21st Michigan Soldier

William Noah

letter to Rhobie Pratt Noah

Handwritten note from Jon D. Reed’s grandmother, Adah Stone McBride, glued to top of William Noah letter which reads:

“As this letter was dated Oct 16 – 1864 and the preceding letter was dated Oct 13, 1864, at another place, it is almost certain it was written by my step grandfather Noah to his first wife & mother of his children. It was found in grandmother Pratt Noah’s collection of letters. (Signed) Adah Stone McBride.” Adah Stone McBride’s mother, Effie, was the child of Rhobie Burlingame and Lieutenant Curtis Z. Pratt, 6 th Michigan Infantry Regiment, 1 st Corp D’Afrique Regiment, and 73 rd Regiment United States Colored Troops. Rhobie’s second marriage was to an unknown Mr. Robinson. Her third marriage was to William Noah, who also served in the Civil War in the Michigan 21 st Infantry Regiment. The following letter was written in pencil by William Noah while serving at the same time as Curtis Pratt. Top of letter is illustrated with a purple printed pigeon carrying an envelope, and the words, “The U.S. CHRISTIAN COMMISSION sends this sheet as a messenger between the writer and his (here is written in pencil, “Reg.t”) home. Let it hasten to those who wait for tidings.”


Letter #1 from William Noah to his first wife.

Chattanooga, Tenn. Oct 16 th 1864

Dear Remembered wife

Once more I am blessed with the opportunity of writing a few lines to you. When I wrote you near Nashville we were about to break camp to follow the Guerilla forest and band. I told you that I had the tooth ache but directly after I finished the letter I went to the Surgeon of another Regt and had it pulled. Since, I have been tough as a buck. We broke camp immediately after the tooth pulling took the cars went about 30 miles to Franklin a point on the Huntsville road. There the raiders had distroid the road. We drew rations for three days also 100 rounds of cartridges which is a heavy load. We then was mounted on Government wagons 14 men to a wagon drawn by from 4 to 6 mules.

7 men allowed to ride at a time and the other 7 walk and run on foot. We traveled in that way for 6 days when we overtook the rear of the enemy near the ford on the Tenn river where they camped. Our cavalry had skirmish with the trail end of the rebs killing (?) and lost four. They had on our clothes and deceived our men. We took some of them prisoners. Our gunboats was two days behind time in getting to the ford to hinder the rebs crossing there. We camped two days. We mounted the wagons again took another route about 50 miles to Athens Alabama a place where the reb had a short time before they burned the mission buildings & captured a Regiment of negroes. There we took the cars and went to Stevenson a place on the Nashville & Chattanooga road a distance of ninety miles where we arrived early next morning.

We had then been 12 days on 3 days rations. We lived on parched corn the most of the time had (digs?) entirely. Part of the time we would have fresh meat without anything else. We make grators of our time plates and grated corn and (rinate?) (now?) and when a (?) cake which was luscious. It made me wish that I could sit under my own roof and wait for you to cook a meal for me as I used to do. However, I stood it well and was in good spirits. I shall know how to appreciate the privileges and comforts of a home in the woods. When we got to Stevenson we stayed 9 hours there we found plenty to eat. We drew one box of hard tack to a company & could buy all such other victuals as we wished. I paid the last of my money there & had a feast of cheese pie etc.

We then went on to Chattanooga 4 miles from the (main?) (town?) we left. We arrived here the 16 th in the night. Today is Sunday and we are yet in camp but have orders to pack for a move but we are (to share?). There is a thing going on a short distance from here. I found two letters here last night from (?) (?) one from the (Emily?) (family?) but they (line unreadable) no choice to write while Scouting about. Let me know about how the buckwheat & potatoes turns out (led?) (Johnson?) to land to your wood. (smatters?) he and I will pay him well. If any and that river Soldiered any would try it even no longer than I have. Would never with hold the least favor from a Soldier his family however I enjoy myself very well as long as our army is giving witness. I am incouraged (sic) I don’t believe that God will suffer one a cruel people as the rebs are to conquer and overthrow our government.

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Last modified date and time: 01/18/2010 13:31