97th Ohio soldier, hospital worker in Nashville, writes of Parson Brownlow

[Original Civil war letter from occupied Confederate Nashville, Tennessee, under the military governor, Andrew Johnson] 4 page letter with original envelope from William Henry Ruse of the 97th Ohio Volunteer Regiment to Maggie Stewart of Adamsville, Ohio. W. H. Ruse worked in a hospital (No.8) in Nashville, Tennessee (possibly as a pastor). Ruse talks of William Gannaway Brownlow’s sermon just 400 yards away (preacher and future Tennessee Governor) and the transfer of Clement Laird Vallandigham to Confederate lines (on direct orders from Lincoln)


Pleasant Sunday Eve
Nashville Tenn
May 24th1863

Dear Maggie,

I have just come in from preaching and now I am going to try to write to you a few lines in answer to yours which I received two or three hours ago. Last Sunday evening you was writing to me. It is slow work talking at such a long distance. For my part I would prefer having the distance shortened. But don’t know how to accomplish it… you say you read my letters often. I don’t think you read them as often as I do yours. For that is the way I past my time reading letters and looking at those treasurable pictures… Monday Evening May 25th.

Well as I did not finish yesterday I will now try to write a little more. It is so excessively warm today that I can scarcely write. Parson Brownlow preached in this City yesterday at 12 A.M. the Church in which he preached is not more than four hundred yards from this hospital, but I did not know he was going to preach until it was all over. I tell you I was spited. To think I didn’t get to hear him when he was so close. It was not generally made known that he was to preach till an hour or two previous to the hour for preaching… The Northern Traitor (Vallandigham) arrived in this City on last evening. On his way south of our lines. He was strongly guarded. I don’t think his punishment was half severe enough.”

Last page contains a poem about death, entitled:

“How, where and when”

(This poem has been attributed to Mrs. Abdy, 1842, Church of England Magazine, Vol. 12)

When shall I die?

Shall death’s cold hand arrest my breath?

While loved ones stand in silent watchful love to shed.

Shed tears around my quiet bed?

Or shall I meet my final doom far from my country and my home?

Or shall my fainting frame sustain the tedious languishing of pain?

Good-bye dearest.

Please write soon and often.

W.H. Ruse

How essential were the roles of women on the home front?

The Winter 2017 issue of Military Images has an excellent article on “Women on the Home Front: Their essential roles during the Civil War,” by Juanita Leisch Jensen. The article is liberally sprinkled with high resolution version of some 29 separate images of women, their husbands, children, or family.  Each image has a nice annotation explaining what the image emotes according to Jensen.

To learn more about this fantastic magazine: Ron Coddington | Publisher of Military Images Magazine

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How do deaths in the Civil War compare to all other American wars?

The scale of death that was wrought by the Civil War, the first modern war, is hard to fathom.

Number of deaths per day in the Civil War: 425

Deaths in ten days: 4,250

In comparison, we lost four thousand soldiers in the recent long (13 years) Iraq-Afghanistan war. The Civil War saw that many deaths in just ten weeks.

The Revolutionary War lasted eight years, resulting in sixteen thousand deaths. In comparison, the Civil War saw that many deaths in an average five-week span.

Source: Civil War Trust infographic

What are the top ten most visited Civil War sites?

According to the National Park Service here are the top ten, in order, by annual visitors:
Kennesaw Mountain | 2.4 mil visitors
Gettysburg | 1.1 mil
Chickamauga/Chattanooga | 1 mil
Fredericksburg | 969,000
Fort Sumter | 888,000
Ford’s Theatre | 650,000
Manassas Battlefield | 534,000
Vicksburg | 508,000
Shiloh | 421,000
Antiteam | 351,000

What do you think of this list? Does anything surprise you? Have you seen them all?

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Spotsylvania Court House fighting ends . . .

The NPS summary for Spotsylvania: “After the Wilderness, Grant’s and Meade’s advance on Richmond by the left flank was stalled at Spotsylvania Court House on May 8. This two-week battle was a series of combats along the Spotsylvania front. The Union attack against the Bloody Angle at dawn, May 12-13, captured nearly a division of Lee’s army and came near to cutting the Confederate army in half. Confederate counterattacks plugged the gap, and fighting continued unabated for nearly 20 hours in what may well have been the most ferociously sustained combat of the Civil War. On May 19, a Confederate attempt to turn the Union right flank at Harris Farm was beaten back with severe casualties. Union generals Sedgwick (VI Corps commander) and Rice were killed. Confederate generals Johnson and Steuart were captured, Daniel and Perrin mortally wounded. On May 21, Grant disengaged and continued his advance on Richmond.”

Here are some pictures of soldiers who fought in the battle, from an exhibition display in the visitor’s center.

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Is there a list of Civil War hospitals in Nashville?

Here is a list of Civil War hospitals in Nashville:

  1. Cumberland Hospital (Volunteers)
    900 beds and was led by B.Cloak.
  2. U.S. General No. 1 (Volunteers)
    936 beds, led by B.B. Breed.
  3. U.S. General No. 2 (Volunteers)
    886 beds, led by J.E. Herbst.
  4. U.S. General No. 3 (Volunteers)
    600 beds, led by J.R. Ludlow.
  5. U.S. General No. 8 (U.S. Army)
    540 beds, led by C.C. Byrne.
  6. U.S. General No. 11 (U.S. Army)
    720 beds, led by G.W. France.
  7. U.S. General No. 14 (Volunteers)
    775 beds, led by S.E. Fuller.
  8. U.S. General No. 15 (U.S. Army)
    400 beds, led by J.J. O’Reilly.
  9. U.S. General No. 16 (U.S. Army)
    289 beds, led by J.S. Giltner.
    [See pic of hospital]
  10. U.S. General No. 17 (Volunteers)
    120 beds, led by J.E. Herbst.
  11. U.S. General No. 19 (Volunteers)
    629 beds, led by W.H. Thorne.
  12. Hospital for Federal officers [Picture]
    (Literary Department, University of Nashville; later Lindsley Hall, Peabody Normal College)]