Private Peter Putman

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry
Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

Peter Putman enlisted on July 1, 1861 in the Fifth Iowa Infantry. He would proudly continue his service through the entirety of the war as a member of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry Consolidated. Putman was one of the many members of the infantry regiment who were not content to head home at the end of their initial three year enlistment.

Unfortunately, his friend Private William Codling of Company E had been seriously wounded and was unable to return to the regiment. One positive result of this tragedy was that two letters Putman wrote to his friend during his recuperation have survived to our day. They provide some insight into the life of troopers toward the end of the war.

Your letter came to hand… and I was glad toe hear from you and to hear that you was gon from this land too a nother where there is happinis and comfort too the sole and I hope that it may be always the same as it is now. Our rigiment is at Decatour at this time wea was on the Nashvill and Huntsville R.R.R. graiding the road till the other day and there came an order for us too goe too Decatour that very same day and the 12th/11 and wea ar at the present time and how long wea shall stay I cant tell but I hope it will be till fall for it is very warm at this time doen hear I am at beaver dam at the present time and expet too stay there for 10th/11 day and no longer and then I shall goe to my rigiment and stay with the boys beaver dam is on the RR a bout 15/11 miles from decatour and Liut.,C.W. Waggnar is with me and that is all that is left at this depo and wea have a very fine time you better believe and that is all of that this time…

Wea expect to goe in the 5th Iowa calvery what is left of us after the 12th day of July… there is a bout 30 trains runs on this road every day and it make very at the depo and there is troops a goin too the front every day every train that pass too goe too Chattanouga it is loadid with soldiers for the front for the one hundred days men are reliveng the troops at Louisville and Nashville and all of them ar a goin to the front William CW Waggner sends his respects too you an lady all of the boys sends theres the same and says that you must write too them all and they will answer your letters wilth a chearful hart and all of them want to say bully for you…

And in another letter dated March 13, 1865, Putman says to his friend who has returned home to Iowa:
…las week I wrote you a long letter and give you al the particulars that was goin on at the present time wea exp to go on a march in a few days and when you hear from me again it may be a long time but I will write to you every time that I can have a chance to write and Bill tell you all what is a goin on in dixxy the regiment is at gravel Spring…

I will write you a few lines and let you now that I have received your letters and want to let you now that I am not lazy and always sit right down and answer your letters I never wait till the next day but always answer right away for I am glad to hear from you I want you the next time to write all a bout my place and heare… all a bout it and don't forget and give me a full discsiption of the whole country around there this is all this time and I want you to answer soon as you git this leter this is from your friend

P.S. Give my love to all of my friends a long there and tell them that I am well at the present time and keep the most for your wife and your self and write soon…

Peter Putman
Chicksaw Landing, Ala

The Fifth Iowa Volunteer Regimental site is indebted to Ronald Harris for the letter quoted above.

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