Jane Ely (Jane Wellington Barker) was
born in 1817 in Oriskany Falls, New York in 1817. She married
Edward Ely (b. 1811)
in Oswego, New York April 23, 1843. They had four children: Charles born 1844 in
Helen Mar born in Ohio in 1850; Mason Barker born in Winona, Minnesota Territory in
Harriet Elizabeth born 1858 in Winona, Minnesota. Jane and her husband were
early pioneers of this area
coming to Wabasha's Prairie, Minnesota Territory, May 4, 1852.
Jane's husband Edward was Postmaster
of Wabasha' Prairie, as well as a teacher,
businessman and minister. Jane corresponded frequently with
her mother during
Winona's early years. Janes's son Charles Ely was severely wounded in the Battle of
Gettysburg. A few days after the battle, Jane and Catherine Goddard Smith (mother of
who was also wounded) traveled to Philadelphia to assist in their sons'
recovery. While there, Jane wrote
a number of letters home to Winona--these letters or
portions of letters were printed in the Winona Daily
Republican and are included
in that section of the manuscripts. Included in this section are letters
during the period following the Battle of Gettysburg.
Philadelphia July 25, 1863
My dear Mother,
I arrived here on Wednesday morning safe and sound and
have succeeded so far in all that was undertaken.
We went immediately to Gen. Head
Quarters and made the proper inquiries and without even taking a car
cab or bus we found
our boys. I could not tell you how surprised and pleased they were. Their wounds are
well healing as fast as possible. Charlie was wounded very badly. The Physician considered
his case a
hopeless one and left him to die, he bled nearly to death and one of the Minn.
Boys told me yesterday he
passed him on the field and thought he was dead. Its a
great wonder he lived. He was taken to the tent and
while there had no care except what a
drummer boy gave him who had seven others to take care of. His pants
were so saturated
with blood he was obliged to take them off and went without while in tent. He even went to
Baltimore without pants, coat, shoes, stockings or hat. When they reached Baltimore the
Ladies flocked into
the Hospital dressed their wounds and gave them clothing. They cant
say too much for the ladies of Baltimore.
When they came to this City Charlie was very
weak and was considered the worst case among them, now he
is able to wait on all the rest.
He got a pass yesterday and walked out. I am going to bring him here to Allies
today if I
can get the Physicians permission. The Physician told me if the ball had gone through him
inch one way or the other it would have been fatal. Charlie Goddard is doing
pretty well. His doctor says he
must be careful or his wound on the thigh will break into
his main artery and then he might bleed to death.
They all want to be transferred to Minn
State Hospital. We have been trying to have it brought about.
If we succeed we shall
accompany them home. In that case I will have to leave Mrs. Smith near Detroit to
Matie. I found our friends all well here and spend the nights
with them. I take dinner at the Hotel
where Mrs. Smiths stops only two or three doors from
the Hospital. Allie says she is mad at you because
you did not come on with me. Julia her
girl says give her my love. Peggy is still here sends her love. I must
close as I am in
haste to go to the Hospital. Give my love to all my friends in Cold Water.
Your aff. Daughter
Jane W. Ely
July 27, 1863 Winona Daily Republican
From the Wounded Soldiers in Hospital
[extract from a private letter]
Philadelphia, July 22, 1863
Dear Husband: We have at last arrived at the hospi-
tal, and found our boys without difficulty. They are
much better than we expected to find them. They were
surprised and delighted to see us. Mr. Marvin got hold
of my hand, and I thought he would never quit shaking
it. My Charley is weak, but is able to go out. The
physicians and nurses on the field thought he was mor-
tally wounded, and would do nothing for him. He is
very weak from loss of blood. He lay all the time on
the field rolled in a blanket, having thrown away his
pants, which were soaked with blood. In this condition
he came to Baltimore, where they remained overnight
in the hospital. Great numbers of ladies visited them
there, and provided them new clothing, and dressed
their wounds, and fed the hungry
We found fourteen wounded Minnesota boys on the
third floor in the hospital. They are all anxious to be
removed to the State hospital. Senator WILKINSON vis-
ited them on the battlefield and promised them that
they should be transferred to the State hospital. He
was very kind to the boys, and gave each needy wounded
soldier five dollars.
We are much fatigued from our long journey, and we
must have rest. We shall return here tomorrow, and
commence distributing the good things we brought, and
shall try to find all the wounded Minnesota boys. To-
morrow I will write again. JANE W. ELY
July 30, 1863 Winona Daily Republican
From Our Wounded Soldiers at Phil-
[Extract from a Private Letter.]
Philadelphia, July 23, 1863
My Dear Husband: To-day I feel quite rested. This
morning we went to the hospital again, and gave them
some of the good things we brought. They are all anx-
ious to be transferred to the Minn. State Hospital, and we
talked with one of the Surgeons, and he says they already
have orders to transfer them. He did not know that
there was a Hospital to receive them. I wish we could accompany
them home, as we could take care of them
while traveling. I think from what I heard them say
individually that they would be ready and able in a week
or so, Mr. Marvin has a pretty bad foot, but he is doing
well. The Surgeon refused to give Charley Goddard a
pass to-day to go out with us. He says his wound in the
thigh is so near the main artery that too much exertion
might cause the it to bleed, and if he was away from the hos-
pital he might bleed to death before he could have help.
We have seen fourteen of our Winona boys in this hos-
pital. They are nearly all of them wounded in the leg.
There may be others in other hospitals in the city. We
will ascertain that to-morrow. Durfee is not here. The
boys think he went on to New York city.
We learn that the graves of the fallen at Gettysburg
were all marked.
Jane W. Ely
Phil. Aug 4th 1863
My dear Mother
I can not write any thing very encouraging about Charles
he has been getting
worse every since I wrote last. When I first came he seemed to be
his wound was healing fast and we all thought in a little while he would be
as well as ever. I obtained ten days leave of absence for him after a great deal of
labor and brought him here to Allies. He was taken right away with fever sickness
stomach and loss of appetite. Two or three days he reported himself daily at
when was taken sick so that he could not sit up. Of course I reported
for him and got
medicine. I asked his ward Physician if his sickness was caused by
his wound or by a cold.
Charles thought it was a cold, the Doctor thought the same.
Allie advised me to send for
Dr. Morton. I called him and he said at once it was his wound.
When we thought he was
doing so well matter was accumulating inside and instead of poulticing
and drawing it out
the wound was allowed to go on healing. Consequently fever, sickness,
loss of appetite
followed and if he had been left in the Hospital he would be past care now.
attends him daily. On Sunday his partner came with him they both pronounced
it a very bad
wound. Yesterday Allie followed him out and asked him what he thought of Charles.
it was a very bad case, he had been neglected too long. He said both he and his partner
would do all they could for him. He is wasting away fast by such quantities of discharge.
He gets weaker every day, but his fever is gone, and he has no more sickness at the
and his appetite has returned. The Dr. has been giving him tonics, and ordered
every thing nourishing
to make up this waste. He says he must be built up. He is afraid
Typhoid will set in. I am constantly
engaged in nursing him, his wounds require constant
care. Oh I am so thankful I came on.
When sickness comes upon the poor wounded soldier in
the Hospital it is most certain death.
The Physicians there dont pay any attention
to their wounds they are left to the nurses who know
nothing about them. If a man is about
to die all the doctors will collect around him and pour down
medicine. Mrs. Smith was at
the Hospital all day Saturday and Sunday, she did what she could for
our Minnesota boys,
but Mother it is but little we can do for them there. Charlie Goddard is doing well,
indeed most of them are doing will, that is our boys, but there are a great many sick on
the same floor.
Two died on Sunday in our ward. There are three ward on our floor with
about 70 in each ward.
Dr. Morton says this warm weather is very much against the poor
I was told this morning that 40 wounded rebel soldier died at the Chester
Hospital on Sunday.
Allies family are all well as usual, she sends her love to you. Oh
Mother she is so kind to me and Charlie.
I love her more than ever. She sends her love to
Kirk and Nette also to Josie. She wishes you to ask K
for her is received her last letter.
Jennie sends her love to Carrie. Give my love to them all. Write me
Mother direct to the
care of Mrs. Barker Cor of Richmond and Shachamaxon Streets. I hope Mason
is a good boy,
have him write in your letters from home. Nellie is doing well. They have Jane to help
them when they want her. Hattie makes no trouble. Good bye
Your aff. Daughter
Jane W. Ely
Phil. Aug 7th 1863
Broad & Cherry Hospital
My dear Mother
I know you are very anxious about Charles since I wrote
last and I am thankful that I can say he is better,
his ten days leave of absence expired
yesterday, and I was obliged to bring him back, this morning I came
down to dress his
wound. I shall keep close watch of him and nurse him all I can here. Perhaps in a day or
two I can take him again, it is enough to make a well person sick to stay here. I hope
Charles will be well
enough for me to leave in a week or ten days. Mrs. Smith left on
Thursday, she will be home by Saturday.
The boys will not be sent to Minnesota so I shall
return alone and will to go by way of New York and
Oriskany Falls. I hope to get a letter
from you before I leave.
Your aff. Daughter
Jane W. Ely
Catherine Goddard Smith
An accompished portrait artist, Jane painted this portrait
of Catherine Goddard Smith in the 1870's.
Charles Goddard's image is on the broach
she is wearing. Charles had died suddenly in 1867.
Phil Aug 19th 1863
My dear Mother
I write again to relieve your anxiety. Charlie is
decidedly better as far as his general health is concerned,
that is, all the Typhoid
symptoms have left and he is able to sit up most of the time, and has a good appetite,
his wound has no appearance of healing. The doctor says there must be some foreign
either a piece of bone or a bit of clothing lodged there by the ball. We
hope to draw it out by the poultice.
Until that is removed it cannot heal. I cannot say
when I shall start for home. I must see Charlie out of danger
first. I cannot write any
more as Charlie wants his wound dressed.
Winona Oct 25th 1863
My dear Mother
I am all alone the children have gone to Sabbath school,
and Mr. Ely went up to St. Paul a week ago
yesterday to serve as juryman at the Supreme
Court. I have been quite lonely all the week Mr. Tomlinsons
people moved away two
weeks ago. O I have missed you so much. I am driven with work. I cleaned the
the week after I returned and since I have been mending and repairing. My eyes are very
much worse than when I left. I cannot see any during the evening, and my eyes force me
to bed early. It will
be as much as I can possibly do to keep my children comfortably and
decently clad for school and meeting
this winter. I took them all to church with me today.
Nellie wears my plaid shawl and her straw bonnet
trimmed with that plaid ribbon that was
on Carries straw that Nettie gave me. Hattie wears Carries
straw trimmed with
her old Magenta ribbon that she had on her own hat last winter and she wears that shawl
Mary Ann sent her. I have not had time to make a thing for her yet. I am now repairing
Nellies old blue
Merino to make it unseen for a change for school. I have made her a waist
out of that flannel saque she
had last winter. He has two nice changes for Sunday the two
red plaids. I do not expect Charlie here
this winter, have you not seen his letter
published in the Republican about his coming home? If I thought
you had not I would find
it and enclose it, the sentiments he expresses have called forth the loudest praise
every body. He writes that he contrary from all expectation will be able to reenter the
ranks before long,
so we need not look for him this winter, but he will come next April
with the Regiment if spared. I was sorry
to hear you had taken another cold, there will be
no chance for you to get will of that cough. Your visit was
rather cut short in Ann Arbor.
I have heard nothing from the apples yet, we shall feel quite disappointed if
dont come. I am so sorry that I did not see our friends in Detroit. Still I did not
return home too soon.
I was very much needed and a longer stay away would not have been
justified even with the expectation
of seeing so may old dear friends. By the way Mother
how do you succeed in bread making? I never did
better than since I came home. I wish I
lived nearer Detroit. I might see you all once in a while, tell Kirk
I congratulate him on
his nomination and hope he will be elected, though I am opposed to him in
politics. Mrs. Slocum has been to see me several times she has taken
tea with me twice. Nellie is
spending the winter in Chicago. Helen and Matie have both
been to writing school. Matie says he will
write you a letter all by himself. I think
Mother we shall be quite comfortable here this winter. We have
had a patent dampter put on
the stove pipe and the stove set further out. Give my love to Kirk and nettie
also to Ruth
and Isreal. Kiss little Curtis for me. Matie often repeats his sayings and mimics him
The children are coming, I must close and get supper.
Your aff. Daughter