Letters from an Iowa Soldier in the Civil War
These letters are part of a collection written by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers. Most of the letters were written to Scott's neighborhood friend Hannah Cone, in their home town of Albia, Monroe County, Iowa, over the three year period that he served as Company A's clerk. The final letter, describing the long-awaited mustering out in August of 1865, was written to his parents.
Scott's letters to Hannah are filled with rich details of the war and the living conditions in the Union camps in Mississippi, Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas. He tells of the terrible diseases that took a heavier toll than Confederate bullets, and the soldiers' frustration and impatience with the politicians in Washington.
Not only do we get a clerk's detailed account of the activities of Company A and the "boys of Monroe County," we also get a glimpse into the emotions of a 21-year-old farm boy uprooted from his family, friends, and sweetheart. In spite of his obvious education and proper upbringing, his polite prose sometimes gives way to impatience and sarcasm as he acknowledges Hannah's accounts of the many fairs, socials, and weddings taking place at home. Indeed he must endure the most embittering news of all when he is told that his sweetheart, "darling Hattie" has forsaken him to marry another.
Even though Scott & his comrades prayed for a Confederate surrender before their three year enlistment was completed, they were to serve the full term and were sent home five months after Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
The story does not end here. A year after returning home Scott married Hannah, his faithful correspondent, with whom he raised nine children. Newton and Hannah lived long, productive lives. Hannah raised her family and died of heart failure at 69. Newton was a mail clerk for the railroad for 41 years. He died a peaceful death at 83.
Table of Contents of the Letters
Lesson Plans Using the Letters
Additional Scott Family Records
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First posted 17 August 1994. Last revised 14 October 2015.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.