The Civil War: Officer Writes of Uncle's Capture While Serving in the Union Army

Marching with Gen. William Sherman during the Civil War, Union solder foraging for food was captured by Southern forces.

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In my files is a letter written January 22, 1865, by an officer telling of my uncle's capture. He served under Gen. William Sherman in the Union Army. Part of the letter follows.

"Dear Sir: John was a good and brave soldier. When we were on the march from Atlanta to the coast we were followed very closely by Wheeler's cavalry. (Remember the song, "Marching Through Georgia"?) Near Millidgeville we put up camp, this was on November 25, 1864. Several of our men went out foraging for food on mules. Soon some of the boys came back and said the Rebels had run them and they thought captured some of our boys.

"When John did not return, I was uneasy. About dark his mule came back without him. I knew then that he was captured. I have no reason to think that he was murdered as first reported.

"It is my opinion that you will see him again. But perhaps not until the war is over. I will write again when I learn more.

A Friend, J. Hawkins"

Yes, John came home when the war was over, but he was so thin and sickly his own folks did not know him. He had been forced to live in an open stockade with no roof over his head. His food was one pint of corn chops each day, ground cob and all.

Edith Stukey
Carthage, Missouri


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.