July 29, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

July 29, 1862

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Would like to live with them, but can’t pay. Robert and Louisa are not well. Her baby wears her out. Pros came home from the boom sick with his old complaint. She’s afraid he’ll never be able to do hard work again. Got a letter from Hiram. He was knocked down by a shell concussion, got up and went a few steps and fell down again, numb all over. After a few minutes was able to get up. The shell killed the man on one side of him and wounded another on his other side.

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Omro   July the 29 1862

Dear Sarah

Your letter came to hand the fifteen and was glad to hear that yoursealf and children was well and sorra to hear that Luke[1] thealth is so poor and that you hadent heard from him seance he left[2]. I hope you have by this time. I wrote to you to know if you could let me have a room below if you have it. I cant pay rent for a room now. You may be rewored in time if you conclude to let me have a room. I want a nother priveledg that is a chance to cook and wash by your stove for I wont have the means to bye a cook stove. I thought of bying sheetirn stoove at present. I was quite sick last week but better now. Robert[3] and Lousa[4] is quite unwell. Her baby[5] is verry cros. It all most wares her out. Prosper[6] came home sick from the boom[7] with his old complant. I am a frade he will never be abel to do hard work agane. He is verry much discouredg at times. He is a going to commence school this fall. I received a letter from the 26 and O how glad I was to hear from him[8] and that he had survive the battel. He said he had a narrow chance for his life at one time. He was knock down by a concussion of a shell. He thought it was all day with him. In a minet he got up and hadent taken four stepts before he fell agane and thought he was gon and felt noumb all over. In a few minets he managed to get up and toddle off verry thankfull that he was alive. The same Shell killed a man on one side of him and wounded one on the other. I feal to thank the Lord my Savour in sparing his life and his grate goodness and merses to him. O what thoughtless mortals are how unworthey we are of the goodness of God to us and how unthankfull we are when they are bestode a pon us day by day. I want you to write as soon as you receive this. If you cant let me have a room below I wan to know it. You must not think hard becaus I ask you so plane. I want you to do the same by me. My love to your self and children. Robert and Lousa Pros send thear love to you all. From your mother

Nancy B Betts

[to] Sarah C. Keith

Pros sais tell Sarah he intends to write to her soon. N B Betts

[1] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr

[2] Luke sold “bed bottoms,” a form of rubberized bedsprings, and was quite often gone for months at a time

[3] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

[4] Robert’s wife, Louise (McCann) Crawford

[5] Melissa “Lizzie” Crawford

[6] Nancy’s son, Prosper Crawford

[7] See Footnote #5, 6-3-1862 letter

[8] Her son, Hiram Crawford Jr, whose regiment fought in the Battle of Glendale, protecting the retreating Army of the Potomac from Confederate pursuers under Gen. Robert E. Lee

June 3, 1862 letter to Luke & Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

June 3, 1862 

To: Luke & Sarah Keith

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Has sold her interest in the farm. Expects to start for Michigan the first of June. Louisa had another young daughter. LP [Pros] is working on the Wolf River. Aunt Mary Wickersham is at Oshkosh. Ann Lacey got a letter from “canaday” saying that Uncle John Patterson died two months ago. Wants to come live with Luke and Sarah rather than any of the boys. Louisa wants her to live with them. They are willing to let her have a room and let Pros board with her. Pros wants to go to the gold diggings.

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Omro   June the 3 1862

Dear Luke and Sarah

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you to let you know of my heath and affairs. My heath is better at present then it was last spring but I am not well yet. The dyspepsia[1] hangs on yet. As to my business I have got it all settled. I have sold my Farm or my intrust in it for four hundred dollors to Darwin Rice. He makes annual payments at fifty dollares a year and more if he can till it is all paid and in trust on the whole at ten persent. I expected to start for Michigan the first of June but it was so that I could not leave then. Lousia[2] was not confind till the 12. She has a nother young daughter[3]. She is verry smart and up rond the hous seeing to he work. The rest of the famly is well. L P[4] is up to the boom to work on wolf river[5]. We expect him home to day. He was well a few days ago. Your aunt Mary Wickersham[6] is at Oshkosh yet but she expects to start for Iowa in a few days to her other daughters[7]. I went to Oshkosh a few days ago and made her and Ann Lacey[8] a viset. They whare well. Lacey[9] has inlisted in the war. He was in the battle of Pittsburg landing. He said he was paralyze by a shell bursting near him. He is gon to git discharge. Ann received a letter from Canaday from som of her friends. It stated that your uncle John I Patterson[10] was ded. He dide two months ago. The papers states of having som hard fighting at Richmond. We have not heard of the perticulares yet. It made me feal sad and sorrowfull when I read this morning in the Milwaukee sentinel of the twentieth Indiana Regment wich is in Gen Kenneys [General Kearny] Division beaning in som of the hotest of the Battel. O Sarah it would be sorrowfull news to me to hear of his death[11]. It seames that I could not be reckencile to it but I know I must be if it is the will of God. I hope he will give me grace and strength to bear up under it and to know that he doeth nothing rong. Louesas brother Stuard MacCan[12] was in the Battel of Pittsburg landing. He did not get wounded. Corfee was in the the Battel to. He is promoted to Lieut. He was sick and came home on a ferlow but has returnd back. Mr. MacCan[13] and famly has move to Minasota. Thear are all discontented. The old man sais that any the poorest placees in Wisconson is better then thear. I havent heard from David[14] in five monts. I do feal unesey a bout him but I know that he is in the hans of a mercyfull God that is abel to take care of him. Luke and Sarah I would say to you both I would like to live with you If you are willing I will support my self if you could let me have a room. I feal as though I would rather live with you as with the any of the boys. Louesia says I had better live with them. She thinks I will be better contented but I dont think so. If you think it is best for me to stay in Wisconsin or you havent a room for me or if it is a go to be any disadvantage to you I feal as if it would not be wright for me to go. Wich way you disside on and think best for me to do. I want you to write soon and let me know. Robert and his wife is kind to me. They are willing to let me have a room and have Pros bord with me and we stay as long as they do. They dont know how soon they may have to give up the hous as they havent rented it for any serten time. If they had a home of thear ond it it would be difernt. Prosper has a roveing mind. He wants to go to the gold digdings or some whare elce. He dont no whare. He has botherd me this year past about going away. I told him if he would be still and say no more till I could get things stratned I would give up all claims on on him. He expects to go to school this winter.

[to] Luke and Sarah Keith

Nancy B Betts

Rober and Louesia joines with in sending our love to you all

I dont expect to go 2 Mich till after harvest

[1] Indigestion

[2] Louisa (McCann) Crawford, Nancy’s son Robert’s wife

[3] Melissa “Lizzie” Crawford, who was born May 12, 1862

[4] Nancy’s son, Prosper “Pros” Crawford

[5] The Wolf River was used for floating timber down the river to sawmills in Oshkosh. As travel increased, the river had to be cleared of rocks and debris and a dam constructed to maximize the floating of logs downstream. There were as many as five companies running logs down the river at once and each cut their own “water mark” on each of their logs which were then sorted at Bay Boom. Perhaps Pros worked at either clearing the river of rocks or in the actual sorting.

[6] Nancy’s sister, Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[7] Phebe Catherine “Kate” (Wickersham) O’Connor

[8] Mary Wickersham’s daughter, Angelina (Wickersham) Lacey

[9] Alonzo Lacey, Angelina’s husband

[10] Nancy’s sister Elizabeth (Comfort) Patterson’s husband

[11] Hiram Crawford Jr., Nancy’s son, was in this regiment, so it is assumed she is talking about him. From June 24th to June 30th, the Indiana 20th was engaged in fierce fighting, protecting the rear flank of the retreating Army of the Potomac. This phase of the Civil War, known as the “seven days battles” decimated the Indiana 20th Regiment, which started the battles with more than 800 men. The roll call at Harrison’s Landing in early July could account for only 350 men. The rest were either killed, wounded, captured or missing. During this peiod Company E lost nearly all its officers, resulting in a field promotion for Hiram Crawford Jr. on July 1, 1862 to 2nd Lieutenant.

[12] Steward McCann, Louisa’s brother and Robert’s brother-in-law

[13] John McCann, Louisa’s father

[14] Nancy’s son, David (D.C.) Crawford

May 25, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

May 25, 1862

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford, Portsmouth, VA

They have captured Norfolk. Saw the Merrimac blow up, was about five miles off and felt the shock.

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Entrenched Camp near Portsmouth Va

May 25th, 1862

Dear Sister

Your kind and welcome letter some two weeks since. I should have ansered it sooner but have been almost continually on the moove ever since.

We have at last accomplished what we have so long wished to viz: the capture of Norfolk but contrary to all expectation without striking a blow[1]. We left Newport News two weeks ago to day about 8 O’clock P.M. marched to Fortress Monroe. Eight companies embarked on a steamer[2] and landed at Ocean View[3] opposite the Fortress on this side the same night. The other two companies of which ours was one, stopped there until the next evening and came direct to Norfolk on the steamer thus saving us seventeen (17) miles of marching which suited us to the ___________. We have kept pretty generally on the move since we arrived. Our first camp was two an one half (2 1/2) miles north east of Norfolk. It was formily a Rebel camp splendidly entrenched mounting sixty five (65) guns. They left in such a hurry that they couldn’t destroy any thing but part of the Barrack. We _____ ______ twice while there. Was then ordered to report to Gen Viele at Norfolk, he sent us to the Marine Hospital to guard that institution and grounds. The Marine hospital is a splendid edifice built by the Government for sick and infirm Sailors. The Rebels tried to burn it but our troop was so close on their heels that they hadn’t time. We staid there two days. Was then ordered to what was the Camp of the 3rd Georgia Regmt about one mile from Portsmouth. Staid there until day before yesterday when we mooved here. Expect to start Monday morning for Pigs Point on the James River distance about seventeen miles from here.

The cities of Norfolk & Portsmouth are very pleasant and have been smart and enterpising places. For the first few days the sentiments of the people were decidedly secesh[4] but am happy to say that under the benign rule of Uncle Sam it is fast disappearing and a strong Union feeling is taking its place. The Gosport Navy Yard was almost wholly destroyed. It will cost the Government a heavy sum to rebuild it. This camp, an entrenched camp, mounting eighteen guns. The gun were partly dismounted. Our Regmt and in fact all of this division are enjoying good health. The Regiment having lost but eight (8) since we have been in the service.

I received a letter from Mother[5] but a short time ago. She was in tolerable good health. She talked of selling the place also of making you and some of the rest of the family to visit this summer. My love to Luke[6] and the Family. Tell Luke I shall be happy to receive that letter. I saw the Merrimac[7] blow up, was about five miles off and felt the shock perceptibly. Answer and believe me to be as ever.

Your Brother

H Crawford

Direct Norfolk VA

[1] With McClellan preoccupied with the siege of Yorktown, President Lincoln ordered an attack on Norfolk. The Indiana 20th Regiment was ordered to march to Fort Monroe in order to be transported across the James River

[2] The Nelly Baker. The steamer could not accommodate the entire Regiment, so Companies E (Hiram’s Company) and H remained at Fort Monroe

[3] The steamer, Nelly Baker, ran aground in its efforts to approach Willoughby’s Point across from Hampton Roads. After spending the night on board, the troops managed to disembark in the morning and march on Norfolk

[4] Presumably short for secessionist, or one who supported the secession of the Southern States from the Federal Union

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[6] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[7] On March 8 the Confederate ironclad vessel, the Virginia, which was made from the salvaged Merrimack, entered Hampton Roads, Virginia, at the mouth of the James River. A number of wooden men-of-war of the Union fleet were in the roads enforcing the blockade. The Virginia destroyed two ships and disabled another. The North was thrown into panic. The next morning, however, the Virginia was challenged by the Monitor, a Union ironclad. The two armored ships bounced shells off each other’s sides for four hours without doing any serious damage. Although the battle ended in a draw, the Virginia no longer controlled the area’s waters. Soon after, when the Confederates withdrew from Norfolk, they destroyed the Virginia to keep it from falling into Northern hands. McClellan continued with his plans for invading Virginia.

April 6, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

April 6, 1862

To: Sarah Keith 

From: Hiram Crawford, Newport News, VA

Soldiers have been assembling for the past two weeks — it is one large encampment of over 100,000 men and 360 pieces of artillery stretching over nine miles long. The Rebels have about 40,000 men. He has to be ready to march at a moment’s notice. He received a letter from Prosper but hadn’t received any answer to his letters to David. Didn’t know what to think. Henry wrote that they had lost their baby.

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Newport News Virginia

April 6th 1862

Dear Sister

Your kind and sisterly letter was received, some three days since. And as things and events are transpiring in these parts, that, at any moment may make it very uncertain about me writing, for some time to come. Therefore I will do the job to night.

The news has been pretty exciting for the last two days, in fact, some so, for the past two weeks — I will explain: For some time past, rumors have been circulated, that Gen. McClelland was going to concentrate a large part of the Army of the Potomac, at this Point, and then March directly through to Richmond.

True enough, about two weeks ago, they commenced comeing – have kept up a perfect stream until day before yesterday. I guess they have all got here now at least judging by the number. I should thought to be so. Sarah you cant imagine what a sight of men there is (or was) here. From the Fortress to this place about 9 miles it is one continual encampment, estimated at One Hundred Thousand (100,000) men, three hundred and sixty (360) piecies of artillery. Horses, Waggons, Pontoon Bridges and every thin else to match.

Thursday. Gen. McClellan arrived day before yesterday morning, two divisions of the Army took up this march for the enterior. Yesterday morning we heard very heavy cannonading in the direction of Yorktown which kept up all day. We was in great suspence and mad as thunder to think that we couldn’t be there. Gen. Mansfield and the Brigade Surgeon went out there in the forenoon about 20 miles, came back in the evening, bringing the news that our troop had taken several of the enemies number this side of Yorktown would attack that place tomorrow morning.

The General thinks that it will be severe fight for the Rebels have received a reinforcement of twenty one thousand (21,000) men making their force about forty thousand (40,000) and the place strongly fortified, but then we have no fear of the results. We have received Orders to be ready to march at a moments notice. It may be to night, tomorrow, next day and perhaps we will stay here. We are decidedly set against that. I am going to observe that in case we do go you may not hear from me very soon so if you don’t, you needn’t be surprised. I must, and am willing to take the chances of war.

I received a letter from Prosper[1] last week. He has received that money. Mother[2] was regaining her health slowly and Robt[3] and family were well. They have not herd from David[4] since last winter. I have never had any answer to my letters, dont know what to think, but hope he is all right. Received a letter from Henry[5] stating that they had lost their Baby[6].

My love to the folks. Write me often. I remain as ever.

Your Brother,

H Crawford

P.S. I hope you will see the 20th in the papers soon


[1] Brother, Prosper Crawford

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Brother, Robert Crawford

[4] Brother, David (D.C.) Crawford

[5] Brother, Henry Crawford

[6] See letter of 10-11-1861 stating that Henry’s wife had another boy

March 6, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Nancy Betts

March 6, 1862

To: Sarah Keith 

From: Nancy Betts, Omro, WI

Has been sick with bronchitis, dyspepsia, and liver complaint since Platt’s death. Is anxious to hear from Sarah since she wrote telling her about his death. Prosper had to quit school to stay with her. She expects Louisa and the children in about two weeks to stay with her awhile. Elder willed her the farm and all the personal property for her lifetime and “after I am don with it the girls is to have five hundred dollars of it to be divided between them.” Robert was appointed administrator. Aunt Mary lives with her daughter in Oshkosh and her son-in-law enlisted in the war. Coufee(?) enlisted and Gen. William Willcox is captain of the company.

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March the 6 [1862][1]

Dear Sarah

Through the goodness of God I have strenth yet to write a few lines to you though quite weake. I have ben sick ever sence the Elder[2] Death with the Bronchitis Dyspepsia[3] and Liver complaint. I am taking Docter Janes medicines now but they dont help me as they did som years ago but I am sloly recoving. I have writting to you the perticulars of Elders Death but have not received no answer. O how I look for a answer from you. If I could ben whare you was or you hear so you cold take care of me how glad I would bee. O what a gloomy winter this has ben to me. Prosper[4] is with me he had to leave the school to stay withe me. I expect Loesia[5] and the children hear in bout tow weeks to stay with me a wile. Elder made a will and willd me the Farm my life time and likewise all the personal property and after I am don with it the girls[6] is to have five hundred dollares of it to be devied between them. He aponted Robert[7] Administrator. He has ben to the woods and has not don much about it yet. As soon as he come out he sais he will atend to it. Aunt Mary[8] is aliving with her Daugher[9] at Oshkosh. Her son in law[10] has enlisted in the war. Coufee has enlisted and gen William Willcox is Captain of the Company. No more at present. My love to yourself Luke[11] and the children. Write soon.

This is from your mother

[to] S C Keith

N B Betts

[1] As Platt Betts died in December 1861, this would appear to have been written in 1862

[2] Nancy’s second husband, Platt Betts

[3] Indigestion

[4] Nancy’s son, Prosper Crawford

[5] Nancy’s daughter-in-law, Louisa (McCann) Crawford (Robert Crawford’s wife)

[6] According to the February 16, 1858 letter, Elder Betts had a granddaughter named Maria Park and according to his Will the other granddaughter was named Harriet Glover

[7] Nancy’s son, Robert Crawford

[8] Nancy’s sister, Mary (Comfort) Wickersham

[9] Angeline (Wickersham) Lacey

[10] Alonzo Lacey

[11] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

January 22, 1862 letter to Nancy Betts from Hiram Crawford Jr.

January 22, 1862

To: Nancy Betts

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Fortress Mound, VA

Tells of the war. Says his troop achieved a victory – the Rebel General Zollicoffer was killed. He hears from Henry regularly, who talks of going to Yorkville to set up shop. Henry is very unfortunate in getting his own business going. Sends his love to Father, Pros, Robert and family.

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Fortress Monroe Jan the 22/62


Dear Mother

It being so stormy that we could not drill to day I thought I could not pass away a few minutes better than writing a few lines to you. — I wrote you the 3rd of the month but have received no answer yet. — That great blood and sensation affair about attacking Yorktown turned out just what it was, “viz,” nothing. The next thing on the programme was that when Burnsides fleet did come we should go with it, wherever it went, but since then is has arrived and departed still leaving us here very much dissipointed I tell you. And now the talk is that Gen Wool is agoing to take us over and attack Norfolk the first of next week. Whether it will ever amount to anything or not it is more than I know.

The weather has been very unpleasant here this month, cold rains intersperced with a slight sprinkling of snow which disappeared as soon as it fell. The Regmt is enjoying good health, not over 30 in the hospitels, and not any of them very sick. We have had good news from Kentucky to day stating that our troop had achieved a brilliant victory, amongst the dead being the Rebel General Zollicoffer[1]. I trust and think that it is but opening of a brilliant campaigne from Missouria to the Atlantic and from thence down the whole length of coast to Texas.

I hear from Henry[2] regularly. He has been out to Galesburgh & Yorkville. He says that he enjoyed the visit hugely. He talks of going to Yorkville to set up shop. It appears that the man that he learned his trade with has left the place thereby leaving a vacancy for some body and Old Tom Kenyon & several other persons of the place wishes him to fill it. Sarah[3] & Luke[4] also was in favor of it. Henry is very unfortunate in his endeavors to start business for himself but I hope he will do well this time. Give my love to Father[5], Pros[6] & Robt[7] & Family, also to yourself. Write, and believe me,

Ever Your Son

H. Crawford

2nd Serg. Co. E

Co Regmt  I V [8]

Enclosed is a very poor picture(?) of me taken by one of the soldiers in camp. HC

[1] From Wikipedia: Felix Kirk Zollicoffer (May 19, 1812 – January 19, 1862) was a newspaperman, three-term United States Congressman from Tennessee, officer in the United States Army, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War. He led the first Confederate invasion of eastern Kentucky and was killed in action at the Battle of Mill Springs. Zollicoffer was the first Confederate general to die in the Western Theater. The Federals treated Zollicoffer’s body with respect. He was embalmed by a Union surgeon and was eventually returned to Tennessee and interred in the Old City Cemetery in Nashville

[2] His brother, Henry Crawford

[3] His sister, Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[4] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

[5] His stepfather, Platt Betts. Platt Betts died December 29, 1861 and obviously the news had not yet reached Hiram

[6] His brother, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[7] His brother, Robert Crawford

[8] Indiana Volunteers

January 1, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Robert Crawford

January 1, 1862

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Robert Crawford, Omro, WI

Tells Sarah about the death of their stepfather, Platt Betts, from heart disease.

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Omro   Jan. 1” 1862

Dear Sister

It is with feelings of sincere regret that I announce to you, the Death of Our Venerable Step-Father Elder Betts[1]. He died last Sunday morning of the Heart Disease or Appoplexy[2]. The circumstance is as follows. He went to Bed the Night previous not feeling very well and remarked to Mother[3] that he had some Pain in his Stomach. Along in the night he got up and took some Camphor, went to Bed again and thought perhaps he would feel better. Mother did not feel very well herself that night and was up occasionally. Mother askt him if she had not better call Pros[4], and build up a fire. He said not that perhaps he would feel easier soon. By this time it was getting along towards morning. He complained of being cold and wanted Mother to lay up close to him to get him warm. Mother fell asleep as it were and when she awoke she heard him give two or three long breaths. She called to him him. He did not answer, sprung out of bed and called Pros. He lit a lamp and went to the bed. He gave one gasp and was no more.

Dear Sister you can imagine Mothers feelings. She almost went crazy no one there but her and Pros. I was up in the Pinery with my Family at the time. I came down and attended the Funeral. Father Betts left a Will bequeathing to Mother the use of the Property as long as she lived and then five hundred Dollars to his Grand Daughter[5]. I was out to Mothers to day she is quite well but very lonesome. Pros was going to school here but he has taken his books to Mothers and going to stay with her.

I shall write to Edwin[6] this evening and request him to inform Henry[7].

Myself and Louise[8] and the children[9] are all well. Give my respects to Brother Luke[10] and love to you all. Write to Mother and us soon.

From your affectionate Br

R Crawford

[1] Platt Betts

[2] Paralysis due to stroke

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Brother, Lucius Prosper Crawford

[5] Maria Park. It also appears that Platt Betts had at least one other granddaughter (see 3-6-1862 letter)

[6] Brother, Edwin Crawford

[7] Brother, Henry Crawford

[8] Robert’s wife, Louise (McCann) Crawford

[9] William, Edna and Catherine Crawford

[10] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr.

December 26, 1861 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

December 26, 1861

To: Sarah Keith, Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Fort Monroe, Old Point Comfort, Hampton, VA

Hiram is wishing Sarah a Merry Christmas and happy birthday, which is the same day as his. He describes his Christmas and birthday celebration as well as his efforts to track down his brother, David, who is living in Colorado. He received a letter from a Henry L. who he thinks was Henry Keith, but is not sure. Also he thinks that his Regiment may join with General Burnside in an attack on Norfolk, VA.

Fortress Monroe Dec 26/61


Dear Sister[1]

I wish you Merry Christmas for yesterday, And to day receive my congratulations[2] that you have arrived at this your (I have forgotten the number) Birthday, as I hope, in the enjoyment of health and happiness. As for me, I don’t know as my Birthday[3] ever arrived and found me in better health and in A more contented frame of mind.

I had A good time yesterday. It being Christmas and in one of my birthday, I concluded to celebrate both events one day. Accordingly about A week before, I commenced getting the materiel for A grand dinner (got an old Negro Woman to do the cooking who by the way done it up brown) and with such success that at 2 Oclock Christmas we (my mess, 5 sergt) sat down to as good Dinner as we ever did. Amongst the most prominent articles on the Table was A couple of large Turkeys, stuffed with Oysters. They took down any thing in that line that I ever saw.

Nothing was done here Christmas but eat drink and be merry.

About two weeks ago I received A letter, Post Marked Galesburgh and comeing from A person calling himself Henry L. By the tenor of it I supposed it was Henry Keith[4] and answer it as such, but as he did not say A word about You, Luke, Lois or any of his folks I am still in some doubts. I was very much pleased to hear from him and hope he will keep it up. I have received two letters from Prosper[5] the last very lately. He was in the enjoyment of good health, is attending school and says he is A good steady Boy and is learning fast. Mother[6] and Fathers[7] healths were good.

I have written to and received A Letter from George Stanley[8] at La Crosse, Wis. concerning the whereabouts of David.[9] He writes me that the last Letter he received from David was about four months ago, but had heard from him still later by persons comeing from there. They report that he was mining on A claim in Company with A fellow by the name of Buckskin Joe.[10] They report him fat & hearty and doing well. I join my hopes with yours that he will come around all right.

Everything is quiet here at present. General Burnsides expedition is getting here peperatory to making A demonstration it is supposed against Norfolk. If it does this Regiment will go with it. We are in great hopes that it will for we are rusty for a fight. The Regmt is in good health and spirits and dont care a snap[?] whether mixes in or not. Give my love to Luke[11] and the Children also to Lois & Byron.[12] Answer and oblige.

Your Brother

Hiram Crawford


[1] Hiram’s older sister

[2] Sarah’s birthday was December 26th; she turned 40

[3] Hiram’s birthday was also December 26th; he turned 24

[4] Henry Keith was Sarah’s stepson

[5] Lucius Prosper Crawford, Hiram’s youngest brother, who was 18

[6] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[7] Platt Betts, Nancy’s 2nd husband, whom she married in 1857

[8] Hiram’s brother David was in business with George Stanley from 1856 to 1860.  In 1860 David traveled west and settled in Colorado, which was a territory until 1876

[9] David (D. C.) Crawford

[10] Buckskin Joe, was Joseph Higginbottom, an early trapper and prospector in the territory. Little is known for certain about Higginbottom. Some accounts refer to him as an African-American; some accounts say that he was the one who first discovered gold in the vicinity of Park County, Colorado

[11] Luke Keith, Sarah’s husband

[12] Lois (Keith) Clark and Bryon Clark, Sarah’s stepdaughter & son-in-law

20th Indiana Infantry


Organized at Lafayette, Ind., and mustered in July 22, 1861. Left State for Baltimore, Md., August 2. Stationed at Cockeysville, Md., guarding Northern Central R. R. to Pennsylvania line till September. Expedition to Hatteras Inlet, N. C., September 24-27. At fortifications North end of Hatteras bank till November. Action at Chickamacomico October 4. Ordered to Fortress Monroe, Va., November 9, and duty there till March, 1862. Attached to Fortress Monroe, Va., Dept. of Virginia, to May, 1862. Robinson’s Brigade, Dept. of Virginia, to June, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to August, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 3rd Army Corps, to March, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to July, 1865.


  • Engagement at Newport News, Va., between Ram “Merrimac” and United States Ships “Cumberland” and “Congress” and the “Monitor” March 8-9, 1862.
  • Occupation of Norfolk and Portsmouth, May 10.
  • Joined Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula June 8.
  • Charles City Cross Roads June 19.
  • Seven days before Richmond, June 25-July 1.
  • Battles of Oak Grove (“The Orchards”) June 25.
  • White Oak Swamp and Glendale June 30; Jordan’s Ford June 30.
  • Malvern Hill July 1 and July 5. During seven days, the Regiment lost over 400 men, and over one half of Company E were killed and wounded.
  • On July 1 Hiram received a battlefield promotion to the rank of Second Lieutenant.
  • At Harrison’s Landing till August 16.
  • Movement to Fortress Monroe, thence to Centreville August 16-28.
  • Pope’s Campaign in Virginia August 28-September 2.
  • Battles of Groveton August 29.
  • Bull Run August 30.
  • Chantilly September 1.
  • Duty at Arlington Heights till October.
  • At Poolesville till October 29.
  • Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19.
  • Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
  • Burnside’s 2nd Campaign (“Mud March”) January 20-24, 1863.
  • At Falmouth till April.
  • Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
  • Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. (Captured 23rd Georgia.)
  • Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
  • Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
  • Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24.
  • Wapping Heights, Va., July 23.
  • Detached at New York City during draft disturbances August-September.
  • Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
  • Kelly’s Ford November 7.
  • Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
  • Payne’s Farm November 27.
  • Regiment veteranize January 1, 1864.
  • Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7.
  • Campaign from the Rapidan to the James River May 4-June 15.
  • Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7.
  • Laurel Hill May 8.
  • Spotsylvania May 8-12.
  • Po River May 10.
  • Spotsylvania Court House May 12-21.
  • Assault on the Salient (“Bloody Angle”) May 12.
  • Harris Farm (or Fredericksburg) Road May 19.
  • North Anna River May 23-26.
  • On line of the Pamunken May 26-28.
  • Totopotomoy May 28-31.
  • Cold Harbor June 1-12.
  • Before Petersburg June 16-18.
  • Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864 to April 2, 1865.
  • Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon R. R., June 22-23, 1864.
  • Demonstration on North side of the James July 27-29.
  • Deep Bottom July 28-29.
  • Demonstration on North side of the James at Deep Bottom August 13-20.
  • Strawberry Plains August 14-18.
  • Ream’s Station August 25.
  • The Chimneys September 10.
  • Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2.
  • Yellow House October 2-5.
  • Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run, October 27-28.
  • Raid on Weldon Railroad December 7-12.
  • Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865.
  • Watkins’ House March 25. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
  • Vaughan Road, near Hatcher’s Run, March 29.
  • Crow’s House March 31.
  • Fall of Petersburg April 2.
  • Sailor’s Creek April 6.
  • Farmville April 7.
  • Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army.
  • March to Washington, D.C., May 2-12.
  • Grand Review May 23.
  • Moved to Louisville, Ky., June 14-21 and duty there till July 12.
  • Mustered out July 12, and discharged at Indianapolis, Ind.

Regiment lost during service 15 Officers and 186 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 113 Enlisted men by disease. Total 314.

December 14, 1861 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

December 14, 1861

To: Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Camp Hamilton, VA

Surprised to learn that the Seely Boys and Charley Long had taken such a course when there is so much at stake. Galesburg hasn’t been very patriotic as far as his friends and schoolmates are concerned [apparently they are shirking military service.] Two fellow soldiers fell asleep while on duty and will be shot in a few days.

1861-12-14 1861-12-14B 1861-12-14C 1861-12-14D

Camp Hamilto[1]           Dec 14th/61


Dear Sister

Yours of the 4th was duly received last Monday. Was very much pleased to hear that yourself and family is in the enjoyment of good helth. I received that letter you spoke of, But as I had written you but a few days before I thought I would not be in a hurry to answer it.

I am somewhat surprised to learn that the Seely boys and Charlie Cory has taken such a course. It was far different from what I expected from them especially when there is so much at stake that to, which will not only effect them but their Children and Childrens Children. In fact I dont think Galesburgh has been very Patriotic at least as far as my old Friends and School Mates are concerned. I received a letter from Mother[3] last week. They were in tolerable good health. Also one from Henry[4]. They were in the enjoyment of the same blessing. I have written to Edwin[5] but have received no answer yet.

The weather has been very pleasant here. We have not had any snow yet. Those that is aquainted with this part of the Country tell me that there will be but very little here. It seems very strange to me who at this time of the year is in the habit of being up to his knees in snow to find myself in a country where there has not been a particle of that article. Also where a farmer might have sun to Plough any day up to this date if he wished.

Nothing much of importance has happened here lately. Almost every day our Gun Boats exchange shots with the Rebel Batteries at Sewell Point[6], or drives back a Rebel Steamer that ventures out from cover of their Batteries, while on land a scouting party starts out towards the enemies lines probably meets a Party of the Enemy on the same errand, exchange shots, kill or wound two or three and return at night pretty well tired out. But these are every day occurrences and create no sensation with us. In a few days probably we will have a witness a very sad scene viz. the shooting of two of our fellow soldiers. Members of the 16th[7] Mass Regmt. Their crime sleeping on Post while doing Picket duty. I cant help but pity the poor fellows, but it is just for on their vigilence depend the safety of the Army. Well I guess I have written about enough this time, so I close by sending love to yourself, Luke[8] and the children also to Lois[9] and Byron[10] and their large Family. Hoping that you will see fit to answer I remain

Ever Your Brother

H Crawford

2nd Sergt

[1] Camp Hamilton was located in proximity to Hampton Roads, near Fort Monroe across the James River from Norfolk, VA

[2] See following page for more information about the 20th Indiana Infantry

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Hiram’s brother, Henry Crawford

[5] Hiram’s brother, Edwin Crawford

[6] Sewell Point was the location of the Federal shipyards in Norwalk, VA which were abandoned to the Confederate Army at the beginning of the Civil War

[7] In mid-November, three soldiers from Delaware were found sleeping while on picket duty. When discovered they were immediately awakened and placed under arrest. There was a subsequent court martial and the soldiers were ordered to be shot

[8] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith, Jr.

[9] Charles Luke Keith, Jr.’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[10] Lois’ husband, Byron Clark

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