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.”
#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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