West Point Cadet
Letter from 1st Lieutenant Tully McCrea
February 5, 1864
1st Lieutenant Tully McCrea was with Battery M, 1st U.S. Artillery. He was twenty-four years old, a West Point graduate, and a former roommate of George Custer. In this letter he writes Belle, his sweetheart, before leaving for Florida.
South Carolina, February 5, 1864
A large expedition is leaving here today. I think the destination is somewhere in Florida, but that remains for us to find out after we arrive there. There are a large number of vessels in the harbor waiting to load the troops and I suppose we will start tomorrow. General Seymour, my favorite general here, is in command and if we have an opportunity there will be some hard fighting and someone will be hurt.
Little did Lieutenant McCrea know at the time that he would be a "someone," as he received wounds in both legs. He described them to Belle as "a compound fracture of the left and a flesh wound through the fleshy part of the right, both below the knee." However, he recovered, and was promoted to brevet major, retroactively as of February 20, 1864. He became Acting Assistant Professor of Geography, History and Ethics at West Point during 1864. He soon switched to mathemathics and is listed as a professor and historian of mathemathics from 1864-1866. By this time, Tully and Belle had broken off their relationship.
Lieutenant McCrea was later stationed at Madison Barracks in Sacketts Harbor, New York. There he met his future bride, Harriet Camp. They were married on May 20, 1868. McCrea stayed in the army and retired in 1903 as a brevet brigadier general with 40 years of service. He and his wife moved to Atlantic City. New Jersey. He died in 1918 at the age of 79, joining his wife who had died the year before. They had one child, a daughter named Alice.
For a more detailed history of Tully McCrea, see the Web site below or the book Dear Belle: Letters from a Cadet and Officer to his Sweetheart, 1858-1865.
External Web sites related to the Battle of Olustee
History of Lt. Tully McCrea, 1st U.S. Artillery, and excerpts from his letters
Other Letters from Olustee
Battle of Olustee home page