Soldier writes to future wife about Shiloh Battlefield


Date Written

March 15, 1862

History Referenced

John H. Denton was 21 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Martha A. Cole, was 18 when it was received.

John H. Denton died 31 years, 6 months, 25 days after writing this.
It was written 161 years, 6 months, 8 days ago.
It was a Saturday.

Camp Near Pittsburgh Landing
March 15, 1862

Dearest Mattie,

I take the present opportunity of writing you a few lines for the first time since we arrived on the battleground. We are encamped at present on the ground where the hardest fought battle ever fought on this continent was fought, but our Brigade was too late getting here to participate in the fight. We arrived here on last Tuesday and on Wednesday I walked over the battle ground which extends for several miles around and I must say that I never saw such a site in my life. In many places you could not walk for walking over the dead bodies of rebels (our men had all been buried). We had done very hard marching varying to the wet weather and the force marches we made so as to get here; we left our wagons behind and they have not come up yet so we have been without tents for a week. On last Saturday evening our brigade and a detachment of cavalry was ordered to proceed up the rear 40 miles and then proceed 13 miles in the country and there destroy a railroad bridge which we did and then returned on Monday eve. I have not time to write more at the present or in fact I have not room on this paper for this is all I have. When my trunk comes up I will write you a long letter. This I would have written before but they would not permit us to send letters. Dear Mattie I have strong hopes of coming home before long for I believe the war will soon be over. Give my love to your Ma and all the folks. I am one who does & will love you to the end.

Truly your affectionate,
J. H. D.

Direct your letters to Pittsburgh Landing near Savanna, Tennessee, 10th Ky. Vols. Gen’l Thomas’ Division
J. H.D.

Scans of Letter