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Civil War Era
Russell Haswell of Rutland
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The Civil War Letters

of Russell Haswell to his family in Rutland

Transcribed by Todd FARMERIE
 

Letters: Russell Haswell
Township: Rutland Township, Tioga County PA
Year: 1860s
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David Russel Haswell, 2nd, was born 4 Jul. 1836 at Columbia Twp., Bradford Co., Pa. to Anthony and Martha Seeley Haswell. His father being disabled by a familial premature arthritis, he provided most of the labor on the family farm in Rutland Twp., Tioga Co., Pa. On 10 Sep. 1862, he enlisted for three years as a Corporal in Co. D, 16th Pa. Cavalry, being 26 years old, 5 ft. 11 in. tall, with light complexion, blue eyes and black hair. He served until 16 Jul. 1863, when in the pursuit following the battle of Gettysburg, he was captured at Shepherdstown, Va. (now WV). He was confined at Richmond, Va., and on 21 Aug. 1863 was released on parole. A week later he was admitted to a hospital in Annapolis with chronic diarrhea. On 12 Oct. 1863, he was furloughed from the General Hospital in Philadelphia to return to Rutland. At the expiration of his furlough, he attempted to return to the service, but made it only as far as the home of his cousin Susan (Webber) Preston in Troy Twp., where he again fell ill. His father finally retrieved him and returned him to Rutland, where he died 12 Feb. 1864, being buried at Columbia Crossroads. His father was forced to sell the farm, and applied for a pension on the basis of the loss of his only son, who had been his sole means of support. As part of this application, he sent to the pension office those letters in which his son mentioned forwarding money. These letters are the only ones which survive of ‘Russel’ Haswell, and provide the sole window into this life lost in service to the Union.


Nov. 25th /62

Dear Father.

having a good opportunity of sending a letter I thought I would write a few lines to you Mr. Russell came here yesterday morning said you talked of coming down with him wish you had for we are going to start for washington tomorrow morning I wanted to see you before I left here but you can come down there and it wont cost you but a little more I suppose you have got the letter with the receipt for twenty dollars before this time I am sorry I did not know that Mr. Russell was coming down for I could send the money by him and saved you the trouble of gowing to Troy after it I am well as usual except a bile on my leg which makes me verry lame I have had three or four biles since I have been down here it is snowing some now but it melts as fast as it comes but I shall have to stop writing and gow to packing up our things and get rady to gow we have got to strike our tents and pack them to night and be ready to start to morrow morning at day light. give my love to Sigh and all the rest of the folks and tell them to be good children.

 This from your son

Russel


Nov. 26th Wednesday Morning

Dear Father

Lew Soper returned yesterday morning with a letter for me I was glad to hear you were well I am also well I got a letter from Uncle David yesterday they are well we are under marching orders now and shall start for Washington to morrow mor-ning. part of our Regt’ went this morning I am glad we going there at they are going to detail us as provost guard to guard the city. am sorry we could not stayed until you could come down here I should like to have had you come first rate and seen how soldiers live we have got our horses and saddles. got them last Saturday I have got a verry nice horse six years old smart and fat. like him first rate I am glad you like your horse teade. you did not tell me how you traded. I had heard about Uncle Beamans folks before you rote I have got no news in particular to write I am glad you get along with the work so well is Sigh with you yet you need not answer until I write again. no more this time from your son

Russel


 Wednesday evening Nov 26th

I wrote so far and did not intend to write any more but I concluded to send some money and send it by express so I would have to send a check and I thought I would send it in this letter and you will have to gow to Troy to get the money. Twenty dollars and you will have to go to the depot at express office and present the check and you will get the money, gow as soon as you get this letter for I mailed the money this afternoon. there will be about fifty cents charges on it you will have to pay. I think that this is the safest way, to send it we shall not leave hereuntill Saturday or Sunday I think. write as soon as you get the money and let me know about it write at troy when you gow after the money I will get it sooner if you get this letter before John Durfee or Albert Armstrong comes back send a pair of socks or two by them to me uncle sams socks dont wear verry Good no more this time you need not write to me after all until you hear from me again for I cant tell you where to direct

they wrote my ) so much

name rufus ) from a

instead of russel) Soldier

it wont make )

any difference )


 Camp near Falmouth, Virginia

March 30’ / 63.

Monday

Dear Father I recie(..........) a letter from you last night mailed march 24’ was glad to hear from you at and that you was all well your letter found me well and hearty I received a letter from Susan Preston last night also. they were well we are expecting to move soon but dont know where we will go but suppose across the river

rappahannack the will verry soon I think I have rote you the particulars about the last fight so there is not much use of saying any thing about it now the weather is warm the farmers what few there is here are plowing and soing a little I have not been on picket since the last battle have been drilling it the most of the time lately I have not much news to write this time and shall not write much of a letter I saw George Shepherd the other day he was up to our camp the boys are well except Tom Sturdivant he is going to get his discharge he will be home in short time verry likely Lieut Backer is quite unwel also. Capt Robinson is under arrest for staying over his time when he went home on a furlow we do not like him verry there well there is not a man in the company that like him both Leut’s we like firstrate I have recieved twenty two postage stamps in all from you am verry much obliged to you for them as for money I do not need any we have plenty to eat and have no use for money all I need is stamps and money paper but I have twelve stamps and some paper yet and a little money left yet. I would like to have you send me a little black thread in the next letter I ca(.....) get it even with the money. I do not know when we will get our pay we expeded it before now have not got it yet but hope we shall soon I shall send it all home as soon as I get it

we have got to drill this afte-rnoon and I shall have to close you must write as soon as you get this and write all the news you can think os I want to hear often very often. Goodbye.

D.R. Haswell


 Camp near Falmouth, Virginia

Apr’ 8th / 63

Wednesday Afternoon

Dear Father

I recieved a letter from you last evening mailed April 2 was verry glad to hear from you and that you were all well it found me well as usual. we have not had any trouble with the rebels since I wrote last. I have been out on picket once since I wrote. we was also up at bank’s ford we saw severals rebs but they was on the other side of the river they had a large camp in sight opposite the ford I should think there was as much as three thousand of them but none of them troubled us I thought we should move before this time but have not yet but think we shall soon. I have not got much news to write this time there is a good many sick in the Regt now a funeral almost every day none died in our company yet but one or two verry sick we have been drilling this forenoon but there is no drill this afternoon I am verry much obliged to you for the stamps you sent me twelve of them in the letter last night you must get along the best you can this sime summer I felt in hopes I should get home this summer but I do not see much prospect of it inside of the three years any how I am sorry your hay is getting so (....) wish I could get my pay to send you I think we will in course of a month.. tell Sigh to be a (......) good boy I wish I could see him and all the rest of you is he a good boy or not have you drove the other colt yet and how does your stags look and how well do you like them you do not say much about them how is Stepeens Stephens folks getting along. do you think they will draft any more or not. write all about every thing you can think of the weather is cold and raw now it snows every few days but it dont lay on long. I gues I will write a few lines to Frankie so I will close write soon as you get this and write all the news you can think of.

Goodbye

Your son D.R. Haswell

P.S. our Col’s name is John Erwin Gregg. he has been Captain of a company of united states regulars for a good while he formerly lived in Williamsport.
 
 

My good little sister Frankie I thought I would write af few lines to you to how do you do by this time you are well I hope enjoy yourself pretty good I got a letter from Susan Preston the other day she sent me little Mamie’s likeness in it I wish you would send me yours. why cant you get it taken and send me tell father the President was down to see us the other day we had a grand review all the cavalry

was reviewed by him there was about thirty thousand cavalry in a body I wish you could have seen them you must get Pa to write you a letter to me be a good girl and keep your nose clean Goodbye Frankie

 your brother Russel


 Dumfries. Virginia. May the 3th / 63. Sunday morning

Father.

I take my pen in hand again to write a few lines to you to let you know how I am getting along. I am not verry well as I wrote before have got the jaunders pretty bad. but am not sick a bed able to be around but I cant do any thing I got my pay yesterday up to the first of march. seventy nine dollars and eighty cents. I shall send it to you all but ten dollars but dont know how I shall send it now. there is no express office nearer than washington and I annot get there myself but Wace Gurnsey is going to washington next week and I can get him to express it for me. or I can get Chester Stuart to carry it to Uncle Davids he is going to have his discharge and lives close by Uncle Davids I dont knowwhich way I shall send it now. but I will write you when I do send it so you will know where to gow after it I dont know as you will get this verry soon for all mail ommunications are stoped at washington now for they are having a heavy battle at fredericksb -urg or near there have been fiting three days have heard constant firing since daylight our boys are all there I suppose. it is verry hot here now but there is no sick sevrelly here. I feel some better than I did early last night gues I will be able for duty n a fews days. write as soon as you get this and let me know how you are getting along. I will write again in a day or two. Goodbye.

D.R. Haswell


 Dumfried Va. May the 8th / 63 Friday afternoon

Dear Father

I sit down now to write a few lines to you to let you know how I am getting along I am not verry well. have been quite unwell for nearly three weeks. have got the ganters pretty f bad. I have sent you sixty dollars. sent it to Alexandria by Capt. Day of our Regt’ he expressed it for me. but it is addressed to D. R. Haswell in the room of Anthony Haswell he lost the paper that he wrote down your name on so he addressed it to in my name so you will have to call for it in my name it is sent to Elmira express office. I have got the receipt for the money but I guess I will not send it for fear the money and receipt both might get lost then I would have nothing to show the money had been expressed. you can get it just the same only I suppose you will have to prove than you are the man that it was sent to now go to Elmira just as soon as you get this and find if the money is there and if you cant get it without the receipt write and I will send you the receipt to you. some says I ought to keep the receipt and some says I ought to send it so I will keep anyhow untill I find out now go to Elmira just as soon as you get this and write back immediately and let me know. just call for the money in my name and you can get it with out any trouble I guess. they have had a battle near Fredericksburg

a great many has been killed on the both sides I do not know how it has terminted so I will not attempt to write any thing about it you will get the particulars before you will get this. now if they wont let you have the money at the express office just take some good responsible man that they know and it to prove you are the man that it belongs to and it will be all right. it is getting late I guess I wont write any more now. good night.

From D.R. Haswell

to Anthony Haswell


 Dumfries Virginia May 12/63.

Tuesday afternoon

My good little sister Frankie,

I thought I would write a few lines to you this afternoon to let you know how I am getting along I am not verry well yet though I am better than I have been but not able to do any thing. I hope you are well and all the rest of you. it is verry warm down here now so hot I cant hardly stand it. has school commenced up there yet if it has tell me who is going to teach. you must be a good girl and learn all you can and learn to write so you can write to me. I wrote to Pa the other day saying I had sent him some money he must go to Elmira and get it first as soon as he gets the money letter I wish I was home until I get well for it is lonesome to be sick down here. the rest of the regt that went to the front is back to the old camp near falmouth. all right they had two or three skirmishes with the rebs while they was gone but came out all right. I guess I had better not finish writing untill morning for John Durfee has gone to the regt’ and will be back to night and I will wait and see if he has any news in partic -ular. so I will close till morning.

Wednesday morning May 13

well Frankie. I dont know as I have any more news to write only that I got a letter from Father last night saying you were all well I was glad to hear that of course it was mailed May the 5. I am better this morning I have had some Johny cake and milk for breakfast this morning. it is just as warm as ever this morning the boys are scouting and on picket all the while I have not been able. is Sigh going to stay there this summer you must get Pa answer this soon as you get it I guess I wont write any more now so goodbye

from your brother

Russel


  Camp at Dumfries, Va. Dumfries landing.

May 17/63’ sunday morning

Dear Father

I thought I would write a few lines to you this morning for I have nothing else to do but write I am not able to do any thing yet have not done any thing in about four weeks I dont hardly know what does ail me I am around all the time feel dull and stupid no appetite much lame and sore all through my body headache we I have not got much news to write now things appear to be rather dull nothing going on but scouting they fetch in somebody about every time last night a party was out and they captured ten rebs twenty horses and four or five wagons It is warm have showers frequently the grass is six or eight inches high where there is any to grow and the snakes are thick as hair on a dog all kinds of them rattle snakes copperheads black snakes and all kinds you can think of. we have plenty of hay and grain for our horses and plenty ourselves we have plenty of coffe and sugar beans rice and crackers and pork much more than we can eat and we get soft bread two day out of five afew potatoes and dried apples. I feel very anxious to hear if that money went through safe I think you must have got the letter before this time we do not get letters regular here now they gow to Regt’ at the old camp near falmouth and we only get them as some are going there or coming from there here I want you to write son as you get this for I want to hear from you often and how you are getting along just now a dispatce came to head quarter that our scouts were attacked about eight miles out. immediately every man was ordered to arms and ordered into the rifle pits. they are laying there yet but no enemy make their appearance and I guess there wont be. now if you get that money all right I want you pay it where you owe if you have not paid little John Benson all up for that colt pay him and pay the allance on that note to Troy if you have not already paid it. I ment to have sent ten dollars more but being I was sick thought I had better keep it. you need be uneasy about me for I am not much sick so dont worry. now write soon, Goodbye

from you son D R, Haswell


  Camp near Falmouth Va.

May 28/63 Thursday Afternoon

 Dear Father

I wrote a letter day before yesterday to you but did not send it we had orders to march yesterday morn-ing so I thought I would not send it until we got through . well we have got through to the old camp near falmouth just got here. we started yesterday morning. All that had horses went to warrenton and the rest come on the boat fr to alluie creek landing then had to foot it up here. it is about six miles from the landing to where we camp. I came on the boat for I thought I want able to go to the front so I turned over my arms and let foster Garrison have my horse to ride. but before I got up here I wished I had my horse again I tell you I got pretty tired before I got up here. I guess I should have bushed if I had not got on to the cars and rode the two last miles we are camped by the side of the railroad. when I got here the mail had just come and had a letter from you mailed at elmira I was glad to get it for I wanted to hear from that money. I am verry glad you have got it I was afraid it w would not go through right. I am better I have had my dinner and I feel quite well. able to duty I guess. I do not expect we will stay long here I have heard since I have been writing that some of us was going on to warrenton in the morning I dont know wheather I shall go or not nor don’t know wheather any of us will go. write as soon as you get this and direct to Washington, DC, as usuall. I shall send you a little more money in a few days. five or ten dollars. Send it in a letter I have nothing else to write in particular and am pretty tired so I will close. Goodbye.

D.R. Haswell


Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 09 MAY 1998 
By Joyce M. Tice
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