Civil War Letter of Robert R Morledge to Sister Mary

The author of this letter, Robert R. Morledge (1840 IN-1923 NE), was husband of Phoebe Jane (McMullen), she being 3rd cousin to my grandmother’s grandfather John Henry Loy. Phoebe Jane was daughter of Phoebe (Loy) McMullen, daughter of Jacob Loy, son of George Loy, son of Martin Loy (to America 1741). Phoebe Jane and her mother both have been found in records with alternate spelling of “Phebe.”  The only birth date I found for Phoebe Jane has been March 1845, the month and year as given in 1900 census. One source originally gave a 19 October 1926 death date for her, while her Civil War Widow’s pension card gives her death as 19 November 1926. Her Find a Grave memorial, with no image of gravestone as of this writing, gives 1 November 1926 death; but perhaps the “9” in “19” was illegible?

At age 21, while residing in Page County, Iowa, Robert enlisted in Company K, 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry on 18 August 1861, as 8th Corporal. He was mustered into service 31 August 1861. On 12 May 1862 he was promoted to 5th Sergeant. Then on 19 December 1862, in Helena, Arkansas, he was discharged due to disability. On 11 December 1865 he joined Post 29 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in Clarinda, Page County, Iowa.

The year prior to his marriage to Phoebe, and two months before his promotion to 5th Sergeant, Robert wrote a letter to his sister Mary from the battleground in Arkansas. This letter, dated 16 March 1862 was printed two months later in the Friday, 2 May 1862 edition of the Clarinda Herald (Clarinda, Page Co., IA) pg. 1:

1862 Clarinda Herald newspaper banner

Arkansas. March 16th 1862.}
To Mary, Dear Sister:

   I received your kind letter on the 14th, and answered it from cross Hollows, or as it is called on the Maps Eutaw Springs. But the Rebels got the mail it was in, and so it will not be apt to reach you now. — You wrote that letter on the 14th of Feb. and say it is a cold night; and you pity the poor soldiers that have to stand on guard that night, you may well do so, for they need pitying. We traveled until two o’clock that night, and marched 27 miles that day; and at night come near not getting our Blankets. We received but 1/4 rations that night for supper and breakfast. We had come up with the Indiana Regiment, or rather they came up with us. We had no tents nor any thing but our blankets to keep us warm that night. We camped within five miles of Price, and started in the morning before day to attack him; but when we got there he was gone, and we followed him 26 miles that day, (Feb. 15th,) and just as we were preparing to camp, on a nice stream of water, we heard the roar of Cannon, and we put out on the double quick, to their assistance. We went 5 miles that way. In our rush there was a Battery wagon upset, and come very near killing one of their men; he belonged to the 59 Indiana Regiment. But before we come up the battle was over, so we camped. It was then about 9 o’clock P M. We then had to wait until midnight for our teams to come up, and then had to bake bread for supper; and the next day we received but one fourth a ration for one meal, which had to do us for three. So it was but a small job to prepare it. We started at five o’clock in the morning, and marched until night when we run on their rear guard, and we fought them until dark, driving there before us on quick time. That night we camped as usual, started early next morning, and soon they commenced fighting, retreating we after them until noon. Then Price undertook to make a stand and did stand until we got into line of battle, and ready to fight him when our cannonading became too hot for him, and he left with a perfect stampede. We formed in line of battle, while their cannon balls came whistling over our heads, and soon the wounded began to be carried back through our ranks which was a hard sight to behold. Then, one of our cannon balls went through a house where there was a woman and three children, and one of our shells burst on the porch, but never hurt any of them. We lost 15 killed and wounded and 2 prisoners. We then fell back and camped on Sugar Creek.
   I received a Valentine yesterday from Clarinda. Little did I think about writing Valentines on that day. We were after Price.

        *        *        *        *        *        *    

   We fought our last battle by the Elk Horn Hotel. The landlord has a brother in the 22 Indiana, they are both from Columbus and well acquainted with father.
   But my sheet is full and I will write soon.

Your affectionate Brother,


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