THE ATTIC

CIVIL WAR LETTERS

MARCUS S. PARMELE 1841-1912
Alexander H., Smith, Oliver, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

MARIUS W. PARMELE 1841-1862
Alexander H., Smith, Oliver, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

JAMES A. PARMELE 1851-1890
Alexander H., Smith, Oliver, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

CHARLES OLIVER PARMELE 1838-1890
Alexander H., Smith, Oliver, Ezra, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John

This lot of seven letters of the 74th Regiment Illinois Volunteers was auctioned on E-Bay in 2005 for several hundred dollars. The missives are by Marcus to his family back in Rockford, Winnebago County, Ill., and penned by Marcus for Gen. William Rosecrans while serving as a member of his staff.

The seller made the following notes about them:

  • A Dec. 3, 1862, letter to Col. A. Sidney Post, from the 74th’s Commander Col. Jason March, and actually written by Marcus has an additional letter concerning Gen. William S. Rosecrans and Confederate President Jefferson C. Davis, preparations for action and his thoughts that Lincoln’s "proposition for emancipation is wise and may possibly prove the salvation of our country."

  • Letters of Dec. 28, 1862, (written by Marcus) and March 9, 1863, mention aspects of Rosecrans' Nashville/Murfreesboro campaign, Gen. William Tecumseh Sheridan, rebel cavalry, effects of artillery fire, etc.

  • "Orders: Army of the Cumberland" from headquarters of the Department of the Cumberland in Chattanooga, Tenn., dated Oct. 2, 1863. The letter is a glowing account of the accomplishments of Gen. George H. Thomas during the Chattanooga campaign and that he held in his hands "the substantial Fruits of a Victory and deserve and will receive the Plaudits of a grateful Nation." Signed "W. S. Rosecrans" but probably written and signed by Marcus.

  • Oct. 28, 1863, from Marcus to his parents – discussing convalescing friends, receiving permission from Sheridan to tear down a "splendid house … for the benefit of the ‘Yankee’ soldiers," building a comfortable dwelling and living "like pigs in clover." Also included a newspaper obituary of his twin, Marius, who was killed in the recent (Dec. 31, 1862) battle at Stones River, before Murfreesboro.

  • May 8, 1864, from Marcus to his brother Jimmie – engagement at Buzzards Roast, Grant’s "glorious result," and asking his brother to "…publicly proclaimed yourself on the Lord’s side." Also an original "General Orders No. 30 … Nashville, Tenn. May 10, 1865" – a commendation to the 4th Army Corps from Gen. George H. Thomas.

  • April 19, 1865, from Marcus to his brother Charlie and sister-in-law Maria – concerning "the lamented death of President Lincoln" and describing the ceremony in Nashville – "the procession was immense … the most imposing pageant … soldiers marching … muffled drums. Gen. Rosecrans and staff, Gen. Thomas and Staff, members of the state Legislature … societies, fire companies, etc… guns and tolling bells and universal drapery of woe…" On this solemn occasion the writer placed a good deal of his concern on Parmele family matters, looked to “God as a Refuge” and exhibited an optimism for the future by stating “I am confident that long years of happiness and prosperity are in store for all of us”.

If anyone knows who purchased these letters, please email me ... I'd be grateful to have scanned or photocopies of them.