Letters From War Wednesday: Civil War – William Kimmell.

Yes, we are back again with Letters From War Wednesdays.  Today’s note comes courtesy of Eleanor Kimmell Roubique.  In her book, Home by the Fourth of July, she re-prints the letters of her grandfather,William Francis Kimmell, who served with the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry through the major battles of the Civil War, including Gettysburg and Antietam.

Leah Crispell - Albion, Indiana

The letters are addressed to his friend, Leah Crispell, back home in Albion, Indiana.  Although wounded twice, he would survive to return to Albion and marry Leah.

Timely, this letter was written on December 20, 1862, from a camp near Romney, Virginia.  Though Kimmell and his group had recently come through hard fighting, including the Battle of Antietam, he instead wanted to talk of Christmas.

“My Dear Friend,


“I presume you are thinking of Christmas by this time and what good times you will have.  My messmates are having a big argument this evening about who shall roast the goose for we are intent on having a goose for dinner.  We can cook our own Christmas dinner and enjoy it, too.  I had hoped to spend a few days at home about New Years, but I shall have to give it up.  So you need not look for me until you see me.

William Kimmell - 8th O.V.I.

“We have had very pleasant weather for several weeks past, and I can hardly think it is as late in the winter as what it is.  For I have always been used to seeing snow and very cold weather about Christmas.  I wish you could see our camp as it looks at present.  I will try and describe it the best I can.  Each company has eighteen tents.  They are set in rows about twenty feet apart, and nine in each row so that each company has its streets.  There is a row of small evergreen trees on each side of the street.  The officers’ tents are in one row back of the company with evergreens in front.  And the camp is swept up as clean as any door yard.  Our officers are very strict in regard to cleanliness and we have one of the best and finest appearing Regts in Romney.

“I must drag this scribbling to a close.  I sincerely hope you may enjoy your self during the holidays and that I may yet ask the pleasure of accompanying you to a great many parties.  I will now bid you Good Bye for a time.

“Your Friendship,

“W.F. Kimmell”

6 Responses to “Letters From War Wednesday: Civil War – William Kimmell”

  1. Eleanor Roubique says:

    Thank you for publishing this. I had forgotten that WF had spent a winter in Virginia. Merry Christmas~

  2. John Kimmel Bristol says:

    Thank you for publishing this. I always enjoy hearing of my great ancestors. This was really very nice to read.

  3. mikemccoy says:


    Great to hear from you. I am curious if you’re also related to the Joel Bristol family, the first permanent settlers of Noble County, Indiana?

    • John Kimmel bristol says:

      I have not heard about Joel Bristol and I am not sure about Indiana. But now I have something to do and find out if there is a relation.

      • mikemccoy says:


        Yes, I’d start digging. All the local histories note Joel Bristol and his family as the first permanent white settlers of Noble County, Indiana. They settled along what is now U.S. 33, just northwest of Merriam (the intersection of U.S. 33 and St. Rd. 9) in April 1827. Between the Kimmel and Bristol families, I’ve got to believe that your ancestors figure prominently in Noble County history. Good luck, and please keep us updated on what you find.

  4. My Grandfather was William F. Kimmell . My father was born in Albion Indiana in Noble County. Am very much interested in reading any history of my ancestors.

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