On their way to Washington

This first letter from Charles F. Cock is really more of a quick note to his brother before his unit, the 8th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, leaves for Pittsburgh. The 8th Michigan had mustered into Federal service at Detroit’s Historic Fort Wayne on September 23 and within a few days had traveled on the steamer, Ocean, to Cleveland.

Cock writes to his brother William to tell his family that he has arrived safely in Cleveland and will shortly take a train to Pittsburgh on the way to Washington. He notes that the Ocean was a comfortable ride and mentions that the unit’s captain has given him a canteen of whiskey that one of the soldiers had smuggled along. As he writes, he hears a summons for his company to fall in and board the train. He closes by promising to write again once he reaches Washington.


William R. Cock Esq


Kalamazoo Co


                                                                                                             Steamer Ocon Sept  28 1861

            It will be an hour befor we shall leve the boat & I will write a little & put it in a letter when I get to Washington we embarked last night at six o,clock & reached this city (Cleveland) this morning at five o,clock & shall take the cars for Pitsburgh  the lake was very rough last night – but Wm & I  had a State room & we got along very well.  We are in the Stewards room now writing   This is said to be one of the best Steamers on the lake There are 500 of our men on this boat & the rest on the May Queen  our men most of them had to sleep on deck  The Captain came to me this morning and handed me a Canteen full of whiskee that one of Our men had got some way.  I here the Orderly Calling Company F fall in & I must go  I Write when I get to Washington 


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