John W. Dean enlisted 29 July 1861 as a private in Co I 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. In his army records , he was described as 24 years of age, 5 feet seven inches tall, fair complexion, blue eyes, light hair; born in Coshocton Co., Ohio: a farmer. His future brother-in-law, James Lawrence Johnson, was a sergeant in this same company. John's middle name is thought to have been Walter. Three (few) or (four) of his sisters later were to name a son Walter.

The following are letters he wrote when he first entered the army and while stationed at Fort Criag on Arlington Heights near Washington, D.C. The original is in the possession of Emma Bessie Fiscus of Bayard, Nebraska and was copied as written by her granddaughter, Donna Nelson in 1972. Some areas are too faded to be legible, and are indicated by periods.

(All spelling errors are intact)

They are generously contributed by Diane Hitchcock Owens

From John Dean to his sister, Emily August 1, 1861

From John Dean to Miss Rody E. Dean August 2, 1861

August 14, 1861

From John Dean to his parents February 16, 1862

From Albert Kelley to Solomon Dean March 22, 1862

(Kelley was a family friend who had grown up with John Dean. Alexandria was across the river from Washington, D.C. John W. Dean was killed six {days} (months) after this letter was written