Tuttle (Dennis) Papers, 1862-1863, 2 Items
Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cite As:Dennis Tuttle Papers, 1862-1863, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas
Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection
Scanned Copies on File: No
Accession Number: 1999.141; 2000.141
Processed by: Julie Holcomb, October 2001
Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.
Abstract: Dennis Tuttle mustered into the 20th Indiana Volunteers on January 20, 1862. Tuttle served as Private, Quartermaster Sergeant, First Lieutenant, and Regimental Quartermaster. As quartermaster Tuttle was not a combat soldier, but his duties often took him to the front lines after battles were completed. Two letters written by Tuttle to his wife give eyewitness accounts of the battle between the C.S.S. Virginia (also known as the Merrimac or Merrimack) and the U.S.S. Monitor and the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Dennis Tuttle was born March 19, 1826 in Hamden, Connecticut. The son of Leverett and Electa (Kimberly) Tuttle, he received his early education in the Cheshire Academy (Connecticut). Tuttle graduated from Yale Law School in 1850. After graduation he practiced law in New Haven, Connecticut for four or five years, before moving first to Indiana and then to Wisconsin. In Wisconsin Tuttle held the office of State’s Attorney of St. Croix County. He married Anna Ulissa Hotchkiss on February 14, 1855 (place unknown). The Tuttles had two sons, one of whom died in infancy. The other son John Birney Tuttle graduated from Yale Law School in 1891.
Scope and Content Note
Two letters (1862-1863) document Dennis Tuttle’s Civil War military career. The first letter (March 16, 1862; 4 pages) addressed to Tuttle’s wife provides a vivid first-hand account of the battle between the C.S.S. Virginia (more commonly known as the Merrimac or Merrimack) and the U.S.S. Monitor—the first battle between ironclad ships. According to Tuttle’s letter the 20th Indiana, which had been deployed on the Virginia shore, expected an overwhelming attack: “our real danger to which we were exposed was fearful. Saturday evening they were masters of our harbor and we knew of nothing that could be brought to successfully resist them. They also had a heavy land force in our seas which we did not then know. This force was waiting impatiently for the next morning when they expected the Rebel Fleet would Shell us out of our position when we would fall an easy prey to them but God sent us the little ‘Monitor’ and most gloriously did she thwart their grand program.” The letter further notes: “The conflict raged between the Monster Merrimac & the little Monitor. When they came in contact close alongside A Rebel officer stuck his head out the port hole and said Where did you come from – Hell? You can judge of their surprise & chagrin when Their splendid program was crushed by this little insignificant looking tub and that too when they thought everything was in their hands.”