Frederick A. Lord
1155 1/2 Indiana Avenue
Chicago April 20, 1869.
Yours of the 17th is at hand. I am sorry you were so unfortunate in your attempt to find me. Perhaps yr failure was owing to the fact of my having changed my place of residence & office at about the time of your visit to the city. Hereafter please address me at the number & sheet given above.
I hasten, as requested, to give a brief history of my connection with the army. I applied for a commission as surgeon, or ass't surgeon, in the army, early in the war, & obtained an order from the Governor for examination of the Medical Board, then recently appointed, & holding session in the city. The Board however refused to examine me solely on the ground of a suspected leaning towards Homeopathy, which however I had not embraced at that time; but was only endeavoring honestly to investigate. I then went to Springfield armed with a written request from the officers of an already organized regiment that I should be appointed their Medical officer, & also with as good letters to the Governor, & certificate as to general & professional character, as the best men in Chicago could send, & endeavored to get an appointment over the heads of the Board. The Governor really desired, I think, to give me a commission -- (He was him self a Homeopath, & at that time employing a Hom. Physician in his own family.) but was prevented by consideration of policy. He would give me a commission as lieutenant, or Captain, or even Colonel, for which officer I was entirel [sic] unqualified, but could not give me a surgeon's commission for which he had some reason to think I was qualified, because the Examining Board suspected me of heterodoxy in my therapeutic views. -- Having sort of made a test case of my own, & regarding their decision as final, I gave up all idea of entering the service. The way was, however, some time afterwards, very unexpectedly opened to me. -- Through the influence of the commanding officer of the Chicago Board of Trade Battery, I was summoned by telegraph, from Louisville, to engage by civil contract as a special medical officer to that Battery, on account of its peculiar position, & the unusual number & efficiency of its men. (Batteries do not usually have surgeons attached to them.) This was in September 1862, at the time of the panic at Cincinnati & Louisville on account of the proximity of Braggs force, wh where rapidly pushing on towards the Ohio River. -- I immediately left my business here, in which I was just getting a foothold, and a wife to whom I had been married barely three months, & joined the Battery in time to accompany our troops through Kentucky & Tennessee in their pursuit of Bragg till (as I shall always believe, by the perfidy of Gen'l Bull) he was allowed to escape, almost unharmed, into the mountains of Tennessee. Although there was almost constant skirmishing during the enemy retreat there was no real fighting done except at the battle of Perryville, (wh itself was said to have been accidental) where after a signal defeat by only a small portion of our force, the rebels were still permitted to continue their successful retreat. After they had well escaped through the Cumberland gap, & our farcical pursuit was ended, we were marched hither & thither, by circuitous & apparently aimless routes, back to Bowling Green in Kentucky. Here we remained till Gen. Rosecreus assumed command, when all were ordered to Nashville, about wh' the rebels, under Bragg again, were strongly encamped. In the latter part of Dec. our whole force moved against him when he retreated to Stone River, near Murfreesboro, Tenn, where, on the 31st Dec, was commenced a series of engagements as terrific & exhausting as almost any during the war, & lasting five days. Bragg was again defeated; but, as usual, the victory was not followed up, & its fruit mainly lost to the country. Our battery was engaged almost every hour of these five days, & did splendid execution, often in the thickest of the fray. We lost many brave men in killed or wounded. I was constantly on the field, or in the field-hospital, myself, & did duty not only as surgeon & nurse, but also as purveyor & cook for the men, who were not allowed to leave their guns for a moment for four days & nights, subsisted mainly on what myself & one negro servant (the rest all ran away) could prepare & carry to them in our own hands. Had it not been for a stray cow wh' all captured & butchered in the woods, we should have all suffered the pangs of hunger in addition to other distresses, for on the second day our supplies were cut off, & wither destroyed, or driven back to Nashville by the rebel cavalry in our rear.
After this memorable struggle all were set down in the mud in & near Murfreesboro for the remainder of the winter. General discomfort & discontent, on account of this inactivity, prevailed, the special need of my presence & services seemed to have passed by -- The general impression (wh was subsequently confirmed) was that we should not move till April. I accordingly terminated my contract with the government, returned home in the latter part of January 1863, having been in the service a little less than five months. Such is my record.
H. H. Aiken was a sergeant in the Chicago B'd of trade Batt'y, a noble man, & brave soldier. I forget whether he was killed at Stone River, or lost his life subsequently in Georgia. W. W. Olcott was also a non-commissioned officer of the same Battery, a good soldier, and is now living in this city. Chas. M. Smith enlisted as a private early in the war for a short term of service, & served under Gen. Lyon in Missouri -- was present, & near the General when he fell mortally wounded. Smith suffered great privation & hardship during this campaign, from ill health consequent upon improper diet & exposure. John S. Lord (my brother) served from the Fall of 1862 to the end of the war, as Sergeant-major-Adjutant-Captain a Staff-officer in the 113th Illinois Reg't, & the brigade to wh it was attached -- is now living here -- engaged in Security Insurance Co. Office. Evan Grubb I am quite sure was killed in the service -- can't give particulars -- His family have removed to some other place. Frank Smith was never in the service. Of the others I am unable to give any information, but might perhaps gather some thing if desirable -- Some of the names are familiar to me.
J. Spafford Hunt now living here at 720 West Lake St, held a much more important medical office in the army than you have set him down for, & is a man of considerable means. Geo. R. Clark was Lt. Col, & is now a man of some wealth living near me. E. L. Dutton came out Lt. Col. & Brevet Brigadier -- is living in Sycamore. Other corrections & changes might be made I presume if the such could be got at. Accuracy seems certainly desirable in these records. Theo. H. Brown is a Gen'l either by brevet or otherwise.
Any further information that I can impart, or any assistance that I can render, will be cheerfully given
Yours very truly
F. A. Lord