Walton, James O.

James O. Walton
Civil War Letters
1 folder

Manuscript & Rare Books Division
Indiana State Library

Finding Aid by: Nikki Stoddard Schofield, October 2011


Biographical Note:

In 1860, James O. Walton was 16 years old, the son of William C. and Nancy Walton, living in Shelby, Ripley County, Indiana.  He was born in Ohio. James and his wife Mary Ann, to whom he wrote these letters, had one son named George, born about 1864. “Georgie” is mentioned in the letters.  After the war, in 1870, James and Mary Ann Walton lived in Cotton, Switzerland County, Indiana, with their three children: George E., age 6; Anthony T., age 2; and Mary J., age eight months.  In 1880, the family was back in Shelby, Ripley County, with three additional children: Melisse, age 8; Anna L., age 2; and James W., two months. James was 20 years old when he mustered out of the service on August 31, 1865, at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Ancestry.com, Federal census and pension record.

Scope and Content Note:

The folder contains seven typed pages of letters written by James O. Walton, Company H, 10th Indiana Cavalry, 125th Regiment Volunteers, to his wife Mary Ann, from February 9, 1864 through January 1865.  The letter on the last page has the date “November 29th, 1865” but it is probably the year 1864, because the war ended in April 1865.

Civil War Indiana.
http://civilwarindiana.com/#/Indiana%20Regimental%20Histories. 10/13/2011. 

Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.

Item Listing:

Feb. 9, 1864

Indianapolis, Indiana: To loving wife.  Been sick with mumps and measles, now has a bad cold.  We “will furnish our own horses.  If so, I will be home in a short time – if not I don’t know when I will get to come home.”

July 30,


Saturday evening: Enclosed photograph of wife and son George, but he did not remember how his son looked. She also sent tobacco. “I have plenty to eat.” He thinks his colonel will go home to the Election this fall.   

Sept. 17, 1864

Decatur, Alabama: Soldiers think they will go home to the election this fall. The 6th Indiana passed near, on their way home.  Wife Mary Ann had been chopping wood. James wanted her to hire someone to chop wood. General Sherman took Atlanta. “I want Lincoln to be elected for President.”

Sept. 22,


Decatur, Alabama: Rebels tore up the railroad a few weeks ago. I nearly got shot on picket duty one night. The bullet came a little closer than James liked. They heard that Generals Wheeler and Forest (Forrest) are 15 or 20 miles below on the other side of the Tennessee River with 11,000 men, but don’t know if it is true.  If Lincoln is elected, James thinks he will be home by spring. “There is great dissatisfaction among the rebels Soldiers.” In South Carolina, because of shortages of mules and horses, the hitch 16 negroes to a wagon to haul supplies.

Oct. 15, 1864

Decatur, Alabama: Mail, which comes by way of Chattanooga, is stopped often. About half the 9th Ind. Cavalry and part of the 18th Michigan were captured.

Oct. 18 1864

James was sent to Athens to get horses. “They keep a fellow as busy here as a farmer in harvest time.” “Our regiment is mounted at last.” P.S. “John Christie is well and Hearty.”

Oct. 31st, 1864

Decatur, Alabama: It is out of the question for James to get a furlough.  They were attacked by Hood’s Army on the 26th and the fight continued until Oct. 30. Sherman’s Army is coming up in their rear. They took some prisoners.  None killed in his company, but one wounded. He bought tobacco with the money she sent. A courier informed them that the rebels crossed below them and are coming to attack their rear.

No date

Spring Hill Station, Tenn. They have been on a raid after General Hood. James is not with the regiment now. His horse gave out, so he was left at Spring Hill. He is on detached duty, guarding private property. He is living in a house, and missing home. He thinks when they destroy Hood’s Army, the rebel congress will be in favor of peace.  When rebels retreated through Spring Hill Station, hundreds said they would fight no longer under (General John Bell) Hood. Direct letters to Nashville.

Jan. 1865

Nashville, Tenn. His regiment was not in the fight until General Hood retreated. His horse gave out on the 4th day of the raid. About 200 of his regiment is there. A detachment under Major Williamson was left at Decatur. Chris Garber was wounded. William Stephenson has small pox. They think the war will be over soon. Draw that $50.00 county bounty money.

Nov. 29, 1865 (1864)

Nashville, Tenn. We evacuated Old Decatur on the 25th. As they went out, the rebels came in, but did not get anything, because they burned everything they could not take. We came on the gunboat to Bridge port and the rest of the way on the cars (train). Our company and three other companies were captured at Columbia by Hood’s army. A great many conscripts were at the Depot yesterday and looked sad. Jim Thompson was drafted. John Christie has the chills and fever. Send letters to Co. H, 10th Ind. Cav., Nashville, Tenn. Care of Capt. Mitchell.  A letter will get to James in four days. 

Collection Information

Size of Collection:

1 folder, 7 typed pages

Collection Dates:

February 9, 1864 through November 29, 1865


Unknown. Received April 2, 1937.

Access :

The collection is open for research use



Reproduction Rights:

Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.


Materials are entirely in English

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