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Transcription of 1862 Letter from Union General Thomas MacDowell
to Edmonia Ware – Wife of Josiah Ware

Researched & written by Judy C. Ware
Judy C. Ware October 2008

Original letter owned by Jane & Scott Dudgeon

                                                       Headquarters 84th Regiment
                                                       Winchester, VA
                                                       May 18, 1862

Madam -

Your note has just been received and contents noted.  The wagon and horses spoken off are now in the possession of the Quarter Master of this place and are held as property confiscated by reasoning the past taken by Colonel Ware, your husband, in the rebellion.* I have telegraphed to General Banks for advice and counsel in the case and will be bound to abide his decision in the promises.  If I were permitted to act upon my own judgment I would at once return the wagon and horses; but this unhappily is not the case with me, so I must abide the result of the decision of my superior in command. 

                                   With sentiments of high regard and esteem,
                                                            I beg to subscribe myself,
                                                            your obedient servant,

                                                            Thomas C. MacDowell
                                                            Lt Col, 84th Regiment P.V.

To Mrs. Col. Ware                                 Commanding Post
Clarke County, Va.

(The P.V. after his signature stood for Pennsylvania Volunteers)

The following note was added (in Josiah’s handwriting) to the bottom of the 2nd page of this letter from McDowell.  Josiah added the asterisk sign in the above text himself, and clearly wanted to make a clarification on the charge someone had levied against him.

* This colored man was ignorant in making his statement.   He was young and knew nothing about the military.  I had been Colonel of the Virginia Volunteers nearly 40 years before the war.  He had seen me acting as such and being from home at the time, if honest, he supposed I was in the service.  My age near 73 contradicts him - besides General Banks’ paroling me as a citizen to go home (see Davis’ statement, letter B) clearly shows.

                                                                                  J.W. Ware

McDowellLetterPg1.gif (107486 bytes)     McDowellLetterPg2.gif (123947 bytes)

*** I would like to thank Jane & Scott Dudgeon for allowing me to copy & transcribe this letter for my historical research. I am deeply grateful.

Placement of family photographs & visual graphics accompanying this piece are the fine work of John Reagan who has been an invaluable help in setting up a website for me entitled Ware Genealogy at I will forever be grateful for his expertise & kindness.

Background Information on Union Lt. Col. Thomas C. MacDowell
Researched & written by: Judy C. Ware
Copyright  October 2008

The 84th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers commenced recruiting in early August and towards the end of October, the following field officers were chosen:               

          William G. Murray, Colonel
Thomas C. MacDowell, Lieutenant Colonel
          Walter Barrett, Major

After a heavy encounter with Stonewall Jackson, “the Eighty-fourth, under command of Major Barrett, was assigned to provost duty in the town of Berryville.  Ref.   Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.

It is obvious from the letter sent to Edmonia that Lt. Col. MacDowell (not to be confused with the more famous Union General Irvin McDowell) had been requested to return property that had been confiscated from Josiah Ware.   He replied to her that he would ask his superior officer (General Banks) what to do with the situation, and it is of interest to note that in a letter from Banks himself (dated just one month later on June 24, 1862) he addressed a very similar request. (see below)

Department of the Shenandoah
Middletown, Virginia June 24th 1862

Mr. J.W. Ware living near Berryville Virginia had taken from him on or about the 18th day of June 1862 by two US Volunteers of the 1st Md Regiment of Cavalry two mares (one a chestnut, dark spot on right hip, and the other a light colored sorrel, both small) which have been found and returned to Mr. Ware by order of Maj. General Banks. While these mares were in possession of the thieves, the first described was branded (brand sign) and it is believed the other is also branded in the same descriptive manner.

This paper is to authorize Mr. Ware to keep in his possession the above described mares against all claimants on the part of the US Government except by the express and direct order of the Commander of this Department given in writing.

Mr. Ware is requested to place the letter "C" under the present unauthorized brand.

                                                               By Order of Maj. Gen. N.P. Banks

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