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WWWilliam Wolcott of Litchfield

The Civil War Letters

of William Wolcott to his fwife in Litchfield

Transcribed by Michael Spaulding

Letters: William Reed Wolcott
Township: Litchfield Township, BradfordLitchfield County PA
Year: 1865
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I have transcribed 11 letters from my Civil War ancestor, William Reed WOLCOTT to his wife, Asenath HOTCHKISS (who later married another Civil War veteran, Simon CHANDLER).


William Reed WOLCOTT was born 24 APR 1821 and died 30 MAY 1876, Litchfield, Bradford Co., PA. He married 5 JUL 1844, North Rome, Bradford Co., PA to Asenath HOTCHKISS.


Asenath HOTCHKISS was born 23 JUN 1827, Litchfield, Bradford Co., PA and died 22 SEP 1908, Athens, Bradford Co., PA. She married second around 1884 to Simon CHANDLER.


Simon CHANDLER was born 1 JAN 1820 and died 1 APR 1908, Roulette, Potter Co., PA.


My transcriptions and a few editorial notes are attached. Please feel free to publish them on the Diaries and Letters section of your wonderful website (


Mike Spaulding

Historian – Genealogist

Sherman Camp 93

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Letter Number 1


A Package of Old Letters

I’ve a package of old letters

In a little rare wood box

[illegible line]

That is warm upon my heart

And [illeg.] will you get the package

And the letters read to me

I have tried to read them all

But for years I could not see


You have brought them thank you darling

Now sit down upon my bed

[illegible line] bosom

This poor throbbing aching head

Read the blessed words distinctly

That I lose not even one

Oh! The precious hand that pened them

Twas the last for me he done


And if ever you should see him

Whom I never more shall see

Tell him that the sweetest solace

Those dear letters were to me.

That I never ceased to love him

Never doubted that he loved

And my faith in him was perfect

And remained through all unmoved.

And Oh! Tell him when he came not

As he promised he would come

That his absence nor his silence

Was I ever heard to blame

Oh this wild desire to see him

God subdue within my breast

For it racks me in to torture

And my soul has need of rest


When I’m dead and in my coffin

And my shroud is bout me wound

And my narrow bed is ready

In the pleasant churchyard ground

Lay the locket and the letters

Both together on my heart

And the little ring he gave me

Never from my finger part.


Now I’m ready, read the letters

Those dear letters once again

As I listen while you read them

I shall lose all sense of pain.

And if when that you have finished

I should gently fall asleep

Fall asleep to waken never

Dear sister do not weep

[This poem is in a different hand than the letters, presumably by Asenath Wolcott. It is on page but appears to be complete. It is creased and slightly water stained.]

Letter Number

Smithfield [VA] Jan 26 1863

My Dear Asenath Wolcot

                                                                                                                        On other

year has pas & you & me are still among the Living but how long we Shall be permited to remain here below the all wis providence only knows & is it not for the best that we do not know for did we know it seems to me that it would caus us more movement of mind than we now have  yes I beleave that the dispose of all things has pland it for the best  then let us be thankful that we have such a friend that will do all things for our good to let us not distrust his Confidence nor ability to all things for the best if we Love him & call uppon him from day to day  I beleave we shall receive [? torn] strenth to sustain us in every trial which he sess fit to put uppon us while here & that cant be Long with any of us  I feel as though I had got Almost to my Journys end & If I come live in that Love & fear of him that sees all things that I amy be permitted to Enter that happy home where trials & trouble shall Cease   I care not how soon but let us hope on for with out hope the heart would cease to beat 

as to the war I can appreciate your feelings in some measure  I dont say I can in full becaus no one can unless they are or have been in similar circumstans but to say the least it is a dred full state of Affairs that our country is in [from?] wins is bad enough but when we come to have a Civil War rite in our midst it is awfull in the extrem but dont Let us get Discouraged let us hope on it may all turn out for the best

            what Co and Redgement is your husband in please give me his [name? torn] and address & I will write him & send him a paper  Occasonly I have sent some in the Army that I corspond with & sned papers to

Aunt Joanna sends her love to & give mine to all reserving a good share foryour self & beleave me

            Your Affectionate Uncle


[some illegible family news is scrawled in the margin below the signature] 

[Just before this letter, William’s Regiment had just been thoroughly routed at Occoquan. Uncle Edward’s identity is not known. Asenath did have a brother named Edward Hotchkiss.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number

Camp Near Catlett Station VA

Sept 8th 1863

My Dear Wife Now I take my pen in hand to write a few lines [illeg.] in answer to your letter which i received last evening  i was glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that you do not [engoy you can _alk (walk? talk?) my letters than you] Do i am Well at present and i hope these few lines Will find you the same  i have not got any pay yet but i am in hope that we shall before long   i shall get six months pay next time and then i can send home with a sum of money

as far as my fuss With Mack is concerned We Will attend to that ourselves and about my chokeing him that is a Damd lie and under grounds to be beleived

there is not much War news here at present  the army is laying still and has ben for a long time  they are geting in the [new?] outfits and prepareing for a hard fall camphaign which i think will commence soon  you must keep up good courage do the best you can and hope for better days   i think there is happiness in store for us yet if it is bought Dear 

II [page 2]

i cannot think of much to write this time so i will bring my letter to a close hopeing to hear from you soon

so good by for

this time

i remain as

ever your


      W. R. Wolcott 

Direct as folows

Co D 17 Pa Cavalry



This was written several days before the battle I have called Brandy Station II. 

[This three page (2 sheets of paper) letter is in several pieces, badly faded and stained where someone tried to repair it with tape. Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.]

Letter Number

Lincoln General Hospital, Nov 29 [1863]


My Dear Wife your letter of the 24th came duly to hand and i was very glad to hear you were all well   i am still improving and i am trying to get a furlough but you must not look for me till you see me   you wrote to me about knitting a pair of gloves and sending them to Mack   you can knit them and let his folks send them   you are complaining about not getting answers to your letters i have wrote six letters since I have been here and have only received two from you   i cant see why you dont get them   i would like very well to be at your wool bee but I cant   i hope you will have a good time   the weather is as nice as it can be expected at this time of the year  i cant think of anything more to write for this time 

this from your husband

                                    Wm R. Wolcott 

n the reverse]

Dear daughter you dont know what pleasure your few lines gave me   I know my dear children will not forget me and the kind advice I have so often given them  you asked me if George Mulligan is with the company or Whether he is a prisoner   he is with the Company and well and harty  the last i heard from him  I am very tired and must close for this letter  write again when your Mother writes  this from your Father

[Wolcott left the regiment sick on a march near Centerville, VA and went to the hospital in Washington, D.C. on Oct 21, 1863.] 

Letter photocopy and transcription from Phyllis Yard, Towanda, PA

Letter Number

17th Pa Cavalry

March the 30 1.64 [1864]

Camp Near Culpeper Va

My Dear Wife I am now back to my Regt and I am well with the deceptions[?] of the lameness that I was always troubled with  wil send now send you 5 dollars In this letter and If it goes through Safe I wil then send you more  I found all the boys wel when I got to the Regiment accept Mack and he was not very wel but he Is now getting better  we have had very nice weather for some time but It is raining now a rite smart shower  I have not much news to rite this time  I am wel and I hope these few lines may find you and the family well.  the same for good health  I want you to write as often as you can conveniently[?] and I wil do the same

for the present I wil close  yours truly

                                                                        Wm R. Wolcott 

I send you ten dollars instead of $5 

[Letter was written around the end of Kilpatrick’s Raid on Richmond. Wolcott had been in the hospital since January, returning to the regiment on March 27, 1864.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number 6.

Apr the 22th 1.64 [1864]

Camp Near Culpeper Va

Dear Wife I take the Present Opertunity to drop a few lines to you to let you know that I reseived your kind and welcome letter and it found me in good health  I hope these few lines may find you and the family the same in good health  You want to know how much money I got  I got $26 and I have sent you $21 dollars  I sent 15 by mail and David Brainard has sent an order for Eliza Merrols [? Possibly meant to be Merrill] to let you have $6 dollars of Eliza Mearrols [?] got the money from Brainard and he wil send it to you as soon as you go for it and I cannot tel when I can send you any more for I expect we wil be on a moove before we get paid againe and probably we wont be paid for four months but I wil Send you some as soon as I draw againe and I wil write as soon as I can to you agane and I want you to rite to me as often as you can

So I will close for the present  yours most truly

                        Wm R Wolcott

Pleas excuse this misirable letter for I am so dand lazy that I cannot write soon and long and dont forget to find out about the name of [Jem’s?] mother  this from your loving Father

                        W. R. Wolcott 

[This letter was written about two weeks before the Wilderness battle and Sheridan’s Raid on Richmond.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number

 City Point [VA]

July the 4th 1.64 [1864]

Dear Wife I take the present opertunity to drop a few lines to you to let you know that I am wel and I hope these few lines may find you and the family all the same for good health

the last letter which I received from you was dated the 11 of May and this is the first opertunity I have had to answer it    we have had an awful campaign this sumer   our horses has Scarcely ever been nonsaddled since the 5 day of May  we have lost a grate many horses this Sumer the cavalry has been run awfull hard but now I think we wil have some rest  we must rest our horses or they wil all go up the Spout  we are now laying on the bank of the James River 1 mile below City Point and about 25 miles below Richmond ----

About that money that Brainard was to pay to you I cant tel any thing about that for I have not sene Mack for some time but I know that mack has written to him to pay it to you but I don’t know wheather he Paid It or not and I don’t know when I wil get any money to send you   the armey has not been paid since we started on the move from Culpeper  you must try and get along the best you can and I will send you money as soon as I get it  If we lay here til the 15th of this month I we wil likely be Paid   the weather has been very warm here during the last month we have had scarecely any raine for 7 weeks  I want you to answer this letter as Soon as you get It and Direct the same as before I will tel you about how our company faird on the recent Battles  G. E. Lent wounded  G. D. Mullihan wounded 3 times J. Horton =do=   Chester Neal wounded  John Smith wounded  C. N. Bowen N. Kinney was killd   that is all   the rest of the Boys is all wel at Present

So I will close for this time with my respects to you all   good by

                                    write soon

                                                Yours til Death

                                                            Wm R. Wolcott

                                                            to Asenath


[This letter was sent after the Cavalry’s busy campaigns that saw it in action at the Wilderness, on Sheridan’s raid to the James River, and in the Battles of Yellow Tavern and Cold Harbor.] 

Transcription of a photocopy of a letter, location of the original currently unknown.

Letter Number .

 Jefferson Co VA

Sept the 17th 1.64 [1864]

Dear wife I take the opertunity to drop a few lines to you to let you know that I am wel  I hope these few lines wil find you the Same  I have sent you $30 dollars  20 I sent in letters and 10 I exprest along with Charles Johnson and Himan Vandoozer  It is exprest to Mrs Vandoozer  I have not heard wheather you have got what I sent to you in letters or not but I hope you have

I received a letter to day dated July the 17th in which I here about the new son adopted into the family  wel that is all wright as far as I am Consearnd  the last letter that I wrote to you I told you to direct to Dismounted Camp Pleasant Valley Meryland but I have now got back to the Regiment and I want you to direct as before to

                                                                        Co. D. 17th Pa. Cav.

                                                                        Washington D C

Wel I have no news of any Importance to rite you this time  I cannot tel where we will be this winter  I think we wil be relieved and cauld back some place to recruit and rest for a spel  I hope we wil and then I will stand a chance to get home againe so I wil close for this time by telling you that I am acting safe guard now at a house and I have a first raet [probably] place   It is much better than standing Picket [the letter ends here with no signature] 

[Jefferson Co. is now part of West Virginia. Harpers Ferry is located in the county. According to Wikipedia, “The county was a frequent site of conflict during the Civil War, as Union and Confederate lines moved back and forth along the Shenandoah Valley. Some towns in the county changed hands between the Union and Confederacy over a dozen times.” Wolcott was injured when a horse fell on him around this time. According to papers filed with his widow’s pension application, company officers tried to give him easy assignments after his injury, and perhaps this “safe guard” that he mentions is an example of this.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number .

 Camp Near Winchester Va

December the 24th 1864

 Dear Wife I received your kind and welcom letter of the 23d. and I hasten to answer it. I am glad to hear from you and to hear that all is well. your letter found me as well as usual hoping when those first lines reaches you that they will find you all in the enjoying of good health  those socks and gloves I received all safe and sound and they come very acceptibel at the present time for it is very cold and bad weather now  well about that courtmartial  I have not hurd eny thing about yet  it has not come to light yet  I think that it is not so or I should of hurd more about it   you need not be afraid about it for I shall let you know if there is eny truth in it  perhaps you will hear from me as soon as eny one else you know not believe eny thing that the people tell there for they cant half of them tell the truth  after this month there will be six months pay due me and I expect to gett it very soon after and as soon as I gett it I shall send it home  we expect to get paid this pay day.  I cant think of eny thing more at present but my love to you and the children  good by for the time   write as you get this   from your husband

                                                William R. Wolcott

                                                            to Asenath Wolcott 

[Court Martial?!? This is the only mention in the surviving letters and available military records. There is no hint who was at risk of being court martialed, whether it was William himself, a relative, or perhaps a friend from Bradford County. The letter was written during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number 10


Camp Winchester Va

                                                Dear Daughter I thought that I would write a few lines to let you know how I am and that I am in the land of the living yet and well as usual  hope theas few line will find you and will both well and enjoying things as well as you can  I dont expect that I can get a furlow this winter there is not much prospect of it now I take one pair of those socks as a gift frome you and I thank you very much for them  pleas tell me what will is doing now whether he has got his discharge or not in your next letter  well this Is all that I can think of at present  good by from

            W. R. Wolcott to Emma Wolcott

Write as soon as you gett this

William R. Wolcott, Esq. 

This may have been sent together with Letter Number 7. as it is on similar paper. Emma Wolcott was Emmeline Caroline Wolcott Conrad, B. 7 Jun 1845 who married William [Will] M. Conrad on 16 Jul 1864. 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding.

Letter Number .

 Camp Oposite Berlin [MD]

On the Banks of the Potomac

January 29th [1865]

My            Loveing Wife your very welcom letter of 15th was received but a few days hence and would have writen ere this But have been so busy that I could not write before But as you may think I was very glad to hear of you though we be many miles distant yet we enjoy the Blessed priviledge of hearing of each other through the medium of the silent pen  You stated you wish my time was expired in order to take charge of my family  But I know you are not more anxious than I am for I long to be with you in order to be your support for here I am getting $16 per month which is not sufficient to sustain Man and Wife alone let alone a family and then wait 6 months or more in order to get it  I expected to have my pay long ere this But I am realy sorry to state I have not received it yet nor do I know when I will receive it  what you will do I cannot tell but I do hope I may be paid ere long so that I may be able to send you some money  I am still at the river and expect to remain during the winter  the weather is very cold here at present   we have good sleighing but I am not at liberty to enjoy it consequently it does me no [the letter ends here with no signature, probably indicating a second page is now missing.]

[Written during the Winter of Sheridan’s Shenandoah Campaign.] 

Transcription of an original letter in the possession of Michael Spaulding. 

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Published On Tri-Counties Site On 23 SEP 2018 
By Joyce M. Tice
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