IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Letter from Charles G. Russell
to Abraham Lincoln

April 19, 1864

Washington D C. April 18th

To his Ex the Presedent

I am as you will see a member of Company B 12th Iowa Inf-- that reg-- was mustered in Oct 1861 it was engaged at Fort Henry Donelson Shiloh the latter place we was taken prisoners, retained some two month by the rebels then paroled. sent through the lines to Nashville Ten-- kept there one month then sent to Benton Barracks St Louis Mo-- the latter place they attemped make us do duty which we considered a vioalation of our Oath which said that we was not to do any duty either directly or indirectly camp garrison constabulary untill exchanged many of us left went home I suppose most of them went back I did not I went to Leavenworth Kansas after being home about two month. While there I saw an order in the papers that all Iowa troops that was paroled was exchanged including those Benton Barracks and that many of them tired of the ennui of camp life had left. All would be furnished with transportation from whare they happen to be I wrote to a privat of Company B. telling him to show it to the Capt if there. I waited some three weeks got no answer then went to Denver City Colarado Territory have been there ever since up to the 26th day of Feb-- Left for the states. stayed in Nebraska a short time. then came directly here. on purpose to deliver myself up for a deserter. I never intended to stay away from the reg-- but force of curcumstance some time controle a man when he intends to do differently I left and I also return unknown to my friend they probaly think I am dead not having heard since I left I do this without aid or advise from any one with the exception of Mr Allison(1) representive from the third district of Iowa he organized the reg-- when I left there was some two month due me besides some for clothing which I do not ask willing to lose it all with what I spent and board in endevoring to see you I do not wish to avaid the service for I could have for I could have stayed there and if drafted I could have paid the exeption for I have paid that much in coming here I devised to see you for I can express myself better that than on paper

All I ask is to return to the reg-- after having a few day to see my friends. I would have went strait back to it if it had not been for that for I am very anxious to see my parents if I had whent home before going to the reg I probaly have been arrested that would have hurt my parent especialy my mother I have refrained from letting them know where I was so that when their friend inquired about me they could not tell for they did not know

the responsibility is all on me if I was in the same palce again I would diferently. my parents live in Postville Allamakee Iowa I wish to go there for a few day then I will find my reg--

I saw an account that they had reenlisted I would like transport home for the reason that I have spent nearly all of my money in coming here take it out of my wages that is to come what is back I do not ask I do not soldier for money no boy in the united States think of his country then I do I will not complain of my officers there never was a better than capt earl of Co B. but I did think it hard after being in the rebel prison that we could not go home and wait untill exchanged our officers was then back in prison that and other thing caused me to leave but I have said enough I will abide by your decision(2)

Your humble Servant

C G. Russell


Note 1- William B. Allison was a Republican member of the U. S. House (1863-71) from Iowa and later served for many years in the U. S. Senate (1873-1908).

Note 2- Lincoln granted Russell a full pardon on the condition that he re-enlisted with his regiment and served until honorably discharged. See Collected Works, VII, 321.

-source: Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress. Transcribed and Annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

-view the original letter on the American Memory Collections web-site
type in the words: Charles Russell Allamakee into the search box, select "match all of these words" from the flip-down menu, then click "search".

-contributed by Sharyl Ferrall

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