1861-3: Samuel Webster Dunaway Collection

Most of these letters were written by Samuel Webster Dunaway (1834-1917) to his first wife, Elizabeth Ann (Forrester) Dunaway (1827-1902) of Hickman county, Tennessee, while he was serving in Co. F, 42nd Tennessee Infantry. Elizabeth Ann (Forrester) Dunaway was the daughter of Hezekiah Forrester (1797-1847) and Winney Reeves (1803-Aft1863).

Samuel W. Dunaway was part of the Confederate force surrendered at Fort Donelson in February 1862. He was exchanged six months later and returned to the regiment before the Battle at Port Hudson.

For a great summary of the movements and engagements of Dunaway’s regiment, see 42nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment.

For another Dunaway letter not in the collection, see — 1863: Elizabeth Ann (Forrester) Dunaway to Samuel Webster Dunaway.

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his wife from “Camp Clark” where the 42nd Tennessee was organizing.

Camp Clark
December 18, 1861

Dear wife,

I seat myself once more to inform you that I am well and that I landed here yesterday and found the boys all well and well satisfied. I got along very well from home for it only cost me 25 cents. The boys all landed here today from Elk Fork. They were all well. Stephen [Forrester] ¹ has been sick with the mumps since he went up there though he is about well.

The news came here yesterday for us to be in readiness to march. They said that we would go to Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and the wagons came to move us though they were stopped for further orders and we are here yet and I do not know whether we will go or not. We may stay here this winter.

Lieutenant Forrester says that he is a coming home at Christmas and he can tell you more than I can write in a week. So as it is a drawing late, I will close with the hope that I will hear from you soon. So nothing more at present — only I remain your true husband until death, — S. W. Dunaway

Direct your letter to Clarksville, [William A.] Quarles Regiment, in the care of Captain McCollum.

So write is my last request.


¹ Stephen Forrester was 3d Lt. in Co. F, 42nd Tennessee Infantry. Stephen was a brother of Elizabeth (Forrester) Dunaway and a brother of Francis Marion Forrester.

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TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his wife from “Camp Walton” which, I assume, was in the vicinity of Clarksville, Tennessee. On 21 January, 1862, the 42nd and 48th Regiments were reported to be in or near Clarksville. From there they were orderd to Fort Donelson on 12 February 1862. 

Camp Walton
January 8th 1862

Dear Companion,

I write you a few lines to let you know that I [am] in tolerable health at this time with the exceptions of a very bad cold and cough. I would like to see you very well but it is so that I cannot at this time. I will come as soon as I can. I must bring my few lines to a close as Cy is waiting on me. I want you to write to me as soon and often as you can. So no more — only I remain yours as ever, — S. W. Dunaway

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TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his wife from “Camp Walton” which, I assume, was in the vicinity of Clarksville, Tennessee. On 21 January, 1862, the 42nd and 48th Regiments were reported to be in or near Clarksville. From there they were orderd to Fort Donelson on 12 February 1862. 

Camp Walton
January 14, 1862

Dear beloved,

I this bleak, cold and snowy night make an attempt to write you a letter. The boys has just come all safe and sound though we think Claiborne is taking the mumps.

Dear wife, I am well and as well satisfied as could be expected. We will leave here in a few days or as soon as the weather will admit. We will move about 14 [or 4] miles from here and there take up winter quarters for the winter. Our company is nearly all here and generally well. That is a plenty of that.

Now dear wife, I am proud of the proposal you made concerning the offer to share my fate. Now let me say you have done all you can to give me comfort. Your tender love is all I ask of thee accompanied by your sincere prayers to grant me a happy return to you, my much loved wife and bosom friend. And may God the most high protect you and keep you from all harm during life & after death, go to rest in peace.

Now, hear my last request at present. Write to me on receipt of my letter. Now I have done — one more word. That word is, dear wife, be of good cheer until I see you again. I am your husband until death.

From S. W. Dunaway to Elizabeth Dunaway

The true love knot [doodle]


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR

Elizabeth Ann (Forrester) Dunaway writes her husband, Samuel W. Dunaway asking him to prepare his soul to meek his maker so that might meet again in Heaven should he not survive the war. Elizabeth’s relatives Sophia “Winney” (Reeves) Forrester (1828-18xx) and Hezekiah Forrester both add a note at the end of the letter as well. Winney and Hezekiah were married in 1842.

State of Tennessee
February 14, 1862

Dear husband,

It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping these few lines may find you in the same health. I have nothing of much importance to write at present more than I received a letter from you by R. C. Forrester which gave me much satisfaction. But I would [have] been much prouder to saw you though I will be as patient as I can till I see you. I still live in hopes that we will enjoy ourselves together at home once more.

There is one request I have to you [and] that is I want you to think of the condition of the place you are in & the uncertainty [of] ever coming back again & I never seeing you. I want you to try to meet me in Heaven where we will no more part. Will you study this one moment [and] how we stand at this time. You are in a distant land from me & no ensurements that we will live for that death is in our land. I desire to talk on that one time to you. This is a time to think serious on our soul’s salvation [and] whether we are prepared or not to meet God in peace or not. So you can tell my feelings on that subject. I want you to come home every chance. Then we can talk to one another with more satisfaction.

I received a letter from you by Capt. Bingham which gave me great satisfaction. So write when convenient. So nothing more but remain your wife until death, — Elizabeth Dunaway to S. W. Dunaway

A few lines from Winney [Reeves] Forrester. We are all at present hoping these few lines may find you all in the same health. I can say to you all that I will be very proud to see you all once more. I am still lonesome and desolate here while you are all gone from home. My dear children & friend, will you now remember me here at home? I want you all to come home ever chance since I want you to come home as soon as you can get a furlough.

Boys, I want you to think of one thing — that is to think of preparing to meeting your God in peace before you meet your enemy. So if I never more meet here on earth, we can meet in heaven for the time & place that knows us will shortly know us no more forever. So think of this one moment. This is worth everything else. Try it for yourself & you will be satisfied of it. This is from Winny & Elizabeth Dunaway & Cindy & Mary & Grandmother to all enquiring friends.

Excuse us this time for it is getting very late in the night. H. Forrester would like to be now in the camps. I am here & I feel like I wan to say a few words. Dear friends, remember that you must die as well as I & I have made my peace with God several years ago so will you try now to prepare to meet your best friends in heaven? — H[ezekiah] Forrester


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his brother-in-law, Erwin Forrester, from the camp of the 42nd Tennessee near Port Hudson where they are busy working on fortifications.

Camp near Port Hudson
December 10th 1862

Dear Wife,

It is with pleasure that I have the opportunity of answering your very interesting letter that I received by the hands of Capt. B. F. Coleman which did afford me much pleasure to hear from you and to hear of you enjoying good health and doing well as could be expected under the circumstances. As for health, I am enjoying very good health of body but not in mind for my absence from you causes my mind [to be] not contented. But while I live away from you, it’s the love I have for you and my country. But I live in hopes for a better days coming when we all will be permitted to return to our wives and friends in Hickman who is now praying for our return and peace once more to our now distracted country.

We have some very warm weather down here in Dixie — much warmer than I ever saw in Hickman for the time of year. We are fortifying here so as to be able to meet the Yankees should they wish to meet us which is generally thought they [will]. I am not able to tell you when I will have the opportunity of coming home but the first chance I get, I will come to see you for I am getting anxious to see you one time more. I want you to send me a pair of pants, a pair of shoes, & a pair of socks. I will send you twenty-five dollars. I want you to buy some corn to feed my horse and I will close for the present. I remain your husband until death, — S. W. Dunaway

A few lines from S. W. Dunaway to Winney Forrester & family. It is with pleasure that I have the opportunity of writing you all a few lines by which you may know that I am well and doing well. I have nothing new to write — only what i have written in my letter. I would like to see you all very bad. I hope I will see you all soon. Nothing more at present. Yours as ever until death, — S. W. Dunaway

Brother Ervin — I take the present moment to let you know I have not forgotten you. I wish I could see you but such can not be at present. I wish you all good luck. Please pardon me as I have not the chance at present to write much. Write to me the first opportunity. I am yours truly &c. — S. W. Dunaway to Ervin Forrester & Francis Forrester

Mr. R. C. Forrester and family,

Old fel, I have not forgotten you but I have not the opportunity to write to you at present except my good wishes &c. I am your friend truly &c. — S. W. Dunaway to R. C. Forrester & Emilie


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX

Francis Marion Forrester writes to his mother and sisters from the camp of the 42nd Tennessee near Port Hudson where they are busy working on fortifications. Francis initially joined the 42nd Tennessee as a fifer and was captured at the Fort Donelson. He was later paroled and rejoined his regiment at Port Hudson. He is buried at Pleasant Hill, Obion county, Tennessee. His sister, Elizabeth, was married to Samuel W. Dunaway.

Port Hudson, La.
January 30, 1863

Dear Mother & Sisters,

I one more time take the pleasure of writing you another letter by which you may know that I am well and do hope when these few lines come to hand, they may find you all enjoying the same like blessing. As for news, I have none. Mother, I would like to return home and see you though I do not know when I will have the chance.

Mother, I want to to hire a hand and make a crop if you can. Mother, I will close with the hopes that I will hear from you soon. I am as ever your true son until death. — F. M. Forrester

Mother, I would write more but Lieut. Easerly is a going to start home in a few minutes.

To Ervin Forrester, Sugar Creek, Hickman county, Tennessee

by Lieut. Easerly


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his wife from the camp of the 42nd Tennessee near Port Hudson where they are busy working on fortifications. In the letter he refers to the “glorious victory” at Chickasaw Bayou where three Union divisions were unable to penetrate the rebel defenses in the Walnut Hills north of Vicksburg. He specifically mentions the role of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry (Clack’s) in giving the Yankees “a thundering whipping.” He also mentions observing the Union gunboat Essex in the river below Port Hudson; he had seen it a year earlier at Fort Donelson.

Port Hudson, La.
January 30, 1863

Dear Betty,

I take pleasure in writing to you as time and opportunity offers me the liberty. I now proceed by first saying that I am in good health at present, wishing you the same blessing. I have no interesting news to write to you at present. Only the health of the soldiers is very good at this place.

The weather is yet warm and pleasant. We are expecting an action here soon. The old gunboats Essex and others are now in sight of this place but she is very timid or slow coming into range of our batteries. The fight at Vicksburg is charming to think of. The 3d Tennessee Regiment with two other companies whipped six regiments of Yankees and taken five colors. It is said that such fighting never was known before. But to conclude, in short, the Yanks got a thundering whipping and we gained a glorious victory.

Now Betty, if you need any money, let me know and I will send it to you the first opportunity. You need not look for me. I am coming when I can but I don’t know when that will be.

I want you to get some friend to buy corn to feed my stock. Also if you need my horse, take him to yourself and do the best you can and I will do the same. Now I am done. Give my respects to all the connection and retain my love to yourself. I am your husband until death, — S. W. Dunaway

To Elizabeth Dunaway

P. S.  Tell your mother I have not forgotten her. Also the rest of the family. Give them all my good wishes. Also tell them that F. M. is as fat as a pig and doing well. — S. W. Dunaway


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT

Samuel W. Dunaway writes to his wife from the camp of the 42nd Tennessee near Port Hudson where they are busy working on fortifications.

Port Hudson [Lousiana]
February 10, 1863

Dear Betty,

I received your kind letter datedJanuary 13th. It found a welcome home with me. I have no interesting news to write to you at present. I wish very much to see you again but I cannot tell when I will come home. I have not received them articles you sent to me yet but they will be here in a few days. The boys left them at Camp Moore. The wagons started today after them and will return in a few days.

I am yet at Port Hudson, Louisiana. We are looking for a fight here soon. The health of our army is good at this place considering all circumstances. I want you to do the best you can. I will come by and by. Tell all the connection howdy for me and write every opportunity you have and I will do likewise.

For the want of news, I must close. I am your husband until death, — S. W. Dunaway

To Elizabeth Dunaway


 

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Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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