Silas Wright Sadler

Private Silas Wright Sadler (1844-1930) enlisted in Co. G, 4th Michigan Infantry on 20 June 1861. He mustered out with the regiment on 30 June 1864 at Detroit. A few months later, he re-enlisted in Co. D, 30th Michigan Infantry and served until his discharge on 30 June 1865.

All of Silas’ letters were written to his parents — Wright Sadler (1810-1886) and Catherine Sadler (1817-1884) of Tecumseh, Lenawee county, Michigan. In 1850, the Sadler family was enumerated in Mentz, Cayuga county, New York, where Wright worked as a “boatman.” By 1860, the Sadler family had relocated to Tecumseh, Michigan, and Wright worked as a “cabinet maker.”

The letters dated between October 1864 and June 1865 were written while Silas served a Sergeant in Co. D, 30th Michigan Infantry.

Silas was married in 1885 to Mary F. Waldron (1863-1952).

In 1910, Silas was still employed as a machine hand in a furniture factory in Shiawassee, Michigan.



Camp Union
September 10, 1861

Dear Father and Mother,

There is two five dollar gold pieces in this letter that I will send to you and if you want to use it, you must for that is what I send it home for and in a few days I will send some more home to you. I send this by William Larze and he puts it [in] the post office there to Tecumseh. I will write you a letter the same time. Tell Betsy Thompson that I sent her that book she wanted.

From your son, — Silas



Camp Woodbury
October 12, 1861

Dear Parents,

I received your letter and was glad to hear that you got that money all safe. We have moved our camp about six miles from Washington. There was about twelve thousand moved at the same time and three batteries.

You wanted me to write and let you know how I get along with the ague. I only had two shakes of it but I had a kind of fever. I was in the hospital most two weeks but am out now. I am some weak yet but am getting along finely now so you must not worry about me.

Did not you say that Lottie Hoag was going to lend that money to me? I got a letter from her the other day but the money was not in the letter. Uncle Oscar sent me his likeness on a card in a letter. He sends me the weekly every week. Tell James Thompson and Lottie Adams and Lottie Hoag and Lawrence Vantine and Uncle Oscar that I will answer their letters just as soon as I get a little stronger. And Ma, you wanted me to send some of my hair. You also wanted some of Joshua’s and James McKeowns. I can’t get theirs now for they are both in the hospital. Do not let anybody read this so as it will get to Mr. Waring’s folks. Maybe Joshua would not like it.

I can’t write much more now for I am getting tired. Ma, you must not worry about me for I am getting along finely. So goodbye till next time. Give my love to Uncle Elijah and Aunt Nancy.

This from your son, — Silas

Excuse bad writing.

Ma, I had my hair cut lately and I don’t know whether it is long enough or not but I thought I would send you some. — Silas


Minors Hill
October 24, 1861

Dear Father and Mother,

I received your letter last night and you said you had not got one from me in 3 weeks. I have wrote 3 since I came out of the hospital. Of course I could not write when I was sick but the next day that I came out of the hospital, I wrote one home and wrote one the night before I got yours, besides this one. And Ma, you must not worry about me for I am well and hearty again and getting along first rate. Most all that has been sick are tougher than they was before.

And Ma, you wanted to know if I wanted you should send me another blanket. No, Ma, you need not. One will be enough. And also you need not send me a pillow for, Ma, I can’t carry so much. And socks, I have got two pair of good woolen socks. We get shoes and stockings about every two months and our winter gloves have come today. Our coats are blue frock coats, all lined and waded and we have got two good shirts and a good woolen undershirt and new overcoats. They clothe us good and give us plenty to eat.

Tell Miss McKeown that I believe them things that she sent to James has come through all right. You must tell me who Garner is going to be married to. And most every letter you write, you say that you don’t get letters very often from me. It is not because I don’t write them for I do. The last letter I got from Lottie Adams she gave me fits for not writing to her. I wrote to her last. Wrote two letters that I never got any answer to now. If she had got them probably is she had she would have answered them.

Tell Mr. Waring that Joshua is out of the hospital and getting along first rate. Pa, if I am alive, I will send you about 15 dollars again in a few days. It is almost pay day again. Uncle Sam is good pay. When you write, let me know if you had any difficulty in passing them Bills I sent home. You and ma must not worry about me for I am well again. So goodbye till next time. So I ever remain your affectionate son, — Silas

Give my best respects to Patrick and the rest.



Minor’s Hill
January 4, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope these few lines will find you the same. I received your letter last night and was glad to hear from you but was sorry to hear that ma had been sick.

It has been quite cold here for a few days past. Last night it began to rain and it froze about as fast as it came. So this morning the ground is all ice.

You wanted to know if we had ever heard anything of that box yet. Yes, we got it night before last and I have been eating jelly and buckwheat cakes ever since and I slept better than I did the night I got the quilt. I found everything all right that you sent to me — only the knife and fork was some rusty — but we had a jolly good dinner Christmas. Captain Marshall got chickens and turkeys and oysters for us. New Years we was out on picket. We watched the old year out and the new year in.

You spoke about my writing to grandma. I wrote to her a week ago. I don’t know what to make out your writing about my not coming home. I wrote to Aunt Nancy that if England made war with the United States, I would not come home till it was over. You know that I think all the world of you and Pa and there is not a day passes but what I think of you both. I hope the time will soon come when I shall see you both. This war can’t last a great while longer.

When you send your likeness, send it without the case. just put it in a letter. You must have some good hogs to weigh four hundred. I would like to see them. [Sentence illegible] say something about my not writing to her. I have not written to her in a good while and don’t think I shall.

We had another Grand Review last week and two sham fights. I think we will go to Kentucky before long. That is the talk now.

Got a letter from Lawrence last night.

January 5th. I commenced this yesterday. It would not go out till Monday so I thought I would not be in a hurry about finishing it. Today is Sunday. We have inspection of guns and knapsacks in the morning and meeting at ten o’clock. Then there is nothing more till dress parade. There is nothing going on here now so I an’t got much to write but I write to let you know that I am well and enjoying good health at present. It makes me feel bad to hear that ma is unwell so much.

I suppose Charles Spofford is got rich there but I don’t believe he has catched three hundred rats though if he has, he of done better than he ever did before.

Well, I will have to stop now. So goodbye till next time.

From Silas to his Father and Mother


Camp near Yorktown, Virginia
April 22, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I got your other letter and answered it the same day but I don’t know whether you have got it or not yet. I told you most all the news in my other letter so I an’t got much to write — only to tell you that I am well and enjoying good health at present.

We expect every day when we will have to attack the Rebels. We are encamped in sight of their forts. Our men are throwing up breastworks for our big guns. Our regiment made one yesterday for six guns. They are 11 feet long. They look savage but if we have got some big guns, it will take some hard fighting to take the Rebel forts. They are pretty strongly fortified. But God will be with the right.

We have not got our pay yet and I don’t know how long it will be before we will get it, but just as soon as we do I will send it home if I am alive. But I am in hopes God will spare me through the great battle that is so close at hand. I am a going to send you a picture of our Colonel in this letter. He is real good to us.

Well par and mar, I must stop now for it is most dinner time and I am pretty hungry. My letters are short but I will write to you often as I can.

Give my love to all friends. Charles and James Saxton are both well. So goodbye, dear father and mother till next time.

From Silas

Silas W. Sadler

____________________________________________________________________________________________      TRANSCRIPTION

Camp at Blackburn Ford, Maryland
September 26, 1861 (actually 1862)

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am  well and hope these few lines will find you the same.

We are now encamped in Maryland on the banks of the Potomac river at a place called Blackburn Ford. We have not been in but one fight since I wrote to you before. That was one night when we was out supporting a battery that was shelling the Rebels when our General came up to our Colonel and told him that he wanted him to take his regiment and cross the river and take a battery of 4 guns from the Rebels. Our Colonel told the General that he would try so just as soon as it got dark, we started for the river and waded over. The water was up to our arms but we did not back out. Everything we had was looking wet but we got the guns from the Rebels and only had 12 men killed and wounded. There was none hurt in Company G. Whenever there is a river to cross, they always run to call on our regiment.

When we left Michigan we had eleven hundred and forty men. Now we have only got 900. That is using them up pretty fast.

We  have not got that box yet you sent and if Mart Pennock is there yet, when he starts back for the regiment, I think you would send them shirts by him if you will and if you can get any money or some broken down Banks, I wish you send it to me when you write again. See Mr. Vantine and see if he can’t get some you can get. And tell Mr. Saxton’s folks that James is back to the regiment and is well and hearty and so am I. But don’t forget the money. Nothing [more] till next time. So goodbye, dear father and mother, till next time.

From Silas

P. S. I just saw Henry Heesen . He send his best respects to you all and so do I.



Warrenton, Virginia
November 12, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. My health has been good. Have not been sick at all. Tough as a bear.

We are in old Virginia once more. Our army and the Rebel army is close together and we expect everyday when there will be a big fight. If it will only end the war, I don’t care, but I am afraid it won’t. We have not got our pay yet but we expect it before long. When we do get [paid], we will get 52 dollars — 4 months pay — and I will send a good share of it to you and I want you to use it as you see fit for that is what I send it to you for. And Pa, I wish you would as soon as you get this, send me some more postage stamps for I don’t got anymore and there is none to buy here now. Give my love to all the friends and keep a good share yourself. So goodbye till next time.

From Silas



Camp at Bealton Station, Virginia
February 28, [1864]

Dear Father,

I thought I would send you a few lines by Frank Wheeler. He is a going to take a revolver home for me and I want you to keep it oiled up so it won’t get rusty and keep it till I get home and don’t let anyone have it. And have Frank go up to the house when he gives it to you if he will and stay awhile.

So goodbye till next time. Give my love to all the friends.

I am well. From Silas



Camp at Bealton Station
[April 1864]

Dear Father and Mother,

I received your letter dated Feb 21st — the one you sent by Jerry Allen — and I was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well. I was disappointed about the shoes but I did not feel hurt towards you for not getting them for I knew if you could have got them for me, you would. You may get me a pair made and send them either by Frank Wheeler or Mr. Maple’s son when they come back to the regiment. Get number sixes. They are just just for me and we are in a place where we have to look nice and put on some style. All we have to do is the guard duty at the station. We don’t have any drills or picket duty to do. We have not done either this winter. We have had it pretty easy and a good many thinks we will stay here till our time is out — only a little over two months more.

I am sorry that Ma had a crying spell about my re-enlisting for I had no notion of it without the whole company had went in and Jerry could have been Captain over us. And I should not of went in without first writing to you about it. And I know you would not keep me out when all of the boys had re-enlisted. But you must not worry any more about it for I won’t re-enlist now.

And Pa, when you write again, let me know if you got that revolver all safe that I sent by Frank Wheeler. And send me a few stamps too. And when you write, let me know who was to the surprise party. Tell me their names. I hope they enjoyed themselves.

We have some good times here going out in the country to see the Virginia girls. They like the Yankee soldiers first rate and there is some pretty girls here too.

Do goodbye till next time. Give my love to all. Write soon.

From Silas

Tell Mrs. Sexton that James is well.


Alexandria, Virginia
October 19th 1864

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you are the same.

We arrived in Washington City Friday noon all safe and sound and then we went down to Alexandria where Co. F of the 26th Michigan Regiment is doing guard duty and we are having a good time. [We] go to the theatre every night. Last night they played The Hidden Hand. You remember of reading the story in the New York Ledger. I tell you, it was a splendid thing. Ain’t much to write this time. Everything is all quiet in and around Washington at present.

I can’t have any letters directed to me till we know where we are a going to stay. Then I will write again. You must not worry about me for I am getting along finely and am well. It seems good to be back here where there is something going on. So goodbye till next time. I will [write] again as soon as we get settled down where we are a going to stay.

From Silas


“On account of the numerous attempts made by the enemy to organize in Canada plundering raids against our northern border, authority was given by the war department to the governor or Michigan, in the autumn of 1864, to raise a regiment of infantry for one year’s service, especially designed to guard the Michigan frontier. Its formation, under the name of the Thirtieth Michigan infantry, was begun at Jackson in November, 1864, and completed at Detroit on the 9th of January, 1865. To this regiment Genesee county furnished between sixty and seventy men, most of whom served in Company I.

When the organization was completed the regiment was stationed in companies at various points, one company being placed at Fort Gratiot, one at St. Clair, one at Wyandotte, one at Jackson, one at Fenton, three in Detroit barracks, and one on duty in the city. But the speedy collapse of the rebellion put an end to Canadian raids, and the regiment, although the men were willing for service, had no active duty to perform. It remained on duty until the 30th of June, 1865, and was then mustered out.” — [History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916]


St. Clair [Michigan]
February 5, 1865

Dear Father and Mother,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you and to hear you was well and enjoying good health. We are having good times here and we have some good times skating with the girls. Mrs. Jones was down here. I suppose she will tell you about my girls. Jim has also a girl. We have got well acquainted with all of them here and Jim and myself cuts quite a swell with the girls. So much for being good looking. I will be home on a furlough sometime this spring. I can’t tell how soon.

I received Sarah’s letter and I have seen Mr. Pritchard and have been to his church to meeting. Well, dear Father and Mother, I can’t write much this time for I told you all the news before. I am well and enjoying myself the best I know how. Give my love to all I know. When I come home, I can tell you the news better than I can write. And if I should write all the news, I could not tell you anything when I come home. Uncle Noble is well. Write soon.

— Sgt. S. W. Sadler


St. Clair [Michigan]
April 4th [1865]
30th Michigan

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I received your letter and was glad to hear from you.

We are just beginning to have good weather now. The ice is all out of the river so the steamboats just begin to run and the ice is just coming down out of the lakes now. I tell you it is a pleasant place here. Boats and vessels running all of the time and we have some nice sails on the river and lots of ducks to shoot. I went hunting yesterday and pigeons — there is no end to them and all kinds of geese.

We can’t tell how long we will stay here. We had quite a time here yesterday. The news came that Richmond was taken and everybody turned out and had quite a time. It was also town meeting day.

You spoke in one of your letters something about some papers that was then at home for me and wanted to know if you should send them to me. I wish you would them them right away, won’t you? I can’t tell when I can come home. You know Jim and me came home from Jackson and we can’t get another furlough until all of the boys get them. But I will come just as soon as I can. So good bye, dear father and mother until next time. Jim sends his love. Give my respects to all I know and don’t forget the papers.

— S. W. Sadler


St. Clair [Michigan]
April 27, 1865

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I received your letters you sent by Lawrence Harbison and the cakes ad papers and also them other cakes you sent by ____ Stout I received.

I have not got much to write for there is nothing a going in. There is some talk of our being disbanded before long but I can’t tell whether we will or not. We are having a good time here now fishing and sailing. We have considerable guard duty to do now. The whole river is guarded trying to catch the man that killed Lincoln. Our company has 24 miles of the river to guard. We go up and down on the steamboats when we want to and over the river into Canada.

I am a going to send you some photographs and I want you both to get yours taken and send to me when you write. Get them taken separate for I want to leave them here in St. Clair. Now don’t forget them and write soon.

From Silas


Detroit [Michigan]
October 10, 1865

Dear Father and Mother,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I got the ____ all right and was well pleased with it. I think I will be home next week if nothing happens. The reasonI have not been at home before, I have been waiting for those discharges so to fix them all right for the boys. Well, I can’t write any more now so goodbye until I come home.

My love to all friends. Tell Jim to write to Mr. Metzen about his satchel that is there for I want it to put my things in when I come home. Tell Jim to tell him to let me have it. I will be home just as soon as I get them discharges all right.

Answer this right away.