Having been mustered out of military service, Chadwick nevertheless continued to serve on behalf of the Union in close connection with the military.
July 25, 1864
Dear Father & Mother,
I started from Meadville the Saturday after I left home, and going via Cleveland arrived at Cincinnati on Sunday morning. I laid over there until Monday, when I took the boat for Louisville where I arrived safe on Tuesday morning. My papers not being correct I was compelled to wait two days, and had to telegraph to Atlanta in order to proceed further. I finally got everything fixed in accordance with the ideas of the “red tape” men, and arrived safely in this place on Saturday morning. As you have been down South in the hot season of the year I need not attempt to tell you how hot it is. Virginia is nothing to this country in regard to hot weather. The crops look well—I never saw as good hay and corn in my life. Much good wheat through Kentucky and Tennessee also.
Chattanooga is about the size of Meadville and has been a pleasant place before the war. I am in Capt. Norris’ office which is situated in the most pleasant and healthy part of the city. It is on a high bluff—the bank of the Tennessee River. We get all of the breeze that is going and none of the dust. He has four clerks in all now—two of them from Cleveland Ohio. They seem to be pleasant fellows and I anticipate a good time while with them. The Government furnishes each of us with our rations. We give them to a family here with whom we board. We pay $500 per month for having our rations cooked and prepared in good style. The family consists of an old man and wife and three daughters—young ladies. They have a piano and seem to be quite musical, but they are thoroughly “Secesh” in their views although their father is a good union man. There is much business done here as this is the main depot of Supplies for [Major General William T.] Sherman’s whole command. The Tennessee River is a much larger stream here than I thought. It is as large as the Ohio seemingly and is navigable for steam boats the year around.
There has been hard fighting for the past two of three days at Atlanta. Maj. Genl. [James B.] McPherson was killed day before yesterday—his body has just arrived at this place from the front. When we permanently occupy Atlanta this office will very likely be moved to that place. We will hardly go for two or three weeks yet however. We have not heard the result of the battle at Atlanta yet—hope we have been successful in the engagement. You will hear the particulars perhaps before this reaches you.
It is said there have been two or three cases of Cholera in Nashville within the past few days but this place is rather healthy as yet. The prevailing disease is diarrhea. The water is tolerably good but not the best by any means. Lookout Mountain about which you have heard so much, stands looming up with its crest in the morning Clouds. You know you read about Jos. Hooker fighting above the clouds on the top of that mountain when Chattanooga was taken. Missionary Ridge stretches out in the distance to the East. The scenery here is picturesque and beautiful. Tobacco and cotton are cultivated largely throughout this portion of the Country. I never saw fields of either until I came here.
A badge pin will come by express to Franklin for me—it may be there now. I wish you would get it for me the first time you are in town. There may be about a dollar’s expense charges on it which please pay. Ask Frank Adams, a young man who clerks in the express office, he will give it to you. Get it and take good care that it is not lost for I value it highly.
I have not yet had time to hunt up Jno. Lusher or Henry Smith, but I expect to see them soon if they are in or near this place.
Chattanooga is the best fortified place I ever saw excepting the City of Washington. It is naturally a very strong place. I see another draft has been ordered. Hadn’t the boys better look around for substitutes? They can be obtained now, but how much longer is uncertain. Capt. Norris’ brother Charlie was drafted in Ohio a few weeks since but he hunted up an alien substitute and is now free for the next three years, being represented in the Army by a man not liable to draft. I think of nothing more that would interest you.
Address Box 23 Chattanooga Tenn. Care of Capt. Norris.
Wishing for your health and prosperity, I am,
Your affectionate son,
J. D. Chadwick
Next posting: August 4, 2014
Jonathan E. Helmreich
Meadville, PA 16335