his name is sign'd;
O a strange hand writes for our dear son -- O stricken
mother's soul!
All swims before her eyes -- flashes with black -- she
catches the main words only;
Sentences only -- gun-shot wound in the breast, cavalry
skirmish, taken to hospital,
At present low, but soon will be better.

Ah, now the single figure to me,
Amid all teeming and wealthy Ohio, with all its cities
and farms,
Sickly white in the face and dull in the head, very faint,
By the jamb of a door leans.

Grieve not so, dear mother, (the just-grown daughter
speaks through her sobs;
The Little sisters huddle around; speechless and dis-
See dearest mother, the letter says Pete will soon be better.

Alas, poor boy, he will never be better, (nor may-be
needs to be better, that brave and simple soul;)
While they stand at home at the door, he is dead already;
The only son is dead.

But the mother needs to be better;
She, with thin form, presently drest in black;
By day her meals untouch'd -- then at night fitfully
sleeping, often waking,
In the midnight waking, weeping, longing with one deep
O that she might withdraw unnoticed -- silent from life,
escape and withdraw,
To follow, to seek, to be with her dead son.

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