Camp Dennison Ohio March 9th
Three o’clock in the morning, in the Hospital
Dear Wife, as I feel lonesome here this morning, I will write you a few lines, although it would reach you just as quick to write Tuesday as it will to write now. But I will write now to pass away the time and send it Tuesday. I am on duty here to night taking care of the sick. None of them are dangerously sick now they are on the mend, but they are very weak and poor.
One of those Ladies, that waited on the table at the “Chase House” last fourth of July in mecca is here as Hospital cook. She is married to a man by the name of White. She is a clever woman & a great talker. She gave me two “Slap Jacks” to day all buttered up in style, but they soon went out of sight. [The following words in italics were written in Fell’s blood] O yes, I must have the nose bleed the next thing. it makes me feel like swearing but I guess I can stand it. I wish I could write a letter with the heart’s blood of a Secheshionist. I would give up all my hope of heaven if I could only write with it warm from his vile heart.
It is raining here to night quite hard it will be very mudy again here. it is quite like spring here. some of the farmers have sown their Oats. I wrote to you last Sunday and was expecting a letter from you to day and was over anxious to get it as Vie wrote that you had a sore throat. But when I got the letter and saw it was not your hand writing ! you can bet I felt rather streaked. I thought every thing but what was comfortable to think happened you. I was almost afraid to open the letter. But soon thought I might as well know the worst. I opend the letter and it was from Julia. But how diferent I felt after all doubt was removed from my mind you must cheer up and look to the future for happiness for there never has been any in the past for either of us to look back for if my life is to be such as it has been for the last few years. I do not care how soon I get into the battle field the sooner the Better. if we are doomed to disappointments all the days of our lives, of what use is it to live. Diane you know not the trouble that was on my mind for a month before I enlisted and if you had been in my place you would have done the same thing I done and if it was to do over again I would do the same thing. You have heard me talkin two or three years ago about leaving home and going West and other places, but I never told you why I wanted to get away from home for it was because I had no more priveldges than a slave at home, nothing was wright that I done nor could I do any thing wright. I stood it as long as human nature could you know what hapend when I broke out I think that day was the most fortunate day of my life & had it hapend 4 years ago it would have been money in my pocket I was blamed for runing around and not staying at home, a place I would rather leave than eat at any time it never seemed like home to me the more I think of it the more I wonder how I stood it as long as I did This is the reason that I am so well contented here I am away from a place I had to call home. It seem strange to me to hear these sick men on all sides of me talking about going home, for I dont think I should have any such desire if I was sick I would like to be with you at all times but as we are separated by distance we must remain so for the present I intend to come back to see you in about a month if we go to Columbus Ohio to guard prisoners four Companeys of the Regt. left here friday for Columbus if we go we will probley go this week I dont think they will discharge us for sometime perhaps not till the war is over. I sent you a ring in the last letter I wrote to you. perhaps that is the reason that it did not get through I made it of a clam shell and took a good deal of pains to make it nice for you. But it appears that I was doomed to be disappointed even in that little thing and so it goes from one thing to another
Monday March 10th Nothing new has happened to day. As to health of this company it is good with the exceptions of hard colds about half of the boys have got stockings around their necks like some old grany, just as if that would cure them of their cold. A little boy about 10 years old came to the guard house the other night when I was on guard. I told him to go in and get warm, and I went in in a few minuts and jokeingley asked him who made him. he did not want to tell me at first but finley told me his “Paw” made him. I then asked him where his father was, he told me he was dead that he was killed in Kentucky in a battle, and that his Mother died before his father went to war. the little fellow cried as he told me his story. he had not had his Supper I could not leave my post but I sent him up to the Barrack with one of Capt. Binghams men but instead of taking him to our quarters he took him to his own. I would of kept him with me as long as I had a crust before he should want for care But they will take good care of him the whole Company like him they took him to Columbus with them He is a smart good looking little fellow. He probley would have laid out all night if I had not asked that one foolish question I have been washing to day but it was a short job and soon over.
Tuesday March 11th I have just finished writing a letter for dud Hall. If I could not write letters from me would be few and far between. I expect you begin to think so now but it is not my fault all the news to day is that Govener Tod received a dispatch yestarday that the government will not arm and equip any more Cavalry or Artillery at present the only chance to go now is in Infantry I think we will stay here for the present but not very long at the most, the surplus of the Cavalry and Artillery cost the government 25,000 dollars every day. this money is about the same as thrown away for it is no benefit to the cause we are fighting for and onley tend to make heavyer tackes for the country The third Battalion of this Regt. will probley go into service We are kept here because the officer are sucking the big tit of Uncle Sam treasure, and us tit mans can stand and look on from a distance. if you mail a letter at the center on friday early in the morning I will get it Sundy morning about nine oclock I hope this will find you well and enjoying your self as well as if I was there if you will step in here some evening and bring three or four girls with you we will have a ball for your diversion it would be fun for you to see our stags dances here
Bine to Mit.
Good By, Diana
[in margin: Diana Rutledge]
Albinus R. Fell enlisted on 9 December 1861 as a private in the OVC. He was promoted to Corporal in 1862 and then Quartermaster Sergeant in 1863. Known by several self-ascribed names, he primarily signed his letters “Bill” or “William”, although he did, for some unknown reason, occasionally sign off as “Oscar”, “Paul Clifford”, “Sixteenstring Jack”, “Orpheius Kin” or various other obscure names. He does state in one of his letters “…my name I will not write that for various reasons…”, so perhaps it was to purposely conceal his identity. His wife Diana – whom he also referred to as Lydia – had a bit of trouble in her later years claiming his pension due to the discrepancies regarding his name ! A General Affidavit was submitted on Diana’s behalf attesting to the fact that Fell served in the Ohio 6th, that he was the only “Fell” in the company, and while in the service “…Albinus Fell always went by the name of Bill Fell…”. His discharge took place on 12 December 1864 in Petersburgh, VA.
Born in 1840 in Mercer County, PA., Fell – according to his letters – seemed to have had a very difficult time growing up, and in one instance referred to abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. His bitterness regarding his family of origin is palpable and made for a brave, fierce soldier. Fell and Diana married on 14 December 1861 in Trumbull County, Ohio and following his service, went on to have 3 children – Clara, John and Jessie. Fell was employed as a retail druggist and merchant.
eBay auction item – February 2008 – Item #250214083171