Guide to the Thomas Dadswell Papers, RG 308

Listed by: Dwayne Cox
Date: 9/29/99

Date Span: 1862-1865

Size of Collection: 22 items

Biographical Sketch: Dadswell served in the 111th New York Infantry during the Civil War.

Scope / Content: The papers consist of twenty letters from Dadswell to his family written primarily from various places in Virginia.

Note: Dadswell's letters all contain a nearly identical stilted beginning, and are very simply written. Misspellings are common, and he complains of a lack of letters in return, especially from his father. He requests postage stamps from home, saying they are difficult to get locally. Pay is very infrequent and often late, so he often asks for money from home.His shoes are unsatisfactory , and he asks for shoes made at home. There are very few comments on the conduct of the war. In late 1864, he mentions sending his "Testiment" and diary home via a soldier from his unit. He seems to have suffered from diarrhea during his entire service, blaming it on the meat rations.


Folder 1 : Undated Letters

Washington, D.C. His unit is moving from Camp Chase to Camp Fairfax. He needs 15 dollars.

[Auburn, New York]. He is going to be mustered into the regiment Friday.

Virginia. 186[2]. He has been on picket duty. They are afraid of (Gen.) Jackson surprising them. Many soldiers have dysentery.

Washington, D.C. He says that five army corps and 15,000 cavalry are protecting the capital from Lee, and if he attacks, it will be a third Bull Run Battle.

[Virginia]. He misses seeing Charley, but is very busy.

Washington, D.C. When he was at home, being in the rain was bad, in the army it happens, so often it seems almost normal.

Folder 2-1862

April 16, 1862. Camp Hays, Centreville, Va. He was in the battle at Fredericksburg. They are digging rifle pits to repel cavalry. He need stamps.

April 28, 1862. Camp Hays. He received 4 months pay, and sent $40 home.

October 2, 1862. He asks Mr. Easton to give this to James Dadswell. It requests three pounds of tobacco form James Dadswell, his father, to be sent with Melvin Easton.

December 11, 1862. His unit keeps moving in front of Washington, D.C. and are now 17 miles outside it. He has seen much property damage to Rebel farms in Virginia, especially fences.

Folder 3-1863

January 19, 1863. Camp on Dumpling's Mountain near Brandy Station, Va. He needs some food from home. Rations are short, very little pork for six months, and the beef gives him diarrhea. He needs butter and postage stamps. Also, Sutler prices are very expensive.

January 24, 1863. Centreville Camp. He complains of a lack of letters from home. He has received no pay for four months. The Colonel of the regiment has resigned. He needs a good pair of boots made at home and sent to them.

April 12, 1863. Camp Hayes. Complains of a lack of letters from home. They have marching orders to go to Vicksburg. He has no stamps or money.

November 12, 1863. Camp near Brandy Station. He sent some item's home but has not heard if they arrived. His is weak and nervous, and thinks they are moving to the front.

December 8, 1863. Camp near Stevensburg. He hopes to be sent to Washington, D.C.

December 18, 1863. Camp near Brandy Station. He is in the hospital and gaining in strength. About 30 mean were lost on a long, cold wet march. He wants a plaster for his back and a bottle of pain killer.

December 19, 1863. Camp near Brandy Station. He will not get a furlough, only those who reenlisted, are to be given such, he wants a plaster for his back and a bottle of pain killers.

Folder 4-1864

April 13 1864. Camp near Brandy Station, Va. He is in good health and has gained weight. He sent a diary home.

August 29, 1864. Frevango County, Penn. His is suffering from dysentery. It will delay his start for home.

October 20, 1864. Camp near Petersburg, Va. Most of the sick soldiers who die have suffered from cholera in clear sight of Petersburg.

Folder 5 - 1865

February 1, 1865. lst Division hospital. He has not heard from his father in two months. All sick men from this corps were sent away yesterday.

February 19, 1865. 1st Division hospital. He received a letter from home, first in two months. He is nearly barefoot. He thinks peace will occur within a year.

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