Letter from Albert H. Edwards to John Heron

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Record 143/294
Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum
Admin/Biog History Albert H. Edwards enlisted as a recruit November 19, 1863 from Lake Mills, WI in Company I, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry. He was transferred to Company I, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry Reorganized in March 1865. He mustered out on May 15, 1865.
Classification Archives
Collection Civil War Small Collections
Dates of Accumulation December 19, 1864
Abstract Letter from Albert H. Edwards, Company I, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry:

Fort Zarah, December 19, 1864

Friend John
I thought that I would try and write to you. I was thinking about you folks yesterday and I thought that I would today try and write to you and let you know that I am not dead as yet. But I don't know, but I might as well be as for all the good that I am to the government. I had the measles in Madison last spring and I have never been well since. I have [had] the chronic diarrhea all sum-mer and have it now. I have tried to get a furlough and I can't get it at all, away out here on the plains, a hunting Indians where nobody lives but buffalo and Indians.
We have lost one man that was killed by the Indians. He had seven arrows through his body and they scalped him. That is the worst thing about their fighting. But we have not had a chance to take any of theirs as yet. But there was a drove of cattle went by the other day and the Indians attacked them at night, about eight o'clock in the evening and the Indians got the worst of it. There was twenty-two of the drovers, and they was well armed. There was five of them wounded not any of them mortally. There is, or was, two of them in the hos-pital. One of them started for home yesterday mor-ning. The other one is here now. They are a driving their cattle to New Mexico. A long way to drive cattle, but they had a big drove, about three thousand of them.
This is a God forsaken country. Today there was another scalp taken by the Redskins. There was an ammunition wagon started from Smokey Hill. The distance from this post is forty-five miles. It was a coming here, but they could not drive through in one day. So they had to camp out over night and the Indians attacked them about Seven o'clock in the evening. There was only five men with the train. The drivers and one man star-ted and run as soon as the Indians fired a gun. The soldier could run faster than the teamster, and he got away but they killed the teamster and took his hair. But there was three of them that had some grit and they drove the Redskins back three times. The third time they left the wagon and all, for fear that some of them might get their hair lifted. The Indians got six mules and three horses, one of the horses being killed in the fight. They took about six thousand rounds of cartridges. That will help them a lit-tle to get a few more scalps. I don't know, but I may be lucky enough to get my wool taken off, but not without I do some damage to them. I hope there is thousands of buffalo in this country.
We have lost only two men by the Indians as [of] yet. I hope that we may never lose any more. One of them, we don't know what become of him. We started out on a Indian hunt with General Blunt. There was about fifty men ahead of this command and they came on to the devils. This fellow started back when he saw them, to meet the command, and that was the last we ever saw of him. The other one was killed by his own, or not his own but another mans, foolishness. There was twenty-two men went out on a scout to see what they could see. An Orderly Sergeant, from one of the other companies, was mad with the man that had command so he thought he would go off by himself. He took this man and started [out] and they struck an Indian Pony trail. They followed it to the creek, that we are stationed on, about seven miles above the camp. Then there was about sixty Indians came upon them and put seven arrows into the man that was killed. The other man, the Orderly, had a good horse and he got away from them. He is a good rider, but one of the Indians followed him and shot at him. The shot done no damage. It went through his coat collar. A pretty narrow chance for him. The Indians rode right up by the side of him and he shot the Indian, but did not get his scalp

[The following is written on a separate sheet of paper that has a hole in the right corner.]

I will finish my story on this sheet, if you or anyone can call it so. I don't want to write [section missing] I [don't want] to tire you reading it. Being the first [word missing] at when I write. I always want to read a long letter. You must excuse me about writing it over twice, about the man that got killed, for I thought that I would state these particulars about the case as I heard the men state them. I don't think it is safe for one, two, or three men to go out alone a great distance from camp. There the Indians are watching all the time to get a chance to get a scalp to have a dance over. I will finish this before the mail goes out. This being December the 10th, I may get some more news to write before that time. So good Night. I have not got any more news to write at this time. So I will finish it by saying that I am in the Hospital as yet, and I am not any better at present, and I don't think that I shall ever be, as long as I stay in this country.
Give my respects to all the folks in that Neighborhood. I send my best respects to you and your Father and Mother, and Orline, Carry, and the other little Sister (I have forgot-ten her name) and L. P. Worden and Family, and [the] Ostrum family, and all of the rest of the inquiring friends. I want you to write to me and tell me all of the news that you can think of. Tell Orline that I would like to have the pleasure of reading a letter from her pen, and Carry, and all the rest of the girls and boys.

When you write, direct to
Fort Zerah, Kansas
3rd Wisconsin Battalion Vols.
In care of Capt. Conkey
Albert H. Edwards

John, write all of the news that you can think of. If any of the girls or boys are married, tell me who they are and all of the news that is in general.
Event Civil War
Category 8: Communication Artifact
Legal Status Oshkosh Public Museum
Notes Albert H. Edwards enlisted as a recruit November 19, 1863 from Lake Mills, WI in Company I, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry. He was transferred to Company I, 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry Reorganized in March 1865. He mustered out on May 15, 1865.
Object ID SC411.5.23.12
Object Name Letter
People Heron, John
Edwards, Albert H.
Subjects Civil War
3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry
Frontier & pioneer life
Indian Wars
Cattle herding
Title Letter from Albert H. Edwards to John Heron
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Last modified on: December 12, 2009