This letter was written by Frederick H. Osgood (1840-1864) who enlisted as a substitute, unassigned, at the age of 23 on 16 February 1864 and was placed into the 16th New York Heavy Artillery. He was subsequently transferred in late May to Co. K, First New York Mounted Rifles when he was also promoted from a private to a corporal. His enlistment record in 1864 described him as standing 5 feet 5 inches tall, with blue eyes and brown hair.
In this letter, Frederick informs his father that they have recently moved their camp from Yorktown to the relative safety of Williamsburg where “I am out of danger,” he wrote. Incredibly, Frederick died of disease on 26 July 1864 at the Post Hospital near Williamsburg—just eleven days after this letter was penned.
First M. Y. Mounted Rifles
July 15th 1864
I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and I hope when this letter comes to hand that they may find you and the folks all well. You will see by this letter that we have left Yorktown. We moved to this place last week and we may stay here all winter for all I know and I hope we will for I am out of danger at this place and our camp is in a very pretty place and I like it very much.
But I am very anxious about you for I have not heard from you for about a month and I am afraid that you are sick. But I hope you ain’t for if be, I shall feel very bad about it.
But I have no news to write but I will do my best. The boys are all well at present and they are a very fine set of men and I feel very much attached to them. The country around here looks first rate but the people don’t know much for they are very green for they are the poor class of people and before the war they were beneath the slave but I hope that the day will soon come that this thing will soon come when it will end so that we can all come home and live in peace for the young ladies of the North, I think that they will need some of the boys to follow them around. And in order to have a noble one, they have got to pick on a soldier for they are brave and good.
But now I will stop such talk for the present for I don’t think that it amounts to much in these times. But I hope that we will have a chance pretty soon to have the chance of coming home to enjoy the comforts of home that we have been [a] stranger to so long. And I think that if we have good luck, the before another spring comes around, that some of us will have a chance of coming home.
And now I must close this from your son, –Corp. F. H. Osgood
to his Father, H. D. Osgood
1st N.Y. Mounted Rifles
Write soon and oblige.