FEATURES

LETTER FROM CAMP CHASE
William Jordan Parmelee ca 1832-1883
Joseph, Joseph ?, Joseph, Joseph, Isaac, John, John

Lottie Moon Clark was one of the greatest spies for the Confederacy. Like many other spies, she started off as a letter runner, .that is getting letters from Northern prisoners and taking them into the South to be mailed.

William wrote at least one such letter in 1862 while imprisoned about four miles west of Columbus, Ohio, at Camp Chase, a prisoner-of-war encampment surrounded by a 16-foot fence, right. His letter is now known as "the missing mail-bag of letters," missives that never reached their families until recently.

Mrs. Clark's permit for being a letter runner was either revoked or a warrant was issued for her arrest, for she left Ohio in a hurry without the bag of letters. The letters were taken back to Camp Chase, however William and his company who were among the more than 12,000 men in gray who had been captured Feb. 16, 1862, at the fall of Fort Donelson, Tenn., had already been sent to Johnson's Island, a spit of land in Lake Erie off the coast of Sandusky.

The letters were placed in the state Capitol in Columbus as to await their disposition. One thing led to another and the mail bag full of letters was forgotten about until 1904 when they were found in the back of a closet. The letters then were given to the state library for safe keeping. They stayed there until March, 1948, when a Mr. Porter donated the bag of letters to the Virginia Historical Society.


Camp Chase April 25, 1862
Mrs. Lydia
[Mc Ginty] Parmelee, Winona, Miss.

Dear Wife: I have no news to write you, only that I am a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, as you will see from the caption, and that I am in fine health and well cared for. Have plenty to eat; all the prisoners can ask for but liberty. All the Fourth Mississippi Regiment officers and privates are well and in good health. W.O. Thompson, M. Stafford, and R.E. Curtis have died.

Wife, be of good cheer; kiss all the babies and tell them pa is well and thinks of them every day. Tell all my relations and friends "howdy." Tell James [his older brother, James Oscian Parmelee, 1858-1934] to stay at home and take care of the family.

I am your affectionate husband,W.J.Parmelee.

Write me if you can,and direct, as above, to Prison No.2, Mess No.13. I omitted to say that W.F. Webb and Tommy Ratliff were killed on the battlefield; and I and our regiment are being sent to Sandusky, Johnson Island, in Lake Erie; so direct all your letters there.

Tell James to write.
Sandusky, Johnson's Island, Ohio