LETTERS TO STEPHEN WATERHOUSE RIPLEY, Company "G"
Submitted by Gerald P. Ripley
Submitted by Gerald P. Ripley
My great-great grandfather, PETER RIPLEY, wrote to one of his sons, STEPHEN WATERHOUSE RIPLEY, who was a Quarter Master Sergeant in Captain Chatham Ewing's Company "G," 5th West Virginia Cavalry (formerly 2d West Virginia Infantry and subsequently Battery "G" 1st West Virginia Light Artillery). The letters mention two of Stephenís brothers, John and Peter, who were also in the Civil War. There are many casual references to other names in Wheeling, i.e.; Hastings, Hasely.
These letters are transcriptions. The originals probably no longer exist.
Peter and Ann (Waterhouse) Ripley, both born in Yorkshire, came to the Wheeling directly from England in 1842. Their first five children were born in Grassington or Burnsall, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. They joined two of Ann Ripley's brothers in Wheeling, Stephen and John Waterhouse, either concurrently or within the same time frame. Two more children were born in Wheeling.
The seven children of Peter and Ann (Waterhouse) Ripley were:
MARGARET R. RIPLEY, b October 4, 1832, married JOSEPH HASELY in Wheeling on December 3, 1853. Their son, Howard, was a police chief of Wheeling around the turn of the century.
JOHN RIPLEY, born December 20, 1834, is listed as a 3d Sergeant in Captain Ratcliffís Company of Ohio County 4th Militia during the Civil War.
PETER RIPLEY, born January 4, 1837, was a Sergeant in Company "A," 1st West Virginia Infantry. When the 1st mustered out, he was in Company "G," of the 2nd Veteran Infantry. He mustered out as a 1st Lieutenant.
ELIZABETH (Lizzie) RIPLEY, born April 7, 1839, married WILLIAM HASTINGS in Wheeling on August 8, 1857.
STEPHEN WATERHOUSE RIPLEY was a QMS in Company "G," 5th West Virginia Cavalry (formerly 2d West Virginia Infantry). He was discharged as a Captain.
WILLIAM H. RIPLEY, born in Wheeling on April 21, 1846, was my great grandfather.
GEORGE D. RIPLEY was born in Wheeling on December 26, 1849.
Peter Ripley to his son, Stephen Waterhouse Ripley - - Peter & John mentioned are Stephenís brothers; Wm. Hastings is married to Margaret Ripley, their sister.
Wheeling Sept 10th/62
To Stephen W Ripley
Dear Son We received yours of the 3rd on the 8th, with part of it written on the 26th August, and we was truly glad to hear that you was well and in such good spirits amidst such awful sights as you no doubt witnessed. And we was thankful to Almighty God for you preservation from danger hitherto. And we would humbly trust in his Almighty arm for the future. And we was glad that you recognized his kind hand in preserving you and was thankful. Ever cultivate and encourage such emotions of heart for they are ever pleasing to God.
And we was thankful for the information you gave us of Peter as we had been informed that he was in Richmond and that they had very poor Rations and were on an island out of Richmond.
Wm Hastings has just been here with your letter that you had wrote to him on the 8th. It seems to us that what you got from the Shiver Greys refers to his being taken to Linchburgh directly after he was captured and that they have not seen him lately. Bill Bukett has wrote his Mother and says that he seen Peter and that he was well.
Wm Hastings says that he will write to you as soon as he can. You just say that you have received our letter in closing your letter. We have sent you one by Mrs Harding of Labell Avenue. She came out as a nurse for the sick and wounded but her services was not needed. And the letter was in her carpet sack in the Depot and was never opened and therefore your letter came back to Wheeling, but we have not got it yet.
We are all about as well as we can expect, being able to attend to our daily work, but we think that we should feel a great deal better both in body and mind, if this war was over and we had you all safe at home again. Here is a good many of your acquaintances and associates coming to Washington with John Carltonís Battery. They expect to get their orders almost every day. R. French says he will come to see you if he gets within an hundred miles of where you are.
We had a letter from John last week he is well and seems to be getting along very well. We have sent him both your last letters and he was very much pleased with your preferment and says that he knew that Stephen would get along if they would but show him any chance.
You speak in your letter about sending your money home when you get paid. While we do not wish you to spend your money foolishly we do not want you to send it all home and leave yourself almost penniless. You do not know what you may need as you are not paid regularly and you will have to provide for yourself such things as will be necessary for your own comfort. It may be that you may not get a furlough this fall or winter and you are so far away that we cannot send you anything with safety and if you do send any money by Adamses express you must write to us haw we are to get it. But I must close with our best wishes for your safety and the Divine Blessing to rest upon you.
From your parents Peter and Ann Ripley
Isaac Clark to Stephen Ripley -- Isaac was in Battery "G" 1st Light Artillery, formerly Company "G" 5th West Virginia Cavalry.
Parkersburg, WV July 10th 64
Friend Stephen as we have land safe at this place I thought I would write to you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope that these few lines may find you enjoying the same state of health. We had a very hard tramp after you left us we was with in two miles of Linchburg but did not get in to the town I suppose that you have heard all about the tramp so I will not bother in giving you the history of it their was a good many hungry boys before we got ration and their was some that died for want of food for my part I had enough to eat the whole tramp
I staid with the quartermaster untill we came to gally and then I quite for he was the poorest pot of a man I ever had anything to do with. He did not know any thing about his business and he was such a coward that he was afraid to go off the road to get any forage or any thing. Adams & McHendry and Ward has lit out from the Battery I am driving six horses on the battery wagon that is all that I have to do and take care of my teem I have got a long very well so far but I do not like it but will stay here until my time is out and then they may kiss my foot
The Caps has got my papers so that he will discharge me as soon as my time is out I will close for this time but you must write soon.
Isaac Clark to Stephen Ripley
Direct to Bat. B 5th U.S.A. Parkersburg
Peter Ripley to his son Stephen Waterhouse Ripley. - - Wm. Hastings is married to Peterís eldest daughter Margaret. The George Ripley and Peter mentioned in the body are sons of Peter.
(Ep cancelled July 15 1864, Wheeling W. Va.)
Wheeling July 12th/64
Dear Son we received your letter last night and we are glad to hear that you are well, but we hope that you may be able to getr a place to board that will be more suitable for you then a Tavern and we think the $3.00 a day for the muck rolls is too little but you have to use your own judgement as to prices and watch then that they do not take advantage of you we had a letter from Magt (?) and Josh and they have got a letter from you you took the address to George Ripley along with you and we have forgot all about it and Wm Hastings wants to write to him on the glass house business will you be so kind as to send it in your next letter you can write it on the letter and keep the other. We got a letter from Peter dated Cherry Run. He say he is well but sore with so much marching. He says they had a great diversity of Rations, sometimes flour, sometimes shorts, and at others cornmeal, and parched corn and for several days nothing but beef but their mess had always made out to have a little of something if it was not more that a mouthful and some died of fateague and hunger. He had no idea that a man could endure so much before this raid we are all about as well as when you left. The hot weather sets hard on us. I am afraid of Mother breaking down. We would be in a bad fix if she was, but we will hope for the best. Write again as soon as convenient and let us know how you are getting along and how you stand it. We got the letter we send in this, last night
Peter & A Ripley
Peter Ripley to his son, Stephen Waterhouse Ripley - - Wm. probably is William H. Ripley, Peterís son.
We received your letter from Ironton today and was glad to hear that you was well and no doubt you had a warn reception, but we do not approve of your going to Nashville. It is if no use your going all over the United States after work. You can get plenty of that nearer home but you are now at work on you own account. I can do nothing but advize but if you are going to Nashville let us know before you start. We had hoped that if you got well out of the service we would have the pleasure of having you neat us but it appears we are doomed to be disappointed but we will have to make the best we can of it tell Josh we sent two papers last week one of them an Advocate of Franks & this week two and Franks paper. You donít say that you got Wms letter, there was a letter from Watson in it
P & A R
Peter Ripley to his son, Stephen Waterhouse Ripley
(Ep Postmarked Wheeling, W Va. Aug. 5, 1864)
Wheeling Aug 2nd 1864
We received your letter of the 19th July in due time and have been looking for another as Wm wrote to you and I thought that it would answer for once and that you would answer to Wm.s letter without waiting for me to write. I generally feel too tired to write much and you ought not to always expect me to write and answer eve ry letter this warm weather, and then we wanted to hear something from Peter before we wrote. We got a letter from him yesterday from Harpers Ferry, he was in the Battle of Snickers Ferry and also on the old battle field at Winchester he escaped unhurt but his clothes was cut with a bullít he says he was standing with his left side to the Rebs and the bullet passed along his back and struck the ring of his suspenders and grazed the skin and made it smart. He says he is well and will write again in a few days he hopes they will get some rest but we are afraid they will not have much chance as the Rebs are in Pennsylvania again and have burnt Chambersburgh. It was rumored here last night that they was fighting at Cumberland and it said today that Geníl Kelly has dispatched to the Governor that he has whipt them and drove them back. It was said the Militia would be called out this morning, but it is not so. ---
We are all about as well as when you were here, and we find the things that you got for us a very great help we could not have got along without running in debt if it had not been for them everything has gone up so high. Write soon and let us know how you are getting along and what you are doing. We thought as you did not write that perhaps you had gone up to Ironton, or that you was coming home.
Wm Hasting s wanted you r money and Peters for the glass factory and I consented to let him have it. He has given his own not the companies security for it and pays the same interest that the Savings Bank paid.
From your parents
Peter and Ann Ripley
Peter Ripley to Stephen Waterhouse Ripley.
Wheeling August 19th/64
Dear son We received your letter from Covington and also the $10.00 all right. It came in good time as the same night we received it a man we owed over $8.00 came in and we paid him.
We are calculating to go to Margrets the first opportunity and there is some probability of a rise in the River soon as we had some rain today and some prospect of more and if the rain is general there will be a rise and we shall have to draw on you as the Mill has been stopped about two weeks and Wm has been making nothing and he has been in Ohio a week. Wm Binns son John enlisted and went down to Vicksburgh and took the measles and died there they are all well there but Wm soon got tired it was too lonesome for him. Wm Edwards has come home from Nashville very sick he thought he would never get home I saw him today he begins to look better but he says it is the dirtiest place he ever saw and also very sickly. We had a letter from Adam Brown last Saturday and I answered it last night he wants to know your address and says that he will write to you soon. I gave it in the letter I wrote I forgot to say that Lambie is down there but intends to come back as soon as his month is up.
George is working at the Glass works while the vacation lasts. He will be able to make himself as much as will pay for a suit of clothes and he needed them very bad. He has got them and they look very nice. He is very much inclined to stay at the glass house and donít seem inclined to go to school again. It does not meet with my approbation and yet he will do no good at school when he is forced to go. I had much rather that he would have gone and improved his time, so that he might be able to get a living without so much hard labour but he is set against it and I do not know what is best to be done. We have no word from Peter since I wrote to you last. We see by the papers that they have Sheridan as their General and they are in pursuit of the Rebs up the Valley and also that Early has been heavily reinforced from Lees Army I am afraid they are going to have hot work of it out there Carlones Battery at the request of their friends and the Governor have come to Wheeling they came last night. Johnís health we think is improving he looks better.
Lizzy wrote to you last Friday they are all well. Indeed Lizzy is very attentive to us we have a great comfort in her she always manifests so much thought and care for us. And while I write this I don not want you to think that we for a moment underrate you or the rest of the family we think we are highly favored in this respect, for I do not know how we should have got along if it had not been for the things you got us before you went away, but then we have her to go to all the time and you are necessarly away.
Either Wm Hastings or Wm Kraft will be down to Cincinnatti next week to try to sell their ware. Wm Hastings was to Baltimore last week and succeeded very well But I must close we are a little improved in our health as the weather has been a little cooler for two or three days.
From your parents Peter & Ann Ripley
Peter Ripley to Stephen Waterhouse Ripley. - - Lizzie is Stephenís older sister married to Wm Hastings. Joseph and Margt Hasely are Stephenís sister and brother in law.
(EP postmarked Ironton, O Aug. 31 1864)
Ironton Augt 30th/64
Dear son According to your wish in Lizzies letter which she received the day we started on the boat, I sit down to write to you to let you know that we have arrived here safe on Monday morning at 2 oclock and by the kindness of B Fischer who came down with us from the Wharfe we found the place and called them up. We left home Saturday evening at 5 oíclock and had upon the whole a pleasant journey. Sunday was a pleasant day and we sat upon the hurricaine by the pilot house almost all the day. We had expected to get there before night but was disappointed
Joseph and Margret were very glad to see us and the children too, and so were we to meet them again in this world we do not feel very well. The journey has affected us both but I hope we may be better in a few days.
I like the looks of the place very well and I think it must be pretty healthy living where they live. They are all well at present and send their love to you. Joseph received a letter from you last night. They was thinking it a little strange that they did not get a letter sooner but now all is right. At the time we started we had not had any information respecting Peter but hope that all is well with him. Jacob Hornbrook was going to the Regt last week and we sent a letter along with him.
I did not explain to you about what terms I let Wm Hastings have your money. They had not made many sales of their ware and Wm Kraft was to have gone to several places but could not be spared from their business and they had become hard up to get enough to pay the hands. As everything is so dear that every man and boy wanted all that they made every week. And I though if you was here under the circumstances you would not deny them, so I let Wm Hastings have it on his own security with the understanding that when they got their returns for their ware they should deposit in the Bank that if you should need it you could get it at any time.
Wm Hastings wants you to come and take the hook you had before you enlisted. He will give you $11.50 per week. But we think you had better stay where you are. You may have a better chance then you could at the Bellmont as the Hastings family are ready for every good job around the Roots. We should be glad to have you home but we would gladly sacrifice our own desires for your benefit. Mother and Margt think that you need some shirts and Mother thinks that she could make them for you while we stay. Mother thinks that you need two calico, and one white one. I you accept the proposition you must write imeadeeatly and let us know and she will attend to it. Joseph wants you to send the medicines that he told you of as soon as you can he says you can have them wrapt up in a parcel and have them directed to Joseph Hasely to be left in care of the Wharf boat Ironton Landing. Send by the Ohio valley if you can. If the mill should stop, Margt says, and you thought it would stop long enough for you to come up and see us while we stay come up we would be very glad to see you. Your parents Peter & Ann Ripley
Letter from Peter Ripley, Jr to Joseph & Margaret Hasely, while his parents were visiting in Ironton, PA
Camp Charlston on September 2nd/64
Dear brother and sister I take this opertunity of writing a few lines hoping tha may find you well as this leaves me at present I resevd you last enclosed in Fathers and was glad to hear from you Father tell me he and Mother was just redy to start on a vist to you I hope tha hav arivd safe and are enjoing that viset Kape that thar as long as you can it is the first viset I ever new them to take and it shud be a long one.
Thar is nothing new hear at present thar is nothing like baloney to a larg Army thar is les marching and fiting than in a small one When whe fell back from this place to Halletown the Ioneys thought whe was in full retreat across the Potomack tha drove our rear garde in befor whe had our lines well formd but whe gat into line Strenthend the Skirmish line stack armes and whent to worke bilding brest workes the Iomys only about three hundred yards from our frunt crcking away whe did not have to hury the men that worked without any bosses the officers as hard as any in about a half hour whe was redy for them but tha was not redy to pitch in we stopt in our works for six days skirmishing day and night part of our Devision chargd the Iony skirmish line evry other night capshering a few ioneys evry time whe lost a few killd and wonded the Inoreys fell back I donít know whar too whe hav ben camp at this place for a few days that is no sine of the enmy whe havnot heard a gun for thre days but I must cloas writ sune kiss Charley for me
I remain yours truly Peter Rply
PS Father whe have ben payd of I sent 40 dollars home in your name and wrote to Wm Hastings to draw it and directed the letter in your name and never thought of it until this morning but I suppose William will get it any how whe was payd for fore mounths that is fore months cuming to us now and it is sayd whe well be payd agan in a fw daz & no more
Peter Ripley to Stephen Waterhouse Ripley., Sep 15, 1864. They were in Ironton, PA visiting their eldest daughter Margaret and her husband Joseph Hasely.
Ironton Sept 15th/64
Dear son We received your letter a week since today and the $10 all safe and was glad to hear that you was well and your prospects so good I should have answered imeadetly but I had purposed coming to see you this week an thought that I would probably be there as soon as the letter This the third week since we came and I have not been well one day Since we cam We have kept thinking that I would be better and then I would start I had a bad attack of gravel last night and have been taking medicine the last two or three days and am very weak, but if I feel better to justify me in coming I shall probably start on Monday or Tuesday Mother is pretty well and seems to be contented and enjoys herself well No doubt I should have enjoyed our visit well if I had been well for Joseph and Margt do their best to make us comfortable. Mother & Margt went up street the day after your letter came and got Calico for two shirts and muslin for one white one and went to work and have made them and they are ready for me to bring them along if I come and if I should not come you will have to direct Margt how she can send them. One of the pinions of Joseph Rools broke a week since today and they discharged him and he is now without a job and Lawrence Mill has stopped and the Old Mill stops today for repairs and will probably not start again for 2 or 3 mos. If your mill is running and there be any chance of his getting a job he wants you to let him know as soon as possible.
From your parents
Peter & Ann Ripley
Two weeks later Peter Ripley was dead of acute cystitis. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Wheeling, West Virginia.