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1st New York Dragoons - With Soldier Drawing

Item LTR-5415
November 21, 1862 William Tadder


4 pages, original Civil War Union letter written in period ink and war dated.

Camp Suffolk, VA
November 21st 1862

Friend Mate,

As it is now raining some I will try and answer your letter. It has been some time since I received your affectionate letter stating that you were at the Corners and that you were having good times this summer up there or rather winter. It is just as warm down here now as it was up there last summer. The dust was about one-foot-deep here this morning and since it has rained some but not hard. Mate, this war is one of the greatest things that you ever saw when you get where it is carried on in full. To see our forts and all of the cannons and all of the breastworks and all of the timber that has been slashed around Suffolk, it will make one’s heart ache to think about it. The cars have just come in with a load of cannons on them day before yesterday. Our troops had a small brush with the rebs and killed some. Don’t know exactly how many but our boys were seven killed and three taken prisoners. Our regiment was not in the fight but was already in line of battle. But there was enough without them. John Beagle was into it. John ate supper with me last night. They have just gotten back. They said the rebel losses were about 50 killed and wounded. This was not bad. Alost everyday fetches some more prisoners to our line. Two have been taken every day. This week so far they are scouting around to shoot off our pickets. This happens nightly. They shoot some and then our men will start for them and most always will catch them. Lots come to our lines and give themselves up. They say that they will not fight and starve any longer and so we take them and we have gotten lots. Just now our cavalry has captured two more rebel cavalry and are now passing by with them. A great inspection will be had again tomorrow. Near forty-six of our troops will be all there. That is around here probably about 25,000. Major General Six will be here to inspect our troops. These days are great sights to our country boys. We are encamped on the ground where about ten months ago it was beaten with rebs but they don’t own it no more. Very soon I think we will be bully in the end. But it will take about 50,000 men to drive ours from here and then they would have it hard job of it. Mate, when I enlisted, I enlisted for to put down rebellion. But I have not accomplished it yet. But I think I am where I can help do my part. But I guess in the course of three years, one side or other will be glad to stop. But still I don’t know but for the love of our country and of kind friends that we have left behind that it will soon end. Although I am not yet discouraged, you must not get discouraged, as their take, things are as happy as you can be.

Mate, you spoke about my likeness. Here in Virginia we can’t very well get our portraits and you will have to excuse mine. But I you can get you taken and send it to me I would be very glad. I would like very much to see your face. Down here it would seem like home if I could get my head cleared. You should hive it with all my heart. When this war ends and I get back to York state, then you can see it and have it if you like. If I had time I would draw our cabin. But time is precious here. We have good times here now. We have had lots of stuff sent to us and we are living on the top shelf now. My sister May has sent me a box. I must close for this time. It is mail time.

William Tadder

Mate this looks a little like our house, part logs and part tents. Cloth some. When I get time I will do a better one than this.

Mate, from one of your old friends,

W. W. Tadder


When you get this, please answer these few lines and oblige Bill very much. To hear often from you tell all the news you can hear of when you write. To George, give him my best respect. Tell him that I am well and hope if he would have time to write me a letter and when I get time, I will write to him. Write often to me and I will try and answer your if I can and I guess I can.

Direct to:

Suffolk, Virginia
Company E
1st New York Volunteers