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The Civil War Letters Of
Charles Harvey Hayden
Patriot & Hero
97th New York Volunteer Infantry
Donated and transcribed By Al Grenning

Editor's Note: On April 25th 1863, Charles writes to his sister Laura from the location of the Smoketown hospital for the last time. Because she represents the only connection to home, family and friends in Westernville, the letters he receives from her are a central part of his existence. In a gesture of appreciation he composes a poem representing his feelings toward her kindnesses. Although a few sentences at the end of the original document have been lost – the letter does reflect the feelings of severely wounded, lonesome and hospital confined Civil War soldier.


April 25th 63
Dear Sister,

I wrote to you sometime a go but have received no answers - are (you) sick or why do you not write? This hospital is about to be broken up and perhaps I may be sent home but you must not put to much hopes in my coming home. But, if I should come home I should be there next month. I hope you are well but your health was so poor when you wrote that I am afraid you’re sick.

Those that are going from this Hospital are going to Fredrick about twenty miles from here. Some twenty five or thirty went yesterday and more are going Monday.

The weather here is fine to day and the fields are green –
On the next pages I am going to write some of my composition.
How sweet the memory of
A sister kind and dear bound by a
Thousand acts of kindness (little acts its true)
But I never can forget them where ever I
May go.
T’is the little acts of kindness that are
Strewn from side to side that will
Make our life time happy and our
Moments sweetly glide
How I wish I’d siete (sight) that sister with a heart
So warm and true ever ready to receive
Me even anxious so to do
Dearest sister keep on hoping that we
May soon meet a gain - if on earth you
Never meet me – meet me in the heavenly plain

Dearest Sister please (do) not (loose) your hopes on things of time for soon we will leave them far behind. In the moments that now fly let us prepare to live and dye for who among us now may say how quickly we may pass away ----


These first appeared in the Boonville Herald and Adirondack Tourist, Boonville, New York in 2005. They are posted here with permission.


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: October 25, 2011

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