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Corporal Oscar Overman
Company B, 103rd Illinois Infantry
"Emma, I have never realized what true friendship was yes, I will say friendship--until I started from home..." Oscar Overman on board Steamer Rocket, 1863
Aboard Steamer Rocket--January 6, 1863
With pleasure I write a few words to you as I have delayed writing so long. The reason is as you may know, I was at home and was thinking of going through Hickory and stop there a few days with the friends. As it is, I did not and this is the first opportunity I have had. I will comply with your request and give you a few outlines of my trip so far.
I started from home the 27th Dec., and arrived at Springfield the same day and did not leave until the 29th. When I started for St. Louis, Mo., and was delayed two days. The cause of which was we (that is about three hundred of us) could not get transportation until the 3rd Jan. When we was transported to Cairo and from then from thence to Memphis Tennessee. Although we are delayed here on the account of some prisoners that will have to be taken back to Cairo the number three hundred and ten as I was told.
While I have been here, I have heard that the boys are at Memphis and I will be there in about three days at the farthest. The weather is about as cold here so itís the same to me as it was when I started from home. Some of the citizens say that it is not so always. It is not quite as cold as it was when we had some good sleighrides together. Some of which I have not forgotten yet. One night I remember in particular. I went by and you and Jane Shalenburger went with and another young fellow joined our number and we enjoyed ourselves very well.
Emma, I have never realized what true friendship was yes, I will say friendship--until I started from home--that is friends around home--to go amidst strangers where a fellow will have to do as he can. You and I have been together enough to know each other. In one sense of view, we have had some very good times and I will admit that we have been apart at other times. One thing is, I never could see through as plainly as I can now into your talk and that was one reason why we could not get along. I will take it upon myself. I was to blame myself. I hope the time may come when we may all return home and I may see Miss E. W. and H. E. S. go to meeting as they did before I left the homestead. You must excuse me for writing a letter of this kind, but I have written my thoughts and suppose you will agree with me on some points.
As it is getting late and a very uncomfortable place to write, I will have to close with sending my best to the rest of the young folks. I want you to write and let me know how the times are in Hickory and also how you spent the hollydays [sic.].
From your friendÖO. O.
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Submitter: Sherri Cawley
In this letter, Corporal Overman writes to his good friend, Emma Wadsworth, about how much more he appreciates their friendship since he left home for the Army. Corporal Oscar Overman served until the end of the war. He enlisted on August 14, 1862, and mustered into Company B 103rd Illinois Infantry. He mustered out on June 21, 1865. This letter was written less than two months after he mustered out. As if the war wasn't enough, when he returned home to Illinois there was a serious outbreak of Typhoid. His family members were sick and dying.
Oscar Overman and his Regiment sailed on the steamer Rocket from Cairo for Columbus Kentucky, where the Regiment was again placed on cars and at night arrived at Bolivar, Tenn., having made the trip from Peoria, Illinois in 52 hours. The first year's service of the regiment was devoted to marching, guard duty, etc., in northern Mississippi and Tennessee but in November 1863, it participated in the battle of Missionary ridge. Eight companies of the regiment were in the engagement, mustering 237 men, and of this number 1 commissioned officer and 19 enlisted men were killed on the field, and 68 were wounded, 5 or 6 of whom died of their wounds. The regiment began its part of the Atlanta campaign at Resaca, where it lost 1 man killed and several wounded.
Brian Brown, author of In the Footsteps of the Blue and Gray: A Civil War Research Handbook which can be purchased from ABE Books kindly sends the following information:
Oscar F. Overman, B, 103 Ill Inf.
enlisted 8/17/62 at Young Hickory Illinois
mustered in 10/2/62 at Peoria
Age 21, height 5-9; lt hair; blue eyes; fair complexion;
single; farmer born Young Hickory, Illinois.
enlistment in Young Hickory Illinois (Fulton Co.) discharged
6/31/65 at Louisville Ky. with the final rank of corporal
In 1875(?) he applied for and received an invalid's pension,
certificate #136651 In 1909, his widow Charity R. received
pension certificate 676557. She was living in Kansas at the
On the 1860 Illinois census, Fulton County, Young Hickory,
Thomas Shreeves(?) 77 farmer born Maryland
Margaret Shreeves 47 born NC
Oscar Overman 18
Mary Overman 15 born ILL
John Overman 12
Tessa Overman 11 born ILL (This looks like Oscar's
mother has been widowed and remarried)
In the 1870 census of Miami Co., Kansas, St. Marysville,
page 531 I find:
Overman, Oscar 28 farmer ILL
Charity R. 26 OH
Charles 2 KS
Frederick 1/12 KS
Read the Overman Letters:
6 Jan 1863 on Steamer Rocket |
6 May 1863 |