New York volunteer Infantry
Corydon O. Warner Collection
Set 1: Letters from Warner (164 pages)
Donated by Suzanne Warner Jackson
Transcribed by Sue Hotaling
Note: The museum does not have copies of the originals.
A PDF file of this set is here.
Letters and Diary
Corydon O. Warner
the Forty Fourth
New York Volunteers
typewritten by him
at Beloit Wis,
September 19, 1861 - June 15, 1862
Camp near New Bridge June 22 62
Dear parents and sisters
Although I have not received your usual letter I sit down this pleasant Sunday afternoon to write to you.
Very little of interest has occurred the past week. Wednesday we were on picket, the day was pleasant, our posts were on the further bank of the Chickahominy, we had to cross a bridge at which the rebels have a battery of cannon pointed, ready at any moment to sweep it, so only 3 were allowed to cross at once, some of the posts farthest out were not more than ten rods from the rebel lines. About half of the regt was least a few rods down the river and back in the field as a reserve, the other half went up to the bridge, and half of it sent across for the first relief, out co was in it, we staid on from about 8 am till 12 pm. Soon after we came off and were eating our dinner behind the trees (which stand thick on each side of the river) one of our batteries which stands a few rods below opened fire on the rebels, they then returned the fire with spirit and precision, the shots striking in the battery or just going over and glancing up among our reserves making them scatter in every direction. After firing a dozen shots out battery stopped, and shortly after the rebels did. After the excitement had died away and all were lopping behind the trees, reading, smoking or talking we heard a sharp crash directly behind us and the whiz of the pieces of shell, we sprang to our feet and the smoke and falling branches of a tree showed where the shell had struck and exploded, thinking that if the rebels were going to make a target of the bridge a safer place might be found, all who had not a large tree to get behind started for the breastworks some two rods in the rear, we had hardly got behind it when another shell exploded in nearly the same place, no one was hurt and the rebels favored us with no more that day. At 8pm we were relieved by the reserve and took their place. The night was so that sleeping in the open air was not uncomfortable but for the mosketoes they were worse than the shells.
During the night two companies were sent to throw up breastworks for the reserve to get behind the next day. About 4 the next morning our co was called on to shovel we were relieved about 8.
Friday hearing a good deal of firing in the direction of the bridge I went over to see what they were bout, I found rebels were throwing shells at the battery and bridge altogether to fast to be pleasant, but for all that a shell would hardly strike before the boys would be after it for trophy, they occasionally threw on at the Gaines mansion, and one or two came almost into out camp.
I have not heard that any one was hurt, yesterday we moved our camp about a mile to be more out of the way of the shells.
Last night we heard cannon and musketry across the river it lasted only 20 minutes. I heard last night that Willis and Perry instead of being at home are in Philadelphia so I presume the money I sent by Willis is not home yet. When we were paid off last I sent for the continental monthly a copy of which I had seen and was interested in moreover they offered to send it to soldiers at half price, it is a new magazine devoted to literature and politics, I have received the first six numbers, I shall send them home before long. The mail has come and brought your letter of the 15th, I think you will find the report of the death of William Daily a mistake. Cory
Richmond July 13th 1862
Dear Parents. As I hear that a flag of truce is going out tomorrow I write a few lines to let you know that I am alive and well, though a prisoner. We are pleasantly encamped on Belle Island near the city so we have plenty of fresh air, water to bathe in and enough to eat, so we are quite as well off as in camp, except that we are deprived of communing with friends by letter with [?] O presume you thought me dead but I hope to see you all yet. Steel I think is dead, our orderly seargent who is a prisoner with me saw him wounded he thinks mortally, just before he was taken.
Now throw off all anxiety in regard to me I should dearly love to write and receive letters from home, but I presume the opportunities will be limited. You had better write to the publishers of the continental to have it sent to you. Give my love to all friends.
Your affectionate son Cory
Thursday Aug 7th 1862 Camp near Harrisons Landing on the James River Va
Dear Parents, sisters and friends at home.
It is now some time since I have heard from you or you from me, and I doubt not that after so long a time you will be glad to hear that I am again in my regt, in good health and ready to resume my duties as a soldier in Uncle Sams army. I presume you will like to know of my adventured for the last five weeks Adlebert tells me that Henry wrote an account of the battles which I presume is better than I can give and so I will not say much about it. Just before dark the regt retreated in disorder, in fact the left was out of sight before the three right companies knew anything about it, as soon as we saw that they were gone we of course started. I first could not imagine for what they had left, and indeed I thought they would soon be back. The rebels were pouring in to a shower of grape canister and shell upon them as they ran and for a moment I halted in the ditch to avoid it, and then followed it along sheltering myself as best I could, after going a few rods I saw Grannis out orderly seargant some 3 or 4 rods to the right of us and I called out to him to know what we should do, I don’t know I am sure he said it don’t look right to be running away in this style. It was now nearly dark the smoke having settled down so that nothing could be seen distinctly. Just after Grannis answered ne I heard someone call out to him. “Charley cant you help me I am wounded” just then I heard some of our boys to the left of me call out to a line which could be dimly seen, “what regt is that” and so I went that way to find out. I was soon joined by Grannis and Dugal another member of our co, in reply to our calls we heard 44th 83rd, and thinking our regt s has again formed we started towards them, we had gone but a few yards when we found ourselves in a line of skirmishers and were ordered to throw down our arms and got to the rear. We were prisoners the regt that took us was the Palmetto Sharp Shooter South Carolinans. We were immediately place under guard and started for Richmond where we arrived just at daylight the next morning. We were pretty well tired out I can tell you. All the way we were well treated by the guard who conversed with us on all subjects with pleasantness. As soon as our names were taken we were placed in a large brick warehouse near the canal, there were some 350 of us in a room 100 x 40 feet, there we staid for two weeks when we were removed to an island in the James River and placed in camp, our rations have been ½ loaf of bread and a piece of meat or a little soup each day. Sometimes I was very hungry and sometimes I got a little extra by hook or crook, once or twice we got our half loaf in the morning instead of a quarter and the rest at night, and thinking we might get more at night we ate it all and then had no supper, once or twice we got only ½ loaf for the whole day and about as many times we got a whole loaf. However I had good health and so was better off than those who were sick and wounded.
In regard to our life on the island I will not say much, we passed the time as best we could. Last Monday night we were kept up all night to have our names taken down, Tuesday about 10 oclock we left the island and started on the march for our lines, we arrived at a landing on the James river about ten or twelve miles this side of Richmond about 9 at night, the day was very hot and if I had not been coming the way I was I could hardly have stood it, when we came to the landing we threw ourselves on the ground and spent the night.
On Wednesday about 10 oclock we went on the boats and started down the river, we arrived at Harrisons Landing about 1 oclock and anchored, toward night we moved up to the wharf and debarked we were directed to our regts. Our regt was but a short distance from the landing and I soon reached it, there I found Adelbert who was unwell, the regt had gone on picket. Hotchkiss and Henry were both in the hospital, today I went over to see them and found they had gone off on the boats, day before yesterday. St. John is getting better.
In the fore part of my letter I told you I heard someone call out to Charley for help, after we were taken I asked him who it was he
said it was Steele that his thigh was broken by a shell, this is all I know about him he could not have lived long for shell make terrible work. While on the island we speculated much on what should be done with us, we supposed that our gov’t would not exchange and that we should be paroled and discharged and I had hoped so thinking I would let someone else do something for their country in my place. However since I have got back and heard the news all around, I am not unwilling to go into the ranks to serve my country again I had hoped I should get a furlough but I do not expect it now though I know nothing as yet of the terms on which we were discharged. I would like much to be home to the family gathering & will try and write some for the Annual. Give my love to all I send a ring of bone I made during my imprisonment and a stiletto for one of the other girls. Please send me some stamps. Cory
Newport News Va Aug 21 62
Dear Sisters and Parents. It is now some two weeks since I wrote you at Harrisons landing & although I have received no letter from you, you will no doubt be expecting to hear from me again by this time. I think I told you in that letter that I had been to the hospital to see Henry and learned that he had gone north but after sending my letter one of the other boys who was at the hospital came over and said he was still there but had been removed to another ward but Hotchkiss had gone, so the next day I went over to see him and spent nearly all day with him. Sunday I went to see him again and found he had been quite sick on Saturday and was looking worse than Friday. In the afternoon the regt came back and soon after orders came to have knapsacks packed and sent down to the river to be place on a vessel as we should march soon. Orders also came to detail one man for the ambulance corps, and as I was well rested and the rest of the boys were tired the seargeant said he would send me, I was told to report. The next morning we signed the pay roll and I took an order over to Henry to sign so that he could get his pay but found that he had gone on the boat the night before. In the afternoon we received our pay.
On Thursday night just at dark we were ordered to strike tents and get ready to march. I laid down and had quite a nap as orders to fall in did not come till nearly 12, we then fell in and after waiting some time we marched about ¾ of a mile and then laid around till daylight we then started in good earnest and marched all day crossing the Chickahominy a little after dark and there we spent the night. The next day we marched about two miles this side of Williamsburg and encamped the next day, Sunday, we marched to our old camp this side of Yorktown & spent the night on the same old camp ground. On Monday we marched to Hampton & Tuesday we were ordered here, which place is about six miles from Hampton. So we have had four days in succession of long marches besides the last six miles. But fortunately all of these days were cool compared with those we have had before, if it had not been so a great many more would have fallen out then did and there were enough as it was. I was pretty well tired out but have got well rested again. The regt left here Tuesday night, and now I must tell you why I am here. I told you that I was detailed in the ambulance corps our duty on a march is to go with the ambulances, take care of them and the sick, there are two men besides the driver to each ambulance, on the battlefield it is our duty to carry off the wounded an no one else is allowed to do it¸ so that we shall be in as much danger as the rest and I think we shall feel it more. The ambulances are still here and we shall not go till they are shipped, which may be today or tomorrow, perhaps still later. Enclosed I send $15.00 to Father. I had commenced writing for the annual but this march has broken me off, and I do not know when I can finish. I presume the family gathering is already past. I forgot to say Henry received Letties letter Sunday, he wanted me to speak of it as he was unable to answer it. Cory
Aquia Creek Aug 28th 62
Dear Sister. We are now at Aquia creek having come here from Newport News. When we shall join our division I do not know, I hope we shall before long for I want my letters I think I must have some there as I have received none as yet. I commenced this letter (to the Annual) at Harrisons landing. I wrote you from Newport News and sent some money. Your brother Cory
Sept 8th 1862
Camp near Alexandria
Dear Parents and Sisters
I suppose you will be expecting to hear from me again by this time, and now that I have a chance I will write you I wrote you last from Aquia creek. On Saturday night we went down to the wharf and loaded our ambulanced onto the steamers and Sunday morning as soon as it was light we started, it rained all the forenoon but we had good quarters on the boat which had been taken only two weeks before, engaged in contraband trade on the Potomac. We arrived at Alexandria about noon and before we had unloaded we heard there had been a battle at Manassas and that Pope had taken 26000 prisoners. We landed a little before dark and went a little outside the city and encamped. The next morning at two oclock we started for Centreville. When within about six miles of that place which we reached a little after noon I saw someone coming toward me whom I thought I knew, at first I thought it might be someone from the regt, but on coming up with him I found it was Walter Steele. He informed me that his regt had been in the fight of Saturday though he had not and that George Stryker was wounded and Edgar Fancher missing, I have since learned he was taken prisoner and paroled. I found our regt near Centreville and learned that our brigade was in the thickest of the fight and had lost over half of its men. In our company one seargeant was missing and Dougal who was a prisoner with me had lost a leg. We took on as many wounded as our ambulanced would carry and started back, we had not proceeded more than a mile when we stopped and it began to rain very hard and during the shower we heard the noise of battle, the rain ceased a little after dark and the train soon moved on. We learned that the rebels had attempted to cut off the train and there had been a severe battle and Gen Stevens killed, the train which we were in of wagons and ambulances was 4 or 5 miles long and two abreast., we got to Farifax CH about midnight and there stopped till morning when we went on to Alexandria and there left the wounded/
At 9pm we had orders to hitch up and start, we proceeded to Fort Cochran and the next morning went on to Miners Hill. We passed our old camp on Halls hill and I went and looked into the enclosure of logs that formed the foundation of our tent. While there I found I was near the 104th and I went and saw Mr. Barber and the two Thomas boys. The next day I went over to the regt which occupied its old quarters but the whole brigade (5 regts) did not occupy as much ground as one regt did last winter I got a letter from Adelbert. The next day I went again and got a letter from home one from Minerva and on from Mrs Hogan, the next day I received you last of Aug 24. At 9 oclock we had orders to hitch up and start but we made so many stops that we did not go more than 4 miles before dark. We arrived on the heights near Alexandria about 8 oclock and stopped to feed. We were then ordered to hitch up again but we remained there in the hot sun until afternoon when we went about a mile and again stopped. At night most of the ambulanced were ordered to go up the river, where I do not know I did not have to go.
I expect we will have to leave here tonight, they seem determined to keep us on the move. Last night 4 of us went foraging, we got a big fat hen and 8 or 10 quarts of milk so we had a fine breakfast. I did not lose my diary but everything else, however Uncle Sam will make that up to me. I wish you would send me some more stamps.
Your affectionate brother Cory
Fort Cocran Va Sunday Sept 15th 1862
Dear Parents and Sisters
Although I have received no letter from home since I wrote you last, I suppose you think it is time to hear from me. I wrote you last Monday from near Alexandria. On Tuesday we came back to Fort Cocoran and encamped near it, the regt had encamped right back of the Arlington house about a mile from the fort. They went to work, cleared out the bushes and stumps expecting to make something of a stay, it was reported that the brigade had been detached from the division, but on Friday they started on the march again a new regt of 1050 men having been added to the brigade.
Reuben Fox told me when the regt passed that Mr. Lewis was dead. In the last letter that I received from home you told me he was very sick but that they thought he was getting better, it must be a severe blow to Aunt Orpha. Today we can hear the church bells ringing, I have not heard a sermon preached I think since last March and for some weeks have hardly known when Sunday came.
Last Wednesday I went down to Washington with some of the ambulance to get them repaired. And visited the patent office and the Smithsonian institute, I also went up to the capital but it was closed to visitors as it is being fitted up for a hospital, the basement for a bakery. The capital is as yet unfinished, the pictures of it which you see are as it will be finished. The center of it is the original building of stone painted white. The pillars of the portico are of one solid piece of marble 20 or 25 feet high. In the patent office and institute I saw many interesting things but I cannot describe them. The rebel raid on Maryland and Pa seem to be exciting a great deal of fear in those states but I believe it must be their last, I hear that the regt in which Warren Reed is, is on this side on the river but I have not heard where it is. I have just finished eating dinner we have fresh bread now instead of hard tack. Stevens Smith was left sick at Alexandria. I hope I may soon get where I can receive my letter I think I must have some due
Your son and brother Cory
Fort Cocoran Sept 21st Sabbath afternoon.
Dear parents another week has passed since I wrote you last, and a part of the ambulances are still at this place. Nothing of interest has occurred to us here though we have been having a very easy pleasant time. I have found during the week that the 10th NY cavalry are lying under the hill close by us. I have seen Saunders, Casey, Jud Edmunds and one of my scholars in the Wales school, Warren Webster. Casey told me that he saw the 130th regt at Washington, the regt stopped for a short time near their encampment, he said they had gone to Fortress Monroe.
Wednesday Nahum Thompson and myself went over to the seminary hospital to see Stephens Smith, we found him much better, able to be around but unable to follow the regt. I also saw Dugal who was a prisoner with me and who lost his leg at Bull Run (Manassas), he is doing well, his leg being pretty near healed over. We have been having good news from the army for the past week, though not quite so successful (as we now learn) as we were led to expect the for part of the week.
I hope we may be completely successful and this war soon ended. The time spent in the army seems wasted, though since we have been here I have had all the magazines and books to read and study that I wanted. I have been much interested in Rollins Outlines of History a book that came from Ruffins house opposite Harrisons landing. Some of the boys got the books and sent them off on the beat, when they came here they got their knapsacks and when they came to march they could not carry then and threw them away and I picked them up. I have also a chemistry and a greek lexicon worth at least 5 dollars, I shall send it home if I can get a citizen to express it for me for they will take no packages from soldiers. Going into the ambulance corps as things have turned out has been a fine thing for me. I would not care if this affair could be settled without calling on us at all. I shall be glad when I can get to the regt and get my letters, write and tell me all the news.
Casey tell me that William Rogers is dead I can hardly believe it, were he in the army we should hardly be surprised, death is as certain to those at home among friends as to those far away.
Camp near Fort Cocoran Sabbath afternoon Sept 28th 62
Dear parents and Sisters
Another week has passed and I am still at this place doing nothing. The weather has been very pleasant the past week though the nights have been cool very much like fall, but the days have been warm. Last Wednesday with three companions I visited the patent office and Institute. As nothing of interest has occurred perhaps what I saw will be of interest to you.
In the outside appearance of the patent office there is not much of interest like all the public buildings it is built apparently of marble and has many marble pillars supporting the roofs of the porticos the only room open to visitors is the model room, Here are deposited models of patents, also treaties with other nations, presents of the Japanese embassy to the president, many of the old relics of Washington and many other things of interest. At the Smithsonian institute are stuffed beasts and birds of all countries, also statues and pictures and a large library. The visit was very interesting but I could have made it more useful if I had money enough to have bought a catalogue which would have described what I saw.
I have yet got no letters from home or elsewhere, but as we got some more ambulances yesterday I think we shall soon join the division I suppose the presidents proclamation must have created some excitement at the North although I suppose it could be nothing near as great as it would have been a year ago. I believe I may as well close this letter, until I get where there is something going on I cannot make out a long letter, this is a lazy kind of like and I am getting to indolent to even think very hard,
Camp near Sharpsburg Oct 5th 62
Dear Parents and Sisters
I have at last got to the division and have received my letters, and find them full of interest, in one of them Lettie says that she wishes I would tell more about what I am doing but as at that time I was doing nothing I could not very well write about it. However since we have been on the march the past week perhaps it will be of interest to you. Well on Thursday we started on the march for this place, we crossed the Potomac at Georgetown and after rising the hills of the Potomac we came into a very pleasant country cultivated and looking pretty much like the northern states though the houses are older fashioned. About noon we came to Rockville, here I should think the people were short of land for the houses are build close upon the streets which is very narrow, it is situated at the crossing of two roads, the buildings are of all kinds, brick, stone, and logs, and shingled, as most houses here are with shingles laid about 4x8 inchers to the weather lapping from left to right like clapboards in courses like shingles. We stopped about 5 miles beyond this place for the night the next day we proceeded on the march about noon we stopped at Hyatstown for dinner, in this place the houses as at Rockville are close upon the street, the houses are very old fashioned and the place altogether behind the times, the only modern building is a brick Methodist chapel built in 1856. The next place there were about a dozen houses and on a brick building there was inscribed Urbana Wesley Chapel 1853. About 6 miles from this place we came to Monocacy creek and just above where we crossed is the RR bridge burned by the rebels but now rebuilt. Two miles from this is Fredericks city, this is a very pretty place of about 12000 inhabitants it is situated in a pleasant valley and is surrounded by a good farming country, about two miles beyond Frederick we stopped for the night. The next morning we crossed over a range of hills and then into the valley in which Middletown is situtated, from this we passed over the range of South mountain. Here the battles in Maryland first commenced. The rebels were situated on a hill or mountain quarter of a mile to the right of the road and extended along the range of hills to the Potomac a distance of 17 miles. The place was an excellent one for defense one man being as good as three in the position of our men. The battle commenced in the morning and before noon the rebels were driven the whole length of the line by a General whose skill and bravery the North seem unwilling to reward only with curses. After descending from South mountain we passed through the village of Boonesburgh, then passing over another range of hills we passed through Keysville and then we came to Antietam creek, here the hardest part of the battle was fought, still there are not many marks of it (except what is generally left by the army) until you get to Sharpsburgh about a miles from the creek, almost every house has the mark of bullets or cannon shot, in the end of one I saw 5 cannon shot holes. However I presume this does not seem to me such an aweful thing as it does to you so far from it. When a cannon shot goes through the roof of a house it is apt to make it leak and if through a window it breaks the glass and if through the side of it it will be apt to let in the wind and perhaps knock of the plastering but unless a person is so foolish as to try to stop it with his body it will not hurt him though it might scare him.
We are now encamped about a mile west of Sharpsburgh. Immediately after we got into camp I started for the camp of the regt where I found six letters 3 from home, one from Grandfather, one from Dell and one from Lizze. Dell tells me that the people are all down on McClellan they had better keep their mouths shut when his soldiers are around or it will go rough with them. The other letter I will answer when I get time and paper. I wish uncle Ps folks would write I think I wrote them last. I hope we shall not stay here long, though I think there is a movement being made to the rear of the rebels to cut off their supplies and retreat and I think we will not move till that is complete.
As I have nothing more of interest to write I will close.
Sunday afternoon Oct 12 62
Camp near Sharpsburgh Md
Dear parents and Sisters. Your letter of the 5th I received today, the ambulance corps still remains I camp about half a mile from the village of Sharpsburgh. But the regt has moved back of Antietam two miles and a half from here.
Nothing of interest has occurred here the past week. Last Wednesday I went over the battlefield where the hardest of the fight had been. Nothing shows the terrific shock except the leveled fences and trampled ground and the mounds of earth showing the last bivouacks of from one to 150 men. Of all the shot and shell and bullets that must have covered the ground only occasionally can one be found all having been carried off by relic seekers.
All of the boys agree with Dell in regard to McClellan. I do not have much opinion in regard to the war, I think we have taken up a harder job than we at first supposed, but it must be done. The rebels have again crossed the river and are now in Penn but I hardly think they will accomplish much.
I think I would be quite as glad to get home as you would be to have me but I do not expect it yet awhile. However the darkest time is just before day and the end of may be much nearer than we expect. I do not think the country will be so much injured as you imagine but the part in which the war is carried on will be almost ruined. Sickness and death seem to be on the march at home worth almost greater power than here. I do not believe there can be a healthier country than this. My other correspondents will have to wait till I get paid off as I have no money nor paper, I begged this sheet give my love to all Cory
Sharpsburgh Hospital Sunday afternoon Oct 19
Dear Parents and sisters
Now do not be frightened because this letter is dated from a hospital. Last Sunday when I wrote you I was not feeling first rate but I thought nothing of it. Monday I had a terrible bones ache and head ache and kept my bed all day sleeping most of the time. Tuesday I felt much better, Wednesday I had bones ache and fever again. I took some pills and the seargeant thought I had better go to the hospital the next day, as I would be apt to get well much sooner. But Thursday I felt so well he said I need not go. I kept around all day Thursday feeling quite well, I slept well that night, and the next morning was out early and began to walk about. But pretty soon I began to feel sick and cold. I laid down and covered up, and such a shake I had it almost seemed as if it would tear my bones to pieces. The seargeant went off at once and got an order to take me to the hospital. I had not been there long before I got over being cold, and began to be hot but I kept closely covered and in the afternoon I began to sweat. I sweat freely for two hours so that my woolen shirt was wet through. I took that off and wiped dry with a towel and put on a dry shirt. I slept first rate that night and the next day (yesterday) I felt quite well again though weak. I ate quite hearty and in the afternoon walked up to the camp of the corps. The Dr. gave me 4 doses of quinine and capsicum to take during the day and I hoped that would break it up, but this morning a little after daylight I began to grow chilly and for all my covering up I had another shake, it did not last long however, and the fever if was not so high, so I hope to get over it soon. My windows are of the dark kind as the glass was knocked out by shells and it has been clouded up, so I will wait and finish in the morning.
Monday morning. This morning is cold I am feeling pretty well again. I have been down and took a good wash in cold water without shaking.
I expected to have received my usual letter yesterday but it did not come. The boys in the corps since I have been sick have been very kind to me, quite as much as they could be in the company.
You said in your last that you hoped the rebels would hold out until the first. I am very much afraid that if they hold out until that time that they will have a very strong incentive to hold out longer and I am afraid they have the power.
Cold weather is now approaching and we can hardly expect such a pleasant Nov and Dec as we had last year. I dread passing another winter in camp. But I must close
Camp near Sharpsburgh Oct 26th 62
Dear Parents and Sisters
Another week is passed, and the time has come around again for me to write the weekly letter. Your of the 12th I received last Monday. I am out of the hospital and again enjoying good health. I have had no hard shake and but little fever since last Sunday, almost every day I came up to this camp during the past week. Friday I went over to the camp of the regt which is 2 ½ miles from here, Gardner Nichols has just got his discharge he is in the hospital which is some distance from the camp and I was too tired to go over there. Stevens Smith is in the hospital again, he did not seem to gain much in the Alexandria hospital and thought he would do better to come and join the regt, but he soon got down again.
There is not much of interest to write about.
I think Sharpsburgh was never before so good a market town as at present, the farmers come in with their queer long wagons with high boxes turned up at each end, with 2, 3 or 4 horses riding the near horse and driving with one line, old fashioned harness with straps 6 inches wide nearly covering the horse. Potatoes and apples are from $1.00 to $1.50 a bushel, butter 30 to 40c, we can buy much loaves as you make for 25c, if you have the money, but as I have none I have to live on hard tack and salt port, except occasionally when we can catch a pig. Yesterday I was down to the village and got all the apples I wanted to eat by going around to farmers wagons and asking them to give me one as I had no money, I generally got one when I asked for it.
Today is very unpleasant, a cold rain is falling making life in camp with our uncomfortable tents anything but pleasant. I cannot imagine what the army is waiting here for so long, it seems to me there must be a screw loose somewhere.
The boys at the regt are not allowed to have their knapsacks, and are required to keep three days provisions on hand and they seem to think there will be a movement before long, I hope so for it seems as if nothing was being accomplished while we are lying still. But I must close mu letter. Cory
Monday morning, I received you letter of the 19th yesterday afternoon, also one from Uncle PO but I cannot answer it now as I have no paper, not Lizzies for the same reason.
Camp near Snickers Gap Nov 4th 1862
Dear sister I suppose you will be somewhat disappointed if you do not get a letter this week, but I am afraid you will not. I must now tell you what I have been doing since I last wrote and why I did not write last Sunday as usual. We remained in camp near Sharpsburgh till Thursday morning and as there seemed no prospect of a move, I with one of the boys went over to the regt, when we came back about 2PM we found the all harnessed up to leave. After eating dinner the seargeant told me I had better go back to the regt and go with the ambulance which was there, although it had been ordered back that morning as we did not expect to leave, but when I got there I found it had gone and I had not met it. The regt had everything packed up and ready to move. I thought if I started back I would meet it and if I did not I would go up to the old camp where the seargent and one of the men were waiting for some of the ambulances that had gone to Frederick. But when I got there I found the ambulances had returned from Frederick and they had all gone. It was ten oclock and I having walked about 16 miles in my two trips to camp felt too tired to follow them, so I determined to stop in an old shelter that remained there and stay till morning as I had a blanket and plenty of bread. I had not got to sleep before I was joined by another of the corps who had been down to the village and got left. The next morning we started early for Harpers Ferry, where we supposed the troops had gone. After going some two miles my companion bought some milk and we had breakfast of bread and milk. After going six miles we found we were as far from the ferry as when we started, which was 9 miles. We however arrived there about 2pm and found long trains of troops and wagons crossing the pontoon bridge. From our commissary seargeant we learned that our train was some 2 or 3 miles to the rear and it would be sometime before it would come up, so I crossed over to the village intending to wait for them to pass through. This village which we have heard so much about lately, is situated between the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers where the latter emptys into the former. The rocks here are almost perpendicular on both sides of the river and 3 or 400 feet high. The government buildings which were the principal ones were burned down, the machinery was driven by water power from the Potomac river. The surrender of this place when he had his artillery in position on the Maryland side was certainly an act of treachery on the part of Col Miles, he could have held it against any force as long as his ammunition held out and it is said the rebels took 5 tons. The train crossed the river about 10oclock and I got into one of the ambulances and rode. We crossed the Shenandoah and wound around the base of the mountain into Pleasant valley, and encamped about 4 miles from the ferry. Saturday was pleasant and we remained in that camp and the troops were mustered for pay, as they are every two months whether there is any prospect of getting it or not. Sunday we marched all day, the ambulance I went with followed a battery we had in two sick men, I rode all day it was warm and pleasant. We were ordered to come back to the corps at night but as it was dark when we stopped there was no use in looking for it, so we got our suppers and went to bed in the ambulance. The wind rose and blew hard and cold all night but we were very comfortable. In the morning we found the corps and reported, we were sent back to the battery again but as we did not move. The wind blew very cold all day or should have written yesterday. In the forenoon my companion and myself went out and shot a nice pig which weighed about 50 pounds dressed, some of the others helped dress it whom we gave half, so we had nice fresh pork steak and liver for dinner. We went back to the corps to spend the night. We were awakened about 4 in the morning and we were told to get ready as we should march at 5. We were sent to the battery again but I see no signs of movement yet. The sun is shining brightly but it is not very warm. We are lying opposite a gap in the mountains which I suppose (the gap) to be Snickers and through which a road passes to the Shenandoah.
Today is I suppose one of great interest in York on account of the election, I am anxious to hear the result. You must send me paper if you want letters I am ashamed of begging.
My love to all Cory
Camp near Warrentin Va Nov 7th 1862
The day has come around when I write my usual letter and although I have had none from home for two weeks, yet I do not imagine you have forgotten me. I received Henrys letter written at Shadow Nook, this morning. I am glad he is home though he says it is lonesome there, but I imagine he does not want to come back very much. Now I must tell what has occurred since I wrote last.
That afternoon as my companion and myself were out walking and had gone about ¼ mile from camp a cavalryman rode up and said he should have arrest us for being outside of camp. The provost marshall (a captain Allen of our regt) was but a few rods distant and had sent him. We tried to explain but the capt would not hear us and we were sent to headquarters under a cavalry guard with quite a squad of others. Here we were to be turned over to the provost guard a part of which consisted of Co F of our regt, and by a little of their help we both escaped and returned to camp.
Wednesday we remained in camp and in the afternoon I was sent out to get forage for our teams. At night we were ordered to report to the battery as we should march early in the morning.
The next day we marched about 4 miles beyond Middleburg and encamped t, the day was quite cold and that night ice froze ½ inch thick on a pail of water. The next day we marched about 6 miles to White Plains a station on the Alexandria and Orange RR. Soon after we got into camp it began to snow and continued all day. Toward night I went over to the regt and saw Dell and St John who had just got beck. The next day (yesterday) we marched about 3 miles to this place near Warrenton. The whole army seems to be near here, what is going to be done I do not know but I hope something that will count for the reduction of the rebellion. Tell Henry I will write him soon and tell him about the Co. From what I can learn it seems that Seymore is elected. Monday morning. Last night there were all sorts of rumors in camp that McClellan had been superseded. That generals had resigned. This morning McClellan reviewed all the troops some say he is to take Hallecks place but we know nothing.
Camp near Warrenton Va Nov 16 1862
Dear sister another week has passed and it is time for me to write another letter, but I have little of interest to write except that I am well. We still remain in the camp from which I wrote you last Sunday. Fitz john Porter left here last Tuesday and we are now under Hooker. Sumners corps left here yesterday and I think we shall leave soon. I suppose the people of the north will be satisfied now for a time since Mc is removed. I only hope that Burnside may move on and be successful.
Last Friday we went out three of four miles on horseback for hay, all the rest of the time I have remained in camp except to go to the regt occasionally as it is only a little way from here.
Yesterday the division was reviewed by Gen Hooker.
I suppose I might nit fill out my sheet by moralizing on the elections but really I do not think I could make it interesting and so I will not. All else of interest that I have got to say is, that I am out of paper and envelope, and there is no prospect of being paid off, so if you want to hear from me you must furnish me with writing materials or something to get them with.
Monday morning Nov 24 Camp near Falmouth
A whole week has passed and this letter had not gone yet. I presume you were disappointed that you did not get a letter Friday and I must tell you why I did not put the letter in the mail Sunday and the next morning we had orders for an early start. We passed through Warrenton and to the junction where the sick were left to be sent to Alexandria, among them was Dell who was not very sick but unable to march. We did not get into camp till after dark. The next morning we were awakened very early but did not get started till 9 oclock. We however encamped in good season.
Wednesday morning we were not routed out very early and encamped early. That night I found a man belonging to a Penn regt lying on the ground, I thought at first he was merely tired but going near him again I saw he was very sick. He said he had been lying there all night I procured him medical attendance and got him into an ambulance for shelter but he died that night. All the week so far had been lowery and that night it rained hard. Friday we remained in camp it was rainy and unpleasant. Saturday morning we had orders to start at 8 oclock but before we were harnessed it was countermanded, in the afternoon we got orders to start but finally went into cam and waited till morning. We started in good season and everything bid fair for an early completion of the six miles that lay between us and Falmouth, but we were hindered by trains and six oclock found us ¾ of a miles from our camping ground on the wrong side of a slough hole which took us till 12 to get across. I slept very comfortable the remainder of the night though it was very cold. We shall probably stay here a few days as the rebels are in Fredericksburg and will have to be driver out before we can go any farther. Thursday I had a hard ague chill and fever but by quinine and cayenne pepper it was driven out and I am feeling pretty well again.
I suppose it is nearly time for Thanksgiving I would like to take dinner with you. Give my love to all Cory
Camp near Falmouth Dec 2nd
Dear parents and sisters. Your letter of the 23rd received today and now I take the time to answer it. I have been thinking for some time of sending for a box and had made up my mind to send for one and it was not at all changed by mothers letter.
In the first place I want a pair of boots. Tell uncle P to make them a little longer than my foot, I want them broad on the bottom with broad heels thick bottoms and nailed around the toe. I want a can of butter, say 10 pounds, some cheese and a good lot of dried apples. I think there is a prospect of our staying here sometime, at any rate by the time you get it ready I may be able to tell I will see Stephen St John perhaps he will like to have something it too. The butter, cheese, and apples will save my buying stuff here. Yesterday went to Potomac creek bridge for grain, we did not get it and so staid all night, I got onto one of the trains with two others and went down to Aquia creek and staid all night and came back on the train in the morning(this), I have got to go down to the bridge again tonight. My supper is ready and I must eat it and go and leave the rest till tomorrow.
Wednesday morning. Went down to the depot and unloaded cars last night and this morning loaded hay onto the wagons and came back to camp. I heard the presidents message read during the evening and I liked it much, I wish the people of the north and south would act upon his proposal of emancipation. From appearances I do not believe much more will be done this winter. We shall move our camp tomorrow and we have made up our minds to fix up a log hut we have a good piece of canvas for a roof. I wish you would send me a pound of ground pepper in a tin box, the butter had better be in a can then if we should move soon after getting it I could carry it. I wish father would get me a good stout pocket knife with two blades, I cannot get one here without paying three times as much as it is worth. If you have a pair of socks you can spare you may send them. I have contrived me quite a comfortable pair of mittens out of the legs of an old pair of socks I picked up. I do not think of anything else that I need and shall write again before you get it ready to send. St Johns family will send some things to him.
Dell is in the hospital again, I got a letter from him yesterday.
Headquarters Ambulance corps in our new cabin Dec 8 1862
Dear mother and sisters
Your letter of the 30th received last evening. My last letter home was written last Wednesday. I then told you we expected to move our camp. The next morning we began to prepare to move soon after sunrise, but as we had a good deal of hay and grain it was nearly noon before we got started. We had sent out a squad of men in the morning to put up a picket rope to hitch the horses to, it was only ½ or ¾ of a miles from our other camp, in the thick pine woods small trees (I remember these trees were second growth the land had been under cultivation and the old corn rows could be plainly seen among the trees). After our grain was unloaded and our horses taken care of, we set bout looking for a place to build our house, we pitched upon the side of a hill not far from the horses looking toward the east. We pitched our tent temporarily and then went to work to level the ground and cut logs for our building. We however did not get much done before it was dark. The next day we went at it again but were broken off by rain, we however got the ground leveled off and some two or three logs high. Toward night the rain turned to snow which fell to the depth of 2 inches, it cleared off during the night and froze hard, and we could not sleep very comfortably on that account. The next day it was clear a part of the time but did not thaw much, the pine and cedar trees loaded down with snow looked dreary enough. We got our tent logged as high as we intended. Saturday night we slept poorly it was so cold, I believe it was the hardest freeze I have seen in Va. Yesterday although it was Sunday we banked up the logs put on the canvas finished the chimney doing it roughly so that we might sleep more comfortable if possible. We were pretty comfortable last night although ice was half an inch thick on a pail of water in our tent. Our house is about 9x12 feet in the inside about 4 feet high at the eaves and some 7 or 8 feet higher in the center, so that we can stand upright very near the eaves. I will give a plan on the last page which will explain it best. We have two bunks one above the other, two in each, the fire place is 5 feet wide, being on a side hill the back and sides are dug out of the ground about 2 feet, the rest is formed of pine logs notched together and banked up with earth on the outside to the height of 6 or 7 feet and on top are two barrels that carry it a little above the ridge of the roof. Our door is only about 3 ½ feet high so that we have to stoop coming in, our chimney smokes some and a good many improvements can yet be made for our comfort.
Last Monday the boys when they went to the depot for grain they stole some bags of grain from the cars, they intended to have have some extra feed for their horses, but Wednesday they had a chance to send it to a mill it made nice meal and since we have been living on hasty pudding and water, johnny cake entirely neglecting the hard tack.
My chums are Charles Sigourney of Co C, George W Arnold of Co E and George H Arnold of Co K, I like them all very much.
I think there is pretty good prospect of our spending the winter here. Arnold has just come from the regt and says Gen Burnside has given orders to have all the express boxes sent here so send mine as soon as convenient, send me an account of what is in it and the receipt. I wish you would send me a couple of straight and crooked awls, I can make handles and get whatever else of the kind I want here I do not think of anything else except my book “The Constitution of the United States”, I wish you would send that.
I have come across another book which I think I shall find interesting, it came from Ruffins house opposite Harrison Landing, it is entitled “The History if the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic” by Adam Furgusson LLD. Send me some paper and envelopes. Henry must read this and excuse me from writing to him I only have the paper I get in your letters. I think I have given you a long letter this time and I will close. Cory
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Camp near Falmouth Dec 17th 62
Dear parents and Sisters it is now Wednesday and my last weeks letter is not written yet, but when you hear what has happened I think you will excuse me. A week ago today we were employed in fixing up our tent, when we heard that orders had come for us to march, at first we did not believe it but it soon became certain that we had. Thursday morning as early as5 oclock a heavy cannonade was commenced which continued till afternoon.
We left our camp about 9AM but only went about 2 miles and there remained the rest of the day and night. Friday we moved onto the ridge within about a mile of Fredericksburg, there was but little firing during the day. Pontoon bridges were laid for the troops to cross upon. About 8 or 9 AM Saturday a scattered fire of musketry commenced which soon increased to a perfect roar accompanied with frequent discharges of artillery. Describe the sounds I cannot but they are such as accompany every hard fought battle, and were continued until night covered the combatants. The ground on the other side of the river rises abruptly and then there is a gradual rise back from the river for from ¾ to two miles and then there is another abrupt rise and on the top were the rebel earthworks, from which our men were trying to drive them. The first stretch was easily gained as it was covered by our artillery and protected by the city. Our men were met at the edge of the city by the rebels and the battle began. Our men drove them back until they came under the protection of the earthworks when we were met by the storm of shot shell and grape which mowed them down. Our division was ordered across the river about 4PM. The ambulances them moved down to the bank of the river, after a little the corps was rent across the river with part of the ambulances, some of the wounded had been helped in from the field had their wounds dressed and were sent across the river, but about 8 oclock the ambulances came back across the river fetching these with them as it was the intention to make the town a hospital. About 11 we had these all taken care of, and then we went out onto the field. The moon had just risen and by its pale light we sought among the dead for those in which life remained. The cries and groans of the wounded filled the air as they called us for aid. The ambulances were quickly filled which nearly cleared that part of the field. A part of us remained to gather together the remainder while the ambulances went to unload. The appearance of the dead scattered all over the ground was not such a terrible scene as you might imagine. The dead so much resemble the living soldier asleep that you can hardly believe he is dead. Our men were lying upon their arms on the field, ready for the mornings encounter, and occasionally we would ask is that one alive and we would answer for himself, unhurt. On one part of the field was an old pit or cellar some 10 ft deep, which had partly caved in, into this some 6 or 8 badly wounded men had crawled to escape the shells and bullets, getting them out was hard work and out last on the battle field. After getting these out and into the ambulances we returned to the city and unloaded and then recrossed the river. The next day I expected would be a more terrible one but it was very still, though we could see fighting going on farther down the river, the battle extending the first day some three miles or more.
In the afternoon a squad of us went over and cleaned out some houses for hospitals. Such a sight as the place presents one must see to know, the houses in the lower part of the town were much shattered by shot, the rubbish had been thrown out into the streets which were filled with soldiers engaged in cooking pancakes from flour found in the houses. Monday we cleared the wounded out of the city. Yesterday the troops had returned to this side of the river and returned to our old camp, and we are now comfortable as can be. There were two wounded in our Co, Goodman and Moyer.
Our loss in this affair has been great. I think the rebel loss was small. Our dead were left for the rebels to strip and bury.
Your letter was received in time I am much obliged for the money.
Camp near Falmouth. Sunday eve Dec 21 62
Your letter of the 11th I received this afternoon, and I am now sitting in our comfortable cabin writing to you by the light of the oak wood fire, as we have no candles. Since we have returned to our camp we have got things very comfortable again. My last letter was written Wednesday. Thursday we went to the hospitals with some of the ambulances to remove wounded to the depo, but there were none removes and at night we returned to camp. During the day I saw a surgical operation, the amputation of a mans leg at the thigh. The poor fellow had two bullets through the ankle and one through the flesh and one through the bone above the knee on that leg and one below and one above the knee on the other leg. Since I wrote we have become more acquainted with the extent of that terrible affair, nothing I think so disastrous has happened since the beginning of the war. Our men never fought more bravely but such bravery would soon prove their destruction, unless better directed. I suppose Burnside was ordered to do it and so was not to blame, but I believe McClellan would not have done it on any account. The people have been clamoring for an advance, Halleck has ordered it, we have tried it and have been repulsed with a loss of 15000 men and have not gained the slightest advantage.
What will be done now I cannot tell, and I care but little. I am sick of the war, I think our soldiers have been abused, they gave themselves for the cause and their efforts to suppress the rebellion have been rendered useless by the imbecility of our leaders.
Friday I received a letter from aunt C and answered it, I sent to her for a diary but if you send me one I can easily dispose of one of them. Is the school you are teaching select in the old school house opposite the Drs I have just read the examples you gave me to the boys and one of them is puzzling his head over Uncle P’s, but I am not to be caught by that. As to the other I believe I have forgotten all the rules and tables for calculating the contents. We have been living lately on hard bread, pork and coffee, our commissary in the ambulance corps is very slack, or we might have fresh beef 2 days in 5. We hardly ever get any vegetables except beans and rice. This morning we had inspection, we do not have much to do generally. I find Fergusons Rome very interesting. I also have had one year of the Columbian Magazine brought from Fredericksburg to look over. I have not received any more numbers of the Continental I think they must be laid over in the post office, there is so much mail matter. I have nothing more of interest to write and will close.
Your loving brother Cory
Headquarters Ambulance corps. Sunday afternoon Dec 28th 62
Another Sabbath has come around and I suppose the folks at home will be disappointed if they do not receive a letter next Friday so I sit myself down on this beautiful afternoon to write.
I suppose you will wish to know how I pass Christmas even if it was not different from other days. So first I will tell you what we had for breakfast (as it came very near being dinner) for we did not get it ready till between 9 and 10. In the first place we had some beef which we boiled till nearly done, then we borrowed some potatoes pared and put them boiling we had also about 3 pints of flour into this I put 4 table spoons full of vinegar such as we draw from the commisarys, it is not more than half as sour as yours, I then dissolved a teaspoon full of soda in some water wet the flour and made a stiff dough, this I made into balls and placed on top of the potatoes and covered with a plate, they swelled to twice their original size and when the potatoes were done they were as light and dry clear through as any bread not in the least bit sour of bitter, a perfect success. Mother with all her experience could not have done better. After eating our breakfast the boys who tent with me having received their extras pay as drivers went to the commissary and bought a bushel of potatoes for 90 cents, 10 pounds of dried apples 9 cts per pound, 2 qts molasses 11 cts per qt, they looked around almost all day to find some flour so that we might have some apple dumplings but did not succeed. Friday, William Daly came into our house and wanted me to come over to the regt as there was some one there that wanted to see me, who should I find but Demetrius Smith and Arthur Clark. The boys in the co gave them a real soldiers meal of fried pork, hard tack and coffee. D came over and staid with me and yesterday R Fox and I went with them to the camp of the 254th., we staid there till 2pm and then we went down to the river and Falmouthhand opposite Fredericksburg, Fox did not go with us he said he must return to camp for dress parade. It was nearly dark when I parted from them opposite F, D and Clark to return to the 154th with Capt Cheny, I went over to the RR and took the cars back to the station near the regt. I went up to the regt and Fox had not returned, what hindered him I do not know. Today they intend to visit the 33rd. they will come here again as D left his overcoat.
I think I shall send my diary home with him. You must see him he can give you a fine description of soldiers life for it is novel enough to him. I am going over to the regt now and when I return may write more. Monday morning. I went over to the regt and found D there and he returned with me and staid all night, he has gone over to the regt to witness inspection. I got your letter of the 21st last night with the receipt for the box, I hope I shall get it soon. I think I will send this letter by D as you will get it quite as soon as by mail as he goes tomorrow.
Headquarters A. C near Falmouth Va Jan 5th 1863
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 28th and also the box came to hand yesterday, and glad I was to receive them. Everything in the box came through safely and nice as could be the very boards it is made of smell natural and I can plainly see the nicks in the old plane, I hardly believe it has been ground since I left. The butter is delicious and the cheese excellent. I suppose Lettie when she put in the lumps of sugar remembered my love for them when I found them in the bowl, but when I saw sugar on the bill I expected maple. The berries and other fruit I have not opened yet. The boots are large enough for an insole and I think will keep my feet dry in the worst of places unless wading the Rappahannock as I did last week, which I must tell you about shortly. One of tent mates also received a box yesterday which was sent to him while at Sharpsburg, it was mostly clothing but some dried fruit, a peck of walnuts and some apples, some of these had rotted but most of them were sound and delicious. I had sent to aunt C for a diary to be sent by mail which I received Friday but shall use the one you sent as I like it better I sent my last one home by Demetrius and also a letter which you may have received before the last. Tuesday, nearly all of our ambulances were called out and I had to go with one of them. We did not know when we started as we should come back and so took nearly all of our effects with us although there were two left in our tent. We started about 4PM and as the troops had started some time before we went along quite fast. At first it was cloudy and raining a little and looked like being a bad night though but little rain fell. We caught up with the troops a little after dark and then we went much slower. I suppose we traveled till 1 or 2 the next morning but as I rode and slept most of the time I did not mind it. At daylight the next morning we were ordered to take stretchers and follow the first brigade. There were about 16 of us with 6 stretchers. After going about a mile over an obstructed road we went down a steep bank to the river. There had been a few of the rebel pickets on the other side of the river but they had been driven away and out men were crossing the river and we must follow them. I took of my socks and rolled up my pants and drawers above the knees and succeeded in getting across dry except my shoes. The river is about 30 rods wide and the water very cold, but after getting across and putting on my socks again I felt quite comfortable. We went back a piece from the river and then up it about six miles to another ford, but only drove away the pickets capturing 2 cavalrymen. I got across at this place as well as the first. It was now about 3 PM and we were back about half a mile from the river into the woods and made up some big fires to dry and warm by, many of the troops were wetted a good deal, one regt was left at the river as picket. All of the stretcher carriers had left their blankets at the ambulances and haversacks also. The ambulances could not follow us and do we were in rather bad fix, but I begged some crackers and raw pork from some of the troops and made out a supper. We then went up to a little shoe makers shop about 8 x 12 feet which had a fireplace in it and there spent the night I slept a little but not very comfortable as there were 15 of us. The next day the first of the New Year we were awakened in time to get something to eat, and as soon as it was light we started back to camp, we came to the ambulance before we got clear back and I rode till I was rested. I walked that day some 16 miles and carried the stretcher half the time. I must close this letter as the sheet is full.
Headquarters A.C near Falmouth Va Jan12th 1863
I have been doing my washing this morning and just after I came up Reuben Fox came over with some letters for me, one from uncle P and yours of the 5th. Very little of interest has occurred the past week. We have had very fine weather all the time till Saturday afternoon, we then had quite a hard rain, and I certainly thought the end of the good weather had come, but it cleared up during the night and we have had no rain since.
During the week I went over to the regt several times to see St John who has been quite sick. He is a little better now and is able to hobble about with a stick, but I doubt his getting fit for duty for some time. Perry came to the regt during the week, he looks fleshy and well. You seem very much concerned lest I am under Democratic influences. Mt tent mates all of them voted the Republican ticket and all of them believe slavery to have been the first cause of the war. For papers we have the Syracuse daily Standard a radical abolitionist republican journal. Occasionally we have the Washington and Philadelphia dailies, but oftener The New York Herald. This is altogether the favorite paper of the army, and I think it has many good claims for it. It has upheld the administration and always worked for the soldier. You think that because Burnside take all the blame upon himself that the administration is not to blame. Would you consider a man blameless who should place a small boy to manage a fractious team. Besides when Burnside owns he is to blame why do they not dismiss him. If as Republican journals assert McClellan was incompetent and guilty of disobedience of orders for a long time before he was removed, did not the president do wrong in nor removing him long before. The blame for the advance on Fredericksburg was first laid on the administration but when it was likely to break up the cabinet Burnside sends in his “manly letter” and saves it from dissolution. The people who had not lost a near friend or relative were satisfied. I think the letter was got up to save the cabinet, and I believe it would have been better if it had been dissolved. I think Seward is the only man who is competent for the situation, and perhaps if it had been broken up we should have had someone in competent. The president call the disaster an accident, I do not think it ought to be called an accident any more than the death of Sam Patch should be. The soldiers do not consider Burnside to blame, but his appearance on parade fail to awaken cheers. I have read Seymours message and like it much though I do not agree with him in everything. Since we have received the box we measure everything by the constitution and accept or discard it according as it comes up to the scratch. Of the late battles in the west we were at first much elated over, but they seem to turn out almost defeats, still we are hoping from that quarter. As for this army I have so little confidence in the leaders, that I have been wishing for rains and mud so as to make it impossible to move. Now dear mother do not trouble yourself about my being a democrat, I mean to be for the right if I can find out what it is. But I must close this letter and put it in the mail, and go and get some wood as it is getting toward night.
We have had an excellent supper or dinner of boiled fresh beef, potatoes, biscuits and apple sauce. Give my love to all friends.
From your loving son Cory
Headquarters AC near Falmouth Va Sunday eve Jan 25th 63
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 17th and 18th came to hand this morning and I now sit down to answer it. The “Army of the Potomac” has again move, and is again back in tis old quarters not having had any serious losses. Last Tuesday as soon as we had eaten out breakfast, we had orders to prepare to march. We did not however leave our camp ground until about 3PM. We then moved only about a mile and then went into park just before dark. Soon after it commenced to rain and rained all night, as we had an ambulance to sleep in I was quite comfortable. The next morning about 9 we again started and about 2PM again went into camp about 3 ½ miles farther on. The whole day was rainy but as we had no sick to carry I rode dry inside and read Chateaubriands travels in Greece, Palastine and Turkey, and old book which I picked up as we were leaving camp. It rained all Wednesday night, Thursday was rainy most of the time and we did not move. Friday we had orders to leave all the grain which we had but one feed for the use of the batteries which were stuck in the mud, and go back to camp. The troops had to stay and corduroy the roads for the batteries and ammunition to get back, when we got back to camp we found it had been plundered and every board and stool which we had left, by the dead beats who had remained behind, even the barrels which formed our chimney were gone. We had time to get the canvas roofing on the walls Friday night, yesterday we were at work all day rebuilding the chimney and bunks and door. Today we are quite comfortable again. Yesterday the sun shone out some, last night it rained a little, I think we are not likely to have good weather for some time now though we may, it is impossible to move now.
Someone called out to a little fellow trudging through the mud, “have you seen anything of Burnside?” yes he replied “he is out here stuck in the mud, they have sent Mac to come with pick and shovel and dig him out.” Paymasters are now in camp, and the troops are receiving 4 months pay, I think we shall get ours the first of this week. I do not know anything else of interest to write and will close. Cory
Camp near Falmouth Va Monday Feb 2nd 63
Another week has passed and I suppose you will expect the usual letter from me. A very interesting occurrence took place last week namely the appearance of the paymaster with the green backs, we got our pay for 4 months last Tuesday evening. I shall send $20.00 in this letter. I wish you would receipt it as soon as you get it. I would like to know something in regard to how Father stands in regard to money matters, are taxes coming hard and did he have any trouble in meeting them. Has Father any written agreement in regard to the farm. It generally appears to be the opinion that before long there will be a general smashing of banks, and although government bills are greatly depreciated, still I think it is the only safe money to have as gold is out of the question.
We continue to live comfortably, we get potatoes from the commissary for 75cts per bushel, onions 2 ½ cts per pnd, flour 4cts. We draw plenty of pork and fresh beef, coffee and nearly all the sugar we want, we have very good success in making biscuits and fried cakes, everything sold by the sutler is enormously high and we generally steer wide of them, however I gave 25cts for 4 apples not of the best quality. All of the eatables of my box are gone, but one of my cheese. I may wish you to send me a box before long with some pickled cabbage and pickles generally mincemeat and sausage and dried corn, a good supply, but I will write when I want it.
Last Tuesday it rained all day, during the night it turned to snow which fell rapidly all day, Thursday morning there was full 6 inches of snow, but since it has been thawing and has nearly all disappeared. I had a letter from Henry during the week which I shall answer soon.
Corydon Warner Co H 44th regt NYSIV
At the regt, on coming here I found your letter of the 22nd, and so I add a few words. You have heard of the change of commanders before this. I do not know whether the army will place any more confidence in Hooker or not. You wish that I would measure acts by the law of god instead of the constitution. If two people agree to any measure, one of them has not the right to go contrary to that agreement because he thinks it is against the law of god, without releasing the other. Anyway I do not object to the proclamation because I think it is wrong, but because I fear it will divide the North. I have always considered slavery wrong and do still, but its end was accomplished without that. Father wishes me to tell my feelings in regard to religion. I do not know as I can express them, I do not think I have changed at all since I left home. I suppose you would consider it careless. I used to think that a soldier must certainly be a Christian, but the more death I see the more careless I become. We now have no chaplin and Sunday is hardly known from any other day. We do not work on that day nor in fact on any day. We have done our washing this morning, we have plenty of soap, tubs, hot water and sometimes a board, I always get the stamps safely.
Headquarters A.C Feb 9th 63
Your letter of the 1st I received this morning, and now sit down to answer it. Nothing of interest has occurred the past week the fore part of it 3 days was very cold them we had a day of rain since then it has been warmer. During the week I whittled out a set of chess men and have played a few games. I got a long letter from Uncle J this morning which I shall answer soon.
The 8th and 9th army corps have been leaving here I suppose to go farther south. I shall send Father $20.00 in this letter I sent the same in my last, have him send a receipt. I was very much pleased to have Emmas likeness but I think it is not as good as yours. I shall send another dollar in this which I intended to keep for myself, and I want you to have Kitties likeness taken and sent to me. I was very sorry to hear that she had been sick. She says she has written to me a good many times and I do not answer them, I intend all of my letters as much for her as for you I suppose if I close here you will think it a short letter, but as I have nothing more to say, I shall. Give my love to all.
Corydon Warner. Private Co H 44th N.Y.S.V
Head Quarters AC Feb 17th 63
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 9th was received as usual on Sunday but I put off answering it on that day, and yesterday I had a pass and went to Aquia Creek. Everything goes on as usual nothing of interest occurring. At Aquia creek there is a good deal to be seen and it is getting to be almost a city, and there is certainly business enough done for one. The wharves are at all times crowded with men and stores, the vessels in the river, 5 or 6 locomotives with steam up pushing the cars about, almost everything can be bought that is for sale in a city, but prices are very high. I got all the nice greening apples I wanted to eat for a quarter.
Last night it was warm when we went to bed it was clouding up, this morning there was 2 inches of snow, and it has been falling all the forenoon though now it is pretty wet. For some reason they are now at work throwing up forts on Potomac Creek. What the object is I cannot imagine as it is in the rear of us. There seems to be nothing of interest going on in any of the armies at present.
We contrive to pass the time pleasantly in reading, playing chess and talking of pleasant time we have had. The boys just now have been having an animated discussion on the merits of various agricultural journals, subsoiling, raising fruits and so forth. One of the boys says, take such sprouts as you use for grafts, cut them the same as you would currants and sear the cut end with a hot iron and stick them, he says 2/3 of them will grow and make thrifty trees, better than the usual way of grafting. Try it this spring and see. It is now afternoon and still snowing though it is nearly half rain. We shall have to turn out before long for our wooj is nearly gone. With love to all Cory
Head Quarters AC Feb 23 63
Your letter if the 14th was received yesterday I was surprised and grieved to hear of the death of Deacon Reed I was not aware that he had been unusually unwell, they will sadly miss Warren now. But I presume there will be no use to try to get his discharge as long as he is likely to be able to so duty.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday it snowed all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday it was sunshiny nearly all the time drying up the mud fast, but yesterday morning when we got up we found 6 or 8 inches of snow and snowing and blowing hard and it continued all day about sundown it stopped snowing and the wind lulled somewhat but the night was very cold. I was on guard but it was not as bad as it used to be last winter, as I had no musket to handle and we kept up a fire in our tent all night so that we soon warmed when we came off, we now have snow enough to make good sleighing, if there was not so much mud underneath. Sleighs are a scarce article here, and I presume this snow will not last long enough to make one. The sun comes out bright this morning and it is beginning to thaw already. Mothers letter in which she says she acknowledged the receipt of the money I have not received yet. Yesterday the birthday of Washington was acknowledged by a salute of 31 guns from the gunboats on the Potomac and the batteries here. The correspondent of the Philadelphia Enquirer says that the sale of the New York World has been stopped by the order of the provost marshall, and it is also said of the Herald. I have not seen one for nearly a week. I see Perry quite often, he is feeling well. Love to all Cory
Head Quarters AC March 2nd 63
Dear folks at home
Your letter was received yesterday as usual and I now sit down to write to you. This is the most beautiful spring day, the sun is shining brightly and the air is mild and pleasant. The snow all disappeared during the week and only one day of rain. Time has passed with me much as usual except that I have been unwell with a sort of billious fever, I have however recovered except that my head feels a little unpleasant.
One of my tent mates received a box last night with a six quart pail full of butter 15 or 20 pounds of cheese a lot of dried apples & C, so we shall be supplies with some of the luxuries of life again for a while. You say you wish I would come home. Would you think it worthwhile for me to take ten days furlough and come home, would you not feel more dissatisfied than ever when I should return, it would cost about 30 dollars. Perry was quite sick last week, I was over to see him before I was sick. Reuben Fox was over yesterday and said he was better. We are patiently waiting to hear of something being done by the southern and western armies. We hope to hear of the taking of Vicksburg and Charleston and Savannah before long.
March 5th 63
Dear Sister. Although I have not yer received the letter which I usually get Sunday, I sit down to write to you. This is a beautiful spring like day. I have done my washing and have been at work cleaning up camp. Last Tuesday I went to the camp of the 154th and had a pleasant visit with a Springville schoolmate. The next day I was on detail fixing up hospitals. Perry is in the hospital he has had some fever but they have broken it up and hope he will soon be well. Within the last two or three weeks I have read 3 of Sir Walter Scotts novels, and one which I have I think I will send to you. I was not attracted by the title The Pirate but the fact that is was by Scott, whose writing I wished to become acquainted with. I found it much different from what I expected, his novels are altogether different from what I have ever read.
I have been thinking whether I shall have you send me a box or not there are some things that I want but whether it will pay to have them sent or not I don’t know. I want that felt hat, if that one which I had is not worn out it will do, if you have to get another I would like a wider brim than that was. I want also very much an atlas one of Mitchels latest. With one, I think I should learn more of geography than I should by going to school a long time. Names of places are continually coming before me in my reading which I wish to know more of in regard to their situation. It will not cost much more to send a box weighing 100 pounds than one weighing 25, I would like a lot of pickles, if you could get a couple of those gunpowder kegs and fill one with cucumbers and the other with cabbage or beets, I would also like a couple of quarts of green corn dried if you can get it, some butter, cheese, and dried apples, a good sized can of ground mustard, some maple sugar and molasses, and whatever else you think will taste good and will not spoil on the way. You of course cannot start it before you hear from me again. If we should move we are so situated that we can carry considerable of such stuff, and I am inclined to think we shall not move soon. It is now coming spring and I want to hear all about the improvements in garden yards, buildings and the like.
Your brother Cory
Saturday afternoon march 14th
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 7th I have just received and now I sit down for a few minutes while my supper is cooking to commence a letter to you. The past week has been real March weather cold rains, snow, and cold raw winds. WE have been quite busy getting out manure, that must seem to you something like spring work. We have something over 200 horses in this corps, and all winter the manure has been merely thrown back, but now the general has ordered it to be hauled away. There is now a report that the 5th army corps will remain here two months longer than the rest of the army. Yesterday I was at work getting wood for the division hospitals, which they have been fixing up very nice, and enclosing with wattle fences of green boughs, with arched gateways of the same material. This forenoon I was engaged in cutting brush for that purpose, to enclose out camp. This afternoon I have been making fried cakes. We draw lots of fat pork and we eat but little of it, this I try out for the lard. In the can in which you sent the butter we mix some flour and water with a little salt and set it in a warm place this ferments when we want pancakes we simply add a little soda and bake. When we want biscuits we add more flour and a little lard, and fried cakes the same way. Is that the best way? We can make them with what we have? The last time we drew rations we got 4 days soft bread out of five, today we drew again and got two. During the week we bought ½ bushel of potatoes, a 17 pound ham and a gallon of pickle, the ham is splendid but the pickles are most too sour for supper tonight we have boiled potatoes and onions and gravy made of boiled fresh beef cut small and a little flour boiled with it all it wants is milk. We occasionally buy condensed milk this is simply milk boiled till it is thick and mixed with a little white sugar, it is very nice to put in coffee, I do not know whether it could be boiled in a common kettle or not, it costs 50cts for a half pint can. Perhaps you will think that we live so well I will not care for a box, but it seems a little that like being at home to get one. I want a good mess of maple sugar so that we can have some warmed and a good mess of corn. Besides what I mentioned last week put in my Sallust and latin grammer, a pound of green tea, some pepper. I do not know as you can get it, but if you conveniently, send me an ax with a broad thibit, (not a hatchet) and not more than 1 ½ pound weight and two or three gimlets. Lettie wants longer letters, I think I have spun this out pretty well though it may not be interesting, I am glad the boys have got home before another winter. Sunday morning. The teamsters are already called out to hitch up, and I will soon have to go on inspection, but I thought I would add a few lines to this, and send it to the mail. This morning there is a cold March wind blowing again making a fire very comfortable. Lettie says she has partly engaged to teach school as assistant next summer. I think the wages you have been getting this winter are altogether too small, if you call board anything, only 50 cts a week, I will give you more than that to stay at home and help mother, who I fear will work too hard unless you do. I have not had a letter from uncle F in along tome I wrote him last. How is Grandfather does he cut wood and work as much as usual this winter. I will close with much love to all Cory. Lest the other letter should be lost I will repeat what I want sent which I spoke of in my last. A soft felt hat, a Mitchells Atlas, butter, cheese, dried apples, ground mustard, a small tin pan, two or three large sized sewing needles, a darning needle and some linen thread.
March 23d 63
Dear folks at home.
This is a warm spring morning and the birds are singing finely, though they had a rather unpleasant time Friday and Saturday. Friday some two inches of snow fell and Saturday it snowed again quite lively, but in the afternoon it rained and a warm day yesterday took off the remainder. Everything seems pleasant and everything is promising that the war will soon be ended. The Herald thinks that with such a man as Jackson in the chair the war will be ended on 60 days. The people of the north seem more united and even Van Buren is for carrying on the war. I however shall be quite satisfied if the regt is disbanded by next New Years. There is no immediate prospect of a move here for some little time yet. My water is hot and I may stop and wash my dishes.
Evening. This morning I did my washing and made half a bushel of doughnuts, and this afternoon I was called on to do some work in the corral. I had tiptop success in making doughnuts they were as light and nice as need be. There is a report about camp today that the enemy is evacuating Fredericksburg, and that Charleston has fallen but it is probably rumor. They are getting more strict with us here we cannot leave camp to go to the regt without a pass, though it is not usual difficult to get one, some of us go over every day to get the mails. Willis is back to the regt. Perry is feeling some better since he came, Willis is not very strong. As I have nothing more of interest to write I will close this letter. George is anxious to play a game of chess
Your affectionate brother Cory
Head quarters AC March 29th 63
Dear sister, your long letter of the 23d was received last evening and read with much interest, I should have liked to have been there very much. Last Tuesday I received a letter from mother dated Feb 11th with the receipt for the money which I sent, mother says there has no writings been drawn in regard to the farm. I do not like the idea of going on making improvements and paying inters tans no acknowledgement of it. I do not think going west would be such a hard job as we used to think. If I were going I would take no crockery, bedsteads, stoves or chairs if I had to give them away. Food tastes just as good off tin plates and coffee out of tin cups as out of china, and they are much lighter and no danger of breaking. I would take tents and make all the furniture we wanted, still I should hate to leave the old place. I shall be glad when I get the box I know it must be nice. I wish mother would send me the cost of each article and the expressage.
There seems to be a general impression that the war cannot last much longer. Our latest account say that Farraguts fleet has passed Port Hudson and a gunboat has below Pemberton on the Yazoo. It seems as if Vicksburg must soon fall. There seems to be no prospect of an immediate move of the army of the Potomac, but the men are all in excellent spirits and ready for it at any time, when the weather will admit. Perry is getting along quite well now. I feel a good deal flattered by Mothers remarks on my fried cakes and biscuits. It rained hard all day yesterday, today the wind is blowing very hard. Two weeks ago we drew two small rutabagas, turnips and 6 or 8 small carrots, these we boiled with potatoes and the leg of a ham I thought that the best dinner we have had all this winter. We draw plenty of soft bread now but it is baked in Washington and is rather dry when we get it.
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 28th was received yesterday but the box had already come I got it Wednesday night everything came through safe and nice. The pickles and butter are beautiful, the apples were as nice as could be and also the sausage. Thanks Wille and Kitte ever so much for the butternut meats and currants. The hat fits me well I began to fear I might not get it, it was said all citizens clothing would be confiscated. The box came just in time our butter was all gone and we had stewed the last of our apples that afternoon. I knew the box at once, it looks as familiar as can be and takes me back to old scenes. Friday was a bright sunshiny day, yesterday the wind blew cold and just at night it blew very hard and began to storm, this morning there was 6 inches of snow and still storming. It has stopped now but it is cloudy and the wind blows cold. I believe I will melt some sugar this afternoon and we will have some waxed. I thought the last snow had fallen in Va, I am glad we are not on the march.
Willis was over and I gave him some apples and pickles and cheese for himself and Perry. Perry is gaining slowly but I do not believe he will be able to do much this summer. Yesterday one of the boys picked up two pieces of shelter tent, they are of heavy cotton cloth and I am going to make some shirts of them.
The wedding cake I put in my pants pocket and put them under my head for a pillow I dreamed but what I dreamed I have forgotten. Is Emma crying on her 18th birthday because she expects to be married so soon, while you are trembling at the fate of an old maid and not yet 20? But take courage, if you are ever married it will be after you are of age if not before. I have had a great deal of pleasure from the atlas already, and hope to know as much of latin when I am discharge as when I enlisted. It is a ling time since I heard from aunt C or uncle F. Give my love to all
April 12th 63
Dear folks at home
This is a most beautiful Sabbath morning the sun is shining brightly and the air is soft and pleasant, we have been having just such weather for 3 or 4 days past and the dust in front of our camp is beginning to fly terribly, but some of the boys were out to the picket line yesterday and they say the going is still very bad. We have had the report of the committee in the conduct of the war, and it has greatly shaken the confidence of the soldiers in McClellan, notwithstanding The Heralds remarks to the contrary, we are sorry to find them man we have had so much confidence in is unworthy of it, but the report cannot be very well got around. We have not seen the report on the Balls Bluff affair but understand it lays still more blame on Mc. We have had fine times these pleasant days playing baseball. Our regt has been inspected personally by President Lincoln the past week. It has the reputation of being the neatest regt in the army, I had a fair look at the president Monday or Tuesday, anyone could recognize him by his portraits.
The attack on Charleston has been commenced and last night it was reported that one of our iron clads had been sunk. We had Butlers excellent speech in New York a few days ago, I hope you have had it, it was first rate. Your letter of the 5th was received yesterday was so sorry to hear father had been sick, I hope he may soon be entirely recovered. I suppose you will soon begin operations in the garden, if we had sown lettuce seed here 4 weeks ago we would have plenty of it to eat now, I remember now we had quite a fall of snow last Sunday. They have called “fall in for inspection” and I will close this letter so as to have it go out in the mail today.
April 16th 63
Dear sister your letter of the 12th was received this afternoon and I now sit down to answer it. I am glad you are able to do the washing and cleaning without calling upon. We have been having quite warm weather and peach trees are in bloom. Last Tuesday the cavalry started and all the fore noon long lines were passing in view of our camp. We had orders to go to division hospital and haul away the sick and it was thought we should march Thursday but that night it commenced to rain and rained all night and the next day. In the morning the ambulance and men reported at the hospital and were ordered back after getting well wetted. In the afternoon six or eight of us were ordered to move some 60 sacks of grain about 10 rods, it was a useless piece of business, for any man of sense would know that such a rain would prevent our marching, but sense the commander of this corps does not possess, today the sacks had to be all toted back again.
Yesterday some 50 of us went about 4 miles down the RR to fit up some ground to move the hospitals upon, when we came back I stopped to look at the new bridge across the Potomac creek which is now nearly finished. The former bridge was built of round poles set on end and braced with poles nailed to them. The bridge was over 300 feet long and 90 feet high so there had to be three poles set on top of each other, the old abutments of stone were left standing though somewhat injured by the fire that destroyed the first bridge, in putting up the last bridge the cars have been running across it all the time, it is in three arches 120 feet long each. It is built somewhat after the style of Wales bridge. The planks are 1 ½ inches thick and there are not near as many as in the Wales bridge, but besides that there are two arches on each side of the bridge about a foot square, made of inch boards bent to a circular form and nailed with ten penny nails. The track runs on top of the bridge like the portage bridge. We are ordered to go tomorrow to take the sick to the new hospitals, we shall probably march before many days. The ax was not just what I wanted but it was my fault in describing it, it however answers well.
It is bad for you Lettie that you look so old, I would pass for your younger brother, none of the boys take me to be over 18.
Sunday Eve. This morning a squad of us were detailed to go down to the new hospitals near Brooks station, and another squad to go to the division hospital to bring the sick down. After we had fallen in, our lieut who was in command asked me to ride his horse down, as he would have to go with the men on the RR where a horse could not go. Of course I did not wish to refuse and I had a very pleasant ride, I rode slowly and got there some half an hour before the squad did. We worked at putting up the tents and clearing the ground, but not very hard. About 3PM the ambulances with the sick came and with them the Leuit commanding the corps. As soon as they were unloaded he sent them back out of meaness so that we could not ride, but some Govt wagons came soon after and by the time they were unloaded we were ready to go back and so we piled into them. You must get Henry to describe them to you. These were drawn by 6 mules, the driver sitting on the near wheel mule and guiding them with one rein. How they do it I have not yet found out. There were ten of us on one wagon, they drove along rapidly and the road was rough, and we sitting on the bottom were bounced about finely. When we came to Potomac creek we had to ford it and had to go some ways upstream to get out of it, our driver went a little too much to the right and struck a stump or tree and we were stuck, the water came up to the box , we did not want to jump out onto it so the next teamster drove to the left of us and we succeeded in climbing into his wagon, both of them had on their canvas cover and that made it more difficult as we had to climb out and into the hinder end. Just as we got into the second wagon the driver who was not paying close attention, allowed his head team to swing around and come along side of the wagon and he could not get them back, so one of the boys climbed upon back of one of the mules to get them around, just as he had nearly accomplished it the mate to the mule he was on became entangles and fell down, the boy upon the back of the other mule afraid of getting entangled jumped off and waded ashore., the chances for the poor mule looked rather slim as nothing but his head was out of the water that being held up by the bridle, 4 or 5 of us scrambled back onto the first wagon and all but myself jumped off onto some brushwood and got ashore, the driver jumped off into the water and got hold of the heads of the mules and succeeded in dragging the fallen mule until he got his feet. The other team then started and got out all right, we had a good deal of sport. Tonight is warm and pleasant I am on guard the sergeant has just come for me and I must go. One of the boys has offered to go in my place if I will take his turn, and as I feel somewhat tired I accept it, he is certain of a pleasant night and I shall not be. This letter will do for length I think whether it is interesting or not.
April 25th 63
Dear folks at home
I have not yet received you letter, but I thought I would write this so as to have it ready to send out in the mail tomorrow. Wednesday night after we had gone to bed and were nearly asleep, we received orders to be ready to march at a moments notice. It was already beginning to rain and continued all night and the next day and half the day yesterday, so it will be apt to prevent our marching for a few days yet. Today the sun is shining brightly and the wind blowing hard so if it does not rain again the mud will soon be dried up. Thursday we signed the pay roll and yesterday we got our pay. I shall send $40. in this letter, please receipt it in your letter.
Nothing of interest is occurring here. The latest news from the west is gratifying. I thought I had forgotten all the Latin I had learned but I find it returning so that I can translate a page in an hour I will wait and see if I get your letter this afternoon before I write any more.
Evening. The letter from home did not come. This is a most beautiful evening, the moon is shining and brilliant Jupiter in the east and Venus in the west. It seems farther north to me than usual, it must be nearly over Qs barn as you stand in the back yard, tell me if it is not so. We had succotach for supper tonight, corn and beans, it was first rate, we do not get much soft bread now as it is expected we shall move soon and soft bread cannot be carried very well.
Corydon Warner Co H 44th N Y S V
Headquarters A C Thursday afternoon May 7th 1863
Dear folks at home
I suppose you will feel somewhat anxious because you have not received a letter from me at the usual time, and more so as you without a doubt have heard by rumor at least that the army has moved. I am now sitting in my old quarters but the ambulances have not yet arrived, and so I have no pen and ink and nor paper except a sheet that I had in my pocket, but I hasten to write you a little on that. A part of the army moved a week ago Monday, and since that time we have received no papers or mails, and I understand none have gone out farther than Aquia Creek, or I should have tried to write you sooner. Last Friday we left this camp and went to U S Ford above Fredericksburg. The next afternoon we took stretchers and crossed over to the battle ground. There had been some fighting the day before and that afternoon, but not much consequence******** It was about a mile from the river to the point where the road we went in crossed the road we came out on when we had gone about a mile from that point we came to a ravine and took a road to the right which ran along the top of it. The boys of our division were building breast works of logs and felling trees to make the woods and ravines difficult to pass through. We passed by the first position and went on turning to the right, we came to the first open field and up almost to the house. We then went back to near where the 44th lay and staid there till nearly dark, when we went to the division hospital, this lay directly back of the 44th about ½ mile and we had to cross three ravines. We had no blankets and two of us lay down on a stretcher and went to sleep. We were awakened about 11 by sharp firing and after that were too cold to sleep. The firing commenced as soon as daylight and then we went to where the regt had lain but that place was occupied by the 11th corps which had been pretty severely handled on Saturday. We turned to the right and passed along until we came to the headquarters of the 3d brigade the country was nearly all woods except two open fields the fighting was mostly in the woods that skirted these open fields. Sometimes the rebels would drive our men back but a few charges of grape and canister would drive them back. The firing of Sunday forenoon seemed to me the sharpest I ever heard but I was close to it, there was no firing in the afternoon of any consequence. At night we went down to the corps hospital and I slept very soundly with a plank for a bed under a little shelter of boards and a piece of cotton tent for a blanket, was aroused only once by firing. Monday there was not much fifing, we heard the guns of Sedwick, who had crossed at Fredericksburg and taken the heights. In the afternoon it was thought the rebels were retreating and a brigade was sent through the woods to see, they drove the rebel skirmishers before them till they came to an open field, when the rebs opened on them with grape and canister and our men fell back. That night I slept quite comfortably in the woods, was awakened only once by firing. The next day about 5 oclock it began to rain, one of our boys is sick and I took his knapsack and went to the hospital with him. All of the ambulances were gone, and the Dr. said I must carry his knapsack across the river and go with him. Everything showed plainly that the army was going to recross the river, why we did not understand, but thought that as Sedwick had the heights that was all we wanted, and we must make that secure by sending our force there. When we got to the river it was dark, we found it had risen so that it overflowed the bank and we could not cross, all the wagon trains were across but the artillery and troops were beginning to arrive. There were three bridges across intending to make the evacuation as quick as possible, but the river had risen so that none of them were accessible. The engineers went to work and took up one of them and lengthened out the other two, my companion and myself got across about 12 midnight. It had been raining all the fore part of the night, when we got onto the heights on this side of the river. We made a fire in the woods and dried ourselves and made it as comfortable as possible. In the morning all the troops were across. Our division covered the retreat and it was done without loss. I brought the knapsack of the sick man back to camp and he walked, he had the ague. It rained a good deal during the day we got into camp about 4PM, but the ambulanced have not got here yet, they have unloaded the wounded this afternoon and are now in sight. Our boys have been as brave and enthusiastic as possible and they do not make much fuss over an arm or leg gone as some folks would over a sliver. They were a good deal disheartened when they found that Sedwick had been driven across the river and we had apparently accomplished nothing, but it is now said that the cavalry under Stoneman has broken all RR and destroyed every bridge from Fredericksburg to within 5 miles of Richmond. And that we are again laying pontoons to cross at F. Our boys have orders to march and are as enthusiastic as ever. I do not know whether you will get this letter or not but hope you will. Do not be anxious if you do not get letters regularly it is sometimes almost impossible to write. Our regt had only one killed and 3 or 4 wounded, none from our Co. Give my love to all.
Headquarters A C May 10 63
I now take my pen to write my usual letter but it will be short for I have not much to say. We are still in our old camp, the last move of the army of the Potomac has not accomplished all we hoped for it, but we think it has not proved wholly abortive. The men are all in good spirits and we shall undoubtedly move again soon. Yesterday 5 ambulances went to U S Ford for some wounded rebels. I went with them the roads were very bad going but coming back they had improved some. Much of the way was old lumber roads through the woods that had not been traveled on lately. We had a native of the country as a guide. We got back within 4 or 5 miles of camp by dark last night, then we stopped and made coffee and bivouaked for the night. This morning went on to headquarters with the rebs where they were paroled and then took them to Falmouth station and sent them to Washington, we got back to camp about 2 PM. I got your letter with the pictures this afternoon. Ems I think is very natural, Latties flatters, Kitties is nice as can be I think I shall keep all the pictures as I can carry them in my memorandum, I would not care if I had those of my acquaintance. Thank you for the flowers, I had a spray of white lilac yesterday, but they do not smell so nicely as the pink. The woods are now getting well clothed in their robes of green and also the fields where they are not trodden to death, I will close this letter with much love to all. Cory
May 17th 1863
Dear folks at home. Yours of the 10th was received last evening. This is a beautiful sabbath morning and we have no inspection and no noise except the occasional hoot of a locomotive whistle. There was some loud cheering this morning from a regt that started for home. Our ambulances left here Tuesday morning for U S Ford, to cross the river under a flag of truce for our wounded which were taken prisoners, all of the ambulances from the army were there and ours were the last to cross, so that we did not get back till yesterday, There were not enough wounded to load all of the ambulances. Those that crossed the river say it is a dreadful looking and smelling place, the ground in some places bring literally being covered with dead horses. The men were bound by an oath not to divulge anything that they might see that could be of harm to the C S or of advantage to the U S. As I was out all day Saturday and Sunday before I was left in camp to look after things, and had a pleasant time I had plenty of time to read and study. I got over 4 or 5 pages of Sallust during the time. While we were out we came across a big new hospital tent, and that it might not be left for the rebels to get we went at it and cut it to pieces, I got a piece 9 or 10 feet wide and 30 long and several of the boys got pieces as large. This we throw over our other tent which has gotten quite rotten, and it keeps out the rain and sun much better. Since we have come back we have got things fixed up quite nicely again. We have made a table about 3 feet square at which 4 of us can sit down and take our meals comfortably. I am glad you like the likeness, the ring I made of bone in Richmond. By the way, did you ever get the stiletto for Lettie and the ring for Kittie that I sent soon after I came to Harrisons Landing? I wished very much to get some box before I came away, I think the man offered it reasonable I don’t know but it would be difficult to make it live so late in the season. I will send you a couple of dollars for that or anything also you may wish to use it for.
Headquarters A C a Sunday eve May 24 63
Your letter of the 17th received this afternoon and now I sit down to answer it. We are still in the quarters in which we passed the winter, but the regt has moved some three miles from their old camp, I have not been to it yet but those who have say it is in a very pleasant place. All troops are required to move camp as it is conducive to health, so much filth gathers about a camp.
Yesterday a squad of us started at an early hour for the hospitals which are about three miles from here. We worked hard all day policing up, I was tired when we got back to camp. The hospitals are in a pleasant place, and are kept very neat and clean, there are not many sick in them at present. The news today from Grants army is excellent, he ran past the Vicksburg batteries, landed at the mouth of the Big Black, beat the rebels at Port Gibson, Raymond and Jackson, and where the RR from Vicksburg in the rear, they have taken Haines Bluff and the first line of works and has doubtless taken the city or been beaten. The report of tonight is that he has taken the city, he had taken 57 cannon already.
The day has been very warm, this afternoon so smoky or cloudy we could not see the sun but not for all that, I hope we will have a shower before long to make it cooler, It is getting so dark I cannot see the lines. The ambulance corps had been cut down and three of our men sent back to the regt, one of them was from our tent. It is the intension to form a reserve ambulance corps for the army, they have formed a reserve artillery corps. I am glad the flower garden is getting along so nicely. I hope you got the money I sent in my last letter. I expect we will be paid off again soon. Cory
Bentons Mills Va May 31st 63
Dear Folks at home
Although I have not as yet received the usual letter from home, I sit down to write to you hoping it will soon be forthcoming, We have moved our camp as you see by the heading, I will review the week to let you know how we came here. Monday there was a cold mist falling but not enough to call it rain. Tuesday, cloudy, no rain. Wednesday, variable. Thursday pleasant, in the afternoon I went over to the regt I had not been there long before they received orders to pack up for a march, so I started back, thinking we might have to go. When I got back found them packing. We started about 4PM and went out as far as where the brigade had lain, found they had moved out somewhere in the vicinity of U S Ford.
In the morning we laid out the 10 days rations of grain and took in the sick and took them to the new camp. I staid behind to guard the grain, they came back again in the afternoon, and the next morning took on the rest of the sick and our traps and went on to the regt, it is encamped near Banks Ford. The ambulance corps is divided up into brigades. Ours is lying near brigade headquarters about 2 miles farther up the river then tout regt is, one regt lays near us and the others are farther out near U S Ford. The mill for which this place is names is a primitive concern, an overshot wheel with wooden gearing only one run of stone and a hand bolt. The miller had taken off the nut which raises the stone so that the boys should not have it going all the time, but I was down there and put a pry under it and raised it, the water was running on the wheel at the time and off it started with a groan, however when it got going I found it ran very well. We are not more than 60 yards from the pond where we can go in swimming as often as we choose. Close by is an inhabited house which I must describe. It is about 28 x 24 feet built of squared logs, it had a door in each side directly opposite, also two windows or holed rather, about 18 inches square, these are covered by a board hung at the upper edge. The chimney is in one end it is built of squared logs, is about 6 ft square and runs up the same size to the eaves when it is drawn in smaller for two or three feet, it does not go up within 4 or 5 feet of the ridge, of course it is on the outside. Inside it is lined with stone on sides and back, the stones about 8 inches thick and 3 ft high the rest of it is plastered and left full size. The house is divided across by a partition just beyond the doors from the chimney. The house is occupied by two females and I believe are old maids, one of them is sick and I have not seen her, I was in the house for a few minutes, the floor is covered with a rag carpet, the sides and back of the chimney are whitewashed as nice as can be, on one side is a bed and in the other corner is a bureau and against the partition a table well stocked with book, among them I saw two greek and two latin grammers, a copy of Virgil, Byrons poems and several others. Who had read them I did not find out, there were ladies names on the fly leaves. I believe I have spun this letter out long enough, and will close with love to all.
Camp near Crittendens Mill Sabbath afternoon June 7th 1863
Dear fold at home
It is now two weeks since I have received a letter from home. But as I have no doubt they have been written and hoping you are all well I now take my pen to relieve you from suspense on my account. I hope I may receive a letter from you tonight. We remained in camp from which I wrote you last at Bentons Mill until Thursday morning when we started for the old camp for some sick of the 20th Maine, but had not gone more than 2 miles before we met the troops and trains of the 2nd division, which detained us some time, and before they got past an order came for us to return. The troops had come to take the place of our brigade and we were to go further up the river. We took in the sick and started, the road was very fine and about half the way through the woods where the trees were close up to one side of the wagon, and so thick that we could not see more than a rod or two into them. We went about a mile beyond Grove Church and encamped an hour before sundown.
The next day we moved about two miles and encamped where we now are, some 4 miles from Ellis ford and about 12 miles from the Alexandria and Orange RR. Yesterday the ambulances went again to U S Ford for the remainder of the sick, but all of the rest of us staid here, and had orders to march today or rather to be ready. It is said now that we shall have to go and haul all of the sick back to Stonemans switch. Yesterday we heard firing in the direction of Fredericksburg and it is reported that two corps have crossed the river, but do not know anything about it. Day after tomorrow is Letties birthday if I remember rightly, but I have nothing and can only wish her many happy returns.
Love to all Cory
Monday eve Orders came last night to make ready at once and take the sick to div hospital. We got loaded up and started about 11 ½, just moonrise. We traveled all night, stopping ½ or ¾ of an hour for breakfast. We arrived there safely and got back here in time to get supper before dark. I meant to put this in the office when down there but forgot it.
Gum Springs Va June 18th 63
Dear Folks at Home
I do not know but you will be troubled at not receiving the usual letter in time, but on receiving this you know the reason, and I hope you will not be anxious if you should fail again, for appearances seem to indicate that we shall have enough to do to keep busy.
Last Friday two of us went to the hospital at Brooks Station with some sick, we returned to our camp near Ellis ford, the next day about 2PM, about 5 we had orders to go to the regt with ambulances, and from there we started about dark, about 2 the next morning we arrived at Morrisville. We had a little shower just before dark which settled the dust so that it was pretty comfortable marching. The next morning we started on the march about 9 oclock and arrived at Catletts Station just at dark. As I was eating mu supper someone came inquiring for me, and who should it turn out to be but Dennis Sullivan.
The next day we followed along the RR to Manassas Junction all along the road were the remains of cars destroyed on Popes retreat. The day was very hot and dusty quite a number were sun struck. We expected to march the next day from Manassas, and were expecting to start at any moment, or I should have written from there. It was a terrible dry place we had to go a mile for water. Yesterday,(Wednesday) we started from there quite early, we crossed Bulls Run some 3 miles below the battle ground, about 9 or 10 AM and arrived at Centreville at noon and this place about 4PM. It was terrible hot and dusty in the forenoon but quite a breeze in the afternoon, though the sun beat down very hot. Last night we expected to march this morning, but are going to stay here. It has been very hot this morning but a cool breeze is now springing up. This place (it is not a village) is on the RR between Alexandria and Leesburg, there are no rails here as yet, I think the road has never been finished though. I do not know as there will be any chance to send this letter now that I have written it, but there will be in a day or two. I hardly know what to do about writing for the annual it is most too hot to do anything, however I think I will commence it today. I shall leave it to be corrected and dated put in by Lettie from my diary. June 20th. Yesterday and day before I wrote some for the annual, and this morning I finished it.
Night before last it rained some and last night still more, today it is quite cool. Yesterday afternoon we moved along this road (the Winchester and Alexandria Turnpike) about 5 miles nearly to Aldie. There was a fight here in which a number were wounded on the afternoon of the 18th we heard the guns at our camp. There has been no mails here and no chance to send this away, but I shall fold it hoping there will be soon.
Camp near Frederickstown Md June 28th 63
As we seem to be stopping here for the day I take the opportunity of writing you. I got off my letter for the annual last Tuesday by some ambulances that were going to Fairfax C H with wounded. When I last wrote in that we were in camp near Aldie, on Saturday night our div left its camp and marched in the direction of Middleburg. All day Sunday we heard cannonading gradually retreating. In the afternoon our ambulances went to Middleburg and brought in 9 wounded from the 16th Mich and one from ours. The next morning 16 ambulances were ordered to go to Upperville, this is close to Ashbye Gap in the Blue Ridge. We started about 5AM and got there a little after sunrise. There were a good many wounded rebs in the place and our officers were paroling them. We staid in the town a short time and then started back. We stopped at a farmhouse and took in a couple of rebs, and most of the others got loads of rebs or cavalrymen. None of them belonged to our division.
There were some fine farms and houses on that road though it was very hilly, the rougher the country is the richer it seems to be. The farm houses were fitted up with finer outbuildings than you often see even at the north, still there were not near as many of them. Friday we left Aldie, marched through Leesburg and crossed the Potomac at Edwards Ferry and marched about three miles on this side, we did not get into camp until sometime after dark. There was a little rain falling nearly all day but it was cool and comfortable marching. Before we got to Leesburg we passed two particularly fine mansions, one of them was ex-president Monroe’s and the other an old man told me, belonged to the widow Carter, but a boy told me that a man told him that the owner was a general in the rebel army. It was a three story house very large, painted white of built of white stone, with porches supported by tall pillars. There was a very large brick barn, and a conservatory and garden house, and all surrounded by fine trees. It was as beautiful place as you could imagine.
Yesterday we marched from our camp this side of the river to this place. Our march was through a beautiful country, fine substantial farm houses, and such beautiful fields of wheat nearly ready to harvest, on both sides of the road were fields and fields of it as far as we could see, and the best I ever saw. Troops are passing here marching as fast as possible making I suppose for Antietam or Pennsylvania. The whole rebel army is supposed to be in Maryland and marching for Pa. Possibly they may try to get as far as York state. But if Lee does get his army into Pa I do not believe he will get out with it again though he may do a great deal of damage. It is two weeks today since I got a letter from home, I got two of them but it was still one behind. Perry got up with the regt before we left Aldie, he had been stopped at Centreville till they found out which way the corps had gone. I have not been to the regt since we got here. I will close this letter with much love to all.
Middletown Md July 8th 63
Dear folks at home
I suppose you will be disappointed that I did not write last Sunday, but without making any excuses I will go at it now, and tell you what has occured the past week and a half. Well we left our camp last Monday and marched to Liberty a town in Md the next day to Uniontown, the next to Hanover York Co Pa, we got there about 3 PM and stopped there till nearly dark, and then marched on 9 miles farther in the direction of Gettysburg. We had heard some firing and it was reported that a fight was going on at that place.
The next morning we started and marched on some 3 or 4 miles farther on a out-of-the-way road, we finally came out on the Baltimore pike some three miles from G. The troops stopped on the side hill to rest.
About 3 PM, the bugle sounded for our corps to move, we took stretchers to follow them. Another stretcher carrier and myself did not notice that our brigade was ahead, we supposed it was behind and so waited till the division was nearly past before we found it out. We walked along as rapidly as possible to overtake them but found that our brigade had taken a different direction. We turned off the road to the left and passed through a wheat field in front of a battery that was planted in it, we passed into a narrow strip of woods and inquired for our brigade. They thought they has gone farther to the left, we went out into a cleared field, it was very rocky and right in front of us as we were going in was a high hill or mountain it might be called. It did not look as high as it was as we were on part of the range. To the right of us at the foot of this just in the edge of the woods the firing was commencing quite sharp. Near that point our brigade went in, we could not see anything of them and went toward div H Q where we found a wounded man and took him on and carried him to the rear. The firing both of musketry and artillery was now heavy and shells were flying round promiscuously, while we were carrying this man off, we saw the Michigan young lady of whom you no doubt have read, she was on horseback and seemed to have no fear of anything. We kept at work till dark carrying off any of the wounded we came to, when we fell in with another man who was with the brigade when it went in. The firing had now entirely ceased. We went toward that point and soon after the ambulances came up and we went onto the field where I remained till nearly morning, Our loss was severe they came near flanking our brigade, if it had not been for their splendid fighting the rebs would have gotten possession of the hill of which I spoke, which would been bad for us. Our regt lost 129 in killed, wounded and missing only 18 of the latter.
Set 1 - Letters from Warner
Section 1: September 19, 1861 - June 15, 1862
Section 2: June 15, 1862 - July 8, 1863
Section 3: July 14, 1863 - October 6, 1864
Set 2 - Letters re: Warner Family Reunion (24 pages)
Set 3 -
Warner Diary (PDF only, 97 pages)
Back to 44th Regiment During the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 5, 2012