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Joseph E. Shaw Collection
38th New York Volunteer Infantry
joseph Shaw Letter 2
Donated by Robert Gritman

District of Columbia June 22, 1861

Dear Ed,

              We have arrived here at last.  On Wednesday afternoon we started from our quarters in East New York rode down in the cars to Grand Street Ferry where we took the boat for New York.  We crossed over to the Grand Street side of New York and formed our line.  We then marched up Grand St. to Broadway down Broadway to the Battery and took the boat for Elizabeth Port.  On our way across a soldier fell overboard but we found him again.  On arriving at Elizabeth Port we took the cars for Harrisburgh (Harrisburg) Pennsylvania.  We started at about 7 o’clock Wednesday evening from Elizabeth Port and reached Harrisburgh (Harrisburg)  at 10 o’clock A.M.  We then took the cars for Baltimore.  Before we reached Baltimore each man had 4 rounds of Ball Cartridges given to him and we were also forbidden to eat or drink anything while there.  We intended to load our muskets before going through but for some reason or other we did not.  We got out of the cars in Baltimore and having formed our line we marched through with drums beating colors flying.  There was no cheering either one way or the other.  I did not see but one or two flags in our march through but they were the Union flag.  We expected to have a fight but we passed through all right.  I suppose if they knew our guns were not loaded they would have attacked us.  When we reached the Washington Station we took the cars for the Capitol.  Along along the Washing Road, as well as the road to Baltimore we stationed guard to watch the track.  On our way we passed 8 or 10 large camps and were loudly cheered by them.  We reached Washington at about 1 o’clock at night and marched to our quarters in       con of 6th Street West.  We stayed there two nights and this morning (22 Saturday) we came to our camp around about two miles from Washington City and have got our tents up and now here I am (in a tent with Gregory, Robinson, Aiken and two other fellows) lying on my back my head resting on my knapsack and writing this letter on my cartridge box.  So excuse this writing.  This is a splendid country out here.  It is not so awful hot out here as people say it is.  It is not much hotter (Peter has just interrupted me by bursting out with “ We are in enemy country Oh Jesus” He has got so he swears like a trooper) here than it is in the city.  The Washington people say this is the most trying month of the summer.  I like it first rate.  We do not hear anything about the war as yet but we don’t know when we may have a fight.  I have……much about the place but in my next perhaps I will have more news.  I received my pay last Monday and by mistake I got $7.50.  I am very well and all right.  Give my love to Mother and all the folks and tell her I will send my daguerreotype to her soon.  How is Gus & George and all the folks.  Write soon.

            Your Brother             Joe

P.S. Direct to me Company F 38th Regiment

P.S.     Direct to me Company F 38 Regiment District of Columbia

As we march from Washington here we passed 5 or 6 large camps and we are surrounded by 3 regiments.  I have had my hair cut off so short that I can make it stand up straight wrinkling my forehead or pulling my left toe.  Gus had better write to the Captain and tell him the particulars why he did not come back as the Captain has inquired about him often.  I could not get a pass to come home from here.  Send me the Free Press if possible and tell Joe Story to send the Currier to me.  Give my love to all inquiring friends and tell them to write to some of us.  The boys are all well and send their love.  Norris wears a sword and so do all the 1st Sergeants.  The other Sergeants only have chevrons on their coats.

Write as soon as Possible


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: October 17, 2011

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