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100th Pennsylvania Infantry - Chaplain Grouping

Item LTR-6586
1861-1863 Robert Audley Browne
Price: $650.00


Original Civil War Chaplain's letter Grouping . 4 letters consisting of 19 pages written in period ink.

Letter 1
Steamer Ocean Queen off Annapolis Harbor
Chesapeake Bay
Sabbath, 20 October 1861

My own dear wife,

Living in uncertainty from day to day of means of communicating. I concluded today, now that we are embarked, to drop you a line and let you know the fact[and] also apprise you of the arrival of Martha Leslie and her little boy. Also Sam Steen, Bruce Heslepp, Thomas McCreary and others safe and sound. Some of the baggage including the precious daguerreotypes got left at Baltimore but the indefatigable recruiting officer, Thomas M. McCord of New Brighton went back after it and it is sure to reach us today. Thanks for so valuable a gift as the daguerreotypes.

Of course, I have to say a word, if only a word, regarding the beautiful wrapper and the note accompanying it. How pleasant to me this gift and the dear and kind words of the note, you may imagine. I regret the brevity of time I feel authorized to take today does not permit me to say more about it, but tell those dear friends I shall often bear them in kind remembrance when I put on this elegant gown.

The curry and bustle of such and embarkation as ours even up till the Sabbath noon, you cannot conceive. Happily we can hope we have seen the most trying part of it. When we come to sail, if the weather is fair everyday afterwards, will be orderly and comparatively comfortable. Imagine 16 or 1800 men aboard our immense vessel which immense as it is , is crowded. The ordinary distance between decks is divided into 3 or 4 tiers of sleeping platforms made of pine lumber. There are also of course many staterooms. But all are crowded. You may ask when we will sail. I do not know. The order may come at any time. Then, we rendezvous at Fortress Monroe whence you will hear from me again.

So far the changing of freight today from upper deck to hold has prevented religious service. It was appointed for ten this A.M. It will be held after dinner.

Our vessel is victualed for 2,000 men for 15 days. But this is no criterion of our stay aboard ship. God bless you all.

Your Robert

P.S. Direct now to Rev & USA, Roundhead Pennsylvania Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Sherman’s Division, Washington, DC
Forward after the regiment.

Letter 2

Ship O. Q. [Ocean Queen]
October 25, 1861

My own dear wife,

The letter accompanying this I have concluded to ask you to mail to John B. Rodgers, Publisher of “Banner of Covenant,” Philadelphia after you have read it. I wrote it to you and bethought me as its close that I had better make this use of it. Letters must now do double service. Mail it to him right away after you have read it. Prepay the postage, drop a line to say you were directed by me to send it to him and alter if you please or strike out the first line of address. I would as soon you’d let it stand.

I am getting on splendidly. Everything is improving aboard ship. I am treated with much respect and kindness by Colonel Leasure and by all parties including the 50th regiment men.

I wrote you and Dave yesterday. Let Shaw have some of my home letters and tell him I wished him to have them if he desired them.

The ship boats disembarking the troops this morning make a fine sight. We will take dinner before we go, it is now 12. God bless you darling. Your pictures do me so much good.

Ever your Robert

Letter 3

Mouth of the Antietam, MD
October 1, 1862

Mrs. Mary E. Browne
New Castle, PA

My Dear Wife,

I have had a sore throat and hoarseness as you are aware and have had in connection with it a slight derangement of my bowels for a few days. It does not yet quite leave me. And I feel lazy. I wrote one letter for the “U. P.” and hoped tonight to write another. But it is doubtful if I can do it. I say this much to make you feel easy if you get some scribbling from me. Be sure I do not feel in condition to write to the public more just now. Or maybe I would not write for you at this moment.

I had rather a pleasant forenoon. Mr. White and I rode the “hoss” and the pony to water them and get them some feed. We crossed the Antietam and got some fodder from a corn field. And while our “critters” ate we put on some water to boil at a soldier’s campfire. Took a thorough wash in the Antietam, returned and made some chocolate and at with it some light cakes that cost 2 cents a piece. A loaf (2) such as is ordinarily baked in a dutch oven they sell here for 50 cents. (Mary Ferrell’s loaves would bring from 25 cents to 40 at these rates). I have never yet in any community known things sell so dear. A place pie (apple pie) is 25 cents. We concluded not to invest money in one but sitting in the corn field in the shade of a clump of young locusts enjoyed our chocolate, cakes and sugar. The soldiers are much to blame. They pay any price asked for anything to eat, if they have money. And they now keep buying. Though, I can’t tell where they get the money. So long is it since we or the army gave any regular pay. As we rode home, I bought some bran and shad of the grist mill for my pony—bran 15, shad 30 cts per bushel.

I wrote to Dave this morning with a few lines to you, which I abruptly closed to send by Lieutenant Oker. Before this reaches you, I expect Will will have left. But you may send me by any good chance a towel (unless you gave Will two). I will soon send you a list of things I need, which you can send by some good chance to pass. Dr. Lud and Lieutenant Oker will be returning about the 15th or 20th. I will probably see the articles safely on.

October 2nd.

Yours of 25th is received. My heart smiles so very often for the exactions my correspondence and all other things of mine at home make upon your time. It seems cruel to bring held away too and thus weaken your hands and specially at this time of year when you are so busy with peaches and full crops. Yet it will give me so much pleasure to see the lad. You too will have some pleasure no doubt in sending me such a messenger. Bender, I will send him home whenever you say so. And you must not forget to tell me promptly if any serious difficulties arise from my weakening your home force.

You must get a boy (as you spoke of in one of your letters) or regular hand older or younger. Speak to Kissick, or George Henderson, to John Mitchell and any others you think of, to keep their eyes about and make a good choice and good bargain for you. It will greatly promote my comfort to know you have a first rate hand. Even if you pay him summer wages. I want you to write and let me know squarely what money you need now and prospectively. I think you had better save your grain as well as all other produce, excepting perishable things. I spoke of saving your hay for my use if needed. Say nothing about this. I deem it prudent you, Dave and others should not unnecessarily mention little items like my statement concerning my new home purchase. Don’t be uneasy. No harm is done by speaking of it. And as I like to hear so I like to write about these affairs of less importance. Yet if practicable to avoid it, I would prefer not feeding gossip with these trivial items from the seat of war. While at the same time, I will make my knowledge and observations serve your comfort and stocking the farm and farming operations in general, so far as I can without interfering with professional character and duties. You know, my dear love, you cannot be more sensitive on this point than I. I have been too much so perhaps. I owe a duty (in order to be honest) to avail myself of the opportunity to make a purchase which may be useful and profitable when I can.

You speak of in this letter, the threshers having been out and completing their labors. So I hope in your next to hear the results. If necessary, have new bins and cribs made. Tell me about your dry house and peach crops. Did you get the cabinets pumps, etc., repaired?

October 2nd 1862—continuation of 4

There are stirring events rumored in camp. As that Abraham Lincoln is somewhere within a mile or two of us. That a handsome fight occurred yesterday between Shepherdsville and Martinsburgh (600 of the enemy killed and wounded, our loss but small). We have had some excitement also over the Inquirer’s report of peace commissioners from the rebel congress. We do not trust the report. We would trust less the commissioners and the whole of secessiondom. They have broken more sacred compacts already than those they would propose. And will keep new ones when the power to break them is itself broken.

We have worship in camp now every night. It is well attended by men of our own. Also of other regiments. One of our number, Rich. Carmichael of Company H from Clarksville, died unexpectedly today. He was a member of Captain Moore’s Company and is from Clarksville. And now my dear one, in haste, good bye.

P.S. In one of my late letters, I spoke of applications for chaplaincies mad to me. This one of the things I wish you not to speak about. But it should be reported and hurt the feelings of some of my most esteemed brethren to whom anything disparaging in my remarks does not apply, E. S. McCarty.

As to our mail, there is no embargo on them, but some delay and irregularity resulting from here having to go round by Washington and pass through so many military channels of communication.

If, as is rumored, we will soon be moved to Sandy Hook, opposite Harpers Ferry, we will be on the B&O Rail Road with prompt communication via Harrisburgh and Baltimore. Which will be better. May God bless my dear ones.

Ever Yours,

Letter 4

Bivouac near Birdsong Ferry
Big Black River, Mississippi

July 5, 1863

My Own Dear Wife,

The 4th was signalized by the surrender of Vicksburg, the reception by the 9th Army Corps of a very large mail and our march 5 or 6 miles to this spot. We are under Sherman’s command (not Hilton Head SC, he is in Bank’s Department and dangerously wounded) and are now advancing on Johnston. There was some fighting, it is said, ahead of us yesterday. The hope is that between direct and flank movements, a great success will be gained soon over Johnson. One of the Corps’ headquarters clerks (Julius Miller of 100th P.V) says Grant has ordered General Sherman to dismiss the 9th Corps at the earliest moment he can spare them and return them to Burnside. The date above (head of letter) is as near as I can come to it. We are supposed to be on the road between Flower Hill Church and Jackson. But we came into these woods after dusk, seeing nothing and yet seeing nothing but immense woods filled with soldiers. The sight last night about the time the dechastanized burn arose and lit the blue, seen beyond the foliage fo the forest, was fine. The calm, dry summer night was lit up with camp fires whose light was reflective on the trunks and foliage of the trees. A bright blaze illuminated the 100th (as their letters were received and by their stacked arms, reclining on the leafy ground, stern, hard looking, dusty men were reading sweet words from home. Long delayed and kept up the light and the reading till 11 or 12 o’clock. These woods might pass for a forest of western Pennsylvania. It consists of large forest trees standing with a considerable amount of allen timber. The undergrowth as it is all open has been kept down by cattle. The air last night was vocal with millions of katydids and this sweet, cool morning by the songs of birds including the plaintive notes of the whip-poor-will. A very common sound here in Mississippi. The soldiers lie round and their voices for soldiers, have a subdued and therefore pleasant tone. The men have reread their letters and are having pleasant impressions of home. The neighboring regiment (20th Michigan) are noisier than ours. In many groups, all around cards, are produced, non unfrequently banter and curses are heard. Alas, that I must throw so dark a shade on else so pleasing a picture. We are to wait further orders here and don’t know when they may come.

We have heard cannon shots this morning. Doubtless a large unioin army lies massed for battle within 5 miles. But what of the rebels, we do not yet know.

May 14th
Thursday, 5 ½ a.m.

My Own Darling,

I have just remembered that Montgomery leave today. If he does not, I will drop this in the p.m. Davis made a blunder about the change of mail time, which I did not discover until late last night. Millie is much better, so is your sweet beck. I must close or miss sending. God Bless you, my own.


This letter arrived last night. Also, your remaining dates from June 11th, the day after my departure until June 24th, excepting 19th and 23rd, which are not up yet. The 18th and 21st arrived before. The latter (21st) I returned enclosed with mine of yesterday to you. I remained after our and other regiments of the Division moved yesterday to wait the sorting of the mail. At the church, got mine, read them while the work was going among the regiment. Petes followed with our mail, partly carried by Captain Gilliland and Dr. Shurlock and when we halted with the latter, went into a corn field and by one candle’s light sorted it for the companies. This labor took an hour or 1 ½ hours, after which we hunted up the camp. At 12, I stretched myself in my blanket on the leafy forest ground. My head on my saddle bags and slept sweetly until near reville.

Your letters were full of sweet interest regarding home, congregation and affairs in New Castle and Pittsburgh. The photograph came to hand. Also 50 cents worth of stamps, quite timely. The letters have all been read over 3 ro 4 times. I received none but those from you. This mail arrival includes generally the back mail of 6 or 7 weeks. There are still some letters back however. The newspapers arrived, but are not brought up or distributed yet.

Your items regarding Erwin’s return, the outrageous and infamous attack of Bill McCownell on Joseph Kissick. The organization of companies in NC. Also Pittsburgh with Harris connections with the latter all excited strong but various interest. So did the account of the services in the church.

5 July

Now all that follows you may consider private. The 4 preceding pages you may let anybody read that wants to.
I have said that everything in your letter was of interest.


June 11th
My Own Dear One,

Excuse blundering and all errors. I do not feel just like myself as yet. I feel kind of strange and bewildered, as I always do for some days after you leave here. In addition to this, “My Aunt” of whom I spoke to you came this morning. Bless you, my own, how essential we have become to each other’s existence. I feel more strongly now than ever before. God gran the time may soon come when this unnatural separation may cease. I got home safely soon after five. My little horse behaved splendidly. I met G & K. Christy on this side of Mr. Jackson. I am now going to drive Emma down to Squire Simples, so, I will close.

The little ones are well and busy counting time for “Papa come home again, maybe to stay.”

I will try, love, to be brave and strong, and like the wee ones, shorten time by counting it. God bless you, my own noble darling.


Including every line of the above and not overlooking the item regarding our relative. Bless you, my self. I wish you knew how I look out in your letter all the dear little words that tell me of your love, pride, what not. And I am ashamed to say that I have concealed enough to be pleased with it. Though, I half know it is extravagant and except for my love and faith and worship to my noble, precious wife. I do not deserve it. Yet, I could not live without your proud love of me. And crazy as it is, I can swallow it all.

The dear little home pictures make me thankful and happy. Our dear wee children, may God bless them. I enjoy their sayings and doings amazingly; and quite forgive Joe for the incident. However, trying to badger else Miller for the time that precluded a ludicrous scene and a good laugh for Passdoom in Mississippi. The items regarding the boys’ industry, hoeing the weeds and the reading up of the house, your planning work, etc. your visit with Erwin and Squire sample. Your accounting of Sam K’s absurd advertisement of his widowhood. Your announcement of your own and Emma’s satisfaction with Phipp’s new picture were all of them pleasing to me. I was sorry to hear of poor Will Cochran’s provoking the ire of the soldiers. As for the outrage on that noble patriot and honest old protégé J. K. I can scarcely find words to express my indignation. I hear a funny offset to it this morning. However, viz that. J. K. choked Johnny Nicklin. Good? Of course, Johnny deserved it. Yet I am sorry for it. I wish my dear old friend would not allow his interest in public matters to involve him in harassing conflicts of opinions and specially blows.

I am delighted to know you will sit at as early a time as possible for a picture (let it be pictures) for me. Please pay Mrs. Campbell for her kind present (not now but hereafter when I send you the money). I suppose you are right in your criticism of the shot enclosed, it would do. However, if these, it was some better. It is decidedly better than Purveyance.

11 ½. We have just got this ¾ hour ago with our Sabbath morning service. I have to confess that I had overlooked the returning reverend’s Sabbath till the remarks of Colonel Dawson reminded me of it. It was then, about 10 a.m. I held the service, speaking on Psalm 121, v. 1, 2.

I now close with blessings and prayers for ever good thing to you my dear one and all at home. I have seen Sam and told him of his mother’s and Beck’s interest in his welfare. He sends his best respects.

There is no movement as yet today. And I hope will not be. Grant has sent one Corps to Port Hudson. The transports from the Yazoo have all been ordered round to V. to take the prisoners to Cairo. It is said Grant designed to have possession of Jackson tonight. We shall see.

Ever your loving husband,

Robert Audley Browne
100th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers

P.S. I enclose the pretty blossoms of a tree now in bloom here. Name not known to me or you.