Francis Marion Dally
Company A, 83rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry
These two letters were written by Francis Marion Dally who went by the name of Frank Dally. He was in Company A of the 83rd Illinois Infantry during the Civil War. He enlisted at Monmouth, Illinois in August of 1862 at the age of 19. He was 5 Feet 6 inches high, light complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair, and his occupation when enlisted was a farmer. He died in Central Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky of Typhoid Pneumonia on December 17, 1862, which was 2 weeks after the second letter was written. In the first letter he mentions several from his regiment. George W. Cox was from Ellison, Illinois and died in battle on Oct. 23rd 1862. The Dan he refers to is Daniel Arter who is a brother of Francis Marion Dally&Mac226;s brother-in-law. He also mentions Merritt and Joel Clark who were from the same town as Francis (Roseville, Illinois), and David Godfrey who was from Ellison, Illinois. In the second letter the Han&Mac226; he mentions is his sister Hannah, Jane is his sister-in-law, Wash&Mac226; is his brother George Washington Dally, and John is his brother-in-law John Arter.
Oct the 25 1862 Donelson
Well folks I received your letter and was glad to heare that you was all well. I am well and have been. I just got hom last night after martching a distance of about 38 miles and back over these darned hills that are covered with stones so that you cant hardly walk for them, but we made it pay for we had the funn of knocking about 18 or 20 of them Darnation yelow bitches so far that they never will see the road back again nor no outher road that is shure. We lost one man kill and seven or eight wounded one mostly I expect that he will die. We only had about 225 men and they had some 1300 but they was not engaged, the first engagement was after night and they were scaterd all throug the woods. That night we camped about a mile from the battle ground I stood gard that night. I was not in the fight the next morning oure oficers thought it prudent to retreat so we started for Fort Donelson the next morning.
That man that was killed was out oure mess his name was George W. Cox he lived on Ellison the man that you and was got them apples of he was a good felow I helped caryed his corpse to the buggy and out of the buggy to the grave, there was about 5 or six hundred men at the burian and just as good order as ever was observed six men were called and fired three shots apiece over his then we martched back to camp keeping time to roll of the stiring drum.
When we are on a martch we eate every thing and any thing that we can get, the last time that is this trip we martched ten miles farther and camped for the rest of the night witch was from one oclock till morning. The next day we stoped at noon an killed an ox and took three behives and one barrel of molasses we emtyed of the very best kind we all filled oure canteens, and so you can have an idea how it is sometimes we have plenty and sometimes not so mutch althoug we have had all we wanted to eate while we was in camp.
We started just at daylight a traviled about five miles when oure rear company was attacked by 250 of them Darned Devils and just about that time oure company was ordered back on the Doubled quick they were about a 1/4 of mile behind when we came up, oure boys were giving them the deale they fought about 15 minits when they saw a good many of there saddles emty they concluded that they would take the back track, they made the bulets whistle over oure heads rite brisk for a little while but they cant scare the 83 boys if they want to fight let them pich in. I never have been the least bit homesick yet nor the least bit scart nor never expect to. I am well and feel perfectly contented, it snowing now but yesterday it was warm. Dan is well. Merit Clark and Joel and David Godfry are all sick but none of them are very bad they all sit up in the daytime. I have herd I was in the hospital at Mound City but I never saw that place yet for I was asleep when we passed there it was at night.
You said that you had sown 10 acres of wheat and had got your plowing very near done. I like to know Nig looks by this time and wheather he is a going to make a smashing horse or not. When I back there I want to drive a team don't kill him but get his mate if he is worth anything if not trade and get a good one. Tell mother not to be scart before anybody is hurt, we are a going to give the sesesh the dickens before we come back. I am now in the hous where our boy stay that are sick, setting just as close to the fire as posible. The boys hafto pay 3 dolers a week for board that is rather steep but they think that they would rather pay that then to go to the hospital, but I believe that I would go to the hospital now because it is cool now. I boarded here when I was sick but it was warm then.
Nomore at present.
But am nothing els but
Central Hospital Paducah December 2 1862
Well pap and mother I thought I would take the preasent oportunity to inform that I am better to day and these few lines will find you enjoying good health. I am in good spirits we have more to eate than we did when you was here, the sun shines bright to day although it is rather cool. There have three men died since you left, that one that made sutch fus all the time his name was Mitchel and another that laid right beside of him they died the same night and then another felow I don't know wheather you took notice to him or not he laid right by the door his name was Andeson he was a young man. I have not heard from Donelson since you left. I don't know how the boys got along with that fight. I want you to get Nig fat as he can can (?) against I come back, for I am going to ride him to death nearly. I want to try to get a match for him and have a good team but I expect that you spent so mutch money coming down here that I will hafto wait till I get it. Well there is one thing I have not got home yet and don't know how soon I will be but I have an idea that I will between now and next spring sometime. I am getting cold and will to the fire for a little bit.
Well I can just tell you that my Dierea still continues faithful but not quite so bad. I don't think there are no very sick boys in now. Tell Han and Jane that I want them to have something good to eate against I get for I don't intend to do any but eate.
Wash you need not be in a huray about joining the Army for when you are joined once you are there.
John you stay to home and cary that black colt and it fat and maby I will go indebt and buy it to match Nig.
Tell all of them to write Direct to
The Central Hospital
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