The Camp Chase Letters have been provided by Evelyn Rard and George Purvis. A scan of the originals will be provided at no charge to any descendant who requests a copy. Anyone who can provide any information about these men or their descendants, please contact Mr. Purvis or Jim Taylor.

The Letters of John B. Stuart:

Camp Chase Ohio. April 21st 1862 Mess 58 Prison 3.
Dear Sarah
     I understand that there is a lady Mrs C. M. Clark who will probably have an opportunity to send a letter through. I make it a part of my business to get letters to you as business is not berry pressing here. I am quite lame yet from an attack of Rheumatism. The Federal Surgeon examined me yesterday for what purpose I do not know. However I believe it is to parole me on account of my health. If so I will have to support myself. I think if I could get out of this prison and a bed to sleep on in place of a hard plank I will improve fast. Our prison is verry damp and the house we are in leaks verry bad. It rains all night and the floor is wet all over there is nothing but a plank rood on it. There is no news here that I can write. I am satisfied that I will improve as soon as Spring opens here. The climate is verry changeable here a great deal more so than in North Ala. I received your letter mailed at Nashville Tenn. On 12th which gave me great satisfaction. The day before I received it Capt Bible & Brindlee came in from Island No 10 and told me you had received a letter from me. Bible is from Limestone Cty and all his company are at Chicago & the officers here. Father wrote to know about Ratliff. I left him at St Louis in hospital. I cannot hear from the company. I wrote several letters but get no answer yet. I have a list of all that are dead that I know of. Viz: John Derrick Jno. O. Rutledge J. A. Sample Uriah Canles of my company.Hoping this will go direct to you I will transcend the limit of one page hoping they will pass it. You must take good care of your self & send the children to school.

     You intimated in yours of the 5th that you thought I would be home soon. I see no prospect of getting home at present for some considerable time unless some of my friends will take an active part to have an exchange. If they could send a federal Captain on parole to exchange for me it could probably be effected through the war department but I am not informed on the subject of exchange & the mode to give much information. I am satisfied if a captain was offered to the war department it would succeed.

We are verry well cared for here in the way of provisions but in our mess wer are likely to suffer in the way of clothes. Some men in the prison have drawn plenty of clothes but we have not as yet. Some of the mess will be able to buy but part of them are not. We have bin unlucky to some extent but live in hope. My mess is all verry cleaver to me in my sickness. As kind as brothers and the ties made here cannot be loosed until death.

I would give the name of my mess but have intruded now on the patience of the reader of letters & c. Tell all my friends to write me as this life is verry monotonous. My respects to all inquiring friends. Kiss the children for me & accept one your self.

          Good by

          John B. Stuart

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Camp Chase near Columbus Ohio    April 21 / 62

   Prison 3     Mess 58

Thos. J. Foster M. C.
Richmond Virginia

   Dear Sir

I take this opportunity believing it will reach you through the hands of Mrs C. M. Clark who I understand intends visiting Richmond Vir. I visited Fort Donalson and the Capt in Company H being absent and at the solicitation of the Lieuts. of the Company and also the privates I was appointed Capt. of the Company in the 27th Ala. Regt. Now in behalf of myself and the Regt generally we call on you & to our Congress to try and effect exchanges for us. Col Hughes & Lieut Col Jackson are at Fort Warren. The Capts and Lieutenants are in this prison in our mess. I give you our names and rank. Viz E. B. Thompson H. B. Irwin & myself are all that is here of the Captains. 1st Lieuts. Peter Barker & Robt Andrews Thos. M McGeehee. 2nd Lieuts. S. C. Brown W. M. Smith W. C. Criner. 3rd Lieuts. I. B. Com & J. J. Olive & Dr Dement Surgeon of the Regiment. W. P. Wren and Robert Clark are also in our mess from Hubbards Cavalry. The privates of our Regt. are at Chicago. There was 279 of our Regt surrendered at Fort Donalson.

Sir we all believing you will use your influence in our behalf submit to you our claims to be exchanged as soon as you can effect one for us.


     Yours Verry Respectfully
     John. B. Stuart
     Of Somerville Alabama




The Letters of W.M. Smith

J. S. Reynolds Esq    April 20th 1861.

My Dear Friend,
I embrace this opportunity to write you a few lines and hope they may reach you, which is doubtful. I have written several letters to Catharine some of which I hope may have got through. I have no news to write you, from the fact that we get but little. My own helth and the helth of this prison is moderately good. My helth was verry bad for some time, and I came near going under from Rheumatism and the pleurisy. Our boys of our company are doing well. Peter Barker and myself get letters from them. We got one from Daniel Hudson yesterday. He reports them well. Only two deaths have occurred to wit) Green Harper and Jack Braden. We have been prisoners over tow months and I have not been out of the walls since I have been hear, though I manage to take as much exercise as our limited space will admit about 3 or 4 acres enclosed by a high plank wall in which thare is seventy cabins in the center of which thare is a cooking stove, and six bunks, in which we sleep from 12 to 15 men in a cabin. We get plenty of good wood, and provisions, which we cook ourselves. I am getting to be a good cook, but a poor hand at washing and patching. Those of us that have money can buy anything they want of this article I have little or none. Our money is worth 50 cents to the dollar. I have to do without many little necessities, which others enjoy. What little money I had, I purchased milk with, which when I can get, I mostly live on. I would rather have fifty dollars now, than three times the amount under other circumstances. But I am learning to do without. I never hear a word from home and it seems to me that away back in the past I had some friends, a wife and child and relations, but it all seems to have been in years gone by. Though not a day nor an hour pass over me but I think of home and my family and friends and much desire to see my native land. I hear there has been a great battle near Corinth and I have but little doubt that Brother James was in it. I feel great anxiety about him. I know the dangers of the battle field and if I were to hear that he had fallen, it seems to me that I should be completely undone. Oh God cover him in the big battle. I hope you will assist Catharine in any little matter in which she may need assistance. I know she is lonely and I hope you and Sister Mary and the little girls will visit her as often as possible. I can not say when I will be able to get away from hear. Some say we will soon be exchanged of the however I have no information though I hope such may be the fact. Are our friends trying to do anything for us or are they letting us drive along upon our own hook. Do if you please try and have something done fro me if it is in your power and while something is being done for me donít forget one of our boys, for the last one of them are near to me. I know w hat they have suffered. I saw them stand firm as the hills on the battle field when death reigned supreme all around. Let Catharine see this letter. I wrote Mr Simpson to get me a letter though if possible. A letter mailed at Nashville and may be at Huntsville might reach me. If you can get me a letter give me all the news that is not contraband. Remember me kindly to my inquiring friends if thare be such.


    Most Truly and affectionately

    W. M. Smith




The Letters of Peter Barker
Camp Chase Ohio,   April 21st 1862
Dear Brother
I am in very good helth 15 of ous in a mess all tolerabel well with the exception of Capt John Stuart of Morgan Co. I have had mups I was vaxenated it had vary good effect we have sinc the first of this mont 4 cases of small pox but one cosose in this prisen at this time non have died as yet with the above desese sevrel death sinc the first of March Doc John Huston the only on of my acquantenc which have rote back severel times. I git leters from the other boys at Camp Dugless they have all bin sic 2 have died. A. J. Braden died 12th of March Green Harper died 5th of this inst the boys say they ar vary well treated but anxious to git home they all have rote home. Myself & wess right one or two leters every weak we no not whether aney of them gits home we her from our field officers often they ar at fort waren our Maj McAlexander is probably exchnge we hir of the fite at Corinth & Pittsburg Jackson Moss with them 3000 men was captured ner iland No. 10. They officers brout to this prisen som priseners captured ner Corinth was broat her in in persen. I have not got thor names but think I will in a day or tow. Robert Clark & Wren both ar doing prety well all of ous garding aganst small pox. Thar has bin 2 Geters com her from Ala one from morgan County one from Maderson Co. I have made severel recquesitions for clothing. I am giting pirty sor it is favorable for me to git clothing in a day or to.
  To close,
  prisen No 8, mess 58,
  Peter Barker

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Camp Chase Ohio,   April 21st 1862
Dear Brother
I am in very good helth 15 of ous in a mess all tolerabel well with the exception of Capt John Stuart of Morgan Co. I have had mups I was vaxenated it had vary good effect we have sinc the first of this mont 4 cases of small pox but one cosose in this prisen at this time non have died as yet with the above desese sevrel death sinc the first of March Doc John Huston the only on of my acquantenc which have rote back severel times. I git leters from the other boys at Camp Dugless they have all bin sic 2 have died. A. J. Braden died 12th of March Green Harper died 5th of this inst the boys say they ar vary well treated but anxious to git home they all have rote home. Myself & wess right one or two leters every weak we no not whether aney of them gits home we her from our field officers often they ar at fort waren our Maj McAlexander is probably exchnge we hir of the fite at Corinth & Pittsburg Jackson Moss with them 3000 men was captured ner iland No. 10. They officers brout to this prisen som priseners captured ner Corinth was broat her in in persen. I have not got thor names but think I will in a day or tow. Robert Clark & Wren both ar doing prety well all of ous garding aganst small pox. Thar has bin 2 Geters com her from Ala one from morgan County one from Maderson Co. I have made severel recquesitions for clothing. I am giting pirty sor it is favorable for me to git clothing in a day or to.
  To close,
  prisen No 8, mess 58,
  Peter Barker




The Letter of W.C. Criner


  Camp Chase Ohio  April 20th 1862

My dear Hennie

I learn there will be an opportunity of sending a letter through to Richmond by a
Mrs Clark. I write often hoping you will get some of my letters. Mrs Lettes
informed you had got one. I hope you have received more ere that. Seems to me
that you might get letters to me by watching for a chance and send them through
the lines or by a flag of truce. I want a letter telling me of home and home
things. If I live to get home I expect to find things some what changed. May
that I left there might lose their lives upon the battle field as it seems
that fighting has commenced in good earnest. The fighting no doubt will be hard
and destructive. I want the war to close. So do you and most every lady else
that are induring any of its hardships. I get letters frequently from my
brotherinlaws and sisters in town. They will send me almost any thing I want.
I do not need as much while in prison. I have not spent as much as ten dollars
since I have been here. I have 55$ in U S funds and 45$ in Southern which I can
sell at half price. Tell Bro Mc if he gets a chance to deposit one hundred
dollars with Berry & Domoulle Nashville Tenn so I can draw if I need it. I can
get it if it is put in these hands. The health of the prison is pretty good not
much sickness. Some few cases of small pox. I have been vaccinated again and do
not fear it much. I find a good deal of work to do cooking washing and various
other things about house keeping. We can?t keep a nice house. Men are bad house
keepers. I will be a right good cook before long so I may be of some use to you
when I get home. Hennie I don?t want you to trouble yourself to much about me.
I will try and take care of myself so as to live to get home and take care of
you in future. You may expect some trials and difficulties but bear them all with
patience. The was has brought trouble upon many a woman. We have preaching some
Sunday. We have no talented preachers in prison rather on the common order. A nice
preacher from Tenn preached a good sermon today by the name of Hendricks. I bougt
me a nice Bible yesterday which I intend to bring home with me. I lost the one
I started from home with. I don?t dress fine here as I have no fine clothes.
I am comfortably clod by very roughly. We have a sutler in our prison from whom
we can buy almost anything we need in the line of clothing affordable. I must
close now. I long to be with you. Could you see me take my lonely walks in prison
with my head sown and thinking of you then you would think I was in much trouble
but they are the most pleasant moments I have. I try to look upon the bright side
of the picture and think what a joyful time it will be when I get home. Home sweet
home when shall I get there. Kiss Little Penny for me.
Give my love to Mother Father Bro Sister & friends and tell them I live in hopes
if I die in despair we are kindly treated and have no right to complain.

I remain you affectionate and Devoted Husband

W C Criner