Oct. 27, 1864
Your note, on the back of Evrill’s letter was received by this morning’s mail; also a Pittsburgh paper.
I arrived here safely and found everything as I left it. I have now six clerks under me in this office, so we do not have to work as hard as we did before I left for home, there are no Venango boys here except John Cox. He is in good health. Norris still has charge of this branch of Col. Mackay’s office. He may not stay here a great while. It is said there is to be a grand Campaign the next month. I have been told by those who ought to know that Genl. Thomas is to be left here with a force sufficient to hold this part of Tennessee during the coming Winter, while Genl. Sherman is to take the balance of the Army and start for the Gulf or Coast. The Country between this and Atlanta is to be evacuated. The line of communication was so long from Louisville to Atlanta that it was almost impossible to hold it. Genl. Sherman will find a better base of supplies on the Gulf and one not so long. I have every reason to suppose there is something of this kind afloat for extensive preparations are being made for some movement.
I see by the “Citizen” I received today that Mr. Ramsdell has been appointed a Pay Master in the Army. I am glad of this for he is a deserving fellow. Do you know where he is assigned?
I do not wonder that Evrill is tired of the service for he has seen much rough usage. But he has not long to serve now. John Jolly sent his picture to me a day or two since. It looks more like he used to than the one Ma has. His family were all well at the date of his writing.
I see by the paper that a 100 bbl. well has been struck on the island above the mouth of Sandy. I think this is another argument in favor of retaining an interest in that lot on the river. Have the conditions of that sale been definitely arranged yet? Frank and Miles were both wishing you would retain an interest.
Were any of the drafted men accepted and did they go or did Pettis’ arrangement clear the County from the draft? There are quite a number of drafted men coming to the Army now. What is Henry Smith and Jno. Lusher going to do? Henry talked of coming back here after being mustered out of service. I think of nothing more at present.
Hoping for the health and safety of you all,
I am yours affectionately
J. D. Chadwick
This is the last of the extant letters of James D. Chadwick. After a short period in Chattanooga, he returned to Franklin, Pennsylvania, where he studied law in the offices of Myer and Kinnear. No doubt he was deeply saddened by the death on September 5, 1864, of his beloved little sister Mary. In 1866 James’s parents moved to Cleveland, but James stayed in Franklin and was admitted to the Venango County bar in 1867. That same year he married Lauretta R. Myers. Three of their young children died within three weeks of each other in 1875, but the parents lived to see other offspring bear them grandchildren. Brother Miles became a municipal judge in Minnesota. Bingham did newspaper work in Jacksonville, Florida. Shippen entered the medical profession in Cleveland and eventually moved to Jacksonville also. Frank’s activities are now unknown; he died in December 1894.
James had a successful career at law with a respected clientele in his community. A Republican and Methodist, he served his community in several capacities, including as a member of the local school board and of the first Franklin board of health. He took part in G. A. R. activities and served as an aid with the rank of colonel to a national commander of the G. A. R. During the Civil War, Chadwick made careful drawings of the leaves of oaks in the South, in order to compare them with northern oaks. This interest in botany continued, as his hobby became the study of ferns. He died in his home on Otter Street in Franklin on June 17, 1903. Lauretta would pass on July 1, 1912. Both are buried in the Franklin Cemetery. Surely, as his extended service to the G. A. R. suggests, James’s Civil War experience in his twenties shaped his thoughts and life through his remaining decades.
Jonathan E. Helmreich