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19270 Daniel J. Taft 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry Johnson Island
Prison Guard. 4pp, 8vo., ink ALS, $225
Camp on Johnson’s Island, Three miles from Sandusky, O. Jan. 28th,
1864. Friend Calvin, Your letter of the 18th I received last evening and
was glad to hear from you and to hear that you and the rest of the folks
at home were all well. I am “all right” at present and am as you see at
quite a distance from the Potomac Army.
As you received that paper which I mailed to you, you have had a brief
account of our proceedings until then. We left Wheeling the evening of
the 11th, crossed the suspension bridge and took the cars for this place.
At Bellair, four miles below Wheeling we layed over one day for want
of transportation and then came through via Newark (28 miles from
Columbus) to this place where we arrived in the evening of the 13th.
We were sent here to guard three thousand rebel prisoners confined on
this Island. They are said to be all officers and are of all rank.
There are several Brigadier and one Major General here. Their names I
have not yet ascertained they are all in good barracks and are as well fed
as we are. Their pen contains about fourteen acres. The Fence is of
boards twelve feet high which is guarded by two sets of guard at night and
one in the daytime. The perpetual guard is on the fence and if a reb
comes within thirty feet of it you have a right to make a cat-hole through
The Island which has an area of 330 acres is also guarded by a line of
pickets. There are also two full batteries of rifled guns on the Island one
of light and the other heavy artillery. How long we are to remain here I
am not able to say but I presume it will be until the ice goes out in the
Spring. We have had about a week of fine warm weather and the ice
from here to the city is now considered unsafe to cross. Report says that
when the ice is again safe we are to take these prisoners to Fort Delaware
and bring back some privates. There has been some of the colder weather
in Virginia this week this winter that has been known in nine years so I
am told. On the night of the 1st of this month a darky belonging to the
82nd froze to death in his tent. Five or six mules belonging to the brigade
shared the same fate of Sambo on the same night. Wm. Broughton’s
father was over to town yesterday William got a pass went over and saw
him and returned in the evening. We are about as closely penned here
as the rebs. No one except a captain or higher officer is allowed to leave
the Island without a pass signed by the commander of this post.
I guess I have written about all the news so I will bring this to a close.
Write what kind of winter you have had so far for lumbering and how
Jim Alexander comes on with his job tells him I wrote him a letter
sometime since and would like one from him in turn. Write also what
the prospect of another draft about there is. Tell the boys to come on
the rebels will catch it next summer. Tell them not to be afraid of living
on hard tack and coffee and sleeping upon the ground. There’s nothing
like it for promoting health. I am about 25 lbs heavier 180 than when I
left home. No more at present D. J. Taft.
Daniel J. Taft
Residence was not listed;
Enlisted on 8/26/1863 as a Private.
On 8/26/1863 he was drafted into "A" Co. PA 82nd Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 7/13/1865 at Hall's Hill, VA