Orville Harrison “Tip” DeWaters of Oshtemo, Michigan enlisted in the 13th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Company H in January 1862. This regiment was known as “Kalamazoo’s Own” because many of the soldiers were from the Kalamazoo area.
The unit left Kalamazoo on February 12, 1862 and over the next three years, Tip frequently wrote home to his parents and to his sister, Ann. Only 24 of those letters are known to have survived but they offer an intriguing glimpse into the daily life of a Union soldier during the Civil War.
Tip’s letters have many misspelled words as well as poor grammar and punctuation. It was not uncommon for many mid-19th century Americans to write poorly. We present Tip’s letters as written but have added words and explanations in brackets when needed to clarify his meaning.