Tappan Howell Letters

Tappan Howell Letters

Tappan Howell, Hattie’s uncle, was 19 years old when he was mortally wounded at The Battle of South Mountain in September 1862. He died two weeks later in a hospital in Washington, DC. South Mountain is near Sharpsburg, MD, where The Battle of Antietam was fought four days later. Tappan is buried at Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg at plot #460. 

Shortly after the publication of Hattie’s War, the Cortland Standard Newspaper in Cortland, NY, featured a story about the book. The story was later picked up by a newspaper in Ithaca, NY. Out of the blue, I got an email from John Howell. This was the first time I had contact with anyone from the Howell side of the family. John lives in the Ithaca area. As you can imagine, I was delighted. John is a descendant of one of Hannibal’s brothers, Marion Howell. John put me in touch with Wayne Gipp, a cousin who is a descendant of another Howell brother, Wellington Howell.

Wayne acquired copies of letters written by Hannibal and Tappan Howell after visiting The History Center in Ithaca, New York. It is unclear who Tappan is writing to in his letters. His greeting is “Dear Brother,” so we assume it is one of his brothers. However, as I had learned from Hannibal’s letters, “Dear Brother” could be a brother-in-law, too (Hannibal addressed his brother-in-law Lafayette Wickham as a brother). The letters were written while the three brothers were stationed in Washington, DC, in 1862. Note that several letters mention Byron’s medical condition. The letters appear here courtesy of the Center.

The Letters

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