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100th New York Infantry - Captured at Drewry's Bluff

Item LTR-8034
March 3, 1864 Samuel Huntington
Price: $285.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 8 pages, written in period ink.

Morris Island, South Carolina
March 3rd 1864

Dear loved wife and children,

Another tour of camp guard is over. It is one less night to stand guard for me. I have just come in this morning. I had the headache some yesterday but feel real smart this morning. There was one man got dead drunk on his post last night. They managed to get liquor some way but it is very dear. It is some cool this morning but pleasant. The wind blows some and the sand flies some. I wrote a letter to Manley the other day. I did not say anything about my disliking the service to him, I thought I would not. My last letter to you was a short one. I had not time to write much them. I don’t know as I wrote to you about seeding that corn ground. I want it seeded to clear Timothy. I don’t want any more legume hay—not where Timothy will grow. I want you to be careful and not sell yourself short of hay. For April is a long moth and you will have to feed part of May. You may do as you think best about raising a pair of steers.

If I should not get my discharge this spring, I am afraid it will make too much work for you to do. Then you must judge something about the hay. You will not have so many cornstalks to feed next winter. But I have strong hope of coming home in June by the first of the month. They all have the same opinion here but I can’t tell for certain. But hope for the best and trust to God for my deliverance from this army and my return to you, my own dear loved ones. I shall know how to prize your society and the comforts of home when I return. When I was at home, I did not realize the blessings that I enjoyed. There is no children here to while away an hour with or a dear companion to talk to. But all is for war. For one man to kill his fellow man in order to gratify a few. But it seems as though it was most played out and I hope it is from the bottom of my heart. If the Republican Party nominates Lincoln and they let the army vote, he would not get but a few votes in this regiment for the most of them think he is trying to prolong the war. They think the President can do any and everything. It is of no use to try to reason with them. I should think that one half the regiment is Dutch and Irish and the rest, or a good many, are canawlers. But most of the drafted men are more like human beings. One can talk with them with reason. Some of them are well read. I must now stop writing and get my dinner but I had rather have the poorest dinner you ever got than the one I get here.

Well, I have finished my dinner of potatoes and salt beef boiled, but I did not eat much of the meat. I ate my potatoes with butter that you sent me. It keeps good yet. That beef that Mrs. Dubois sent come good to take with me on picket.

How long this regiment will stay here, I can’t tell but they all say when it goes from here, it will surely come north. I hope it may for I don’t want to go any further south. And then I should like to get out of this flea country to a better one if I can. I can feel them eating on my ankles now as I write. They say when it gets hot weather, they don’t trouble so much. I should have to stop writing for today and mend my stockings. They have not needed my mending until now and they don’t need but a little now, on the toes a little, two of them. Thy have lasted first rate, I think. I have not worn but two pairs, I believe, until this week. I don’t expect I can mend quite as well as you can but I am first rate in washing out my duds. We have to wash them in cold water. We have plenty of hard soap to use. Oh, how I should like to have the privilege of bringing my things to you and have you fix them up. Not that I would like to add anymore work for you to do. For I could change work for I think you have too much to do now.

You write that if you had the wings of a dove, you would come and see me. I don’t doubt you and if I had wings, I would fly to you every night, if I had to fly back in the morning. Do not worry, dear one, about my bed. For I am getting used to it and as long as I am well, I can stand it. But when I think of you getting your own wood, it makes me feel sorry for you. To think that my own dear wife should have to come to that. But I hope you won’t have to do it another winter nor long this summer. I was glad to get a letter from Adele. She must write one and put it on with yours. You need not send anymore postage stamps till I send for them. I have got a real lot of them now that you have sent me. I have not let any of them go for anything yet and don’t think I shall as long as I am well. I hope you have got that ten dollars that I sent you last month. I sent it by mail for most of them did from here. I am in hopes to send you more the next pay day than I did the last one. I want to send 20 dollars if I can. I think we shall get it sometime this month. I shall have to bid you good bye for today. I have to go on picket tonight. I will put in lots of kisses to you and the children. My love to you all, my dear one, and my loved wife and companion.

Samuel Huntington

Friday, 4th

Dear ones at home,

I have just come in from picket this morning. There was no shelling last night by the rebs. It is some cloudy this morning but it is not cold. I am well this morning and hope you are. I shall put this letter in the office today. I can’t tell whether you will get this the same time you will another or to but I mean to keep then on the road. I am sorry it takes so long for them to go and come but it can’t be helped. I dreamed of you last night. It is sweet to dream of them that are so dear to me for as you say, you are dearer to me than my own life.


I try and finish out on this sheet. I hardly think I can write too long a letter. The Captain on the gunboat McDonald told one of the men that tents next to me that we should be discharged in nine months and one other man heard him tell him so. The man that overheard them talking is a fine man, if he is a private. The one that the Captain was talking to is a substitute and once was a shipmate with the Captain. The subs name is Duncan Malloy. The Captain could not be fooling with him for this Mallory is not to be fooled with anything. So you can take new courage my loved one. I could not help but laugh when I was reading about Milford driving back Mr. Barlett’s cattle. I think he must have them learned pretty well.

My health is as good as usual. I have just finished my dinner. It was fresh beef boiled, then some soup made with the water, potatoes and onions boiled up. It was very well. I do not eat much fresh meat for I don’t think it is good for one here. I want to be careful of myself as I can. You have done just right in keeping that cloth and making Milley some clothes for he must of wanted them very much. I should have thought hard if you had let it go and then let him gone without for you know that I love him very much. He is my only boy. If Mr. DuBois’ folks think hard of it, I think they do very wrong for they could not want it as bad as you did to use. They will get over it in a little while, I guess. If Mr. DuBois was drafted and had to leave home and Manley too, they would realize your situation. But they can stay at home and enjoy the comforts and the society of their families. But I hope that God will forgive them if they do wrong. Then let us forgive them as we wish to be forgiven. You have done first rate ever since I was from home. Better than I expected you could do. If I keep my health as I do now till next pay day and will be sometime this month, I think I will send you 20 dollars, I guess.

The weather is warm and pleasant here and we had a little sprinkle the other night. I am in my shirt sleeves. Oh how I would like to be with you today. It would be a joy beyond measure. The single man can enjoy himself here first rate but it is no place for me. If I was single, I should not want to stay here and remain a private for it is a dog’s life. The most of this regiment was raised in the city of Buffalo, Dutch, Irish, canawlers, bartenders and everything else. There is some few in it that are fine men. Sill, at Elliottville, has a nephew here. I should call him a Copperhead by his talk. Well, I must draw this to a close, my loved ones. Let me take courage and trust in God for my return and try to do right and he will bless us for it. I have not room to write much to the children this time. They must kiss each other for me. Let them be good ones and kiss Ma too for me on both cheeks. I send my love with the, the whole of it. This to my dear loved wife and children. This from your husband and soldier,

Samuel Huntington

May the blessings of God rest on us all forever. I don’t have any time to make rings. If I did, I would send one to mother. Leamon is in the army in Alabama. Jane sent me this letter. He is in the 127th Illinois Volunteers. I don’t know the company or whether he is in any company or not.

I could of got one dollar for going on picket tonight but I thought I would not go for anyone else. I will try and do my own duty and no more. And I hate to do that sometimes. But I don’t think that we shall have to do so much duty a great while longer. For I guess that they will send some more men here. But then I had rather do the duty now, than to go down to Florida. I think we are lucky so far. I hope we won’t have to go and I don’t think we will. It is getting spring and it seems as though I ought to be at home to commence work. Putting in the spring crops, but them there is some snow there yet. It don’t really seem like any time a year to me. It don’t seem like spring, summer or winter. Only pleasant weather. We have had only one hard rain, I believe, since about the 10th of January. That rain only lasted about half a day, I believe. But then I like the northern climate, the nest and I suppose the Green Islanders think that their homes are the best in the world. Mine is the best anyhow for me. There is a woman and some children there that helps to make it the best and if I was there, it would be the happiest. At any rate, I should be the happiest one on earth, except your dear self and children. I expect that they would make some noise and I would not care if they did.

There is nothing going on here except playing cards and reading novels. I should get tired of reading them all the time or playing cards all the time, I had to spare. I had rather spend some of the time in writing to the ones I love to think of. I went tonight and bought me a can of condensed milk. It cost 45 cents. It makes the coffee taste better a great deal. It will last me some time. But some good cream like you have at home would last some better, I know. I had for dinner today some boiled beef and bread. Tonight, coffee and bread, and this morning coffee and bread. Tomorrow morning it will be coffee and bread and for dinner tomorrow we shall have beans and pork and bread. Then coffee for supper and breakfast, perhaps some potatoes for dinner again, or peas sometimes. We get rice and sometimes hominy they call it, some kind of ground corn ears. We get such kind of stuff as this almost every day for dinner. About one in five days, we get fresh beef, boiled. They take the water and put in onions and potatoes and you can drink your fill.

Some of the substitutes that have been in the Potomac Army two years say that they lived a good deal better there. But I can stand this very well. So don’t worry for I am not very particular now. I must draw this to a close. This to my dearly loved wife and children, my earthly treasures. I send the whole of my love and lots of kisses. Oh, how I would like to place them on your cheeks and hope to some time. And may God bless us all and return me home to you.

Samuel Huntington

To Libbie Huntington