Tag Archives: George W. Colvin

George W. Colvin – Civil War Letters, Part 2

The remaining two letters of George W. Colvin to his wife Lucinda Lea Colvin – written during 1863 in the midst of the Civil War.  To read the introduction and first letter click here.

Second Letter

June 5, 1863, Green River and State of Kentucky

‘My dear Wife I will again enclose you a few lines which I can say to you that I am well, hoping those few lines may find you and my two little children are enjoying the same blessing.  Lucy we have made another draw but I was not pleased because I did not draw any more than just my wages, I never drew anything for my horse, which I don’t believe now that I will draw any more for my mare.  I will send her back to you, Lucy, to take care of her for about two months, which by that time I will know whether I will get any wages for her or not, but I want her to rest a month or two anyhow.  Lucy, I would be glad that your father would let new stay on his pasture.  I will pay him and make it all right what he will charge me and Lucy, if he has not got the grass you will see to her being put on good grass and that she has plenty to eat until she gets fat, and if I don’t ride her in the service anymore I will sell her and Molly both and all so the best of my little accouterments.  But I will write you another letter first.  Lucy, I would like very much to see you and little Enos and Martha Ann, but it is unknown to me when I will get to see you unless you come to see me.  Lucy, I will send you a little money this time, but very little.  I never drew but twenty-four dollars, seventy cents, which I have little left.  But I will send you the sum of fourteen dollars this time.  That is the best that I can do this time.

‘I left Jamestown the 2nd day of June that morning the Rebels pickets run in to Jamestown, about three hundred of them, but they  never hurt any of our men, they only took some six or eight prisoners of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry.  Our men killed one and took one prisoner, but the report is that the Rebels has left there and all, so our men, seven regiments, past by here yesterday and today.  I presume they were going to Lebanon to get on the cars, but I don’t know where they were going.  Lucy, tell Emily that I saw Jerry Adkerson last Tuesday and he was not very well then.  I did not get to stay long with him, I just made it a short halt as I came back from Jamestown.  I also saw Thomas Adkerson, Ance Hendren, George Lambert, John Lambert and lots of others that I was acquainted with and they were all well with the exception of Jerry and George Lambert, but they could go about.  Dock Hendren was gone to Lexington for horses.  Lucy, you will have your mare back again to ride again.  She is still gentle to ride and Lucy, I don’t want to keep her here and get nothing for it.  Lucy, the little mite of money that I send to you this time I want you to keep it; not pay out any more.  We must save some for ourselves.  It is thought by some of the boys that we will soon go back to Lebanon, but we may go the other way so far as I know.  But I hope we may go back to Lebanon, if we do I want you to come to see me and bring Enos and Martha Ann with you.  Lucy, I am very well satisfied to stay in the army if I could see you sometimes and hear from you oftener.  I will now come to a close by saying Lucy you must write to me oftener than what you do.  So fare well for this time my Sweet Wife.  George W. Colvin to Lucinda Colvin”

Third Letter

June the 23rd, 1863

Glasgow, Barren County, State of Kentucky

‘I received your letter the 19th and was very anxious to hear from you.  But I was sorry to hear that my children were sick.  But I hope when these lines comes to hand they may find you all well as this leaves me.  Well, we left Green River Bridge last Saturday.  I would like to see you all very much, but I about one hundred and fifteen or twenty miles from you and am now again under marching orders.  But I don’t know what point we will go to.  I have nothing of any importance to write.  Lucy, I have just come to the conclusion to sell Molly and Liz both and the other things, wagon and that old distillery and all the other things.  I had a little plank; sell it, plows and everything that is worth attention.  I expect you had better sell your cow for you can’t take care of her.  You had better get them gathered up together and just advertise them for sale you know, or can sell them for cash or on time.  But we will not particularly need the money.  You can do as you think best about it.  But be sure and get a good note with good security to it.  My old boat – sell it – and them sheep, I don’t know what to say about them.  If you want to keep them, keep them.  You will please advertise and sell soon.  If you sell on time don’t put the time longer than Christmas.  Lucy, I have not wrote to father and mother for some time.  You go over there and see them and tell them that I am well and would like to see them.  Elijah Colvin has got a bull tongue if mine that is worth something, if convenient, get it.  No more to say at the present time only I am your true husband until death, George W. Colvin to Lucinda Colvin.

‘Lucinda, I hate to have to part from my two mares, but I presume it will be the best under the circumstances.  Lucinda, don’t neglect to write often to me, I want to hear how Enos and Martha Ann is.  Fare well.

‘I will send one envelope already backed that you can send back to me.  I will write soon again.’

George W. Colvin – Civil War Letters

I was quite overwhelmed when I read these letters – first knowing that George Colvin never made it home to his wife Lucinda and two young children made them very poignant – and then reading his longing of wanting to be home with them, but still desiring to do his duty as a soldier, was another struggle.  He must have been in debt, asking Lucinda to pay what he owed, but wanting to change his life when he got home, making a fresh start with his wife and children.  There are two more letters from George Colvin in this newspaper article, which I will share with you are at a later date.

from Newspaper Articles by Orval W. Baylor

Has Old Letters of Civil War Days

Letters Father Wrote to Mother Are Cherished by Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield.  Was Soldier in Union Army and Died In Prison

Mr. Enos I. Colvin of Springfield has a number of old letters that were written by his father, George W. Colvin, while he was a soldier in the Union Army.  They were addressed to Lucinda Lea Colvin, wife of the said George W. and mother of Enos I.

George W. Colvin, son of Joseph and Nancy Turner Colvin, was born in the Big North sector of Washington County, February 25, 1835.  His father was a native of Virginia, born there March 18, 1780.  He came to Washington County when a young man and settled near the little settlement of Cornishville.  He was married to Nancy Turner July 26, 1805.  The Turners were early settlers in the Big North.

Joseph and Nancy turner Colvin were the parents of 13 children and George W., was the youngest.

As a young man, George W. Colvin traveled about from place to place.  A brief memorandum in his handwriting and now preserved by his son, tells of his travels.  It reads:

“Copied the 8th of October 1857.  This is to remember the time when I first left Kentucky on the 9th day of April, 1855, and went to the county of Lee State of Iowa and I resided there until fall and then I returned back to Kentucky and remained there six or seven weeks and then made my return to Lee County Iowa.  Resided there twelve months and then I went to the State of Missouri.  Remained there one week and then returned to Kentucky.  I landed there 23 November.  Remained there until spring and then I went back to Lee County, Iowa, and from there to the State of Missouri, Noetowa County.”

After approximately three years of going and coming, George W. Colvin decided to stay in Kentucky.  On June 29, 1858, he was married to Miss Lucinda Lea, and from then until he entered the Union Army he resided in Washington County.  Three children were born to George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, viz., Amos Colvin, April 10, 1859, Enos I. Colvin; December 4, 1860; Martha Ann Colvin, February 6, 1863.

Entering the Union Army at the beginning of the War Between the States, George W. Colvin continued in the service until near the close of the conflict when he was captured and taken to the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia.  There, after he had suffered all the horrors for which that prison is known, he died.  He had been home to see his family a short time before he was captured and on the occasion of that visit he went to Louisville where he had his picture taken astride his favorite horse.  This picture is now preserved and cherished by his son.  It shows him in uniform with his sword at his side.  When he started south to rejoin his regiment he left his uniform and the sword with his family, fearing that he would be apprehended by the enemy.  The uniform was kept by the family for many years, but it later became lost.  The sword is yet preserved by Mr. Enos I. Colvin.

Enos I. Colvin is the sole survivor of the family of George W. and Lucinda Lea Colvin, and he has for many years resided here in Springfield.  He was married to Jane Kays, March 15, 1891.  About the year 1900 they moved from the northern part of Washington to Beechland and occupied the place where tradition says Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln commenced housekeeping in 1806.  The old cabin in which the Lincoln’s lived was still standing when the Colvin’s moved to the place and they tore it down.  The logs were piled up to remain there until about 1911, when they were seen by a person from Harrodsburg, secured by him and taken to that place where they are now enshrined and exhibited as “The Lincoln Marriage Cabin.”

The first letter of George W. Colvin to his wife and family – May the 31st, 1863.

Russell County, State of Kentucky, Jamestown, the County Seat.

Dear Wife, with pleasure I will inform you that I am well at present and I hope when these few lines comes to hand that may find you all well.  I would like very much to see you all, but Lucy, I don’t know as I shall come home any more until peace is made.  I have come to the conclusion that peace will be made against next Christmas.  We understand that the Union men has taken Vicksburg and the whole forces that were there and seventy pieces of canon, and we are looking every day for a fight to come off here.  The Rebels has a very strong force on the other side of the Cumberland River, and Jamestown is four miles from the river.

‘My regiment is at Green River, but there were thirty-three sent out of our Company to Columbia on detached duty and out of the 33, ten of us was sent from Columbia with the two regiments of infantry for their advance guards were at this time very comfortable.  Situated where we are in a first straight dwelling house in Jamestown.  Lucy, I don’t know when I will get back to my regiment, but I am as well satisfied here as I am anywhere in the army.  Lucy, I will tell you what we have been living upon.  We have had nothing but coffee and hard bread for better than a week.  But we will get some meat this evening.  Lucy I have not heard from you since Samuel Lambert brought a letter for me.  You said you had payed Jack Sims and also Graves with the exception of seven dollars, which I am glad to think that is so paid.  When I left the regiment they were talking of drawing two months wages which will help us a little towards paying my debts and I hope will get through after a while.  Lucy I have not heard if Molly has got well of the fistula or not, but is she has got well I want to sell her, as I told you in the other letter that I wrote to you.  I want all my little accouterments together if I ever get out of this war, I am going to a new country and take a new start for a living and lead a different life.  Lucy, you and my sweet little children is the last thing that I think of when I lay down upon the hard earth to rest with all the tormented insects to encounter with and you are the first thing I think of when I get up of a morning.  Lucy, I wish that I could send you and my sweet children some more apples, but it is so that I can’t send you anything this time.  Lucy, I want you to write to me as soon as you get this letter and you will please write often.  I will write to you again, soon as I receive a letter from you.  I will now come to a close for the present.  So fare well for this time.

‘George W. Colvin to Lucinda Colvin, Jamestown, Kentucky, May 31, 1863.  Excuse my bad writing and awkward spelling for the drums and fifes bother me.  We have a good force here and can soon have more.’