6th Ohio Cav soldier writes about spy hanging

[Written in the upper right hand corner is “These are the ones”]

Fredrick City Maryland

July 8th 1863


Yours of the 21st ult was Rec’d on the 4 day of July and yesterday Cole Arrived here with the Cavalry forces from the front of Washington.  I was down to the City as they went through and saw Cole just a few moments as they passed through  he gave me a letter from you and some berries the cake and cheese you sent with him mould on the way.  But never mind we are now in a country where we can get all the fixtures we want to eat.  Cole wanted me to write to you and have you tell Electa that he arrived here all right and has gone to the front where he will not have a chance to send out a letter for several days  in all Probbility Our Prospect are cheering indeed  we hope in a few days to annihilate Lees whole army  all our movements are successful so far to surround his army.  Our men fight more like devils than men  the encouragement and kind usage our soldiers receive by the people of Maryland & Penn cheers them on to victory or death – – – – – – –

I found a fellow in one of the new co of our Regt that was at the spree at Suttells, his name is O.G. Lane  we had a long talk about matters and things   he told me things of which I always had a suspicion – did he ever go with Alma Lake – – – – –

Bully for Ad Darsey he has going to workend [?] on the Rhodes (rodes) its my oppinion that he will have a longer job than he had to bail the Bailey out –

I Rec’d Marias [?] in your letter and was glad to get it.  I will try and send her mine if I can get it off hers looks as natural as life  I went to see the spy hanging yestarday  he had then been strung up about 36 hours and is hanging there yet and will hang untill he stinks  its a free show to any one that wants to see him  his clothes are all torn off but a piece of his drawers and shirt  almost every one that saw him wanted something to Remember him by so took a piece of his clothes as long as he had any.  I send you a piece of the Bark of the tree he was hung on (its a locust tree)  His name is Wm. Richardson a man of about 40 or 45 years old  I have seen him in our camps for the Last 18 months as a paper pedler  But he sliped his neck [?] at last

it Rained very hard here all night last night and to day untill 10 oclock, in fact it has Rained here every day since we came out of Va and 5 or 6 days before we left Va.  I have not heard a word from Pick since I got him put in an ambulance on the 28 of last month (I think it was)  I hear that Major Benj. Stanhope is dead

this is the Richest Country I ever saw and the wheat crop cannot be beat  wheat is mostly harvested but I fear it will all spoil unless we have a change of weather soon

This is great Lime country  almost every farmer has a limekiln and burns his own lime

Respectively yours

Sixteenstring jack or any other man

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 #250214306536

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