~ Southern Papers, Please Copy ~
A Missive from Fort Delaware
~ 1864 ~

New Castle County, Delaware
Copyright © 1998, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

The envelope is unavailable.
Letter :
Fort Delaware
August 11th 1864
My Dear Sister
        I received two letters from you dated Aug. 5th last evening. One of which gave a list of articles sent in the box. I received all that you sent except the Apples, Tomatoes, 1 bottle of sauce, Chow Chow, peaches and paper. I was truly glad to hear from. you and to learn that you are still well. This leaves me enjoying the same good blessing. I have just heard from Brother Samuel. He is sick at Point. Lookout. The rest have all been moved to Elmira, N.Y. and among them is the young man Dr. Smith inquired of. I have to request that you will please forward the following personal to the news as I promised to do so as soon as I heard from him.

        To Mrs. W.H. Wheary, Petersburg, Virginia. I am still at fort Delaware, All is well. Tell Dr. Smith that his Nephew W.B.E. & A.Z.B. together with all the rest of my company have been sent to Elmira N.Y. My best love to you and the dear little ones and all the rest of my relatives. Let me. hear from you through the papers. All our friends in Baltimore are well and send their love. Affectionately Yours,


        Southern Papers, Please Copy. I am sorry to have to ask you so often to favor me in this way but it will cheer the heart of my dear wife to hear from me even though I can only say that I am well. I would like to have it inserted five times as she will be more certain to get it then. Request Ed to send me any personals that are published in his paper. Will write again soon and answer your letter in full.


        Captain William H. Wheary wrote this letter from Fort Delaware on August 11, 1864. Captain Wheary was in the command of William Hood's 3rd Battalion (known as Hood's Operatives). Under CSA Brigadier General Henry A. Wise. He and his command were in the trenches around Petersburg when on June 9, 1864 Union General Benjamin Butler made another of his failed attempt on the Confederate defenses there. Although the Federals were repulsed, a portion of the line held by Wheary's men was taken in the retreat. Fort Delaware was a Union prison for Confederate officers only. Wheary also mentions Point Lookout in Maryland which was for Confederate enlisted men, and the infamous Elmira prison in New York state. A POW had to be brief, as these letters were censored for both content and length.
Above paragraph by Ed Italo

        Fort Delaware was located in the Delaware River on Pea Patch Island, south of New Castle. For detail account of Fort Delaware as a Union prison, see “Prisoners’ Mail from the American Civil War,” by Galen D. Harrison.

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot.
Provenance: Ed Italo, Civil War “Paper” Collector, 1998

Capt Wheary's POW letter

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