The Father of Pvt. Theodore W. King, 1st RI, Searches For His Son

10 08 2011

Washington D.C

July 29, 1861

Dear Sir,

I venture from the friendly acquaintance I had with you at Newport Rhode Island to write you on a most distressing calamity which [fallen?] upon myself and family. My son, Theodore Wheaton King a private of Company F 1st Regiment of the Rhode Island Volunteers, was severely wounded at Manassas on Sunday last. He enlisted on his way to school for three months for the defence of Washington. His term of service had expired, and we were expecting him to return home when the unfortunate resolve was made to advance into Virginia.

His wound was on the outer and upper part of the thigh, or hip. Though wounded early in the action, he was entirely neglected by the surgeons though the retreat did not commence for some hours after. Of the degree of severity of his wound it is impossible for me to judge. Some of the soldiers said that he walked by the aid of some companions to within thirty feet of the temporary Hospital, where he was left neglected, under the shade of some trees surrounded by the killed and wounded. Some stray fellow soldiers passed him about the time of the retreat, to whom he made inquiries as to the condition of things and asked to be taken along, but fear had destroyed all manly feelings. They said that his voice was then good and his countenance unaltered. He was then left among the killed and wounded near the Battlefield–several of the Confederate Army were dying near him.

Upon receiving a telegram of his being wounded and left near the field of battle I came immediately to Washington, hoping to reach him. But you may imagine my deep distress at not being able to come into Virginia to succor my son, if alive, or to protect, and possess his body, if dead.

My son was nineteen years of age of stout frame, with full muscular development, light brown hair, large forehead, and was about five feet eight or ten inches high. Should it not be too inconsistent with your army regulations, I wish to be allowed to come into Virginia to see my son if alive, or to search for his body if dead. If that privilege cannot be allowed, will you, my dear sir, act for his Father, and spare no expense in aiding him, if alive or in having his body found, and his place of departure designated. In the last case, I should like his hat and clothes preserved, if possible. I have no need to appeal to your humanity, and good feelings. I am sure that you will do all in your power to aid my family they, overwhelmed by sorrow and distress. I shall remain in Washington at 486 12th Street at Mr. CB King’s as long as may be necessary to hear of the condition or fate of my son.

Very Respectfully Yours

David King M.D.

of Newport R.I.

To Col Porcher Miles

of General Beauregard’s Staff

Richmond Virginia

P.S. I enclose a photograph of my son, though very poorly taken. If dead it may be the means of designating his body.



Aug. 10th 1861

W. Porcher Miles

Dear Sir-

Dr. King’s son, T.W. King, is in the main [St?] prison hospt. in this city. The surgeon in charge represents him as doing very well– I return the letter.

Very Truly Yours

[Samuel P. Moore, Surg. Gen.?]

Transcription and Photo & Letter Image


Notes on Letter to Pvt. Albert Penno, Co. D, 1st RI

4 08 2011

The following notes accompany the transcription of this letter and can be found at The Civil War Day by Day, maintained by the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The good folks there have given me permission to add some of their wonderful collection to the resources here – more to come.

Letter from Lucinda M. [Hayne?] to her husband Albert B. Penno, a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. The following words are written on the front of the envelope included with this letter, “Found on field, Bull Run, July 21 ’61.” This note is believed to be in the hand of Edward Porter Alexander, a Confederate officer who was also present at the Battle of Bull Run.

Albert Penno was wounded on 21 July 1861 (three days after the date of this letter), at the Battle of First Bull Run. Penno was then taken as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Va., and died on 2 August 1861 of his wounds.

Letter to Pvt. Albert Penno, Co. D, 1st RI

4 08 2011

Providence July 18 1861

My Dear husband

I sent myself to pen you a few lines not knowing whether they will ever reach you, god grant that it may and find you in good health as it leaves us all at home. I tell you what the last two days have been lonesome enough. Sometimes I feel as if I never should see you again, but I hope I shall. I see by the papers that you are in the midst of the Battle and that one of the 2nd regiment has got wounded and that your regiment took the secession flag from the Fairfax Courthouse. I suppose we shall know all about it in a few days when the first regiment gets home. They say here that they will be home next week. I suppose it will be a great day when they came home but it will be gloomy enough for me to see them come and know that you are left behind if you are only spared to get home once more you won’t get away again that is if I can have my way. I received a letter from you yesterday in it you say you want me to keep up good spirits. I try to but it comes hard sometimes, I can’t put my mind on my work or any thing else for I feel as if I had lost all the friends I had. Lizzie is all life expecting Albert home. I should like to see you tonight but I can’t so I will try to content myself by looking at your picture. But as much as I want to see you I should rather you would never come than to have you sent home as those fellows were last week, their names published in the papers and what they was sent home for. I want you to take good care of yourself and do the best you can and I hope all will be well. Do write as often as you can and I will do the same. I sent you yesterday by Mr. Grant one pound of tobacco and should have sent something more if I could. My will was good enough, but I had not the means. I have got to wait for a letter from you before I can get my money for if they know that I did not send the check there I could not get it. I am sorry you did not see that it was right before you left for I have needed it very much. Mr. Wightman and Saunders was in here tonight and said that Mr. Pratt was going on there to morrow and if I wanted to send any thing they would get him to take it ask I had nothing else I thought a few lines might be acceptable. He belongs to the first regiment. Don’t laugh at this scribbling for I am so uneasy to night that I can’t write. Don’t blame me to much for finding fault for I don’t mean to. I don’t know of anything more. Give my love to Daron and Dick and to your friends Charly and George. The children and myself send our love and best wishes to you and hope you will soon return at home. The Roys all send their love and Hannah, Marty, & John to you and Dick from your loving and affectionate wife.

Lucinda M. [Hayne?]

Transcription and letter image – transcription amended by Bull Runnings in bold