Lambert Luten Civil War Letters
Civil War letters written to his brother between December, 1862 and July, 1865.
Lambert Luten (1837-1916) wrote the following letters to his
brother, Hiram in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He fought in the American Civil War from 1860-1865. On June 5, 1866 he married Willemina Hagens (1844-1918), daughter of Berend Hagens and Dina Vedders. His brother, Hiram, was married to Mary Vedders a niece of Dina Vedders.
Enlisted in Company B, Engineers and Mechanics as Corporal Sept 14 1861 at Grand Rapids for 3 years, age 22. Mustered Oct 29 1861.
Was in battle at Lavergne, Tenn. Jan 1863.
Re-enlisted Jan 1 1864 at Chattanooga, Tenn. Mustered Febr 1 1864. Sergeant Febr 25 1864. Mustered out at Nashville, Tenn. Sept 22 1865.
Present residence Grand Rapids, Mich. R.F.D. No 7.
From "Directory of Civil War Soldiers" in Grand Rapids Public Library. Published by authority of Senate and House of Representatives of the Michigan Legislature under direction of Brig. Gen. George H. Brown, Adjutant General.
Nashville, Tenn. Dec 7th 1862
Dear brother Hiram,
Having nothing else to do I have taken my pen to direct a few lines to you but do not infer from this, as though I only write to you when I have nothing else to do, but because it is only a short time since I have written and nothing of importance has transpired since. I am as ever dissatisfied on account of not receiving enough letters, I have only received 2 in 2 weeks, one from father and the other from÷÷÷÷ but still I am not going to ..., I am good natured as ever, and I think a little morest than I used to be at home for associating with so many men of diferent dispositions, a person has got to be good natured in order to get along.
Yes Hiram the army is a great school, a great deal is being learned both good and evil, but alas! The evil abound with many I am sorry to say.
We are still guarding the colored population and we have a colored man for our cook whom we have agreed to pay 50 cts per month. Each of us, we are living quite comfortable at this present time, how long it will remain so I cannot say, for there are many changes in the army.
We are with 10 men in one tent and have built a fireplace in the centre, which accomadates for cooking and warming the tent for it is quite cold sometimes.
Simon Ziel is yet at Louisville as nurse in a hospital.
I day we have fresh beef; by good luck last night a flet dark a drove of U.S. fat cattle came by here and one steped out by the way not being noticed by the drivers and of course our boys did not take any pains to direct their attention to it and now we have quite a nice lot of fresh beef in our tent. We are here with two comp.s and both comp.s have about 50 men on duty, our comp. furnishes 3 releifs of 10 men and a corporal. I have been on guard as long as we have been here 2 weeks ago today 2 hours on and off right along; every night at 10 o'clock if you think of me you may think that I am calling on the releif and stand untill 12 the time when you are engaged wispering sweet words that is if you have found a sweet heart again which of course you must have by this time, where girls are as plenty and boys as few as they must be in Michigan. They tell me that Schreuder is married at last to lovely Harrie so he did not get .. Daane . Well I suppose he feels good and I hope he will continue to feel so. The boys in the work house have had their trial but have not received theur sentenee yet. Dec. 13th., now I calculate to finish this letter we are back to the ... again and more than that we have received our pay and have reason to be happy as ... if money can course happiness.
I have expressed 160 dollars home forwarded. Albert ... second sergeant of our comp. has gone to Michigan recruiting, he will probably come to the Rapids you may probably know him as he used to work for Litchfields at Blendon engineer, you 'd better try to see him if you can.
Goodbye from your brother,
I have written a letter to father today; my respects to Sally and others grad wishes to ..sy.
Chickamanga Creek July 24/(18)64
Dear brother Hiram,
I will try and write a few lines to you this day, to pass away part of the time; for I have not the means of passing away, that you have at home, it is now sunday but no chance to go to any meeting. Only our prayer meeting tonight after roll call when we generally have an interesting time, all present taking part in the exercises; our number is from 10 to 15, we have meeting twice a week thursday and sunday evenings; was there but more spirit of prayer in our army; more a spirit of humiliatior and piety; did we but as a people turn into the Lord and practice wisdom by fearing Him and shows our understanding by turning from evil than I trust the dark clouds would soon disappear; and our national sky grows bright and I fear not untill ther, the doctrine that " the Lord is on the side of the strongest armies and the heaviest ordnance " is not drawn from the bible; and will hardly do to build the prospects of peace upon, for the Lord does not choose sides, that is left for us to do. And for us to reap the fruits of such a choice. Our country has got to undergo a change, the press has got to advocate different principles.
I had considerable confidence in the Vrincipia; as a poper of true principles, but its course in regard to Fremont, has .rushed my confidence for with it, as with other political popers, its candidate is extolled as a God, while its opponent is made to appear like a devil. Foolish inconsistency such as will not rid the country of its selfish politicians. We have plenty smart men the honest upright God fearing men are worting.
Smartness has got to be the tombstone of honesty and virtue. Smart tricks, donkee tricks have been so bountifully applouded, that many have taken the contageon and have perfected themselves in the schemes; honesty and virtue are at a discount in the army. If this were published many would at once denonnee me as a grumbler and foult finder a sorehead or some other name; and yet every soldier willing to admit the truth. Will say the some thing, such facts are not exactly published in the papers yet practiced as plain as words can speak it. We look too much over our own heads; to magnify the foults of our enemys, the word loyal is getting so it covers many sins, which the day of judgement will reveal to condemn the practicer. Many tricks in the army published going the sound of the press to tickle the ear of the reader; the world, the crowd pronounces them cunning, shrewd when viewed in the light of honesty and virtue, they would wither as the morngrass the army is the inventor od deeds and practices, demoralising to society degrading to the nation; and above all sinful in the sight of God.
I do not wish to be a faultfinder still where the rebaker is silent; sin goes on encouraged; popularity demands the silence of the faultfinder; but justice demands that truth should be spoken. I desire to be just if it be at the loss of popularity. The love of mony and of sensual pleasure are two great evils in the army; speculations of every kind are rife. I have speculated more than I meants in the future, for I find that it has a tendency to dishonesty and that it creates an undue desire for gain; honest labor must furnish me a livelyhood. The word every man for himself and the Lord for us all is carried out too much and the quatation ought never to be uttered for less practiced.
Sensual pleasure is so far indulged in, that nearly every honse is considered one of ill fame or would be made such.
Yet the modern poet prepares a heaven for the soldier who falls in the countrys service irrespective of live that heaven that admits all soldiers without a change of heart I do not want to go to.
It is now evening and I have just returned from our prayer meeting; where we had a soul refreshing time. There I find my real enjoyment in the army and hope to continue to.
The news from the front is rather conflicting today. Some reports have Atlanta taken and our troops driven out again; other reports have our army some distance beyond Atlanta fighting hard. Gen. Mac Pherson commander of the Department of Tennessee has been killed, his corpse went by here this morning, all accounts speak of heavy fighting some have our army retreating.
I am a little afraid of a Chickamanga affair, but hope the best, still you will have all the particulars before this reaches you. We are yet engaged as before; when we move from here we will probably go some distance for our reg. is now scattered a distance of a 100 miles along the R.R. And we will probably have to go beyond there, yet we can tell but little ahead. I must now close for it is bed time.
From your brother Lambert.
April 3, 1865
Dear brother Hiram,
It is with feelings of gratitude and pleasure that I have taken my pen to write a few lines to yoy hoping that it will find you in the enjoyment of health and life's blessings. We are as yet encamped at Goldsboro which place you will be able to locate from the maps. I wrote a letter to father about a week ago in which I gave a short detail of our campaign. For a better one I would refer you to the New York Herald of March the 20th which had an accurate map showing the roads over which we marched. Our reg. was at different times with different corps.
Tuesday, April 4
Dear Brother, this morning I have another subject to write on with feelings of regret. I have to mention that I am again reduced to the ranks. The circumstances are these. On the 7th of Febr. last, I was detailed in charge of the foragers from our co. The business of these foragers (5 or 6 from each co) is to shove out early in the morning ahead of the troops, that is the main column, go to the farm houses and procure provisions for the reg. - meat, flour, meal, potatoes and whatever can be found in the line of provision. The whole detail from the reg. is in charge of a Lt. On said 8th of Febr. we shoved ahead, nearly up to the skirmish line, went to a farm house, searched the outhouses, found a small quantity of meal and one of the men suggested going into the house to see if we could find anything there as there were several soldiers in the house already. So we went in, went upstairs and while looking around Gen. Hood's Com.g. 1st Div., 15th Corps, entered the house and arrested us, 4 in number, for violation of an order, forbidding the entering of houses and charged us with pillaging; yet that was only a supposition which could not be proved for we did not take a thing out of the house. Still it must be considered in the army that a general's word is worth as much as 10 privates at least; be he whatever he may, he is supposed to be a man of honor, more of honor than of honesty with some, but be that as it may, I violated a general order, which if everyone was strictly enforced I think every officer and private in the army would be criminated. So we were arrested, and have been in that condition ever since being excused from duty but not under guard, so that we had pretty easy times as far as physical exertion is concerned. Last saterday we had a hearing before Major Rhodes, provost marshall of our reg. and this morning the sentence was read to the company, fining the three privates $5 each and myself being reduced to the ranks after the 1th of April. In entering the house I followed the example of hundreds of officers and men so that it did not appear to be an offence. Yet the order stood unrevoked and I for one suffer the consequence of disobeying the same. So now I am at the same point I was more than two years ago; as far as promotion in the army is concerned; still I do not feel gloomy nor disheartened and I hope you may be reconciled to it. I am in the hands of the Lord and His ways are just. He can exalt and debase and what puny mortal say unto him what doest thou; one consolation is that in my case, I have the sympathy and not the scorn of my fellow men. The scorn is vented on the provost marshall who of all men is least loved.
Another sad circumstance I have to mention and that is the death of our orderly sergt. Chesebro who died today of disease; but I trust has gone to a better world, for his life among us was an exemplary one for good, and I trust while his body is rapt in the gloom of death, his spirit is robed in the white garment of the redeemed; may his death be a warning to the living for we must also die.
I have received 2 of father's most welcome letters, one of Jan. 29th and the other of March 5th. I also received one from you before leaving Beaufort, S.C. but failed to answer it for some reason or other. I think I have acknowledged receipt of the hat and gloves in a previous letter. You wanted to know whether or not to collect the town bonds which became due the 1th of Febr. so as it was about that date when I received, I concluded that you would act in the matter according to your judgement, the way it seems to you the surest and most profitable.
As I lost my count book, I would be pleased to have you give me a correct account of the condition my money is in; if there be any that is not drawing interest, get it in condition so that it may in interest drawing bonds. The weather is getting quite warm here, fruit trees stand in full bloom and are promising plentifully here.
Some unknown friend sends me the weekly Eagle for which I feel very grateful, whoever it may be receives my hearty thanks. I will now draw to a close hoping that this may (find) you, father and mother in good health.
I remain your affectionate brother,
P.S. Tell Harman (Vedders) I will soon write to him and should be happy to hear from him if he can get time to write.
Nashville, July 10/(18)65
Dear brother Hiram,
I have received your letter and the lemonade per Barkleg and was very much pleased with the whole. I will enclose in this the 5 dollars sent to Honkel as he is no more but is dead having died Tuesday the 4th from chronic diarhea; such is life many for aa long time acxiouly waiting for peace to dawn upon us, but who are not permitted to see the second epoch of meeting with loved ones.
Your letter is quite on interesting one and I accept you counsel in regard to our present condition. The counsel is just such as I should expect from an ever true and loving brother. But it is probably difficult for you to realize our feeling under the present sircumstances. Yet your advice is proper and if acted upon will bring us safely through. But it is quite difficult for humanity to excersize that trust and confidence at all times. Had the government not mustered out the yaerlings at once there would have been a great deal of hard feelings avoided in the army for the yearlings as a class were despired in the army.
I have received a Rincipia again now united with the New Era; it assails president Johnson severely for excluding the right of suffrage from the colored race by proclamation. I too think it is unjust grafsly. The negro must either be a full citizer or a slave and I think time will prove it.
He is free-ed from slavery but the work is not done yet and the unjust judge will be harrassed untill he does justice humanity inespective of color.Son of Berteld Luten and Gezinna (Geesken) Bos.
Transcriber: Anton Vedders
Created: July, 2003