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,
July 14, 1863 - October 6, 1864
Camp near Williamsport Md July 14th 63
Dear folks at Home
I have put off writing a couple of days, partly because it was letter when I wrote you last and partly because I excepted a great battle would be fought and I did not wish to write till it was decided, but the rebs have got out of this state without a battle. I suppose the papers have raised your expectations of the capture of the whole rebel army but that was more of a job than you think for. Some think the rebs were short of ammunition and if we had attacked vigorously they would have had to succumb. But if they had ammunition I think they had the advantage of position and concentration and would have inflicted severe loss if not repulse upon us. I will not pretend to decide, but I had hoped we should have been able to have given them battle, whipped them and virtually ended the war. Our troops caught them before they had all got across and made some prisoners, how many I do not know. It is getting dark and I must wait till morning to finish.
Wednesday eve. I will now commence to tell you what has passed since I wrote you last and where we are. I wrote you last from Middletown. The next day we marched over the mountain about 6 miles. The next day we crossed Antietam creek. We were now some 8 miles from above Sharpsburg and 6 miles from Williamsport and Hagerstown. The next day we moved in battle line some two miles farther up the creek and encamped. The next day we went in line of battle am a mile and a half from the creek we came upon their skirmishers and a few shots were exchanged but we made no attack and I think nobody was hurt. Our brigade went to the rear the others remained in front. Late the next afternoon our brigade moved to the front. Our men had been throwing up breastworks and we went front of them. The Pa reserve corps was in front of us. The Col of the 10th regt his our name and I suspected it was Judson, I had inquired his given name but could only learn his initials, A J, so I determined to find out. So I went down to the front and when he was disengaged I asked him if he was not formerly from western NY, he said that he was, I told him where I was from and my name. He greeted me cordially, invited me to his tent asked me about all of the folks, wished me to give his respects to them, and invited me to come and see him as often as I could. He said that he had been to my regt and inquired if there was anyone that he knew but failed to find anyone. He had a brother-in-law in the regt who had been killed at Yorktown by jumping out of a window in a fit of insanity caused by fever. He is so lame that he can only walk by the help of a cane, caused by a wound received at Antietam. He said that as soon as this campaign is over he was going to Washington to have it operated upon, as there was a piece of bone that kept separating and made him lame. It is dark and I will have to wait till morning.
Thursday afternoon. Camp between Berlin Md and the Potomac. The next morning after I saw Col Warner we advanced toward Williamsport but found that the rebs had completely gone. The next morning we started very early and marched back almost to Middletown, and then turned to the right and marched along parallel to the mountains some miles farther.
We got into camp a little before sundown. It was a very hard march some 25 miles I think. I was very tired though I had nothing to carry. This morning we started early and marched here some 6 miles. I do not see the need of marching us so hard for it looks as if we would have to stay here a day or two.
We have the official report of the surrender of Port Hudson and 13000 men, also another attack on Charleston. Everything looks bright for us except the disgraceful riot in New York. The police and military are too much afraid of hurting somebody it is foolish to waste blank cartridges on such men, sweep the streets with canister shot and they would not long stick out.
I will close this letter with much love to all
Camp in the valley of Va 8 miles from Ashbys Gap July 21st
Dear Folks at Home
As we are lying still today I take this opportunity of writing to you. When I wrote last I said we were between Berlin and the Potomac, but I was mistaken, we were about a mile back from the river and Berlin is close beside it. The night after I wrote you it rained and a good share of the next forenoon. I the afternoon we had orders to march. We went down to the river passing through the place (only a small village) and crossed on a pontoon bridge. The river here I should think is 1000 feet wide. It was formerly crossed by a bridge of ten spans the piers of which still stand high above the water, it was burned since the rebellion commenced. I think both the Baltimore and Ohio RR and the Chesapeake and Ohio canal pass through Berlin which I should think would make it more of a place than it is. After crossing the river we passed up the pike some 2 or 3 miles to Lovettsville and encamped the next day started early and marched some six miles and encamped. We had all of the rest of the day to recruit in, the next day we did the same. The next day we marched I should think about 14 miles but got into camp midafternoon. This is an excellent place for a camp, a fine stream of water which the boys are using plentifully. It is reported around camp that we are to march only 6 or 8 miles a day on this jaunt. They boys do not dislike the idea but they could stand a much harder marching than the artillery horses which have to live mostly on grass.
When we were going through Va going to Pa sherries were ripe and I got all I wanted to eat two or three times. When we were in Maryland there was any quantity of them, trees 2 feet in diameter were loaded with them, I never saw anything like it in York state. Now that we are in Va again I have had ripe apples once or twice and lots of blackberries, we have picked messes of them two or three times. We have had sugar and condensed milk on them you would not know it from cream. The berries grow on low bushes, and some fields are almost black with them.
We miss the houses and barns which stood thick along the roads in Md and Pa, here we march all day and pass only two or three. This morning I got your letter of the 11th which I was very glad to receive. Things look very encouraging for us and I hope less than a year will see this war ended. Meanwhile be of good faith that all will come out all right. Give my love to all friends at home
Camp 3 miles south or Warrenton Va July 28 1863
I now take the opportunity of writing to you and I will commence with the next day after I wrote you last. The next morning our mess went berrying, there were 5 of us, and we got a water pail full and each of us his cup full. A little after noon we received orders to march. We went about 7 miles and encamped near Rectortown. The next day we marched into Manassas Gap within 5 or 6 miles of Front Royal, there was a little fighting by the corps in front of us but what it was we did not learn. The next morning we went a mile farther but were then ordered back, the 3d corps having cleared the Gap and advanced through into the valley. The next day we turned back toward Warrenton and marched 20 miles. It was a warm day and a hard march, that night we had a heavy thunder shower. The next day we marched within 3 miles of Warrenton, a march of some 10 miles. We got into camp in good season I thought we thought we should have rain we could see it falling on the sides of the mountain as plain as could be, but all of the showers went to the left or right along the mountains. The next day (yesterday) we marched past W to this place. We are lying still today, the troops are getting clothing. We may stay a few days in Va this time we have had all the blackberries we wanted every day, this morning three of us went out and got about 8 or 9 qts, but they are getting thin right around here. In regard to the question about gearing, the size makes no difference the speed is in proportion to the no of cogs, for instance the small wheel will make 5 revolutions to the large ones 1.
In regard to politics if you call it that, I can let you know my position. I am for law and order, the suppression of the rebellion, the downfall of slavery, the enforcement of the draft, and the putting down of those who oppose it (with violence) with grape and bayonet. I hope there will be no one in our town foolish enough to make a fuss about it, it will only result in hurt to themselves. The soldiers in this army have suffered too much to see the rebellion triumphant, and its chief corner stone, slavery, exalted, by the shirking cowardice of stay- at-homes. I know of none but say, let the draft be enforced, and I am ready to assist in putting down riots that arise from it. Now above all times, when our forces are victorious everywhere, to give the rebels such aid and comfort, from the very heart of the north.
I understand the 130th is with the army of the Potomac (provost guard at H Quarters it is said) I shall try and find out for certain, and if it is the case will try and visit them.
It is a sad case, of Sloans it would have been better to have died on the battlefield.*
I will close this letter with much love to all
*Sloan committed suicide, either because he was drafted or for hear he would be.
C O Warner
Camp near Warrenton Va Sabbath afternoon Aug 2nd 1863
I have very little of interest to write and it is so warm I shall make a very short letter. We are still in the camp from which I wrote you last. We expected to move yesterday but the General could find no better camping place so we remained here, how long I do not know but I think very likely 2 or 3 weeks. The last few days have been very warm, and now as I stir writing the sweat runs off my chin on drops.
The next day after I wrote last, I went to the 130th Edson Barber was the only one I saw from our place, warren was left sick at Washington. I saw Lysander Willey, Joel Slater and Mary’s husband. I suppose the family gathering has passed and I hope you had a happy time. The news from the West is still encouraging I have some hopes that the war will be ended before my time is out. I don’t see but I will have to wind up this letter. We have done nothing the past week but cook out food and eat it, and the weather when it was not raining has been too hot to do anything. It is too warm today for small talk when you have to write it or moralize, and so I close.
Camp near Rappahannock Aug 9th 1863
Another sabbath has come around, a pleasant day but very hot. I sit down to write you the weekly letter. Last Monday we went to work to clear up the underbrush to put up the picket rope for the horses. In the afternoon we put up bough houses to keep off the sun. About six oclock we received orders to march, so that amounted to nothing.
We marched some 9 miles but it took us till 2 oclock the next morning to accomplish it. When we did stop I lay down under a tree and slept soundly till daylight. Tuesday we did not do much. Wednesday we moved s short distance and began to fix up camp. Thursday and Friday we cleared up and got quite a nice camp fixed. That night we had a heavy shower and about 12 orders came to march at six the next morning. We started about that time and after a short march arrived at this place about noon.
There were reports last night that we should march from here this morning, but we have not left yet. For some reason unknown, none of the NY troops in this corps have received any mail for the past 3 or 4 days, whether it is so in other corps I do not know. I received yours of the 25th last Monday. Mother says Harvey has bought the Quinlin farm, I did not know it before. Where did they Quinlin’s go? I remember seeing Miss Hayden with Lucy in Albany. How much longer does L attend school there? It is said we shall be paid tomorrow, but the first and second brigades were paid off two months ago, and have got their pay again now. Ours is a different paymaster and I suppose has been speculating with our money. We have had two days rations of soft bread the past week if we stay here long we shall get more. When we were in Md and Pa we could buy all we wanted but here it is impossible. Last Thursday I had a hard ague chill and did not feel well Friday and Saturday, but quinine broke up the fever and today I am feeling as well as usual. I am sorry Kitty got hurt, she must be growing if she has got big enough to be hit.
Give my love to all
Camp near the Rappahannock Aug 17th 1863
Dear folks at Home
I did not write the usual letter yesterday as I was waiting to get yours. But as it did not come I go at it this morning. Last Monday we got our pay, and Tuesday I sent you a letter with 49 dollars in it, I hope you have got it by this time. On the same day we moved our camp into the woods. We have a nice place in an oak grove on a dry knoll. On Wednesday I got a box of cake by mail, it was very nice, but I do not think it was worth the postage. Wednesday night or Thursday morning we had a hard thunder shower. The boys said the lightening and thunder were almost incessant, but I scarcely noticed it, sleeping soundly all the time. About all we have done the past week is to clean up and fix camp, but I do not think we shall stay long. The regulars of the corps, 2 brigades left during the week, and yesterday it was said the 12th corps and pontoons were going off on the cars. From appearances I should say that part of this army is being taken to reinforce other points, and that we shall fall back to the defense of Washington till reinforced by the conscripts. WE are now looking eagerly for news of the grand attack upon Charleston which was expected to come off the 13th.
I hope the people at home begin to think better of the draft. The sooner a large force is thrown into the field the sooner the rebellion will be crushed, and the more lives saved. If instead of the first call for 75000 it had been 3 or 60000000, it might have been done long ago, but not so effectively, I think. The cause now will be removed and this warturn out a blessing to our country.
Sabbath afternoon Aug 23d 63
I now seat myself to write the usual letter. Yours of the 17th I received Friday, but that of the 10th I did not get till yesterday. It had been to the 94th NY, be a little more careful of the 4s I have had one do so before. We are still in the camp in the woods very little to do and no excitement, although we are all interested in the news from Charleston. We get pretty much all of the dailies, everything seems to be progressing favorably, and I have the greatest faith that it must fall.
The rebel loan seems to have completely collapsed in England, and I believe the capture of Charleston will have a great effect to hasten the termination of the war. We only want the conscript hurried along, so that we can give Lee another good beating, and the thing is done. Unless England should choose to be obstinate about paying our merchants for the damage they have done to our shipping, we may soon hope for peace. The fore part of the week was quite cool, indeed the mornings were almost chilly, but the latter part has been warmer. Nothing of interest occurs, we have a little policing to do each day, and cook our food of which we have but few dishes. We have soft bread part of the time, fried pork and flour gravy, we feel greatly the need of vegetables.
We had inspection this morning. Fox is at the regt and well. George S is a greater fool than I thought to take the means ho did to get rid of serving his country. I am sure I know of no particular thing you ought to study if you go to school. You know best in what you are deficient. Has father contracted his chees yet this year? And how much does he get?
I close with much love to all
Aug 30th 63
This is another beautiful Sabbath afternoon, and I again seat myself to write to you. Your letter of the 24th I received last night, and whether through its influence or not I was dreaming all night of being at home on a furlough and when the bugle blew this morning I thought it was up to Mr Qs. The visit did not seem to do me much good for I do not remember of seeing any of our folks, and I got up with aching bones and have a touch of the ague. However I do not intend to be sick. I should like very much to be at S, but for the present the army is my home and I do not mean to be as homesick as mother seems to be every time she writes. If I was at home I would return Nellies kisses with interest but they do not seem to be of much interest through a letter. By your letter you do not seem to have received the money which I sent the 11th it is high time you had got it, I hope it is not lost.
The past week has been cool and pleasant. We have had nothing of particular interest until yesterday, when 5 men belonging to the 118th Pa were shot to death by musketry. All the regts of our corps were ordered out to witness the execution. The troops were formed in lines on a side hill, on the other side of a little brook the graves were dug in plain view, the procession moved from the guard house headed by the band playing the dead march. Next a guard of 60 men with loaded guns, next a coffin borne by 4 men and followed by one of the condemned men with blue pants and white shirt, with hand tied behind and a guard on each side then another coffin and another criminal, behind them all a squad of 50 men the executioners. They marched through the lines of our division then along the front then crossed the brook and marched along in front of their graves, the executioners in front of them, the coffins were placed at the foot of the graves and the condemned men seated on them, they then had some conversation with their spiritual advisors, the death warrant was read, a black cloth was tied over their faces, the order, ready, aim, fore was given and they were launched into eternity. It is a solemn thing to pout death human beings but they met with very little sympathy for they had repeatedly enlisted and deserted and then came out as substitutes and again deserted.
Last night we received the glorious news of the capture of Sumter and Wagner. I shall not need boots at present as those I got last winter are not worn out yet, I have been wearing shoes this dry weather. My pen is so poor, and as I do not feel well I will close this letter, I hope you will be able to read it.
Sept 13th 1863
Another week has passed and I sit down to write the usual letter. Things have been going on as usual in camp, nothing of interest. Friday night I got the home letter of the 6th, we also received the cheering news of the capture of Chattanooga and Forts Wagner , Gerry and Sumter. Yesterday the cavalry, flying artillery, and some infantry advanced in the direction of Culpepper, we have heard firing in that direction and we are under marching orders to support them, till I do not think there is much danger of our moving, unless the rebs have fallen back from the Rapidan. We continue to live very well for soldiers, we have several times bought beets and made nice pickles of them. The last of last month we went to New York and bought a case of condensed milk and last Monday we got it, it only cost us 18cts an can and here we have paid from 60 to 75 cts a can and used a good deal of it too, it goes good in coffee and bread puddings, our oven bakes things of that kind very nicely.
You have had considerable to say about cousin Nellie since she has been there but you have said nothing of how she looks or how old she is, I should think if she wanted my likeness she might have sent me hers, you speak to her about it.
Since we have had a new officer in command of this corps (I do not know as I have spoken of it before) we have had things carried on a little more strictly than before, we have bugle call for watering, for feeding horses, we have had more clearing up camp and fixing and strict roll calls, still it is not hard at all. I do not go to the regt very often as they are half a mile from here and I don’t know as I should go oftener if they were nearer, there is no one there but Fox from our way, he was well Thursday, Willis and Perry have not got back yet.
Camp near Culpepper Sept 20th 63
Dear folks at home
Another wee has passed, and I sit down to write the usual letter. Last Tuesday evening we received orders to be ready to march at six the next morning. We were up early and a little after daylight started. Most of the ambulances went to Bealton with the sick, so all of the trains got between us and the troops. We crossed the Rappahannock about noon on a pontoon bridge and there being so many trains ahead of us we did not get into camp near this place until after dark. The next morning we passed through Culpepper and about a mile and a half beyond it, here the troops encamped, our train went back toward the village about half a mile and encamped. We are in a nice place and have a fine view of the Blue Ridge mountains, I think they are beautiful, when we first came they looked dull more like clouds, but yesterday it rained and today they look much nearer, we can see the bare spots on them. They always appear a dark blue, I do not know but all mountains appear so. Mother says there was a man there soliciting money for the Christian commission to buy reading matter for the soldiers and wants to know if I see any of it. I have seen some from that source but hardly any worth reading, one would think from looking at it, that they thought only half witted persons had enlisted and bought child books and papers for them. If they would only get standard magazines even if they were old they would be read.
I commenced reading The Pearl of Orrs Island yesterday and have nearly finished it, I like it very much. I have not studied Latin at all this summer I have not felt like studying. Yesterday and last night were quite cold, today it is warmer but a chilly wind is blowing. I am sorry Kittie cannot study geography because I have her map, I think when I get my pay I will send some money to get her one. I hope it may go safer than the last I sent. We are going to have a nice pot of succotash for supper, we had got the corn and beans in and it had just got to boiling when an unlucky rail burned off and over it went and spilled nearly all of it, we had some more corn and got on another pot of it but the corn was harder and so not so good, but we have drawn some soft bread and so shall do very well for supper. Your letter of the 13th was received Friday night I am glad the girls have had a chance to see the falls I should have liked to have been with them. I will close this letter and attend to my supper.
Love to all Cory
Camp near Culpepper Courthouse Sept 27th 63
Your letter of the 20th was received Friday and was welcome as they always are. This is a very pleasant day just warm enough to be comfortable. Yesterday there was a strong cold wind blowing and last night came near being a frost. I have very little to tell about how the week is passed, one week is like another unless we are on the move. But I am always interested in you review of the week.
Last Monday we went to a brick kiln which is near here and got a load of bricks and built us an oven, it is quite a large one large enough for the ambulance corps of this brigade to bake in, we used mud for mortar and got a very neat arched roof to it.
The news the past week has been very interesting, we felt considerable anxiety for the fate of Rosencranz, but at last accounts he considered himself able to hold Chattanooga. We expected last Tuesday to march but now there does not seem much prospect of it.
Last Friday we heard from reliable sources that the 2nd corps were at Alexandria shipping, where to we did not know. Today we have a report that a large force from Grants Army is at Fortress Monroe, which is to join with the 2nd corps from this army and Pecks forces and move on Richmond by the peninsula, if that is true, when the army in front of us is drawn back to defend Richmond we shall probably move forward.
I think the prospects are bright for closing the was in good time. England has put a veto on the sailing of the rams evidently thinking she had better not get into was with us. The people at home must do their duty at the ballot box this fall, and if they do I think it will have an influence for good on the war. We must have men that will support the administration, it may not be the best but I believe it is honest, and if it is not embarrassed by traitors in office at home, will do its best to end the war. If aunt Frank wants letters from me she must write to me, my address has not changed in two years and I wrote her last. I hate writing letters and do not know as I should write so many home if I thought I could get letters the same. We got our pay Friday and IU shall send some home by and by.
With much love to all Cory
Camp near Culpepper Oct 3d 63
Dear Folks at home
I have not yet got the usual letter from home, which I have lately got Friday nights, but perhaps I shall get it tonight. I intend to send home ten dollars in this letter, I do not know whether I shall have any more to send or not.
I took out my boots this morning to have them fixed up a little when I found that on one of the boots the sole had broken clear in two where the top had been put on so that water will pass in almost as if there were no sole at all. The uppers are good yet and I was going to have the heels fixed up and I could have worn them a good while. The shoemaker here in the train lays it to the nails injuring the leather, so I want the boots sent on and no nails put in them. The shoemaker in the train wants some shoe findings send, I shall get pay of him in work. He wants a patent pegging awl handle such as uncle P uses and half a doz awls, 2 qts of pegs ½ and 5/8, 4 papers of 5/8 iron shoe nails, I want a few shorter that I can have put in the toes of my boots just where I want them. I wish you to get a 6 or 8 qt pail and fill it with good butter and also send me 25 pounds of cheese. I am well provided with clothes though I have not drawn my allowance into $25.00, I shall get the money instead next pay day. As I did not have to carry my knapsack I have saved clothing instead of throwing it away as I should have done if I had to. Please send me half a pound of saleratus and 50cts worth of nutmegs, we draw pepper rations now so I do not want any of that. You can send some dried corn, apples and other frit and whatever else you like. Our mess now consists of the happy and lucky number seven. We have a table to sit to and eat our meals and wash our dished like civilized people. We have had most beautiful weather generally but yesterday it rained all day, today it has been pleasant.
I have just heard that the rain of yesterday caused a freshet that injured the RR bridge so that no trains have been up today so perhaps I shall not get a letter. I do not know as I have anything more to write and will close.
Fairfax CH Oct 15th 1863
Dear Folks at Home
I suppose you will be somewhat anxious at not receiving the usual letter from me, as it is now Thursday and I am now writing it, I think you will excuse me. Last week we began to think we were likely to stay at Culpepper some time, and so Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we worked at building us a hut, we had got things well along and were comfortably sleeping in it when we were called up at one oclock Saturday morning and were to pack up everything and be ready to move in 15 minutes. We went to the regt and got the worst cases of sickness and took them to the cars. We got back to camp about daylight, and started for the front. We advanced about 4 miles and returned again that afternoon to the old camp again. We were awakened at half past three the next morning, we got us a good breakfast and at daylight started on the march toward the Rappahannock, we crossed it about 3 PM and went into park. The next morning we were routed to at 3:30 and started. We marched down to the river and in the afternoon crossed it. We took stretchers and followed the troops toward Culpepper, but the cavalry drove the small force of the enemy that followed us, so that we had no fighting. We went about 4miles and stopped at dark, the ambulances had not followed us and we had no blankets, we made a good fire of rails and laid down by it and got some sleep, about 11 a seargent came and told us to go to the train which had followed us part of the way, we got to it after an hours march and I laid down and got some more sleep, but we were routed out again at one and started back across the river, we got across at daylight but kept on till night, we did not stop long enough at any time to make coffee. We stopped at sundown at Cattlet Station and encamped. The next morning we were up early and started as soon as light. We got to Manassas Junction at 4 PM, but had been there but a short time before we were ordered back to Cub Run, to support the 2nd corps which was having a sharp engagement with the enemy. We staid there a while and then returned to the junction about 11 oclock.
Soon after we started for Centreville, we marched very slowly and whenever we stopped long enough to sit down I was so tired and sleepy that I would fall asleep, we got to C at 4 yesterday morning and laid down and slept awhile. About 11 AM we started for this place and got here about 3 PM. We got a good supper, pitched out tent and as soon as it was dark went to sleep and slept till 8 this morning, but my eyes have not fairly got over aching yet.
As to the state of affairs I cannot tell much. The enemy attempted to turn our right flank but did not succeed. In the engagement at Cub Run we whipped them badly and took a battery of cannon. You will see the account in the papers if you read them. The rebs may make a dash into Maryland. I shall write again Sunday unless we are on the march as we were last Sunday. In my last I sent ten dollars and directions to send me a box, send it along we shall be about Washington awhile I think, I shall probably get a letter from you tomorrow night, telling of the receipt of the money if you have got it, if not I will write again telling you what to send. Kitties letter I received and will write her if we stay here long enough to get rested. Give my love to all
Camp near New Baltimore Va Oct 22nd 63
Dear Sister I now sit down to recount what has taken place since I wrote you last from Fairfax. I dated that letter the 25th but it was the 16th. That afternoon just at dark we had orders to march. Soon after we hauled out, a heavy thunder shower came up which lasted for an hour, but as we were standing still for the troops to pass I got into an ambulance and kept dry.
We marched some three miles toward Centreville and went into camp about 11 oclock, it had cleared off finely. The next day we moved within a mile of Centreville and remained the rest of the day and night. The next morning (Sunday) we were routed out at 4AM and as soon as it was light started towards Fairfax again. We got to the place that we left Friday night, about 10 AM and went into camp thinking we should remain the rest of the day, but we had not been there more than a couple of hours before we hitched up and started again. We went around about course some 5 or 6 miles over bad roads and again encamped. The next morning we were up early and started as soon as it was light, we went about ¾ of a mile and found ourselves where we were at noon the day before, we then started toward Centreville, passed through it crossed Bull Run and encamped on the old battlefield. The traces of the battle were plainly to be seen, no graves had been dug for most of the dead they had been left lying where they had died and dirt dug up from each side and thrown upon them, the rains had washed off the dirt in many cases leaving the bones bare, many were found in the wood that had never been covered at all. Our men covered them up more decently but the plow will turn them up if the land is ever cultivated again.
The next morning we started early and moved on to Gainesville where we stopped some 3 or 4 hours and then came on here. We laid here all day yesterday and I should have written but I wanted to wait and get the letter you had written receipting the money. I got it this morning and also a letter from Henry saying that the box was ready and that father was going to B the next day and would take it. How long we shall stay here I do not know but I think we shall soon be in a camp to stop for a while. We are now about 5 or 6 miles from Warrenton. With much love to all I close this letter.
Virginia Oct 25th 1863
Dear Folks at Home
This is a bright beautiful Sabbath morning, and I suppose about this time you are on your way to church.
I know of no name to date this letter from but it is in Virginia and perhaps that is enough. I wrote you last Monday from camp near New Baltimore and I suppose we are no more than 4 or 5 miles from there now. Thursday we moved camp about a mile to get up on drier ground. Friday we did nothing particular, toward night it began to rain and rained most of the nigh and the next day. About 4PM yesterday we received orders to pack up, we started on the march just at dark. It was very muddy but not dark as there was a good moon, we marched some 4 or 5 miles and went into camp between 10 and 11, it cleared off bright soon after we got into camp but has been cold since. We are now somewhere between New Baltimore and the Orange and Alexandria RR and I think not more than 5 miles from the former place. How long we shall remain here or where we shall go I of course cannot tell. I received you letter of the 18th yesterday.
Our mess at present consists of seven. Seargeant Darwin F Godfrey, a native of Batavia NY, James Pierce and George Arnold of Duchess county, Charles F Sigourney from Albany Co., John Smith from Troy NY and john C Thrall from Schoharie Co. We have a mess box which we got up while in Culpepper, it is as long as the ambulance is wide (baout4 feet) 18 inches wide and 6 deep, it is fastened with a strap and buckle at each end, between the bed pieces underneath the box and so rides with it on the springs, we can put it on or take it off on less than a minute, when set upon the ground the cover forms a convenient table. We have not been living very high lately hard tack, pork and coffee being our usual fare, but as we have good appetites it is better than richer food without. I think I will close this for the present but if I cannot send it till tomorrow I may add more.
Camp on the Warrenton RR Nov 1st 1863
Dear folks at home
This is another beautiful Sabbath morning, and I now seat myself to write to you. Nothing of interest occurred last week until Friday, when we left the camp from which I wrote you last, to come here a short march of 4 or 5 miles. We are now at Three Mile station about three miles from Warrenton Junction. We have our camp in a grove of oak and hickory second growth timber, and only a short distance from the RR. If we stay here a week or so I think we may get our express boxes.
Yesterday when we got up it was raining but it cleared up before noon and it has been pleasant since. I received the home letter with Fathers and mothers likenesses yesterday. I do not exactly like them but I do not know but that they are natural, Mother I should think has grown older looking. What do you think of my trying for a commission in a negro regt, Spaulding of Springville has one for a captain. The only thing needed is to be qualified in military tactics and education, I think I could pass examination by studying tactics two or three weeks. The pay is good and the service is not very hard. I suppose it consigns one to the army for two or three years more, tell me what you think of it in your next letter. I wrote to Henry last week, I have not seen Fox for a few days back, when I last saw him he was well. As too bad habits I do not think he has contracted any, I am sure he does not gamble and that is one that is carried on a good deal I do not think he drinks either, but he says he does not like to write letters it is hard work. I have not heard anything from Willis and Perry, if Harrison and Charley are assigned to a regt in this army you must let me know the division and corps and I will try to see them. This must be a country for game I should think, since I have been writing this letter the boys have caught a fox that came running through the camp, as I have nothing more of interest to write I will close this letter.
Camp near Kellys Ford
Monday Nov 9th 1863
Dear folks at home
As we are likely to stop here for some time I commence this letter to you. Last week passed much as others have till Friday night when we received orders to be ready to march at half past six the next morning. We were up in good season and just at daylight we hauled out across the river and shortly after started toward Bealton, we struck the remains of the RR at that place at a little after nine and proceeded beyond a mile or so, when our division was thrown to the left of the road shortly after they deployed and advanced toward the river, a heavy skirmish line was thrown in front of the main body. Just at dark the skirmishers made a charge on the fort and drove the rebs out of it, the sixth corps farther up the river knocked away the bridge and so they were taken prisoners. We captured in all some 1900 prisoners and 5 cannon. Yesterday we marched down to Kellys ford and in the afternoon crossed. We are now on the south side of the Rappahannock about a mile from Kelly ford. It is said that the 2nd corps had a fight not far from here and captured a number of prisoners but I know nothing for certain about it. I am inclined to think we shall get nearer Richmond than we have been at any time the past year this time. The boys are in the best of spirits, and yesterday when Gen Meade passed they gave him rousing cheers, a thing they have not done for any general in a long time. The last 4 or 5 days have been cool but good weather for marching, yesterday the dust flew like snow. The box did not come yet, will not probably till we get into winter quarters, but I shall get along very well without it and it will not spoil. Your letter of the first I received Friday night. I will close this letter so as to get it off.
Camp near Kellys Ford Sunday Nov 15th 1863
Your letter of the 5th came to hand this morning and I now sit down to answer it. When I wrote last Sunday from the other side of the river I thought we should be nearer Richmond before I should write again, but just before dark that night our div received orders to pack up, and we returned to this side of the river. That evening there was a little sleep or snow and it was pretty cold. The next morning we moved camp a short distance so as to get a place sheltered from the wind and we are here yet, but the principal part of our forces are very near the Rapidan. The road and bridge are nearly completed and I presume the cars will run to Culpepper by tomorrow night. We have just received orders to be ready to march and I think we will leave here as soon as tomorrow.
Friday and Saturday were quite warm, last night we had a thunder shower and this morning a continuation of it, but it had cleared off and is now pleasant but colder. I am glad Willis and Perry have got home but as long as I am well I do not expect to. I do not think a soldier that was considered fit for duty has gone home to vote. Time is slipping away rapidly and it wants only ten months to complete my three years, and I have hopes that the war will be ended before that. I think a great many thinks look favorable for it. I hope Libbie has got a good husband. Thank Kittie for the letter I hope she will have a pleasant time going to school this winter.
I close this letter with much love to all.
Monday morning. We were under marching orders yesterday because a force of rebs crossed the Rapidan, but were driven back without our help. We will probably stay here a few days yet.
Sunday Nov 22nd 1863
Camp near Kelly Ford Southside
Dear folks at Home
The letter with Willies likeness and Kitties letter came today and I sit down to answer it. Lettie wishes I would write longer letter, but I don’t see how I can when there is nothing to write about. WE remained in the camp from which I wrote you last until Thursday morning when we were awakened early with orders to be ready to march at 8 oclock. We were ready about that time and started, we came to this side of the river about 2 miles from the ford, we are now about 4 miles from Brandy Station.
The same night we signed the pay rolls and Friday we got our pay but I shall not send any of it in this letter. Yesterday morning when we got up it was raining and it kept at it pretty much all day and as raining when we went to bed, but it cleared off during the night and is fine today. Today we have sent all of the sick to the RR and we did some think there would be a forward movement tomorrow, but the rain has probably put that off for a few days. We have not got the boxed yet though it is said they were ordered up Friday, they are perfectly safe as long as they remain in Washington, and I had my old boots fixed up so they will do very well for a few weeks longer. A good many boys in our regt have got commissions in negro regts and I have looked into the tactics several times the past week debating whether I had btter try for one or not. I have nothing more of interest to write and will close this letter.
In camp Nov 22nd
Dear Sister Kittie
I received your letter this morning and am glad to see by it that you are improving your handwriting. I hope you will continue to improve. By Willies picture I should think he had grown considerably, he must be a pretty large boy by this time. I do not know of anything of interest that I can write you unless I tell you of the house we live in If you were to take two sticks about as long as you are tall with a fork on one end and tick the other end in the ground six or seven feet apart then lay a pole into the forks, take two sheets and fasten the edges to the ground so that it would be shaped something like a hen coop, only a little larger, then fasten another sheet at one and you would have a house such as we live in, sometimes we put a small log on each side to prevent our rolling out. Then I if we can get straw, leaves or grass to put under us we have as good a bed as we want. How would you like to live in such a house as that.
I hope you will make good improvement this winter so as to write me a long letter next summer.
Your brother Cory
Camp near Rappahannock Station Dec 6th 1863
It is now two weeks since I wrote you last and I suppose you will be anxious at not hearing from me.
Two weeks ago Tuesday we started out to march, but it rained so the order was countermanded. But Thursday we started again and crossed the Rapidan and some 5 or 6 miles beyond it. The next day we marched along a plank road all day through a perfect wilderness seeing scarcely the smallest clearing. There was some skirmishing on our advance but we heard quite heavy firing on out right. The next day we marched by a circuitous route some 4 or 6 miles and came out on a turnpike at a place called Roberts Tavern. Here our men had thrown up breastworks. About a mile and a half ahead there was skirmishing, evidently the rebels were there. The next morning (Sunday) we marched to the front and out brigade relieved a portion of the 2nd corps on picket. Our pickets were stationed in the edge of a thick pine woods the reserve were a little farther back in the woods and so sheltered from bullets. About 500 yards in front of our pickets was quite a large brook and a little farther on were the rebel pickets stationed in rifle pits. The main rebel works were on the top of a hill some ½ or ¾ of a mile from our pickets. All that day whenever a man showed himself in the edge of the woods the rebs would fire at him but the distance was so great that only one man in our regt was hit and only slightly wounded. The next morning precisely at 8 oclock our cannon opened with a brisk fire on the rebel works and continues for half an hour but elicited scarcely any [ ] , the rebs not caring to unmask their guns. The rest of the day was quite still scarcely any firing between the pickets. The next day all of the trains and heavy artillery were sent to the rear, and at night as soon as dark all of the troops except the picket line started to recross the river. At three the next morning we were relieved by a cavalry picket and we marched back to Roberts Tavern where we were met by the picker from the rest of the army. We marched the 7 miles back to the river in the quickest time I ever walked that distance, getting there a little after daylight. We put out stretchers into the wagons and marched 4 or 5 miles toward Brandy Station. The next day our corps marched to this place some 10 or 12 miles. The corps is now scattered along the river, from Rappahannock station to Centreville guarding the RR. Our boys commenced fixing up log huts, but yesterday PM we received marching orders but they got countermanded. It looks very much as if we should stay here for some time. I hope so. Yesterday we came in here and commenced to put up quarters. The last day I was across the river I saw Charley, he feels some homesick but I guess he will stand it. Hess split off half his big toe. I went also to see Jerry Turner and learned that he was killed at Fredericksburg last spring.
I am sorry the teacher is not able to teach you I would live to have you study the languages. The latin grammer I have is an old edition and some of the leaves are out, if I were going to school I should get another, the reader I have you would not want till you had studied two or three terms. I am sorry Kittie does not like the teacher but she must do the best she can, I dare say Emma well be willing to help you whenever you wish it.
Camp near Rappahannock station Dec 13th 63
Dear folks at Home
This morning is warm and sunshiny the warmest day we have had for two weeks. We have been hard at work the past week putting up winter quarters, we got into ours last Wednesday, we have got better quarters than we had last winter but not quite so large. Our house for four of us is about 9 feet square inside it is logged up about as high as the shoulder and has a double thick canvas for a roof so it will not leak a bit. Our camp is in a grove of oak and hickory beautiful strait timber, so we had the material for building, there had been a great many ties got out for the RR and of course we levied on them, we have the floor of our tent made of them. We intend this week to put up another shanty for a cook tent and mess room for the squad, so this will be only a sleeping and sitting room and we can keep it as nice as can be. We have made this snug and warm and no matter how cold it may be we shall be warm enough, we are about ¾ of a mile from the regt which is on the other side of the RR/ The gurillas are so troublesome that we have to keep a picket to the rear and it is unsafe to go outside it except with a force. The body of Dr Free was brought in Friday he was killed the day before, the quartermaster seargeant who was with him escaped.
The past week has been cold but yesterday it was warm and thawing but little during the day, but yesterday it was warm and last night it rained all night , today it is warm so that the frost is out of the ground making it very muddy so there will be no danger of a move for some time I think we are in for the winter, the express boxes have not come yet but I think we will get them soon. As I have nothing more of interest to write I will close this letter.
Camp near Rappahannock Station
Dear Folks at home
Another week has passed and I seat myself to write the usual letter. I got no letter from home last week and have not got one this but I hope I may tonight.
Last Monday we went at it to put up our kitchen, Tuesday night we had it nicely finished. It is about 13 ft long and 7 wide, at one end there is a wide fire place and along one side there is a table long enough for three on one side and one at each end. Tuesday night it rained all night and most of the day Wednesday. That night I got the box, the pears had rotted and the juice had run out of the cherries but the rest was all right.
I was much pleased with the picture it looks natural except the fence but as that has been moved I suppose that looks natural too. The cheese and butter are first rate and the boots fit well. I thank Kittie for the butternut meats and the pincushion.
I was over to the regt last night, I found the wind very cold when I got out of the woods. The boys have very comfortable quarters. Last night it froze the hardest it has since we have been here, half an inch of ice on a pail of water, it seems odd to read of jams of ice in the rivers north. If we can stay here we shall be very comfortable, we have warm quarters and good hickory and oak wood are abundant. I believe I shall risk $20 dollars in this letter if it is lost I shall not want to send any more.
Much love to all Cory
Sabbath morning Dec (27th) 1863
Your letter of the 20th was received last evening and I now sit down to answer it. The pat week has been pleasant but steady cold weather, we have been engaged most of the time clearing up camp. There has been considerable excitement in the camp about reenlisting, the inducements are the large bounties paid to veterans and furloughs. Almost the whole Mich regt in our brigade reenlisted, all who had less than one year to serve could reenlist. Thursday the officers commenced to celebrate Christmas by drinking till they got very noisy. Friday we had oyster soup for dinner and apple pie, in the evening we had fried cakes and cheese, and for those who wanted it milk punch “Commisary” was abundant and many drank it till they were noisy or stupid, and then were rewarded with violent head and stomach aches. I let it alone because I thought it foolish to drink stuff that anyone would make faces at if it were medicine, when I had no disease. Reuben was over Thursday and took supper with me. I got your letter of the 13th Friday night, it had been to the 49th. The one before that I have not got at all, you must be careful how you make those figures. I sent a letter home last Sunday with 20 dollars in it I hope it will get there safe. I shall probably send my diary home next week, I have not a new one. It commenced raining a short time ago and it looks as if it would continue some time. I do not think I shall try for a commission for I am fond of soldiering.
Give my love to all friends
Camp near Rappahannock Station
Saturday morning Jan 2nd 1864
Dear sister, your letter of Christmas time just received and as I have nothing else to do just now will answer it. The week has been pretty much like the others. Thursday it rained all day here but I suppose it snowed at home, for yesterday morning the Blue mountains were white with snow.
I must tell you what we had for dinner yesterday, turkey stewed with potatoes and dumplings, boiled onions, minced pie apple sauce, bread and butter and coffee. In the evening we had some good Rhode Island Greenings, they tasted the most homelike of anything I have eaten in a long time.
Where has Nellie been, I thought she had gone home?
Last night I think was the coldest I have seen in Va, it froze hard and the going is very rough. I thought I could make something of a letter when I commenced but I can think of nothing of interest. Time passes away here quite rapidly we have plenty of reading, for the Sanitary commission agent is here and we can get all the magazines from him that we wish. A great many troops in this army are reenlisting, nearly the whole of the 16th Mich regt went home, this morning 20 or more have gone from our regt. As for the hair I will send you the best I can but I keep it much shorter than I did at home. I will send my diary at the same time as this
Give my love to all
Saturday eve Jan 2nd
Dear sister I wrote you today and said I would send you the hair in it, but I forgot to put it in. So I thought I would write you again this evening.
When I sent home the 40 dollars I asked some questions in regard to aunts O’s husband but as you did not get the letter the questions have not been answered. You call him Doctor, of what? Divinity or Medicine, dos he preach, or has he retired? Was he a bachelor or widower? Any information in regard to it will be thankfully received. I have not heard from her since the happy event. I have sent home the diary, I hope you will get it safely though I do not think you will find it very interesting.
I have done the best I could in the way of hair, mine is not thick nor long but if it was summer I might have that length cut off all over my head. I have no idea how much you want.
I hope cousin Nellie will not forget to send me her likeness, I want to see how she looks.
Camp near Rappahannock Station Jan 10th 1864
Your letter of the 4th I received last evening. It seems you have been having some cold weather for the new year. We have been having cold weather here for Va, but nothing near as cold as you tell of, we have had no nights here so cold that we could not sleep comfortably. Monday it snowed all day, and just at evening we received orders to be ready to march. I tell you it made me a little homesick to think of having to leave our comfortable quarters to go out and bivouac in such weather. However the week has passed and we have not moved and shall not for the order was countermanded Friday. Friday morning we found two more inches of snow on the ground, enough to make passable sleighing if we had sleighs. Yesterday the stuff we put up at Halls Hill came to the regt. Of all the stuff which my tent mates and myself put up there was nothing left but blankets, all of our books, portfolio paper and the like were gone, and I could find none of them, there was plenty of blankets and we shall sleep soft and warm for the rest of the winter. I have read the past week, No Name, by Wilke Collins, one of those long English stories from Harpers, I found it interesting much more so than I expected. I sent you two letters last week besides the diary. I hope you may have many pleasant sleigh tides this winter and not have nights so cold you cannot sleep.
Much love to all Cory
Camp near Rappahannock Station Saturday eve Jan 16th 64
Dear Folks at Home
Your letter of the 10th was received this morning. Last Tuesday my tent mates and myself went to an artist here and had our pictures taken together, from which we are to have some photographs, we expect to get them the first of the week. That week the headquarters of the second brigade was attacked by guerillas as the quarters were surrounded by a brush fence through which they could not dash. So our commander became alarmed and had all of us at work to build a fence around our camp. As timber was plenty it did not take us long.
Thursday I put a window in our tent which makes it much pleasanter. Yesterday I went to Alexandria. The 8(7)th Pa are train guards and have to go every day and are quite willing to let anyone go in their place. I had my likeness taken and shall have the photographs in a week or so. I will send one home for Nellie if she is there, if not I will send it to her if you will send me her address.
I can think of nothing more to write tonight and will stop till morning. Sunday morning. This morning is sunshiny but cold wind is blowing. I was over last evening to see Reuben, he has been sick since Christmas, the Dr says it may be two months before he is well, he is able to be around but not to do anything. Mrs Fox sent me a nice roll of butter and some cheese in his box. I did not suppose the postage on the diary would be so much.
Give my love to Nellie, her father and all the rest of our friends
Good bye Cory
Saturday eve Jan 23d
I am on guard tonight between 11 and 12, and as I do not want to go to bed till it is over I am going to write you a letter. This is a most splendid evening, the full moon is shining brightly and there is not a cloud in the sky. I should dearly love to be riding home from singing school about this time. This must be a beautiful evening for sleigh riding though the snow disappeared here last Monday.
I suppose Nellie will have gone before this reaches you if she has not already, and you will be feeling somewhat lonesome, still I suppose you will have enough to do to keep it from affecting you much. I do not know but that I shall get into the habit of doing nothing, that I shall be useless when I get home, but I hope not. I generally spend a part of each day at least in studying or reading, and hope to be some wiser when my term of enlistment expires than when it was commenced. I shall certainly have gained some experience which I think will not be without use to me.
Last Sunday it was lowery and rainy all day, it rained all that night and the day following, carrying off all of the snow and making it very muddy. Tuesday we laid a sidewalk in front of our tents. Wednesday my tent mates and myself went to the artists and sat for our pictures again, the artist was not satisfied with the former one and so sis not print the photographs from it. Thursday was pleasant but nothing going on. Yesterday evening went over to the regt to see Reuben, found him getting better. When I got back found your letter of the 17th here. Will seems to be getting to be a fast young man, taking the young ladies out to ride, who can they be I wonder, you are continually mentioning names of persons in your letters that I either never knew or have forgotten. It does not seem as if I had been away long enough for that. I suppose that Amelia W that was, considering the scarcity of young men thinks she has secured a prize and treats him accordingly. I should judge that returned soldiers would find no difficulty in getting mated. I see in the papers that there are 34000 females in the state of Mass unprovided for, I should think some of them had better migrate to the far west where the sex is scarcer and commands a premium.
All of the boys are asleep an there is no noise but the flapping of the canvas, and I suppose I might scribble away a long while to you if I had anything worth writing, but as I haven’t I will quit. It has been reported around today that our regt was going to Alexandria to do guard duty on the trains, I hope if they do that we shall remain here. Give my love to all friends and a large share for the folks at home.
Your brother Cory
Sunday eve. The regt really goes to A at 8 oclock this evening we remain here for the present at least.
Camp near Rappahannock Station Feb 2nd 1864
Dear folks at home
Your letter of the 24th was received Sunday but at that time I was at Alexandria and it was not convenient to answer it. The past week was as warm and pleasant as we often see in May, bright sunshiny days and warm clear nights, too warm and pleasant to do anything that you are not obliged to, and there is nothing of interest going on.
Saturday was lowery and undesent. At 4PM went down to the RR and found some of our boys on the train, and so I determined to go down to their camp with them and get out mail.
Went down to the station and got upon the train about 7PM and arrived at Alexandria a little after 12, went into the soldiers rest and got a cup of coffee and then went out to the camp. They are encamped just outside the city limits. There is a picket stationed all around the city so no one can get in or out without a pass. I went down to the city a little while in the afternoon but there was no church service and all the shops were closed so I did not stay long.
Reuben is better, Perry has got back to the regt, he says Willis is in the invalid corps in Baltimore.
Monday I went down to the city got my photographs, looked around the city a little, got the mail for all of the boys and returned here on the 7 oclock train and got here about 12 at night. I will send you one of my tent mates photographs and one of mine in this letter and another of mine bye and bye. The one next to me is Thrall, the next Sigourney, next Arnold.
Give my love to all. Cory
Pa I forgot to tell you that we got a beautiful firkin of butter from New York 99 lbs it cost 32 cts including expressage. Henrys shawl was not in the box, I should consider none of the blankets worth sending home.
Feb 7th 64
I have not got the usual letter but I think I will get it in a day or two. The past week has gone off without much of interest. Yesterday was foggy and rainy. About 10 oclock firing was heard on the Rapidan, it continues all day quite heavy only ceasing when it was dark. Just before dark it seemed to be a hard battle and we could hear musketry. We are anxious to hear what it amounted to.
Today it has been this forenoon lowery, but this afternoon it has cleared off pleasant. Yesterday we had an addition to our mess one of the boys who has been at corps headquarters came here, so we now have 9 at our table. I will send two of my photos in this letter, you may keep one for the folks at home and give the other to little May Bryant. Perhaps as she remembers me and thinks so much of me, it may please her to have it.
I do not know how much I can spin out of this letter any longer for I have nothing of interest to write about. I hope I shall get your letter tomorrow.
Give my love to all of the friends at home. From your brother Cory
Camp near Rappahannock Station Sabbath morning Feb 14th 64
All of my tent mates are out and I have the little cabin all to myself. I swept it up blacked my boot, and would be ready for church if there was one, but as there is not it is a good time to write to you. I got your letter of the 8th yesterday but that of the first I have not got yet.
The past week has been warm and pleasant most of the time. Today it is warm and a cool moist breeze is blowing, and occasionally a bird singing it seems more like May than February. Monday out boys got up a lot of wood, the next day they got 2 or three sharp axes and got a little strife among the boys to show their skill in shopping wood, so we have got a pile of 4 or 5 cords of nice wood. There has nothing of much interest going on here during the week. Thursday they had a grand supper and ball at headquarters, we could hear the band here very plainly, I understand it broke up in anything but a pleasant manner very near a drunken row. Drunkness is a very common vice among the officers, many who came out temperate men keep liquor always on hand and drink it too. Friday I went over to the ordinance train to see a little engine one of the boys from our regt has made. It is about 2 inched stroke, made of tin, brass and wood, the boiler is of tin and will hold 3 or 4 quarts of water. On building a fire under it, it ran so fast you could not see the spokes in the balance wheel, it was worth going to see.
I am sorry Harrison is so unfortunate. They are getting up the enlistment fever again and a good many men are reenlisting, I cannot see the point myself though the inducements are large.
Camp near Rappahannock Station Sabbath morning Feb 21st 64
Dear folks at home.
The usual letter has not come yet, but as all is quiet it is a good time to write a letter home.
I do not suppose I will make a much more interesting letter than usual for nothing of interest occurs here.
Last Wednesday we had quite a snow storm and since it has been so cold that the river has been frozen so that the boys were skating on it Friday. Yesterday it was a little warmer but did not appear to thaw any, but about 4 oclock two of my companions and myself rode on horseback down to the river to have a slide but the ice was so rotten that it would not hold us, today it is still warmer I do not feel a mit like writing, I believe if I was at home I could think of something to talk about. We begin to count the weeks and days we shall have to stay, it is only about six months now, that will soon pass away, indeed though we have scarcely anything to do I am surprised when Sunday comes around, it is so soon. I have not seen any of the boys from the regt during the week, but I think I will go down to the 4 oclock train and see if there are not some of the boys from our co on it, I will wait till afternoon before I write anymore maybe I will get your letter.
Evening, went down to the train a 4 oclock, found some of the boys from the regt but none that I was much acquainted with but got upon the train and went down to Brandy Station, came back on the next train got here about 8 PM. It is a beautiful moon light night and not very cold. It is said that our regt is formed into a brigade to do guard duty at Alexandria, if they are likely to stay there this summer we shall likely be recalled to it.
But I must bid you goodnight and go to bed, may you all have pleasant dreams.
In Camp Feb 28 1864
Dear Sister I now seat myself to write the usual letter although I have not received yours. The past week has been warm and pleasant, good weather for making sugar I should think. Last week Arnolds brother came here to visit him and the army and is here yet. That evening I rode over to div headquarters and got 4 letters for myself, one from Helen, one from Henry and two from you. Thursday I took a horseback ride to the 2nd brigade about 3 miles from here, had a pleasant gallop as the day was fine. Friday and Saturday amused ourselves as best we could by schoolboy play and taking walks to the RR. Last evening the troops here had orders to be ready to march at daylight with 3 days rations but they have not gone yet and I think they will not have to. There have been two deaths in our regt since they went to Alexandria from smallpox. One of the boys from here who was down there a few days ago was vaccinated and as it was working well Arnolds brother vaccinated 3 or 4 of us and I think mine is going to work His brother is a medical student and has been attending lectures in New York the past fall and winter.
I suppose as you saw Helens letter you know all I think in regard to Balis and Ettie. As to the contraband you spoke of I do not think they can me, had all who have mot enlisted are in employment as servants and teamsters in the army are getting better wages than Father can give. I do not think they would make very profitable servants anyway. Father, Will and the girls must try to run the farm this summer at least, I hope the war will be ended this summer so that help will be cheaper next year. I must close this letter and help to get dinner.
Give my love to all
In camp Sabbath morning March 6th
Your letter of Feb 27 received yesterday. I think I made answer in regard to Yates and the contraband in my last. Reuben Fox came up here Monday and brought me your letter of the 20th and also one from Adelbert Clapp. Monday night and Tuesday it rained, Tuesday night it snowed. Wednesday morning the sun came out bright and warm and soon cleared off the snow since then it has been pleasant.
Mother wants to know about our cooking etc. It does not seem to me that there can be anything interesting about it, but perhaps there is. One of our mess brings most of the water another washes dishes , and Arnold and I do most of the cooking. We do not cook much pork except with beans and I guess our mess has as much as 150 pounds on hand now. We draw goo rations of fresh beef 2 or 3 times a week, fry some of the nicest steak and corn the rest. We have had some nice messes of hash. We draw plenty of dried apples and occasionally make pies, we draw plenty of good bread, more than we can eat. At the station here we can buy all the papers and magazines as reasonably as we can buy in the city, and of course after we read them we land them and borrow others so we have all the reading we want. By the way I got the Tribune which Mother sent.
Our cavalry has been making a big raid in hopes of releasing our prisoners in Richmond. They were not successful in that, but destroyed railroads and did the rebs a good deal of damage and are safe in Butlers department.
Arnolds brother left us Thursday, we enjoyed his visit very much. I am going to send you a microscopic copy of the Declaration of Independence. You can read it with one on the eyeglasses of that telescope if it is not lost.
I will close this letter with much love to all.
In camp Sabbath eve March 13th 64
I have not yet received your letter, but I now seat myself to write to you. The days are passing rapidly away, so fast I am sometimes surprised when Sunday comes around. It is now almost the middle of the month but it seems but two or three days since the first. We are having very mild and most of the time pleasant weather, though it rained all day Thursday and was misty and rainy most of the day Friday.
The regt is still encamped at Alexandria and doing duty on the RR and that is the reason I do not get my letters sooner as they go there first. There is very little to do, I spend my time in reading and studying but have all the duties that mother has usually done for me, washing and mending clothes and cooking our food. Every few afternoons we go down to the RR to see if any of our boys some down on the trains, Kilpatricks raid did not turn out as successful as was hoped, though it did a good deal of harm to the rebels. I suppose the spring campaign will be opened before long, and if we should be as successful as we were last summer as I hoped we shall be. The rebellion will be ended before another year, meanwhile I hope the summer may pass away as quickly as the winter has, and it will not be long till we meet again.
Good bye for the present
Your brother Cory
In camp Sabbath Eve March 27th 64
I now seat myself to write the usual letter. Last Monday and Tuesday I felt quite unwell with headache and a sort of bilious fever. Tuesday afternoon it began to snow and Wednesday morning we had nearly a foot of light snow. Wednesday was bright and thawed some so that at night there was not over 4 inches. Thursday I got a letter from Nellie I do not know as I told you that I wrote her since I got the picture.
Friday forenoon I went down to the regt as orderly from brigade headquarters. I got there about 2PM that evening it rained hard. Saturday I was down town and got some things that we wanted. In the evening went to a minstrel performance, did not think much of it. Came back to camp on an open car, it was a bright sunny day and we had a good view of the country. Much of the country is interesting historically, the rough country through which the railroad passes the plains of Manassas with a distant view of the Bull Run Battlefield. All of the country or soil is of a brick red color and it has a strange appearance. Ere this you have heard of the change in the army. Our brigade is divided and placed in the first and second brigade. Out regt is in the 2nd.
I think the army will probably move before a great while. I got your letter of the 21st down to the regt Friday. I would ask you if I misspell many words. I never notice any in yours, occasionally one in Mothers, but I saw quite a number in Nellies,, it looks bad, correct me if I do.
I have nothing more of interest to write and will close.
With much love Cory
Rappahannock Station April 3d 64
Dear Folks at home
I have not received the usual letter yet but I suppose you will be expecting mine none the less, and so I seat myself this Sabbath to write to you.
Things have been going on pretty much the same as usual the past week, except that it has been stormy most of the time. Tuesday was stormy and all that night it rained and the next day the river was higher than I ever saw it before, it swayed the railroad bridge so that the cars could not cross, so that the boys from the regt had to stay down to the station all night. Two from my co came up here the next morning and got breakfast. Yesterday is snowed and rained all day. Today it has been quite pleasant at least no rain. There is so much mud now that it will prevent our moving for some weeks at least.
I suppose you are now into the work of sugar making, and I suppose it has more importance than usual from the high price of sugar. I suppose you think my letters short and dull, but when I get heated to write I can think of nothing of interest to write. The boys have been talking all the evening and I find it almost impossible to think at all. I had a letter this week from Adelbert, he has been so successful as to get a first Lieutenants commission, and the boys have presented him with a sword that cost 75 dollars. I am glad he has been so fortunate but do not envy him in the least, when my three years are up I think I shall have seen enough of soldiering. I think I will close this letter and go to bed, but I have got a tub of water and am going to have a good bath first, as I do once a week at least. So good night to all.
Rappahannock Station April 10th 64
Another Sabbath has come around and I sit down to write the usual letter. It is a warm bright sunshiny day but that is no sample of the past week. Monday morning it commenced to snow but soon turned to rain and kept at it till Wednesday morning. Thursday and Friday were quite pleasant but yesterday and last night it rained hard all of the time. The river is very high and is rising yet, The Blue Mountains are white with snow and I suppose the bright sun is rapidly melting it.
The mountains are very beautiful to look upon from here. They are always blue except when there is snow upon them, though 20 miles distant they do not appear to be more than 5 and the woods and fields and bare spots can be plainly seen.
I received your letter of the 28th last Sunday. I wish Warren much joy and happiness in his new relation. The war must have made some changes at S if there are more ladies than gentleman it used to be very much the other way.
Buying so much hay must seem to take up the profits of farming still with butter at 30 cts it will be easily made up.
I am glad to hear that Helen is getting better.
I shall go to the regt the first convenient opportunity and try to see Harrison. The picture of N that you sent in your last letter looks like that of a person at least 5 years older than the other, I did not suppose if was the same person until I had read the letter, then of course I could see the resemblance.
4PM It is raining again and if it keeps up all night I fear the river will be so high as to take away the bridge. There has been no trains down from Alexandria as two bridges between here and there have been swept away.
With much love to all I close this letter.
Rappahannock Station April 17th
Dear folks at home
Another Sabbath has come around and I sit down to write the usual letter. Most of the past week has been pleasant. Wednesday we got our pay. At 4 oclock I went down to the depot and went to the regt with the boys, we got in there about 9 oclock. The next day I went down to the city and bought me a hat and then went to the hospital to see Harrison found him without any trouble and had a good visit with him he appears to be in good health and spirits and was very glad to see me. All of the boys are well. I had a very pleasant time and returned on the 7 oclock train that evening, got here about one in the next morning. Found a big canvas house right in front of our tent, the boys had laid a floor and made a roof over it with wagon covers and had been having a dance, they had had 2 or 3 violins and guitars for music and half a barrel of beer for refreshments and had been having a gay time, but all went along very quietly and orderly so much so that the officers are in favor of their having another, the boys had just gone to bed when I got back.
Yesterday it rained all day and today it is not pleasant. I hope pretty much all of the rain will get done before we start on the march.
You said that all of the Castle family are gone but Horatio, I had not heard of the death of James. I do not expect we shall get paid off again until my time is out and think I will not send any money home.
With much love to all I close this letter
Rappahannock Station April 24th 64
Dear folks at home
Another week has come around and I seat myself to write the usual letter. Yesterday I was so fortunate as to get two letters, one of the 11th and one of the 18th. Things go on here pretty much as usual, the past week has been pleasant and spring like most of the time, though one or two days we had winds from the mountains and they are always cold. Yesterday and last night the wind blew hard all of the time and is still blowing. It is warm however but I expect it will bring rain before long. Last Monday night the boys laid down a floor and had a dance. We had 3 violins and 2 guitars and a banjo for music we had a very pleasant time till 12 or 1 oclock. If the weather continues ( ) pleasant I suppose we shall move before long, though it is reported that our division will guard the RR, if that is so we shall stop here or near here, I would rather like it to be so.
Emma must be getting to be a good farm hand I should think, she will be a valuable acquisition for a young farmer one of these days. I am afraid Father has attempted to keep too many cattle the past winter, less of them and better kept would be more profitable. I should thin moving the barn would be expensive when labor is so high. We have no chaplain here Sunday is pretty much like any other day except that boys generally make it a day for writing letters. We have scarcely any work to do any day, not as much as you have to do on Sunday. We generally have plenty to read and have got so used to doing nothing that it comes quite easy.
With much love to all Cory
Bivuoac near Brandy Station May 1st
This the 1st of May moving day, and we have taken it to move upon, although it is Sunday. Friday evening we went down to the station but our boys were not upon the train, they had been relieved. The next day about () oclock the whole regt came down. The division was relieved from guarding the RR, and this morning as soon as it was light we were up, got our breakfasts and left our winter quarters about () oclock. We got here about 1 oclock and have had a comfortable dinner.
Yesterday and this morning it looked very much like rain but it cleared off and is very pleasant. We may remain about here a few days but I expect we shall be moving across the Rapidan before many days, if nothing happens.
I hope we may have a prosperous campaign. We have had nice spring weather the past week and the trees are leaving out rapidly. I have not got your letter of this week yet but hope I may in todays mail. Now I have written all I can think of worth writing and I suppose you will think it extremely short but I do not know what to make it longer of, I think I would be a good hand to write business letter, I should not put in any unnecessary words. So good bye for this time perhaps when we have more exciting scenes I can make out a longer letter.
Your brother Cory
Near Spotsylvania C H Va May 15th 64
Dear Folks at home
I wrote you a short note last Tuesday or Wednesday and promised to write you again as soon as I could conveniently, I dated my letter from near Spotsylvania C H the other time but it seems we were not so near it as I thought, as we have moved some 6 miles nearer and are still a mile from it yet, though it is in sight. It commenced to rain Wednesday afternoon and has rained some every day since, keeping it very muddy. Friday evening there was a complimentary order read to the troops from Gen Meade, stating that we had compelled the enemy to abandon his last position with a loss of 18 guns, 2000 prisoners and 22 colors, but the work has not yet been done, he must be followed up and if possible destroyed. The same night we were ordered up at 11 oclock and told we had 7 miles to march. It was terrible heavy mud, the first 2 miles we could hardly draw out feet out of it, we waded one stream a little more than knee deep. When we had gone about 5 miles it was 2 oclock, myself and two other stretcher carriers with me stopped by a large fire and dried ourselves and laid down and slept till daylight. We then started in and came up with the troops in 20 minutes walk, and they had had not time at all for resting. We have remained at this place since then. There was but little fighting yesterday. Last night just before dark one of our batteries opened on a rebel encampment and constrained them to strike tents in a hurry. We are now on the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania pike about a mile from the latter place.
The rebs have strong breastworks at that place and they are in plain sight. Gens Grant and Meade were both here a few minutes ago. Gen Grant is a very plain looking man and was smoking. I cannot tell you about the battle s very well now, I have not a convenient place for writing and they are not over yet.
We know nothing in regard to the fate of Wills his wound might have been fatal. The bodies of the slain were so exposed that we could not get at them to bury them. The picket that was left there came in this morning. When they were withdrawn the Rebel pickets followed the up sharply, and were flanked by our cavalry and 6 or 700 take prisoners. Perry and Reuben are well. We have had no mail since we started.
Give my love to all friends
Battle field near North Anna River Hanover Co Va May 24th 64
Dear Folks at home
Sunday my usual writing day we were marching and I could not write. I now sit down for a few minutes to assure you of my safety. Our corps had a sharp fight last night but lost but few men, and took quite a number of prisoners. Our regt had only one man wounded. I never had so fine a view of a battle field as last night. There is some heavy cannonading some ten miles to our left I should think.
We are driving the Rebs and everything looks prosperous. The men are in the best of spirits. Our division crossed the river a little after noon yesterday. About six, the first brigade was advancing when the Rebs made a fierce attack but were repulsed and I think lost 3 or 4 to our one. There has enough happened to make a long and interesting letter but I have no convenience for writing. It has been very warm weather but we have found icehouses plenty and well filled. Perry and Reuben are well.
Give my love to all the folks at home.
Sunday June 4th 1864
As I have nothing to do just now I take my pencil to commence a letter. The past has been a busy week. I wrote you last Tuesday from where we were stopping in the woods. The next day we advanced about half a mile, though we marched a mile and a half as we had to go around a swamp. We went to work at once throwing up breastworks. Our skirmishers were about 300 yards in front of us on the brow of a hill. In front of them was a hollow and on the next rise were the rebel breastworks, where there were plenty of cannon but they could not hit us as we were so low all of the shots passed over us. A little before sundown the rebels advanced driving in our skirmishers and came to the top of the hill but could come no farther for our boys kept up a constant line of fire form the breastworks. The rebs laid down on the top of the hill but kept their colors up (though they were shot down 2 or 3 times) till after dark. We had but one man wounded in our regt by them, but some reinforcements who were sent to us came in behind us so badly frightened that they began firing off their pieces behind us and killed one of our men and badly wounded another.
The next day the (I)th corps to the right of us was drawn off to the left and about three oclock we also moved to the left. We had not gone more than a mile when we heard firing [ ] were following after and trying to turn our right. We went a little farther and came upon the 8th corps about to bivouac. But they were sent forward into some breastworks and pretty soon the rebs were upon them. A heavy fire was kept up for some time our batteries throwing shells over them into the woods. It slaked up a little but soon broke out again and was kept up till dark. About 4 oclock we had a sharp shower and during the night it rained a little. The next morning our brigade found the pickets in front of them and 1000 or 1500 yards in the rear of the line of battle of the night before.
Soon after daylight two brigades of the 9th corps formed in the field in front of us and advanced to retake the breastworks which they had held the night before, they advanced in fine order though the rebs gave them a sharp fire. Some batteries to the right of our regt threw their shells just over our men and into the rebel lines. Pretty soon a rebel battery opened upon ours throwing their shells lengthways of our breastworks and bursting them in front of us, one man was killed in our regt and 3 or 4 wounded. Our batteries then turned their attention to that and quickly silenced it. Then the 2nd brigade which was on the right of us and the right of ours swung around in front of the rebel battery and advanced to strengthen our line. They advanced a piece and then laid down. I did not see any fall when going up, but they had advanced too far and had to get up and move back again, and then several were hit and one killed. Our batteries had the rebel battery stilled and our skirmishers got so near that when the Rebs tried to haul it away they killed all the horses. Our boys fell back a little from where they first advanced to and threw up breastworks.
Four of us from the ambulance corps were kept busy all the forenoon carrying off the wounded. A as we had to carry them almost a mile on the stretcher. A little after noon we had got the last one off when we stopped and got some dinner. As we were coming back to the regt a rebel battery opened throwing shot and shell in every direction crashing through the trees and whistling over the tops of them and making noise enough to frighten almost anyone but I know of only one man being hurt. In the afternoon one of our regt was hit on the picket line and two of us went after him but he died soon after we got him in. Just at dark the pickets were driven in and we expected an attack, but the pickets might have stood their ground. They were again advanced and while advancing on of our regt was killed. This morning the Rebs directly in front of us are gone, they got their battery away but right around where it stood are 35 dead horses, there were also a good many guns lying about so we judge their loss considerable.
The 9th corps on the right of us had some hard fighting but I guess the Rebs got the worst of it. There was some heavy fighting away on the left last evening but I know nothing about it. Where we are I hardly know only that we are on a road that leads to Mechanicsville and near a small church. The men are all in good spirits, you would not imagine they had ever lost a companion it is expected and has become a most one of the common incidents of life. The people of the North used to sneer a good deal at the army of the Potomac’s digging, but they have done more of it the past week than they had in all of their service put together before, and for that matter as much fighting. We are taking it easy this forenoon feeling secure from shot and shell. I will not write any more now. Kittie will have to consider this letter hers as much as anybodys. Afternoon out division moved out about noon and we thought we were going off to the left but there was some mistake and we came back again. I think we will move tonight all the boys from our way are well. It is raining a little now and I fear it is going to get wet. The loss to our regt yesterday was 4 killed and 10 wounded. Sunday afternoon I have just received your letter of May 23d also a letter and some papers from aunt C. We have no Col since Rice Lieut Col Connor and Major Know were wounded May 8th. Valora Eddy was taken prisoner this morning by a rebel wearing our uniform, he was on an outpost a (). Some of our boys saw it but supposed he was one of our officers. We have not moved yet as I expected.
May 30th 1864
Dear Folks at home
As we are sitting still now for a time, I take the opportunity for writing you a few lines to appraise you of my safety. I wrote you last from near the North Anna last Tuesday, the next day and the day after the troops were engaged in destroying the railroad, which runs from Gordonsville to Hanover and Richmond. There was some of our brigade went on picket but none from our regt. On Thursday night as soon as it was dark the troops started back across the river leaving only a picket in front of the enemy. As soon as we got across I stopped with the train which was all hitched up and ready to follow the troops, but did not get started until daylight and then went only a mile when we halted again and had a chance to get a good breakfast. We then started in good earnest and marched fully 8 miles before noon when we halted again for a short time. In the afternoon we did not march as fast as in the forenoon but did not get into camp till 11 oclock. The next morning we started again and marched 5 or 6 mile, crossed the Pamunkey some 8 miles below Hanover CH. We then took our stretchers again and went to the regt.
The troops had advanced to the top of a hill a mile from the river and were throwing up breastworks, about dark they were ordered to desist from it and we got a good night sleep. In the morning (Sunday) we marched forward, found another corps had thrown up breastworks still in front of us. We were moving about all day but slowly and stopping for an hour or two at a time as the way had to be felt out in front of us.
Last night we took up a position beside a ravine running nearly north and south where we still remain. I suppose we are not much more than 10 miles from Richmond now. The whole army is close by, there is some skirmishing going on to the right of us, but none directly in our front. I suppose you were glad to learn that Willis was not wounded at all. He came to the regt Thursday. He was taken prisoner and recaptured by our cavalry. He says he wrote home from Alexandria. All of the boys are well. I received no letter from aunt O asking for my photograph and I have none now. As I presume she sees all of my letters I could write her nothing of interest. Monday eve May 31st. Did not have a chance to send this yesterday. We advanced some two miles yesterday, in the afternoon the rebs made a heavy attack on our left but were repulsed with loss. There has been heavy firing on our right today, do not know what it amounts to. Capt. Nash formerly our lieutenant was wounded yesterday. All of our boys are well.
Camp near The Chickahominy Saturday afternoon June 11th 64
Dear folks at home I now take my pencil to commence the weekly letter. We have been having quite an easy time this past week. Last Sabbath our corps was on the right. That night we moved out leaving the picket. We went only about half a mile and then waited till morning. We then moved some 4 or 5 miles and then we were in the rear of our army. The pickets came in just before daylight. We lay there all of Monday and drew shoes and socks. All of the shoes they wanted, it was the article most wanted. Men can get along without shirts and pants almost but it is hard marching without shoes.
Tuesday morning two divisions of our corps started bright and early. We thought at first we were going on some sort of reconnaissance across the river, but we marched only 3 or 4 miles and went into camp. They have been picketing along the river since one regt from a brigade each day, it is very easy work. The pickets do not fire at each other at all but go in swimming and talk together. We are some 3 or 4 miles down the river farther than we were just two years ago this month. I suppose the rebs hold our old camping ground. We know scarcely anything of what is going on. There does not seem to have been much fighting the past week. It is reported that our folks have torn uop the York River RR and reshipped all of our stores from the White House Landing, and some think we will get our next supplies from the James River. If that is really the case we will probably move before Monday morning. I shall wailt till tomorrow before I send this, and if it is the case there will be no use of sending it till we get to our new base. I got your letter of the 27th Monday. Monday morning I see no signs of moving and so I send this
Battlefield near Petersburg Va June 20th 64
Dear folks at home. Another week has passed since I wrote you last and I suppose you are anxious to hear from me again. When I wrote you last we were on the north or east side of the Chickahominy River. Now we are west of the James. We started a week ago last night and crossed the former river. The next day our troops lay in line of battle all day near White Oak swamp, to protect the crossing of the rest. Monday night we marched nearly all night. The next day a little after noon we reached the James River near Charles City CH Wednesday we lay beside the river all day. Thursday we crossed and about 3PM we started, and the troops, marched nearly 18 miles by one oclock that night. They halted about 11 and made coffee. The reason for our marching so hard was the outer line of works here had been taken by the 18th corps and we must be up for support. We rested all day Friday though there was some hard fighting in front of us. Saturday we moved up nearer but remained till night in the third line of battle. The rebs were driven some distance into a heavy line of works they had thrown up. Just at dark our brigade moved up within 50 or 60 rods of the enemys works and went to work at once throwing up breastworks. There was another line in front of us expected to charge but for some reason did not. In the morning as soon as light the rebs commenced firing at our men who showed themselves above the works. Three of our regt were instantly killed, after that our boys were more careful and no more were hit. Yesterday afternoon a couple of mortars were placed in the rear of our regt which threw shells unpleasantly near the rebs I should think, and they opened on it with grape and canister which came too near us for fun but they did not hurt.
This morning there is some musketry fire and bullets are whizzing over all the time but no one will be apt to be hit unless they are careless. We are a few rods west of the Petersburg and Norfolk RR, we have breastworks on the top of a hill, behind us is a deep hollow in which we can lay quite safely. In front of us is another hollow and on the next hill is the rebels works not a very long musket range off. One of our regt was shot through the calf of the leg when he was a quarter of a mile in the rear. All of our boys are well. Do not feel anxious for my safety I shall try to do my duty and hope a kind providence may spare me to see you all next fall.
Afternoon I have just got you letter of the 13th. Our boys much prefer to be moving and fighting than to be lying still as they have other summers, they think they can stand it.
I have just had a good wash and have washed my shirt and when it gets dry I’ll put it on. We have time to wash at least once a week. Close by where our regt now is there are two large ice houses and full of ice, we can keep cool as we like. I would like to make you a birthday present but you will have to wait till I get means. We have got now where the newsboys come occasionally. We are glad to get the papers. Later. I have just got two letters, which one of the boys has had in his pocket for two months.
In the trenches near Petersburg June 26th
Your letter of June 20 I received yesterday morning, it came through in good time I think. We are farther to the left than when I wrote you last but in pretty much the same position otherwise. The is continual firing going on between the skirmishers, but hardly ever one of the gets hit, occasionally a bullet comes away over and hits someone who may be exposed in the rear, but hundreds come over without hitting anybody. When it is not necessary for them to be up, the boys generally remain behind the breastworks, but sometimes they get careless. We stretcher bearers 4 of us, have piled up rails just behind the center of the regt, behind the rails we have dug a pit large enough for us to lie or sit in, some 18 inches deep and have thrown the dirt over the rails so that it makes a thick embankment on the side from which the bullets come. In the pit we have put leaves and have roofed it over with boughs, and all we have to do is to keep as cool and comfortable as possible. There seems to be only a single line to the right of us and for a piece to the left. We do not seem to be trying to do much here, but it would be very difficult for the rebs to drive us back. We have had very dry weather, no rain since the 2nd, the roads are very dusty. We can get water very conveniently where we are but I understand that on the left it is difficult to get. I saw Dell yesterday, he talks very encouragingly of his wounds, had written to his father to come and see him. Our regts time will be out the 24th of Sept. Most of the regts have had 3 or 4 days to go home in so as to be in the state at the time of their discharge, so if nothing happens you can look for me at that time. We have had the daily papers regularly the past week. As I have nothing more of interest to write I will close this letter.
Saturday afternoon July 2nd
Near Petersburg Va
Dear Sister. Your letter of the 27th received this forenoon I got one day before yesterday June 6th. It had been to the 9th I have just come from the 8th heavy artillery. Dell was well. While I was there one of the boys got a letter from Nathanial Arnold, written the 27th. He was getting along finely.
We are lying in the same place from which I wrote last. There is no firing between us and the rebs here now, so we are taking it quite easy though it is hot. Our boys have dug wells, so we have water plenty and handy. I have been thinking that it is an excellent time for farmers to pay off their debts, everything that he has to sell is so high, now is the time for ecomony in dress. I think I shall save at least 30 dollars out of my allowance of 45, but that is no criterion for the folks at home. If cotton is so high, use wool. I have worn it for three years, and think I shall continue too. I don’t know as I can write you anything very interesting. The man are all in good spirits, but I think had quite as soon stay right here as to be farther to the right, where the sharpshooters and artillery are firing most of the time, I am sure I am. We are well supplied with rations and clothing. I think we shall most likely stay here for a month or two. The weather is very hot and the dust deep, we have had but one light shower for the past month. Too hot to march and indeed I do not know where we will march as long as the rebs hold Petersburg. I suppose our men are mining and seiging in the right. They probably do not have to work very hard nor very long at a time. All the boys from our place are well.
With much love your brother Cory
5th corps ambulance Train near Petersburg July 10th 1864
Your letter of the 3d has just come to hand. The weeks slip away quickly. I t seems but a few days since I got the last letter. I came back to the train from the front Thursday. We had been having very quiet times there till that morning. Our men had commenced throwing up a work partly in front of our portion of the line and in the morning the rebs opened on it. They threw a few shells before we came away and as we were coming one burst the pieces falling on all sides of myself and companion. They kept at it all day but only one in our brigade was hurt. Last night, 7 of the 187th were wounded by a shell. They belong to our brigade. I hear too that one of our regt was wounded this morning. The weather still continues dry, no rain since the first of June. It is terrible dusty, when the wind blows it flies like snow. We dug a well here Friday, we dug 10 or 11 feet and have 5 feet of water in it so we have plenty of water.
I could not help smiling when I read of Will going out with Ruth Barber. The last I remember her she was a little bit of a curly headed girl. I expect everybody is wonderfully changed since I came away. I suppose the raid of the rebs into Maryland is making some excitement north I do not suppose it will amount to much, though it is said two divisions of the 6th corps started for city Point last night to go to that state.
Time is slipping rapidly away and it will not be long till our time is out. It does not seem but a little time since I left home. I cannot think of the folks looking different from what they did when I left I suppose by this time you are thinking of making arrangements for the Family Gathering. I do not suppose you can put it off until I get home, though if none are coming from a great distance perhaps you can. If you do not you must let me know and if it is so I can I will write.
In the trenches near Petersburg July 17th
I have now seated myself to write you the usual letter. Last Sunday when I wrote you I was at the train, but Tuesday morning we were ordered to the front at 3 oclock in the morning, as a fight was expected, but nothing came of it. The past week has been cooler than the preceding ones, but no rain yet so that the dust does not diminish, but here the dust does not fly as it does in the rear where teams are all the while passing. The pickets in front of us continue on good terms and but a few shells are thrown this way, but to the right they keep up the sharpshooting and mortar shelling. Friday one of our shells blew up a rebel caisson. It is a fine sight to see the shells flying in the night, their course being marked by the burning fuse, but it must be exceedingly troublesome to have them dropping where one wants to sleep. The boys take everything very comfortable, we are getting excellent rations, and have bomb proofs built to get into if there is shelling. Last evening was a splendid moonlit night I was at a dance at the 83 Pa the regt next to us. They placed seats on the breastworks for their music a violin and flute, and formed their sets in the streets, and went through the cotillions, waltzes with as must zest and fun as ever attended a 4th of July ball. Last nights paper brings us the news that the rebs have left Maryland. It also brings good news from Sherman. I can’t see what reason good loyal citizens have for repining or complaining. I think the object we are fighting for is worth all it costs, let it be what it may.
I received you letter of the 10th last night but did not read it till this morning as it was late and I had no candle. It received the first attention this morning.
Housekeeping materials you think cost a good deal, for my part I could go back to the necessities of the time when grandfather was a young man, and feel it no privation at all. Food tastes just as nice from a tin plate as china, and they are very cheap and not liable to break. I never slept better than I did last night, on a bedstead with pine poles for slats, boughs for feathers and a blanket under and one over me, and by the way my bedroom has excellent ventilation, that costs nothing at all, is cheaper than none. I can make a chair in half an hour with a board and a few nails, that is easier than half of those you have at home, and then a log house is so nice to live in, so cool in the summer and warm in the winter and food cooked in a fireplace has excellent flavor especially if one is hungry, that is the best sauce I have ever met with, and I have had a good many chances to use it. Housekeeping necessities are few and cheap at that. I wish I could find a sensible girl that would think so and would like to go to Nebraska or Oregon with me.
I would like to visit aunt Frank, perhaps I will. It is some time ahead to make calculations here. We must enjoy the present and trust Uncle Sam for what we shall eat and drink and wear tomorrow.
Give my love to all the fiends at home
Near Petersburg Sabbath morning July 24th
Another week has slipped away and I seat myself to write the usual letter. The past week has not been so hot and dusty as former ones, Monday night and Tuesday we had a good rain. I am now at the train. We stay a week here and then a week at the regt, unless there should be an engagement when we would all go to the regt. Everything seems to be going on favorably. Sherman is close upon Atlanta, and the Maryland Raiders are being so closely followed that it is doubtful about their getting off with much of their plunder.
I saw Dell Wednesday. Either influences from home are working upon him or his there, for he talks very much as you say his father does. He seemed to think that Seymour and the people would oppose the draft. He got but little sympathy for his views in our company. We all declared that we would go in again for three years rather than that the blood of our comrades should have been uselessly split by allowing the rebels to have what they ask, and as to resistance to the draft it should be our greatest pleasure to lend our aid to cut it down. I hope though they may only resist a draft by raising volunteers.
You have seen the interviews between Greely and Sanders at Niagara. The Presidents note in regard to the matter is just the thing I think. I got your letter of the 17th yesterday. I also got some papers from Aunt C. Who is Mr Coaley who has contracted the cheese? In your last you said Aunt F wanted me to visit her on my way home. If I should, what friends has mother in the east that she would like me to visit. It would not be a great deal out of the way to go through the NE States, though I should not want to stay long. Send me the addresses of those you wish me to see. The mend are getting vegetables every few days now from the Sanitary Commission and also through the regular commissary. The men are in good spirits at present. The 2nd corps are digging covered roads to the front lines, they are 4 feet deep and 12 wide and the dirt is thrown up on the side toward the enemy, so that troops and wagons in them are protected from shell.
I close this letter with much love to all
In the trenches in front of Petersburg July 31 Sabbath morning
Dear Sister. Another week had passed and now on this last day of July I seat myself to write the usual letter.
The last week has been pretty much like the others except one day which I will tell you about. I came here Thursday after being at the train a week. When I came up I found such a labyrinth of covered roads that I could hardly find my way behind our regt. There had been a big embankment thrown up and platforms placed for mortars. Friday they came, six of them each throwing a hollow iron ball, 8 inches in diameter and weighing 70 pounds. A little down to the right were 8 ten inch ones. During the day they were placed in position. About 12 oclock orders came to have the men under arms at 3 AM as a work on the right was to be blown up, and all of the artillery and musketry was to open on the rebel lines. I did not sleep much after that, and at three went to see it blow up and watched till after it began to grow light, and then went to my tent and began to get breakfast, when I heard a rumbling lie thunder and then the artillery opened. I went to the breastworks but all I could see was a great cloud of dust, the artillery, mortars and musketry kept up an awful din. I watched for some time but could not see much, and so I went to my tent to read your letter that I had got the night before after dark. Pretty soon the report was that our men were charging, so I went to the breastworks. There was hardly a shot coming over us, though our mortars and cannon were belching out against the rebel forts opposite, so we could  down where the fighting was going on. We could see our troops moving up in fine style, and the rebel shells bursting amongst and over them, our batteries directed their fire against the rebels so as to trouble them as much as possible. Our men carried the fort and appeared to be throwing up dirt for protection, and the fire died down a little. An hour or so after it again opened and looking down we saw the rebels charging on the fort and they were repulsed and then the firing ceased. We thought the position was certainly secured to us. But about noon the rebels turned their artillery on it and charged and took it in a few minutes. The firing then entirely ceased and no more efforts were again made by us to take it.
Some of our boys have been down there but bring back conflicting reports. Some have estimated the loss to us from 6 to 8000, the others think that 2000 will cover it all and believe it less. They say the appearances of the mined fort is great heaps of earth like a mountain and indeed it looks so from here. It is said from some accounts that there was 400 and others 800 in the fort. Few if any escaped alive. The mortars and their beds have been removed from the rear of our regt. It looks almost as if nothing more was to be done here. But if there is not, some movement will be made in a short time I think.
I sent you a letter for the annual last week. If I come home before the gathering, it will want changes made some. The past two or three days have been pretty warm. All of our boys are well. Do not buy paint for my room it will not make it any more comfortable. Money will go now as far as it ever did to pay debts, but it will not buy more than half as much, so now is the time to pay debts and be economical in purchases.
Good bye for the present
Sunday afternoon Aug 7th
Dear sister I seat myself to write the usual letter.
Things have gone on pretty much as usual in camp the last week. Last Tuesday I went to the 104th to see George Stryker. I learned that he had a thumb taken off by a piece of shell and had gone north. Thursday we received our pay 4 months. I do not think I shall be in a hurry to send it home, as it is drawing compound interest at 6% payable every 6 months. Thursday I came back to the train. This morning I got your letter also one from cousin Nellie. On one of them was written that Dell was sick and wanted to see me, so I have been over and have just come back. Did not find him very sick, though he said he was worse yesterday. I guess he will get along without trouble it shall make anything but an interesting letter today, have nothing to write about and do not feel like writing that. We begin to want rain again badly, it looks a little like it now, but I expect that “all signs will fail”. Our time is now said officially to be out the 24th of Sep, only 48 more days. That would be considered a short time to accomplish something in. Time slips away fast enough for one short life to suit me even under the circumstances and presume it will go faster when I get home, meanwhile I remain your [ ] Cory
Sabbath morning Aug 14th 1864
Another week has passed and I sit down to write the usual letter. Am now at the regt in the front line, but you would not think there was an enemy about, occasionally a shell is thrown at a working party on a fort to the left of us but we have got so used to that that it does not disturb us at all. Firing in the night will not always waken us. Although it is very warm and we have very little to do the days seem to slip away very quickly. It is already the middle of August and it seems 3 or 4 days since the first. We go to the train to stay for 6 days again tomorrow. Changing our place of abode every six days makes the time slip faster I think. Although it has been very dry they boys have dug a well close by the regt and have fitted up an old fashioned sweep with a bucket made from a small barrel which holds 2 pails, and it is going a good share of the time, but there is plenty of good clear water all of the time. About the entire regt takes a bath every night. I think that Christian commission man that told about the prayer meeting half a mile in front of the picket line was never nearer the front than City Point. Our pickets are not a quarter of a mile apart at the widest and have not been since we came here.
I think you will pass very well on the score of economy. I do not expect t find the sensible girl. What difference would it make to you? I thought you were to be married this fall. I have just been out and got Fridays paper. We get the papers here earlier than you do. There does not seem to be much news though there is an unofficial report of the capture of
Mobile. That city seems likely to be taken at any time.
We are having beautiful moonlight nights now but small chance to enjoy them, nothing but banks and ditches to walk over, then one wants to go to sleep as soon as it gets dark, for the lies begin to bite as soon as it is light in the morning.
Kitty is improving in her handwriting I see. I do not know as I can write anything of particular interest to her in a separate letter, so she will have to consider this hers as well as the rest. With much love to all I close this letter
Have got a Christian commission envelopes as I had none here.
Sabbath afternoon Aug 21 1864
Dear sister I seat myself to write the usual letter with a pencil. The last week has been one of action to us. Wednesday night we were ordered to pack up and be ready to march at 2 oclock. We were kept awake a large part of the night but did not move after all. The next night we had the same orders and moved near the appointed time. Soon after we got up at about 2 oclock a heavy cannonade opened along the entire line and lasted for an hour and a half or more. Soon after daylight the troops moved from their camps, our division in advance. We went along the Jeruselem plank road about 2 miles then turned to the right and went about a mile when we came to our cavalry pickets. Then we rested a little. Then formed in line of battle and marched a mile when we came to the Petersburg and Welden RR, 5 miles from the former place. The Col ordered the men to go to work and tear up the road, but soon received ordered to move near corps headquarters. There we stacked arms about noon. About noon we had quite a heavy shower. About 3PM the rebs attacked the 2nd division, which was forward across the RR between us and Petersburg, and seemed to be driving them. Our brigade was formed in line of battle and moved in that direction to their support, but the rebs were repulsed without our help, and we were moved off to the left parallel to the RR and commenced to throw up breastworks. The next day it rained almost all day. About 2 PM the rebs made an attack in the same place as before. Our brigade was again moved out for their support. We had just got past corps headquarters when an aid ordered our regt into a breastwork which protected our flank saying Gen Warren did not want out regt to go into a fight as their time was so near out. That is the report though I hardly believe it. However none of the brigade went into the fight, but soon went into the old place. The next day Saturday all was quiet. We had a heavy shower a little after noon, while it was raining a regt came and took our place and as soon as it was over we moved our place behind the breastworks and put up our tents. This fore noon we were ordered to pack up and we thought we were going to move off, but soon firing commenced in our front some batteries were placed that fired into the woods where there was a battery firing into our right. Soon our pickets came in saying they were flanked on the left. Then a strange thing happed which I cannot explain without a diagram which I will try to make as it appeared to me. The rebs came up the ravine intending I suppose to turn our left which they must have thought was where I have marked first brigade. They came up at a trail arms I think for our boys thought they were coming in and commenced to cheer, when they found out for the first the bad fix they were in and turned to run, but pretty much all who were not killed were captured 3 colors were taken. How many prisoners were taken I do not know but quite a large number. Two of our regt who were on picket when the rebs advanced could not get away but hid in the bushed, and when the rebs were running back panic stricken, jumped out and ordered them to throw down their arms, and took and brought in 23 prisoners, and a stand of colors. The men were ordered to run to their posts as it was thought the rebs were massing for another charge but all had been quiet since, and I rather think they have got enough for one day. Almost all of our corps train has been sent to the hospital loaded mostly with wounded prisoners.
I got your letter of the 15th yesterday. It looks like rain again. Although we have had so much rain the past few days, a great deal of the time it is very warm.
Good bye for this time. Your brother Cory
PS We have got to go now and help pick up the wounded rebs.
Camp of 44th NYSV Aug 28th 1864
Another week has passed and very quickly too. There has been no more fighting and as we have been fixing up tents and fussing around the time has passed very quickly. You begin to feel anxiety at home about the draft. It is time I should think. I have been ashamed of our town ever since I came out, it is always behind in everything. If the draft should come and fall on such as James it would be hard to know. If money is raised to hire substitutes, even if they have to pay $900 to each one required, I do not see how it is to come so high on Father as you say. This repining copperhead spirit makes everything harder if the town had given with Patriotism and spirit all that was needed, it would not come so like pulling teeth, they could have felt some pride for what they had done. Now they have given only what they were compelled and that grudgingly. If men are drafted not they only have to come for one year, the pay is 16 dollars per month and anyone with economy can save 10 or 12 per month, it need not (rain) anyone to come into the army, and not everyone dies or is killed that comes into it, for all you read of our losses being 4000 on this raid, it sounds big in a country village but you would hardly notice it here.
I don’t like this complaining of high prices, taxes, etc. If the blessings of liberty and peace are worth anything they are worth fighting for, and sacrificing something for. If the people of the North would come up with more spirit, this war need not last another year. James thinks he could have come out when I did with some hope. I think the prospect far more encouraging now.
This last year has done more to put down the rebellion than all before. I think Will had better not enlist, if he is full grown, strong and healthy, I would say nothing against it. The inducements are large, quite a little fortune in fact, and invested in government securities is going to be worth the face of it and a premium beside, and will be accumulating interest, but I am afraid Will would not be a good soldier, if he is sick in the army he would have no mother to sweeten his medicine with love. He would have no one to take care of his clothes and wash them, if he was sick he would have to pull through with his own strength he would not be coaxed back to health. Don’t be thinking so much of my coming home, you know “there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip”. What if I should reenlist? There is a captain in the regt offering $1500 for a substitute for his brother. I do not think of going for it however.
With much love Cory
Sunday Sept 4th 1864
Dear folks at home.
The letter of August 28th has just come and I sit down to answer it. Have not much to say there has been no fighting the past week. Our corps in engaged in building forts to make this position perfectly secure. I guess the rebs have given up trying to retake the road while our corps is here, it would be a bad job for them. But we may want to hold the position with a much smaller force, hence the propriety of fortifying. I received a letter Friday from Bradley Marshall and Mrs Dana inviting me to visit them. I most wish you had not written for I begin to feel more like coming home than going anywhere else. Will had better not enlist anyway at present, he can just as well get 2500 or 2000 as to come for 1000, but I am inclined to think he would consider the biggest bounty ever paid dearly earned before his time would be out. Telegraph reports have come to headquarters that Atlanta is taken and I think there are good reasons for believing it. Mobile seems likely to go under soon, I think the situation encouraging. McClellan has been nominated at Chicago convention, his friends here hope he will decline it, I am afraid he will except. Willis, he is in the hospital, I do not know how sick, not very, I think. This past week has slipped away pretty quickly and I guess this month will. I shall write very week until I think I shall get home before the letter will.
Much Love to all Cory
Camp near Six Mile Station Sept 11th 64
I seat myself to write the usual weekly letter, but I have been disappointed in not receiving one. Our regt received no mail this morning. The mail for the 49th was in our bag and the inference is that ours has gone to the 49th, so we will not likely get it for 3 or 4 days. The past week has slipped away very quickly. Although we are looking forward with so mu eagerness for our release, time never seems to drag as it did when I was a boy waiting for the 4th of July. A part of the past week has been quite cool some of the time it seemed almost cold enough for frost, but I presume it lacked a good deal of it. The remnants of the 16th Mich and the 83d Pa went home Wednesday. They have been with us since we came out. I was yesterday at the 104th, Mr Barber had just come back from the hospital. They are expecting to get out the 7th of October.
The war news is cheering also the political; Farragut and Sherman are better stumpers for Lincoln than any they can raise at the north. There are but few soldiers who do not go for him and they are mostly those who came out for the bounty. There is a new RR laid from City Point to this place. The cars will probably come up here tonight of tomorrow. I would like Father to get me the material for a suit of clothes so that I can have them made as soon as I get home. I want them of dark grey like those I had when I came away. I want coat, pants and vest of the same. I do not want an overcoat as I have one.
Much love to all Cory
Sabbath morning Sept 18th 1864
Your letter of the 11th came to hand yesterday, and was as welcome as ever. I thought Uncle P was exempt from the draft. We expect to leave here the 24th, and it will take a week at least before we can get home. I do not believe that I shall go east, I should be wanting to get home so that I should not enjoy the visit a bit. I shall try and call on aunt C. 200 recruits came for our regt last night, so the regt will be apt to be kept up. The past week has been quite though there has been some suspicions of an attack, and we have been prepared for it, but I do not think there is much danger of the rebs coming onto us. A train of cars comes up here every night now about 9 oclock with the mail, Last night it was loaded with recruits. I will close this short letter with much love to all and hope to be with you two weeks from today.
Brooklyn Oct 1st 1864
I suppose you will have been disappointed in not receiving a letter, if not by my failing to get home before this time. I will not tell you of my journey home now. We got into Newark Tuesday night, and I came here to Aunt C’s and staid all night. Wednesday we went to Albany. Yesterday they took up to the arsenal and left our arms, and we were given permission to go where we pleased, to report there again next Thursday. It was too far to come home, and I did not want to stay there, so I took the boat last night and came here.
Aunt C is expecting Grandfather here and perhaps Aunt Fanny. The time is too short to visit Mothers friends before I have to return to Albany, and I shall want to come home then. I do not know how long it will take us to get our discharges, but I think I ought to be home before next Sunday
Aunt C got your letter this morning, also Arlie. Aunt will write you. Give my love to all the folks
Albany Oct 6th 1864
Dear Sister. I came up here on the boat last night, and found that we cannot be mustered out till next Tuesday. I do not know when I have been so disappointed. I haven’t been so homesick in three years as I am this morning. I should have like so much to have staid to the Sabbath school festival. I hardly know what I shall do here. One of the boys has invited me to go with him if his mother does not go away, and I think I shall. I suppose you will be as much disappointed as I am. I have had a very pleasant time at Brooklyn, was introduced to Mr Beecher. I received a not from Nettie Clift this morning, went to call upon her but she was at school I will tell you all about it when I get home.
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 6, 2012