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1863 December 9: Camp Randall “now looks quite lively as the Drafted men are coming in every day”

December 9, 2013

Frederick A. Dresser, from Osceola, enlisted July 22, 1862, in what became Company K of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry.  He was promoted to Quarter Master Sergeant.  The original letter is in the W. H. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Quarter Masters Office. . . . . . . . . .
Camp Randall Madison Wis
December 9th 1863

Mr. W. H. C. Folsom

                                Dear Friend,

                                                            I received your kind letter this morning and was very glad to hear from you once more.  I have nothing new to write you at present.  We are still here doing the best we can.  I have been quite busy for the last week two weeks as the Q. M. has been gone since the 21st of Nov. and everything has been on my hands and having no help with me that understood the Business.  I have had all my writing to do myself.  Our Camp now looks quite lively as the Drafted men are coming in every day.  There is now about Five Hundred in Camp and it is fun to see them Drill, it does not seem as though we ever acted so when we commenced Drilling but I rather think we were no far behind.  Recruiting is very Brisk in this State, there is about Six Hundred in camp now that have not been mustered into the service, and to find Quarters and get them fitted up so they could get into them is a Job for one man and attend to other Business besides, but it Just suits me to keep busy for I do not get so lonsome [sic].  I have lived to [sic] Lazy all summer and such dull monotony will spoil a fellow for anything but the Prospects are now we shall get away from here between this and the next Fourth of July and I do Hope it will be before long.

I was supprised [sic] to hear that Wyman¹ had gone into the Hospital.  I guess he must have thrown all Ambition to the winds for there is now [no?] chance in a Hospital for Promotion.  Andrew Colby² wrote me he was going into the Hospital.  I advised him not to if he aspired to any Position in the army.

You say that Frank Pratt stands a chance to be Capt of that Co as Capt Burt is Promoted.  Where is Winslow, is he not First Lieut?  I hope Henry F. will get his Position but the Sergt Major or QM Sergeant is ahead of him by rank.³

I should have thought you might have called up to Madison after you had got to Chicago.  I should have liked to see you very much, but I suppose you could not afford the time very well.  You are not apt to make visits when Business drives you.  I hope you will not consider that as a Compliment for your Business Capacity.

What do you think of Mead’s [sic] Line of March [George C. Meade].  I think that he and Lee [Robert E. Lee] is keeping up that Telegraph Line that Artemus Ward speaks off.  I cannot see the reason for his advance and then to Retreat so suddenly without it was to keep Lee from sending Reenforcements to Chattanooga When Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] was downing them before him like so many sheep.  The Potomac Army is so near Washington to ever do much service, but enough of this for this time.

I am glad to hear that Business has got to be good again.  I sometimes wish I was up there but then I would not if I could at Present.  but still I will get Homesick.  I do not see many of the Fair Sex about here although there is a plenty here.  I have yet to say I can not acquainted with one, don’t you think I have done well?  I think I shall be satisfied to settle down and be a quiet Old Bachelder [sic] when I Return from the War, if I ever do, as Louise is named now.  Well enough of this nonsense.  Give my best Respects to Mrs. F. and tell her I shall always remmember [sic] her good Advice she has given me and shall try to follow it while I live.    Write again soon4

Yours as Ever
. . . . . . .Fred A. Dresser

Direct F. A. Dresser
. . .Q M Sergt
. . . . . . .30th Reg W V
. . . . Camp Randall Madison Wis

1.  Wyman X. Folsom, W. H. C. Folsom’s son.
2.  Andrew C. Colby, from Taylor’s Falls, was in Company C of the 7th Minnesota Infantry, which is the company that Wyman was also in. Colby was the 1st sergeant. He will die July 14, 1864, from wounds received on the first day of the Battle of Tupelo in Mississippi.
2.  Dresser is talking about Company C of the 7th Minnesota Infantry.

  • Frank H. Pratt, from St. Paul, Minn., was the 1st lieutenant and became captain of the company on April 25, 1864,
  • William H. Burt was the captain until he was promoted to major on March 30, 1864,
  • Carpenter Winslow, from Taylor’s Falls, resigned on May 26, 1863; he was the 1st lieutenant before resigning,
  • Henry F. Folsom, also from Taylor’s Falls, moved up to 2nd lieutenant on April 25, 1864.

4.  W. H. C. Folsom answered this letter about a month later, noting on the back “Answered January 13/64.”

Frederick A. Dresser letter of December 9, 1863, from the H. W. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Frederick A. Dresser letter of December 9, 1863, from the H. W. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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