1862: Miles T. Jones to Parents

These two letters were written by Miles T. Jones (1842-1897), the son of Zenas Hutchinson Jones (1810-1884) and Eliza M. Woodcock (1814-1887) of Wellsville, Allegany county, New York.

Miles enlisted as a private on 16 September 1861 to serve three years in Co. H, 85th New York Volunteers. He was discharged on 3 November 1862 to accept a promotion as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 160th New York Volunteers.

Receipt for Twenty Dollars sent via the Adams Express Company


Camp about Fifteen Miles from Richmond
June 22, [1862]

Dear Parents,

I received yours of the 12th and was glad to hear from home. I am well as usual. I am glad to hear that William Crane ¹ is alive. I helped carry him about two miles. You speak of Capt. [John A.] Brown in your letter. I think that the crime that he was arrested on was nothing. The regiment was on a march this side of Williamsburg and a boy came along with a mule and sold it to Captain for $10. I saw it and he was honest in buying it. It is a shame they treated him so. The Colonel bought one and they let him go. You see how the papers run [Brig. Gen. Silas] Casey’s Division down. ² I admit that we did run but we done the hardest fighting that has been done on the Peninsula. I will tell you the truth about it (the fight) when I see you.

I will tell you what I had for supper—a good one it was too. Some beans, apple sauce, and pickled tongue, and some hard bread. If you never saw any of our crackers, just say so and I will send you one.

Mother, I cannot tell when nor where to sew them seeds for I picked them in the woods while on picket. You have one bush that tries to imitate it but this beats that. It is between the fence and running rosey that grows like a tree. It appears to grow here where it is planted.

Father, you ask Lieut. [Lucian W.] Brundage of Andover how well I fetched the Rebels down. I don’t keep my gun clean for nothing. My gun is made to shoot a Rebel every time it can get a chance. Lieut. Brundage is at home. He resigned on the account of his health. Capt. Brown is here yet. We appointed Lieut. [Hiram A.] Coates as Captain, 1st Lieut. John G. Barker of Spring Mills, 2nd Lieut. C[harles] W. Frost, but we do not know that they will be our officers or not.

I expressed some money home—twenty dollars—on the twelfth of June of which I send you a receipt of it. I expect it is at the Express Office. As soon as you receive it, let me know of it. This is all at present. So good day.

This is from your son, — Miles T. Jones

To my parents, Z. H. & E. M. Jones

¹ William J. Crane was 21 years old when he enlisted in Co. H, 85th New York Vols. He was wounded in the fighting at Seven Pines on 31 May 1862 and was discharged for disability on 17 October 1862 at Elmira.

² See Brig. Gen. Silas Casey at the Battle of Seven Pines on HistoryNet. The 85th New York was heavily engaged in the fighting near the “twin houses,” pressed murderously by D. H. Hills’s charging Confederates and raked on the flank by the guns of Thomas Carter. Pressure on both flanks finally caused the 85th New York to fall back (many of them ran) and reform in the rear.


Camp near Harrison Landing
July 27th 1862

Dear Parents,

I have received one or two letters since I have wrote. I am well and enjoying myself as well as I can in this place. I can not think of much to write for there is no news here.

You spoke of sending Lieut. and myself a box. I should like to have some woolen shirts similar to my other ones, a bible, your likeness of you all, and if you should send some fruit cakes in it, I think that it would taste good (illegible). I have got a chuck of rough hog in my mouth now. It tastes good. Please send before the war closes.

Tell Sarah that James is well, that he heard from Rensey this morning and he is doing well. That Bill [William T.] Burlingham is coming home in a few days on a furlough. James received her likeness and the handkerchief that she sent him.

Have you heard anything of Albert yet? ¹ I think that he is dead. Capt. Henry Fisk said that he was at the White House [Landing] sick with the fever and thinks he did not get away. I should like to come home but I cannot come. Dishonorably? No, not I. I do not know whether you can read my writing or not. It looks to me like hens and geese tracks.

We have some warm days here—warmer than you do there. It makes out to be warm and we have Rebel Mosquitoes here. They don’t bother us in camp and when on picket [because] we use lemon juice to rub on us. I have wrote some and have not wrote anything interesting and I must stop for it is now after nine o’clock and I must get up at four in the morning. So goodnight.

This is from your son, — Miles T. Jones

To my parents Z. H. & E. M. Jones

P. S. I received those things that you sent by Mr. Peckham, our drummer.

¹ Possibly Albert Palmer of Wellsville who enlisted at age 27 in Co. H, 85th New York Vols. He was discharged for disability at Philadelphia on 19 September 1862 after one year of service.

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