McCormick Family Notes

Comments and suggestions


Letters written by Robert F. McCormick
from 186[?] to 9/29/1864.
There are more letters written between his father, John Wesley McCormick, and brother, Rev. William McCormick, to each other in the 1870s which I have not transcribed at this time. The originals were in the possession of Dr. Marguerite Potter and then, after her death, probably in the possession of her sister, Mrs. Grace Potter Tippett. Since Grace died, I don't know where the originals have gone. I have copies made in the late 1970s on the old slick photocopy paper. I re-copied some of them onto regular copy paper in the 1980s, but they are all nearly unreadable now. My transcription tries to maintain the punctuation, spelling, and grammar of the original. Robert F. McCormick died just a few days after writing his last letter. - Carol Van Tine Yocom, 11/28/98.
Genealogy Index

1)Undated, single page note.
To: Margaret McCormick, sister
From: Robert F. McCormick


Margaret I want
you to bring me one or
two pairs of my best socks
with you as you come
to the fair, if you cannot
come send them by some person.
I would have sent you
some money but Argo
borrowed some of me and
cannot pay it back, I will
send you some some time
for your work for me.
Tell Charl to come and
stay all night before he goes
down the river.


2)Letter, 8/17/1862
To: General to McCormick Family
From: Robert F. McCormick

Lue Smith
Ed Selfridge
Abe Rock

[written upside down and in the right and left corners:]
left: Well Ed calls me I will close and go in.
right: Well it is now [8] o clock I will go and shave.

Sunday Aug 17, 1862

Dear Friends
This pleasent Sunday mo-
rning finds me able for
duty and as we expect to
remain in camp today it is
my desire to write you a few
lines. I have come out in the
woods away from the crowd
and I am all alone under
a cluster of shady pine brush.
This I think is the first
Sunday that we have not been
on the march for 2 months.
We know not when Sunday comes
only by counting the days. There
are 12,000 cavalry here in
sight and some are butchering
others shooting and others
gamb[o]ling. The wickedness of

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all things wicked are carried
on here. I never heard what
wickedness and hard swearing
was before I got in the large
armyes. We don't stay with the
infantry any more we are attached
to a cavalry Brigade in which is
the first & second Pa Regt - 1st Michigan
1st R.I. 1st Vt, 1st Md - 5th
NY, 5 & 9 NY, 1st NJ - 1st
[?T]. And others. We came in this
camp last night and it is on the
Rapidan River a few miles from
the Battle Ground. We are advancing
towards Gordensville in advance
of Popes army. A large amount of
Burnsides men are here and it
is reported that McLelland will
soon be with us - well here comes
some kind of order the bugal
is blowing I must go. Oh! The
bugle blowed only for us
all to come together to let us

page 3
know that there would
be Preaching at 11. I went
to work and got dinner for
me and Jim Lue Smith
Ed Selfridge Abe Rock before
meeting time and have been
to meeting for the first time
in the regiment. Our preacher
is a first rate fellow and a
good doctoral preacher. He
preached a good short patriotic
sermon from the first []
verces of the first Salm - Blessed
is the man that walketh not in the
councils of the ungodly & C.
He told us that the best soldiers
were those who enjoy religion [not]
those who never had religion
he thought the man who lost his
religion on volunteering were in-
clined to flinch. You have all
read of the Battle of Slaughter
Mountain in the western

page 4
papers. Five days after the
battle there were dead men found
who could not be moved and were
just cover[e]d up as they lay. Some
times you might see parts of his
cloths uncovered. Such is the fate of
a soldier; as long as he is an aff-
ective soldier he gets crackers
but when killed he is just pitched
in a hole by the side of some body
else. I hope that God may spare
my life to get out of the service
but it does not appear to me that
I well ever get out. At the skirmish
we had away at the right flank in
the time of this Battle I seemed to
be waiting for my turn it seemed
as though they flew in every direction
within one inch of me but I was
never touched. I had an extra horse
in the service rode by an other fellow
which was slightly wounded but I
believe I will loose him as he can
not go on duty. However he only
cost me $25 I will not loose much.
Some of the boys say that Jims horse
jumped a ditch and fell and threw
him off. Jim says him self that
his horse got up and went of[f] again.
The horse he got was nearly where
his own fell and he just mounted
him and rode off he knows nothing
of where the rider was. Probably killed
[one nearly as] good as his own.

No Signature

3) Letter, 9/27/1862
To: Margaret McCormick, sister
From: Robert F. McCormick

Lewis Smith
James McCoker
Guss Massey
Abe Miller
Pap [Ross?]
George Colliflower
Sam Mannen
Joseph Greer

Washington City, DC
Sept 27th 1862

Dear Sister:
Well as usual [&] 25 days without
any word from home.
We receive mail every day, time and
again and day after day I have looked
in vain for a letter from Home.
While others have received as high as 8
from Quaker Bottom since I got one.
Lewis Smith received 4 from Home this evening.
James McCoker has received 4 since I did one.
Why do you ask me to write often when I
have to get down on the ground to write.
You can sit by your Family desk and write
to me. Tomorrow morning the []
the 2nd & 3rd Virginia infantry will start via
[Pittsburg] to Western Virginia; the Baltimore &
Ohio R.R. is destroyed. Our regiments will
probably start tomorrow or next day to Fairfax
[C. H.] I never seen fist fighting in my
life until I came in the army. Hardly an
hour passes without a fight; last night at midnight

page 2
I was awakened and seen two men
fight untill their clothes were all bloody
they were drinking and fell out playing
cards. About one 5th of our men are drunk all
the time and you might travel from daylight
untill midnight and see every ten steps
card playing for money. Guss Massey is
a regular gambler Abe Miller is as reckless
as [me]. Some of our men are smugling
whiskey and make money at it;
If you knew how I feel in this crowd
and knew how I value your letters you
would not let me go a month without a letter.
I never write a letter only what I write
home and I will not write any more only
when I write in answer to what I receive
from you, the last letter was dated the 1st
of Sept by Father; we will soon be paid
and I will send some money home. I
received a Register last night. Our mail is
regular every evening, I never receive
any [] from home although you

page 3
and Will, Harriet, Pap [Ross?], Uncles and George
Colliflower & Sam Mannen can all write.
I do love a patriotic young man, but a
cowerd as a man who would not fight for his
country when their circumstances demand it I
do utterly despise. However when you get
to commanding the affairs you must use salt in
your corn [dodgers?]. And you will never make
any for me should I ever get home.
I hate bad enough to hear of uncles
girls and others keeping company with such
fellows, and you may be assured I hate to
her of you much worse. I do sincerely in
my heart wish you well and wish you
all the enjoyment in the world. And if
there are not other company to go with, I
will send you money to go elsewhere-
your disposition and personal appearance will
always command respect and good company.
I ask you to seek and you will obtain
it, if at my expense, my hopes for any future
enjoyments are not flattering I assure you.
I don't look to the future at all, I can only
hope without expectations. I have a piece
of poetry on the Death of Charlie which

page 4
I will send you when I hear from
you - a fellow from Ironton got a
copy and he says he has it put in
the Register look for it. Joseph Greer is at
some hospital and he sent a letter to the Lieuten-
ant for a discharge. [no more?]

Direct your letters as this envelop
is directed. We have drunken officers in
our Regiment & I am going to seek
some plan to get out of it some time-
I subscribe myself your Brother


4)Letter, 12/21/1863
To: unknown
From: Robert F. McCormick

Harry Gray as pen name

New Creek Station, Va.
Decr 21st 1863

Dear Friend
Last night I was made the happy
recipient of a short note with your
signature, and my duty demands
a response to your worth note.
You see my real name is not Harry
Gray but I assumed that name
under which to advertise and I alw-
ays give my real name on my first
correspondence. I am a Soldier in
the Union Army and will have
served three years in July next after
which I intend Settling myself in
life. I am a Single man 27 years
of age and was never married nor
engaged. Having been in different
portions of the country North and
South, I was in New Orleans in

page 2
in June 1861 at the time the war
broke out and made my escape
from there to Cincinnati Ohio,
from there to Lawrence county, Ohio,
where I live and make my Home.
My desire for roaming is not so
grate as some years ago and, in
consequence thereof I am in the
notion of domestic happiness if
such there is to be found. I am
five feet, eleven inches high. Black
hair and black eyes and pretty
black myself, especialy in camp
among the pine fires. Liberal Harted
and used to hard work, although
I taught School 2 years of my life in
Ohio. My fortune is limited but I
have what I consider a fortune a
warm Heart, a pair of hands and
a good will to youse them.
I have soldiered near three years
without contracting any of the evils
which are so prevelent in the army

page 3
I never get out of humor al-
ways reconsiling myself to my
fate good or bad, after doing
my duty in all things. Your age
being so nearly equal to mine I
will have no objections to opening
a more familliar correspondence.
I pledge you my Honor as a
man that I am Strictly Honorable
with you, and always have had the
good will of every body with
whome I formed acquaintences
and I will expect you to be
Honorable with me, giving me
your brief history of your life
since you came into woman-
hood the cause of your widowhood
&c, also your standing in society
and your financial condition.
I could love any one who can
love me it matters not whether you
own one dollar or not, but yet it
is very convenient when possessed

page 4
At the time I advertised, our
regiment was near Washington
City, now we are at New Creek
Va and we expect to remain
here until spring. I will send
you a Photograph if you will
send me yours, and I will
write and answer any questions
you propose in your next
letter. Hopeing to hear from
you immediately I will close
with my real name in full
Write immediately -

Sergt Robert F. McCormick
Co "G" 1st Va Cavalry
New Creek West Va

5) Letter, 9/29/1864
To: Margaret McCormick, sister
From: Robert F. McCormick
who died 10/19/1864.

Bill Forgey

[upside down at the top of the first page]
Marg now don't fail to write every few days for
you don't know how lonesome and bad off I am.

Winchester Va Sept 29 1864

Dear Sister:
This evening finds me able to sit up and write you a letter to
inform you that I am yet alive and nothing but a very
soar arm to complain of. A few days ago I wrote to Will
and since then I have not got much better, but my arm
has been examined and the Doctors say it will get
well but I will likely loose the use of my fingers as the
leaders are all torn off. I am patiently awaiting to see if
it wont get well as ever oh what will I do if I loose
a hand. I have not heard from the regiment since I wrote
to Will. I do not know when they will get discharged nor
[no] don't know when I will get mine but as soon as I
get well I will get it. Oh Marg I wish I was where I
could have your care to my wound. I wouldent have to
beg an hour before I get it dressed of a morning. Some
times a lady comes in with some soup of some kind.
I look in vain imagination for you. Oh for the time to
come when I can enjoy life again at Home. There is a man sett-
ing by my side who belongs to S[ive] Smith Co and he seen Bill
Forgey a few days after the fight & all the boys are safe.
Marg it has been so long since I heard from home I

page 2
am almost affraid to for I am afraid some of you
are ded. It is like immagination to think of a home am-
ong parents sisters and brothers. Oh how happy are those
who enjoy that Home I wish they knew how I live on
this hard floor and nothing but Hard Bread & coffee.
The matter from my wound runs out on my blanketts &
the smell worse than caron [carrion?]. I have only had one dollar
since last aprile and only one su[i]t of clothes a man gave
me a clean shirt yesterday but I don't know what in the world to do
for a clean drawers and pants. We cant draw any while we
are here. I was not going to have any old clothing to bring
home with me and was doing on very little until
my time was out - amid all these I am not troubled I
have always got along and I trust in god for my care.
Marg if I was called to die I would not fear but my skies
would be bright. I never failed praying to god every day and the
day I was wounded I asked god as I made the charge to save
my life and the reble who shot me was not over 25 yards
from me taking dead aim three of them and 2 of us. I
was wounded and the other mans horse killed & he captured.
Providence has smiled on me and I believe other prayers
besides my own have been heard in my behalf.
Tell Mary and Ben I think of them every day and will
never be satisfied until I see them.
I will write once a week, oftener if I get worse.

No Signature

1st West Virginia Cavalry

SERVICE [Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer] Organized at Wheeling, Clarksburg and Morgantown July 10 to November 25, 1861. Attached to Cheat Mountain District, W. Va., to January, 1862. Landers' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. Shields' 2nd Division, Banks' 5th Corps, and Dept. of the Shenandoah to May, 1862 (8 Cos.). Milroy's Cheat Mountain District, W. Va., to June, 1862 (4 Cos.). Shields' Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862 (8 Cos.). Buford's Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Army Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862 (8 Cos.). Milroy's Independent Brigade, 1st Army Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862 (4 Cos.). Unassigned, Defences of Washington, D. C., to February, 1863. Price's Cavalry Brigade, Defences of Washington, D. C., and 22nd Army Corps, to April, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Stahel's Cavalry Division, 22nd Army Corps, to June, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to December, 1863. Unassigned, Dept. of West Virginia, to March, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, W. Va., to May, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, W. Va., to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, W. Va., to November, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Middle Military Division, to February, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to July, 1865. (Co. "A" attached to Averill's 4th Separate Brigade, 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, March to June, 1863. Averill's 4th Separate Brigade, W. Va., to December, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, W. Va., to April, 1864. Kelly's Command, Reserve Division, W. Va., to April, 1865. 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, W. Va., to July, 1865.)

SERVICE.--Action at Carnifex Ferry, W. Va., September 10, 1861 (Detachment). Romney, W. Va., October 26 (Co. "A"). Guyandotte, W. Va., November 10 (Detachment). Wirt Court House November 19. Capture of Suttonville, Braxton Court House, November 29. In support of Garfield's operations in Eastern Kentucky against Humphrey Marshall December 23, 1861, to January 30, 1862 (Detachment). Skirmishes in Clay, Braxton and Webster Counties December 29-31. Jennies Creek, Ky., January 7, 1862 (Detachment). Regiment engaged in scouting, picket and outpost duty and guarding Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in West Virginia till March, 1862. Expedition to Blue's Gap January 6-7. Hanging Rock Pass, Romney, January 7. Bloomery Gap February 13. Bloomen February 15. Advance on Winchester, Va., March 5-12 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Phillippi March 20 (4 Cos.). Battle of Winchester March 23. Monterey April 12 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Buffalo Gap May 3 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). McDowell May 7 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Scouts to Roane and Clay Counties May 8-21. Giles Court House May 10 (Detachment). Strasburg June 1. Cross Keys June 8. Port Republic June 9. White Plains June 10. Expedition to Madison Court House, Culpeper Court House and Orange Court House July 12-17. Near Culpeper July 12. Cedar Mountain August 9 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Orange Court House August 13. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Rapidan August 18. Freeman's Ford, Hazel River, August 22 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Kelly's Ford August 22. Sulphur Springs August 23. Waterloo Bridge August 23-25. Buckland Bridge, near Gainesville, August 28 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Groveton August 29 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Bull Run August 30 (Cos. "C," "E" and "L"). Lewis Ford August 30. Chantilly September 1. (2 Cos. at Antietam, Md., September 16-17.) Ashby's Gap September 22. Expedition to Thoroughfare Gap October 17-18. Gainesville October 18. Near Warrenton November 4. Reconnoissance to Snicker's Ferry and Berryville November 28-30. Snicker's Ferry November 30. Moorefield, W. Va., December 3 (1 Co.). Near Moorefield, W. Va., January 5, 1863. Cockletown, Pocahontas County, W. Va., January 22. Scout from Centreville to Falmouth February 27-28. Beverly April 24 (Co. "A"). Warrenton Junction May 3 (Detachment). Winchester June 13-15 (Cos. "C" and "K"). Hanover, Pa., June 30. Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Hunterstown July 2. Monterey Gap July 4. Smithburg July 5. Hagerstown July 6. Boonsboro July 8. Hagerstown July 11-13. Falling Water July 14. Expedition from Fayetteville, W. Va., to Wytheville July 13-15 (2 Cos.). Shanghai July 16 (Co. "A"). Wytheville July 18-19 (Co. "A"). Near Hedgesville and Martinsburg July 18-19 (Co. "A"). Near Gaines' Cross Roads July 23. McConnellsburg, Pa., July 30. Averill's Raid through Hardy, Pendleton, Highland, Bath, Greenfield and Pocahontas Counties, W. Va., August 25-31 (Co. "A"). Rocky Gap, near White Sulphur Springs, August 26-27 (Co.. "A"). Expedition to Port Conway September 1-3. Culpeper Court House September 13. Raccoon Ford September 14-16. Robertson's Station September 16. Raccoon Ford September 17-18. White's Ford September 22-23. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. James City and Bethesda Church October 10. Near Culpeper, Brandy Station and Griffinsburg October 11. Gainesville October 14. Groveton October 17-18. Gainesville, New Baltimore, Buckland's Mill and Haymarket October 19. Catlett's Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Raccoon Ford November 26-27. Averill's Raid from Lewisburg to Virginia & Tennessee Railroad November 1-17 (Co. "A"). Droop Mountain November 6 (Co. "A"). Averill's Raid from New Creek to Salem December 8-25 (Co. "A"). Regiment on duty at various points in West Virginia till May, 1864. Averill's Raid on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad May 5-19. Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, between Bloomfield and Piedmont, May 5. Abb's Valley, Jeffersonville, May 8. Grassy Lick, Cove Mountain, near Wytheville, May 10. Doublin Station May 12. Rude's Hill and New Market May 14. Lewisburg May 20 (Detachment). Hunter's Raid on Lynchburg May 26-July 1. Staunton June 8. White Sulphur Springs June 10. Lexington June 11. Scout around Lynchburg June 13-15. Near Buchanan June 13. New London June 16. Diamond Hill June 17. Lynchburg June 17-18. Snicker's Ford June 18. Liberty June 19. Buford's Gap June 20. Catawba Mountains and about Salem June 21. Snicker's Ferry, Va., July 17-18. Carter's Farm, near Stephenson's Depot, July 20. Newtown July 22. Kernstown, Winchester, July 24. Falling Waters July 24. Martinsburg July 25. Hagerstown July 29. Hancock July 31. Williamsport and Hagerstown August 5. Near Moorefield August 7. Williamsport August 26. Martinsburg August 31. Bunker Hill September 3-4. Stephenson's Depot September 5. Darkesville September 10. Bunker Hill September 13. Berryville and near Brentsville September 14. Centreville September 14. Charlestown September 17. Winchester September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Mt. Jackson September 23-24. Forest Hill or Timberville September 24. Brown's Gap September 26. Weyer's Cave September 26-27. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Dry Run October 23 (Detachment). Milford October 25 (Detachment). Nineveh November 12. Rude's Hill, near Mt. Jackson, November 22. Expedition to Gordonsville December 19-28. Gordonsville December 23. Sheridan's Raid from Winchester February 25-March 25, 1865. Mt. Crawford February 28. Waynesboro March 2. Charlottesville March 3. Augusta Court House March 10. Haydensville March 12. Beaver Dam Station March 15. White House March 26. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9, Dinwiddie Court House March 29-31. Five Forks April 1. Namozine Church and Scott's Corners April 2. Jettersville April 4. Amelia Court House April 5. Sailor's Creek April 6. Stony Point April 7. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23-29. March to Washington, D.C., May. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out July 8, 1865.




copyright © Carol V. Yocom. 2014
All Rights Reserved.

Last Revised: 06/21/2014.