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Elias Riggs Monfort Letters


Hanover students from GW143/144 "Autobiography: History" (Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015) and His167 "Speaking of American History" (Fall 2017), all taught by Sarah McNair Vosmeier, transcribed these letters.
The originals are available at the Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).

E.R. Monfort corresponded with his sister, Margaret Monfort, whose letters have also been transcribed.

For more on the people, places, and events discussed in the letters, see the Guide to the Elias Riggs Monfort Letter Collection. Other transcriptions and page images from the Monfort collection are also available.

Note that E.R. used both the "Monfort" and "Montfort" spellings.

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Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Joseph Glass Monfort and Hannah Riggs Monfort, 10 July 1861, folder 4, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Sarah Gawronska, HC 2018.


[On the front side of the envelope:]
Lieut Elias R. Monfort
Co F 75th regt O V M
Grafton Virginia


Laurel Hill Va July 10

Com A 6th Reg O V M

Dear parents

           We heared a report H ere yesterday which cast a gloom over our camp[.] it was that our reg [regiment] had been in an Engagement & were all killed but 200 & the rest taken prisoners[.] one of the Captains says he read it in the Cin. [Cincinnati] Commertial[.]
This is a base lie & was done by some one who had a spite a gainst the reg[.] if any of the men should find him they would shoot him like a dog[.]
I was quite unwell for to [two] days back but I am better to day[.] our troops have the secesshes surrounded & we are placed a bout two miles from the camp to cut off the their retreat at the only feasible way for them to retreat[.] our troops amount to about 15 or 16 thousand while the rebles amount to about 4 [thou?]  5 hundred -- we have captured a great many pickets.


I will give you the particulars when I have more time[.] address to Com A 6th Reg at Grafton & it will follow the regiment[.]





Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Mother, 17 Aug. 1861, folder 4, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.)
Transcription and research by Jennifer Gilly, HC 2018.


Beverly, Va Aug 17, 1861

Dear Mother

You may think strange of me for not writing to you before but I have writen to sister & Frank & Father & I thought a letter to any one in the family was the same to all & I know that any of the others had more time to write than you. I am enjoying the best health I could wish, I was weighed on monday & weighted one hundred & fifty three pounds. I am getting fat[.] It is very cold in these mountains at night[.] it is nothing strange to see frost here in the morning And the people here say they often have frost in evry month in the year[.] We had a sham battle here the other day one of the most comical things I ever saw[.] our mess & the sargents mess we had a stove pipe battery & the sargents had some barrells for guns[.] They fought for a long time we took their battery & they took our fina ly one man fell down as if he were killed & then we had as surgical operation[.] we raised quite an excitement & all the officers turned out[.] Even the col[onel] took a good laugh at us the[re] were 27 rifled cannon arrived here last night “en route” for Huttons ville[.] I thought there will be a large battle there in a fue days[.] it is only 12 miles from here and three miles from there is a camp of 21 thousand rebbles [sic] under Genl. Lee who has just arrived from western Va and is strongly entrenched in the mountains. Genl. Renolds has about 12,000 men at Huttons ville & has communscation [sic] with 20 000 more in different directions by telegraph who could all be there in 6 hours[.] I do not think our regt. will ever see a battle unless it is in intercping [intercepting] the retreat of the rebels some where[.] some of our scouts one of whom was in my mess left camp last monday week where gone about 12 days during which time they was 50 miles the succeeded in passing the enimies [sic] pickets by cralling on hands & knees two miles saw all that was going on in the enimies [sic] camp & succeed in taking a colonel & Leut. Col. prisoners who were taking dinner at a farm house in sided of their lines[.] one col. tried to hollor [sic] & give the alarm but thew [they] told him if he attempted it again they would kill him on the spot   They lay in the bushes all day & at night passed the pickets & came to camp which was 15 miles with nothing to eat for two days & nights[.]  we have 1,080,000 rounds of cartrage which [are?] at rich mountain & 4,000 stands of ammo 4 cannon &c[.]  I am call for special duty and will have to close[.]

Your Affec. Son

E. R. Monfort

Love to all

P.S. pleas tell father to send me a little money as I need some




Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 19 Dec. 1861, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Layne Taylor, HC 2017.

Staffords Courthouse Dec 19th / 61

Dear Sister,

I now write this letter with no hopes of it ever reaching you. We are now at Staffords C.H. 6 miles from Fredricksburgh from which place we have just arrived. We have a very pleasant little Camp in the thickest woods you ever saw of pine & oak. As far as our regiment is concerned we are comfortable though the weather is changeable & very disagreable yet there are thousands lying on the Battle field of Fredricksburgh who suffer more than tongues can tell & none can imagine save those who realize it. A nd not only those who lay helpless & wounded upon the Battle field undergo those sufferings.  But the living those who are in good health. Those who are in the front who have to spend sleepless nights with their arms in their hands ready at a moments notice. I passed through the Campaign at Bull Run & Rapahanock in the month of August while the weather was warm.   But we are on the reserve now & are comfortable [--] that is compared with those in front.  This of course can not be helped as any one who has been connected with a large army will readily see. I would be willing [to] undergo it all if end we have in view could by it be gained.   but this I am afraid can never be or at least it looks precarious at the presant time.   Burnside has been sadly beaten & his loss is perfectly terrible while that of the enemy we know nothing of.   I received all your letters by Genl Mclean But did not see Mrs. Mclean or Carrie Excuse brevity on account of Cold being out doors

remember me to all I will write again & answer all in a fue days

Yours affectly

ER Montfort



Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 21 Jan. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Indiana). 
Transcription and research by Eddy Wagner, HC 2017.

Parkersburgh, Va

Jan. 21st 62

Dear Sister,

After we parted with you at Cincinnati we were very busy Assisting in loading the Camp Equipage & getting the men on board & keeping them there until we were ready to start.  I witnessed a great many very affecting scenes Soldiers parting with their friends & never expecting to See them again.  The tears fell thick & fast but there were good pumps on board & we did not sink we started about 6 oclock on our way [ rejoicing?].  at 7 oclock a rich table was spread before us & it was announced to us that officers were entitled to cabin passage A fact which we did not regret being very hungry we did justice to the luxuries of which soldiers do not do not often partake after tea the Lieut Col invited us to indulge in the rich perfumes of some Havana sixes which we lit & then walked up on deck to enjoy the cool brease of evening & take a peep at the stars & see if the looked the same as those that often envite you out to take observations.  We returned quite late but rose early in the morning forgetting it was Sunday in the excitement.  Thousands of cheers arose from both shores encouraging us on word.  We arrived at P ---- at 3 oclock AM Monday but [remained?] on board the boat until Tuesday.  Excuse this letter & account of paper & the boat shakes terribly being so heavy loaded send me some stamps as I can not get any here

Your affct brother

E R Monfort

I will write soon again

[Marginalia from on the first page:]

Remember me to Miss [Weakley?] tell Sallie I will write to her soon Love to all My Revolvver shoots to perfection 

Write [soon?] Via Grafton




Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 31 Jan. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Brianna White, HC 2017.

Newburg. Jan 31st

Dear Sister,

I droped you a fue lines on the boat the other day but I had So much on my mind that I could hardly write. We remained at Parkersburgh two days & nights I never was so sick of a place in my life before[.] I had to be on the look out all the time to keep the men from getting whiskey. This part of the country is under Marshall law & the men some of them do not respect any law when we are in the enemies country & it is hard to controll them. Our camp is situate in a beautiful little meadow 13[en?] miles from Grafton on the B. & O. R.R. at a deserted little town called Newburgh with about 10 or fifteen inhabitant no black smith shop or Hotel in it there is one store in it I am now writing in this store the stock is very extensive wholesale retail dry goods & groceries you could carry all in our spring waggon. The col came around last night & told the boys if the bugle sounded for all to fly to arms. There is not a rebel with in 50 miles from here & if there were we have no cartriges to defend our selves with The weather is delightfull we were realy surprised the morning we left P-- the Golden King of day poured his refulgent rays upon us & the cool morning breeze blowing across the river refreshed us[.] In less than an hour it began to rain terribly & rained all day at abut 7 o clock it began to clear off & the stars came out to encourage us on ward to victory or death[.] we lay down that night to sleep in the cars expecting to rise in the morning refreshed But alas how vain are all our hopes[.] in the morning the snow was 2 inches deep & it had blown in the cars all over us & we were waked again those of us who were unfortunate enough as to get in an open car. Such is life There [is] to much romance in this part of a soldiers life to suit me[.] Captain Morgan has been sick with the sick head ache ever since we arrived And I have to take care of him besides the responsiblity of the company which is more than I can imagine[.] I suppose that in the course of a day a hundred men come to me to know if I thought they would be attacked soon I expect Col N C McLean will have us out on Batalion drill to dayon the top of some of these hills[.] if he does wont we have a rich time[.] I write this on my knee setting on the only camp stool we have left in Mr Smoots stoor by the fire

Excuse Bad writing & spelling as under the circumstances I can not stop to come at or do better

Your Affcc Brother

E. R. Montfort

Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 15 Feb. 1862, folder 1, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Drew Stutz, HC 2017.

[As a caption to the stationery illustration:]
An awkward squad of Company F.

Camp Calvary Morris

February 15th 62

Dear sister,

Your letter was recieved yesterday while on duty And having been up all night you must not expect much. As I do not feel in a very pleasant manner by any means. Guard duty is rather a severe way of serving your country though comes only once a week. I am always when ever I am called upon. I stand in rather a peculiar position as an officer. as a general thing have very little to do, and if I should complain of indisposition when I happen to be called upon for duty even if I do happen to feel unwell others think that they have the same prevelage if you give them an inch they will take a foot

Please tell [Dotte?] Young that I have no idea who she has reference to unless it may be Capt Johnson[.] He is well. You have spoken in both your letters in regard to my miniature how do you suppose I am going to have my miniature taken in this God forsaken Country[.] there is not a place this side of Ohio large enough to [inserted: build] a house large enough to take a miniature in[.] And the brooks and the streamlets which comes clashing and dashing down the mountain side are so troubled that I can not look into them without seeing a crooked face.

I am very sorry to hear that mother is sick again I hope she will be up again in a fue days be shure & tell me in your next letter how she is.

Last Sunday myself & several others took a walk to Independance a small town about a mile from here to church after church we took a tramp accross the hills visited the coalmines, and some farmers & became acquanted with some very fine young ladies such as are called fine young ladies in this Country[.] We arrived at camp in time appear at dress parade. Health is good comparitively so. Excuse Briefness &c. & oblige

Your affectionate brother,

E.R. Monfort


Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 5 March 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Madeline McElroy, HC 2017.

Camp Milroy March 5th /62

Dear Sister

Your letter was received and read with much interest. Though it produced rather an unpleasant sensation it gave me a fit of the blues, I think you have a great deal of impudence to ask me how I enjoyed the 22nd of February out here in this God for saken wooden country after inummerating the splended review & the Grand Parade and the brilliante illuminations of the city [.] The happy spectators crowding about the city through the mud regardless health and future happiness only thinking of the present. I will However answer your question on that unfortunate day the Bloody Seventy Fifth might have been seen winding its way carelessly over the Laurel mountains wet to the skin from the rain which poured down incessantly from Eight in the morning till between 9 & ten then it began to freeze & hail after dinner it seemed as if all the Elements were indeed combined to stop yet on we went regardless of any thing but to reach a good camping ground and sending a thousand curses at those who were the causes of our being placed in [crossed out: under] these unfortunate circimstanses[.] That day I carried one knapsack & two guns besides my own traps making a load of about sixty pounds [.] Boots would not save a mans feet from being wet on that day as clothes became saturated and watter would naturaly run in them. With all the excitement of the march I kept "cool" rather to cool to be comfortable.

12 o clock and all is well [.] I have just ordered the guard out and the third relief to their posts and am now waiting for the Corporal to come and report As the weather is very disagreeable and I am Officer of the Guard[,] I have obtained permision to remain in my quarters only going out once an hour [--] twice if nessessary to see that all is well and report such in the guard book [.] Captain Morgan and Lieut. Crampton are sleeping in the same tent [.] Even the raging storm out side does not distirb their quiet slumbers O that I could do the same "for my sleepy eye lids are batting batting for my pallet poor" [.] You cannot imagine what a happy felling it is to lie down at night even in our poor couches without fear of being distirbed intil breakfast is ready. Please give my best regards to Sallie and tell her I should like to here from her if she does not intend to answer my letter tell her to write and let me know, Remember me to Miss "O" Sister [Weckly] [.] I have just been out and find the weather has again changed it is snowing quite hard but the Snow does not have much effect on the mud of which our camp is full. Please send me some stamp &c Give my love all my friends.

Your Affcete Brother

E.R. Montfort.

In this I send you a bunsh of winter green the woods are carpeted with them in many places


[Note that the dried plants are still with the original letter in the Duggan Library Archives.]

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 28 March 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Chester Chae, HC 2017.

Camp Milroy W.Va.

March 28th 1862.

Dear sister

I received your kind letter last Saturday but not having than able since writing to write as I unfortunately cut my hand with a hatchet while on duty I had finished Sallies letter before with it[.] I sent a wooden Bible which I carved cut of Laurel root I hope you received it safe as it is a curiosity that you may prize. There are a great many curious things made of Laurel. I wish you would send me Harpers Weekly and also the magazines and others that will interest me as we get nothing here and do not want any thing that will be of any value after we are through with it as we can not take them on a march we have thrown out a great many valuable articles to fill up mud holes that the waggons might get over safely I will send you two or three punns which you may put in your anonamous box or not as you please[.] if I knew the names of all the young ladies in college I would make more as I have plenty of time[.] one company of our Regt was sent out to take some hay from the Rebels they will be accompanied by one compay of the 2nd Va.V.I. I hope they will be successful they cannot help having a fight if they get the hay.

March 30th 1862

I have been delayed in finishing this letter. We had a very pleasant day yesterday But to day it is raining again I received the Bundle you sent me by the sutler to day the letter dated March 11th We took a spy in our camp yesterday he was recognized by a member of the 32nd ohio Regt who coming in from a scout in the mountains remained with us over night

Your affectionate Brother

E R Montfort

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 15 April 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Diane Jackson, HC 2017.

Montaray Highland County

April 15th, 1862.

Dear Sister,

It seems almost an age since we heard from you or home. We have got into camp once more after some severe marching and sleepless nights. We left our beautiful Camp near Huttonsville on sunday the Sixth of April. I was in command of the rear guard. I was ordered down to the Quarter Master's department one mile & half below camp to force some waggons in to service to assist in hawling our traps over the mountains. I did so and returned to Camp having marched three miles we then started started for [chief?] mountain twelve miles distant when we arrived at 4 oclock P.M. when we camped the night[.] We arose bright and early on Monday Morning started at 7oclock for the rebel camp camp on the Alleghania Mountains. Which was evacuated by them on the 5th @ distance of twenty five miles. When we started the sun was just beginning to show himself above the the tops of the trees a slight breeze was blowing the air was soft [and] balmy but a little cold[.] we were fresh and traveled fast at about ten oclock [A.M.] we passed over the Green Briar River a splended stream a very strong currant so swift that is almost impossible to ford it and it roars like a tornado[.] after crossing the River we passed a beautiful meadow then began to ascend the Green Briar Mountains here truely is a wide field for the artist[.] Indeed the rough passes the rugged clifts the will [wild] and romantic forests which spreads from noth to south east to west as far as the eye can reach where the ax had never been where none but the hunter or the Indians had ever trod. The roaring of the pines the singing of the birds and the beautiful landscapes rendered our march rather a pleasure than a burden & we hope the frosts & snow had ceased for the season but alas how vain are all our hopes[.] In less than on hour the whole temperature was changed [.] it began to rain hail snow & freeze[.] we passed on down and then began to ascend the alleghania[.] the ice began to collect on the road & trees so that the roads were almost impassable[.] we finaly arrived at the camp cold & stiff & very tired[.] we went to bed early & were ordered on in the morning to crab orchard where we arrived at 4oclock a distance of 12 miles[.] it still continued to hail & rain in the morning[.] we went out forageing and captured a secesh mail[,] three days rations of flower[,] feed for horces &c[.] we returned at night having traveled 12 miles[.] the next day we were ordered off on a scout to Franklin Pendletown County Va[.] here we had a horse shot & captured 12 stands of arms one sword &c a distance of 30 miles in two days march & the 13th we started at one oclock for Montaray where we arrived at at 10 oclock on the 14th we had a ficht at this place two men wounded[.] the Enemy [repulsed]. We crossed the potomac twice in our march in haste.

Yours truely,

ER Montfort

Elias Monfort, letter to “Father,” 26 Apr. 1862, , Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Mackenzie Sims, HC 2021.

Camp at Monterey W. Va.
April 26th, 1862
Dear Father
Having become very uneasy in regard to the money I sent to you. I sent by the chaplin Dr Weakley $645.00 & by letter 20 & have heard nothing from home or money either. I will send you fifty more by our orderly who will be at Glendale between the first and midle of May. if you have any thing to send you will find him willing though I do not want him loaded down as he will have to walk from the R.R. to Monterey which is about one hundred & ten miles. I will try to procure a furlough about the midle of June if possible. This is a very disagreable weather which we are subjected to. We have not seen the sun since we left Camp Milroy on the sixth of April. We have had either rain or snow all this time since & is quite an uncommon thing to have dry feet. Day before yesterday we had snow fifteen inches deep in the morning it began to snow. At ten o’clock it was 5 inches deep[.] it then began to Rain & settled the snow about two inches. At eleven it began to snow again & at 12 measured eight inches at three measured ten & half at 5 1/2 oclock it measured 15 inches at 6 oclock began to rain & hail at about 12 at night. We were arroused by a terrible Hurricane & thunder storm blowing several tents down & exposing the inmates to the weather for it is impossible to pitch a tent where the wind is blowing[.] in the morning the snow & watter were about six inches deep & it was impossible to go out side of the tents without getting completely soaked. I was appointed officer of the Brigade guard I marched the men of our regt who were on duty to the Post. & going through a little gulley we had to wade through snow & watter above our knees & you can imagine how it felt so cold that we could hardly stand on our feet after crossing the men got sick & took colds so that of 65 post & pickets I had to detail 27 Supernumeraries before this  morning at 8 oclock[.] I was relieved at 9 oclock & expect to remain in my tent until the weather changes or the watter dries up or until I am detailed for duty[.]

Rather an amusing incedent occured the other day while some of the boys were scouting some of them have an evil propinsity of looking in every barn belonging to a secesh for chickens or eggs. One of them while looking for eggs felt in a hole in the straw felt a pair of boots pulling them out found a pair of legs attached to them and a body attached to the legs & a pulling it out farther found a pair of Epuletts on the shoulders it proved to be a Lieut in the rebel service who seeing our men coming took refuge in the hay loft & was found there under these peculiar circumstances. we have got to the end of the string the rebels are driven out of our division & I suppose we will be detached by companies & left to guard the different posts all over these hills.

Remember me kindly to all I remain your

dutiful Son

Elias R. Montfort

April 27th 1862
PS Please write soon & let me know about the money

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 6 May 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Cody Reister, HC 2017.

Camp at Shaws Fork 6 1/2 miles

from McDouel & 3 1/4 from Top of Shanandoah

Mountain May 6th, 1862

Dear Sister

I received your kind letter two days since But on account of heavy marches have not found time to do any thing for myself The Skirmish you speak of was between company D & company G. on our side & about 1500 Rebels on the other side it was very warm for about two hours & a half the two companies stood their ground nobly one man had to have his leg amputated an other recieved a ball in his breast passing out under the left arm. An other had a ball lodged in his belt plate tearing all to pieces an other had three balls pass through his haversack We left Monterey on the 30th of April arriving at McDouel at 3oclock P.M. here we remained one day[.] on the morning of the 2nd of May we left McDouel for Shanandoah Mountain and reached Shanandoah at 2 P.M. where we remain until morning sleeping on the ground on the cold top of the mountain.

Franklin Pendleton county May 12th

While writing the above an order came to strike tents as quick as possible and fall in line of Battle this was done in less than ten minutes I rolled this sheet of paper in my blanket & it has got very dirty but it is the only sheet in the company & I must use it we left Shaws fork on the 6th Early in the morning we marched to Shanandoah Mountain 3 1/2 miles When there we recieved orders to fall back to Shaws fork as the Enmy were advancing in large number we did so where orders came to continue our retreat to Calf pasture ridge 9 1/2 Miles from Shanandoah Mountain where the General came up & ordered the 75th back to support Captain Highman battery of Artilery a distance of 6 miles where we threw shot shell & canister among them & scatered them in evry direction we then came back to the bluff where we were ordered to retreat to McDouel 6 miles from shaws fork to the bluff & 6 to McDouel making a distance of 37 1/2 miles traveld in one day The next day we were drawn up in line of battle all all day at 5 oclock we were ordered to attack the Enimy we marched up a terrible hill & attacked them[.] the 75th fought desperately until half past nine when it was so dark that we could not see the Enimy[.] we lost in killed 9 instantly several afterwards & 43 wounded[.] Our company lost two killed Henry Nickle & Jacob Coleman both of Franklin Ohio[,] three badly wounded & 5 flesh wounds[.] The wounded or badly wounded Sergt Henry Jacobs & Trygood Hurt. & Phillip Nickle[.] slightly were Louis Eckerle of Glendale Frank Elsessor of Lockland Jacob Loop of Franklin Thomas Hermanson an old man. the Louis & I enlisted on the Hamilton turn pike. the wounded are doing well now the same night after the fatigue of battle we were ordered to retreat & did so all night it was a terrible march in the morning we recieved reinforcements of three regiments & 4 comanies of cavelry & one of artilery under Genl Schauck but still continued our retreat we arrived here yesterday morning pitched our tents recieved an other reinforcement of 4 thousand men one regment of cavelry & 5 batteries of artilery &c a part Gen Benkins driver who will arrive to day with the remander we drove the rebels back to day & they are retreating in disorder[.] in haste we go on picket tonigh

ER Monfort


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to “Father,” 14 May 1862, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Jordan Blankman, HC 2021.

Camp at Franklin May 14th 1862

Dear Father

Conrad Wilmer wishes me to say to you to let his wife have $20.00 more of his money as she is out at  present. All quiet on potomac  Genl Freemont arrived today at this place with the remainder of his army our force is now 21 thousand men & about 19 batteries  of Artilery & about 3 Regts of cavalry &c  All quiet on the North branch of the Potomac. Rebels retreating & we will following in a fue days

We look for pay master in a fue days again

Yours truly

E R Montfort 


E. R. Monfort, letter to Maggie C.  Monfort,  19 May 1862, folder 2, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Alex Weeden, HC 2017.

Franklin, Pendleton  county W. Va.

May 19th 1862

Dear sister,

I received your kind & welcome letter to day. I am very much gratified to find that I stand so high in the estamation of my Col. I am truely thankfull to him for for it as I did not expect it. But the old saying always proves true that "fortune favors the ("brave")." (Notice the brave). I suppose you saw our orderly Sergt. at Glendale he has gone home on furlough & promised me to visit Glendale before he returned. I am very sorry to loose Lieut. Crampton.  he was my only companion in trouble & in pleasure. I have just bid him good by he left on a a waggon train for Newcreek at one oclock P.M. I feel as if I had lost my best friend it is a misserable life to lead when not on duty to lay on your cot alone in a tent with nothing to do nothing to occupy your mind. I wish you would send me occasionaly a Harpers Magazine or some other interesting litterature for I am as blue as a violet & feel as crabid as a wet hen. I will try & describe the battle of the 8th to you as near as possible. Thursday morning May 8th we were aroused & called in to line of battle by that terrible signal the long roll you never will know what it is to hear a long roll in active service at about 9oclock A.M. a fue Rebels made their appearance upon an adjourning hill after a short time Captain Highman scattered them with a fue cannister & shill from one of his guns. 4 companies of infantry were sent up to see if possible what their numbers were that failed & at about  4oclock the 25th & 75th Regts were sent up we engaged the enimy for three & half hours   the 25th opening the battle & then retireing reinforcements were not sent to us at first because the Genl did not think we could our position ten min but we did & with credit to our selves  to at about half past eight two regts came up to relieve us the 82nd & the third va or 5 companies of 3rd Va. We had more men killed & wounded in the 75th Regt in that fight than any regt at Pittsburgh landing in the great fight of the war the 75th lost 9 men killed & 43 wounded this may seem small but it is a good many men for one regt to loose we have a Lieut. Thomas in this Regt who was in nine battles in Mexico & say he never was as hot a fight for the same length of time in his life. Our men fought desperately our coller sergt was shot down & a young fellow by the name of Mike Bradie seized the collers & held them up amidst a shower of  bullets the colonel went  to the flag took it & waived it in defiance at them the Major mounted on a stump & followed & cheered the men until he was quite hoarse.  Captain Morgan stood upon the highest rigde & pointed to the men where they could fire to best advantage.  I never saw cooler & more daring courage in my life & either read of it. 

I saw men fall dead around me & wounded.  It seemed as I were in a dream.  It seemed so unnatural to see the quiet major waiving his cap & hollowing with his hair flying as if he were a demon & the roar of musketry it seemed as if all the fiends of hell were let loose & were wreaking their vengence upon us.  I was arroused by a negro preacher who came with the regt. Who had procured a rifle & was firing a way exclaiming in almost tones of thunder you belong to the deavil & the deavil must have you.  God is with us & God will protect us & may other similar

[letter continues, overwritten on first page:]
Things.  At at half past eight we were relieved by the 82nd Ohio & 3 Va who kept the rebels in check until we could carry our dead from the field.  They however left their dead & wounded upon the battle field.  We lost our Lieut Col Constable he was taken prisoner by the rebels after the battle we fell back to Franklin when we were reinforced by Genl Freemont we now have 30000 men & 60 piece of artilery & about two [thousand?] cavelry.  I sent by Sergt Crampton $545.00 & my watch.  I want father to buy me a cheap watch Hunters case so I will not break so many crystals & send it [asoon?] as he can as I kneed it very much.

Your affect Broth

E.R. Montfort.

Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Joseph Glass Monfort, 22 May 1862, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Mia Katzenberger, HC 2020.

Camp Constable Va
McDouel Highland co
May 2nd 1862

Dear Father,

Yours of April 22nd came to hand yesterday together with sisters of the 24 & one from Frank of the 16th I was very glad to hear that you received the money safely as I have been very anxious for some time past in regard to it. I am very glad you are pleased with my economy I am sure though that I could not be other than economical in this country. I am also temperate as there is no liquors of any kind to drink in this country if I were ever so fond of them. Yet I am not I can not imagine what there was in my last letter so plausable as to merit public inspection. I do not think there is much danger of the officers or men of the 75th Regt becoming dissipated in this country You ask if our Chaplain preaches, he has not preached in W Va but once & that was in Neuburgh [Newburg] on the B.&O. R.R. in a church and has not even visited the Hospital. & never thought of going in to the mens private quarters. There were some men in company C members of his own church that complained quite bitterly about his not visiting them while sick in the Hospital. I have nothing in the world against him only I should like to hear a sermon even once a month or six weeks to remind us that there was such a thing as a civilized country on this globe if for nothing else. We are very much fatigued indeed having marched over 186 miles since the sixth day of April. We have been scouting for three weeks daily one of waggon trains has been cut off [and?] destroyed at Williamsville 25 miles from here we were sent out to accertain the truth of the statement we left Monterey at six oclock P.M. Saturday evening we traveled all night over the roughest road I ever saw we arrived at W----- at 10 A.M. Sunday morning distan[ce] traveled 35 miles & if we had been attacked we never would would have retreated an inch we found the waggon train completely destroyed burnt to atoms accept the iron & some wheels which had the spokes & fellows [a section of the outer, curved part of the wheel  into which the spokes fit] cut in two with an ax we found 3 men dead & two wounded the train consisted of 30 waggons & one hundred 20 horses loaded with provisions which were taken from the citizens of the valley there were one sergt & 10 men in command of the train the sergt was wounded in 7 places twice in the right arm once in the leg twice in the breast once in the back of the head once in the left hand & once in the penus, the ball taking efect about the center & passing out the end he is well the the wounds are all slight the other man was wounded in three places
[the letter continues with cross-writing on the first page]
we found in the valley 500 head of cattle & 26 horses belonging to prominent cesesh that are in the army which we took to camp we returned to camp in two days  much fatigued & retired early I find I can stand more fatigue in bed than on a march
Your affect


ER Montfort

Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to “Father”, 5 July 1862, Folder 4 Box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription by Koa Callihan, HC 2021.

Camp near Middletown Va

July 5th 1862

Dear Father    

I have not heard from home for several weeks, but suppose you have been buisy settling up your business & collecting your bills. I have just finished the Muster Rolls of the company for pay & am not in a very good humor to write. I wish to make a communication to to you which may seem strange to you the reason that I have never writen to you before on this subject was simply because I did not wish to increase your anxiety in regard to me it is this I am dissatisfied in the company I am now in Captain Morgan is very despotic & severe in his rule also  very much prejudiced against me for what cause I do not know but  always has been & is getting more so every day

The captain is a very brave officer & a man who is not excelled in the regiment as a capt who always performs the s towards superior officers to the letter he is also a man of much experience & well fitted for the position he holds as an officer but  he treats all subordinates as beneath his notice accept when on duty and I consider it [strikeout: beneath] my duty to leave the company I am now in for some other position or for the same position in some other detachment. I spoke to Genl. N.C. McLean. the other day in regard to it & mentioned that I almost considered it my duty to resign. he persuaded me out of it & gave me some very good advice. & I have come to the conclusion that my duty to my country is far greater than to my self. I have had experience & do not wish to leave the services. I would like the position of adjitant in some new regt if it is possible to get it for me I have acted in that capacity in this regt several times & am perfectly acquainted with the duties you may say these things before the Gov Todd & say that I consider it detrimental to the good of services to remain   as I am I think he will readily understand the state of affairs + either do some thing for me or ask me to resign

Your obedent Son

E R Montfort

Please attend to this immediately

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 12 June 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Ethan Hopkins, HC 2017.

Mt. Jackson June 12

Dear sister,

I have heard from you twice or three times since we have been [up?] on the march [.] We left Franklin on the 25th of May & have been marching ever since we are in a desparate situatuon now in the way of clothing & c[.] We marched first to Peters burgh a distance of 30 miles then to Morefield 10 miles then to Strausburgh 55 miles there we engage the enimy & drove them back taking a great many prisoners & one piec of cannon [.] we then followd the retreating rebels as far as Harrisonburgh a distance 47 miles then hearing that then [Ewing?] had made a stand 5 miles farther on [at?] a place called Cross Keys we pushed on & attacked them & fought them all day sunday the 8th Monday we drove them back 7 miles where they succedded in crossing the shamadiah at Port republic & burning the brigde which stoped us[.] shield fought then on the other side but was whiped with a loss of 1,000 killed & wounded our loss of sunday was 600 killed & wounded the rebel loss was double ours[.] they left them scatered in the woods we found them on the march Monday we then fell back to HQ 12 miles & then 25 miles farther to rienforce sheilds if possible[.] on the march we have captured over 8 hundred prisoners but Jackson has got away

get the map & look [up?] our course[.] in haste[.] I will give you full particuler when I have more time

Yours Affectionately

ER Montfort

Write twice a week or more so that I may have some thing to keep my spirits up even if you do not hear from me


Send me some stamps

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 14 June 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Mason Cheng, HC 2017.

Mt Jackson June 14, 1862

Dear sister -- I promised you a minute detail of our march and late fighting which has hardly eased yet but lack paper & time all I can do is to let you know that I am on this side of Hades[.] We are now in a beautiful country the valley of the Shanandoah which is layed wast[e] by the fates of war. You at home cannot realize what it is go to bed with out supper & get up in the mourning & have to go to some quartermaster & beg a little hard bread or salt Pork for to fill the mouths of hungry children This has been done by men worth over fifty thousand dollars[.] money will not keep a man a live in this country[.] since we have been on this march I have seen 3 thousand horses turned in on a wheat field all most ready to cut & pastured there for the might they would utterly destroy the whole field of grain per haps one Hundred acres in the field. We have marched nearly two hundred mieles since the 25th of May & I am completely used up[.] we are & very short rations now[.] I succeeded in getting 10 lbs of flour to day at 20 cts a pound & had it baked[.] it cost after being baked 50 cts per lb & we were glad to get it at that[.] when I can get some paper I will write more[.] write soon & oblige

Yours Truly

ER Montfort

Elias Riggs Montfort, letter to Maggie Montfort, 21 June 1862, folder 1, box 1, The Elias Riggs Monfort Papers, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by J. T. Silvers, HC 2017.

[Note that this letter was written on a "U. S. Military Telegraph" form.]

Camp at Shawsburgh June 21st 1862

To Dear Sister

I again notify you that we are not done with marching we have since I last wrote traveled 47 miles makeing in all since the 25th of May 45 miles on foot through mud & watter & with only half rations & some days none. Our regmt now cannot muster over 200 men for a fight 5 captains 2 1st Lieut & 8 2nd Lieut & one field officer which is Major Reily. Col McLean has been promoted he is in command of the 2nd Brigade of which the 75th forms a part. The Brigade consists of the 75th 82nd 73rd & 55th O.V.I. U.S.A. Major Reily was appointed Grand Marsall which left us with out a field officer for two weeks One company has no companies officers[.] the capt is sick at Claysville Md. the 1st Lieut at Athens ohio the 2nd Lieut at Newcreek[.] the Regt is in a very bad fix & would not be able to meeet the same number of the Enemy there are at least 50 men that have no shoes & as many more have no blouses or blankets Genl. Traum is a poor excuse for a Genl. or we would have caught Jackson and captured his whole command. Lieut Crampton writes to me that he delivered the money I sent but forgot the watch he has my watch when you write tell me what he said of me & of what we had to undergo also what you are doing[.] at the time I am writing it is 25 minutes past 9 oclock It gives me the blues to think of what you may be doing this week & I am in va marching all day & sleeping on the groung at that with no blanket & raining half the time

Write Soon

Yours affectionately

E.R. Montfort

[The following was written in the margin of the letter.]
I picked this piece of Paper up on the road with about a dozen others dropped I suppose by the opperative.


E.R. Monfort, letter to Maggie C. Montfort, 27 July 1862, folder 2, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.)
Transcription and research by Daijon Johnson, HC 2017

Camp near Speryville.
July 27th 1862


Your welcolme letters came to hand to day also a circular & catalogue. I can appretiate your happy trip to Bloomingtoon &c [.] We often enjoy such excursions in this state though perhaps not so pleasant as yours[.]  we are often called up from our beds to go out and meet our prodigal brothers of C.S.A .  who have rebeled against their country & are now reaping the fruits of their sins.  Is this not really romantic.[?]  I suppose you read carefully all the papers contain  in regard to Genl Pope is I think one of the best Genl we can boast of[.]  He came here & has gone to work with a will sending out his scouts to harass the enemy scarcely a day passes without seeing some prisoners who are brought in by our cave lry[.]  Genl Pope's forces  at the least estimate is now 75 thousand some say 100,000 which may be the case. These things are kept from us which is a wise policy.  I wish Frauk would come out see me. James [Ruby?] came to see his father but has returned.  We are now encamped on a beautiful elevated spot one mile from Speryville. We have some splended views from here[.] in the east is to be seen the division of Genl Milroy  consisting of two Brigades of 5 Regts each 5 Batteries of artil ery  & in unerable cave lry[.] the Beautiful rolling hills & Luxureant Vallies form quite a contrast with the high & rough mountains  we have just left[.] there is not to be seen a fence for severe l miles around the grain is all layed waste & destruction and & [famine] frown at ev ry one who depends on the product of the Earth for surport[.]  A solder considers all that may come with in his grasp his own - -  their is scarcely a male in habitant[.] in the valley[.]  Negroes are flocking in by hundreds[.] since Popes last proclamation they are of great use to us in various ways. I have one cooking for me that I bro ght from Hultonsville[.] he is very active & smart only 12 years old[.] often speaks of when we will get to Ohio[.]  the negroes here think Ohio is a heaven where they will have nothing to do but balk in the sun eat drink & be merry[.] I wish you would tell mother get me two or three woollen shirts like those father got me just before I started[.]  I want them a dark [color?][.] also some drawers & cotton stockings as many as you can get[.] also send me some stamps as they are a scarce article here[.]

I remain Your Affect Bro,

E . R. Montfort


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to father, 17 Aug. 1862, folder 4, Box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College ( Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Ethan Miller, HC 2021.

[in pencil: Culpepper]

In Camp 12 mile from C                       
Aug 17th 1862

Dear Father-

Yours of the 11th came to hand last night and I think this will leave at 10 A.M. to day. I will proceed at once to answer your [crossed out: letters] Questions –

Col McLean did not have the power to nominate me or I would have been safe as I have had sevrel short conversations with him on the subject & he sympathises deeply with me. It was his duty to forward the recommendation  handed to him he even delayed this over two months. 2nd  I am filling the  place & performing the duties of both 1st & 2nd Lieutenantin the company.

3rd No one but the captain has any power to recomend a person for a Lieut in his company. [crossed out: 4th]_ I have talked to Major Reily on the subject & he gave me encoragement saying that he thought it would come out right in the End he also invited me to come to him when ever I wanted any advise on that or any other subject & he would freely give it.

5th No reason has been given & if I speak to the Captain about it he will turn his back & say for me to mind my own affairs & let his alone.  I have often told him that it was my affairs & very important ones to but I get a bluff or a cursing & thus the matter stands. I may get the 1st Liutenatcy but I will not even be satisfied with that in this company. No Doubt the orderly Sergt will make a very good 1st Lieutenant but that is not the question with me. Col McLean gave me a recomendation to the military committee which I suppose you have before this time as I sent it off on the seventh from [8pm?]. You wish me to write after every skirmish & battle they are so often & paper so scarce & the [convenances?] for writing in the waggon that I am afraid I can not comply though I will do the best I can.  Genl Milroy lost 25 men on picket yesterday taken prisoners. Genls. Burnside & Rufus King have come up since I last wrote you with I think from appearance not less than 40 or 50.000 men this is a quite a reinforcement.
I have never mentioned my troubles to any one accept Col McLean Major Reily & the orderly who sympathises deeply with me.  I have to go on duty & must stop.

I am Your affect Son

E. R. Montfort


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Joseph G. Monfort, 18 Aug. 1862, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort collection Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Cameron Ray, HC 2021.

In Camp at 12 miles from C-

Aug. 18th 1862

Dear Father

Yours of the 13th came to hand today. It was source of pleasure to me to know that [crossed out: the] my Commission as 1st Lieut has been made but still I never can be perfectly in this company I would willingly accept a 2nd lieutenancy in some other company. But I can not get out of this regiment without promotion Captaincy or Adjitancy Either is all I will accept. A transfer can not be made from a regiment in active service to one that is not unless on account of promotion.  As to my remaining in this I would as soon be in prison in  Richmond if it were not for my duty to my country.  The ordenly requested me to to ask you to inquire at Columbus for his commission if you happen to be there he is the only confidential friend I have her as the officers of different companies keep to themselves while we are in as active service as we are now in we mess together Sleep together &   I think him competent to hold the position of 2nd Lieut as as any man in the company or even regiment. I hope you can get me some position.  I ask for none that I am not comptent to fill. If you have not sent the commissions please send them imediatly directed to the care of Col McLean commanding 2nd Brigade of 1st Div of [crossed out: 1st Army] Seigles corpse, army of VA, Culpeper VA

& mark it official then it will come safely

Remain yours affect


E R Montfort


Elias R. Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 8 Oct. 1862, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription and research by Carlton Mhangami, HC 2018

Army in the field, Centerville Va Oct 8th 

My Dear Sister 

Yours of the 27th of Sept came to hand last night. We are now in the most forlorn & deserted country, I ever saw it is uninhabited & destitute of every thing required to sustain life even of animals we look to Washington for every thing & for some cause or other we often are left with nothing to eat though we never feel as if we never expect to have any more, as is often the case.  one consulation with me is if I do not get any thing I will not have to pay for it & thus you see my money is saved. Col.Mclean is at home on furlough now and we suppose enjoying the smiles of his family & praises of his many friends which he deserves. I received a letter from Theod Fitch yesterday the first for six months. He holds one of the best positions in the army for making money & requires a very responsible man. I am glad he has it as he is worthy of It. Tell father I have heard nothing of the watch as yet & am afraid I never will as it is impossible to get a pass to get into Washington & several have called for it & was not there. Two Brigades of Cavelry passed the out post to day to make a raid through the whole country numbering about 7000 men good horses & in fine spirits I will let you know what they do as soon as I learn. We have always been in the out post since we have been in the army & have a better opportunity of seeing what is going on than any one else in reguard to the Enemy. Dr. Mussy called on me this morning before I was up I was in good spirits and looking well. He is the highest grade of surgeon I have ever seen by his straps he ranks as Lieut Col.

I received a letter from Frank to day he is studying hard  he says but I thing if he has not improved since he left Hanover he does not [do?] much.

Excuse haste & believe me ever your affect Bro

Elias. R. Montfort.


E. R. Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 6 Nov. 1862, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription by Graham Denning, HC 2017.

Hay Market Va Nov 6th 1862

Dear Sister

Your letters seem to come less frequent again and I am becoming again a little blue & anxious to return home. More so since Father payed me a visit which was a very pleasant one indeed. Through his influence I was permited to visit Washington & spend a fue days in peace free from all care & duty which always are unpleasant appendages to an officer in an active campaign in the [Enemies?]  country. We left Centerville on Sunday Morning camped at Manassas junction & imediately went out to perform Picket duty were much troubled by the Enemies cavelry all night & Proceded to this place via Bull Run Battle field in the Morning where now are camped[.]  the weather is very cold & disagreeable we spend the night in keeping up fires cutting wood &c in order to keep our selves warm. I hope we shall soon get some tents or go in to winter quarters some where as it is impossible for men to survive & remain exposed to to the weather I could stand it very well in the Summer with neither tent or blanket but now I can not

I hope cousin George is getting better I should like to hear from him if he is able to write I am glad Ike succeeded in getting away from Corinth so well

I learned that Charley Kempen was a frequent visitor at Glendale since the war began I do not wish you to encourage him at all to come never invite him to call again & if he [boars?] you with his unwelcome presense tell me in your letters I will write him a letter telling him what a high opinion I have of him & that if he calls again except on business what the penalty will be when I get home. He is to lazy to work to support himself but lives on his father & to cowardly to strike a blow for his country & that kind of men I wish to keep as far away from me as possible.

Excuse haste & bad writing

I am as ever Your Affect Bro

E R Montfort


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Joseph G. Monfort, 21 Nov. 1862, folder 4, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Abigail Estes, HC 2021.

Chantilly Va. Nov. 21st 1862

Dear Father

We arrived here yesterday from Hopewills Gap a distance of 24 miles in two days march. This is very disagreeable weather indeed almost as bad as it was at Centreville when you were here with us & we are not protected as we were there we have to share the same Quarters as the men had at Centreville which you know something about. I am glad to hear that Grandmother has at last consented to live at Glendale with you I think she could live as comfortable and happy there as at Baggistown    I wish Uncle John would have that misserable place.  I have been under the weather again for four or five days with an other boil not so bad as the first  it is well now though we do not know any thing as to our prospects for the winter some seem to think that we will go into winter Quarters while the majority say we will go South down the Coast as we are detached from the Army of the Potomac temporarily however.  I should like very much to cheat the winter by going South though that is merely a rumor and with [without] much foundation either. By the way, what did you do with my watch. I kneed one very much & shall have to purchase one if I do not hear from you soon about it. a watch is indespenseble to an officer of the line & I [it]  is very disagreeable to be borrowing one every time I go on duty which is often I received your letter in regard to a position with Genl Renolds nothing would please me more than to obtain it as I would have a horse to ride transportation for more baggage comfortable Quarters to sleep in every night More time that I could call my own & there fore have an opportunity to improve in my manners & to a certain extent my education which I now begin to see has not been improved as it might have been with my opportunities I would have an opportunity of distinguish my self as I know how to control my self in dangerous places & it would be more likely to be noticed as the Genl & perhaps his staff have never seen much service I know how much trouble & pain I have been the cause of at home to you & my dear mother & I wish to reestablish my shattered character & gain a name that you will not blush to own as your sons even if it costs me my life though I do not think It will as fortune seems to favor & the prayers of parents & friends will not be slighted I do not think that I should now live if it were not for them as I have come near loosing my life as several different times. Since you left a gun was discharged by accident the ball passing in to one of the upright poles of the tent I was in & leaning against at the time this was a very narrow escape as the ball passed clear through the pole & fell at my feet as if I had droped it. The Captain is sick with a bad cold in his head &  limbs something similar to rheumatism & is as crabid  & sausy as an old wet hen while the orderly has the blues about his concussoin & lays in his tent & scolds & complains when he has any duty to perform thinking that some one is working against him. & I to keep my self in a good humor have to laugh at them some times they get mad & sometimes have to laugh how ever I get a long well enough last night the captains tent blew away & he crept in with me & then the ditch around my tent got full & run over & the capt got up  the watter falling from his clothes & said I believe I am a regular Jonah  & I am going to leave  & so he went to Capt Fosters tent & cralled in with him  I got all his & my blankets & wrapt myself up & slept comfortable til morning   the orderly sat up by the fire in the rain until day light when the storm ceased [Dave?] had a nice time.

I wish when you have time you would occasionaly drop me a line to keep my spirits up

Remember me to Grandmother & Aunt Christy & the rest tell little sister to write oftener as she writes only about once in two weeks.
I hope you will succeed with Genl  Morris 

I remain your’s affect son

E R Montfort

P.S. Please send me some stamps as I am about out & can not get any here


E.R. Montfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 7 Dec. 1862, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind).
Transcription and research by Michele Navarrete, HC 2017.

Army in the field Chan tilly Va

Dec 7th 1862

Dear Sister

Your welcome letter came to hand yesterday. Winter has come in all his power. The wind has been blowing a perfect tornado for three or four days & still continues we are stationed on a high bluff & have all the benni fit of it.  we have no stoves & nothing but shelter tents to protect us from the storm.  Our tents are full of snow & the cold is almost intolerable being several degrees below zero & you can imagine the suffering of the men & yet the papers can blow about the administration not thinking of letting the army of the Potomac gointo [go in to] winter quarters.   I wish we had a fue such men out here in these shelter tents for a fue days & then Hear what they would say about it after wards. We have very different weather here in Eastern Va from your mild winters in Ohio
the shelter tent is about 4 feet [sqr?] & made of Common Muslin with both ends open afording no protection what ever from the wind or rain they are not large enough for men to lay straight & if they were a protection they would be very uncomfortable indeed. I for one am not willing to suffer as much as I have for the last three or four days.  I will come home where I can be comfortable & let those who win the Laurels have [them]. It is to true that we lose 10 men by exposure where we lose one by the enemy. It is so cold I can not write longer.

Your Affect Bror

ER Montfort


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 9 Jan 1863, folder 1, box 1,  Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Trey Sparks, HC 2017.

Staffords C. H., Jan. 9

Dear Sister,

Your welcome letter came to hand today bringing with the fond recolection of the happy past when I had the pleasure of engaging with you all in the festivities of the winter holow days. It would have have done me good to have been with you all. You ask me how I spent my Christmas & New Years days.   I scarcely knew when they passed by. In anticipation of Christmas dinner the Captain sent Lieutenant Ruckman to Aquia Creek landing to procure some thing if it was possible. He purchased one pound of butter for 75 cents and priced some other articles among them a goose which $3.00. It had been cooked in Washington and brought up in the river but he concluded he would not get it and came back so I had hard crackers, salt pork, coffee for breakfast. Pork crackers Butter for dinner. Butter crackers & Pork for supper. You can readily imagine how we enjoyed these rare luxuries of life which are so rare to us. Surely Ike must be a happy man to have such a family as he took to the Bible Panorama on his family and complimentarey ticket.  Col Constable with 3 captains the Adjutant [and?] two Lieutenants have either sent in their resignations or will immediately because they cannot endorse the President's proclamation. this leaves open a wide field for for the ambitious [juniors?]  do you not think so. We have warm political fights on the Negro question in this Regiment and ambition prompts us not to fight to hard for fear of changeing the minds of our Superiors and thereby keeping them in the way of our promotion. Do not say that we do wrong in this for what are men worth in the army who are are continually poisoning the minds of their men and creating dissatisfaction among them. And if for no other motive than the good of the Cause I consider it my duty do all I can to get rid of them.

I was on out Post Picket duty yesterday & do not feel much like writing now and you must excuse all mistakes as I kneed rest and can not of cause do justice to this letter. There is nothing more of importance to write at present. We have heard that Rosencrantz was successful at Murfrees borough] & hope it is true when you write tell me I received a letter from cousin Edward Riggs at Elizabeth N .L. He is well & enjoying his holow days finely Is George at Glendale now[?] if so please tell him to answer my last letter if he can find time. Has Frank [crossed out: joined the army yet] returned to  returned to Crawfordsville as yet if so I will write to him in a fue. Tell Sallie to write if her ma is willing

Write Soon & believe me your

Affectionate Brother

E.R. Montfort

I have not time to read this over before the mail goes.



Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 24 Jan. 1863, folder 2 box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Jack Shine, HC 2018.


Bell Plains  Jan 24th 1863

Dear Sister

Your kind letter came to hand to day. You say you wish I could see what a beautiful view you have now at Glendale, & I wish you could see what a beautiful view [strikeout: who] we have here. Mud versus Snow. Just as the little branches peep out from under the snow, [so?]  the mules & boys peep out from under the mud, as if afraid to venture far, & some times nothing is visable save the tips of their ears. And as the wind scatters the the snow & drifts it in heaps twists & curls it in fantastic shapes, So is the mud twisted & curld in fantastic shapes by the floundering artilery drawn by those superb & magnificent animals the mules & by the weary & worn yankey whose only Motto is Excelsior. “This is indeed beautiful enough to please the highest conception of a vivid imagination.”  Your ears are greeted with the sound of mery slay bells. & here also does the music rase with a volumptuous swell.”  The sound of the driver singing to their teams when they get stuck in the mud mingled with rich tones of that musical instrument  his whip & the merry laugh & the home sick soldier  the rich martial music comeing from [strikeout: the] a split fife & a broken drum  O it is delightful.  Who would exchange the life of a soldier in a winter campaign for the palaces of of a king. We had a delightful time here last night the rain poured down in torrents & the wind whistled by as if he were hurrying on to contermand  some wrong order which might do some michief & taking our tent for a baloon he took it with him together with about 3 / 4  of the tents in the regiment but we have been out in service long enough to look on the bright side of any thing & so we look at the brightest side of our blankets but some could not stand it the captain was one of these them the air was filled with music such as the drunkard sings when mad. This also was a delightfall time I never shall forget it.  Only one thing marred the pleasures of the evening entertainment & that was we were deprived of female society to enjoy the music with us it far exceeded any of Madam Rive briliant concerts

Orders come to march

I must close

Your broth

E R Montfort

(Write often)



Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 2 Feb. 1863, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription and research by Kirstin Biggs, HC 2017


Army in the field near Bell Plain

Feb 2nd 1863

Dear Sister,

Yours of the 21st and 22nd came to hand in due time. We have had a terrible time for two or three weeks marching about in the mud & rain. With no place where to lay our heads & not knowing whether we would march in the next hour or not. We march to morrow to Brooks Station. You have a mistaken idea of our laying quiet because the Army is appearantly doing nothing. We are not in winter [ie winter quarters?] nor yet likely to be this winter I wish we were in the Army of the South west as we then would have a milder climate to contend with which would be much pleasan ter & we would in nearer communication with home &  friends. As well as a better opportunity of displaying our abilities and distinguishing our selves.

Captian Friend and Dr Straden arrived last night safely. I happy to hear that Col Reily has such an oppinion of me I hope I merit it. I have the satisfaction at least of knowing that I have always tried to do my duty. And often under very trying circumstances. Col Reily is man who never speaks anything but the truth. Never flatters & you I think can rely that on all he says, he means.

Col Constable I think did as much as any one man could do to injure this Regiment. He has avowed his sentiments  in reguard to the presidents proclamation far & wide among the men & said & does more to discourage them than you can imagine.  Saying that he pittied them because they could not get out of the servise & glorying in his own advantage over them & saying that he would go if he was dismissed in disgrace.  That he was willing to be a marter to his princepals & his opinion of freedoms of speech

As far as I am concerned I can heartily endorse any thing that the President will proclaim.  I am in the Army now subject to his orders & will obey them.  Whether right or wrong is none of my business.  A subordinate officer in the army has no right to have an opinion or pass a remark on the orders of Superior officer.  His duty is only to obey.  Grumble you may but go you must.  Please tell George to write to me as I have not received a letter from him for two months & & I am anxious to hear from him.

Adjt Hopper's resignation has been returned & Lieut Col Constable & Capt Dishelen are suspended. A punishment in the Army much worse than to be under arrest & they feel it bitterly.  The Col says he is moraly & politicaly damed & He does not care what they do with him now.  I wish they would dismiss them & send the Col to Fort Lafaette as a political prisoner until the war is over

I think there is some movement on foot now from the looks of things.  But can not tell what.

I hope you will keep up your style of writing also tell me all the little scrapes the girls get into as they are interesting to me.  The roads are in some places three feet deep in mud & almost impassable  we can not make but a fue miles a day.  If the teams make three they think it good traveling with six horses or mules to a wagon.

But I must stop so Goodbye

Your Broth

E. R. Montfort

Feb. 3rd 1863


Elias Riggs Monfort, letter to Maggie Monfort, 25 Feb. 1863, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
Transcription by Dakotah Norman, HC 2017.

Brooks Station Feb 25 [1863]

Dear Sister,

Your kind letter come to hand some time since but oweing to the inclemency of the mud free quent & severe duties to perform together with my being now in command of the C ompany with no Lieutents to assist me as Capt. Morgan is now on furlough. I have sufficient excuse I think. I have been very unwell with s ore throat &c. at which has been a great s ource of annoiance to me.  Lieut Genl Hooker has assumed command of the army of the p otomac we have had to submit to the most minute inspections of all Company property and I have had numerous reports to make [which?] takes time and trouble.
the weather has been very disagreeable indeed since the new year set in and I am afraid it is an ill omen I can not see for the world what has induced any one to report me a captain. Captain Morgan is not a Major nor yet likely to be for a long time as Captain Harris is senior to him. You may expect a long time before you see me home on furlough as the major[.] Ruby says that the married men must go first and I think by the time they all goes home the order will be countermanded so do not look for me at all for I will submit to orders what ever they may be without complaining.

I am very sorry to hear of Cousin Hattie's death I deeply sympathize with all friends. I have come to the conclusion that there are more people die at home than in the army.

I will write again in a day or two I will have more time.

Remember me to all

Your Affect Broth

E.R. Montfont



Elias Riggs Monfort to Margaret C. Monfort, May 8, 1863, folder 3, box 1, Elias Riggs Monfort Collection, Duggan Library, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.)
Transcription and research by Asumi Oba, HC 2018.


Hd Qts 75th Regt OVI

May 8th  [added in pencil: /63]

Dear Sister

Since I left home we had a very active time we left camp at 4 A.M. on Monday Apr 26. marched three days 60 miles around in the rear of Fredericksburgh where occurred one of the most desparate fights of the war where in 15 minutes we lost 6 commissioned officers Col Reily wound & prisoner Adjt Gano missing Capt Morey & Capt Watkins wounded & in the hands of the Enimy Lieut Haskell wounded severely Lieut Crozet missing, And one hundred & thirty five men killed wounded & missing the old 75th looks thin Genl McLean shed tears [strike out: the other] yesterday speaking to the regt

Col Friend Capt Keckler are Safe & well

Excuse Haste

E R Montfort

I am now acting Adjt now

[added in pencil: Chancellarville]



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