04 May 2014

Civil War 150: Philip Henry Rutter, part 1

Philip Henry Rutter was born about 1846 in Allegany County, New York to Emerson and Mary (Nichols) Rutter.  He was the youngest of four boys.  In 1856 the family moved to Delaware County, Iowa. At the age of 18 years old he enlisted on March 28, 1864.  He was assigned and enlisted to Company K, 12th Iowa Volunteer Regiment on April 26, 1864.

Philip's father and mother both applied for a pension based on his service, claiming that his labor helped support him. Only his mother's application was approved.


As part of his mother's application, she submitted five letters Philip wrote to her during his service in May 1864.  The original letters are still in Philip's pension file at the National Archives.  The letters provide a rich picture of Philip's life in the army: from running into his brothers, Hollis and Jubal, at various encampments, being vaccinated, descriptions of the new places he has traveled to, worry for those at home, and many other details of life.

The first letter in the pension file was written to "Father & Mother" from Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee on May 1, 1864.

May 1st
Fort Pickering
Dear Father & Mother
   I sit down at this time to rite a few lines to you to let  you now that I am well and whare I am were started from Cario day before yesterday for Memphis on the boat Jurniney and g arived here today and came up to Fort Pickering and the first one I saw Jub he was quit surprised to see me he Had not heard that I had enlisted for he says that he has not received any letters from Home since he left. we have a very pleasant place here to camp here it is a dry place and that is half the battle. I formed a very poar opinion of Cario is  the most filhy place I ever was in in my life it is down in a swamp. I was glad when the orders came to leave. but Memphis is A rite the other way it is on rising ground and it is dry and pleasant. thare is a great dele of diference in the vegitation here than thare is up in Iowa the trees all leaves and flowers are in bloom. the gardens are real farward onions are large enough to eat and peas are a pot and half. the day before we left Davinport I recived my pay and I expressed $60 dollars home. and I expressed my lathes with David Fearington as he was again to send hisen and he sent them to Jessy Crow and when you[crossed out] they come you can go and get them we expect to receive our arms today or tomorrow and then we will leave probily but we don't now, we may stay here fore a month or two or we may start in a day as to. I will rite before we leave. thare is about 12 thousand neagroes in the Fort here and they are as proud as any Officer in the fort it is pretty hard thing to pass them when they are on guard if you are withing twenty yards of them and you don't hald they will shute you well I must stop writing for this time. you must rite as soon as you get this so good by for this time yuors in hast
Direct your litters to
Company K: 12th regiment Iowa
infantry Via Cario Ill
[1] "Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 4 May 2014); Philip H. Rutter (Co. K, 12th Iowa Inf.) index card; imaged from General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, microfilm publication T288 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives [n.d.]), roll 409.
[2]  Philip Rutter to "Dear Father & Mother" [Emerson and Mary (Nichols) Rutter], letter, 1 May 1864; Mary E. Rutter, mother's pension application no. 223,150, certificate no. M.O.C. 193,691, for service of Philip H. Rutter (Pvt., Co. K, 12th Iowa Inf., Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications ..., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.


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