Letter from Luther T. Dodson from Camp Wayne, June 6, 1861

Camp Wayne, June 6, 1861 [The date on this letter is probably an editor’s typo, it is more likely the letter was written on July 6, 1861 based on the timeline of things he mentions in this letter.]

Mr. Editor1:

West Chester is truly a fine place, and we feel grateful that our “lines have fallen in such pleasant places.”

The people in this vicinity, though Quakers generally by birth, a sect whose creed is averse to war in any of its forms, treat the soldiers with the greatest hospitality and say if ever there was cause for a war the present one is justifiable.  Our camp is very healthy, no sickness expecting a few cases of diarrhea, less however of that than we might expect in a camp of 1600 men just changing good climate and manner of living.  Our officers take great pains to have the soldiers cultivate habits of cleanliness &c.  We seem to have been very lucky in securing the services of John P. Fell, for cook.  It would do you good to be here and visit his kitchen, to see how tastefully the silver ware, cups plates, &c., are arranged, and above all to see him get up a dinner for about 80 men in better order than many of our modern housewives could.  We regret the loss of Mr. Harvey as Captain, but rejoice in his promotion to the Colonelcy of the 7th Regiment, as we believe that he will make an efficient officer for that post.

We have received our uniforms, and nearly all of our equipments.  The uniforms consist of a blue army cap, blue blouse, flannel shirts, linen pants, and shoes, making an excellent fatigue dress, also a good comfortable army over coat.  These we received on the 2nd inst., it being quite cold, the coats became very popular with the boys. 

The 4th in this place perhaps, should not go unnoticed.  About 4 o’clock a. m., our camp was aroused by the booming of cannon, roll of the drum and shrill notes of the fife announcing our nations birth day, soon the patriots of our camp were on tiptoe, expecting to participate in the day’s exercise.  The day was a bright one, though warm and oppressive.

The two regiments under senior Col. Roberts formed into line about 9 ½ A.M. on the encampment, headed by Beck’s Brass Band of Philadelphia, the Anderson Artillerists, Capt. Newlin, Capt. Fetter’s company, from the Valley, and two companies of Home Guards, one commanded by W. B. Waddell, Esq, the other by Rev. Mr. Dunlap.  They were marched and formed into line in High Street.,  where they were reviewed by Gen. McCall.  While there they were kept standing a long time, and several were overcome with the heat and sun and had to leave the ranks.  Gen. McCall and staff, Gov. Curtin and Adjt. Gen. Biddle preceded the procession to Everhart’s grove, where a stand had been erected and some twenty tables for the accommodations of the soldiers.  The exercises of the grove consisted of singing, music by the Band, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and an oration by Rev. Robert Lowrie, Baptist minister of Brooklyn, N. Y., formerly pastor in West Chester after which the soldiers did ample justice to provisions, &c., provided by the citizens of Chester county and vicinity.  Lewis Brinton and Willington Hickman, Esqs, were the gentleman appointed to furnish our table with refreshments &c., with gratitude will we remember their kind attentions to use long as we live.  Uncle Sam provides well for his boys in this camp, and his children are all in good spirits – His instructions to us, are to fill up our companies to the number of one hundred and one.

Respectfully yours, &c.,

Luther T. Dodson.2

  1. Record of the Times and Wilkes-Barre Advocate, Wednesday, July 17, 1861, pg. 1, col. 5 & 6.
  2. Private Luther Trescott Dodson, “Wyoming Bank Infantry”, Company F, 7th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves.