Civil War Letters from William Lester Faurot
William was born on April 3, 1842 to Clement Wilder Faurot and Hannah Gulick Faurot. He was living with his parents and siblings in Fayette Township at the outbreak of the Civil War. He became part of the regiment recruited by Henry Waldron that encamped to train on Lewis Emery’s farm, the 18th Michigan. He enlisted in Jonesville and was assigned to Company G.
Four of William’s letters home, along with fragments of three others, found their way to J. Michael Joslin, William’s third cousin, three times removed, who generously shared excellent photocopies with the Hillsdale County Historical Society. They are transcribed below. William ends almost all his letters with a request that his father give his regards to “Mr. Moultons People.” Mike Joslin did further research on this and found that William A. Moulton and his wife Margaret, along with their children, lived in the immediate area. He was not sure if they are the Moulton family in question, but William could have been especially close to them.
William’s Civil War story also includes his time as a prisoner of war in Cahaba, Alabama and his death when the Sultana, which was bringing him home after the end of the war, burned and sank. If you would like to read William’s story and the events leading to his capture CLICK HERE.
William was stationed at Camp Ella Bishop. If you would like to know more about this camp CLICK HERE.
William mentioned “Morgan” in his letter of Jan. 1, 1863. If you would like to know more about him CLICK HERE.
Transcribers’ Note: We’ve been as accurate as possible in transcribing the letters and other documents from William Faurot. All spelling, capitalization and (practically non-existent) end punctuation are as written. If we weren’t sure what a word was or if we guessed what a word was the word appears in italics. Any additional information added by us is within parentheses. The spaces that are seen in the transcription are where we thought sentences ended. They did not appear in the letters themselves.
In this listing of letters, each is preceded by an italicized indication of what it contains.
JoAnne P. Miller and Darin Sheffer, transcribers
(a foray to Louisville aboard a rail car that had previously transported hogs; the passage through a long tunnel that was blasted out of rock; New Year’s Day spent back in Lexington; a wish that his father can get his bounty money; a discussion about new boots that reflects his vocation as a shoemaker, one he shares with his father; he ends by making what is probably a joke about eating oysters and refers to his sister Wealthy)
Headquarters 18th Regiment Camp Ella Bishop Near Lexington Jan 1 1863
I received letters from you this morning dated the 28th was glad to hear from you I also got one from John dated 26th last Sunday afternoon about 1. O’clockwe have orders to pack knap sacks strike tents we fell in line of Battle marchs to the depot got aboard a 2d class Hog cars and shoved out for Louisville we got there about 12 O’clock at night & staid there until Tuesday was ordered back got to the depot the Colonel got a despatch that Morgan was Sheperdsville 20 miles From Louisville about ten that night he got another Despatch that our troops drove him out of there he was also drove out of Bards town into the river Wednsday after noon we came back to Lexington we have the good luck to spend New Years in Camp Ella Bishop I was in hopes when we went a way we was going to get a pop at Morgan but we did not Father I wish you could go from Lexington to Louisville I think you would enjoy the ride we passed through this tunnel that was a bout three quarters of a mile through we also come to places where the Rocks were over Fifty Feet each side of the track just a solid Rock it beat all ever I saw it was a nice Road to Ride on but the cars were old Hog cars all mud in side at that but we ____ all right no body killed nor no body hurt as old I be scared well it is the First day of January 1863 and I am well and Happy as I can be and Hope these few lines will find you the same altho we have not got any pay yet in regard to my bounty if you can get it and get it in a shape so it will do you any good you had better do it my Boots stands me verry well altho they are not verry good altho they seprate considerable nowI guess when you get a chance you may send me a pair of Boots I would like a pair of French calf not verry heavy but three soled I don’t want them double lined just side lined good long edges just like Jeromes if you remember how they are just send them and I will pay you well for them make them the same sise the ones I have have I recon Rhodes has my measure on his book well as my diner is ready I will close my love to you all give my love to Mr. Moultons People and to all the rest of my Friends if I have anyCharley says he is all right and so be Iare cooking Oysters for diner tell Wealthy I will eat one for her
no more yours trulyW.L. Faurot
(like all soldiers, William speaks of how much he wants to hear from the folks at home; he mentions “Jane,” who was probably his sister Polly Jane; a description of what the snow does to the Kentucky mud; only three regiments of the brigade left in Lexington; recruiting doesn’t go well; more talk of his pay and his boots)
Camp Ella Bishop Lexington Jan 28 /63
Father & Mother
I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well & hearty hoping these few lines will find you all the same it has been quite a while since I have heard from you I have heard from Jane several times but that is not enough I want to hear from you once in a while It has been such bad weather here for a few weeks that we have not done much there is considerable snow on the ground at present snow and mud togather makes verry bad traveling the Kentucky mud is the worst mud to travel in you ever see it looks to me as though they had been frying up Bacon & turning the grease on the ground you would think so if you was here. well I have not got much to say this time I will do the best I can there is only three Regiments of our Brigade here now they have taken off our Pickets so it makes it a great deal easier for us now we only have got to stand Camp Guard now. General Granger has gone down with Rosecrance as near as I can find out General Smith has gone to Colonel Doolittle is acting Brig General of the First Brigade Second Division Colonel Spaulding commands our Regiment now and a good man he is to our Regiment is hard up for Commissioned Officers. they have Promoted our Quartermaster Sargent to 2d Lieutenant & our commissary Sargent to 2d Lieut. our Lieutenant has not got back yet Colonel has ordered him back several days ago Recruiting is not verry Brisk I guess he has not got a man. I tell you if I was out of it and a man asked me to enlist I would nock him down I recon. however we will make the best of it we can as long as I keep well I dont know as I care to write to Seymour Hall the other day Will Avery got a letter from him the other day he is at Nicholasville 12/Miles from Lexington have not got an answer yet - I expect one every night - he is as sick of the War as any of us according to Wills tell. I suppose you are anctious to know how that Roundtop is comeing out - I have not heard anything from Charleys father yet - I will see what I can do this time I have thought I would see the captain about it. and him write an order he would know better about it than I would we expect to draw our pay again about the first of next month if we do I will send you $20. and more if I can I want to sent home all I can, & have had several chances to sell my Boots for Ten Dollars but they were needed to bad on my feet - they fit just right well Charley sits here mending his suspenders the rest of the Boys are cracking nuts and smoking as we have verry good times latelyI guess I will quit writing give my Regards to Mr. Moultons People no more for this time
Yours truly as ever your son W.L.F.
(William is enjoying being in camp because of being a convalescent; he wants a discharge, but is not successful so far; he sending money home; he’s a bit offended that an uncle had someone else write back to him instead of writing himself)
Camp Ella Bishop Lexington Mar 16th /63
Dear Father & Mother
I received yours of the 8th Saturday Eve was glad to hear from you your letter arrived as well hoping these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I am haveing a verry good time here in camp and the Regiment has not got back from Danville yet and I dont know when they will get back either I am in hopes they will get back soon. we got our Pay again last Saturday they payed us two months pay and I shall send $15.00 by express I dont get along verry well getting my discharge as the company is gone the captain have to make out the papers I think I will make the — after a while.
and all is well with me. I put the money in the Express Office today you will have to pay the charges on it for I could not make change it will not make much difference I should like to send more if I could but I want to keep some money on hand to buy a few little necessary once in a while I received a letter from Charley the other night - the Boys were all well but rather lonesome he sayed they would rather be in Lexington than in danville it is a verry lonely place they have plenty of eatable up there such as fresh Beef good pickled Pork. I dont think they live any better than us convolesents do we draw rations every 5 day & we have plenty of extra rations to sell and you can bet we sell them to Father I got a letter from Uncle David I think it was from him any way it was written by Uncle Randall now I wrote to Dave a good while ago and I dont like that way of answering letters myself. if he writes me a letter him self I will answer but I shall answer that letter I have not answered Uncle Spence letter yet - not Matildas neither - shall answer them as soon as I can. I here strong talk of our going to the regiment I hope not for I dont want to leave here it seems to much like home to leave it now but I am going to leave for good before long that is what is the matter I mean. well it is to near bed time to write any more to night so I will close by biding you all Good night. my love to you this from your Son with respect.
my love to Mr. Moultons People
(William is promoted to corporal; he learns he won’t be discharged because the “rupture” he has wasn’t bad; he assures his mother that she doesn’t need to send clothes or food because he has enough; he explains his picket and guard duties; his pay is sent home; the cost of food in Lexington)
May 1863 (unreadable)
I seed yours of the 14th which came to hand in due time was glad to hear from you your letter found me well hopeing these few lines will find you the sameI was on guard down to the city at the time I seed it Father I had the good luck yesterday morning to be apointed a corporal there were as much as a half a dozen Boys working hard to be corporal but some how another I was to much for them and did not try at all only attended to my duty right along kept my gun and accutriments in order we were on Regimental Inspection Sunday and the Colonel gave me the praise of haveing the best looking gun in the Regiment I dont know whether he was makeing fun of me or not but the next morning I was appointed Corporal. Father I will try and tell you the reasoning I did not get my Discharge when I was in Lexinton I got a new set of orders and they went to work and had a regular examination of convalesents and those that were able they sent to their regiment well when they got to me they said they could not discharge meI asked them the reason. well they said the Rupture wasnt verry bad and they thought I could stand it to go with the Regiment - to be sure it troubles me but as long as I keep my health I dont care a snap I would as lieve be here as there for what I know Father tell Mother she need not send me any thing I have lots of cloths and plenty to eat and that that is good we draw the nicest kind of salt Pork and corned Beef Tea Soft Bread and every thing Potatoes we have plenty to eat and plenty of Guard Duty we go on Picket every 4 days and are on Duty every other day —— along all the time Sunday’s not accepted we more than have fun when we go on Picket down here. once in a while some of the Boys sees a Reb but that dont amount to any thing Father the Captain filled out that Blank so you can draw the money without any trouble if you please when you get the money you may send me about $20.00 as we are not likely to draw any pay in a good while as near as I can find out and I am completely straped now and would like some money right well the rest —— you may use to suit your self I will give it to you to do as you like with which you will of course you requested me to tell you how John Mull and Charley gets along John is well and Harty is in town on guard and Charley is writeing to his father he is all right - they both send their best respects to you all. Father I will tell you how things are selling here Eggs are 30 cents Butter 20 cents sugar 20 & 30 cents apples you can get 2 or 3 for 20 cents and other things in proportion you can buy more for one Dollar there in Mich than you can for 5 Dollars here that is the different you seewell I must stop for this timemy love to you allYours truly W.L.F. to C.W.F.
(this is the first of the fragments; information on his bounty and pay)
answer him every time — have writen to him once and never got an answer. In Regard to the Bounty money I have not heard anything about it. I guess I will not do any thing about it till I hear from you again concerning it. we shall draw two months pay next time I shall send you $20.00I expect we will be Payed about the first of next monthI hope so any way. the Captain was telling me the other morning that we are to be mounted
(this fragment has a stamp marked “Pension Mar 28 1885 and may have been sent when William’s mother was trying to get his back pay; in this letter William mentions his grandfather, who would be Randal Stivers Faurot, who died on Feb. 2, 1863 in Tekonsha Township, Calhoun County, Michigan)
day I have been sick with the Quarters for about a week or ten day so I have not done any thing I hope these few lines will find you well I think I am a little better to day was sorry to hear of Grandfathers death however I expected to hear of befor longI would like verry well to have seen him once more but I could not so we will make the best of it. I am glad you done all that you could for the Poor old man for he was worthy of all the care you could give him.
(this is the final fragment)
the Boys the Fellow you spoke about that had the cold has been in the Hospital all winter till within a few weeks he is cooking for us now so he is getting along first rate he will come out all right. well Father as I dont feel much like writeing to day I guess I will not write much I will try and do better next time you must excuse these few lines give my Respects to Mr. Moultons People and to rest of the