"hudags" in an 1861 Civil War letter--full 1861 letter

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Mar 6 21:35:14 UTC 2003

   Yesterday Beverly Flanigan expressed interest in seeing the entire
1861 Civil War letter which contains "hudags." A full and proper
treatment will entail printing a xerox copy of the original letter
with all of its owner's comments about it, together with the
transcribed copy of course.  In a follow-up e-mail the owner (Selden
Trimble, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of
Missouri-Rolla) went into some detail about the difficulty of
transcribing the letters he has and the resulting uncertainty about
the transcription being entirely accurate.  I've been in touch with
him about publishing the "hudag" letter, and meanwhile, below my
signoff is his first (March 3, 2003) e-mail to me; a long
introduction precedes the letter itself.

Gerald Cohen

Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 12:18:18 -0600
To: gcohen at umr.edu
From: Selden Trimble <strimble at rollanet.org>
Subject: new word in old letter

Dear Jerry,
        Below is a copy of the article I wrote for myself about a
Union cover and letter sent from Rolla in November, 1861.  It
contains the plural word "hudags" as an adjective for a couple of
Confederate prisoners.  I never saw the word before.  But remember
that I'm spelling this as it appears to me from a script handwriting
of 140 years ago.

        The following letter was written in pencil on a 10 inch by 8
inch piece of horizontally laid white paper folded to make four
pages, each 8 inches tall and 5 inches wide.
        In the top center of the first page, there is printed in blue
two clothed women.  The left woman is seated on something and looking
left, while holding balance scales in her right hand and a sword in
her left.  Behind her and to the left is a ship at sail on a large
body of water.  The right woman is seated on a cornucopia and looking
right, while holding a rod with thread or flax at its tip in her
right hand.  Behind her is a train crossing a bridge, under which
runs a river with a barge on it.  The two women are leaning back on a
shield on which is a scene of a bay and the word "EXCELSIOR" written
in a ribbon underneath the bay.  An eagle appears to perch on the
shield.  The eagle has spread its wings wide over the two women.
Underneath the entire scene are three words in italics:  "Justice
Truth   Hope.".  The entire scene extends down 1 and 7/8 inches.
        Despite this elaborate scene, there is no printer's mark.
        Very faint horizontal blue lines start about   7/8 ths of an
inch from the top.  (This means that some of them run through the
scene described above.)  There is about 5/16 of an inch between these
lines.  The lines run from top to bottom on pages 2 and 3 and are
completely absent on page 4.  The writing in the letter stays between
the lines.
        The spelling, punctuation, and line breaks in the letter have
been preserved below as best as could be done.

        The cover is written in black ink and is addressed to

                                                    Mrs C J B Verbeck
                                          Mission Point
                                                Lasall Co

Today, 2001, La Salle County is in the north central part of
Illinois.  Interstates 80 and 39 cross there.  There does not seem to
be a community called Mission Point in it.  But in 1862, there was a
post office there.
        The cover originally measured 5 and 5/8 inches by 3 and 1/8
inches.  It has been trimmed on the right about 7/16 ths of an inch.
The letter was folded three times to fit in it.
        The cover has a black ROLLA MO Nov 28 cds on upper right side
of it.  The month is in italics.  There is also a black PAID inside
an oval stamped on it.  In fact, the cds "ties" the paid handstamped.
There is no rate marking.  (November 28, 1861, was Thanksgiving, but
it was not then an official holiday.)
        In the upper left corner of the cover, about 2 and 1/4 inches
long by 2 inches high, there is a red, gold, and blue patriotic
design.  There is a large 5-pointed star with a shield inside it.
The shield has a field of stars at its top and vertical red and white
bars on its bottom.  Outside the shield, but on the star, are lines
fanning out to the edge of the star; this area is colored gold.  On
each side of the side is a draped U.S. flag in red, white, and blue;
red and white bars dangle from underneath the star.  "THE NATION'S
EMBLEMS." is in large blue letters underneath the star.  Still
further underneath, in small blue letters, is "Let us hand them down
untarnished to future / generations."
        Docketing on the lower left front of the cover reads "Camp
Rolla / Nove 26 1861".
        There is no printer's mark on the cover.

The letter follows:

Camp Rolla Tent No 2 Nov 26
Sister Jane
                I take this
unfavorable oportunity of
writing you a few lines
our tent is full and I have
to set on our bed and write
that is the reason why I write
with a pencil.  I received your
letter of the nineteenth was
glad to get it for that was
the only one that I recd for
ten days.  but I am in
hopes to get some tonight
to day I h(????) five dont you
think I will have some one
of these days.  About Charly
I guess he had better keep

(2nd page now begins)

him and let him run
if he dont bother to much
I should like to have him
when I get home.  but if
he can dispose of him so as
to realize $100. dollars and
endorse the same on my note
he may let him go.  I had
rather he would not be worked
as he might run away and
spoil him.  have you taken
Cora over to Soyells yet or havent
you got through with her.
Yes I do have a considerable
to do with the secesh for the
other night I was sergt of the
guard over to head Quarters
and there was two sent
in for a trial but as it
was to late for that they had
to be sent to the Regt to
stay all night.  so they sent
to for two men.  but as I
wanted some fun I took my
old Musket and got another

(3rd page now begins)

man and started off
but did not have any
adventure as they are but poor
hudags.  it is fun to
march them off but if I
was in their place it wouldn't
be quite so funny.  I suppose
your are a going to keep
Thanksgiving next thursday.  I
expect too.  what is your opin
ion of the war  my is that
it is a humbug  hat it is
not carried on fast enough
I wish it could be carried
on faster.  but as long as
we are here we will not be
killed by secesh.  but you
know we came to do some-
thing for our country.  therefore
we are all disapointed.  we have
been in hopes to go down
the river but I am affraid
we will not get the chance
I was glad to hear that
you got along so well

(4th page now begins)

the corn.  you must
excuse my not finishing
this.  for I have to finish
in a hurry  write soon
and when I get tired
of your letters I will
say so
            L. R. P. Lauthe

More information about the Ads-l mailing list