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Letters: Letters from  Civil war Soldiers to Mary Williams and Oliver Williams of Troy 
Township: Troy Township, Bradford County PA and nearby areas
Year: 1861-1865 
Transcribed & Submitted by Don Stanton 2003
Published by Joyce M. Tice 2005
Tri-Counties considers Don Stanton a V.I.P. He has been for many years a prime contributor of GREAT STUFF to this site, and his stash of treasures seems never to come to an end. We are very grateful for his generosity in sharing them with us and his generosity of time in scanning and transcribing massive amounts of material to send our way. He sent this large collection of transcribed letters to me in October 2003. Apparently they arrived when a lot of other materials were coming in or I was otherwise distracted and they have sat on my hard drive(s) ever since - almost two years (SHAME on me!!!) This group of letters is Civl War era.
Alonzo Babcock Camp Stanley March 1863 One Letter
Harlen DuBois Fort Tillinghast VA Jan - Mar 1965 Three
Horace DuMond Washington DC Dec. 1864- June 1965 Nine
Stephen Gifford Washington DC Aug. 1861 - Feb. 1862  Eleven
Virginia Mar. 1862 - Apr. 1865  Nine
W. B. Gifford Washington DC Dec. 1861 One
James G. Mason Virginia 1865 Two
John H. Mason Virginia 1864 - Apr. 1865 Five
Horace D. Taylor Washington 1864 One
Ambrose Williams Washington 1864 Two
Sam Williams 1862 One
Alonzo Babcock
Camp Stanley March the 25/63

Friend Oliver (Williams)
It is with the gratest of pleasure that I seat myself to write to you to inform you that I am well at present hopeing that these fiew poorley composed lines may find you the same  I have ben in the service of my country over one year and a half and I am sorry to say that this is the first time that I have writen to you but they say that it is beter late than never  I must confess that I have ben vary neglectful but you must pardon me this time and I will try to doe better hereafter  Well Oliver I have seen some pretty easey times and some vary hard time since I have ben here and expect to see some more  The rebels don’t seam to be satisfied unlefs they have us chaseing after them the whole time but they don’t like the old Seventh for they know us and they genarley try to get out of the way when they here of our comeing here onley a fiew days ago we went out and attacted them and took two of their camps and all of their camp equipage and their wagones and sixty three prisoners nearley all off whoom we cliped over the head with the Saber witch they did not like mutch but that soon brought them to tearmes  Well this time we stayed out eleven days and when we came to camps we did not stay more than one day before we had to go and drive another Sett a way that kept harrising our pickett and then we thought that we would get to rest one day but not for thare was one brigade of infantry had gone out on a scout and got into a fight  We wer called out to go and help them out but we wer to late for our Boys had licked out the rebels and drove them off the number on our side was 1300 men and five field piecies the rebels reported to have 10,000 men and four piecies of artillary and they thought to serround our men and take them prisoners but they found themselves mistakened for our Boys could send the shot a little to fast for them and so they skeedadle  Well Oliver I must stop for this time please write as soon as you can and when you write please tell me about Stephen wheather he has got home or not and if he has tell him to write soon and aney of the boys give my love to your folks and all the enquiring friends

Direct to Alonzo Babcock company B 7 Pa Cavalry Murfreesboro, Tenn.
I remain your Friend A. B. to O. Williams

(A.Alonzo Babcock, Pvt. Co.B 7PA Cavalry [Co. C 1st NY Mounted], b. 1849, d. 4 Feb. 1925 in LeRaysville, buried Stevensville, Bradford Co., PA)

Harlen DuBois
Fort Tillinghast VA January 19, 65

Friend Oliver (Williams)
I received your ever welcome letter yesterday was vary vary glad to hear from you and also your wife  as for my self, Stephen and Shortey Lewis and all the other boys.  We are all well and harty abel for duty when called on  As for Giff being poor I cant see it he looks as ruged as ever full of sport and fun  I think you must of ben missed informed and no credit to the informer

The wether is vary cold hear now as cold as it is with you up thare I think but all the better for the solger for theay fighting like nigars further south this winter  Fort Fisher is oures in full  bulley for Genrel Tarey  we are bound to have Charlston before spring – if – we have good luck which I hope we will by the help of God. Oh I think rebellion will foe down with hast.  I got a letter from my brother in Charmans (Sherman)Army he writes they are in the north west corner of south carliney(South Carolina) theay have got 4000 head of horses and muils theay have captured from the rebs 25 hundred wagons a clean sweep for Charman (Sherman) he also wrote that theay burnt all the fences within 40 miles wide as theay went he thinks Sherman (Sherman’s March to the Sea, ending in Atlanta, GA) could clean that state if the country would permit him to cross it but it is a muckey situation through that part of it so his artilery cant follow him up  he is on his way back to Grant with his confisteated property if a horse gives out theay shoot it for the rebes to feast on for theay need it at Richmond or will soon I think for the railroad that brings thear supplies to Richmond is swep away by a flud that hapaned about two weeks ago I wish it had of taken Richmond with it

January the 20, 65
Now I will finish my letter the Day is like the month of April vary warme and pleasant looks as if we had never ben any winter hear but oh we have and very cold at that but I think the winter is over hear  Oliver you write that Bill Philips had hot home  I suppose he was a hapy boy when he returned to that old plase of residence whare he had ____ten for years gon by I know I no___ iter he was or not  how is all the folks I havant heard from them for som time four weeks at least  I wrote to them last the day I wrote to you I wrote to them.  Oliver I am glad to hear your mail (?) is improving he would bring 200 dollars hear for mailes(?) is all the ___
Oliver you spoke of going to Pine Crick to work I wold take the world esey while you can for your days numbers maney  give my love to all my friends if any to you and your folks in full from your ever true friend
Harlen M. DuBois  all the boys love to you
To My Friend Oliver Williams From Harlen

N.B. 4 January 1865 – “Union troops leave from Bermuda Hundred for a new assault on Fort Fisher.  …………………….., General Alfred H. Terry rather that Butler is now commanding the men who are to launch the land assault against this important enemy position.” The Civil War Almanac, John S. Bowman, Ed.)

Fort Tillinghast, VA
the 24 January 1865

Friend Oliver
As Buffin(?) has got a furlough I thought I would drop you a few lines to let you know I am well hoping he will find you the same Oliver I would like to have you send my wach to me by him it is vary lonesome with out a time pease  excuse this short letter
My love to all
Harlon DuBois
Stephen Gifford
In full

To Mr. Oliver Williams


N.B. Handwriting compares to Harlon DuBois’ – Letter written for Stephen Gifford?  In an earlier letter Stephen gives permission for Oliver to wear his watch.

Fort Tillinghast Va
March 28/65

Friend Oliver (Williams)
Its been sometime since I have hurd from you but it’s the railroad that is to blame  We are yet at the old fort all hale and harty the wether is very faverbal for us now  its not so cold as it was when you ware heare the grass is up very nice pasture enuff for my kind of stock -  the fun has just begun between Grant and Lee at Richmond  they are fighting like tigers there now but old Grant is enuff for them I think but many poor felow will sleep his last sleep there and feel very thankful that Brother Steve and myself hant there at present although we hant very cowardly
Friend Oliver I suppose you are in your shugar bush by this time I hant forgot the time I eat shugar at your house and wish we could have the same privlage this spring – but time and luck will bring the time to us once more probley if not success to what we have had
Giff is in the vary best of health the same Boy to a cratch(?) Shorty hant ben very helthy lately but keeps around Linderman he is as tuff as hickry and as for my self the tufist spoke in the wheal Gust (Gustin?) sends his love to you all
Wall Oliver how does the donkey thrive by this time  I hope you have got another for it for Giff will want a bugy team when he gits home and theay would make things jump but let the muils ___ at present and read(?) my conversations to more importance  I suppose you want to know what become of all my money  I will tell you whare it went except what I have left  I paid my debts like an honest man while those that owe me puts me off till next pay day  I have some yet but would like to keep it for fear we wont git paid till our time is out  ask your son which he would druther have a drum or a musick Box for his present  I can git anary in a one of either kind for twelve dollars let him make his choise then tell me which it is

When you see Mr. Philips tell him us Boys would like to hear from him if he can spair time to drop a few lines to us  give our respects to all inquiring friends if any there  My love to you all
Wishing to hear from you soon
From your true friend Harlen (Harlen M. DuBois)
To Oliver Williams Troy, Pa

Horace DuMond
Washington December the 11th 1864

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary (Williams, Troy PA)
It is with a great degree of pleasure that I scrible a few lines to you to let you know that I am still in the land of the living  I hope these few lines will find you all well health is a great blefsin I have ben sick since from the eighth of Nov I was sent to Washingto the 28th of Nov I have been a doing well so far since I have been here.  My fever is broke I am hungary all the while I have not been out of the room yet it been only four or five days that I could walk alone I thought would go out to day but it aint pleasant there was a snow storm of about three or four inches of snow fell I have good care and fare and a good Doctor he comes around twice a day and examines his patients we have a good comfortable ward with two stoves in it good straw beds and rocking chairs and other chairs there has two died since I have been here there is twenty eight now in the room the most of them are a doing well I am a gaining as fas as any one possibly can I had a letter from gim day – before yesterday and he had been quite sick again but was better the rest of the boys the last I heard wer all well I did not expect to find any body here I had ever seen or heard of I found several Oscher Gustin is one of the nurses one man from Granville by the name of Rofs(?) one from Wells by the name of Warner I begin to enjoy my self very well only I am hungary all the while I get my rations which I presume is a plenty for me but I am almos as hungary after I eat as when I begin I wish I could have been to your house to spent this Sunday we am visited by the sanitary Christian commission society they bring agreat many things to comfort the sick in the hospital I think that is a great thing they bring all kinds of knick-nacks that selishes(?) to sick paper and envelops and pens combs and testaments papers and all kind of things to comfort the sick when I landed to Washingto there was one of them there with two large pail cans full the one with milk punch and the other with splendid coffee and nice crackers to nourish us with but I could not eat.  I will write about other things I hope you are all in good health and able to lend a hand if necessary if Julia needs any thin and you can assist her I would like to have you if you will  Julia says that som-one has been a trading five sheep with me if Jacob Y Dumond has not found them yet I wish you would spend a day and see if you can find out any thing abou them I think if they cant be found they have been sold.  I don’t want you to say any thing about it but I think they went to my neighbors down in the hollow see whoos mark is on them to my house perhaps you can find out if they have been sold I want you should look to things once and while and expect pay for it you can sell my harnefs the best you can if you have not bought the pig you can have it and pay Julia what it is worth part of the harnes is in the house and barn take out for your trouble and let Julia have the rest I have not got the things Julia sent to me if I don’t get them in a day or two I am agoing to send to you to send me some things I want Julia can send some thing to you.  As soon as you read this send it to Julia if you can write as soon as you get this and let me no how you get along From your Brother Horace Dumond to Oliver and Mary and his wife  I will write to you as often as I can Direct to Engineer Brigade hospital Near Navy Yard Washingto DC December the 12th 1864
This wont go out until to morrow morning

Washingto Feb. the 26th 1865

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary,

I will improve the opportunity of writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am well at present and hope this may find you all enjoying good health  I received your letter last night and was glad to hear that you were all able to be around  I had been very much troubled about Willie’s throt for some time.  I was afraid that he was worse  I am happy to hear that he is better  I wish I knew what the Doctor thought was the reason he would not live to grow up  I am sory to hear that your mother was not agetting better  I wish I could come and see her once more while on the earth if it could be so  O how I hope she may recover and get her health again  It seems hard to part with our friends  It seems that we am a having trouble on all sides of us this winter  I sent ten dollars to Oliver in a letter last week  I will send an order in this of thirty dollars and ten I will send in my next letter  Let me no if you get this in your answer Use all the money for the Children’s welfare they need, how I long to be where I can see them  O may the time come when it shall be so
It is almost mail time  I must close by bidding you all good day giving you all my most sincer and Brotherly love  From your Brother Horace (Dumond)

Direct as before.  Write as often as you can if it’s only a few lines to let me hear how you all be.

Camp Near City Point Washington DC
March the 18th 1865

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary and Aunt Betsy and Jesse and Willie and all of you
I have a few leisure moments to write a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these lines may find you all enjoying health and comfort I have been anxiously looking for a letter in the last mail but none has come  I heard from you all by Ansel(?) Case he said the folks were all well when he left I have heard from the boys in Co K(?) and they were a getting a long well the boys in our Co is all alooking hearty and fleshy as I do the wether is a getting pretty hot here now  there was two men shot here to day I was on guard and could not go and see it done

Sunday Morning March the 19th
The boys are all well and so am I this is a fine pleasant morning there was som cannonading yesterday in the afternoon and last evening on the left but all is quiet this morning I expect to hear the loud roar of cannon in a few days if the rebs don’t run our men is a getting in position to figh as fas as possible and the roads is a getting good let the deafning roar of cannon come I long to hear it if there is no other terms for peace I must go to the spring and do my washing and get ready for guard to night there is no Sabbath day kept here we have to work evry day rain or shine the war news is good  here now it is a general opinion the war will soon close I have heard talk that our company was agoing to Buffalo to fortify on the Canada line this summer I hope it may be so.

Monday March 20th
Today is very hot here times are about the same in Camp last night ther was a steady fiering on the left again there is blossoms to be seen on the peach trees to day I dread the very hot weather that is acoming I am alooking for a letter from you to day I hope it may come

March 23rd
Having an opportunity after coming in from guard and taking a hearty breakfast of hard tack coffee I am at leisure until eleven oclock I will write of  lines to let you know I am enjoying good health I hope this may find you the same the boys are all enjoying themselves very well I am agetting my strength and loosing flesh that is a very good exchange for me I saw Ambrose the other day he is well his company has moved last Sunday near by our Camp so I can see them often I have not seen Simeon but once yet I have not been more that a half a mile from camp yet(?) I have been a looking for a letter from you for several days but none has come yet I think the mail has stoped for some reason for a few days I think there is a going to bee a battle but I shall keep on a writing I will get some letters by–am-by I reckon the more the better
The wind blows here sometime so that it seems as though nothing could be left a standing if the timber did not grow deeper here in the earth than it does up north it would all blow down and to day happens to be one of those winy days I can scarcely hear myself think the sand and dust flies as bad as the snow does in the north I had rather have my eyes filled with snow than sand I cannot write anything very interesting to you but I must do something pass the time when I have nothing to do I want to hear from you as often as possibl and how Willie and the little Stephen is and all of the folks,  Mary I am learning Bakery and washing right smart I bake pancakes every day or two we have butter and honey and sugar yet give my love to all my friends
From Horace Dumond to Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary Williams

You must excuse poor writing the tent shakes by the wind

Camp Near City Point
Washington, D. C.  March 26th 1865

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary (Williams) and respected friends
Having a little time I will address you with a few lines.  I received two letters from you this morning happy to hear from you again but sorry to hear that you was not well but no more that I expected you have more to do than one person ought to have I am sorry that I am not able to share some of those cares you have but I will after a while if nothing happens  I am overly anxious for the time to come.  This last week has passed of fast and pleasant may it continue so for the next five months  I am well and enjoy hard tack and coffee and poor soup very well the boys are a getting along well some one has to be tied up once in a while but not the boys from our place the boys in Co. K is all usually well I have not been to the Point yet to get my likenefs taken and to see Simeon  I will go the first chance that I have I suppose you get more war news than I do.  There was a fight took place yesterday morning a few miles to our left, it lasted about three hours and ended in our favour.  In the end the rebs were deserting through the night and said to our pickets that ther were a lot of deserters acoing they came as our men supposed and they let them through they swung around our pickets and took them prisoners and they could give no alarm they then charged on our forts and was upon our men while they were asleep they took two of our forts and drove our men some distance before they could get into position they then drove them and took about three thousand prisoners and retook the forts and works we had lost
I have not yet found out how many there were killed on either side it is said we killed four of them to there one of us.  Today it is said the battle field is as yet strewed with dead the wounded are acoming down to day  I would like to go on the battle ground but I cannot  I think we will hear some loud times befor long I think the rebs will catch hailcolumbia in the next three months if they dare fight The news has just come that our men took about three thousand prisoners last night that is good news I think our men wont sleep quite so sound now for a while  I must stop and fix for drefs parade.

Monday March the 29th  The war news is better that I have stated  I hear some artilery fiering on the extreme left today.  The wether is very pleasant here to day but we have cold nights  I received a letter from you last night written March the 8th which had been to Washington  I was surprised to hear that Mr. Dumond was riled up he wanted my harness and churn and some other things  I told him if Oliver wanted them that he must have them  Mrs. Dumond I guefs is the ruling member and don’t like it because she don’t have it all to say about the businefs  I have written to them about the business if they am mad perhaps he will not write back to me  How I would lik to be there and make sugar myself and invite you all up to eat sugar  I tell Mary I am some at washing and cooking  I think I could beat your hired girl  I cook and bake and wash dishes all in a frying pan  I wish Oliver was here and him and I could see a battle  Tell Jesse I am very sorry that he lost one of his hogs  That is very bad but those that have must loose  write as often as you can and give all the particulars when you have a chance sometime I wish you would get little Steve’s likenefs taken and send it to me give my love to all the family and to your selves.
To Oliver and Mary From your Brother Horace Dumond  Respectfully yours,

Camp Pear City Point Washington DC March 27th 1865

I will address you with a few to improve my leisure moments and inform you of my health which is good at present.  Times are very well with me as good as I can expect The boys are all very well and in good spirits  The wether is very nice

March the 31st  Last night the wether was clear the stars shone bright and not a cloud to be seen this morning the rain is a pouring down in floods.  Night before last I was in the tent to bed but not asleep about half past ten o’clock bang went a cannon in lefs that a minute it seemed as though the heavens and earth was a coming to gether we could see the shells a bursting in the air  This lasted about two hours I have not heard the result of the battle yet last night there was another attacked but not so sever by the sound of the noise  There is a general movement here now I expet to hear loud times now for awhile  President Lincoln has been here him and Grant and other generals have held a counsel of war

April 4 Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary (Williams) I will try to write a few lines to you after getting back to our Camp we have been on march to Petersburg for three days on Sunday we was ordered in the fight to make a charge, but the general sent an order that we should not fight out of the breastworks on Sunday night the rebs left the city the fight was a terrible one I had a great anxiety to see a fight but I am fully satisfied we went in the city and repaired the bridge for our troops to cross the rebs crossed and set the bridges on fire our troops reached the city and hoisted their flags rang the church bells and gave such cheers as filled the air for miles.  I feel very well to day but my feet is very sore we think we will have to go to Richmond in a day or two I have not got time to write any more at present write as often as you can I have not had any letters for two weeks I send you all my most sincere love  Horace Dumond

Direct as before.  I will write again in a day or two if I have time.

Camp Near Berkeville South side Railroad Virginia
Sunday April 16th/65

Dear Brother and Sister and all the rest of you (Oliver and Mary Williams, Troy, PA)
I have a little time to address you with a few lines at present our Company left City Point last Monday morning for a march we had very heavy packs beside rainy and muddy and was marched very fast soon the clothing began to be thrown away I kept mine till I was very tired I threw some and thought I would keep the rest before night I was took sick to my stomach and the cramp set in I had to fall out of the ranks I thought my days was neither few nor many the Doctor ordered me in ambulance I layed on the ground that night and suffered severly  with pain the next morning I threw away my clothes the most of them and marched about a mile and the Doctor ordered me to ride that day I got better so that I have marched since the march was severe and a good many tiered out it was said that two of the regt died horses and mules tiered out also we got here on Friday night we found the 50th regt here I have seen the boys that I knew they am in very good health they have had a hard time since the fights commenced John Mason looks very poor for him I hardly knew him James Cease and Sam Williams looks about the same we expect to march again in the morning but I don’t know where. The progrefs of peace and the end of rebellion I think is not far of, I hope so at least I think perhaps we may be home if our lives are spared before our time is out hard marching and eating raw pork and hard tack and sleeping on the ground is not very pleasant and makes one think of home.  The boys in my Company are all very well I have seen lots of rebs this week about nine thousand in one drove they say they am tiered of war I will not try to write many of particulars if I live to get home I can tell more and faster than I can write.  Simeon has got his leg hurt perhaps you have heard of it I think it will soon get well well again I hope this may find you all in health and enjoying comfort I received a letter from you last week happy to hear that your healths was better than it had been and that Willie and little Steve was in good health if we move tomorrow morning when we stop I will try to write a few lines to you again to let you no how and where we am
Write as often as you can Receive my sincere love to your selves and to all of the family tell Elanor I feel greatly indebted to her for her care and attendance while I was home in sicknefs No more at present
From your Brother Horace Dumond

Direct as before

Camp Near Fort Barnard
Wednesday Washington May 17th 1865

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary (Williams) and entire family.  I will try to write a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the living  I got here last Friday so worn out that I have not had ambition enough to hardly move we started for Washington the first day of May and marched twelve days steady and one night avery hard time we had I can tell you I am not very well but keep around I have seen Steve and them boys they look well  Simeon came to the camp yesterday he is some lame yet the rest of the boys are like myself miserably well I would have written before but have had no chance we have been on the march for a month.  I hope those hard marches are done now I am expecting to be home before long if I live I hear some talk that we have got to march to Baltimore yet I fear we shall have to go to New York to be mustered out I am rather anxious to get home to see to my things I have written to Mr. Dumond about them but have received no answer I want to see my little boys and all of you very much but am not able to say how soon I will get my discharge write as soon you get this and let me hear how you and the children all am if I am not home in time if Mr. Dumond don’t see to it I wish Oliver would see to having my sheep washed and sheared let me hear about thing so far as you know when you write.
The wether is hot and dry here now there is sights of soldiers camping here as far as the eye can see all around I have not seen John in several days we pafsed him at Fredricksburg he was well they had to stay there until the army crofsed with there bridge be sure and write as soon as you get this receive my best wishes and respects and most sincere love to you all.  From your Brother Horace Dumond

Direct as before

Arlington Heights
Camp Near Fort Barnard
Saturday June 3rd 1865

Dear Brother and Sister Oliver and Mary (Williams)
Having a little spare time I will addrefs you with a few lines to let you know that we am here yet and in very good health at present  I was over to see Steve (Gifford?) he was well I had a good visit with him I have no news to write this time I expect to start for home as soon as we can get transportation now our discharge papers are all made out I am in hopes to see you all in a few days if nothing happens you need not write to me again until I write we am expecting to start the fore part of next week  the wether is very warm here now I will close by bidding you all good by for the present
From your Brother Horace Dumond to Oliver and Mary Williams

L to R. Stephen Gifford (b. 1843), Oliver Williams (b. 1818)- standing, 
Anson Williams (b. 1820)
Facial Detail
Stephen Gifford
O Gost the 10 1861

Dear Cousin
I have got a few moments to spair and I thought I would write to you.  I am well but have got a bad cold that I catched last night but I guess I shal get over that in a little while Mr. Hirm Boyle has got back and we have got marching orders for to start for Washington Wensday next and I don’t know whether I shal come home or not before I go  if I don’t keep your self strait  I want to come home the worst way but I cant I cant if I come I will be home tomorrow or Monday  I think I shal come but I don’t know I like the oficers well we have got one hon_____ ______ one in our company  I like all the boys well I ar glad that we ar going to Washington wensday I have started to fight for my country and I want to do it I don’t care how sune I shal make some of them rebels h___ If it is my luck to get kiled then so it is I shal do my best for my country we have got 6 cannons of which they call 10 pounders and ____ shels come with them we drill on them every day more or less  you nead not rite be fore I come home  if I come I shal be thar be fore it would get hear we have not got our uniform yet and I don’t know as we ever will get it  tell the folks that I ar well I hered that Oliver had not got his buck wheat thrashed yet but he can do it know  I wish I could help you you must have a good ___ work for to do and he needs help
I cant write any more to day so good by

From your cousin Stephen D. Gifford E S M I R A

Washington No the 8th 1861

Dear fir(first?) coson
I have just come from a drill and had my diner and have a little time to write so I will try to write to you and let you know how I was giting a long  I have had a bad cold but I feel pirty well now they have all had a cold we got hear Thursday knight a bout 8 O clock ran of of the track but did not hurt eny one I have not sean fras Morgain yet nor eny of the boys they papers(?) and miners(?) as not far from us Brad is writing to mother Horace Taylor has got the hed ache Gust (Gustin?) is hear John Ceace  for my part I like it first rate but some of the boys don’t like it first rate but they will come to their milk after a while I guess  tell Jess he is an old sardeen  give to Jane and all the rest of the inquiring friends if thare is eny  I sent Jo(?) a letter the other day I have not had mutch time to write but I thought you would hear from me I spose you have got most threw work I hope so we have not drawed eny pay yet nor don’t expect to till next mon but we shal get a long without it we have got our sabers they ar about a feet and a half long tell Ansel Williams I will write to him as sune as I can it ant a very good place to write on our knappsacks or eny other plase that you can get a chanse so if you can read it you will do pirty well I would like to come home and eat a meal thare but we have pirty good fixing hear pork pees shugar rice bread & salt I have give you the living aperaters

Direct your leters to Washington district of Columbia N Y first artiary Company F in care of Cap W B Wilson

Stephen Gifford Washington, D C

Washington No the 17 1861

Dear Coson (Oliver and Mary Williams, Troy, PA)
I have a little time to spare because it is Sunday and I thought I would let you know how I was giting a long and the rest of the boys they are well and doing well but Brad he is not very well now but we are in hopes he will git a long  he has got the dispepsy he cant keep eny thing down that he eats  I take as good care of him as I know how Ben is well likes the business first rate we expect to go down in Virgny before long in a fort if we do we shal gust(?) whare it is warmer then it is hear  for my part I don’t care whare they go I ar ready for them I wish we was to go in the battle field tomorrow it make eny diference how quick that is what we came down hear for I want you to write and let me know if you have to pay for the postage on this leter be shure and tell me I expect to draw our pay this weak and I will send it home to you you must take it and dow as you wish with it I can send you up about twenty to dolars I think if I get it all I spose you ar well tell Jess he is an old saredeen(?) thar is nothing sutes me beter than this we have buly good fair hear know as good as eny one could ask for pork and pies _____ beef bread pork and pie and cake chease rice and pudding and milk chicriy onse a weak baked turke molasses & what do you think a bout that ant pirty good living and we ar a going to have some pickeld niyers(?) befor a grart while so you nead not fret about living down hear we live on the top shelf I have wrote you the hole lingo ar So good by der cosons Oliver and Mary direct to Washington D C Camp Bary

Stephen Gifford

Washington Dec the 5 1861

Dear coson
I have just drawed my pay and have let Ben have twenty dolars of it and around 21 dolars and ? cents he has bought a house and lot and if he don’t pay at the time of dew he loses one hundred dollars and for that mater I let him have it I shal draw 26 dolars the first of January and I will send it to you I shal draw in les than one month  wal I am well and the rest of the boys but Bral(?)

Give my love to all of my friends thare if I have eny thare I have no time to write to you this morning so good by Oliver and Mary and the rest of the folks thare I ar in a hury for I have got to drill

Washington DC Camp Carey company F,  N.Y.G.V. in care of Cap
W. B. Wilson

Good by to Oliver and the rest of the folks
S. D. Gifford


Dec 9, 1861
Headquarters Washington
Camp Bary

Dear Coson
I received your leter and very glad to hear from you  glad to hear that you and the rest of the folks was wll  I have just come of from drilling and have a fiew moments to spair and so I thought I wold try to write and let you know how was a giting a long and the rest of the boys hear with me  they ar well as common it is a giting pirty cold hear  the major has bin driling us thid four non on our horses  we git our pay to day I sipse and Benjine (Benjamin?) wants to borrow ten dolars to make a payment on his house and lot and if you have no(?) pirticuler use for it I will let him have 10 dolars  I draw 21 dolars and 20 three cents and will send the rest to you if you want it  write as sune as you get this write ___ and let me know and if you want it I will send it to you  Bradford is not very well but he is agiting beter  Ben and Gust (Gustin(?) and the rest of the boys all like it first rate  I ar as well and harty as a buck  I can eat most eny thing  we have good fair hear  I can tell you we live on the top shelf hear pork and beef pies and beens rice and coffee tee and potatos  wall I will not tell you everything about the extres we have  they ar peinty but I wont mention eny of them it is giting pirty near diner time and will have to eat my diner
Good by Oiver and Mary ant Betsy uncle Fill and give my best respects to all inquiring friends  good by

Direct to Washington D C of company F
First artilary
Camp Barey
In care of W. B. Wilson
S. D. Gifford

Washington Dec the 11 1861

Dear Cousin (Oliver and Mary Williams)
I received you letter the 10 and was very glad to hear from you I have let Beny have my money before I received your leter and was very sory but he had no other way in maken the payment and if he did not do it at time dew he wold lose 100 dolars and sed he would give ____ interest but if I had of none of you wanting it so bad I would sent it to you by all means but never mind I shal sun get pay a gan I shal draw pay the first of the next month 26 dolars and will send you 23 dolars of it so you may expect it for I will be shure and send it I have just saw Pinny Dofin(?) and Bill Burges they ware well and sed they liked it first rate and look tuff I sene Warin Bols(?) to the other day and he was well it is giting pirty near non and I must not writ to long I ar well and harty as a buck and the rest of the boys ar well and like it first rate Brad is giting beter good by coson write sune give my best respect to aunt Betsy Ively(?) and my love to Jennie Montgomery and the rest of her folks good by Oliver and Mary

Direct to Washington D. C. camp horse company F
N. Y. first artilary G. V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson
S. D. Gifford of Troy

Washington D. C. Jan the 20 1862

Dear coson
I received your kind leter yesterday and was very glad to hear from you I did not write because I expected to git my pay so I thought I would wait I have just got it and will send 20 of it to you  thare is some sickness day afore yesterday with the ______ feaver the smallpox is pirty thick hear but I have just bin vacinated I expect we shal go over the river now in a short time for we have got 400 and 50 wrounds of shel and canisters of grape(?)  I think we shal give them rebels something to chew  we will make them think the devil is after them  we ar thinking of having a big fight  I don’t care how quick for I will git a pop at the criters  I will make them hunt their hole if they have got eny  I shal fight my way threw them or dy
I am well and harty as a buck
Washington DC Camp Bary N. Y. G. V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson

(Stephen Gifford)

Washington Jan the 28 1862

Dear Couson (Mary Williams)
I received your kind leter just about to ours a go and was very glad to hear from you glad to hear you was well and the rest of the folks was the same I sent a leter to Elisa and Julia wal it is so mudy hear that the old wimen has to git together and wash the childrens faces to find thare one  the horses stands in the mud up to thare eys and I shold think they would dy but they stood it first rate  it is very warm hear and it rains most evry day thare is not mutch newes to tel you but I think thare will be some before long I think you will hear ____ a big battle before long that is the newes around hear as quick as the mud drys up it is so mudy that they cannot march tell Oliver he can do as he wishes I have got a nuf for myself also don’t wory eny more for I can git a long I sent to dollars and 1 half and that is all I shal send this time I shal git my likeness taken and send it to you
Please excuse poor for not writing suner before no more at present write sune good by cosons
Washington D. C. N. Y. artilary G. V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson

S. D. Gifford
Mary Williams
Troy Bradford

January the 30, 1862
Washington D. C.

Dear cusan (Mary Williams)
I have bin down to the sity on a pass to day and fare Brad went down with me and we got our likeness taken for you it is not very nice but it look pirty ntral (natural?) it is very mudy hear that is the most news hear now that I can tell you we don’t expect to move till the mud dries up we expect to go as sune as the wether gits fit and then thare will be something don I think thare will be one of the biggest fights that you ever hurd of  that is the talk now  I am to go inty(?)  I am redy to go into battle any time if it is tomorrow.
No more at presant as I rote to you last night so you must write as sune as you git this give my love to all my inquiring friends tell Jesse he can just jump up and bite his mable good by no more at present good by rite as sune as you have received it.

Washington  D. C.
N. G. first art
Y. V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson

S. D. Gifford
Mrs. Mary Williams
Washington D. C.
Troy Bradford Co. PA

Camp Barry February the 7 1862

Dear coson
I received your kind leter last evening and was very glad to hear from you glad to hear that you was well and enjoying your selves hay riding and so on  Bill Phillips is fast this time I think he will can his milk this time I think they ____ guard thare if they ar getting so they can steal that way  you spoke about me being poor I ar flesher than ever I was before I weigh one hundred and 57 pounds and as tuff as a bair You spoke about those old cloths I don’t think it would hardly pay I am tired of so mutch unruly wether it is storming to day and the mud is about three feet deep now I spose the sleighing thare is first rate

Just got
Annys(?) and Sakes likeness the other day and they look very natrel
That chicken went first rate and so did the rest of the things I thank you and Oliver thosands of times for that
I want you to give me a little histry of A_____ Mrs Bely if she has got that boy yet or not and how the rest of the folks gits a long about thare tell Oliver he must keep my gun in good order for I want that to hunt with some time yet if the rebels don’t pop me over some of these time when I don’t know it you may kiss Jesse for me and tell him he must come _________ and see me the boys from Troy ar all well and every thing is lovely about camp now but we’l have pirty strict laws now if a soldier is absent from roal call once he is cort marsheld but they don’t git this chicken for he is genrly around about that time no more at present so good by for this time write sune as you can

Camp Barry Washington D.C. Co F
N.Y.G.V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson

Stephen D. Gifford
Mrs. Mary Williams
Yours truly

Give my love to Oliver and aunt and aunt Betsy

Camp Barry
Washington D. C.    Feb 14, 1862

Dear cousin  I received your kind letter Feb the 11 and had no time to answer it till now for I have byn pirty busy since I have bin on guard and just came of and have a few moments to spare that money I sent it to Oliver to dollars and a half but never mind that is not mutch  wal thare has bin a grand ______ on the plains hear today of cavalry thare was ____ the wind has light up some but is pirty nasty yet please tell Martain Montgomery if he has not enlisted hadent beter for it will kill him he is not healthy a nuf for the business it isn’t because I shant like it for I do but for his one good  thare is one half of the boys in our company is sick now please tell him that if he does he is a dead boy it agreas with me first rate  I have not time to writ a long leter for I have got to go and water my team tell Oliver I shal be to home to see him by the first of agust and give my love to all inquiring friends
Write as sune as you can and don’t forget to tell Martain what I told you
Camp Barry
Washington, D. C. 1st art. N. Y. G. V. in care of Cap W. B. Wilson

Yours Truly
Stephen D. Gifford
To Mr. & Mrs. Mary Williams Troy
Bradford County

I shant think we shal move very sune tell Jesse I want to kiss him and kiss him for me
Feb the 14

Camp Baria
Feb 28 1862
Washington, D. C.

Dear coson
I would take the opertunity of writing you a fiew lines to inform you that we ar going to _____  we crosse the river tomorrow morning  we ar going six miles from Manases in Banks divishion  we ar giting redy today to march  we was musterd in for pay this morning  I have rote to you twice since I have received a leter from you  I haven’t had a leter from you in to weaks  I guess you have forgotten  I have gois(?) haven’t you I had a leter from T____y knight before last the times  about camp is about as usual not quite so mudy for it is frose up now the boys ar all well and feel first rate  they ar all expecting to have a big fight at Manases  we ar the clostes to the rebels of eny  when we git over thate we will give them fits  we will make them think the devil is after them  give my love  ot Jesse and Oliver and aunt Betsy and Fil and all inquiring friends  if thare is eny sutch thare  I must bid you good by for I have got to go and help pac up  write sune

Camp Barry
Washington, D. C.
1st Art Co F
In care of Cap W. Wilson
Yours Truly Stephen
D. Gifford  Mary C
I am bound to save or dy for the union

N.B. 24 February 1862 - Eastern Theater:  Harper’s Ferry is taken over by General Banks’ Union soldiers.  Near Pohick Church, Virginia, there is minor skirmishing between Southern and Northern troops. – The Civil War Almanac, John S. Bowman, Ed.

Camp Baily VA
March the 18 1862

Dear cosans (Oliver and Mary Williams, Troy, PA)
I received your kind leter three or four days a go but have not had time to answer it for I have had a grate deal to do  we have had to drill all of the time  we have had a pirty bad storm hear  I ran a way and went over to the 12 Pa reg this morning and just got back I saw ______ More and Frank Fish and Dick Gustin  they ar all well and our boys ar all well but Horace Taylor and Jhan(?) Ceace they ar to the hospital thare was a man went to the hospital sick with the smallpox out from our tent I have just received a leter from Mary Philips(?) She said the folds was all well our troops march on Manases last Mondy and the rebels has left thare our men is at Manases now and ten miles beyond thare  give my love to them all write sune and tell Janne(?) I received a leter from her to day and I will answer it sune give my love to Jane
I am well and harty as a buck

Alexandry Va
Franklins division
Co F 1st art
N. Y. G. V.  in
Care of Cap W. B. Wilson

Yours truly
Stephen Gifford

Oliver Williams
and Mary W

N.B. On March 11, 1962, in the Eastern Theater Manassas Junction, Virginia is investigated by Union troops, who find little of value left in the wake of retreating Confederate soldiers. – The Civil War Almanac, John S. Bowman, Ed.

November 9th/64

Dear Cousan
Another’s day has come and the Old Battery F4 still remains to Fort Barnard and the boys ar going to scrub for a hors
And I want you to send me some Balsam for it is a hel of a time for colds and we cant get anything hear
The boys ar all well but have got bad _______
All of them send a good lot of it and be carful and fix it so it wont run out Shorty has sent for a box(?) so you will have to hury if you send with this
Give my love to all and tell Jesse I want to know if he has killed eny rabets yet

S Gifford

November 16/64

Dear coson Oliver and Mary (Williams, Troy, PA)
I just came of from picket this morning and feel rather ruf. And no money  I have bin expecting to get my pay for a month but no pay yet and I want you to send me some if you pleas I have got a hell of a cold and a little pie or cake goes pirty well when a felow don’t feel first rate  you nead not send a grate deal  a grean back will do if I want more I will send for it Ol (w)ho did you vote for I voted for Abraham so did Shorty Lew and Ruf for Mack(General George McClellan, Lincoln’s opponent?) Canedy and torn(?) Mack but he did not yet  we have moved to Fort Worth about 3 miles on the Alexandria and Manases pike  the boys are very well at present but have bad chills I must close so you will excuse me pleas give Jes a kiss from Old Gif and give my love to all
Yours truly
Stephen Gifford
Direct to Washington post the same

O Williams

Fort Worth, VA
Nov 26/64

Dear Coson
I received your kind letter last knight and was very glad indeed to hear from you but sory to hear that Horace and James was sick how long is Oliver agoing to be gon  I shold think it would make it pirty hard for you Mary you nead not send eny more money without I send for it for I think we shal get pay before long and if I do send for some again I don’t want you to go way to town a foot to send it to me Mary for I shal not suffer ____ I had turkey for thanksgiving the convsary sent five turks to us and we has a dance at knight and they  had a holy good time  the wether is very pleasant hear just now but it has bin pirty ruf before for a couple of weaks  the boys ar all well and in first rate spirits  I spose it is pirty cool up North getting about time for cold wether thare what dos the people think of the war closing ar they going to Draft agan up thare  I hope they will if they ar going to before old Giff gets hom for I think they wont make meny more drafts  wal I have just come of from drill and got to go out agan in about twenty minutes so I have got to bring my leter to a close pirty sune has Moly Phillips got home  Harl don’t have mutch to say about her

(rest of letter missing)

Fort Worth Dec 7/64

Dear Couson (Oliver Williams, Troy, PA)
I received your kind letter last knight and was very glad to hear from you to hear that you was well and enjoying your selves first rate but Old Jess and Ol you better look out how drive Charley or I shal have to come up thare and t_____to you  have you bought that ram mule of tut(?) I spose you calculate to sell the devel(?) for I should not like the Old devel(?)  wal I spose they ar going to draft up thare thare this weak let them draft and be damned they cant draft me  Oliver I wish you would go to the Provost office in Troy and see if my name is of from the pool and if it is not have it taken of  I ___ presume to say that it is the wether is pirty cold hear now I went to the Spring to get some watter this morning filed my canteen layed it down and it frose fast before I ________ it up so you bet it is fairly cold hear wal I have just come from the Setlers and had a holy old glass of Beer and some apples that is something we don’t get everday I haven’t bin Washington since I came down hear I haven’t bin to Alexandria but avonce so you see I am fairly stedy you wanted to know about John Tom Knights he has turned out to be a holy old boy I like him first rate and so dos all of the boys
The boys ar all well and have lots of fun I and Lew(?) Batterson sleeps together we have holy old time he is in my Old Split(?) wal I am getting so cold I cant half write wal you spoke of Saucage no I never eat Saucage tell Nancy she nead not be afraid of writing to me I will answer All and be glad to hear from her.  Tell Oliver he would not be afraid to cary my watch if he wants to I must close Wele(?) and Gust(Gustin?) sends there best respects to you and Ol
Yours truly
Give my love to all
Direct as before I wrote more and got worse but She don’t pull the wool over me write tell Jesse I shal be up thare to go a hunting with him wone of these days tell Ella (Williams, Mrs. Walter E. Rockwell) she must get along without a letter till I can find to write to her tell Aunt Bet I send my love to her and uncle Fill no more
Write soon
Stephen Gifford

Fort Tillinghast, VA
Arlington Heights
Jan 29th/65

Dear Couson
Yours of the 17 was gladly received about twenty minutes ago  I rote you a letter yesterday but will write a gain  I am very very sory to hear of Julies sicknes but I cannot help it  if I could God knows I would  you think she cannot live do you  I was in hopes she had lived along so long she might get better  wal we have all got to go suner or latter but it is hard to be shure wel I think ruf wanted a furlough worse than I do for I would gbe afraid it might be so after a battle(?)  well Lew and Old Griff will have a long(?) for him be (by) the time we ger home  Although I am perfectly willing that he should come home but I would not come for ten days if I had the privelage unless my folks was sick  Buf must of bin sick himself  well I got my coat home by the meanes that I captured wone knight on picket  Old Rat and myself takes soled comfort together hear the Boys ar all well and the wether has moderated so it was warm and pleasant again to day

I spose the William Phillips will have to go back before long  if you see him before he goes back give him by best respects
Tell Mary Phillips I send my best respects to her and send a little love if I darst to Mary  I thank you a thousands of times for your Photograph  I think I will send mine when I get my pay  them starnpes(?) came very acceptable(?) wel I shal have to close  so good by  yours as ever
With my best
Respects and well wishes  S. Gifford

Fort Tillinghast,
Arlington Heights, VA
April 19/65

Dearest Cousin (Mrs. Mary Williams, Troy, PA)
I received your kind letter this morning and found me well  I am now on detached duty about to muster(?) from the Battery guarding a government stable  I am on guard every day and don’t have mutch time to myself but am well and harty as a buck  The boys ar all prity well the wether is very pleasant hear  I suppose you have probably hurd of the Assusion nation (assassination) of our noble leador and preasadent he is gone whare many of our noble boys have gone before but the nasion (nation?) feels the loss of him far more because he was a grand and wise man but I hope that Mr. Jonson (Vice President Andrew Johnson) will fill his place and be as true to his Country as Mr. Lincon and perhaps he may dear Cousins. (Lincoln was assassinated on 14 April 1865)
I have got to close to go on guard  I shuld like to write you along letter but I can’t for I spose you will see I have written this and jump  to write as mutch as I have  you spoke of me not wanting to see so long letters from you  you  can’t get them to long to suit me  tell that girl to write to me and I will answer.
Tell Oliver if he is satisfied with the place that I am Sutternley (certainly) for I think his judgment is full as good as mine
Yours truly with my best wishes
Stephen (D. Gifford)  direct as before give my love to all

Fort Tillinghast
Arlington Heights VA
April the 3/65

Dearest Couson (Oliver Willliams, Troy, PA)
I have taken this present oppertunity of informing you that I am well and hope these few lines may find you the same Well I haven’t written a letter in so long I am most ashamed to write but you must consider the sorce as the man sed when the Jack Ass kicked him I have bin on detatched duty for twelve days and on guard every day I received a letter form you some days ago stating that you would send me a box as sune the road was threw I have bin waiting every day looking for an answer but none has come dear Couson I am very mutch in need of the bots and if I don’t get them before long I shal be obliged to draw a pair of governments and that goes against my will fore they are but a little better than none but I don’t want to ask to mutch of a father for you and Couson may (Mary?) has bin as dear to me as a father and mother And dear Cousons I shal always respect you as sutch but I don’t know as I ever can reward you for your kindness I shal have to close by hoping you well if you haven’t sent the Rocks(?) send me some galeses (galoshes?)

Write sune give my love to all Especially to your girl kiss Old _ay(?) for me
Yours with respect

Stephen (Gifford)

W. B. Gifford
Co F, Regt NY AR Volunteers, Camp Barrea Washington
December Friday(?) the 6 1861

Dear Cusin Mary (Williams, wife of Oliver, Troy, PA)
I have the plesure of riting a few lines to you  I hope that those few lines will find you well and all of the rest of them the same  Steve(?) is well and Gould(?) is fine and I am not well  I have bin very sick I am now a little beter now than what I was  I cant speak heartely alots words(?)  I have got such a cold on my lungs but Marea (Mary?) you know that I am God ____ I ____ I am bound to stike to it ___ ___ ____ ____ I am bound to see bee fore I come home if God spares my life long anuf  thare is lots of fun down hear

Now Mary I have not know weather you can read this or not fore I cant half rite now  my hand trembles sow but I will do the best that I can and you must do the best you can to areading it  If you cant read it send to Philedelfey and gite a lawer to read it for you  ___ __ sends his love to Jaine tell Olliver to bee a good boy and mind his mother Steve sas if you donte anser his leters that bye God he wount rite agine I think that you had beter to rite to him right awa
I am giting tired and must close my riting fore this time Mary ancer this leter as soone as you gite it rite often to me and I will ancer your bee a good good gurel (girl?) while we are all down hear to fight.  This is from your Cusin

W. B. Gifford

Direct your leters to W. B. Gifford
Fiereste N.Y. A. Re regiment Washington Camp Barrea
Company F in care of Capton W. R. Wilson

James G. Mason
Camp Near City Point, VA (Washington, D. C.)
Thursday Apr 6, 65

Dear Sister Mary (Mrs. Oliver Williams, Troy, PA)
I received your kind letter bearing date March 29th and I was glad to hear that you were all well  This leaves me well and I trust it will find you and yours enjoying the same great blessing  Well Mary I have just returned from Petersburgh  We were ordered to march Sunday morning last  We supposed we should be back before night but in the room of coming back we were marched in front of Petersburgh  there drawn up in line of battle and stood all night held as a reserve in case we was kneaded to make a charge on the enimy works but they were caried without us  The balls and shells flew in every direction  Our army carried the last fort about 4 o’clock Monday morning and our reg marched in to the city about 8 o’clock in the AM  Went to work and laid a bridge where Lee had made his escape and then set it on fire  We put out the fire and planked it so our army could cross  I saw a good many poor fellows wounded and about two hundred of our men dead  Some had there legs shot off and some there arms some there heads  it was an awful sight.  The rebs left eight hundred dead on the field  Richmond is ours and Lee has made his escape  I do not think the rebs will fight much more  They may never make another stand and they may for ought I know but I know they are played out
Flour in Petersburgh is worth $300 or hundred dollars per barrel and I had them offer me twenty dollars of there money for ten cents of our money so you see they are hard up  I was without sleep for 2 days and 2 nights without any sleep  Simeon had his leg hurt pretty bad  He got a log rolled on to his leg  I thought one of the bones was broken at the time but I heard it was not  Horace (Taylor?) stood the march first rate and the rest of the boys are all well as far as I know  Simeon Case is well and so is Packard  Sim Case sends his love to you and Ol  Now Mary you are in the rear in regard to writing for I think you owe me 2 letters if you got them all  Well Mary is your fruit trees blomed out  They are all in full bloom here in Virginia  I think Peace will be declared by the 4th of July if not sooner  then I will be home by the fourth to do my haying  Tel Ol he must write to me  Give my love to Aunt Betsey Tel Jessey his Uncle Jim would like to see him first rate  Maybee I will fetch him something perhaps a little niger boy if he wants me  to I will send him a check on Petersburgh Bank and he can buy him a horse with out it if he buys one at all  Now Mary whenever you can spare the time write to me and I will try and make the next letter more interesting  So good by for this time from your Brother J. G. Mason

City Point VA
Tuesday Oct 18th 1864

Dear Sister Mary (Williams, Troy, Pa)
I received your kind letter informing me of Janes sickness  I was vary sorry to hear that she has been sick under such circumstances but I was glad that it was no worse with her and that she was getting along so well  I had a letter from Jane the other day  the first she has written since I left home  I have been vary sick for the last 2 weeks  sicker that I ever want to be again while I stay in the army but I am better now and think I shall soon be able to do duty once more  I saw Stephen and Art(?) several times last week they have gone on to their company now  the weather is quite warm here now and vary dry but how long it will remain so I do not know  now Mary soldiering is not a vary desirable job  you have to sleep on the ground wet or dry and nothing but a cloth tent over a man  it is pretty hard fair but still it can not be helpt and there is no use of making any fuss about it  if I can only have my health it is all I ask for and I think I shall after I get over this  tel Oliver I should like to see him first rate and he must not let the widows suffer up there if he can help it  I think if he seen to them all he would have more than he bargained for and I am in hopes they will get along some way this winter they can stand it vary well through the summer  if they onely can get along this winter  Simeon got here yesterday and he feels a good deal better since he has got with the boys  he says he has had a vary lonesome time of it since he left home  he says he did not expect to find us nor see us again but he was happily disappointed  I think he will enjoy himself first rate now   the rest of the boys is all well and able to eat their grub  they say General Grant has moved on Richmond  he has all of their railroads and can hold them  We heard heavy fireing last night all along the lines  I suppose he has got Petersburgh now  that was the news brought here and I should think it was so  if he can onely take the rebble army with it I think this war will end  if not there is no telling when it will end  I have seen a good many rebble prisoners and one major amongst them  he said they felt confident they would whip us out but when he come to go through our lines and see the men that Grant had in the rear he thought their was no use of fighting any longer and he wanted to take the oath of allegiance and stop fighting
Now Mary I want you to write to me as often as you can and I will try and answer your letters in good season so no more this time but remain your affectionate Brother
J. G. Mason
Excuse all bad writing and write as soon as you get this

John H. Mason
Camp near Poplare Grove Va. Jan. 11/64

Dear Wife (Eliza WILLIAMS Mason)
Well my letter came the same day I wrote last  you know how eager I was to get it is placed(?) as I am here  my greatest anxiety to here from you  it is the onely comfort or the onely thing that gives me any comfort  not that I am home sick for if it was not for my little Wife at home I would be quite contented here  But as it is we will both have to make the best of it we can  I have no doubt but I shall be drafted next time  if so my going when I did will be for the best.  I knowing what I know now I never shall go to war as a drafted man  If I had legs a nough to get away I wold go to Canady first  The Rebs are deserting quite fast  Thare were fifty came in the other nite at one time  I wish they wold all come over for that wold settle the war then us men who have familys at home cold go & see them & thare cold not eny thing suit me eny better  I have received the letter you put the dollar in  Now my Eliza you must not borrow eny trouble about me not til you no for a sortanly (certainty?) that I am in danger or rather that I am dangerously sick for I shall tel you if I am jest as I want you to tel me if you are or shold be sick  We will put our trusts in God whom is able to do all things & who can sustain us under all sircumstances & he has promised to those who ask in faith believing shall receive  let us put our faith in him & quietly submit to his will
[Photo at left - Eliza WILLIAM "Mason"  (b. 1839) and twin sons, Lawrence and Clarence (b. 1873)]

It panes me to think that I have to be separated from you at this time & my onely consulation is that it may yet all be for the best  time will tell us  My prayers are that we will live & meet again  then we will forget those days of anxiety & gloom  I am anxiously looking forward to that time.
I am about out of news but I will tell you some of the tricks thay play here  Johnathon Hurlbert was over here the other day with a pitiful story  he was drafted this fall & put in to the infantry  he is a little green I gefs Well the Boys fixed a plan to blow him up  they sawed a barrel in to put powder under it then stood around it & began to talk how soon the war wold be settled  of course that suited him so he joined the Co  walked in to the ring & sat down on the barrel as it was a good seat  thay fired the powder & gave him a ride  I suppose he thout he was going to take his leave of the Army  it burnt his hair quite some squarched his whiskers the same  Resembled a singed cat
I will stop at this for I see it takes up to much room to tel how they blow up folks in fun.
I will close by wishing you all the happinefs your John wold like to bestow to you  take all the care of your self you can  write as often as twise a week & as much oftener as you feel like it My health is good except a bad cold you know that is coming thing  I had a good supper to nite potatoes & butter
Hoping to here from you soon
I Reman as Ever your Effectionate Husband
John H. Mason

You must excuse all mistakes for I don’t look over my letters

City Point Nov 7/64

Brother Oliver (Williams)
If you wold like to have a fiew lines from Dipey hear they come such as the are.  I am well as tuf as a knot & wold be ugly if I dared to be or I wold revenge some of the insults our sick boys have to take  Jim is on the gan so he can do a part of his dutes as a soldier  Horace is quite sick but has good courage.  I have him & Jim in one tent by them selves & I make them as comfortable as I can.  We have a hard chore of it here our officers punish for the least offence.  I have run clear so far.  I will give you a small description of our houses & fare each soldier Draws a piece of cotton clothe 2 ½ ft x 6. Three has to put them to gather Drive two sticks in to the ground & one on top for a ridge pole.  Stretch the cloth over it & fasten the bottom with pegs it makes a pen in side 5x6 four ft high three of us soldiers have to nest in one of those pens rather cool houses for the season of the year.  We are fed on Hard tack, & a Dog wold have to have good teeth to eat them.  We get a small piece of meat or fish a day but our fare grows better some of the boys are having boxes of Supures sent them such as butter chees sugar etc.  Simeon is well tents clost by at present.  Thare was a man shot in his Co a fiew moments ago he was a fine or they all sa so he was shot by a rouddy lived but a fiew minutes leaves a Wife & two children such is the fortunes of War.  Well I see by the papers Old Abe is to be our next President.  What do you think about the war closeing in the next four years  I don’t think it will close before my time is out nor not then.  What I have seen of this country looks devastated anough thare is not a stick of fence & but seldom a house to be seen not a field of grain to be seen nor a hil of potatoes not a bird but what has fled except the Busards  You know nothing of war at home.  I have seen some of the Boys that came last spring they all tell one story all down on the war.
What do you think of the next draft.  I hear thare is to be a nother

Well Mary I hardly know what to say to you of Virginia one thing surten I have not seen a good looking woman in the country not one with hoofs on they carry thare loads on thare heads & look crofseyd at our soldiers  I will have to close this for we have to go to bed at the tap of the drum  We get up at the call of the Drum get our diners at the call of the drum put our lites out When the drum says so sick or well & by the by we have to do just what the drum says  I wold like to have you go to see Lize as often as you can  I fer that she must feel lonesome  I wold like to go home this winter but have no hopes of getting thare if eny thing shold turn up that this company shold go to Washington I shall try hard to get a furlow  Write as soon as you can find time to do so & if you can read this I will write again.
John (Mason)

Camp Near Poplar Grove Church Jan 7/65

Dear Brother (Oliver Williams)
I received your letter to day I can insure you I was glad to hear from you  I should of answered your first letter before this had it not ben for my bad luck though I do not feel like complaining.  I was going to write the nite I went of the Warren raid I suppose that was a good introduction in the soldier line.  We got our orders Saturday afternoon at four O’clock to be ready to march at five rather short notice for a chap to pack up his house hold formation in the snow & ice was about two inches deep we soon mixed it up with the mud til the mortar was from 4+ to 10 inches we had 60 pounds to cary at least we startd at five the nite was quite dark Our orders ware that no man shold tier out without a writton permit from his Capt. We marched til four in the morning nothing to eat.  I cold here close up thare from our officers they ware on a good horse quite a difference in the legs I recon.  We camped in a cornfield on a nice plantation a farm of some two hundred acers cleard & nicely fenced we soon had good fiers built of dry pine rails which burnt good in the rain  I saw plenty of men tierd out by the road side fast a sleep & the cold rain falling on them & I tell you before I get through what punishment those tired out soldiers received by there officers Sunday about noon Warrens Cavrely began to come over the bridge.  I made up my mind if I shold go to ware again I wold go in Cavelry Regt.  They had all sorts of confiscated goods abord some had turkeys tied to thare saddles some hens some two bags of bacon all there horses cold carry some had charge of yellow gals & some pure black ones.  Some had droves of cattle others had a pair of oxon hitched before a cart Cart loaded with all sorts of produce & they done there work well they burnt all behind them  I saw several fine houses on fire at one time & cold see the smoke raising from others.  fore once the Rebs were paid in own coin  our boys found some of our boys who had ben taken prisoners murdered & layd side of the road so they cold be seen.  Where ever they found one they left three Rebles hanging on a limb  on this raid Genral Warren went 50 miles in to the Rebles dominions Destroyd 25 miles of thare railroad burnt several towns distroyd large amounts of Rebles stores  I think it is all _afs(?) to talk of starven the rebs thare country is full of corn & all other Eatables I saw barns ful of corn & fields of nice corn not husked it wold look as if they had no place to store it But the owners had scadadled & when they get back they find no corn nor houses Well Sunday nite we ware all marched down to the river drawn up in line of battle to gard our bridge or se the Jones Did not pitch on while our Boys ware taken up thare bridge.  It did not take them long to take up thare bridge & load it We saw no foe so we ware marched back to the cornfield. had orders to be reddy to march at four O’clock.  I was glad when it came for it was a very cold nite it frose so hard that the mud holes held up the artilery.  We had all we cold do to keep from freesing the water froze up in my canteen & that hanging at my side something I did not look for in the suny south.  At four we ware under motion they marched us til fore without a bite to eat onely leting us stop to rest a fiew times & onely a fiew minutes at a time  I was glad to get back to camp but I had rather kept on raiding.  I stood the march first rate but I never saw such a limper nor I never want to strap another knapsack on my back  the boys that fel out or rather tired out ware court martialed  thare sentence was to have ten dollars taken from thare pay & have a knapsack drill of 8 hours a day for tow (two?) days with 25 pounds of sand in thare knapsacks beside all thare acoutrements I guefs you know Lush Loper he was that got punished you would laugh to here him take on  I received the things you sent me & I am vary much obliged to you for them you have no idea how we soldiers like to get something good to eat.  When I got my box & nice present I cold not taste a bite of eny thing I was attact with fevre.  I was sent to the hospittle near City Point I was gone from the Co. nere two weeks But thank God I am well again or nerely so. I am doing my duty again as a soldier I have a great meny things I wold like to tel you if this does not tire your patience let me know & I will try it again
From your brother John (Mason)

Sister Mary (Undated Letter)
I am a going to write you a fiew lines this time & you may look for a long letter sometime I like so to here from my friends why it is the nerest I get to Home is to get a letter  I may as well write or tel you first what troubles me the most  I do feel vary uneasy about Eliza to be where I cant go to see her under no sircomstances fairly makes me wild to think of it  it troubles me more by fair than the ware  you have ben up to see her  I hope you will go often  I wold like to have you thare if she is sick or when she is sick  I have ben writing to her to get a girl to do her work  I want you to go up as soon as you can & make her hire a girl  I no she feels lonely & I think her health is vary poor & to think that she has to be thare exposed to the cold winter having to do out doores work makes me sick of this ware  if I had the power I would close this ware today & me at home to nite
Well I spent Christmas & New Years in the hospittle  we had a nice diner Christmas  I did not partake much of it but New Years I done good justice to the diner  we has oisters to commence with  I eat a dish for the first time & thought them good  then we had rost turkey matched potatoes warm buiscut & butter then pudings & pies then the nuts ware passed a round all _____ to the soldiers then old Nick came around as they called him & gave each of us a little piece of paper with a number on it then came Old Santiclas with his bugget of toys  it was the first time I ever saw him  he is a funny looken old chap & with the help of old Nick he delt out his toys & of all the funy things some got Rattles boxes others little doll babys some a dose of salts some a hard tack some a jacknife & soon I got a fiew candys it was children play a monghts men: I am so glad to heare Horace is geting well  James was at the hospittle to see me twise  he looks quite well I saw Obedier he says his health is first rate here  I regret vary much of being separated from all the friends but they do as they like here  Simeons health is good  Ambrose has had a hard time of it but is better now  I am tenting with James Cease give my love to Aunt Betsy  how I wold like to see you all.  I will have to close write as soon & as often as you can find time
From your Effectionate Brother John (Mason)
1 Burks Station April 15, 1865

Dear Sister Mary (wife of  Oliver Willams)
I received your most welcome letter this morning being the first mail I have received for 15 days  I received five letters from Elisa some of them was written last winter  We broke camp 29 day of March and took the field we were chasing Lee After chasing him 13 days and some nights he was obliged to surrender or be wiped out from the face of the Earth he tried the same game with Genral Grant the he used to play with the copperheads little ___ Lee wanted a flag of truce for a fiew days Grant told him he wold give him two hours to surrender in or he wold wipe him from the face of the Earth but the cost has bin great we have lost a great meny men. Leut. Case was kiled in front of Petersburg he was the first man to jump in the parapet of the Rebel fort and was shot through the head we hear Sam Cease is kiled but I don’t know positively  Well this war is over as near as I can learn I think I shall soon be home hope so at least then I will tell you more of war than I can write this is a fine country the peach trees were in blossoms in March we have trodden down fields of wheat nicely headed out My health is good better than it has been since I came to this country.  I guess hard marches agree with me.  I will close for I guefs you can’t read this my pen is poor and I am writen laying down on the  side of a hil
James Cease is well so is Samuel Williams so Lize wold not give you one of those homely pictures I will send one and you need not give it to her unlefs you have a mind to tel Oliver I will be down to take dinner with him the forth if not before
I will close for this time & promise to do better next time write as soon as you can get time you must habe more than you can do to tend those little motherless children and do your work
From your Brother John (Mason)

Horace D. Taylor
Head Quarters 3rd Brigade
Fort Richardson
Aug 28th 64

Friend Oll (Oliver Williams)
Seeing that I haint wrote to you before I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well at presant and hope that you are all the same and all the folks  the reason that I haint wrote before I have been mounted Ordley most ever sence I came out and I haint had no time to write only a letter home once in a while and so you must excuse me for this time for when I git my pay and so I can git some invelops and postage stamps I will try and write little oftner  O how does that pipe smoke  is it a good one or not wel the rest of the Boys are all well Gust and Weller are all right I was over to the Battery last night but they don’t know that I am a writing to you if they did they might put in a word or two  we have had a quite a good deal of rain lately and when it don’t rain it is so warm that a man cant hardly stand it but to day is is little cooler than it has been for some time and it don’t rain eather  wal Ole what do you think of the draft or haint there agoing to be any draft  will they fill there numbers with out a draft or not  I cant think of any more this time only I wished I was there eating warm Sugar but I will haft to waite a while before I can git any more warm Sugars again so I will close for this time  so good bye until you hear from me again
Excuse all poor writeing and Spelling
This from your Friend Horace D. Taylor

Direct to Horace D, Taylor Battery F 1st NY light arty
Washington DC
in care of Capt W R Wilson
Give my Best Respect to your wife and all the rest of the folks and all inquiring friends and keep a part yourself

Ambrose Williams
Fort Grary(?) near City Point (Washington, DC)
Sunday January 8 1864

My Dear Sister
I take this opertunity write a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you enjoy the same blessing  I have had too leters from you and I thought I would answer them  my helth is good at present  I think I never gind so fast in too weeks in my life  I am very fleshy you would not hardly know me but the g__________ and C_______ run me down rather low  I saw Simeon to day he was passing by and called a little while  I had not seen him but once since the day we held our Election  their he was in stayed about five minutes he looks well and is in good spirits we have preaching moste every Sunday closte by rite out in the open field  I was very sory to hair that your and Prudence _____ agread Prudence tolle me something about it but I don’t want to hear any thing about it ___ I wish is that Father had not come to stay at my house I might have known beter for when he come to live with me before they could not be easy till they got him away but I guess we will get along some way my folks have tried run over me ever I was married I have tried for Father and Mother but if Prudence and I had done is sorry of the Children(?) had they thought more of us but I hope I shall live to get home again for I think my wife and children would stand ________ chance there was something sayed about Father not getting enough to eat but any one will find falt with any living at home had beter come down hear our hogs get beter than we get  I get three hard tack and one cup of coffy for breakfast for diner three hard tack and a little beef or pork with a little bean soop or rice  at nite the three _____ ___ and coffy with out any chang I don’t want blame any one for I don’t know but there is one that knows I don’t mean to lay ___ any thing against any one
Was on guard yesterday and last night I am sleepy and tiered so I will close by biding you good by My love Oliver and Ant Betsey and the rest of the folks
From your brother Ambrose
Write when convenient
Direct as before
I gess it will bother you to read this (YES Ambrose !!!!)

Oct Sunday the 23 1864

Dear Brother and Sister (Oliver and Mary Williams)
I take this oportunity to let you  know  that I am well at presant and hope these few lines will find you enjoying the swrn blessing I have ben well since I have ben down here except ifw days there was one day but what I don duty James (?) is on the gain Simeon _____ is at work Simeon got here last Monday he is well and feels more at home I had a very tuff time a giting down here that nite I saw you at Troy I did not get out of the cars ti I got to Baltimore Wensday morning I ___ Sterin(?) and the rest of his company they had ____ _____ ____ they _____ here our layin is rather tough but I think I can stan it one year if others can stan it there the work is not hard we have  worked three weeks on fortification we haf to be out all day when we might do the work in too hours it is thirteen miles long it is ___ eight fet wide and from eight to ten feet deep and there is fourteen forts it makes a good deal of work but there is a number of thousands of men at work at it It is about finished we expect a big battle soon I hope it will be the last one  Oliver don’t forget to vote for Lincon if you think it will bring this war to a close very soon for that is what I want now but time passes away very well ___ ____ thare it will  when we hafto with the _____ We haven’t got our _____ yet and I don’t care about them I must stop riting for it is hard work I have a hard place to write tell Eliner(?) that James (?) was with Sam Williams the last I heard of him so no more at present.
From your brother

Ambrose Williams

Sam Williams
Camp Boliver Heights Oct 15/62

Dear Sister (Mary Williams, Troy, PA?)
I received your letter with the one from Lide and Mother last evening It has been a long time coming but still I was glad to hear from you but sorry to heare that Oliver and Lide were sick but hope they are well by this time.  I am sorry to inform you that those good things you sent us we have never received and I am afraid we never will.  There has several boxes come for this Regt but none for us.  We are all well and in good spirits.  I am getting fat I have gained three pounds since I enlisted and have had the best of health I would like very much to see you all but I suppose I will have to wait sometime.  But I understand General McClellan is trying to have the nine months men discharged and gives for his reason the fact that there can be no movements made this winter but by water and he will have to feed and clothe us this winter and in the spring when the roads get good our time will be out I hope the propisition will be favorably received by the  government I would like to spend Christmas at home very well.  The weather here is very changeable sometimes cool and sometimes warm it is very pleasant today.  We have not had much marching since the battle.  We have better living now than we had some time ago we get fresh bread sometimes and also fresh beef.  We have small tents also which is better than nothing.  We expect to stay here some time perhaps all winter but cannot tell for certain.  We have a very nice camp ground about one mile from Harpers Ferry.  I hope we will stay here for I do not like the idea of moving.  But I must close give my love to all inquiring friends my love to you and the rest of the family please write soon to your brother Sam (Williams?)

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 10 MAY 2005 
By Joyce M. Tice
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