"Dear Lou": Civil War Letters Home from Capt Charles Corbit
The Historic Odessa Foundation archives contain numerous original letters from many of the family members who lived in the Foundation’s 18th century houses. Among them are letters from Captain Charles Corbit, son of Henry C. Corbit, to his beloved wife Louisa Anderson Corbit, daughter of Daniel Corbit and Eliza Naudain of Odessa.
Captain Corbit was an officer in the First Delaware Cavalry Regiment and was stationed at several locations on the eastern shore. He is recognized as a hero of the small skirmish at an important rail and road junction in Westminster, Maryland (on what is now the campus of McDaniel College) on June 29, 1863, where he led 90 men in a charge against the larger numbers of Jeb Stuart’s cavalry. It resulted in capture of most of the Delaware soldiers, including Corbit who was also wounded, but was significant for delaying Stuart’s arrival at the battle of Gettysburg.
The Corbit letters concentrate in the years 1863 to early 1865 and document many aspects of a soldier’s everyday life. Captain Corbit tells of the billeting of officers in local hotels and their horses in town stables. The letters are revealing of the harsh conditions, ailments and complaints of the men, and touching for their homesickness, and frank comments on both politicians and military leaders. During his time at the front lines in 1864 his wife, while living in St. George’s, Delaware, just 3 miles north of Odessa, informs him their only son has died. Captain Corbit’s letters are addressed "Dear Lou" his nickname for his wife Louisa and usually end with “Your Affectionate Husband Charles”.
The exhibit also includes a number of Civil War objects and an elegant period dress of the era in the HOF collection that belonged to Mary Corbit Warner. The exhibit will be in the Historic Odessa Bank building from May 7 through August 2. Save the date April 26th to meet Louisa Corbit (played by HOF librarian Rita Ryor) for an evening candlelight tour of the Corbit-Sharp House followed by wine and savories in the Collins-Sharp House.
Watch our website for announcements of lectures on the exhibit.