1864: Frederick H. Osgood to Henry D. Osgood

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.

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First M. Y. Mounted Rifles
Williamsburg, Va.
July 15th 1864

Dear Father,

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
Troop K
Williamsburg, Virginia

Write soon and oblige.


1867: John Adams Whitcomb to Brother

This letter was written by John Adams Whitcomb (1801-1881), the son of Asa Whitcomb (1764-1835) and Rebecca Ball (1765-1831). He was 1st married to a woman named Abigail who died in 1831, and then married to Sarah P. Rogers (1806-1891). John fathered several children, one of who was named Catherine Parker Whitcomb (1844-1906) who is mentioned in this letter and who became the wife of John M. Giffen (1830-1899) on 13 March 1862. Giffen was a prominent lawyer and early organizer in Kansas Territory. He held the position of Secretary to the Governor, Prosecuting Attorney, Treasurer, City Engineer, Justice of Peace, and Police Judge. He collected the first dollar of tax paid in Johnson county. He was the founder and editor of the first newspaper the Olathe Herald in 1859, the office of which was destroyed by a Quantrill raid September 6, 1862.

John’s letter contains a retrospective account of Quantrill’s raid in 1863 that passed through Olathe and also of the Battle of Westport in October 1864.


Olathe, Kansas
February 3d 1867

Affectionate Brother,

It is with sensation of feeling of brotherly love that I sit down to pen you a few lines to let you know that through the mercy of Providence we are all comfortable well. I do not know that I can write much to your edification but will try to inform you of things in general since I have been out here—sometimes in prosperity and sometimes in adversity as the world generally goes.

In the four years war, we had a very hard and volatile time, Many of our neighbors left their homes and farms. I stayed by mine for I knew not where to go. Think I made out as well as those that went, if not better, although I was called upon by night and day—sometimes by the jayhawkers and sometimes guerrilla bands. Quantrill and his band called upon me one night but it was managed so that he done me no harm. He killed three of my neighbors and would have killed one or two in my house if he had known they were there. One of them was my son-in-law [John M.] Giffen. We have had tolerable peaceable times here ever since Price’s last raid when he tried to get into Kansas to lay that waste. If he got in, he would have ruined us but just as he was passing over the line from Missouri to Kansas, General Pleasanton come up with his troops and made a charge upon them which turned the tide of the battle [of Westport]. Price’s army broke and where the charge was made, the ground was strewed with the slain—with the dead and wounded. They followed them way below Ft. Scott fighting, killing and taking prisoners. Price had six men to our one. This battle was fought about twelve miles from me.

Since the war is over, this country is settling up very fast. Things have taken a very different course. Men are minding their own business and things stirring lively. They are progressing on the Pacific Railroad. They have gone beyond Ft. Riley and the California end have got their way into the Rocky Mountains. This railroad is within fourteen miles of me. Sometimes we have heard the whistle. There is another one going from Kansas City to Ft. Scott down through the Cherokee Nation. This railroad goes through Olathe within four miles of me. They are all ready to work on it.

O brother, if I was as I was once just be in a good situation for a good living. Franklin is dead & Bridan no doubt but is, and I have no one to help me. My health is so that I am able to do but little light work. My sickness last winter what ruined my health. My life was despaired of one spell. Was sick all winter and it come very heavy on my wife. She took care of my stock. The doctor said the blisters on my stomach and good nursing [is] all that saved me. [I was] not able to [do] but very little this winter. My cough us hard on my lungs [and] raise considerable, but feel in hopes to be better when warm weather comes.

Mr. Giffen & Kate is with me this winter. He takes care of my stock for me his winter and will carry on my farm—what he can of it—but there is work enough for two good, smart hands. Have between sixty and seventy acres under the plow and that is more than one hand can take care of. If I am not any better, shall have to hire a hand. Have rented part of my plow land for two years past. We rent here and give two-thirds of the crop and they find their own team but when they come to gather it, they will gather seven-eighths of it if you do not watch them. Therefore, I am determined to let my land lay still before I will rent it.

There is nothing wanting by nature—only a little more timber. My wood have to draw about three miles. Have had a plenty of that without buying. We have got to hedging. We can get the osage plants for one dollar per thousand that will soon make a fence that will not need mending. This is the country for farming. Brother, I feel as though our days are past and our vacancy will be filled by some others. Our days that are gone cannot be recalled. Well do I remember the days of our boyhood—the old playgrounds on father’s old farm—but let us not look back to murmur or complain that our days are so nigh. Cord cut, let us look ahead and with anticipation when we shall outride the storms of this world and land our weary souls on the shore of eternal bliss to meet our friends that has gone before us. We have wrote two letters [to] W. & Elizabeth but have had no answer. All of our children are at home today that are in the western country. All well. My wife & I send our best respects to all enquiring friends.

This is your affectionate brother, — J. A. White

1862: Peter Mersereau to Betsy Lowry

This letter was written by Peter Mersereau (b. 1842), the eldest son of Israel Putnam Mersereau (1815-1883) and Elizabeth Benedict (1815-1885) of Owego, Tioga county, New York. Peter wrote the letter to Betsy Lowry (b. 1844), the daughter of David and Keziah Lowry of Owego. In 1865, Betsy was employed as a domestic servant in the Moses D. Mercereau’s family in Tioga county. Sometime prior to 1870, she married Charles Chester Cafferty (1872-1952).

Peter wrote his letter from the Union encampment outside Yorktown in April 1862 while serving in Co. E, 44th New York Infantry. He enlisted in that regiment on 19 August 1861 with the intention of serving three years but a disability resulted in his early discharge on 18 March 1863 after a year and a half. At this time in the war, the 44th had seen no action. They had spent the winter at Hall’s hill, Virginia, outside of Washington D. C., and had only recently arrived on the Virginia peninsula at the start of McClellan’s spring campaign. After the Confederates evacuated Yorktown, the 44th garrisoned Fort Magruder for a time before participating in the Seven Days’ battles with a total loss of 56 at Gaines’ mill and 99 at Malvern Hill, out of 225 engaged in the last named battle. Returning to Alexandria, the regiment moved by way of Fortress Monroe to Manassas, and in the battle of Aug. 30 lost 71 killed, wounded or missing.


Camp Winfield Scott near Yorktown
April 15, [1862]

Dear Friend,

It is some time since I have wrote to you. I have been on the march the most of the time since I wrote to you last, My health is very good and I hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing.

The tenth of March we were called out at two o’clock at night and we marched from there to Fairfax and from there to Centerville where we encamped for the night in the Rebels barracks. I found several letters sent from ladies of the South to young men who were quartered in the barracks. I wish I could have kept come of them but I lost all that I put in my pockets at that place.

The next morning we were ordered back to Fairfax where we stayed a couple of days. Then we were ordered to Alexandria where we lay several days more. I was provost guard there & had to patrol that city for strangers. We were put on board of a boat there and when we landed we were at Fortress Monroe. We laid there one day and were ordered on to a camp called Camp Wide Awake and it was named right for no one ever slept there, I do not think, for the frogs made such a noise.

One week ago, we were ordered on. When we started, we had three days rations with us. We marched past Little Bethel and Great Bethel. I never seen but one house in either place so I want you to explain the difference as both houses were of a size we drove [?] on. The Battery that is in our division shelled the Rebels out of their entrenchments at Shipping Point. One was wounded but the rest made good their escape for Yorktown which is strongly fortified with forts and guns to mount them with. We will most likely have a heavy battle here before they will give up.

We are called on at a moment’s notice here and have to go. I have started to write a half a dozen letters and would get them half wrote and be called off. You wrote to me in your last of Velt’s standing on a post where he could hear the rebels play. I stood or laid on a post so close the the rebels that I could hear them cough and talk. I had been on a post one day when they fired a volley at us—some a going over our heads [and] others striking in front and all around us. They would holler over, “Hello you damn Yankees!”

I have got to fall in for drill.

I have returned to our camp after one hour’s drill and I will finish this letter if I can. A volley of bullets, I meant, when I said a voley. I can see their forts and the men on them by a going a few rods and climbing up in the top of a tree. I heard their band a playing Dixie a week ago Sunday night and a good many others—[the] Marseilles Hymn for one.

I will have to close by bidding you goodbye for this time and i will try to write oftener or as often as I can. From your friend, — Peter Mersereau

[to] Betsey Lowry

If you can’t read this, burn it up.

1861-63: James Webster Carr to William Penn Caton

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Lt. Col. James W. Carr, 2nd NH Vols

James Webster Carr was a captain in Co. C [the “Rifle Rangers”] of the Second New Hampshire Volunteers during the Civil War. He rose in rank to lieutenant colonel of the regiment before his discharge on June 21, 1864.

Born in Poplin (Fremont), New Hampshire in 1824, the son of James Carr and Sally Webster, Carr would later move to Illinois and Michigan. He returned to New Hampshire in 1861 to enlist in the New Hampshire Volunteers. After the war he became a successful lumber dealer. He died in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 5th, 1875. He was married to Jane Dorothy Goodhue (1828-1891).

Carr enlisted on 4 June 1861. He had a drawn sword ripped from his hand by a solid shot at the battle of Gettysburg on 2 July 1863. It is said that he defied orders on the night of July 3rd, and led a band of volunteers to bring back wounded men in the area of the Trostle Farm. He then helped guard Confederate POWs at the newly created Point Lookout Prison which was built in August 1863 to accommodate the many captured Rebels taken at Gettysburg.

There are nine letters in this collection, three of which (letters 4, 6 & 7) were written by James’ wife, Jane D. (Goodhue) Carr. All of the letters were written to William Penn Caton (1815-1886) of Plainfield, Will county, Illinois. Caton was a native of New York State who went to Chicago in 1836. Leaving his job as inspector of canals in 1856, Caton moved to Plainfeld, Illinois, where he took up farming. He later moved to Joliet where he died in 1886. Caton was a deacon in the Presbyterian Church.

[Note: James W. Carr’s 1863 and 1864 Civil War diaries were sold by Raynor’s Auction House in 2008. In advertising them, the auction house posted extracts from the diaries which I have included at the bottom of this webpage.]


Manchester [New Hampshire]
March 11, 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

I received your last stating how you let the farm. That is all satisfactory. If Mr. [Alonzo Wilber] Coe ¹ has not called for the notes, you might as well keep them. When you see him, get him to put his name across the back of the notes if he will. I gave him an order on you for some money to pay the taxes on that place which I presume you have paid. I have ten dollars per month home rent to pay. Gas bill, firewood, and family expenses I find takes up and I am getting small wages and find myself hard up and looking round to see what I could find to make money on. I see your first note of fifty dollars is now due and if you could send me that amount, you would help me very materially.

I suppose money is hard to be got out there and I know that exchange is up to a ruinous rate. But if you can spare the money and can get a draft on Boston for 5 percent, I wish you would send it me and I will send you your note after canceling it.

Business is rather dull here and things look blue, but we are hoping for better times when warm weather comes. We as a family have a great many things to be thankful for (for such great sinners). We are all well and so far have had enough to eat and wear and the children have done finely at school. They are having a vacation of two weeks.

Our annual town meetings come off tomorrow all through the state. I think “Old Abe will win.” As far as secession is concerned, I wish that all the slave states might be set off together so that we might have a free country if t’was not so large. In regard to fighting the South and “whipping them into the truces” as they tell about, I have not much courage for that (not but what they deserve it and I should like to shoot some of them well enough). But it would be fighting to gain just what I want to get rid of, so all I can do is to hope and pray that they will stick to secession and that the border states will join them and that finally a convention of all the states will be called and vote them out of the Union. But I fear that war is inevitable and that we shall see bloody times.

In case of a war, I should not be surprised if the South were victorious at first if not in the end, for they will be fighting for what they call liberty and for their homes, while our soldiers will be as the English were in the [American] Revolution, fighting for pay. If war comes, we must let the regular paid army do the fighting but must arise one and all and strike for real liberty now and forever to all mankind or there is no use in fighting at all.

Respectfully yours, — James W. Carr

P. S. Respects to Mr. Cater, Eddy & all the babies.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


Camp Sullivan ¹
Near Washington D. C.
July 27th 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

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Col. Gilman Marston, 2nd NHV

How do you do? I am well. Have had a very hard battle and a harder retreat. ² But it has pleased the Lord to keep me safe. Have lost from my company 13 men in missing and wounded. The Colonel [Gilman Marston] & one Captain was all the commissioned officers that were wounded in our regiment. About 100 wounded & missing in 2nd New Hampshire Volunteers.

Please write me the news when you get time as I am lonesome out here.

Sincerely yours. In great haste.

— Capt. J. W. Carr of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.

¹ Camp Sullivan was located in the vicinity of Glenwood Cemetery, west of North Capitol Street, D. C. The regiment first took up camp there on 23 June, 1861.

² Carr is referring of course to the First Battle of Bull Run fought on 21 July 1861. According to Lt. A. B. Thompson of the 2nd New Hampshire, his regiment didn’t get much of an opportunity to fight at First Bull Run. “They were nowhere and did nothing,” wrote Thompson in a letter to his father in Concord, N. H., three days after the battle. The regiment drew up in line awaiting orders, but no orders came, “all the while cannon balls and shells flying and bursting about our ears.” He added, that their failure was “no fault in the men thank God: they are brave fellows as ever heard the music of whistling bullets, and it was too bad to expose them to be cut down and mangled, when they could not return the enemy’s fire.”


Manchester, New Hampshire
August 12th 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

I am stopping in Manchester now for a few days for the purpose of getting recruits to fill up the 2d N. H. Regiment. 200 [are] wanted; vacancies occasioned by killed, wounded, missing, and discharged.

We are all well now. Jane and the children still live in Manchester although they have moved to No. 82 Merrimack street where they would be very happy to see you and your wife & little ones. But if you cannot afford to come, just write a few lines as often as you can find time because we are very much interested still in the West and in Plainfield in particular. We consider ourselves western folks yet and intend to come out there and live after the war is over and perhaps we shall yet live in the same old place back in the field that K. J. pretends to own.

I suppose you are having very hard times there now and we shall not call on you for anything just now. But in the fall, my wife will want some if she lives as she has a note to pay them. But I wish you would send me an abstract [of] the rent figured up to the first of August and all things reckoned up pro & con as you understand they ought be between us so that Jane may know how the matter stands between us because you know that I am liable to be killed at any moment and I want to do all I can for Jane and the family before that time. Although I do not feel as though I should be killed, but that I shall live to see this trouble settled and our country prosperous, happy, and free.

Give my best respects to all the friends and brother & sisters in Christ and tell them all to pray for me and my family that we may be found faithful and good soldiers of the cross as we are in the army  of the United States. My love to Eddy & the children. Jane would write but she is to have company today and is very busy.

Most respectfully yours,

Capt. J. W. Carr
of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.
Recruiting Officer for the 2d Regt. N. H. V.


[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]

Manchester [New Hampshire]
September 18th 1861

Dear Brother & Sister Caton,

I have thought a good many times lately I would sit down and write you a letter but after James came home, he wrote to you & let you know of my welfare so I put off writing until he was gone. He went off with his last recruits yesterday and I suppose reaches Washington tomorrow morning. I received your letter today—just one day too late—but enclose it tonight and will send it to him so if he is not killed within a week, he will probably write to you as soon as he gets it.

I felt very sorry to learn of the death of your child. I had thought about it a great many times and wondered what you called it, but it seems that the angels call it now and it has left a world of suffering. But I suppose you miss it very much. But it always seemed to me that it was wrong to mourn much for a little sinless babe for they are transplanted from a world of sin and suffering to the home of angels to be happy forever, I think.

Henry has got so smart that he goes to school a half day at a time and I think will be tough enough to go all day next week. Emma often speaks of Hannah. Says there is no little girl here she thinks so much of as she did Hannah.

I should be willing to come back West to live if I could—only get James back—but he is bound to fight and I suppose if he gets killed, then I shall have to go back anyway to get something out of the ground to support us. But I trust in Providence and know that everything is for the best, as Coe ¹ always said. By the way, I do not see what has become of him. We have not heard a word from him since he went to Cairo. I should think we might  find out by enquiring of Munger, gravestone manufacturer of Joliet, where Coe worked before he joined the army. Will you not call there the next time you go to Joliet? Perhaps William Goodhue could find out where he is. I suppose he went in Ed Mc’s company.

I was in hopes that Mr. Webb would go back to Plainfeld to preach. I thought if he did, I would go back there with a good grace. I do not see why they could not agree to have him. I know he had his faults but who can they find without fault? Not anyone that is human, I fear.

If you do not get a letter from James in regard to the place there, it will probably be because mim did not reach him. Direct when you write me to Mrs. Jane D. Carr, No. 82 Merrimac Street. Mrs. Caton, will you not write me a few lines? Give my love to all enquiring friends. Goodnight.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


Camp Union
Headquarters Gen. Hooker’s Brigade
Bladensburg, Maryland
Sunday, September 22nd 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

Jane sent me your last ltter from Manchester. I am obliged to you for the information. You did give me another note which is due in the fall of 50 or 50 odd dollars. I do not now know the exact amount. Jane has the note. She will write to you. She needs some money now and as soon as you can send her some without discommoding yourself, you will greatly oblige us. I turned out one of M. Philleo’s notes to her brother-in-law which was due in the spring but Philleo has not paid it and Jane mist soon or lose nearly twice the amount. Philleo is considered good now, is he not? I would not let the house to Watts unless he would give bail or pay the rent in advance monthly or agree to quit at the end of the month is he could not advance the money for another month. Can’t you let it to the new minister?

I would let it by the month, I think, so that if the war should close, Jane and I could come home again. I mean to come out then, if I live through the war.

Everything is quiet now here although we are holding ourselves in readiness to go at 10 minutes notice. The troops are pouring in here at the rate of three regiments per day now and the District of Columbia seems to be covered now with encampments and pretty well surrounded besides.

I have bought me a Sharps breach-loading carbine. Paid 42 dollars for it as I came through New York. Mean to ling it on my shoulder the next battle we have and if a few of those rebels do not bite the dust, t’will be because they kill me first.

I have a full company now. I succeeded in getting 215 recruits in New Hampshire and have them all here now and one regiment is in good shape and the brigade is considered one of the best now in the field. We have the best arms. One company with Sharps rifles; the rest [carry] the new Springfield rifle minié ball &c.

My health is good and I am on hand for battle. Hoping to hear of your continued heath and prosperity, I subscribe myself your humble friends & brother.

— James W. Carr, Capt. of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.


[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]

Manchester [New Hampshire]
January 5th 1862

Dear Brother & Sister Caton,

I wish you a happy new year. I know it is rather late to wish it, but better late than never you know. How queer it seems to direct a letter 1862 but so it is. The old year is gone and a new one is just begun and we are all one year older and everyday bringing us so much nearer eternity. But how little we realize that life is passing so swiftly away. We are pretty well with the exception of colds. We have had bitter cold weather for a few days past and it is splendid sleighing—just as smooth as a floor. Henry is fussing with a bad cold tonight caught by skating too long yesterday. I tell him if he has the fun, he must take the consequences.

I sent your letter to Mr. Carr and I suppose he has written you in regard to the farm &c. as he said he would. I got a letter from Coe ¹ the other day. He is in camp at Springfield. I wish he and James could be in a company together. I think they would enjoy it much. I had a letter from James last Friday. He was preparing for winter building log house, &c. He thinks perhaps they may winter where they now are but I should think by the papers McClellan was intending to make a move before long and I am afraid if he does not, England will.

James was not very well when he wrote. Had been threatened with a fever and I am somewhat worried about him for fear he will have the typhoid fever. He is such a fever subject and he has lost a number of his men by it within a short time. I do not believe it is a healthy place where they are now. I want to see you all very much and we all send much love and good wishes. Please write soon and let us know how things are going out there.

I would write more but am out of paper and it is Sunday night and I can’t buy.

—Jane D. Carr

When you write, direct to Box 545 as the Penny Post does not bring my letters now. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Emma sends particular love to Hannah.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.

[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]


Manchester, New Hampshire
February 23rd 1862

Dear Brother Caton,

I received yours a fortnight or so ago and meant to have answered right away but have been preparing to go over to Father’s a neglected to write to my friends. I have got ready three times to go over home and have been disappointed every time. Think perhaps I may go this week and stop a week or two if it does not snow every other day and night and spoil the traveling as it has done the most of the time this winter. We are well and the children have two weeks longer to go to school before vacation.

I am sorry to hear of the hard times out there but find it is so. Everyone feels it, I think, worse than they have been here but I think if our army continues to be victorious as they have been, that it will make a change very soon. Do not put yourself out at all in regard to the money. I have got along much better than I expected. I have paid out money about as fast as James sent it to me. I have taken up a five hundred dollar note since he went away and paid about fifty on another which he owes his brother-in-law of nearly three hundred and if he lives to be paid again by the middle of March, shall be able to pay the rest or part of it, and intend to keep enough for me to carry us back West if anything should happen to him or if he should come home as we should probably go back there in the course of a year if this war is stopped soon and he is not killed. All that I have wanted of money was to pay up debts with which kept the interest running up.

The mud is so deep where they are on the Potomac now, they can only exist and so much damp weather is not very wholesome, but James writes as though they were in good spirits and rejoicing at the good news they hear every day from other quarters of the army. They long for the mud to dry up so they can cross [the Rappahannock] and have one more battle where they can say they did not run. I want it to come so that it may be over but still dread it for fear he may get killed.

I see by the papers that some of the Illinois regiments suffered severely at the taking of Fort Donelson and suppose a great many homes and hearts are made desolate. Oh! this cruel, cruel, war. When will it be ended? I should like to know if Coe ¹ was in that battle. I see the papers mention the Plainfield Artillery but did not see the name of Joliet. Give my love to Mrs. Caton. Tell her I am hoping and waiting but shall probably see her before another year is out if we live. I like the climate much the best here and on account of the old folks. Should rather stay here. I do not believe Wood has…[missing end of letter]

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


Headquarters 2nd New Hampshire Vols.
Near Falmouth, Virginia
Wednesday, February 11th 1863

Dear Bro. Caton,

It has been a long time since I have written you or heard directly from you. My time is all taken up with this accursed rebellion so that I have forgotten almost everything else but war. But still I remember and think of my old friends with pleasure and look forward with longing desire to the time when I shall be with you once again.

I intended to have obtained a leave of twenty days and have visited you all at Plainfield but I cannot succeed for this reason. Col. Marston is at Washington D. C. in Congress this winter. We have no Lt. Col. and Major Bailey is now and has been for some time put under arrest for alleged disobedience of orders so I have command [of] the regiment, being the senior captain.

I have been detailed since January 1st to act as Lt. Col. while Major Bailey acted as Colonel. Now I am at the top of the heap in command but not in rank. Col. Marston is a brigadier at any time he chooses to leave the House and take the field. Then I expect my commission as Lt. Col. unless they dismiss Major Bailey or he should resign. Then I expect to be Colonel and shall be or leave the service for I have been all the time on duty and for 8 months have done field officer duty and 6 of the time, taken care of my company too. There are 30 promotions in our regiment awaiting the pleasure of Col. Marston and have been since August 29th when we made that terrific charge at [Second] Bull Run [and] the 2nd, so I am not alone waiting for my commission you see.

I have been in fourteen battles. There [has] never been any part of our regiment engaged either in skirmish or battle but what I have been one of the number. I commanded the line of advance at the 2nd Fair Oaks or Seven Pines, Va. [On the] 23rd June, I was the only captain with our regiment at Malvern Hill [on the] 1st [of July], and there was but one other at Malvern Hill [on the] 2nd when the gallant Jo. Hooker took us up and down the Rebels from the hill a few days before we left Harrison Landing. But some of those captains that took their leaves and traveled during the Seven Days before Richmond managed to get home and get promoted into some of the new regiments then forming and were bold enough to say that they had been in every battle on the Peninsula &c. &c.

I led the regiment out on a 3 day raid to destroy the Rappahannock Railroad Bridge last week. We were successful. Lost only one man. They all respect me and fear me as much as I care to have them. They know I will fight. I used a carbine (Sharps) all the time. I led the company at Fredericksburg. I shot 60 rounds from a Springfield rifle musket while skirmishing on Sunday. I have killed as many of them as I want to if they will lay down their arms. If not, some more of them must die or they must kill me. I do not deem this childs’ play by no means, nor want them handled with gloves on.

I wish you would write me if you please the news and a few items of business so that if I cannot get away, I can arrange things all right and safe for Jane and the children. Jane wishes to buy a small place in Manchester & I think real estate safer & better for her than greenbacks. I wish you would write me how much, if anything, is due me from you and how much for rent of house in Plainfield Village and how much on rent of farm of Coe’s, &c. and what the prospect of pay is. How much Jane can depend upon is she should buy and whether Phileo is good yet. And how business is. How the College flourishes and all the news. If I live and my family also, I intend to come to Plainfield to live after the war is over. Have you built a house in the village & where? Is the place increasing in size or at a standstill?

Give my love to Mrs. Caton and the children and to all the brothres & sisters in the church. Tell them I often think of them and the good time they have and compare my lot with theirs. Tell them I trust I have not forgotten my Savior. He has been too good a friend to me for me to forsake Him in this my time of need. I ask the prayers of the church and all believers that I may be spared to return to my family & friends and that above all, I may fight the good fight of faith as well as the battles of my country. Yours in love,

— James W. Carr, Captain, commanding 2nd Regt., N. H. Vols.

Direct Capt. J. W. Carr, 2nd N. H. V., Washington D. C.


Manchester, New Hampshire
May 16th 1863

Dear Brother Caton,

You will think strange when I tell you that I have not heard a word from you for six months but such is the fact. I cannot think for a moment but that you have written me, but someone either at that or this end of the route has got hold of the letters instead of me. Now will you be so kind as to write me once more and put the letter into Joliet P. O. and direct to Mrs. J. D. Carr, Box 545, Manchester, New Hampshire. I wish to know how your health is and that of your family also, whether Jane’s farm is let this year and her town place, and what the prospect is of her getting the rent, &c., and if property is rising there, and how the times are, and how matters stand between you and us.

I suppose you have kept the taxes paid. If not, I wish you would see to them and if people owe for the rent and cannot pay the money, please get their notes running to Mrs. J. D. Carr.

I have one more year to serve in the war from June 1st 1863. I am now Lt. Col. of the 2nd N. H. V. and our present Col. E; L. Bailey talks of resigning. If he does, I shall be promoted to the Colonelcy of the regiment. We have not been ordered back yet but expect to be soon. Jane has been quite sick with cholic. Is some better now but a slow fever.

The war hangs on like the tooth ache but I hope we shall see the end of it this year. I think slavery has received its death blow. Am glad the Negroes make such good soldiers. I thought they would.

Give my love to the children ad Mrs. Caton. And please remember me to Brother Hagar and all the good Brothers & Sisters there. I hope to be able to come out and live there again after the war is over. I feel that I have done my part faithfully so far towards putting down the rebellion and… God being my helper to continue to the end.

How does the College flourish these times when so many of the young are off to the war? Have you got your new house done? And do you live in the village or on the farm?

Truly yours, — James W. Carr, Lt. Col. 2nd N. H. Vols

P. S. Jane send her love to you and Mrs. C. and hopes that you are enjoying better health than she is at this present writing. — James

Portions of 1863/1864 Diaries sold at Raynor’s Auction House in 2008.


1 January 1863—In the Grand Army of the Potomac, Carr’s Brigade, Sickles Division, Stoneman’s Corps, Hooker’s Central Grand Div. in Camp of 2d Regt. N.H. V. before Fredericksburg Va….I am detailed a Field Officer…

3 January 1863—The Line Officers treated the men and some of them got drunk and made right hideous with their drunken frolics. Whiskey is a curse to the army and to the world…

5 January 1863—Stoneman’s Corps was reviewed today by Burnsides counting of 3 Divisions, Birney’s, Sickles, & Whipple’s…

12 January 1863—I had my trial today before a Gen. Court Martial. I had no one to assist me but asked my own questions. I think my case is a clear one and that the Court will render a value of ‘Not Guilty.’…I had 5 witnesses for me & only one against me…

17 January 1863—I tried nineteen cases of men that skedaddled before Fredericksburg battle. I am the Court Judge & jury. I have got the approval of Col. Blaindis…

25 January 1863—We marched at 7 am for special duty. Reported by Division at Stoneman’s Headquarters…

7 February 1863—Our cavalry having accomplished the object for which we went—the destruction of the railroad bridge across the Rappahannock—we started back to camp…

8 February 1863—I have been up with the officers of the 1st Brigade to pay my respects to Brig. Gen. Stoneman who leaves the command of the 3d corps to take command of the cavalry of the army of the Potomac. Stoneman is a fine officer…

15 February 1863—The Rebels have moved their picket posts, reduced them in number…

22 February 1863—Major B’s sentence came today to forfeit two mo’s pay & be reprimanded in Genl. Orders—a little harder than I expected. He assumes command tomorrow and I shall apply for a leave…

23 February 1863—Lt. Col. B’s sword was returned today and he is now in command of the 2nd [New Hampshire]…

14 March 1863—Mr. Loomis was away at Washington. [He] has been in the Old Capital prison by being in company with some Jews who had contraband goods on board the schooner. A warning to all to keep good company and engage in lawful business…

25 March 1863—Went to Concord. Saw Col. Marston, Agt. Gen. Colby, Peter Sanborn, Col. Gilmore etc…

31 March 1863—I went to Concord, had a dress parade, was introduced to Col. Bailey’s Bride. They came down in the ½ past three train…

6 April 1863—Went to Concord, found all things straight. The 17th [New Hampshire] Regt. is to be consolidated with the 2d [New Hampshire] and the officers of the 17th mustered out of the service…

30 April 1863—Our regiment was mustered by Lt. Col. Bailey at 3 PM. We had a dress parade at 5 PM….

12 May 1863—Battalion drill at 2 PM. All of the officers & men behave well but do not get out all their muskets at the drill…Col. B came up at 6 PM. Stayed in camp for the first time. He is determined to have better discipline for the future…

14 May 1863—Gen. Wool gave us permission to take the Regiment to Manchester…

18 May 1863—I learned for the first time that we had been ordered back to the Army of the Potomac by a telegram from the Sec of War…

27 May 1863—Arrived in Washington at sunrise…Col. B & the Field & Staff called on Gen. Casey and reported. He sends us to Camp Chase…

29 May 1863—Brig. Gen. Martindale called after parade and introduced himself to me…

7 June1863—I attended Dr. Gurley’s church in the AM…where President Lincoln attends usually. He was not there but Gen. Casey was…

8 June 1863—Hooker is reported across the Rappahannock…

16 June 1863—The Rebels are now in Penn. & Md. committing raids. Vicksburg & Port Hudson still hold out…

17 June 1863—I saw one whole division of Cavalry under Gen. Pleasonton…

18 June 1863—We took 80 Rebel cavalry and they took most all the battalion of N. E. Cavalry. Hookers Headquarters are now at Fairfax Station…The Rebel Cavalry have taken Chambersburg Pa. and are marching on the capital…

19 June 1863—We had skirmishes in front and on the left flank as guerrillas were in the vicinity…

21 June 1863—Heavy firing heard in the direction of Aldee…the battle continued all day…

23 June 1863—A detachment of our men under Lieut. Patch went to Fairfax with the prisoners (guerrillas) that were captured a few days ago…

27 June 1863—Camped for the night in sight of the battleground of South Mountain…

29 June 1863—We started at 4 AM…Gen. Sickles was with us and all things must be done according to red tape. Vicksburg is reported taken…

30 June 1863—Headquarters Army of Potomac passed also towards Gettysburg. We marched at 4 PM towards Emmitsburg…

1 July 1863—News from Gettysburg that Gen. Howard had engaged the enemy and was killed. All of our Corps but our brigade left for the field of action…

2 July 1863—Marched for Gettysburg at 2 AM. Arrived at 9 AM & joined the division which was marched out of the city. Skirmishing commenced at 12 PM, heavy at 3 PM. We went into the fight at 4 PM [and] continued it until dark. The firing was most awful…very heavy…made a charge, drove the enemy, but for want of support were able to fall back. The battle was a severe one. God heard my prayer…my sword saved my life…

3 July 1863—Fell in at 4 AM. Marched to the support of the 6th Corps. …We laid in the woods & drew rations in the forenoon… In the afternoon we were taken to the center to support batteries &c. Several were struck in the Regt. but none seriously wounded. Our report of killed wounded & missing is now 228. We went into action with 338…

4 July 1863—I visited the battleground & the hospital…Our victory at the Battle of Gettysburg is complete and the Rebs in full retreat, but at a great cost…

5 July 1863—Our forces are following up the Rebels at 12 m… The 6th Corps are following up the enemy’s rear. We have captured their pontoon train with Gen. French and his command…

6 July 1863—I went to Gettysburg in the evening. Our dead were buried…

11 July 1863—There is every prospect of a fight to day…

12 July 1863—Gen. Meade ordered an advance today. There was a little firing on the right and the Rebels retired. We now hold the turnpike running from Sharpsburg to Hagerstown. We are held in reserve 2 miles in the rear of our line. I think the Rebels are leaving….

14 July 1863—The Rebels crossed the Potomac last night. Gen. Meade looked on like a mean, cowardly, imbecile traitor which I think he is & saw them go and never fired a single gun…

20 July 1863—Our cavalry had a slight skirmish here at the gap with a squad of Mosby’s guerillas…

24 July 1863—Our skirmishers advanced at daylight. The enemy retreated to Front Royal… Our Regt was deployed as skirmishers and skirmished 3 miles, took the town and ½ mile beyond. They opened one battery but fired only a few shots. The loss in our Div. was about 75 in killed & wounded. We captured about 5 soldiers and 100 wounded this ended the battle…

26 July 1863—We are detached from the 3d Corps today and ordered to report to Gen. Marston. Rumored that we are going to Point Lookout…

27 July 1863—We passed our troops along the railroad 2½ corps near the junction. Gen Meade’s Headquarters at W[arrenton]. We brought 150 Rebel prisoners with us…

30 July 1863—Our army of the Potomac is not very much. I have no confidence in Gen. Meade…

1 August 1863—I fixed the Brigade well. Moved the prisoners and did various other work…

9 August 1863—Col. Bailey arrested Dr. Murrow today…Murrow applies for a release to Gen. Marston…

11 August 1863—Col. Bailey and a squad of mounted infantry conducted by Provost Marshal Davis started up the peninsula on a scouting expedition…

23 August 1863—259 Rebel prisoners came on the John A. Warner…

27 August 1863—The Rebels took two of our gunboats on the Rappahannock last night…

29 August 1863—4 Rebels got away last night. We captured them today…

3 September 1863—18 deserters were returned to our regiment last night. They are under arrest and charges are being preferred…

18 September 1863—I have been very much disturbed today by the arrest of Sam by Lt. Mosley. He is the meanest man and most insulting officer…

22 September 1863—There are 6 rebel officers among the prisoners kept separate. I do not like their looks…

23 September 1863—Gen. Grant is disabled by the fall of his horse. Gen. Banks has failed to land in Texas & Gen. Rosecrans is hotly needed in Georgia & fears are entertained of his safety…

4 October 1863—450 wounded Rebels arrived here today from the Gettysburg hospitals [and] have gone into Point Lookout Hospital. More expected soon… Gen. Marston took chloroform for the hiccoughs…

7 October 1863—Five Rebels tried to escape last night but got foiled by their hiding place, being revealed by one of their own number…

10 October 1863—I rode up with Dr. Stone and we visited the Rebel camp… There is a doctor taking physiological measurements among the Rebels… Gen. Marston stopped the liquor on the wharf today…

13 October 1863—The Army of Gen. Meade is falling back but they cannot drive Old Rosey out of Chattanooga. Hooker has command of 11th & 12th Corps under Rosecrans…

17 October 1863—Meade continues falling back. Skirmishing with the enemy. Bull Run is about to be celebrated…

19 October 1863—A large number of contrabands came yesterday and today I visited the Rebel camp… The rebs are happy tonight, singing &c…

2 November 1863—90 Prisoners came today…

3 November 1863—350 Rebel prisoners arrived today… There is trouble between Jones and Old Bailey and Gen. Marston said that Jones was liable to have his goods confiscated at any moment on account of Bailey’s being a copperhead. Old Bailey told Jones that I hated the very ground that Col. Bailey walked on…

4 November 1863—Gen. Butler is assigned to the command of the Dept. of Virginia & North Carolina…

10 November 1863—1,360 Rebel Prisoners came from the Army of Rappahannock today. They were well clothed for Rebels and are tough and hearty. Inspector of Sanitary Commission has been down. Reports Rebel Camp in bad condition and much suffering…

15 November 1863—Called on Gen. Marston in the evening. Took tea with him and spent the evening with him and talked all things over with him in regard to the regiment and war…

19 November 1863—On the boat a deserter jumped overboard and tried to escape. Was shot in the left arm and captured, broke his arm. He and the guard were tight…

17 December 1863—Gov. Gilmore is trying to get Gen. Hinks removed but I hope he will not succeed. I like Genl. Hinks first rate so far…plus;


1 January 1864—In the good old City of Concord, NH on detached duty as General Recruiting Officer for the state, under command of Brig. Genl. E.. Hinks… My office is through with brokers & volunteers…

4 January 1864—Enlisted 58 men…

5 January 1864—56 enlisted at my office. The United States bounty ceased today, so everybody has been in a great hurry to get in their men. The men are gathering in for the State convention…

11 January 1864—The sharpshooters came home today and Capt. Durgin left for Washington…

15 January 1864—185 men were sent to the 6th, 9th, & 11th [Regiments] today…

20 January 1864—We enlisted twenty-five men but one deserted from the office from Segt. Fletcher…

25 January 1864—I enlisted seven men. David Perkins got into a fight with a broker in my office and bloodied his nose for him…

1 February 1864—200,000 more men are called for. The order is published today for the first time in the Boston Journal

9 February 1864—Our quota of volunteers is full and volunteering is about up, so recruiting will [soon] be over. Cols. Griffin & Stevens have been recalled and will return and not go to the Regiments…

23 February 1864—I rode up from Manchester in the Governor’s car and he spoke to me in regard to my speech relating to the Pres. publishing treason and the Gov. was pleased with my remarks, he said…

1 March 1864—There is no enlisting now as the Government Bounty has not been extended…

15 March 1864—The dinner to Genl. Hinks came off in due season and was a complete success…

17 March 1864—I bought a ticket in the ‘Soldier’s Home’ that Mr. Perham is trying to build for our volunteers who may be poor and disabled and unable to maintain themselves after our war is over…

30 March 1864—Left Concord, NH…with 150 veterans of 2d & 5th NHV via New York for Point Lookout…

5 April 1864—Genl. Hinks issued his order assuming command today…

10 April 1864—One colored regiment left here from Point Lookout this AM. I visited McClellan’s old works and one old camp ground…

13 April 1864—On court-martial. Tried a Mr. Holt for desertion. He and two others attempted to cross the bay in an open boat. John Eagan—whom we sentenced to be shot—was ordered to be executed today, but was reprieved after the troops had assembled on the ground set apart for his execution; so it seemed a farce…

15 April 1864—Privates Eagan & Holt were shot by sentence of court martial between 9 & 10 o’clock. The 2d [New Hampshire] Regt & two colored regiments & 1 section of a battery witnessed the execution…

19 April 1864—Tried Jeremiah Murphy, Private Co. K, 2nd NHV. Sentence—[to be] shot…

20 April 1864—Genl. Smith arrived this noon. A salute was fired in his honor. It is Baldy Smith, so called…

21 April 1864—Heavy cannonading was heard during the night at long intervals apparently in the direction of Fort Monroe. I have prepared a statement of my case to send to President Lincoln if Butler disapproves…

27 April 1864–64 of our regiment are here in waiting to be sent to the Navy and 300 more have sent in their names to be transferred. My application for discharge was returned today ordering me by command of Gen. Butler to report where I was mustered into the service and what rank I then held… I made the required statement, and sent them in to Genl. Smith…

28 April 1864—Gov. Yates of Ohio & Maj. Genl. B. F. Butler arrived at Yorktown… Genl. Marston arrived at 2 PM. He and I looked over the forts together…

5 May 1864—The sight we have seen today is one long to be remembered. Thousands of men & 100’s of vessels all pulling for Richmond with utmost dispatch and enthusiasm…

6 May 1864—Gen. Hickman’s Brigade made a reconnaissance 4 miles towards the railroad. Lost 50 in killed & wounded. Found the enemy in force and retreated…

9 May 1864—Marched down the turnpike to within 5 miles of Petersburg where we engaged the enemy at 12 PM and fought until dark and then remained in line of battle during the night. The rebels fired on our skirmishers in front of the 11th Connecticut who fired in volleys for a while and then all was quiet…

14 May 1864—I climbed a tall pine & saw the Rebel line of works, Richmond in the distance, and the James River on our left. Works are like this [sketch]…

16 May 1864—The Rebels charged our lines all day along our front & heavily on our right & on the Turnpike… Capt Platt was killed by a shot in the head. Our Regt. & the 148th held the line until all the rest & both right and left had gone. Then we retired in good order and reformed further back…

19 May 1864—I went to the James River and saw the monitors shelling the woods with their 15-inch guns and also saw a torpedo explode in the river. The Rebels attacked our line in the center early in the morning and as the close of the day…

20 May 1864—The Rebels attacked our center two or three times but were repulsed every time and finally skedaddled towards night. Our cannon kept up a continual roar for a long time on our right our gunboats took it upon our left and kept it up most all night… The Rebels are building their railroad…

1 June 1864—Marched back to Old Church and on to Cold Harbor and went in to action at 4 PM, the cannonading was brisk…

3 June 1864—We advanced by brigade in mass at 4 AM. The 148th deployed on our front. Went through the woods but the fire was so heavy that every regiment but one was driven back with great slaughter… Capt Gordon is killed…

19 June 1864—May God in his infinite goodness and this war and that right early…

7 July 1864—We got the news of the destruction of the pirate [ship] Alabama. Capt. Semmes was rescued by an English gentleman, yet the Alabama was sunk 10 miles from France by the Kearsarge

15 July 1864—The Rebels are pressing hard on Washington…

27 July 1864—I attended a meeting of the enrolled men of the city to see about raising money to get volunteers…”

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A rare ninth plate ambrotype of an unidentified member of the 1st or 2nd New Hampshire. Often misidentified as being Confederates, they dressed in the New Hampshire grey greatcoat and cape. The uniform underneath would have also been grey and trimmed in red. The only part of that uniform that is visible here is the grey cap which has a lower band of red that ran around the base of the cap. Company letter “F” is pinned to the front. He stands armed with his musket and brandishing an Allen & Wheelock 32 cal. pocket revolver from under the flap of his cape. Images from this unit are actually very hard to find. These guys fought from the First Battle of Bull Run all the way to Richmond. At Gettysburg they were nearly annihilated. [Matthew Fleming Collection]

1864-65: Horace J. Hammond to Eleanor Hammond

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A postwar picture of Horace J. Hammond

These thirteen letters were written by Horace J. Hammond (1828-1903) of Cohoctin, Steuben county, New York. He wrote all of the letters to his wife, Eleanor (1835-1919). Mentioned frequently is Oscar Hammond, their youngest child (1860-1938).

In August 1864, Horace accepted a bounty from his county to enlist in Co. G, 189th New York Infantry. He mustered in at the age of 37 on 1 October 1864 to serve one year. His enlistment record indicates that he stood 5 feet 8 inches tall, had brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion. He mustered out with his company near Washington D. C. on 30 May 1865 after 9½ months service.

Hammond served largely at City Point, Virginia, the headquarters for General Ulysses S. Grant. While at City Point, he was injured when a fellow soldier’s rifle discharged and the bullet became lodged in his leg. Doctors removed the bullet and Hammond recovered without having his leg amputated.

Other soldiers in Co. G, 189th New York Infantry frequently mentioned by Horace include Fayette M. Van Wormur, Leonard Harter, Walter Slayton, Robert C. Gurnsey, John H. Covill, Warren W. Oxx, Abner Cary, and Joseph Tucker.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History claims to have fifty of Horace Hammond’s letters in their archives.



Washington [D. C.]
October the 3d 1864

Dear Wife,

I sit down to write a few lines to you. We are all well—only my belly aches a little but that is nothing. Hoping this will find you all enjoying the same.

Well that day that you left here [Elmira], we were called out and mustered for our pay and Saturday about five o’clock we was called out and paid and went down in the city about 15 minutes and then after dark we started for Washington. We went about 30 miles and laid there in the cars and the woods all night till seven o’clock the next morning. Then we started for Williamsport. Got there Sunday about noon. Then for Baltimore. Got there Monday morning one o’clock. Laid in the cars till daylight, then went down to headquarters and got breakfast. At eleven o’clock we started for Washington. Got there tonight before dark. Got supper and went to writing. In the confusion.

Tomorrow morning we have two hours to see the capital and then we get our guns and start tomorrow night for City Point [Virginia]. Well, I put in ten dollars and when you write to me, [let me know] if you get. Then I will send some more. You must not write till you hear from me again. That won’t be long.  Tell me how you got home and everything and all about the folks.

We fared better than we did in Elmira for victuals. Tell Charles that I will write to him when I get time. I am moving too much now. I want to know all. I bought a testament in Baltimore. [It is a] bad place to write here tonight a sitting on the floor and going around. I would like to see you but when the year is out, then I shall come home to stay with you. Keep good spirits. We will take a boat from here down the Potomac and up the James river.

No more at present but one word—they are wiping them out at Richmond now. Well I must quit and go to bed. Remember, don’t write till you hear from me again. No more at present. I remain your friend unto death. Goodbye for the present.

— Horace J. Hammond



City Point, [Virginia]
October 28, 1864

Dear wife,

I received your letter tonight and was glad to hear from you and glad to hear that you was all well. It found me in good health and the rest of us is well. We are all enjoying good health.

We moved up about 2 miles today up by the woods and expect to stay here this winter. We have been fixing up our tents this afternoon. The weather is nice. It rained some last night yesterday and last night they had a very hard fight up to Petersburg. Our folks took the Southside railroad from the rebels and last night they fought from ten o’clock until most daylight this morning but our folks keep the road. We could hear the cannons very plain.

You spoke about my not getting your letters. I have had three from you since I have been here. I have wrote 6 or 7 to you since I have been here but you didn’t say anything about that money. I want to know whether you got it or not. I sent you ten dollars in a letter from Washington and twenty dollars by express to Liberty which makes 30 dollars. Now it is the 29th. You said you got it all right. Whether you got it all or not and let me know the first time you write. And send your photograph to me. I would like to see you very much and kiss you but we must wait patient[ly] till we can see each other and if it be the Lord’s will, then we can take comfort again. We must trust I the Lord. I pray to Him every day and for you and you must pray for yourself and for me. We must pray for each other and after a little while we may live with each other and take comfort. You must write me all of the news when you write.

You must get the potatoes dry before it freezes up.

I wrote a letter to James. He is with Sheridan. They have come up to Gordonsville most to Richmond on the back side.

As soon as it gets cool enough, I will write and then have some stuff sent in a box but I will tell you when and where. But you must write often for I want to hear from you often. I write about twice a week and you must to me.

My leg is almost well. I can travel most as well as ever on it. As for getting almost drowned, I hadn’t seen any of that yet. We hadn’t been in any danger of getting drowned. It was news to me. I want you to write who wrote any such thing for I hadn’t heard anything about it before.

Tell Charley and Matilda that I would like to see them very much. Tell them to remember me for I will remember them and they must write to me for they have more time to write than I have. We have to drill and get wood and water and it takes most all of the time. Tell Jane and Samantha that I would like to come and make them a visit and see them all. We will come by and bye and see them all. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Tell Oscar them pennies are for him to remember pa by. Don’t forget the photograph for I want to see them. You must do the best you can and be patient. A year hasn’t a great while and then I will stay at home with you as long as we live.

Well, you must feel well and pray to the Lord and think it won’t be long. Do you get grain enough for bread. You must look out in season and have some ground before it freezes up. A little will last you some time if you have plenty of potatoes. You didn’t say whether Ferris drawer that wood or not. You must look out for such things before it gets deep snow and you get out. Be sure to have the potatoes buried deep enough so they won’t freeze.

Abner Cary will send for that half ton of hay that I told him he could have and he will send somebody down and you get Charles and they can fix it they can get it of or weigh it just as they are a mind to and Cary will pay you just what hay is worth a ton and pay the money. Let them have it out of the front end of the bay…

Well I must stop for time. Goodbye for the present. Write often and soon as you get this. I remain your dear husband until death from Horace J. Hammond to Eleanor Hammond.

Direct as before to City Point, Va., 189th Regiment in care of Captain [WilliWashburn



City Point, Virginia
November 16th 1863

Dear Wife,

I got your letter this morning and was glad to hear from you and that you were all well and the pills. It found us all well but Guernsey. He is a grunting a little but not much. My health is good but my leg. But that is a getting along well. I am a cooking with Oliver Towner. We cook for the company and I don’t have to do any other duty but cook. You needn’t be afraid that we will have to fight any this fall or winter for we have gone in winter quarters and expect to be here this winter. The weather is nice here. we don’t have much rain but we will by and by get enough of it here.

I would like to see you all very much and kiss you but I must be contented with my lot. It won’t be a great while if I live. Then I will be back to stay with you as long as we live. You needn’t be afraid that I will ever enlist again if I get home again with you.

I was glad to hear that you had your stuff all took care of. When you sell your butter, tell me how much you made since I came away from home. You must be careful about your health and take care of yourself. Tell Jane and Samantha that I would like to see them and I was glad to [see] that they had commenced to live a Christian’s life for I think it is better to live so and I hope they keep on and not turn back to the world a good Christian can take comfort in this world and in the world to come. They must be faithful to their God and He will reward them for it.

Betsy, you mustn’t forget me for I don’t forget you. You must pray for me because I am determined to live a Christian life while I live—whether here or there—and I pray to my God every day and read my Bible every day. If I could see you, I could tell you something but I trust in the Lord for His are right.

Eleanor, you must trust in the Lord and He will carry you through your trouble and pray to him daily and pray for me and I pray for you everyday and I trust in Him to carry me through my trouble. And when I get back there, we can take comfort together.

Well, you must do the best you can and it will be all right.

We are having a nice time here now. If we don’t have anything worse that this, we shan’t have anything bad. We have got nice log houses to live in. We are [at] the headquarters of the Brigade. The provision is here and everything. How much did Jerome charge you a bushel for that wheat? How much is potatoes worth there? Let me know how much things are worth there. I have just been to dinner. We got fresh beef, salt beef, salt pork, potatoes, coffee, sugar, new onions, cod fish, mackerel, soft bread. hard tack, beans and sometimes rice. We get enough to eat.

Eleanor I would like a little of that what you like a good deal of, but I can get along very well till I come home. You must send me a kiss. Take good care of Oscar for me and kiss him for me. No more this time. You must write often. I would like to have seen Leonard but you must tell him that I send my love to him. You must often, very often.

From your dear husband until till death. Goodbye for the present from Horace J. Hammond to Eleanor Hammond

Direct to City Point, Va., 189th Regt., in care of Capt. Washburn, Co. G



City Point, Virginia
November 18th 1864

Dear wife,

I sit down to write you a few lines. We are all well and hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing. We lay here in our quarters and it is very nice weather here and warm. It keeps me pretty busy to cook for the men. My leg is a getting almost well.

I am a boiling some beef for dinner and I must write fast. We get along first rate but it seems like a good while since I came from home. But this winter the days will be short and the time will go off faster. If we stay here till the first of next May, there will be 8 months of our time gone. We came here where we be now the 2nd day of November and we have got some nice shanties to live in. Walter Slayton went to the hospital Wednesday with the fever. Leonard Harter went to the hospital last Tuesday. There hasn’t many sick here. It is very healthy for so many folks as there is here. We enjoy ourselves very well for time.

I can get breakfast and wash the dishes and get something cooked for dinner [ad] it is noon. And so it goes and so the days are very short to me. Yesterday I bought 2 pounds of loaf sugar for 30 cents a pound. Best, I heard that you had a few beaus. That is alright but you must stay with Eleanor till I come back. Then I will come to the wedding. There is no harm in sparking a little for I would like to spark a little myself. Kisses are worth 5 dollars a piece here. I haven’t seen a white woman since I left the Point. But that don’t bother me for I can wait one year without seeing a white woman. What fun is fun but we mustn’t forget our duty to our God and ourselves. We must not forget to pray for ourselves and for one another and read the Bible and live prepared to die when our Lord calls.

I would like to see you all very well but I am contented to wait my lot and I pray to my God everyday and you all must tell the folks that we are all well. Tell Charles and Matilda that I want to hear from them and how they get along. I don’t want them to forget me. If they hear from Charles Edwin, tell them to write to me. And do you hear anything from James? I wrote him a letter some four or five weeks ago but I hadn’t heard from him since. If you let me know and you must write all of the news for I like to read letters from you.

Last night I got a pound of fine but tobacco. It was good. I suppose you sent it. I was glad to get it. I had some plug but it wasn’t good. I get a little chew sometimes to cut but it cost so much that I can’t buy much.

Well, I have just finished dinner and now I will finish my letter. Eleanor, you must write all of the news and write often. I write often to you. Kiss Oscar for me and I would like to kiss you but you must put your trust in the Lord for He is good and don’t forget to pray and I want you all to pray for me for I have been a great sinner.

Well, I can’t think of anything more to write and I guess I will close my letter. It is bad writing but it was wrote in a hurry. You must often. John [Covill] growls yet about Old Abe Lincoln but he has got some here that can shut him up very quick. Goodbye for the present. I remain your dear husband until death and well wishes—

from Horace J. Hammond to Eleanor his wife

Direct to City Point, Va., 189th Regt. Co. G, I’m care of Capt. Washburn

Write often and I will.



City Point, Virginia
January 3rd 1865

My dear and most loving wife,

I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know how we get along. We are all well as usual and enjoying ourselves first rate for soldiers. My health is tip top but my leg is sore yet. But it will get well when it gets ready. I hope this will find you all well and in good spirits. I got them 2 lbs. of tobacco last night and it got here in time. I only had a little in my box. It is good tobacco. How much was it a pound? We are fixing up things for winter. It spits a little snow today. The most I have to do is to cook and eat since we got our shanty done. I bought a pound of sugar this morning. We don’t her as much sugar as we want to use but we can buy it at Government prices here for we pay for brown sugar 16½ cents a pound. We can buy white sugar for 25 cents a pound but we cannot buy tobacco of the government for they don’t have it. Never mind the pitch fork handle but save the fork. We are having a good time of it now [even] if we don’t have any fighting to do. There won’t be anything very bad about it. We can stand it first rate. Snows quite hard now. It looks like winter here. They have some very cold weather.

John [Covill] is getting quite rational. He can eat as much as anybody. Eleanor, tell Jane that if Fayette ever lives to get home, that she needn’t be afraid that he will ever want to come to Virginia to live for he don’t like the country well enough to live here, nor I neither. It is a very poor country for poor folk to live in or anybody else. One acre of my land is worth ten acres of this land here and I wouldn’t live here anyhow if I was obliged to.

Well, I have just been to supper and I will write some more. I had some bread and milk for supper tonight. I bought a can of condensed milk. There is about a pint in a can and it is thick. Put one tablespoon full in a quart of water and it makes good milk. It is nice in coffee. We manage so that we live very well. It is warm and nice in our tent tonight for we have a good fire and plenty of wood. John has stayed in our tent 3 or 4 nights for they hain’t got their tent built yet but I guess they will get it up tomorrow if they work at it.

Joe Fuches, Ab[ner] Cary, Warren Oxx and John Covill tent together but I want to trade Gurnsey for John for Gurnsey is a good deal worse than John. John is a gentleman by the side a Guernsey.

It snows quite hards tonight. The ground is white now. I guess we will have some sleighing here. If we do, we will tale a sleigh ride. Those coons get scared any about the draft. I guess some of them will have to come down here if they did laugh at us for coming. Then we can laugh at them. We can laugh at them for coming down here. Tell the folks that I would like to see them and I send my love to them all. I trust in the Lord for my st____k. I trust in the Lord for he is good and his m___ endureth forever and He is a merciful God.

Eleanor, trust in the the Lord and read your bible daily and pray for me and O pray for myself daily and read my bible every day and pray to the Lord to give me health and strength. I will serve Him till I die. Keep good courage for the time w___ of 4 months almost gone.

January 4th. I thought that I would write another sheet tonight. This morning there was about one inch of snow on the ground. It was clear today but cold. It is quite cold tonight. I have eat so much that I can’t hardly write. We are all well tonight and hope this will find you enjoying the blessing for good health is a blessing.

My leg is sore yet but it is a getting better. I have had to work quite hard. I have been cooking and chopping wood and I put a patch on my blouse. You had better put some black thread in a letter and send to me if you hadn’t sent any in the box with the other things. I have considerable thread to mend my clothes and dew on buttons and one thing other time goes off very fast. I can’t hardly turn round twice before night times goes comes very fast but we have got 8 months to stay het if we live and if we don’t, our time will be out sooner. But I guess we will come out all right a good deal better than if we had been drafted. I should hate to come down here drafted for drafted men don’t fare very well. A man had better enlist and get something for it than to come drafted for nothing. You needn’t feel very bad because I came for I would have to come now, I guess, if I was up there. But now 4 months are gone and the rest of the time will soon wear off and then I will come home. And if I live to get back home, I will stay there with you while I live if they don’t steal me away and fetch me down here. I wouldn’t stay here if there wasn’t anywhere. It is a very hard looking country here. It don’t look as though they could raise anything.

January the 5th. My health good. My leg sore. My appetite first rate. The rest of the boys are all right. It was very cold last night. It is very pleasant today but quite cold. It froze very hard last night. I have just been to dinner this morning. I went up to the head commissary to get rations for the company. I was weighed. I weighed 165 lbs. I have gained 10 pounds since I was sick. I am very fat now. Fayette weighed 151 lbs—more than he ever weighed. Fayette is very fat. I never saw him when he was so fat and when he could eat so much.

If my leg was well, my health would be the best that it ever was since I had my leg hurt. I can eat all I can get and we get a very good supply if provisions. We get plenty of pork and beef. I had another dish of bread and milk. I ate a wolf’s meal for dinner. I have got pork enough layer up on the shelf to last my family one week if they had it up there and I would like to be up there if I hadn’t any pork or beef.

Pretty soon I will have to boil some potatoes for supper. I looked for a letter this morning but I didn’t get one. I shall look for one tonight. Eleanor, I would like to see you ad have one kiss from you and see my little Oscar and kiss him. But I trust in the Lord for strength and health to live through the year and return to my little family that I love so well. Eleanor, trust in the Lord. He will help you in your trouble. Pray for me that I may return to my family. Goodbye for the present from your dear husband and well wisher until death. Write [me.] Direct [to] City Point, Va., NYSV Co. G, 189th Regt., 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps in care of Capt. Washburn


City Point, Virginia
January 7th 1865

My dear beloved wife,

I sit down to write you a few lines to let you know how we get along. We are all well at present and I hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing and in good spirits. My health is very good for me—better than it was last summer up there except my leg that is sore yet and I guess it will be while I live. But I can travel almost as well. I am very fleshy. I am the fastest that I have been in a good while.

This morning I got my hat and some tea and I was glad to get them. I had a little of that other tea yet. I don’t drink much tea but I like a cup of tea as well as ever. I thought that I wouldn’t send for any more tea but I am glad that you sent it. Green tea is worth 4 dollars a pound down here but they may keep it before I will buy it. The rest of the boys are getting along first rate. Fayette is a getting very fat—the latest I ever see him.

Yesterday it rained most all day and last night. Today it didn’t rain. This afternoon I have been washing. I washed 12 shirts and drawers besides my own. I get 10 cents apiece for washing but I rubbed a hole in one of my fingers. It was very sire tonight. We are a getting it so that it looks very nice here. We have cleared all off and digging the stumps all out. It is very muddy here now. It is almost impossible to draw a load.

While I am sitting, the mail came and I got 2 letters from you. No 12, December the 30th, and No. 13, January the 1st. I was glad to hear from you and I will them and go to bed.

January 8th. Very cold this morning. Froze very hard last night. My health good. I cooked beans for dinner and then had to boil beef. I feel first rate. We made some wheat flour pancakes for dinner and they were first rate and I had some sugar and butter on them. It is Sunday night. I went over to see Sylvanus Covill this afternoon and it is only a little ways over there. It has been very cold today and will freeze very hard tonight.

Eleanor, I guess that you needn’t feel very bad because I came down here because I guess I would have had to come now if I hadn’t a come when I did. I don’t feel very bad about it for my time will be half out by the time that they will come an I got more pay that they will. I wouldn’t come down here drafted anyhow.

You must get somebody to draw that wood for you can’t go without wood. You mustn’t let anybody have any of the corn. I don’t want you to sell a bit of it to anybody. You want to keep what you don’t use to feed the pigs next fall to fatten them. Maybe that we won’t raise any next fall and if Charles wants half ton of hay and will pay what hay is worth and will pay the money for it, let him have it. And if Charles don’t want it, keep it all and don’t sell it. Keep it till next winter.

How long did you pasture Charles’ cows and did he pay you anything for it? If he keeps his cows there long, he had ought to pay you something for it. You have to pay him for what he does for you and if folks charge you for what they do, you must look out for yourself. If you don’t, there won’t anybody else. I would like to see you but I can wait for my time. My courage is good and my faith in the Lord. I put my trust in the Lord and pray to Him for health and strength to carry me through.

We lay here in camp. We have enough to do, wood to get, and the ground to clear off for it was in the woods where we encamped and cooking to do. But if my health keeps good, I can do all I have to do.

I would like one kiss from you and Oscar but I can wait till I get home. You must keep good courage and don’t forget to pray daily to our heavenly father for he can take us through our troubles.

Well, now it is the 9th of the month. My health is good this morning and the rest of the boys are alright and we are getting as fat as hogs. My leg is sore yet but it is a getting better. It is the best it has been since it was shot. It is very cold here this morning. It froze very hard last night.

Betsy, I suppose that you don’t get time to say anything to me for you are looking at bigger things. That is alright, but I would like to see you. When you move away, you mustn’t forget to write for I want to hear from you if I can’t see you. I trust in the Lord that I will live to come home and see all of the folks but may be hat you won’t be there when I get back. Bit I send my love to you and give my love and best respects to Leonard. Tell Charles and Matilda that I would like to see them and they must write a letter to me for I hadn’t got much paper to write on. When that paper gets here that you sent in Fayette’s box, then I will write to them. I send my love to them. Tell Samantha and Jane that I would like to see them. Tell them to be faithful to their God and they will be rewarded for it. I send my love to them.

Eleanor, a few words to you. Be faithful to your Heavenly Father and serve Him and He will reward you for it. Eleanor, it makes me feel bad to think of the precious time that I have sinned away, but I am determined to serve Him as long as I live and if I live to come back, then we can take comfort to live Christians together. Keep good courage and pray to the Lord of hosts and He will take us through our troubles. And if we are faithful, we will land on that happy shore where sorrow never comes.

The most of the men think that the war will be settled by Spring and our General thinks so. I trust in God that it may be. I feel first rate here. If it wasn’t;t for my dear wife and son up there so far from me, I could take comfort here I believe the Lord is able to carry me through. But I would rather be with my family if I could. But I take the thing very patient and willing to have a little trouble for one year. And then if I live, we can take comfort together as long as we live.

There hasn’t been any picket firing along the lines for 3 or 4 days now. It is reported that Grant and Lee has gone to Washington together and that they had orders not to fire anymore along the lines till further orders. They went from City Point together on a boat under a flag of truce and I hope they will do something. Some of the officers offer to bet a thousand dollars that the war will be settled by next spring and I hope it will. They can’t suit me any better and let me return to my dearly beloved little family.

The weather is very nice today. I had another dish of bread and milk for dinner. Take and steap a cup of coffee and sweeten it and then put a tablespoon full of condensed milk in it and crum on the bread and it is good. I am getting very fat. I hadn’t had any diarrhea since I left Elmira [New York] and only once. Sometimes I have went a week without anything passing my bowels.

Tell Jerome if you see him that I hadn’t forgot him and I will write to him as soon as I get some more paper. My paper is very scarce. Tell him that I send my love to him and best respects. Tell him he must write. Eleanor, keep good courage and the time will soon come when I will come back home. A little over 4 months of it gone now. Kiss Oscar for me and when I come home, I will kiss you. Write often—very often—and of the news. No more at present. I guess you will think there is enough of this for I am in a hurry. I remain your most loving and dear husband and shall until death. Goodbye for the present. Write. Don’t forget that I love you more that ever. Tell William Nash that I was sorry to hear that he had such bad luck [and] that I send my best respects to him and that I would like to see him and his folks. Goodbye from your dear husband, — Horace J. Hammond

Direct your letters as before. Write often.



City Point, Virginia
January 16, 1865

Near and dear wife,

Although a good ways apart, yet you are near and dear to me. You are my dear loving wife. I sit down to let you know how we are a getting along. We are all well and getting along well. My health is very good. My leg is a getting well. Fayette’s health is first rate and he is as fat as a pig and tough as a bear. Joseph’s health is good. He can eat as much as anybody. His health is first rate but he complains of his breach but he don’t want to do any duty. He wants to play off but it hasn’t very bad. He is fat as a hog and he says he feels well—only that I think if he had had my leg, then he might talk. But you mustn’t let anybody know what I have written to you for it would make hardness. I can trust you I hope about this.

We are a doing well. The weather is nice now and not very cold now. I hope this will find you in good health and all of the rest of the folks and enjoying God’s blessing for good health is one of the best of blessings.

Tell Best that I would like to be there to their wedding and get some of their wedding cake to eat. I don’t begrudge her her comfort. Tell them that I send my best respects to them both and my love to them. Tell them to remember me when they go to bed.

Yesterday the boys got their boxes and I got my things. That cake in the tin was very nice and good. My things was all right and nice and these things come very nice and good. Last night I got a letter from you — No. 17, the 10th of January—and some black thread in it and I was glad to hear from you and that your health was so good and the rest of the folks. And I am glad that you have got that note paid and it won’t bother you now. I can’t write much today for I hain’t got much time to write but I will write more in a day or two.

John got his when Fayette and Joseph did. His honey run out some but his things same good. But John has got the hypo most of the time.

Yesterday Captain [Burrage] Rice’s funeral serman was preached at the Brigade Headquarters at half past ten o’clock. ¹

Eleanor, I would like to see you and Oscar but I can’t till they discharge me. But the war news are first rate. The most of the folks think that it will be settled by Spring and I hope it will. The people of the South are going to turn Davis out. They have got mad at him. They think that he will destroy all of their country and they say that Davis will run them to the devil.

Eleanor, you must trust in the Lord and live a good Christian and I will do the same and if we live, we will meet again after a little while and then we can take comfort and live Christians together. And if we don’t live, we will meet in Heaven above where all is love. I feel contented till my time comes to come home and if I live, then I will stay with you while we live. It won’t be but a little while before the year will be out. Give my love to Charles and Matilda ad Jane and all of the folks. I must stop. You must kiss Oscar for me and do the best you can. Write often—very often.

I have been washing this afternoon. Goodbye for the present. I remain your affectionate and fear husband until death. I remain your well wisher, — Horace J. Hammond

Direct the same. Write to me what hay is worth and potatoes, grain, and everything. Goodbye from your dear husband.

¹ On January 11, 1865, Companies H and K went down the Jerusalem Plank Road (now a portion of U.S. Highway 301 near Petersburg known as the Crater Road) on a foraging expedition, where Confederate guerillas ambushed them and wounded Captain Burrage Rice, who was apparently executed by the guerillas after sending the train and men back to Union lines.



City Point, Virginia
January 20th 1865

My dewar wife and best friend,

I sit down to let you know that we are all well and in good spirits and I hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing and all in good spirits. I got a letter from you this morning—No. 19, written January the 13—and was glad to hear from you and that you all was in good health. There must be one letter that hasn’t come yet, No. 18 I hain’t got. The last one before this morning was No. 17 (January 10th). You have misnumbered them or else there is one that I hain’t got for I hain’t got No. 18 at all. Maybe that I will get it yet.

My health is first rate ands my leg is a getting well. It is all healed up so that it don’t run anymore ad I feel in good spirits and I don’t think we will have much fighting to do and theme will soon wear off. Then I can come home to stay with you and then we can live Christians together and then we can take comfort together as long as we live. And then we can take more comfort than we ever did for we will know what comfort it to live good Christians together and serve our Heavenly Father. While we live, only trust in Him the Lord and keep good courage and at His appointed time, everything will come right and good. I pray daily to my God and read my bible daily and I live in accordance with it.

Eleanor, you mustn’t despair now for the time grows shorter every day—most five months gone. Pray to your God and live a good Christian and keep good courage and all things will be right. My courage is better than it was when I first came down here for everything has a better prospect than it did then. I would like to see you and Oscar but I know I can’t till my time is out and so I don’t worry about it and live in hopes of the future and trust in the Lord, mu God, with all my strength and I want you to pray for me that I may be faithful to my God while I live so that when I die, that I can meet my wife in heaven and all my Christian friends.

The rest of the boys are all right but John [Covill]. He is a grunting yet. Fayette is as tough as a pig and fat as a pig. We are all getting along first rate. The weather is nice here now but considerable cold and freezes quite hard most every night. I have just had my dinner and now I will finish my letter. I don’t hear anything more about getting our pay. They think now that we won’t get it till the first of March but we don’t know. If we don’t get it now, we will int the spring. You will have to do the best you can till I get my pay. If Charles pays you for that hay, that will help you some and get along till I get my pay for we will get it by and bye anyhow. I have got to cook some beans this afternoon and I hain’t got much time to write.

When you write to me and send only one sheet, then you might put one in that you didn’t write on and that will help to keep me in paper. Samantha does so with Joseph’s letters. Tell Charles and Matilda that I want to live a good Christian and I want they should pray for me that I may be faithful to the end. I send my love to them. I want to see them very much. Tell Jane and Samantha that I would like to see them but I can’t but I send my love to them and I hope they will both hold out faith to the end in serving the Lord and Master.

Tell Betsy that by the time this gets there I suppose that she will be married but I send my love to her. Goodbye for the present from your near and dear friend and true husband until death, — Horace J. Hammond to his dear wife Eleanor Hammond

Write often and don’t forget to write. Direct the same as before.



City Point, Virginia
January 30, 1865

My most loving and dear wife,

I sit down to write a few lines to let you know that we are all in good health and our spirits first rate and I hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing, My leg is some sore. It has broke on the inside of my knee but it is some better today. Last night I was whittling a bone with my pocket knife and it shut up ad cut the end of my forefinger on my right hand off and it bothers me to write but it will soon get well.

Last night I got a letter from you—No. 23, January the 22—and was glad to hear from you and that you was well and I hope that you will keep well and I duly pray that you may have good health. I was sorry Betsy was going away but maybe that you can get along if Charles and Matilda stay with you. You must do the best you can and be very careful of your health and be careful about catching cold and take good care of Oscar. Leonard and Betsy will be gone before this gets there. You must put your trust in the Lord and keep good courage. Pray to Him daily. I do, and pray for you. I live in hopes that we will meet to live together here on earth and take comfort to live Christians together and serve our Lord and Master while we live.

Will you have wood enough to last till spring? Eleanor, I would like to see you and kiss you but the time is rolling on. It will soon be spring and then it will be better for you for you won’t have to run round in the snow. It has been very cold here and froze very hard but it is warmer today and is a very pleasant day. It is very quiet along the line now. The officers and all of the soldiers think that the war is about played out and I hope it is, but I guess that some more of the folks will have a chance to come down here and see how it looks here. The draft don’t scare me. I hain’t afraid of it but I suppose that they are up there. And if they come, our time will be most out by the time they get here. Let them come. The government don’t pay any more bounty. Them that comes this spring won’t make much out of it. I hain’t sorry that I come when I did for then I got a good pay for coming and if I had stayed there, I would had to come now for almost nothing and I feel first rate about it.

Why of course I’d rather be with my family but I can get along for one year if I live and if I don’t live, I mean to [live] so that I can meet them in heaven where we will meet to part no more. Tell Charles and Matilda that I send my love to them and live in hopes that the time will soon come when I can see them and enjoy their company. Tell Jane and Samatha that I send my love to them and that I trust in the Lord that I will live to come back and see them again. And Eleanor, I want to see you and Oscar and I think that I will if you live.

About the furloughs, if anybody’s folks are sick or died, they can get 15 days furlough but if they hain’t, they can’t. And I had rather not come if I could come if you wasn’t sick for the river is froze so that it is very cold and bad to come and then I couldn’t stay but a little while. But if you was very sick, then I should try to come. You must do the best you can and write often. Give my love to all the folks. Tell them when I come home that I will come and see them. Goodbye for the present from your near and dear husband and best friend and well wisher until death. Remember me and write often. Kiss dear Oscar for me and I will kiss you for it. Joseph was weighed this afternoon and weighed 170 pounds—not very poor is that.

— Horace J. Hammond

Direct the same.



Camp near Hatcher Run, Virginia
March 7th 1865

My kind, dear loving wife,

I sit down to let you know how I am getting along. My health is first rate and I feel first rate—only I would like to be with you. Joseph [and] Fayette’s health is good and they are a getting along first rate. They are as fat as pigs and I hope this will find you in good health and a getting along first rate and in good spirits and trusting in the Lord. My health is tip top now. I am middling fat.

The weather is very warm and nice today. Yesterday Fayette and myself washed for the company and got 1 dollar and 80 cents apiece. That make 3 dollars and 60 cents that we have made apiece washing less than a week. I can make some spending money that way and I don’t spend much now-a-days. I hain’t much news to write. Joseph Tucker’s boy and  the two Harper’s boys came here to our company last night.

I wish I was there with you, We would take some comfort but the time is getting shorter. It is on the last half and that sill soon wear off if I live. Six months hain’t very long and I trust in the Lord that I will come out all right. I read my bible every day and pray to me Heavenly Father that He will give me health and to come home again and live with my dear little family that I love so much. I suppose that Leonard ad Betsy is there. You hain’t said anything about their going away and if they are there, I would like to see them. But I can’t now and I send my love to them. Tell Charles and Matilda that I would like to see them and I think that I will if ew live. But I would like to hear from them. They get more time to write than I do for I have a good deal to do every day and he can write in the evening but I can’t very well. I send my love to them. Tell Jane that I would like to take dinner with her and have some ham and eggs. Tell Samantha that I am coming to make her a visit next fall if I live. I send my love to all of the folks.

Eleanor, I would like to see you and Oscar and be there to stay with you. We just got our box. It came first rate. The pies broke up some but they were first rate. The rest of the things was alright. The pies wasn’t moldy a bit. The ink is alright. It is all right—only the pies broke up some. I wish I was there with you, Eleanor, but my courage is good. I think we will come out all right. You must keep good courage and trust in the Lord and be faithful to Him and if we don’t never meet on earth, we can in heaven. I mean to live a Christian while I live and then if I diem I will have a hope in Christ and we Neve meet on earth, we can meet in heaven never to part.

We have got provision enough to last us a good while and tea and tobacco and paper and envelopes enough to last me a good while. You must see who you can get to put that ground in and plow the potatoes ground and see who will cut the hay if Charles don’t. Find out whether he is a going to pay or not and let me know and sell one of the pigs and don’t let them cheat you in the weight of it. You must write all of the news and about everything for you are my best friend on earth and I mean to be a friend to you as long as I live and I love you as I do my eyes. And you are my dear and my little love ___.

I will put in 10 cent shinplaster for Oscar to keep and when I come home, then I will see how much money he has got. Goodbye for the present. From your dear husband until death. To my dear wife and son that I love so well. — Horace J. Hammond

to Eleanor Hammond and son.

The boys are all around our tent.



Camp near Hatcher Run, Virginia
March 9th 1865

My dear loving wife and son,

I sit down to write but I am standing up and let you know how we are a getting along. My health is first rate and I have got a first rate appetite and I am as fat as a pig. Joseph and Fayette is tip top. We are a getting along well. We can’t complain. We hain’t had it very bad yet and I hope this will find you in good health and Oscar too.

It rained very hard all day yesterday and all night last night but it is warm and nice today. I am glad that Leonard and Betsy is a going to stop at the Union for that won’ be so far but that you can go and see them and Betsy will be there till the first of April and then you can stay without that girl of Ferris’ if you can for I wouldn’t have her to stay with me if I could get along without her for it won’t be a great while from the first of April and it will be warm weather. But if you want her to stay with you, get her. But if you can get along without her, you had better and it won’t cost you so much to live and we must try and save all we can and I will save all I can and send to you. And if she ain’t there, you can make more butter.

I got a letter from you. It was No. 40, March the 3rd. I haven’t got the 39th [letter] yet but it will come, I guess, for I have got all the rest. I was glad to hear from you and that you was well and a getting along so well. I am glad that it has got warmer and settled the snow down. You can get around. I will put in another 20 dollar bill. I washed for the company and got some and I sold my boots today for seven dollars and 70 cents and I will wear shoes. And I sold some of my victuals in the box. It had been so long a coming and it is so war, and wet that I thought it would spoil before I could eat it up and then if we should move, I couldn’t carry it. I sold some of the pies and some of the biscuit and some of the butter. We got enough to eat and I thought I would sell some of it and send the money to you. Then it would be better than to let it spoil.

John’s stuff we sold. He is in the hospital and we couldn’t send it to him and we sold it. His pies was smashed up very bad and they wasn’t worth much and I will send the money to you and you can give it to Prudy. There is 4 dollars and 25 cents for Prudy in that bill and you give it to her. I thought I would send it to her for John has got his pay and he don’t want it. That will make eighty-six dollars and 25 cents that I have sent to you and you must let me know when you get it. And if you can sell that pig, it will make you a lot of money and we must save all we can.

I wish I could see you and those with you but I can’t but I trust in the Lord that we will meet again and take comfort together. We must pray for each other and be faithful to our Lord and Maker. I would like to see Oscar and kiss him but the time grows shorter. It is on the last 6 months and the time will soon wear off. Do the best with the things you can and keep good courage and trust in the Lord and He will carry us through our troubles. I will have a little over five dollars left to use and that will be enough for me to use. I hain’t a going to use so much money for the next six months as I have the six months [past]. I can just as well save it till I get home and then we can have it to use.

Goodbye for the present. From your dear and loving husband until death. To my dear loving wife and son Oscar. — Horace J. Hammond

to Eleanor Hammond



Camp near Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
March 14, 1865

My dear, kind and loving wife,

I sit down to write a few lines to let you know how I am a getting along. My health is first rate and we are a getting along first rate. My leg is as well as it has been since it was broke there in Pennsylvania and I feel first rate. The weather is warm and nice today but it [looks] as though we might get thunder showers and I hope this will find you in good health and enjoying the blessings of heaven and my dear little Oscar too. I got a letter from you last night. It was No, 41, March 5th, and I was glad to hear from you for I hain’t had a letter in a good while from you. I told you in my other letter that I hadn’t got No. 39 and I hain’t got it yet. But maybe that I will get it yet. I was glad to hear that you was well and in good spirits and I pray that my dear little family may have good health till I come home to stay with them.

Yesterday I washed for some of the boys again and got 2.05 two dollars and five cents and I have made two rings and 50 cents a piece for them. Today I have been cooking beans as common. I cook about half bushel of beans every 2 or 3 days. I have got the most of my stuff eat up what I didn’t sell. Them raison cakes was dreadful good but it was so wet and warm here that it soon began to mold and I sold some of it and sent the money to you. I have got a few fried cakes yet.

We lay here in camp very quiet but we don’t know how much longer we shall lay here and we may lay lay here a month yet. But I guess the war is about played out. There is a great many deserters from the rebels and some of them come in on our picket line and we can see them. Yesterday there Wass four cavalry came in with their horses. They average about 90 a day along this line now. We go the news last night that Sheridan had got Lynchburg and the Danville Railroad. They begin to cry for something to eat in Richmond now.

Eleanor, I would like to see you  and Oscar but I will have to wait my time. I would like to kiss you and be with you but I feel very contented for the time is a rolling on. It is on the last half now. It will soon wear off. Trust in the Lord and be faithful to Him and don’t forget to pray for I mean to live a Christian while I live. I would like to be there with you but I know I can’t till my time is out and so I might just as well fell well about it as not to. I trust that the good Lord will let us live to see each other again and live Christians together. I don’t hear anything from Charles anymore. Give my love to them and tell them I would like to hear from them. Tell Leonard and Betsy that I send my love to them and that I would like to hear from them. Give my love to all of the folks.

I was glad that Leonard stopped at the Switch for it will be a good place for you to go when you go to the Post Office. Do the best you can. Goodbye for the present. From your true and loving husband until death, To my dear loving wife and son, the best friends that I have got on earth. — Horace J. Hammond

To Eleanor Hammond and Oscar

Direct the same. Write often—very often.



Camp near Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
March 18, 1865

My dear loving wife that I love so much,

I sit down to write you how I am a getting along. My health is first rate and my leg is all right. The rest of the boys are alright only Joseph he has a cold. And I hope this will find you in good health and in good spirits and my little Oscar too.

The weather is very nice here now and warm. I thought I would put in five dollars more and send to you. Then I will have about seven dollars and fifty cents. That will be enough for me now. I just got a letter from you and was glad to hear from you and that you was well, It was No. 43, March the 10th. I have been washing again this afternoon enough to come to three dollars and seventy-five cents. I think that I had better earn a little money than to spend so much and it will be better for me to feel tip top for health.

We lay here in camp but we don’t know how long we shall lay here. I got a box of pills that you sent me. I was glad to see them for I don’t feel well. Then I will take some of them.

Eleanor, I would like to see you and Oscar and kiss you but it is on the seventh month. The time is a wearing off. It will soon roll around. You don’t say anything about Charles whether he is a going to stay there or not and work or ground or not. I wish I was there. I would work it and if you hain’t sold that pig, you had better sell it. One will be enough to keep. I have quit cooking and got a gun. I had just as leave carry a gun as to cook and they don’t have any cook in the summer for we can’t carry the kettles. We are a getting along first rate. You must keep good courage for my courage is good and I think I will be there to see you again.

We get lots to eat now—more than we can eat. I have made 4 or 5 rings and sold them for 50 cents apiece. I want to save all I can. This five dollars will make 95.50 cents that I have sent to you with the money that was for Pudy. I don’t think there will be much fighting but we don’t know. You must do the best you can and trust in the Lord and be faithful and I mean to be to the end, and if we never meet on earth, we can in heaven above. It seems like a good while to be from my dear but the time will soon wear off if we live and when I get home then we can take comfort. While we live we must put out trust in the Lord and He will carry us through.

Give my love to all of the folks and keep some for yourself. We must be patient for I must stay my time out but a little over 5 months hain’t much.

We have just been and got rations. We have got some potatoes and the soft bread is piled up in our tent. I wish that you could be here one day and see it and we could go hoe. Yesterday they had a horse race here. There was 25 or 30 thousand folks here to see it. There is lots of wild onions coming up here. The [camp] is full of them. My loving wife, I would like to see you but we must write often to one another. Give my love to Leonard and Betsy. Tell them I would like to see them. Goodbye for the present. I remain your dear, loving husband until death. From Horace Hammond

to my dear loving wife that I love so much and my dear little son, Eleanor Hammond and Oscar Hammond. Write often and all of the news. Don’t forget to write all of the news. Direct the same.

Spared & Shared 19

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