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Joseph E. Shaw Collection
38th New York Volunteer Infantry
joseph Shaw Letter 23
Donated by Robert Gritman

Head Quarters 38th Regt. N. Y. V.
Camp near Fair Oaks June 20th, 1862

Dear Ed:

                        I received your letter this afternoon and although I sent a letter off to you yesterday still I think I will answer this one immediately.  I see by the letter that you are all well and that Gus is still improving.  I will tell you what I think is the reason  the letters are so irregular.  I have heard from the Postboy who carries the letters for the Regiment that letters are detained in Washington sometimes a week or two and thus prevents the operations of the Army being made known until it is too late to be of any advantage to anyone.  With regard to other matters & things I think that Russell’s former model of smartness and perfection so beautifully harmonized and combined in the person and character of the renowned & illustrious Charles C. Gaynor has fallen somewhat below his expectation.  Charley always used to say that he would never drink any and I should have thought that with the experience he has had of its evil effects he would have kept his word.  With regard to his enlisting I think it will be very pleasant for him to stay in Washington 2 or three months but if he should ever happen to get into actual & active service he will find it very different from parading around the streets of Washington.  If he should ever have the luck to hear a Minie Rifle Ball come singing past his ear it will make him feel ticklish all over and I think if he was to hear a shell come humming along and burst over his head he would feel so delighted & happy that he would immediately promenade towards the rear to the tune of Yankee doodle played at its quickest time.  I have expected to hear that George & Philly were living together again so I was not surprised when I read in your letter that they were making preparations & etc.  George does not appear to have any spirit in him for he would let Philly fool him around just as she pleased.  I hardly think that I could be quite such a fool.  I did not think that after all Gus had done for him that he would treat him so now that Gus is sick.  The great trouble was that both you & Gus done too much for him however we are to be paid off this month I believe & I shall then send some $20 to Carmel & you & Gus must share it between you and in future if I should send any money home if either of you need it I want you to use it as though it were was your own for as I told Gus in my letter to him I have some serious thoughts of reenlisting in the Regulars unless I can get a good situation directly I get my discharge for I have resolved not to loaf around anymore.  I am glad to hear that your suit is in so fair a way for settlement & I hope you may succeed in getting the whole of your amount.  Ike Lockwood deserted from here June 3rd.  What I tell you now you must not let out  around for it would do no good.  The day after the Battle of Fair Oaks June 3 and 2 or 3 hours before Lockwood deserted, the Captain of our Company (Cooney) put Lockwood & another fellow named Shea in front of the whole Company and told the men that if any of them ever saw Lockwood or Shea fall out of the ranks when the regiment was going into a fight for them to shoot them (Lockwood & Shea) on the spot & that he (the Captain) would be responsible.  Soon after that Lockwood was missing and we did not know where he was until I got Gus’ letter & then I saw that he was in New Haven.  I don’t they will ever send for him as they are all down on him for being so lazy & such a coward.  Don’t tell this to anyone unless you can trust them for I would not like to have it get out around there as it would only make ill feelings.  Col. Ward was only temporarily in Command of the Brigade while Birney was undergoing Court Martial.  With regard to my old place, I have had it offered to me again by Capt. Mindil as Byrnes was so saucy that he (Captain) could not tell hem anything about the office.  I very politely refused as I was not to be fooled around by everyone.  I must close now as the mail is going.  I hear the Ball opens tomorrow.  Give my love to all & answer as soon as possible.

                        I remain your Afft. Brother
                                    J. E. Shaw



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

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