Albert Tilton's Last Letter to Robert Tilton July 20 , 1862

Camp Big Springs Miss
Near Corinth July 20/62 Sunday Night 12 P.M.

Dear Robert

We are gwine to leave dis yer place. We are gwine gorillaing. We is just done gone tired of snooping around dis yer Big Spring of cobalt water.

We leave here tomorrow morning at 5, bag and baggage. We are going to guard the M & C Road between Iuka & Eastport - 60 miles. The whole division is going. Iuka is 30 miles East of here. Eastport is East of Iuka 60 miles. Gorillas are thick as mosquitoes down there & mosquitoes as thick as skirmishers on Mike Hoover's shirt. I'm afraid they'll shoot. We got new arms all around today. Splendid pieces. Co. F, the Col, & the major haven't come yet, but we expect them tonight. Capt is sick yet & I'm boss as usual. Ad is O.K. & would send his respects but he is asleep.

Love to Wil & family & Hen. Why don't you all write to a fella?


Albert Tilton to Robert Tilton, July 20, 1862, Tilton Family Papers, MSS84497, Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.


  1. Mike Hoover was another member of Company C, of which both Tiltons were members.
  2. "Hen" was another Tilton brother, Henry Tilton, Jr., next oldest to Albert. Henry went west to Illinois in 1858 or 1859 at about the time Albert and Robert moved to Middleport. Henry seems to have first spent time in Middleport but then moved further on to Gilman or Gridley, Illinois. He later joined a New York artillery unit.
  3. The regiment exchanged their Belgian rifles for Austrian rifles, splendid pieces in comparison to the Belgian ones.
  4. The Fifty-First left Chicago in February with only eight companies, lacking an "F" and an "I". At the time Albert wrote this letter, the regiment was expecting a Company F under Captain George Bellows to arrive and join the regiment. Company F, traveling by rail from Chicago, finally rendevoused with the regiment on July 23, the day of Robert's death in Middleport.
  5. "Ad" was Adam Hetfield, first sergeant of Company C, who went by the nickname "Ad". The two Tiltons and Hetfield all enrolled for service at Middleport, Illinois.