Civil War Letters

Charles Norhood Mumford was my great-grandfather's uncle. He and his sons served for the Union during the American Civil War. The letters sent home were saved, and eventually my great-grandfather Manly Jacob Mumford (MJM) typed them up. I have photocopies of those typed editions. The quality of the photocopies and the typewriter font appear to be problematic for optical character recognition software, so I am manually re-typing them and posting them here.

I do not know much about the family history at this time period. It appears that Charles Norhood Mumford enlisted in the Army in late 1861 or early 1862. He spent most of his time in Kansas, primarily in a hospital. It seems that at the time he enlisted he was already well into his later years, and living conditions faced by the troops were too much for his body to handle. If you are looking for first-hand descriptions of battles, these letters are probably not what you want (although there are couple).

Because I re-typed the letters as typed by Manly Jacob Mumford (MJM), errors may be introduced by me. I am periodically fixing spacing, punctuation, and errors which appear to have been introduced during the initial transcription by my great-grandfather. If you see something suspect, please notify me, and I will verify against the documents I possess, which are not the original letters. I am neither adding nor removing content, nor adding nor removing emphasis. When I doubt my interpretation, I am making comments in the HTML.

It is unfortunately the case that MJM did clearly (but infrequently) take editorial license while creating the transcriptions from which I am working. In the transcriptions these are generally indented and surrounded by parenthesis and his typed initials). I can not be certain why he chose whichever passages he chose to edit, often times it appears that it was done to make the letter he was transcribing fit onto a single typed page. There are other places where I suspect omissions. Nearly every letter uses "..." in a variety of places. It is not clear to me if those were from the original letters, or MJM was unable to read the letters at those points, or decided that they were too boring or too personal to transcribe, or if MJM had his own agenda for leaving them out. I have done my best to represent the documents as I have received them.

1862 April 27 Charles Norhood Mumford Camp Benton, St. Louis Description of dress parade and drills. Went to town. Is on picket guard every eight days, rides around camp perimeter. Found man asleep at post.
1862 May 12 Charles Norhood Mumford Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Traveled by the steamer Sioux City, an unpleasant experience. Second-hand description of Union failure at Lexington, Mo. Family talk. Went on dress parade, may go on picket guard. May be ordered to go to New Mexico.
1862 August 23 Charles Norhood Mumford Fort Scott, Kansas Chosen as one of General Blunt's body guards. Blunt received information that 400 troops under other command were approaching 6,000 rebels without knowing they're number; General Blunt went to fight. Request to have son Manly enlist in the hopes he will join Charles. Has not been paid yet.
1862 September 16 Charles Norhood Mumford Fort Scott, Kansas Had been detailed to oversee the casting of bullets. Has taken ill (chills, fever), is taking quinine. Reference to Brigadier General Solomon of Madison, WI. Son Manly has apparently enlisted Description of weather, purchase of coat. Reference to theft of mail by guerillas. Has not been paid. Reference to bad news in regard to Indians in Wisconsin becoming hostile.