This is one in a series of letters written by Isaac R. Sherwood while a private in the 14th Ohio, 3 months regiment, and is the "High Private" from Bryan, Ohio referred in a letter by "Sumter." The letters were published in the Williams County Leader. This one appeared on May 9, 1861.
CAMP TAYLOR, May 3d, 1861.
Col. Bradley reports to me a misunderstanding in regard to some of the Stryker boys being placed under guard at Toledo. I would say that we are all under guard. Col. Bradley only commenced placing men under guard a little in advance of the rest. The boys only regarded it as a joke and nothing was thought of it whatever.
Yesterday two thousand men left Camp Taylor for Camp Dennison.---About one thousand men have arrived in camp since. The hurry and bustle at Camp Taylor has not abated in the least. The music of the horn and fife, and the rattling drum is almost constant. Two thousand men can be seen on parade at any hour from sunrise to sunset, and in the hours of drill double that number. Thousands are present daily to witness the parade.
The company from Oberlin, composed of students from the College, left yesterday. A crowd of visitors from Oberlin were present to bid them God-speed. Some fair young girls were present to kiss their war-like lovers good-bye.---The Oberlin boys are a first class set of fellows.
We have three or four desertions from our company. Some of the boys were very home-sick, and the thought of soldiers' rations and cold steel were perfectly horrifying. Fire arms are not intended for men with large cautiousness and weak nerves. It takes a powerful muscle to wield a sledge hammer to pound steel; and it needs a steady nerve to drive cold steel into the heart of an antagonist. War is a dangerous trade for cowards and weak-kneed, supercilious mummies. It is something different from a summer day parade over green lawns with soft music in gilded trappings. It is not fun, nor a mock parade. It is a path strewn thick with the missels [sic] of death, through the blood of its victims. And still there is something grand and impressive in the march of soldiery, particularly so when the glorious old Stars and Stripes wave in triumph above them, and the liberties of a continent are in the balance.
Last Monday I was let out on parole to transact some business in Trumbull county, and while near Warren I met a man, who upon &c., &c., gave me some interesting facts.
Monday's Cleveland Herald contained a communication from Youngstown, stating that John Brown, jr. was encamped near the Ohio river with 500 negroes and was expecting 1500 more from Canada to join him, to make a second raid upon Virginia. In expressing myself pretty freely upon the moral character of this move, I was interrupted by a certain gentleman, who told me that the report was not true. I afterwards met the same man at Warren, and learned from him the following facts: There is now a company of cavalry consisting of 2,000 picked men, each of whom has a good horse, a Sharpe's rifle, a sabre, and a brace of revolvers. They are located at present in Iowa, Kansas, North Elba, N.Y., Canada, and the Western Reserve, where they respectively belong. Virginia has seceded, and as soon as the war is opened these men will invade that State on their own hook. The plan of the raid of course I do not know. None know but those who are engaged in it. Two secret agents passed through Warren only two weeks ago. John Brown, jr. is now in Canada. He is a fine looking man, and has all the pluck of his father.---Some of the men who engaged in this are men of large means, I suppose many of our readers will pronounce this a hoax, but I can assure them it is not, and ask them to await patiently the progress of the war.
It is said to-day that the North Western Regiment will be sent to Wheeling.
None of our boys are dangerously sick---neither are the Stryker boys.---the fare is some better, and I feel first rate. The boys all send their best respects to their friends and plenty of love to their sweet hearts.
Yours for the right,