John D. Gillies Papers

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Collection Title: John D. Gillies Papers

Collection Number: Ms. Coll. 180

Dates of Collection: 1861-1863

Box Numbers: .5 box, 10 folders, .5 linear ft.

Repositiory: Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, PA 19380

Language: English

Project Archivist: Margaret Miles Baillie

Abstract:

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Abstract: 

The collection contains letters written in 1861-1863 by John Dallett Gillies to his wife Mary.  Mustered into service on November 4, 1861, he served with the 7th PA Cavalry, 80th Regt., “The Sabre Regiment,” Co. G,  in Kentucky and Tennessee.  He had obtained the rank of sergeant by the end of August 1862 and served in the hospitals in Nashville after he was wounded in the fall of 1862. He was discharged from service on a surgeon’s certificate March 4, 1863.


Information For Researchers:

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  • Access:
    access: 
    Collection is open for research
  • Publication Rights:
    Publication Rights: 
    For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Librarian of the CCHS library.
  • Preffered Citation:
    Preferred Citation: 
    John D. Gillies Papers, 1861-1863. Ms. Coll. 180. Chester County Historical Society Library. West Chester, Pennsylvania.
  • Acquisition Information:
    Acquisition Information: 
    Donated by Frances James Dallett in August 1967. Mertie Gillie Hallett gave the papers to Dallett.
  • Processing History:
    Processing History: 
    Processing and finding aid prepared using DACS by Margaret Miles Baillie, 2009.

Biography:

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Biography: 

The collection contains letters written in 1861-1863 by John Dallett Gillies to his wife Mary.  Mustered into service on November 4, 1861, he served with the 7th PA Cavalry, 80th Regt., “The Sabre Regiment,” Co. G,  in Kentucky and Tennessee.  He had obtained the rank of sergeant by the end of August 1862 and served in the hospitals in Nashville after he was wounded in the fall of 1862. He was discharged from service on a surgeon’s certificate March 4, 1863.

Collection Scope:

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Collection Scope: 

The collection spans the years from 1861-1863.  It consists of personal correspondence.

Collection Arrangement:

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Collection Arrangement: 

The primary arrangement of the manuscripts is chronological and they are housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. 

 The documents were transferred from the general manuscript and letter collections at CCHS, which, in the past, used an alphanumeric cataloging system and they are still marked accordingly.  This allows for in-house cross-referencing between the two systems. 

Related Material:

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Collection Contents:

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Collection Contents: 

Box 1 Correspondence 1861 - 1863. 

Folder 1 – Letters to Wife. October – December 1861. 15 items.

-October 27, 1861.  From CampCameron to Wife in Ercildoun. Mentions that, with 33 men, they are the smallest company. “Kiss all the children for me.” 

-November 5, 1861. Consolidated with another company from Tioga Co.  Sergeant selected.  Sings certificate for relief money for wife.

-November 10, 1861. Gives rate of pay per month.  Mentions Zouve Regiment in camp.  Starts to sign his letters “Jack.”

-November 17, 1861. Says officers are getting stricter.  Asks for a copy of the Coatesville Record.

-December 16, 1861. Seems to have gotten home for a visit.  Says he receives $13/month pay.

-December 22, 1861. Troops travel on the Ohio River to Steubenville.

-December 23, 1861.  Continues travel to Steubenville.  Tells of deserters.

Folder 2 – Letters to Wife. January 1862. 8 items.

- January 6, 1861. At CampCrittenden, Jeffersonville, IL.  Says reason he joined was to make a living.

-January 14, 1862.  Mentions that there are too many cavalry regiments.  Talks of rent back home and writes to each child.  This letter has his name and regiment stenciled on it.

-January 25, 1862. Mentions sicknesses, etc., and the Great Flood of 1832.

Folder 3 – Letters to Wife. February 1862. 7 items.

-February 2, 1862. CampThomas, Bardstown, KY.  States that someone reported that their regiment was not fit for service.

-February 17 1862. Continues to think that the war will be over by May.  Says the cost of one cavalry unit is equivalent to four infantry units.  Mentions David Walton and Jim Newlin. 

-February 23, 1862. Saw Samuel Calhoun hung.  Warns his wife Mary that she had better lookout for herself when he comes home.

-February 28, 1862. CampBuell, Munford, KY. States he is going down to guard bridges.  Talks of seeing Abraham Lincoln’s homestead.  Mentions having “a good game of ball today.”

Folder 4 – Letters to Wife. March 1862. 9 items.

-March 7, 1862. CampWood, Munfordsville, KY. 

-March 10, 1862. Children have the measles. He misses the children. States that the rebels had plowed up the road to make it hard to travel on.

-March 22, 1862. Campy Worth, Nashville, TN.  He says he is down in “Seceshdom” and stayed in a church one night.  They captured Capt. Roe.  He states that they are under Brig. Gen. Negley. Mentions the 78th and 79th PA regiments, and the 1stWisconsin. “Got a six-barrel pistol today.”

Folder 5 – Letters to Wife. April, May 1862.  7 items.

-April 3, 1862. Murfreesboro, TN. He asks his wife to thank James Newlin for his many kindnesses to them.  States that his horse got kicked in the leg and would have to be killed.

-April 28, 1862. CampParkhurst, Murfreesboro, TN. Wife’s address is now McWilliamstown, PA. 

-May 21, 1862. He speaks about their fight not being in the papers.  His boots burned up. Mentions seeing his little boy being in pants when he got home.  Says they are capturing rebels and they seem to be happy to be caught.

Folder 6 – Letters to Wife. June-July 1862.  6 items.

- June 2, 1862. Talks of his son’s school project which was regarding the war.  He tells Willie what color stripes on a soldier’s uniform go with what branch of service for the school project. Mentions Corinth; rebels fleeing; Citizens and soldiers taking oath to the U.S.  Tells of men dieing and the Captain not letting the sick go home or be discharged.

-July 6, 1862.  Talks of Alex being sick and to give his condolences to Sue on the death of Little Charlie.  Gen. Duffield coming today.

-July 21, 1862.  Murfreesboro, TN.  They took possession of Murfreesboro “last Friday.”  He writes in detail about the battle.  There were 1300 prisoners and there are only 14 left in his company.  Only he and Mr. Kirk are left from West Chester.  He lists the wounded:  Elisha Hamill, T. Holt, T. Kinsey and Lish.  States that they have cowardly officers. He hopes Alex is feeling better and he states how he wants to come home and never realized how much he loved her and the family.

Folder 7 – Letters to Wife. August-September 1862.  4 items.

-August 8, 1862.  Nashville, TN.  In response to the news of Alex’s death, he states that the news “fell on my heart like a lump of lead” and that “Willie and Cora stay well for I could not bear to hear of the loss of anymore of my children.”

-August 31, 1862. Talks of Gallatin.  He was in both battles.  650 of them against 2500.  He states that when the General raised the flag of surrender, he and many others ran so that Morgan only caught about 200 of them.  Then they fought again.  States that PA and IN boys fought hard.  He is now a sergeant.  Says that a single man cannot know what it is to miss his wife.

-Envelope dated September 2.

Folder 8 – Letters to Wife. December 1862.  4 items.

-December 10, 1862. Nashville, TN.  He is taking care of patients at a hospital.  He mentions the Sanitary Commission and that there are 18 hospitals in Nashville.  Tells of the Dead House and of a “Darkie” that took care of him when he was [wounded?].

-December 4-5, 1862. Tells how the Doctor will not sign his discharge papers because he wants him to keep working at the hospital.  States that he makes more nursing than soldiering.  He was invited to a theatre and heard the song “Trust to Luck,” sung by a Mr. Everitt (sic).  He writes the words to the song in his letter.  Talks of Sam Dixon trying to get ChesterCounty boys back in the Army.

Folder 9 – Letters to Wife. February - March 1863.  6 items.

-February 1, 1863. Convalescent Barracks No. 1.  Steamboats bring coal and about 300 sick to the hospital every night.  Tells of “gray backs” (body lice) and how they deal with them.  Talks of the Indiana legislature.  Gives details of corruption with distribution of sanitary aid.  He is responsible for signing release papers to family members who come for the bodies of the deceased soldiers.

-February 21, 1863.  Tells of owners of occupied town buildings offering money to people who will burn them down. Mentions a captain of the 125th IL who is from Urbana.  Talks of the “soldiers secret police,” and advises his wife not to say bad things against Old Abe.  States they take soldiers under guard on a ship.

- March 4, 1863. States that he has a chance to get home now that new recruits came down with the Lieutenant and Maj. Givin.

Folder 10 – Genealogy.  2 items.  Photocopies of a brief outline of the family genealogy.

Made Possible By: 
This project made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission 2009