Lewis Dalton papers  1856-1904 (bulk 1862-1863)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 19 items, most of which are letters from Lewis Dalton to his wife Phoebe, from 1862 until he died in 1863. Dalton wrote from camps in Lebanon, Kentucky (January-February 1862); Wartrace, Tennessee (May-June 1862); east of Nashville, Tennessee (November 1862); and Murfreesboro, Tennessee (April-May, 1863). He described sickness in his regiment and his own health issues; preparations for engagements with the enemy, including marching, drills, and picket duty; and spending money on food or going for days with little to eat. In June of 1862, Dalton described his regiment’s march across the Cumberland Mountains, where they routed rebels from MacMinnville and Pikesville. At this time, he expected the war to last no more than 4 or 5 more months. In a fragment of a letter, likely from early 1863, Dalton described the start of the Battle at Stone River or Murfreesboro. In April and May 1863, Dalton was sick and was excused from duty, and spent time in both a field hospital and a convalescence camp. In many of the letters, he discussed sending Phoebe money and pled with her to write more often. He often asked her if his friends from Kentucky were enlisting.

In 1863, Phoebe received a letter from Lewis's mother, Rebecca Dalton, who lived in Virginia; she had just heard that her son was married and hoped to see both of them. In 1889, Phoebe received a letter from George E. Lemon, a Washington lawyer, who requested an affidavit concerning Lewis Dalton's death. The final letter in the collection, dated 1903, is from Phoebe to the Department of the Interior, asking for an increase in pension pay.

The earliest letter is from Solomon Sparks (likely a close relative of Phoebe) to his family in Carter County, Kentucky, 1856. He discussed family illness, the birth of a son, and was considering moving to Illinois.

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