These letters were written by Pvt. Theodore (“Dory”) Longwood (1843-1877) and Sgt. Mortimer (“Morty”) Scott Longwood (1838-1913), the two youngest sons of Milo Longwood (1802-1883) and Rebecca Scott (1803-1882) of Aberdeen, Ohio County, Indiana. Indiana marriage records indicate that Milo married Rebecca Scott in May 1829 though it should be noted that death certificates of their children record her name as Rachel Tumy of New Jersey so it’s likely this was her second marriage.
Other members of the Longwood family included:
- Mary Ann (“Molly”) Scott (1823-1892) was a step-sister to Dory & Morty Longwood, a daughter from Rebecca’s first marriage, born in Kentucky. In 1844, Mary Ann married William “Frank” Stevens (1821-1900), a merchant in Aurora, Ohio county, Indiana. Their children included Laura Ida (1846-1919) and Charles (1848-1906). Ida was a regular correspondent with her Uncle Dory during the war.
- Sarah (“Sally”) Jane Longwood (1830-1907), born in Aurora, Indiana. She married on 23 April 1850 to William Elias Yonge (1825-1893), born in New York City. In 1880 William was a dry goods merchant in Vevay, Indiana. William and Sallie lost their infant son (named “Frank”) in 1863. They also had a daughter named Ada Carrie (1853-1917), a son named William (“Willie” 1852-1939) and a daughter named Alice (1865-19xx). Willie was a regular correspondent with his Uncle Dory during the war.
- The Longwoods had at least two other children who did not survive childhood. These were Maria Louise Longwood (1840-1841) and Elizabeth Lenore Longwood (1845-1852).
Sgt. Morty and Pvt. Dory served together in Co. C, 7th Indiana Infantry. Morty enlisted before Dory, served his entire three years with the 7th Indiana and mustered out with the regiment in September 1864. I found that in 1903, a bill granting a medal of honor to Mortimer Longwood of East Enterprise, Ind., was introduced by Congressman Griffith. Mr. Longwood displayed conspicuous bravery in front of the enemy on the battlefield near Spottsylvania courthouse, Virginia, May 9, 1864. In order to ascertain the position of the enemy it was necessary to send someone forward and Morty volunteered and was exposed right under the guns of the Confederates.
Dory enlisted a year later than his brother; his fate is described in the following family history quip:
Theodore Longwood was known as “Dory” to his family. He was five years younger than his brother Mortimer. Mortimer enlisted in the 7th Indiana, so Dory followed him one year later – being assigned to the same company. Dory was a private and older brother Mort was a sergeant. Dory’s luck ran out on August 19, 1864. He and brother Mortimer had been part of the siege of Petersburg – which lasted for nine months. During that time the two brothers, along with soldiers from many regiments, were sent to capture the Weldon Railroad which ran from Petersburg to Weldon, North Carolina. Union Generals realized that they had to completely cut Petersburg off from any outside Confederate support, and the railroad was one of those lines of support. During that action the rebels under General Beauregard put up a fierce fight. In the two day running battle union forces lost 212 men killed, 1149 wounded and 2879 missing. Most of those missing men were captured by Confederate troops and spent the rest of the war in a prisoner of war camp – Dory was one of those unlucky men captured by the enemy… Theodore was always “sickly and weak” after the war. He married and had one child but died early at age 34.
There are 59 letters in this collection; most of them written by Dory. By year:
1862—Letters 1 through 12
1863—Letters 13 through 43
1864—Letters 44 through 57
1865—Letters 58 through 59