21st Regiment, NY Volunteer Infantry
Letter from Ansel W. Dumphrey
to Mr. Ayer July 26t 1861
Transcribed by Tim Williams
Washington July 26th '61
dear Sir I have taken this opportunity to write to you a gain how mute[?] and thing are agoing on now[.] I am in rather bet[t]er now than I was the last time I wrote to you and I would be very hap[p]y to have thes[e] few lines find you all well and injoying [sic] your selfs [sic] [.] we are now in camped in fort Runion1 and are learning to handle big guns as well as small wones [sic] [.] This fort is about 1 mile from the long bridg[e] and in a situation so that we can have a fare view of Washington and the river but it is not in the healthiest spot in the world [tho?] but never mind [.] we have some less than a month left to serve and then it is thought that this Regt will brake up and be muster[e]d into other Regaments [MS. illegible] of the Officers inability to take it into the field to fight a bat[t]le [.] I have my mind made up that if this does hap[p]en after [recruteing?] my health that if it does not yet [recruted?] before then I will hunt up the Regt that Ira is in and join that [.] we hear of bat[t]les every now and then from men or rather the [federal?] have persesion [sic] of fare [fanks?] [Fairfax?] court house and it is reported that Manusays junsion [sic] [Manassas Junction?] but we have not got a corr[e]ct account yet but it is serten [sic] they had NYSMM Civil War Dumphy lettersomething of a brush for their artillery was plainly heard by us roar [.] maters looks stern [.] now the looks of things in general is that the old general is a going to make a sweep of Virginia [.] it was quite pleaseing [sic] to hear the [expressions?] that our men made when they saw the 5 Regt pass by for fare [fanks?] [Fairfax?] [.] their expressions were given plaintively because they could'nt go along [.] but for all that they cheer[e]d them heartily as they passed, wishing them success, which we did not wate [sic] long to hear [.] the rebels left pretty much all their camping aparratuses [sic] behind them, even their bread and milk that they had ready for their brecfast [sic], and a quite a number of [woolrey?] and watches [.] I heard this morning of one of the fire Zou[a]ves2 being taken by the rebels and brought beforefore [sic] [Beauregard3] where he made comical man[e]uvers to which he was order[e]d of[f] to gail [sic] [.] but when they attem[p]ted to take him of[f] he [slowed?] the corperal [sic] and 8 men saying that would soil spoil if he did not have a [brush?], turned on his heel and made of[f] but was headed of[f] buy [sic] an of[f]icer who wit[h] a drawn swourd [sic] he was then taken of[f] to jail of which he [made?] a bond fire of that night [.] [Beauregard] laughing all heartily at his anticks [sic] [.] there was 1 of our chaps drum[m]ed out of camp yesterday [.] I wish you would let me know in your next [letter] what the number of the Regt that Ira is in and the letter of his Company and let me know how many letters you have received from me for I have writ[t]en 2 besides this since I have been here [.] give best love to your family [.] from your humble Servent [.] Ansel W. Dumphey
Supplied by Tim Williams
1. Fort Runyon was a Union Army fort built to defend the southern approaches to the Long Bridge as part of the defenses to Washington D.C.
2. 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, drawn from the ranks of New York City's many volunteer fire companies, was also known as the First Fire Zouaves.
3. Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate Army of the Potomac encamped near Manassas Junction.
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New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
April 2, 2012