Thursday, January 27, 2011

October 6th 1861 :: Jacob Berlin to his sister Sarah

This letter was not among those at the Nappanee Public Library... I recently discovered The Archives Project where someone has posted letters and photographs relating to the Berlin Family. I'm guessing that the person posting the information is a descendant of Sarah (Berlin) Greene, daughter of John D. and Susannah (Hoffman) Berlin. However, there is no contact information available. None whatsoever! Therefore, I have been unable to get in touch with them or to obtain their approval to post this letter. However, they have, without contacting me, posted several of the letters there that I had previously posted on my (now defunct) website. Perhaps, if they find this letter here they will get in touch with me! (Please do - contact info is in the upper right-hand corner of the blog.)

Jacob Berlin enlisted on September 5, 1861 in Company "C" Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was killed during the second day's fighting in the Battle of Shiloh (also known as Pittburg Landing) on April 7th, 1862. He was 25 years old. The Nappanee G.A.R. Post was named in his honor.

A note on the above mentioned web page states that the battle Jacob describes was probably at Greenbrier River, also known as the Battle of Camp Bartow, which took place on October 3, 1861 in Pocahontas County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

Dear Sister

I read your letter of the 15th of last and was glad to hear from you once more and I wish it were possible that I could be with you once more and enjoy the pleasure and comforts that I once enjoyd. But that cannot be. Here I am a soldier fighting for our rights and our liberty to which our country has been blessed with so long. I am deprived of a great many enjoyments which I might have were I to home. Yet I am not in the least discouraged. I think it my duty as well as every other man's duty to put down this rebellion as soon as possible and once more restore peace to our country.

Last Thursday the 3rd inst. we had a hard battle about twenty five miles from here at the foot of the Alleghana mountains. We advanced upon them about eight o clock a.m. and fought untill one p.m. They first commenced fighting about two miles from their intrenchments. The bullets came like hail for a few minutes but when we commenced firing they soon ran for their camp and got in their entrenchments. Then our artillery commenced firing upon them and kept on about five hours. Their guns were all silenced but one. They had run up their white flag already. Then they were reinforced and commenced firing. Again our artillery men were about out of ammunition and they thought it advisable to retreat as it was impossible for the infantry to take their camp in the position they were without the loss of a great many men. Our loss was ten killed and eleven wounded. We cannot tell their loss but it is supposed to be a heavy one. This was the most horrible sight that I ever saw in my life before. The cannon balls and shells fell thick and fast around us.

You stated that Father and Mother were going to Indiana. I wish I was there to see them. I passed through Rootstown the 15th of September. You had better believe I would like to have seen you all before I left.

I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all the same. Tell Elizabeth and Lovina to be good girls till I come back. Tell Lewis I want him to come and help me fight the secessionists. Nothing more at present. I send my love to all. Good bye

Your brother,
Jacob Berlin
Sarah Berlin, Write as soon as you get this
Adress Huttonsville VA
care of Cap. Rilsey Co. O. 9th Ind.
(to be forwarded)

Sarah would have been 20 years old, Elizabeth 18, and Lovina 16 years old when this letter was written.

Jacob was in Company “C” not “O” as transcribed in the text above. The transcription of this letter is from The Archives Project, I have not seen the original letter.

See The Berlin Family :: List of The Letters for a complete listing of all of the family letters.