August 1864 brings sad news from the 52nd Indiana Volunteers to Shep and Billy's family back in Indiana. Shep died of disease in the hospital in Memphis. He was buried with thousands of his comrades in the National Military Cemetery in Memphis.
The Department of Veterans Affairs website tells me which section of the cemetery he is in, but I would need more help to find him there.
Shepherd was 31 when he died. I miss his older-soldier measured view of the war. You can revisit his portrait in uniform in my February 2013 post at this link.
At 18, the much younger Eli wrote a long letter to his cousin on September 1st.
I take this opportunity of disclosing to you my whereabouts I am well and the others also we got back here day before yesterday, now I will tell you where we went and what we done, (as near as I can) well we went away down in Miss – to a little town called Oxford and knocked around until Forest came into Memphis and had a good time and gone and then we came back here double quick, and now where we will go to from here is more than I can tell, some says that we are going to Sherman and some that we are going to come home and enforce the draft and then stay and vote, but it is uncertain what we will do, I would like to know what they done at the Chicago convention the other day...
Eli wrote an entire page relating a political argument with others in his command (Eli was a fierce Democrat), and speculating on the Democratic convention that took place on August 29-31. He wound up needing an extra sheet of paper in order to write about anything else.
"Uncle" is a term of endearment as Hiram, Shep and Billy's father, was not related to Eli and Calvin. This was the longest letter Eli wrote to Calvin during the war, but to fill out the last part of the extra sheet, he did a bit of artwork. In spite of what Eli wrote about getting out of duty with Army, he seems resigned to his life there since he asked about the wheat crop back home concerned with what they will be eating in another year.
... if we make another raid out from here I do not think that I will go with them I shall get unwell and go to the fort and there try and get a discharge or furlough if I can, I think that we will get paid off before we leave here we mustered yesterday ... well Cal how does Uncle Hiram's folks take Shepherds death pretty hard blow on Company K sure.
The 82nd has been moving with the rest of the Union Army to take Atlanta. They were involved in fighting almost every day from the first to the 11th, suffering casualties, and from the 27th until the end of August were in the rear protecting the Union supply trains. By that time, the Union forces were on the brink of taking the city. The 82nd's biggest action was probably a fight with the Confederate forces while cutting a section of rails out of the Atlanta and Macon Railroad in the vicinity of Jonesboro on the 31st. Confederate General Hood evacuated the city on the 1st of September, but Allen Brown with the 82nd, was not aware of it yet when he wrote a letter to his wife on the 3rd of September. He says they are all tired of the four months campaign and hopes that they will be able to stay in Atlanta once it is taken. He does not seem to be in any doubt of the Union victory there.