IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.
updated 04/20/11

Civil War Soldier
Calvin Augustus Robey

Pvt. Calvin Augustus Robey, ca1864
Pvt. Calvin Augustus Robey, ca1864

Calvin enlisted at Rossville, Iowa in Company K, First Iowa Calvalry in February of 1864. He was 19 years old. I would think that this is when his picture was taken.

Calvin went south with his regiment. He spent two and one-half years in the Western Army, engaging in scouting, charging on towns, firing on the rebels, and expelling them. After Lee surrendered, Calvin returned to farm in Allamakee County, Paint Creek Township. He attended many of the reunions of the Grand Army of the Republic. In 1868 he kept a diary of important events and was still doing this in 1913 at the time his biography was published. It is not known what became of his diaries. I might add that his habit of keeping a daily diary was passed down to his grandson, Creston Calvin Kelly. I have a collection of Creston's diaries from the 1940's through the 1960's.


Letter from Calvin A. Robey to his mother

Camp near Little Rock, Ark.
Nov. 20th, 1864

Dear Mother,

I received 2 letters from you 3 or 4 days ago but I did not answer immediately for I had just written to you. I am well and healthy as I ever was. I feel lonely but we have lots of fun at nights when we are in Camp. It is bed time now but I run around this evening.Now I must write this letter for I am detailed for duty tomorrow. I am going to do dismounted duty for awhile. Our horses is run down so it is not safe to ride them. They are so weak. There is danger of them falling while on a charge. I will do Camp duty. It has been very disagreeable soldiering for a week past - cold and raining but it cleared off this morning, quite pleasant. The boys are very merry in Camp tonight singing and amusing themselves. You wanted to know what I done with my money. First place, Ben Stanley did not draw enough to pay his debts. He bought a horse and gave $125.00 for him and that horse was not worth 125 dollars. He gave $25 to the man for him to take him back. He was in debt to the Soldiers considerable also so he asked me to loan him some money. I told him I would not lend any if I could get a chance to send it home. The Rebs keep tearing up the railroad and there was danger of getting it stoled, for there was considerable money stoled. I let Ben have 20 dollars which he is to give me 25 for pay day.I also let some of the other boys have some. I sold my watch for 25 dollars to our quarter master. I have 60 dollars coming to me from the boys. It would be safe to express money now but the Rebels know when we are paid and watch their chance to get the mail.

November 21st. It is very cold here today for this country, it froze last night. I have a Bible and Testament that I picked up at the time of the excitement here this fall. I will send it to Sarah for her to keep so she may watch the post office. The Arkansas River is raising very fast. The Government has a pontune Bridge as escape. It is built on flat boats so it raises with the water. It is a good bridge.We are building good winter quarters. We build 3 log houses together and use the middle for the kitchen and dining room so you see we have things handy. I must stop. I have been to town this forenoon on duty. I must work the rest of the day at our snug little dwellings. Give my best respects and well wishes to all the Family and write as often as you can.Excuse this scribbling for my hand is very cold.

Yours very truly,

C.A. Robey

I will send this BILL but it is not worth five cents!

Letter source: Original letter sent by Calvin Augustus Robey to his mother, Caroline (Porter) Robey November 20th, 1864 while he was in the Union camp near Little Rock, Arkansas during the Civil War.
Photo source: Contributor's personal collection
Contributed by Connie L. (Kelly) Ellis, gg-granddaughter of Calvin A. Robey. Connie's email address can be found in the Surname Registry for Robey.