The Hunt Family Civil War Letters

Contributed by Jim Cananaugh

Jim writes "I am sending you 4 Civil War era letters that seem to have interesting content. The Marshall County website already has one letter  written by Mahlon Hunt. I have another. Yes they are the same Mahlon Hunts and the father Richard Hunt and father Cornelius Hunt were brothers. These letters were handed down from Cornelius' daughter Jane Hunt Dixon to granddaughter Mary Adelaide Dixon. Adelaide included them in her "Hunt Family History" publication. I have put them into electronic format. The Cornelius Hunt's lived  in Hope Twp. La Salle Co. during the Civil War. They lived 2 1/2 miles east of Magnolia @ now State Route 18 and East 1st Rd. I believe Magnolia was always considered their home town.


Letter to Cornelius Hunt, Jacob Hunt's father, in Hope Twp. La Salle County IL

Letter from a scrap book of Jane Hunt Dixon (Cornelius Hunt's daughter) given to grand daughter Mary Adelaide Dixon

Original transcription Mary Adelaide Dixon

2nd transcription Jim Cavanaugh

Camp near Ackworth, Ga.

Mr. Cornelius Hunt

Magnolia, Ill

Dear Sir,

Having given your family assurance that I would show all care for your son in the service I have endeavored during my stay with the Regiment so to act. Yet it now becomes my painful duty to inform you of the painful fact that your son Jacob is now dead. He was wounded on the skirmish line while performing is duty. It will not be improper for me to speak of his merits of a soldier. Before he was wounded he was bravely pushing forward not recklessly but was coolly loading and firing his place with all the ardor and delight of one ready to offer himself a willing sacrifice in the defense of his country until a ball from a sharp- shooter came whizzing by in front of him striking him in the left shoulder. He was rendered considerably faint by the shock and refused to be carried to the rear and walked to the depot some five hundred yards in the rear of the battle line. I there examined the wound and found that the ball had passed through the bone near the shoulder joint. The ball was not to be found. I dressed the wound and set him to the Division Hospital. He was there reexamined and the ball was again looked for but without success. He began to fail and an amputation was not deemed advisable and he continued to fail until the night of the 7th when he died. The ball most certainly had injured the lung, otherwise an operation may have saved his life. I have a nice watch he left in Capt. Southwell's hands to be sent home. This I will do by the first one going far enough north to put it in an express office. I will send it to Wenona. Jacob was a brave soldier. The only thing he regretted was the opportunity of paying his debt he owed them. His denunciations of the advanced line of the 33rd which was the Regiment to our left plainly indicated the he was not flustrated by his position or his wounds. the Colonel of our regiment feels very badly over the loss of your son saying, " I knew him to be a brave soldier." These compliments he will receive from all sides. Although you have lost your son you can have the assurance that the blood of a patriot has been shed upon freedom's altar. Every loss makes us only the greater lovers of our great land of liberty and causes us to take a firmer hold of the implements of death to treason and copper headism. I must close hoping to hear from you and of your strength and will for liberty and an honorable and permanent peace and should be inspired by the dying words of your son. My respect to all while I am your

T. B. Hamilton


A Letter written by Jane Hunt (Dixon) Hope Twp, La Salle Co.
to her brother Jacob Hunt
who was killed in Georgia 1864 and was among his things sent home after his death.

Letter from a scrap book of Jane Hunt Dixon (Cornelius Hunt's daughter) given to grand daughter Mary Adelaide Dixon

Original transcription Mary Adelaide Dixon

2nd transcription Jim Cavanaugh

August 20, 1863

Dear brother Jakie,

This pleasant evening finds me seated at the table in the dining room in the dear old home that has sheltered us all around whose cheerful fire we have oft sat and around whose table we have often gathered and from it never turned unsatisfied away. I am seated here for the purpose to write a few lines to you. Jake, when I think of the days of Auld Lang Syne it makes me feel very sad. It is just one year ago today since you and George brought Lib from Wenona and Mary Mc Cobb and I went back with you. Jake, this year has been terrible with events. God has dealt gently with us. How many poor souls suffered and died far from home and friends. God has spared you and Dock and he has spared us too. The poor soldiers have had hard times but God bless them. They immortalize their names, they die for liberty and generations yet to come will bless them. I tell you the young men that are home are nobody. They are slighted by everybody but when we meet a discharged soldier if he is the poorest devil in the world he is honored and waited upon. There is a time coming when copperheads and cowards will be nobody. They are nobody now but they will be less yet. Everybody here thinks the war will soon be over and the rebellion is dead. The friends are all well as far as I know. I almost forgot to tell you I had sold my cattle. I got $20 for the cow and $15 for the steer. Lib got $15 for her cow. Gid Wood is going to move to Lostant to live. We get all your letters I think. We will send you some more stamps when we can get them. There is a camp meeting here on Clear Creek to commence a week from today. I wish you were hereto go. Tell Dock it is true about Ruth Miller's little boy. Lib and mother got letters from you and Dock last night dated the 10th and 12th. They will write soon.

I received a letter from Wash Thomas. Write soon.

Affectionately your sister

Jane E. Hunt


Letter written to Elizabeth Ann Sidle Hunt, Hope Twp, La Salle Co. IL
from her son Jacob Hunt, Co. H, 104th Illinois Infantry

Letter from a scrap book of Jane Hunt Dixon (Cornelius Hunt's daughter) given to grand daughter Mary Adelaide Dixon

Original transcription Mary Adelaide Dixon

2nd transcription Jim Cavanaugh

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Oct. 21, 1863

1st Reg. 1st Div.

Army of the Cumberlain

Dear Mother,

I wrote to you yesterday but am induced to write again this morning and ask you to send us something to eat. We have been living on half rations of hard bread and meat since we came here. But we thought we would soon have plenty but it is still worse and we are so hungry that we would be glad to have peelings from the potatoes and apples you throw to your pigs or the crumbs from your table. Mother, this seems hard yet it is the truth and I should not let you know that we do not get half enough to eat. Last evening we were thinking of how much we should like to happen in and sit down to a table where it is loaded with everything good and have some apple pie. You might send us some butter, cheese, dried and canned fruit and still have plenty left. You can send a box weighing 100 pounds as cheap as one weighing less. Send it full of the kind that will take up the least room and be the best for us. After all is in, tell A.G.M. to stick in a quart can full of the best brandy and a pound of tobacco a piece for J. Spring, J.H. Tell Jane Taver and Sarah Phillips to fill one third of the box for Ja. He says if they don't think enough of him to send some butter and dried and canned fruit he doesn't want to hear from them. It is a hard thing to soldier and have but little to eat. We are in good spirits but when we see that box coming we will be in better spirits especially after we have eaten what we want and taken a drink from the can of brandy. We moved yesterday and busy fixing to keep the rain from our beds. The enemy still lays here and we will in all probability stay here this winter. We are afraid our supplies will be cut off and then we shall see hard times. This is all we fear as our line is now so long and the rebels have no where to go and they will try to break our communications lines and even compel us to leave this place. It being the key to the Confederation. We must have it back and give up the box. We don't want to evacuate this place. We are ready or will be in a few days to resist the whole Southern Confederacy and are ready to welcome them in any day. Will close and hope this will reach you and you will be more prompt in writing as we have had no mail from home in over four weeks and don't see why we can't get letters from others around us do. Write when you send the box and we can have our Quartermaster order it up. We will pay the express so if lost you will only be out the contents. Be sure and have the box well secured.

From your son

Jacob Hunt


Written by Mahlon Hunt, son of Richard Hunt and Ruth Horrom of Marshall Co.,
to his cousin Ruth Hunt, daughter of Cornelius Hunt La Salle Co.,  
Mahlon was killed in Oct. 1863 serving in Co. B, 86th Illinois Infantry

Letter from a scrap book of Jane Hunt Dixon (Cornelius Hunt's daughter) given to grand daughter Mary Adelaide Dixon

Original transcription Mary Adelaide Dixon

2nd transcription Jim Cavanaugh

Post at Nashville, Tennessee

Feb. 4. 1863

Dear Cousin Jane,

It has been some time since I have heard from any of you. And as an opportunity is offered me I will write a few lines. We are at Nashville, Tenn., where we have been since the 13th day of Dec. 1862. We are in Gen. Morgan's division, second brigade of the 4th division of the 14th Army Corp. Our duty is picketing which is quite easy. We are on duty about one day in six. We also have a light camp guard. We have been quite lucky that is the 86th since we entered service. We have been in only one battle. That was the battle of Chaplain Hills. The loss to our regiment was one man killed and thirteen wounded and no one hurt in our Camp B. We have had several skirmishes but nothing of any notice. I have not seen or heard from Jim Moore or William Spring since we left Sheridan's division and that was Oct. 9. When I last saw James Dixon he was driving a team (Jane Hunt's future husband). I understand through some of the teamsters that were in here during the battle at Murfeasboro the he had been sent out with a provisional train that was captured at a tavern and it was thought that he was killed as many of the teamsters were killed. I wrote to him soon after that but have no received an answer. I presume you know by his time where and how he is. Please write and let me know all about it. Also about the 104th if cousins Doc and Jacob have been home or not. I saw them when they took the cars for Louisville. They said they would write but I have not had a letter yet. I have no news to write. It is quite dull laying in camp but the boys are in good spirits. I think this thing is to play out soon. Corp. E.C. Bartley and Lieut. McVicker have resigned and gone home. More anon and remember me to all inquiring friends.

Your affectionate cousin.

Mahlon Hunt


Back to Putnam County Illinois History and Genealogy