Patricia Dissmeyer Goff
P. O. Box 1482
Elgin, IL 60121-1482
Letter from Bart Beardsley, Pulaski, Tennessee February 19, 1865
My great-great-great grandfather, William Hunter Miller, lived in Onarga, IL with his second wife, Adelaide Rose Beardsley Miller, whom he married in 1874. William's granddaughter by his first marriage was Amy Miller Morgan. Amy's daughter, Ethel Morgan Fisher, had a treasure trove of diaries, journals, letters, pictures, and other documents hidden behind a wall in her home in Onarga.
Among those items was this letter from Bart Beardsley. I believe Bart was a nephew of Adelaide, but do not know for sure. I have no idea what ever happened to Bart; whether he married and had a family, or where his descendants might be today.
It is a wonderful letter, written in ink and in extremely good shape considering its age. I would like to hear from any person who can show descendancy from Bart or his family. I believe this letter belongs in their hands.
Pulaski Tenn Feb 19th 1865
Dear Brother & Sister,
I received your letter dated the 3rd and was glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that you was in such a mean place. We haven't had but very little snow here this winter. Well I will tell you something about how I fared while a Prisoner. We was attacked on the 3rd day of last January one year ago by all of Longstreets Cavalry which was about 4000 men. There was only 380 of us and after a fight of ten hour and twenty minutes all of our ammunition was spent and we had to surrender. We was kept on the field of battle under close guard for 24 hours. We was then started to Bristol 60 miles distant to get on the cars to go to Richmond. It took us five days during which time we had nothing to eat but about 1 ½ pints of corn meal and about 4 ounces of fresh pork per day. They took our overcoats and some of our boots but they did not take neither my overcoat nor boots on account of me being wounded. Well they put us on the cars at Bristol and started us for Richmond. We was kept in the City five days in the Pemberton Prison. We was then sent over to Belle Island where we had no tents no blankets nor overcoats nor we did not have but very little wood and nothing to eat but about 4 ounces of corm bread and ½ pint of rice soup twice per day. I staid there from the 17th of Febr until the 23rd of Febr and I took sick and was sent back to the City and put in the hospital and staid there until the 16th of April when I was paroled and sent through the lines. I reached Baltimore MD on the 18th of April. I staid there until the 1st day of June drew two months pay and had a good time. I was sent from there to Anapolis. I staid there 13 days and went from there to Washington City. I staid there two months and two days. I was all through the Capitol and had a good time there also I left Washington on the 15th of August and started for Nashville Tenn where I arrived in safty after 4 days travel. I staid there until the Regt was sent back from Atlanta which was nearly two months. I left there on the 20 of Sept and started to join my regiment at Lexington KY which place I reached on the 24 of Sept. We staid there about one week and went to Nicholasville where we was paid and I got a 20 days furlough and went to long Prairie. Well I will have to stop my history of military life for the present. You wanted to know where I found my trunk. It was at John Mateers and Howard had the most of your things sold for what you owed him. Mahlon Cochran is in Prison yet but Joe Howard is out. He hasn't got to the Regt yet. France Miers died in Prison. Old Joel Scrivener is dead he died while I was at home. I went there a few night before he died and none but him and Emaline would speak to me. I was dressed in my uniform. Well I could write three times as much but I haven't the time. I would like to see you very much. I could tell you more in one minute than I can write in half a day. William Chochran was killed on the 7th of Aug in front of Atlanta. Well I must close. This leaves me well. Write soon and direct as before.
I remain your affectionate brother,
P.S. We are in winter quarters at this place. We are having a good time at present.