These letters were written by Dory to his family from Camp Chase, west of Columbus, Ohio. The camp was created during the Civil War initially as a place to gather, organize, and drill Ohio troops. It later housed a sizable Confederate prisoner population. Near the end and after the war, it was used to house paroled Union prisoners waiting to be officially mustered out of service. We learn that Dory was required to complete his “descriptive list” before he could be mustered out of the service. In the 7 June 1865 letter, he shares a humorous description of the “Battle of Camp Chase” which he declared to be “one of the most successful of the war.”
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIFTY-EIGHT
Camp Chase, Ohio
May 20, 1865
This morning I thought I would try to write a few lines to inform you that I am well and getting along fine. I wrote a letter to Mort and one to [to sister] Sallie last week. I have been looking for an answer since but all in vain. I hope all of the folks are well.
I have nothing of importance to write this morning.
I thought last week I would have been home ere this. I got my discharge papers made out on last Wednesday but since then have heard there can not any of us be discharged until we get our descriptive lists from the regiment. They was sent for yesterday. I think it is likely we will get them in a few days. I hope it will not be long before I will get home again. I have been enjoying myself very well since I have been in camp. I have been killing time by reading, writing, and making rings. I have got ten or fifteen ready made. I made them out of gutta percha buttons—anything to pass away the hours of camp life.
There is some 5 or 6,000 of paroled prisoners in this camp. Also 4 or 5,000 rebel prisoners.
21st. Well this morning I will try to finish my letter as I did not have time to finish it last eve on account of being called to supper. I have got the same story to relate this morning as before—nothing of importance to write. I went to the Post Office again this morning but in vain, as usual. I will expect one this evening certain.
I wish I was there with you today so I could go to meeting but as wishing will not do any good, I will be content. But perhaps before another Sunday I will be home again.
I must be in haste for I want to go to meeting at 10 o’clock & it is almost that time now. Please give my love to Mort and a due portion for yourselves and believe me your affectionate son as ever, — Theodore Longwood
Address: Camp Chase, Ohio, Barracks No. 11
P. S. Please excuse this poor letter for I can hardly write at all. The boys make such a fuss and shake the house so it is impossible to write a good letter. — T. Longwood
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIFTY-NINE
Addressed to Mortimer S. Longwood, Aberdeen, Indiana
Camp Chase, Ohio
June 7th 1865
I received your very kind letter of the 1st on Monday and was very glad to hear from you but was sorry to hear that you are troubled so much with the toothache. I hope this letter will get there sooner than he other one I sent. I have only received two letters since I have been in camp. I hope I will be home in a few days.
You said you was afraid I would have some trouble about getting my Descriptive Roll. There has been several hundred come to these Headquarters and among them there is several for the 7th Indiana. I have not seen any of the names but there is no doubt but mine is with the number. All that is here sent their names to the War Department and had their Descriptive send back. I did not think I would have to stay here so long but it appears that the Officers are not in any hurry about getting out of the service so they want to keep us as long as possible. They are all making a better living now than they will when discharged. I think I will get home this week. There is about one hundred & twenty clerks working on our papers now. I am very anxious to get home. I know that it must be very lonesome to you there. I am certain I would be better satisfied if I was at home than I am staying here in camp, although I enjoy myself very well. They do all they can to make us happy.
We have meeting in camp every two or three times a week and speaking on the War Question every evening. We have had some splendid lectures. One of the boys out of the 13th Indiana and myself tried to get a pass last Sunday but could not get it signed so we went to the stockade and found a loose board which we slightly removed and went out in the country about 7 or 8 miles to a meeting. After meeting we went to an old city house and got our dinner & supper and returned to camp.
They have a large board stockade enclosing the camp about 12 feet high. The camp contains about 50 or 60 acres. The guards and the old General was very strict about keeping us in. The paroled men thought they had been in prison long enough so on last Tuesday eve we thought we would show the militia that we would not be guarded so close. So we got about 500 parolees together and went with a yell for the stockade and we was successful for we knocked two or three holes in it that you could drive a eight-horse team through. So when we went out and stayed as long as we wanted to, we came back. Since then the General lets some go out every day. We got one man wounded in the leg so that was the last battle we was in. It is called the Battle of Camp Chase, Ohio—one of the most successful of the war.
So I will close for it is time I had it in the [post] office. Please give my love to Pa & Ma. I am very thankful to Ma for her kind letters. I don’t know if I will stay here long enough to get an answer or not. When I leave, I will give the P.M. my address so he can send them back home. I am yours as ever, — D. Longwood
[P. S.] I have my Descriptive List. There was 10 regiments mustered out this morning.