Thursday, June 30, 2022

A Civil War Soldier's Letter to Home

Pictured: Company F, 7th Illinois Infantry on Point Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN, June 17, 1864

Read our earlier blog posting of Herman Smolinkski's letter  at

    From the Museum President, Marty Lane: In March of 2011, I received a letter from Mrs. Glenna Irwin of Fort Myers, FL.  She had a letter written by her great-grandfather, Herman Schmolinski, while he was serving in the Civil War.  She asked if I could get it translated from German for her.  I was volunteering at the Edwardsville Archival Library and had met a woman that was familiar with another man in Highland that did German translation.  I sent the letter to Highland and this is the translation.

Fort Holt, January 20, 1860

My dearest most beloved wife,

    I hope that this letter will find you in the best of spirits.  My dear and only Tarina, it is with great joy that I grab the pen so I can send you a few words of encouragement to set your mind at ease.  I'm sure you must have worried a lot in the last few weeks.

    My dear, dear Tarina, we have arrived safe and sound at our new encampment.  We had been on the march for six days where things were not under the best conditions.  During the first few days it was pretty cold, then it started to rain, which did not do much for our progress.  Despite it all, we are here now all hale and hearty.  We arrived here at Fort Hold on Sunday the 19th of January in the afternoon at 3 o'clock.  I believe that is enough to put your mind at ease, my dear wife.  You can be at ease because your dear Herman is well taken care of.

    My dear Tarina, be so good and tell me all you can of the wedding that happened recently.  You are also telling me that it may not be safe to leave our money with Mr. Buckmann.  You think he owes too much money.  If that is what you think, leave everything the way it is, but it would be nice if we could leave it with a trusted person.

    You think my dearest beloved wife that it would be best for me to come home on furlough so that we would be able to settle everything.  O my hear Tarina, there is nothing I would rather do than that, but it is impossible to get leave from here.  No one can.  Right now the possibility of furlough are not good at all.  Hopefully things will improve and will be over soon.

    I will close with this.  Say hello to all we know, also George Lubke and his wife.  Be well my dearest beloved Tarina, 'til we see each other again.  I remain your faithful, loving husband  in life as well as death.

H. Schmolinski

H. Schmolinski, Co. F, 7th Reg III Volunteer, Fort Holt Kentucky.

    Mrs. Irwin's grandparents were Herman and Bertha (Schmolinski) Oldenettle.  Their daughter Marie was Mrs. Irwin's mother.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, December 18, 2014, June 30, 2022.

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