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116th Ohio Infantry Letter

 
116th Ohio Infantry Letter (Image1)
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Item Number: UL2028
 

 



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Written by an officer who was captured at Winchester, Va., and who died as a P.O.W.!

1 plus pages, 5 x 8, in bold pencil hand, written by Lieutenant Levi Lupton, to his wife.

Danville, [Virginia] May 9th, 1864

Dear wife,

After my love to you I will inform you that I recd. a letter from you date the 4th of April which found me in pretty good health. I was very sorry to hear that the children was sick for it does seem that you have trouble on all sides. I will now tell you of my troubles. On last Friday they paroled a lot of us and started us to the North and I felt sure of getting home. We got about 40 miles when from some cause the order was to turn back and back they brought us to Richmond and on Saturday they sent us to this place, but I do hope it won't be long before I get home. May God uphold you is the prayer of your loving husband.

Lt. Levi Lupton

Written on the reverse side is:

Dear wife,

Direct to Lt. L. Lupton, Prisoner of War, Danville, Va.

From Lt. Levi Lupton to Mrs. E.H. Lupton, Jerusalem, Monroe Co., Ohio

Light wear, tiny paper chip at left edge of the stationary, and age toning. This looks to be the first letter that Lieutenant Lupton wrote to his wife after being transferred from Richmond where he had been held in captivity at Libby Prison since June of 1863. One can only imagine the distress and utter disappointment and helplessness that Lieutenant Lupton suffered when at first he thought he was going home having travelled some 40 miles from Richmond, only to have the order countermanded and the Union prisoners he was with turned around and sent even further south!

Levi Lupton, was 39 years old, when he enlisted on July 25, 1862, at Columbus, Ohio, as a 2nd lieutenant. He was commissioned into Co. C, 116th Ohio Infantry, on September 19, 1862, at Gallipolis, Ohio. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on June 13, 1863, but was never mustered at that rank because he was captured the next day, June 14, 1863, at Winchester, Va. He spent time confined in Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., and at Macon, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., where he died on September 12, 1864.



Brief history of Danville, Virginia during the War Between the States:

During the four years of war, the town was transformed into a strategic center of Confederate activity. Local planter and industrialist William T. Sutherlin was named quartermaster of its depot, the rail center being critical for supplying Confederate forces, and a hospital station was established there for Confederate wounded. A network of batteries, breastworks, redoubts and rifle pits defended the town.

A prison camp was established here, by converting several tobacco warehouses, including one owned by Sutherlin, for use to hold Yankee prisoners of war. At one time they held more than 5,000 captured Federal soldiers. Starvation and dysentery, plus a smallpox epidemic in 1864, caused the death of 1,314 of these prisoners. Their remains have been interred in the Danville National Cemetery.

The Richmond and Danville Railroad was the main supply route into Petersburg, where General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was holding the defensive line to protect Richmond. The Danville supply trains ran until General George Stoneman's Yankee cavalry tore up the railroad tracks. This event was immortalized in the song, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."

Danville became the last headquarters of the Confederate States of America. President Jefferson Davis stayed at the Sutherlin mansion from April 3rd to the 10th, of 1865. It was here that he wrote and issued his last Presidential Proclamation.

The final Confederate Cabinet meeting was held at the Benedict House in Danville. Davis and members of his cabinet left Danville when they learned of General Lee's surrender at Appomattox, and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. On the day they left, Virginia Governor William Smith arrived there from Lynchburg to establish his headquarters.



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