The Letters
Newton Timothy Hartshorn

Newton Timothy Hartshorn (Feb 26, 1842 - Mar 28,  1922)

Newton Timothy Hartshorn enlisted in the New Hampshire National Guard shortly after the beginning of hostilities. In October, 1861 he enlisted in the regular army, joining the U.S. Engineer Corps. Advancing from private to corporal in October, 1862 he saw extensive service and was engaged in the construction of pontoon bridges and fortifications. In April, 1864 he was commissioned Captain of Company C, War Department Rifles and was assigned to duty at the White House, guarding president Lincoln. During the war he kept a diary in which he made many sketches. The bulk of his writings were to his brother, Vaola John Hartshorn (1835-1900) who was a minister of the Gospel and never married.


1. Fort Constitution. Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 21 1861
2. Fort Constitution Portsmouth, N.H., Sept 6 1861
3. Portland, Maine. Oct. 21, 1861
4. Portland Maine, Nov. 5, 1861
5. Fairfax Court House, Mar. 13, 1862
6. Camp near New Bridge, Va., May 14, 1862
7. Washington D C., Mar. 26, 1862
8. Camp near White House Landing Va. May 19, 1862
9. Camp near New Bridge Va. June 18, 1862
10. Harrisons Landing, Va., July 4, 1862
11. Harrisons Landing, July 4, 1862
12. Harrison's Landing July 14, 1862
13. Aquia Creek, Va., Aug. 27, 1862
14. Aquia Creek, Va., Aug. 29, 1862
15. Harpers Ferry, Va., Sep. 22, 1862
16. Sandy Hook, Md., Oct. 7, 1862
17. Camp Weverton, Md., Oct. 22, 1862
18. Camp near Warrenton, Va., Nov. 13, 1862
19. Camp near Falmouth, Va., Nov 23, 1862
20. Camp near Falmouth, Va., Dec·30. 1862
21. Camp near Falmouth, Va., January 11, 1865
22. Camp near Falmouth, Va., January 24, 63
23. Camp near Falmouth, Va., Feb. 24, 1863
24. Camp near Falmouth, Va., between Feb. 24 and March 6, 1863
25. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 6, 1863
26. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March. 9, 1863
27. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 12, 1863
28. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 17, 1863
29. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 23, 1863
30. Camp near Falmouth, Va., May 24, 1863
31. Camp near Falmouth, Va. June 6, 1863
32. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D.C., Nov. 3/13, 1863
33. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D C., Nov 20, 1863
34. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D.C., Nov.23, 1863
35. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D.C., Dec 26, 1863
36. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D.C., Jan 27, 1864
37. Armory Square Hospital, Washington, D.C., between March and April, 1864
38. Armory Square Hospital, Washington D.C., April 12, 1864

Fort Constitution,
Portsmouth Aug. 21 1861

Dear Brother Vaola

I have you see got back into the old fort.--I did not enlist expecting to come here but the Captain had orders to come here and so I had to come. It is very pleasent here, much more so than when I was here before. The third regiment is about full, and have orders to go to Washington as soon as they are full. I would not be surprised if our company was ordered to go in a few days. I shall go anyway in the 4th Regiment as the Captain has told us that all that wish can go. I shall not go however unless I get a better chance than I do here. I am acting as Sergeant now and know of an officer that will be in the 4th who will give me as good a chance if not a better one than I am likely to have here.

I am still in excellent health and have been all Summer. Lizzie was at home when I left [last Monday] she says that unless she comes out there to you she shall go to Canada with Mrs Barton who wants her very much to go with her. I told Lizzie that I would pay her way to you. The State now owes me $35.00. I paid Smith for you $25.00. He was feeling quite out of sorts or rather was much surprised that you did not answer his letter. I told him that you had been away from Millerstown and very likely had not re'cd it as I had written a number of letters and had not recd an answer. I guess the $25.00 pacified him a little and I told him I would see that that was paid soon, and I shall pay him in a few months at the most. My pay is about $20.00 per month. If I go in the Southern division of the army I do not how as I can pay him more than $l0.00 of the $40.00 that will be due me from the State because I want to get me a number of things and want to let Lizzie and Annie have a little as it is hard times and they can not get work. Edward is getting finely with his school, I think. Proff. Dolmater walked to the White Mountains and is now about to start for Germany as Edward has paid him all up. Nellie Grow, her sister Flora and father & mother are there now. Mr. Inman from R.I. Miss Stanton from Manchester, Annie B. and Mr. Randolph of Virginia, a secessionist inwardly, but outwardly a union man, these are there boarding through vacation, and in addition they are expecting a large number of scholars, a number from R.I. are coming. Mr. Clement is here with me again. Brad. Bennet is also here. He was out in the First Regiment. Last night we went over to Fort [?] McClara (Mr. Clement, Drummer, Marshell, and a gentleman from Milford). We had a good time but the inevitable whiskey bottle and glasses were brought out. Refusing whiskey ruffs and the like has become such a habit with me that I have'nt the least trouble in saying No! I take pride in the word at such times. I think our company is composed of better men and boys than it was before. You can write me to the Fort in Care Captain Gillis [?] and I shall probably get the letter some time. If you have'nt change enough on hand you can say so and I will send you a few dollars. In three months I think I shall be able in all to make [?] out $75.00 for Smith which will almost liquidate his claim on the book affair. And after that what money I get I will send directly to you. Better write often to Lizzie. She got an idea that you did not want her out there and is thinking of going to Canada. I will pay her fare out there to you.

Your Aff. Brother, Newton.

Fort Constitution,
Portsmouth. Sept 6 1861

Dear Brother Vaola

I recd your letter some days since, but as I have been on guard and other things, have prevented me from answering your letter immediately- We are expecting every day to be ordered to Manchester to join the 4th Regiment which the Sec of War has ordered the Gove. to send by the 17 of the month cost what it may. I have just had a letter from Lucy. She is at home teaching music for $2.50 a week. Lizzie is teaching at Mt. Vernon, and probably gets about $1.50 [?] per week, besides her board. Juliett has been quite sick. Father has been sick they think with an attack of the cholera. He is able to be about now, but very weak he says he was never sicker in his life. They have quite a number of scholars. Two left and went to school at Mt. Vernon.

The news of the victory at Cape Hatterass caused a good deal of rejoicing here. Capt. Davidson has encouraged me considerable. I get military books from him and study them and tend to my duty promptly. I think I like military business better than any other I ever was in. Capt. Davidson said I stood an excellent chance to get along well. He told some of the boys that I made an excellent soldier because I tried to find out my duty and do it. He has been 45 years in the service, and is very strict and likes to see others so also, and when I am Sergeant of the guard I always turn out the guard when the companies come in and so forth. I get the Captains book of regulations and so do everything about guard mounting that it requires in the book. One day, when I came in, I turned out the Guard and presented arms to him. I guess he was a little provoked at first, for his eyes snapped like everything, but I looked him right in the face and did not loose my self possesion at all and when he asked me why I turned out the Guard for him I refered him to the Army regulations where it says that the guard shall be turned out to present arms to the commanding officer when he comes in. He told afterwards that I did right. The Sergeants generally are very slack here, and when the Officers come to the gate in the night and want to come in when the Sergeant challenges them they sa[y] 'It is me' and lets them in, but I knew that was wrong and so last night a number of the Officers were out and when they come to the gate and answered, 'It is me' I would not let them in until they had told their names properly. The old captain admires honesty sobriety and integrity of character and there is only one or two besides myself that are such. (I had as soon tell that I am honest and sober &c to you as not for I think it would not be boasting.) I am so glad that God gives me power to resist temptation to drink swear steal (I dont have many such temptations as far as stealing is concerned) and go with bad women, &c. If I have been praised up for nothing else, I have praised for being faithful in the discharge of my duty as a soldier and for those things which I spoke of. Now that I am sergeant (as I have been a private and had chance to see where the officers failed to get the good will of their men and also their respect) I do about as much of the cleaning up &c as any of the privates. In the morning when it is time to clean up, I take hold and help the men and try to do as much as any one, but some of the boys say that "the other sergeants are so 'stuck up' because they are officers that they will not take hold and help, but stand and order." I saw that long ago, and I think I have got the good will of the boys on that account some. And too they were beginning to respect me on account of my steady habits and often some of the boys ask my advice about doing this thing and that. If there is a dispute or any such thing as that, they call upon me to decide it. To be sure these are little things but still they show what the mind of people is and give me considerable satisfaction. Some of them try to get on guard when I am sergeant because they say they learn something then and I do not feel as 'stuck up' as the rest. I have not been paid off yet but when I am paid off (probably in a week or so) if you wish instead of sending to Smith I will send you 20 or $25,00 unless Lizzie comes out there. If she does I shall have to let her have 10 of the $25,00. I find that my suit that I had made is the best thing that I could have had made unless I had got it I should have been half naked by this time and it fits me excellently and makes me look quite 'militarie'-

Good bye...write me soon Pray for me.
Your affectionate Brother
N.T. Hartshorn

Portland, Maine. October 21, 1861

Dear Brother Vaola

I have at least got where it has been my desire to be, in the United States Engineer Corps. Immediately after returning to Fort Constitution seeing Capt. Casey of the Engineers and learning that I could go into the Corps immediately I with the advice of Capt Davidson was discharged from the State service having obtained a substitute, but lost by that operation my bounty (ten dollars) my board (ten dollars) and about ten dollars of my monthly pay, but as Capt Davidson thought that there might be some trouble in getting in if I waited a few weeks. I came here last Friday night, have been enlisted, received my uniform and have been put into the Office and am now learning a vast deal in making out recruiting papers Quarterly returns rolls and all such writing to be done in a company of men. Captain Casey is a true Military man under whose instruction any person must learn a great deal if he has common sense. He is a great engineer he has charge of all the forts from Newburyport to the British provinces, is now building one new one in this harbor. He imploys two or three draftsmen in his office and perhaps I can get in there if I choose. All have to enlist as privates and are promoted when the company is organized.

I had to strip naked to be examined and the phycian turned to the Captain and remarked something like this, 'A healthy well formed fellow.' When they asked me if I drinked intoxicating liquors I felt quite proud to answer 'Never a drop.' I got the best compliment from Capt Davidson that I ever got in my life. He told the Officer that recruited me that (he always means what he says) of all the men had at Fort Constitution--and says he I have had 800 men and their Captains--Captains and Officers I was the most capable of them all and could drill a company better. They asked me how old I was. I told them nineteen. The officer said I was quite young. 'Yes says Capt Davidson but he has an older head than either you or I, he is far advanced.' Now I do not flatter myself that I am half as capable as either of them are, but it will help me very much indeed. He walked all the way from the Fort with me and told me all his affairs, &c &c, and gave me advice. He was afraid I had not enough money and offered me money but I would not take a cent and he honored me so much as to ask me to write to him and tell him all how I got along. Under the head of Character in my discharge he wrote considerable saying I had all the qualities to make a good soldier &c. &c. &c. The Captain is a fine man he likes very strong where he likes at all and is very strong the other way when he dislikes anyone. Capt Casey is almost such another man only he is much cooler or rather does not say much or let one how it if he likes them. I do not how he knew I could write, but as soon as I went in the office to see him or soon after he called my attention to the morning report book and asked me if I could write well. I told him I could write some. He showed me some of his writing and asked me if I could write better than that--I told him no. Well said he, you can take this book and act as company clerk for the present and so I have to be in the office from morning to night writing &c. I have got me a set of instruments and Prof. Manilian's[?] industrial drawing and all time I can get devote to that. Now what is one of the principal causes of my success and respect in which I have been held at Fort Constitution? It is because I have done as you advised me: held my tongue, kept quiet & kept my own councils & minded my business. I never spoke to Capt Davidson but few times except to enquire about some thing that was to be done. When he talked I always listened and only spoke when he asked me a question. Now I must mind my own business here and the results will be the same if it pleases God to prosper me here for it is him that has been with me all the time. I enjoy myself very well in religious matters, but still I do not get chances to pray as often as I like unless I pray to myself.

---- There are eighteen young men in the Company, and a better set have not been with for some time many of them are well educated. Five of them are old soldiers, having served in the army and in the Engineer Corps from five to ten years One, a Mr. Clarke, was in the Ordinance Department in the great Utah expedition to the Salt Lake city. Two or three are just returned from California where they have been surveying &c. the first one that I spoke of is a lithorgrapher by trade a splendid drafter. I can learn much from him. He is about commencing a school for the boys--free of course. We are now boarding at a hotel in the city, and shall probably remain here all Winter and in the Spring either go to West Point, Washington or California. I send you $7.00. I do not know as I can spare any more just now and I do not know what I shall have to buy either but I think I had better keep some little on hand. Write me what you think I had better write or in what way I had better write to Capt Davidson and whether I should ask him to answer it. Portland is a very pleasant place, different from manufactoring city. The buildings are all very elegantly built and on Main St. the buildings are much better than on Main St. in Manchester

I will write more about the city afterwards. I am in a great hurry.
Direct to N T Hartshorn
Co. "B" Corps of Engineers Portland Maine.

Portland Me. Nov. 5th 1861

Dear Brother Vaola

I have received your letter, am glad to get a good long one. You did not say anything about money I sent you. I have sent twelve dollars since I was paid off last, 5 from Portsmouth & 7 from here, but then I suppose you have got it all right. We have had a bad storm here injuring the docks much and sinking one schooner & other small craft & I have written to Capt. D. this morning. Am quite satisfied with my letter. Capt. "C" has gone to Bangor. When he returns I am in hopes he will send us out recruiting. I think a good many good fellows could be got in Amherst and vacinity. I some think of studying French this Winter. What is your mind about it. We can go to French Sorieis (this word I cannot find in my small dictionary) and talk French with each other. I also have a good chance to study Geometry. A class is now forming among the boys. I do not know that I had ever greater incentives to study than at present. We can also go in to the City Engineers Office and study two or three evenings in a week if we choose. My health is decently good. I live very plain myself, eat brown bread and vegetables principally. I have excellent warm clothing everything is all wool except my drawers which are cotton flannel. My over-coat is so heavy that it really makes my shoulders ache to wear it long. All I want is more exercise I think I can get up at five and take a walk out in the country...I think I can pay ten dollars per month for Lizzie and perhaps Annie could come down there too, as you said I had not better venture too far until I got my money...I can see.

I am having me a pair of good boots made. I thought if we staid here this Winter I could have them to wear, when it was bad weather. They will be made some like your common pt. last Winter. The Captain thinks we had better keep fixed up and I guess it will pay for in the army those who look well are taken notice of first. You spoke some time since about sending me a paper in which the names &c of all our forts were if you have it now send it along. It surprises me when I am present where the other boys are drinking that I do not have the least inclination to do so. I would as soon think of seeing a hill turned upside down as to see myself taking a glass. Whatever you may fear of me you need not fear any thing of that kind. If you come to Portland, you go through Concord, change cars on the Concord & Portsmouth road at New Market junction. On arriving here I am not certain whether you stop in the Portland Saco & Portsmouth depot or not but if you do (you can enquire whether so or not) the Hotel where we stop is right opposite. It is the Western Exchange Hotel. Finally the Hotel is opposite the Portland Saco & Portsmouth depot. I do not know how soon I shall get promoted. I do not bother myself much about it but Capt. Casey told Capt Davidson he would promote me as soon as the Co. was formed. I do not drill as I have the writing to do. I find Corporal Hackett a fine fellow. He knows his business and the only fault I find with him is he drinks some though I guess he never gets unsteady he is a gentleman, never gets boistrous but is always about his business is of Irish descent. One young fellow in the CO. I like much. He is a real smart-looking fellow is a fine scholar and if not a member of Church is of religious the son of a retired Unitarian Minister. His name is Julien Day.. There are but one or two other fellows in the Company that I care much about. There is one by the name of Clerk who was on the Great Salt Lake Expedition..I like to hear him tell of the scenery. He says the procession which was fifteen miles long reaching from the high mountain pass into Great Salt Lake City was the most magnificent sight he ever saw. He sat for hours on the mountain looking at it. The sun was about an hour high and the bayonets glistened in the light like a silver stream and the air was so clear that Great Salt Lake City looked like a picture. He could see every street house and tree. Outside the walls the river Jordan ran winding along looking like a silken thread. He is not a bragg however and I never heard him speak of it but once or twice. He was a lithographer and will teach the boys drawing this Winter. Then there is Smith, who is at Portsmouth. He is a member of the Methodist Church. The boys say he says his prayers every night out loud before them. I like him much. He has been in the Service a number of years.--I feel as though I was growing a little in Religion but have not the moral courage to pray before a number of the boys. Give me your advice about it. I have a good chance here in the office to read and pray as I am often alone.

A Scotch Presbyterian minister--a revivalist--will preach every evening this week. I went Sunday to hear him. A young soldier by the name of Pendleton of the English Army recently & of the Prince of Wales Escort who belongs to this Co. who was always making fun of religious things, even getting up in the evening Methodist meeting and talking and then coming home and making fun of it, I think is affected by his preaching. He goes often to hear him...This minister is very simple in his language but so touching that he often has the congregation in tears ...........

Your Aff · Brother,
N. T. Hartshorn

Fair Fax Court House
March 13 1862

Dear Brother Vaola.
I have not written so promptly as I meant to have written when recd your last, but we have been about from place to place so much I thought I would not write until we got settled in some place where I could get an answer. Three weeks ago we left on 6 hours notice for what proved to be Harpers Ferry, but did not how until our arrival there where we were going.--We built a bridge over the Potomac there 820 feet long and 50,000 troops passed over besides Artillery and so, 3000 heavy baggage waggons. I never saw such a sight. It looked like the picture in the History of Washington Crossing the Delaware. I will tell you more in a short time about things there. The enemy had prepared to shell us on our arrival but Col. Geary crossed over a ferry boat with 600 men and routed them taking 40 prisoners and 3 pieces of cannon. We staid there a week and then returned to Washington and stopped there another.

In the mean time I had to work all day and part of the nights make out papers as muster-quarterly and monthly papers had be made out besides. We had a change of officers and all the property had to be Invoiced to Lt Cross, now the Comdg. officer of Co "B" whose care you will direct (Lt. C E Cross). I got a No. of keepsakes there at H.F. ..............

Last Tuesday morning we and orders to pack and leave. We crossed Long Bridge as the sun was rising.--We knew the Army was advancing for all the two days before and nights also, the troops were crossing. The first day we marched with knapsacks strapped 16 miles and camped beside some rebel fortifications on the road from Alexandria to Fairfax C H. Day before yesterday we started before sunrise and marched to this place 6 miles in Company with 10,000 Regulars (our division). Genl. McClellen is in Comd of all the troops here in person. The Engineer Corps does guard duty for him. His head quarters are about 20 rods from our tent. We are encamped north of the village at Fairfax CH within a long line of Rebel fortifications and our tents are pitched just where theirs were. A lot of their old rubbish is piled up about.
Manassas is evacuated. Two Rgts went in there and found it entirely deserted. Wooden men some 40 in no were placed on the parapets with guns in their hands and numbers of wooden cannon painted were run out from the embrasures. The magazines &c. were all blown up and the Rebels were said by deserters to have retreated to Lynchburg. Gen. McClellen did not how what to think of the evacuation immediately sent 50 000 reinforcements to Genl. Banks and a number of thousands to Genl. Burnside, expecting a flank movement by the Rebels. I suppose that never in America before were so many troops encamped within so small a space as there are here today. Within 3 miles there must be more than 200,000 men. The rebel fortifications here were quite extensive but I should judge were hastily thrown up. Before our troops entered Manassas they had a skirmish with the Rebels. The cavalry took 13 prisoners. I saw some of them. They were an ignorant looking set of men excepting a Lieut. who had been a West Point Cadet. They were dressed mostly in coarse light colored cloths. The reputed impregnability of Manassas Junction and the large numbers of the Rebel Army is thought now to have been a humbug. It was discovered that our troops could have advanced on the right flank of Manassas at any time as that side was not fortified. A deserter from them formerly a resident of Philadelphia says they never numbered more than 50,000 at Manassas .......... The weather has been very good for marching as we came up on the Fairfax road the remains of the old obstructions placed in the road last Spring were visible. Great Chestnut trees were cut and pitched into the road from both banks and a road just wide enough for the passage of waggons had been cleared. This place was occupied last Sunday by our troops. No citizens were here. The 5th Me. found numbers of their old knapsacks in the soil that they left in their retreat on that memorable night of the 21st of July. Quite a number of cows were found in the pastures and many slaughtered, but such depredations have been stopped and those concerned punished. Some members of a NY. Rgt. burned a beautiful brick dwelling house in the suburbs of the village. Probably it was in retaliation for the evident joy of the owner on the retreat in July.

 A store was broken open in the village and three concealed men beside a large quantity of sugar and tobacco was discovered. The 5th N.H. is somewhere about here but we can not leave our camp as the Patrol already established would take us to the Guard House. I think a more imposing sight than this will never be seen in the Union Army.

I have a type from the office of a paper published here. I will send it, also a note of Jan. 6 I picked up in the village. Direct to Washington D C.

Your Aff. Bro
Send me some P O stamps. I send a ring picked up in the street at Harpers Ferry.

[The forgoing written in pencil; now, on the same sheet, without date, the letter continues, in ink, as follows:]

Dear Brother

I am again in Washington. We made a forced march. By order Genl. McClellen with some 25,000 troops to take steamers some 40 mi. in [?] here to reinforce Gen. Burnside. The Rebels are making a flank movement that way. I carried some 40 pounds. We marched twenty miles and more I think anyway from Fairfax to quarters in 5 1/2 hours and only rested 3 times the whole way and the rain pouring down hard too the last part of the way. Our train is nearly loaded. We leave this morning at 10 o'clock. I feel hearty and well. The march did not hurt me at all. I had dry clothes to put on immediately. I do not feel sore or lame. Shall do well don't have any fears for me.

 Read my letter in this weeks Cabinet.

Camp near New Bridge, Va.
May 14th 1862

Dear Brother Vaola

 I have just received your interesting letter, also ones from Lizzie Juliett & Edward, and the Cabinet. We moved camp yesterday nearer our work, and the enemy too. The pickets are firing all the time now as I write. We are up on a high hill in camp where we can plainly see the Rebels in their fortifications and the smoke of the pickets guns as they fire. We were roused out in the night to remove the chess or plank from the bridges in stocking feet for the enemy were reported by the balloonist who made a moonlight reconnaissance to be advancing in large numbers. At the same time the enemy were reported by pickets seen by our own men to be in heavy force at Hanover Court House having captured most of our pickets there also.

Men coming in from towards White House Landing in our rear. The enemy's cavalry and sharpshooters made a dash there doing much damage to our supplies. They were supposed to be those men who were in front of McDowell at Fredericksburg. I think Gen McClellan is making a ruse at this point. I think he will advance near the James River, perhaps cross it and attack Richmond in the rear. He has already moved head quarters far to the left, but we still work at our bridges in this place and I have been out in the swamp in the water so deep in places we swim. The bridge is about 1/2 mile long, and is made up of crib work or like a cob-house and then pine saplings cover that thick. Each man of us is in charge of a party of volunteers. It is in the rear of Genl Smith's division (I have just stepped out in front of the tent where a crowd is gathered to watch the movements of the pickets who have just commenced a brisk popping).

We expect stirring times immediately and let me tell you Genl McClellan has none too many men to oppose the advancing hosts of the Rebels.
It was thought by the balloonist 75,000 were in our front ready to attack last night in this immediate vacinity which I have illustrated in my map. You need not fear for me, for though near 1/3 of the Battalion of Engrs are sick, my own health is excellent, and the work don't seem to me more the common labor of the farm at home, neither the weather warmer than it usually is at the same time at home. As for the danger from the enemy--that has been considerable but I have now two weeks of the company writing to do. Still I want to go out some to bear my part with the rest of the boys.

 You spoke of my having some rest Sunday. Last Sunday was the first one I believe which we spent in camp. To tell you the candid truth, I scarcely how when Sunday comes but I try to sustain my religious principals and though in the excitement and associations of camp I can not pray aloud, I pray to myself. Edward wants me to leave off drinking coffee now if I do not eat pork or meat (as he advises me not to) all but a bean soup and a little rice once in a while should have to eat dry hard crackers and after a while one completely sickens of them can scarcely endure the sight of them----

Monday, June 16th. We worked hard all day yesterday in the water up to our necks. The bridge which we are building is more than 1/2 mile long, and probably contains more than 3,000 cords of wood. It will be done tomorrow as they are in a great hurry for it. We work night and day. Gel. McClellan said it was worth more than 20 regts of men to Genl Smiths Div. for it could not be flanked by the rebels or raked in front and it leads directly upon a large field where a great battle is expected. There was an article in the World of New York about us. They said owing to the inefficiency of the Engineer Corps who instead of working laid and slept in the road. Now the mere fact of the men sleeping in the road when the rain was pouring such a delay was made that Richmond could not be taken for some time This showed that the men must have been very much fatigued as they were, having been standing in the rain all that day and out the night before. Having nothing to do they laid down indeed! Our inefficiency! I suppose the man sitting there in his easy chair imagines he could put a pontoon bridge across a stream in the woods in the dark and the water rising at the rate of 6 inches an hour very easy. The bridge at Harpers Ferry was considered one of the greatest achievements of the present military age, and that was built under three times as favourable circumstances as this could have been. The paper said Genl McClellan would have been in Richmond now but for that. Why didn't he cross when the bridge was finished?
When they talk of the inefficiency of the Engineer Corps they talk foolish. There is not a company of men in the United States today that can hold a candle for us to do what we how to do our non comd officers have been in the service from 10 to 15 years and will average smarter and more efficient men than all the newspaper Editors or correspondents in the Country, but beyond all this when they speak of the inefficiency of the Engineer Corps they do not touch the enlisted men at all but the officers--and who are our officers. Gen Barnards chief, Genl McClellans staff and many other inferior officers all of whim are on his staff, but more than this it casts a slur upon Gen. McClellan himself who orders all these things to be done personally. I wish some good writer would send the Ed[itor of the] New York World a note.

Here we are working with all our might night and day, in face of the enemy, beyond our own pickets often times (two of our men have been shot on the Chickahominy) exposed to sickness by being in the swamp water to our necks and now those who are behind enjoying all the luxury of home and good associations, those ignorant critics talk about our inefficiency. If the war is not carried on sufficiently let them come out themselves and 'On to Richmond'--I presume the Government would give them a Brigadier Gen[era]lship to start in. I fancy even then with all the comforts an office of that rank has they would soon want to retreat--I'11 not go out again to work. I have been out every day for about a week, but I might just as well have staid in my tent but volunteered to go--Write me soon if you can send me a little strong black and yellow silk for sewing in a letter it would come very handy. Direct to Camp near New Bridge, Va. otherwise as before.

Your Aff Bro Newton

P.S. We muster in a fortnight and expect to get paid immediately. My pay will after amount to $67.00. I can send you $60.00. I do not want to keep much on hand but want to have you save me some to send me a little, say a dollar along as I need it. One is very apt to loose money out here. I lost my pocket book in the Chickahominy containing $2.00-all the money I had. Send me an envellop or two.

Washington D C. Mar. 26 [1862]

Dear Brother

I sent you tonight by Adams Express $25.00 to Manchester, N.H. Take it out as soon as you can, for they will send it back unless it is called for soon. We leave this morning at 3 P.M. It is now about midnight. We got paid off just at dark and I have just got back from the Express Office. Direct as Before. We don't how where we are going, but our letters will be forwarded from here.
Write immediately after receiving the money. I sent considerable, but perhaps shall need a little for postage money &c. sent me from time to time if we don't get paid again for three months or so.


Camp near White House Landing Va
May 19th 1862

Dear Brother

We are about to start again for Richmond. It is now 23 miles from here, and it is rumored that the gun boats have taken it. I have heard there are a body of Rebels a short distance from here in a swamp surrounded by federals. Some of our men made a reconnaissance yesterday by order Gen McClellan assisted by a squadron of cavalry. They were fired upon by the enemies pickets. We had to work night and day last week most of the time in the rain and getting what little sleep we could as the train stopped to feed the roads were very bad. Our Pontoon train was about 2 miles long and it took us all night to get 5 miles and the rain poured down a shower. The day after getting here I was sent after rations and had to wait all day in the rain and cold and then went home to sleep where the water stood in puddles round the tent although I put on dry clothes &: had a rubber blanket to sleep upon yet the dampness in the air caused my face to swell with the ague. I am told that unless my face had swelled I should have had the ague fever: it has been growing worse until last night when the swelling commenced to go down. My upper lip now covers my under one but I manage to keep about my duty still. I think likely it will have to be lanced. I was troubled the same way at Portsmouth last Spring.
I had a chance to go back to Fortress Monroe on account of it but I prefered to go on.

The weather is getting quite warm especially at noon. We can scarcely stay in our tents for the heat.

I had a letter from Annie the other day. No news of note.
I sent some small pen & ink sketches home. The best I ever made. I will send some to you next. I want them preserved for I may want to use them again. I think we are going to make some long marches for those unable to carry their knapsacks were sent back. As Richmond is but 23 miles from here I think we intend going there in two days as two days rations have been issued to us.

My letter from Yorktown I suppose is in the Cabinet. I will send it to you if it comes here.

Direct to Genl. McClellans Head Quarters at White House Landing, Va.
Write soon. Your Aff. Bro.

Camp near New Bridge Va.
June 18th 1862

Dear Brother Vaola
I rec'd your letter a day or two since and believe I have answered it. I had no idea that we should, get paid off soon but we have been paid off today. I send you some money. I shall have $30 to send, but think I had better send but $10 this time so as to find out whether it arrives all right or not. Wen you receive it let me how immediately

I have no neck handkerchief and want a yard of thin inch wide black silk ribbon. I think you can send it in a letter. Direct as before.

McCall's Division of 10,000 men arrived today from Genl. McDowell at Fredericksburg. There is considerable skirmishing among the artillery along the line. This afternoon we have a grand chance to see it from our camp. It is in the valley below us---troops are moving in all directions. Part of Genl. Porters Div is moving. I was in hopes the Government would not pay us until next month when I should have 4 months pay, but perhaps it will come handy to you before that time--Write me whether you shall go home by Portsmouth NH. If so I should I should like to have you go down to the Fort & see it and give Capt. Davidson the $5 he sent me.

 Your Aff Bro.

[At the upper left-hand corner, in what seems a different hand, the following is written, perpendicularly to the text of the letter: "this note is No. 16557 series 13-----]

Genl. McClellans Head Qtrs.
Harrisons Landing or Point, Va. on James River
July 4th 1862

Dear Brother Vaola
Enclosed is $17.00.
Direct to Genl. McClellans Hd Qters.
Army Potomac. Virginia.


Camp at Harrisons Landing or Point on the
James River, Va July 4th, 1862

Dear Brother Vaola.

 I have just recd your letters today and was glad to receive the things as well as to know the money was safe for I felt anxious about a little, for I sent it about the time the Rebels got possession of the  road to White House Landing.----- Well, we have had a very hard  time since writing you last, a time which is hard to be understood. I will relate as far as possible how we moved and also the movements of the army. The next day after writing you we completed the bridge and crossed over camping a little below Smith's Division at Camp Lincoln on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy and about 1 1/2 mile from and to the right of the rear of 'Seven Pines'. We were occupied here in throwing up parallels and making cabins on the afternoon of the 26th. We heard heavy firing to our right where Genl. McCall's Penna. reserve were posted (at Mechanicsville). It grew nearer and then further away but still we could hear one continual roar of musketry and field pieces. About dark the troops commenced cheering all about us  and the bands playing and at 9 the firing ceased---About midnight the firing commenced again at Far Oaks, but stopped in an hour or so--As soon as daylight appeared or as soon as I awoke in the morning the most terrible cannonnading and musketry commenced I ever heard in my life.---Nearly opposite the New Bridge on the North side--- Genl. Jackson had turned our right and in the night Genl. McCall and Genl. Porter who had gone to his (McCall's) aid the day before fell back to get a good position a little to the right of our camp. When I last wrote you here the fight raged all day with great fury. We could see the shells bursting and the smoke rolling up from the musketry. At night we struck tents and the Battalion moved down to Savages Station a little to the left of our then present camp, say about 1 1/2 mile but our company was detailed on duty in the swamp where we had been building the lower corduroy bridges (our guard had destroyed the pontoon bridges in the morning. At New Bridge they burned the trestle bridge. The pontoons were scuttled and sunk and the chess and bulk burned). In the night (our company proceeded to the bridge to await the last troops that crossed over and then blew up the bridge (on receipt of orders) with kegs of powder. But I being company clerk went on with head quarters to see to the papers of the company and make out the muster rolls (which were then only commenced) all of Porters teams, troops, artillery, &c., passed over on to the Richmond side of the Chickahominy. All the time--all night the wounded were crossing, wounded in every shape imaginable. No words could describe it. As they came crawling along on their hands and knees with poles helping themselves along, officers carrying privates and privates carrying officers, all crying out "water! water! For the love of Heaven give me water!" The men gave them the best they could from the swamp. At last about daylight the word came to blow up the bridge--the teams were all over and only a squad of men occasionally appeared but still the wounded kept on coming and the boys watched and waited for them to all get over. One Brigade passed over and with tears in his eyes said as he looked back on the two companies he had left. (It is now noon and national salutes are being fired in every direction.) This is all there is left of my brigade. As last word was sent along the bridge that we were going to blow it up and the wounded that had sunk down on it made one last effort to get over. All was silent. Here and there were the ghastly forms of the men staggering along, the blood dropping from coat sleeves some with a leg shot off, trying to hop along with a stick. One old white-haired man with nothing but a pair of pants on came along just as they were about to apply the match. He had nine bullets in his body. They helped him over. Just then a rebel cavalry regt charged down the hill with an awful yell. The party turned their faces away so they could not see the other end of the bridge for they could not see their own men blown up and touched the fuse and ran--a loud explosion took place and the communication was cut off. At the lower bridge (not on my map) a battery came to the bridge after the stringers were cut. As the rebels were in pursuit the horses were cut loose and the battery left.
It is impossible to tell how many guns we lost--but quite a number were certainly for besides this one battery of 5 guns which our own men saw left behind, many batteries lost l, 2 and 3 guns. They would say as they passed over the bridge in the night (to our company) "Well boys, we lost one gun--Well, boys, the Rebels took 2 guns from us and one battery went along with but 2 guns." They (Good! Mike the drummer has just brought me your 3rd letter. I have taken out the silk and needles, holding up to the boys. They look wishful. And what I have been wanting all the time too, I find some wafers in the bottom of the envelope. I will now read your letter.--I find stamps too, just what I want.) said, "we left 4 guns behind." I think we must have lost 20 guns. I have heard we lost 30. Perhaps we did. On the afternoon of the 28th the army commenced to evacuate its position before Richmond. Of course our rear guard did not leave until late the next day, but all the trains and Head Quarters left through White Oak Swamp in the night of the 28th. The next morning at daylight we struck tents and lightened our wagons by throwing away some rations, mess chests and burning all together with some rifles of a lot of our sick who were left behind at Savages Station and who we expect are dead by this time as we have learned that the Rebels shelled and burned that place, and as our sick were unable to walk they must have perished. About 2,000 were left there in the same state--sick and wounded. Those who could walk were advised to come on as best they could.

I have just received another letter from you, the 4th one today, and the second since I sat down to write. I suppose they have been collecting since we left, before Richmond. The Rebels are retreating and we are following them up. [This paragraph, written crosswise on the first page, should perhaps come at the very end of the letter.]

And I saw hundreds of men wounded staggering along on the road. As I said before we lightened our wagons and were ordered to throw everything away that we did not actually need for present use (accordingly we made our knapsacks as light as possible, and started.)

The rebels overtook our rear guard about noon and a most desperate fight ensued. This was about 2 miles in our rear and we expected to have to abandon our company and seize wagons every moment for the firing grew nearer, but we got through and at night camped on the Charles City road or rather bivouacked there some 8 miles from our camp. In the morning the firing ceased. Early the next morning we moved on toward James River and arrived at Turtle [or, Turkee?] Creek at night on the River and under the protection of the gunboats. The Galena and the Monitor shelled the Rebels from here. This day, they say, was a day of very hard fighting. Our rear guard, Genl. Hooker and Kearney are said to have lost nearly half of their men at night. Genl. McCalls Division was engaged and also the next morning when he was taken prisoner, but I have heard he was retaken.

The 2nd New Hampshire and I believe also the 5th were in the rear guard. Many of the brigades lost all their wagons, baggage and knapsacks. On the 30th the fighting was continued the same as the day before and said to be the hardest fought battle in the campaign. We drove them back and captured 24 guns. Our Battalion by order were sent out to block the road leading from Bottoms Bridge on this day and owing to some misunderstanding Genl. Smith's teams were said to have been lost there coming up on the other side of the abbatis. The Rebels pursued so close they had to be abandoned. I don't know how true this rumor is, but I know some men passing by our camp yesterday said on learning this was the Engineers that if it had not been for us they would not have lost their wagons. They belonged to Smiths Division. At dark on the night of July 1st we continued our retreat down the river. We marched all night long, and so exhausted were we when arriving here that we fell down anywhere in the ploughed ground in danger of being run over by cavalry. When we woke up the pitiless rain was beating in our faces--drenched to the skin and stiff, hungry, and sick, we came down here where the water until just now has been a foot deep under the wheat straw which thank Heaven was stacked up here by the hundreds of tons and which we have piled up as I said so we do not actually sleep in water. Our company papers had to be made out immediately and I went to work yesterday morning on the rolls sitting on my rubber blanket and writing on a book on my knees. My pants were so wet and thick with mud I could not put them on, and the only dry things I had was a shirt and pair of drawers and my overcoat and I sat and wrote all day with those on and today have got all through except my clothing rolls and Quarterly returns which can be put off until tomorrow or a little while at any rate. But it has cleared off this morning and is warm now, and my things are out drying and I feel first rate now, barefoot and in my shirt sleeves, for my muster rolls have been all proved and are right. I have no cold, only a slight diarrhea which you know will not hurt me but rather make me feel better. The sum total of affairs now is viz. Genl. McClellans whole army is now in a space of a few miles in a little peninsula in the James River surrounded by nearly 200,000 rebels. If they themselves speak true, or the prisoners we take--we are 40 miles from Richmond. I don't know how many men were lost by the move, but I know many regts that before the retreat mustered 7, 8 and 9 hundred men muster not more than 200 now. Besides we have lost some whole Regts by capture. Some of the regulars are most annihilated. The Rebel loss according to all accounts as well as their own are enormous. They gave their men whiskey and gunpowder as all who were taken had canteens full of it and they being crazy drunk rushed on in double lines right up to our batteries and Regts who would fire at short range mowing them down like grain or grass. The Artillery fired treble shots that is put in shrapnel grape and canister all at once and mowed down a space a dozen yards wide and a hundred yards long as they advanced in solid columns. The Rebels admit a loss of between 30 and forty thousand. Since the first of the fight perhaps 15,000 will cover our killed, wounded and missing, but think of all the troops being out in that cold rain. The army could not have fought 10,000 well and spirited men yesterday, disheartened as they were.
Some say we took 15,000 prisoners. I don't think it but I do know
we took 5,000 for I saw as many as that myself. Genl. Jackson is killed. I believe it. Genl. Kearney shot him and his body was brought to head quarters. One of our own men heard one of the staff say so.

The Rebels shelled our camp yesterday and killed two men. The battery was captured last night, as well as the brigade that supported it. I saw them too. Some say we have received 50,000 reinforcements. There is great cheering. We received some two thousand reinforcements last night. I know for they are camped alongside of us. It is Shields and McDowells command. This move is said to have been for strategy. It may be. It is reported that Genl. Burnside has gone up to attack Fort Darling with 35,000 men. I think the story is plausible for he and his command are about here somewhere for they are not with us.-- While he attacks Fort Darling it is said Genl. McClellan will immediately follow up the Rebels who will draw off towards that place to sustain the forces there and at the same time Genl Pope advance with Fremonts command and attacking them on all sides before they get into Richmond, create a panic and capture the .whole of them. If this is true, then Genl. McClellans move could scarcely be called a retreat, having for an object the drawing of the Rebels from Richmond, but if he was forced to do this it can almost be called a retreat and perhaps a disastrous one. For there was one time when the army was almost in a panic. As it is there are now nearly 8,000 soldiers in the woods away from their commands, but the Provost Marshall busy and with this fine sun perhaps the army will regain its usual spirit. As I said before this may be a strategic movement But it looks extremely dubious to us. Stories are about camp that Genl. McClellan said he would be in Richmond Sunday (day after tomorrow) But unless things greatly change from their present state instead of being in Richmond next Sunday, I fear we shall not be in there this Fall and perhaps never.

The Southern troops fight like crazy men. They fight as nobody of men fought before and so do our own men. I send you $15.00. I concluded it best to keep $5.00 as I have had to get some things since coming down here, for I had to throw away a good many things so as to keep up with the rest of the men. Genl. Casey is Capt. Casey's father. Genl. Howard you spoke of was wounded in the battle of Seven Pines.

I had to go without my dinner to write this. I am in a great hurry.
Direct to Genl. McClellan's Head Quarters. Army of the Potomac. Virginia (otherwise as before)

Your Aff. Bro Newton

Camp at Harrison's Landing July 14th 1862

Dear Brother

Your letter came today. I was glad to hear the money was safe for some time had passed since I sent it.
Everything is quiet here. A fortification has been built extending from the bends of the river across so the Rebels if they attack us will receive a good fire thus while coming through the abbatu and at the same time the gunboats can play on them.

Genl. Burnside has arrived here. Indications are that we shall stop here nearly all summer. Frame houses are being put up at Head Quarters.

 Everything about here is blighted by war. There are no clean little brooks to go to, no nice little shady trees to sit under, or if there are the stench about them from those going there to ease themselves is intolerable.

Our camp is in the most unhealthy place of all. It is down where the head of the arrow rests and so situated that the water runs right into our camp. We have dug drains but they stand full of green poisonous water. Besides, our teams are put quite near the tents and the stench is almost unendurable. I take a bath in the river nearly every day, but all along the banks there is so much filth I don't enjoy it much. Our Company of 60 men have 20 on the sick report. Three of these are helpless. Besides these we left two behind at Savages (they are now at Richmond) and 6 are in Hospital at the North.

The men all seem to have lost their usual vigor. We look about us and things appear about the same as usual to be sure the sun is very hot but we keep in the tents. But some how disease seems to be creeping over us. We grow weaker day by day. The sick get no treatment for the Doctor himself is unable to sit up and when he does sit up he gives nothing but Quinine & Blue Mass, Blue Mass and Quinine. We can't buy anything. No preserved peaches or any thing of the kind for the sutlers are all ordered off. It is strange why Capt. Duane keeps us here in this camp. We could at least camp on higher ground where stagnant water would not gather under our very heads when we sleep at night and even where we are the mules might be moved father off. Their lie and manure smells worse than a hog-pen. I would almost think it a luxury to sleep in Uncle Joe's hog pen. And then too the men are getting very lousy. I found some on me yesterday and saw them crawling all over the shirt of the man who slept next me. I immediately went into the bushes and stripped, changed my clothes and cleaned out my old ones, came back, got permission from the Sergt. and built my bunk up from the ground just as far from the mules as I could get and away from any one in the Company. The sick cannot wash their own clothes, and get lousy and others catch them.

If the officers were not so bigoted (they think it would not be military to go near the woods or on the hill) I would just as soon stay here as not. I could bear those things which are necessary, but when I see my life put in danger, the ruin of health for life inevitable, I wish my self away from here where these things are unnecessary. I don't like to sacrifice my health and life to the whim of an old man who delights to see his men suffer.

I don't consider it my duty to do it. I came out here to serve my country and am willing to give my life if necessary. But not unnecessarily.
Well, I suppose this way of talking does not help the matter, but if we stay all summer in our present camp unless preserved by almost a miracle, my health hereafter will not be worth much.
Some say he does this to keep a large number on the sick report while here, so the Genl. will send the Battalion to Washington to recruit its strength. I had a letter from Edward and Annie yesterday and day before--I will wait until I receive your letter tomorrow fore I finish this.

July 18th
I waited to hear from you before finishing this letter. I received two letters from you this morning, the one dated 14th inst coming in the 1st mail and the one dated 11th in the last.

For the last week I have not felt well, having symptoms of the swamp fever and was very costive too but I am better now though it tires me all out to stir about any. I suppose that is owing to the extreme heat which is so extreme that with all our clothes loosened we can scarcely endure it.

We have had a terrible thunder shower for the last 3 evenings. There was one continued flash of lightning. Though our tents have a deep trench dug all about them we were completely flooded and all our things wet (the first night) but I managed to sleep a little on a cracker box. The maggots and filth from the sinks floated in and father's pig pen at home would have been a paradise to our present Camp. The ground is like one huge pile of hog-manure as it used to be under our barn.

I made up mind I must have some thing to eat &c from home and so I sent $10.00, five for myself and five for a sick man here for 5 cans of berries, sugar, graham cakes &c. I have got so sick of eating hard crackers that at the sight of any thing else I want it no matter what the price. The Express brings everything here some of the men already have recd things from home.

Are you going home soon?

You asked me if I did not get blue once in a while. You see by the first part of my letter that I am once in a while. I tell you what, if this living, this heat and this camp don't make one long for bake beans and brown bread, the cool shady groves and clean beds and pure air of New Hampshire. I have read of starving men picturing to themselves tables of good eatables spread out before them. It is getting to be so with us. We sit and talk of the fine things we used to have. I don't mean the pies and sweet cakes, &c. but the good wholesome food such as potatoes butter eggs bread pudding squash and pumpkins apples &c &c. I could live happy on the hardest crust of brown bread and milk for weeks. Seems to me it is now 4 months since we have had any kind of bread but hard bread which tastes just like a chip.

The only thing we get is once in a while a few potatoes issued to keep away scurvy but they are only an aggravation so few in number they make one long all the more for some thing we cant get. Well, I suppose some time this will end and we enjoy peace and plenty once again---Send me a dollar, a gold dollar if you can get one. Capt. Duane says he shall not pay off the Battalion again while here for they buy stuff and get sick. They are paying off in some of the Infry Regts. Some 3 months pay is due us and we just as soon wait and get 4 months August.
If you go home tell me all the news, who has gone to the war, &c

July 28th
I have neglected to send this letter, so long I have been writing to a number to try and get a commission. I think I shall get it.

My health is first rate again. The weather is awful hot. We are in the hottest camp to in the whole army. I expect to get a box from home tomorrow. It left Manchester the 24th. If you and Ed could engage in putting up fruit and berries you could make thousands of dollars a box or can of strawberries sells for a dollar here, not bigger then a mustard box much. Ed could get $1.50 for such cans as his which would net him about $1.00 each if he could sell 2,000 he would make 2000 dollars and once out here with them you could sell 200 cans in a day. There is the greatest rush when there is any thing of the kind to sell here that in an hour or so after it is know[n] that the stuff is here it is all gone no matter what the quantity. You could get a permit from the Vice President to come down here or some other influential man could procure one and you could get money enough this Fall to pay up all you[r] debts and finish your studies.

Those in this Battln wont [have] to send on and get quantities by express and pay $1.00 per can besides the Express. I don't care to go into business the much myself for the officers don't like to have any peddling going on in Camp.
I used all my postage stamps in writing to these men for my commission. Send me some. Also send me $1.00 or perhaps you had better send all postage stamps as they are better than money here.

We expect to get paid off tomorrow or next day.
If you go home I wish you would call and let Capt. Davidson have $5.00 if you have it to spare. If you have not never mind.
Direct as before.

Your Aff Bro

Aquia Creek Va.
August 27th 62

Dear Brother.

I have recd a number of letters since I have arrived here. We have been away from the army and have had no chance to send letters until I come here. I have had to work very hard in the hot sun. The skin has peeled from my ears nose and arms but my health is most excellent. We are a very healthy camp in the woods, the air is so clear that I can hear the men talking a mile away on the boats in the river. There are not many troops here though many have passed through here both ways. We have all kinds of fruit, luscious too.---My Box did not come.--I am making out the muster Rolls--. Pope has had a number of battles--he is having one now out near Fredricksburg- We can hear the booming of the cannon as you surmised we went to the mouth of the Chickahominy and 200 of us built a Pontoon Bridge 2000 feet long in 9 working hours containing 94 boats and a number of trestles. After the rear guard of the army was over (it took 2 nights & days for them to cross) we took up the bridge and were on our way to Fortress Monroe in 3 hours. I had a letter from Ed. Hannah is downhearted. Ed is to be or was to be married this week to A. Baltzly. I expect to get paid off in a few weeks. Shall have $60.00. Can send some to Hannah. She is in want of some clothes, Ed says- Don't say anything to Hannah about it if you write.
 Direct as before.

Your Aff Bro

Aquia Creek. Va. Aug. 29th 62

Dear Bro Vaola

I do not know but I sent you a letter yesterday. I thought I did not but I can not find the letter and as I sent away one or two yesterday, I think I might possibly have sent one. Fearing I did not, I will write a short note.--I am well, enjoying a fine camp and all kinds of luscious fruit. My box did not come. We built a bridge at the mouth Chickahominy 2000 feet long. I shall have some $60.00, I expect in one or two weeks. I can send you 20. Want to send Hannah 10 or 15 and want to keep some to make money with. Have had no chance to send letters before, having been away from the rest of the army. All together, had fine times, but had to work very hard on the bridge.--Burned the skin off ears nose & arms. Very hot there but very comfortable here. There has been heavy fighting out towards Fredricksburg. Have heard cannonading most every day--expect to be in Washington in a short time.

Direct as usual. Ed is married by this time probably to A. Baltzly. He was to be this week.
We hear unfavourable news from the Army of Virginia-

Your Aff Bro

[In this letter is a pen sketch, postal-card size, of a ruined castle on a lagoon, and, on the other side, a harbor scene.]

Harpers Ferry Va
September 22nd 1862
Dear Brother Vaola

I have had no chance of writing until we came here. We have been on the march almost every day. I was in Washington, but did not stop but a day or two. We get no mail now. Consequently, I have not had any news from home or yourself.
I am well----There has been some terrible fighting in Maryland.

We were in sight of every battle, and slept on the battle field of Blue Ridge Gap. Our troops fought with desperation to gain the place and it is astonishing to me how they ever did get up there and strange to say they slaughtered the Rebels dreadfully, killing more almost than their own number. The dead Rebels laid all about on the ground in great heaps, the 2nd day after the battle.

The battle at Sharpsburg was a terrible one---Again the Rebels held a position almost as good as a fortified city, only a few hills commanded it--They were situated in a place shaped like this and could use the village of Sharpsburg in the centre for their wounded.

The night before the battle our Battalion went down to the creek about 1/2 mile from the Rebels and built a ford and then went back to a grove on the hill about 3/4 of a mile from the battle ground--that is that part of the battle where you see the cross--as soon as day dawned in the morning the Rebels opened with two batteries upon some of our troops which had crossed and gone up to the left the night before, whose batteries returned the fire also a battery on a high hill which flanked the Rebel batteries at this point opened with great effect on our left--Then the troops commenced crossing by the thousands and soon the infantry and artillery were into it hotly. We could see the charges as plain as day, for the ground contested lay spread out before us like our meadow to one on the walnut hill or perhaps the plain would be a little nearer it. A division of Rebels got in a ravine to flank our troops but this battery which I spoke of on the hill dropped the shell right in their midst and they soon broke and fled as fast as they could run over the fields to the woods. Gen Francis Maher's Brigade soon went over, and they charged and got driven back. I suspect he was almost intoxicated. I know he was when he went back at night for I saw him reeling in his saddle although he was wounded. I saw the 5th N.H. go in but have not seen them since.--1,800 dead rebels lain in the cornfield. There was armistice the next day.--The night before we had almost gained the top of the hill and if Genl. McClellan had only ammunition to carry on the fight the next morning we could have captured the whole Rebel army I was talking with a prisoner. He said only 1/4 came out alive of his company. The fight became so desperate we were joined to the 1st Brigade, Sykes Division Reserves, to take part in it if wanted but were detached and sent down here day before yesterday to build some kind of a bridge over the River as the Rebels destroyed all property of use to us here since leaving. Then they have had a fight and lost 1/4 of their men and it is reported the Rebels are in Maryland at Williamsport and are going to fight their final battle.
Direct as before and I may get the letter some time.

Your Aff Bro Newton

Sandy Hook, Md.
October 7th 1862
Dear Brother Vaola

I recd your letter day before yesterday-
I don't know how long we shall stop here but perhaps some time. Troops are coming in very fast. 3 N.H. Regts. have arrived within a few days. I saw Mr. Gutterson, Albert Wheeler, Jenness Haradon Manning the two Maces, George McClure, Beecher, Sawtelle and a great many other Amherst boys. They were in the 10th. Sawtelle left College to join the Regt. He is a private. Also saw John Roby and the Parkhurst boys and in fact I should think nearly all the men folks about had entered the Army. Roby (John) told me Annie was at New London at School and Lizzie was to teach in Mt. Vernon. He left a gold watch for her use while teaching. He also says Ed. has given the farm into Father's hands.

Washington George, a 2nd Lieut. in the N.H. 5th is reported killed. I was talking last night with the Post-master here, an old man about 73. He has lived here 20 years and owned or does own what is left of a good many houses in Harper's Ferry--He told me the John Brown affair was all got up by the secesh themselves to excite the slave holders South. The Abolitionists had nothing to do with it and furthermore he says John Brown is alive today and in the Southern Army, not being dead, and the body of another man was sent North (It was remarked by his friends then if you remember reading it in the papers that the body did not look like that of John Brown). The old man says a number of his near relations were in the secret and helped get up the affair --

Two days after John Brown was buried one of the principal actors in the scheme came riding through the village of Sandy Hook telling the people that a gang of Abolitionists were coming down Pleasant Valley murdering the people and burning the houses, upon which all the people got up in their shirts or grabbed whatever clothing they could and ran over to Harper's Ferry. He said his wife and children were so much frightened he and to let them go too, and his little boy wheeled the babies with a peck of potatoes and a loaf of bread over the bridge but he knew the man lied for instead of stopping to get away his own family he came to alarm others and he told the people there was no danger. Morning came and the people of Pleasant Valley were sleeping as sound as ever and the Sandy Hookists came back feeling rather cheap, and he says that today the people all through the South think that the people in Pleasant Valley were all murdered by Abolitionists. For a long time reports would come flying into Harper's Ferry from the same individuals all the time and the people were kept in a constant state of alarm and report went down South every time and was gobbled up by the Southerners who formed companies and one fine day when all was quiet up came Artillery and Infantry Companies--troops by the thousands cheering and shouting. They would kill all the Abolitionists. Troops were tendered from as far down as Mississippi. When the Elections came on these same men who got up the excitement got some fat offices and when the South seceded they stole everything they could. He says too that Miles was a traitor and everything was arranged to get all the stores collected here to surrender. That was possible. A pontoon bridge was built on purpose for the crossing of a large army, even, and it was whispered about what was to be done--(among the Secessionists here as long ago as two months). And he told officers that came here whom he thought were loyal that such was the case, but they thought he was foolish.

Write me soon.

Could you not if you see as you might possibly get acquainted with some influentia[l] person there try to get me a commission- I suppose though you don't get acquainted with those kind of men often.

Your Aff. Bro.

Camp Wevertom Md.
Oct. 22nd 1862

Dear Bro
I have forgotten when I last wrote you. It is very cold and windy. Our camp is in a good place. Not paid off yet, but I got a letter from the Dr. today with which to pay postage, &c. Sometimes I think we shall winter here and then think we shall winter in Washington or West Point. The officers have bought them a cow--The men are getting very much dissatisfied, especially the Sergts. Our officer[s] are very cross. Most of the old hands whose times are out this winter will not enlist again. I wish my time was going to be out this winter for this kind of life is getting tasteless without refined associates. Many about are getting commissions. Why can't I get one. I shall try. Can't you rake up a little influence to get me one? I should think you could. I have built me a bunk by myself, but I have several nights almost froze, clothing being scant, but now I have a little more. I slept with the Sergts before and got lousy. One of them is very nasty, sleeping in his trousers, meaning no drawers and changing no clothes for a long time.
Can't you try and get me a commission. It is very easy to get one now if I was only at home I could get one right off. Direct as usual. I had a letter from Annie. I shall let her have money enough to go to school this winter.
Send me an Atlantic Monthly or Harper's Monthly.

Your Aff. Bro. Newton.

[overleaf] I recd yours last evening. We expect to get paid before great while I shall have if they wait another week $80.00. I can then send you some or to Annie, but if they don't pay us until next November they may allow it to run on towards the last of the month or the first of Dec


Camp near Warrenton Va.
Nov. 13th 1862
Dear Bro. Vaola
I will answer your letter immediately before I get my soup which is ready.
I am not discontented. My chances are good here. I am a Corporal and shall receive 20 dollars per month and stand a good chance to be made Sergt with $34.00 per mo. I have at last got my dues and am ordered out of the Clerks place with honor. They can find no one to fill my place and begin to see my usefulness. A green hand which they tried spoiled the Muster Rolls and I had to go back again for a little while until some one could learn to take my place. In the mean time I have had an awful lot of work to do, sitting up two nights out of three in the cold to write. We have enlisted about 70 men from the Volunteers. I did all the writing--in one day I wrote 40 letters making 8O pages commercial note, and all the other writing pertaining to the enlistment of 50 men in one day.
Then the Muster Rolls are very long. There are 8 large rolls, nearly 3 feet across to write all over on both sides.

If you chose you could be Company Clerk if you came, for we want one and you would soon learn your duty, but I tell you if you came you would have to make up your mind to very hard usage, sometimes. You know too that you would have three years to serve and I but two but you could get your discharge easy I think after the war closes.

As for promotion, they might not give it to you for it is not always the smartest men that get promoted but those who have served the longest. We lack twenty or thirty of being full, and if you enlisted the best way would be to come directly on here as it would cost but $15.00 which I could send you as soon as I got paid off.--- All is confusion here now on acct of the leaving of Genl. McClellan. Officers are resigning by the hundreds, and the Rebels are taking advantage of the demoralization and are in our rear so it is reported.

It is very cold here on the 9th inst we had 3 inches of snow and it blew and was as cold as winter. I have oftentimes had to get up at midnight and build a fire to get warm, as we have only shelter tents, but my health has been very good. Nothing seems to affect me.

I think we could get our discharge at the close of the war. However, I think if you are free from the draft and can possibly. get along with what money I can send you which will be at least $15.00 per mo. if I do not send Annie any again if it should be very hard times the girls all of them would need help and what money I am certain of furnishing would not be near enough to take care of all.
Again, you have studied long and unless you thought it your duty to come in the Army it would be a small payment for so much hard study, and you would be over 30 too when your time would be up provided you were obliged to serve 3 years.
A man in the Regular Army at Fort Constitution having experienced Religion applied to the President for a discharge to enter the Ministry but the President would not discharge him.

Our 1st Sergt with whom the Clerk has to associate nearly all the time is a bigoted Catholic and you would meet with much disagreeable trouble on that acct. but his time is up in the Winter and he says he shall not enlist again.--You would not find any persons fit to associate with here. Write again soon.

I am your Aff Bro.
Newton T. Hartshorn

[Continued in same letter]
Camp near Falmouth Va
Nov 23rd 1862

Dear Brother Vaola
I have been thinking since I last wrote you about your coming out here: you can do as you choose but if you come at all come now for there is a chance in the Clerk's Office, but I wish I could get paid off before you came so as to send on for things. There are many things which we should need this Winter which in fact we could not get along without and which can not be got out here at any price. We ought to have each of us a good pair of cowhide boots made as light as possible, with legs coming up to the knee. Then you ought to bring an oiled silk 7 feet long and 3 feet wide or two pieces 4 feet square, two deep tin plates of this style two cups of this style of thick tin, heavy, and one little tin pail with cover, viz holding about 1 1/2 qt. and two sets of any light metalic handle knives & forks, 1 small hatchet viz. or smallest you can get, one sewing awl and a good quantity of waxed ends, 10 pairs of the best buck gloves you can buy, two Cap Covers of oiled silk that have capes to them that reach on to the shoulders, plenty of black thread, needles, pins (one bunch), 2 lbs chocolate or cocoa, 3 lbs of best white sugar, a lot of candle wicking, sticking plaster &c. Then I want you to bring 30 pocket knives. I suppose you can get them at wholesale in the City cheap. Get the smallest and best knives such as that one you used to keep. And also some few very large strong knives. Bring a good quantity of emery powder to scour & grind brasses, also a good brush to scour with, also tooth brush and 3 or 4 prs stockings, 4 prs. nicest white woolen knit drawers, 4 nicest white woolen shirts knit, 3 white cotton gloves small, 20 turn down paper collars and a 2 yards black silk ribbon narrow (about the size for neckties). Bring your watch. Anything else you can bring which will be kind of a little luxury without being much load. You can bring an extra pair of boots, cowhide such as the others. Get them a little larger than will fit you (3 pairs). I want one pair and the other pair we can sell to great advantage. Our pay rolls have gone in and we expect to get paid immediately. If so I will send you $75.00 with which to get the things and pay your fare on and if you can not borrow it if it does not come on directly you can get the things prized and the boots to making, &c. Bring a nice blank book, 1/2 inch thick & 12 inches by 9 unruled--bring some good drawing paper, and some best drawing pencils, 1 good pocket inkstand, 2 diarys, 1 good pocket book, toothpicks, & tweezers & one little pocket set of tools like the one Mr. Clement used to have if you can get. It used to be in a box like this or the handle of a file. I believe that this is the outfit that is necessary to make us comfortable.

The pocket knives I want to sell. No one has any out here, scarcely. We can buy nothing out here.--probably a pocket knife that would cost only 62 cts there would cost $1.75 here. I forgot one thing bring six cotton handkerchiefs, 1 pt. small scissors & some stationery. Bring a book or two to study but small ones (much in little).

The army are not having good rations now, though we get plenty of crackers and pork and fresh beef. Some complain they get nothing at all to eat some days. I will write more when I get your letter. They are singing out mail now. Your expected letter didn't come. Write soon and tell me your decision.--I would like to have you here much---if you enlisted in Portland it might be six months before you would join the company. You ought to go home before coming out. I write this last and direct the letter in the dark.

Your Aff Bro

Camp near Falmouth Va
Dec·30. 1862

Dear Bro. Vaola
I have put off writing I fear longer than I ought after the battle.
The Battalion recd a few vollies while building a bridge but none were killed. A few were slightly wounded and two either were taken prisoners or gave themselves up on purpose, most likely the latter. I had charge of a party of 18 men to get two boats to the river and  unload them· We worked all night as hard as we could spring[?]. Had first to take the boats about 5 miles then unload and drag to the bank about 10 rods and then down it some 50 feet among briars &c. We commenced the bridge at 6 AM, worked until 10 AM without being troubled, when a company of sharpshooters crept up and got right on us before we could get off the bridge. But for a pile of chess, many would have been killed. I never was so tired in my life About noon a Rebel Officer rode up to the other side three times, within close range, shouting for Jeff Davis. I should think a thousand or fifteen hundred rounds were fired at him but did not drop him from the horse, a splendid animal.
The troops are leaving here now, in light marching order. We been expecting to remain all winter and built ourselves huts. The weather has been quite cold, snow remaining and the ground frozen for a number of days, but it is warmer now. I stop alone. I placed 4 logs one above another on each side of my shelter tent pitched it on them. Then dug 2 1/2 feet into the ground 6 inches high and 18 inches wide for a bed and seat and also the dirt the same height at the entrance for a step, then I dug into the clay in front of or in the side opposite my bed and built a fire place. Then built a chimney in the outside with sticks and clay. Then to keep the dampness from my back while sleeping, I split a log and fitted the two halves in back of the bunk split side out and hewn off smooth· I split logs and placed them close together at one end up right, leaving one side for an entrance. The other end I built out round like half a bushel basket with hemlock or cedar boughs, the same as we build an eelpot. Then I thatched that with boughs again on the outside so it is perfectly tight. I can stand up in my tent and drill with my rifle, which when not in use, hangs on two pegs above my bed. My best suit, trousers, & blouse and overcoat hang on pins driven in the upright logs at the end. I am now sitting and writing on a table made of crackerboxes, by candle light and probably am just as contented and comfortable as you are in your room carpeted. I have five adamantine candles and my candlestick looks real home like. It is one like the old brass candlesticks we used to have at home. I picked it up on the march near Bull Run Gap. Above the fireplace is a shelf and on it the brush you gave me two or three years ago, and my towel hangs on a peg at the end of the shelf. I have a warm fire burning in the fire  place, which draws like any good fire place. I put on logs at night when I go to bed that are a foot through and when I wake up in the morning they are all a bed of coals. I have a rubber blanket laid on my bed to keep the dampness from coming up and hay on that and I hewed out a log and placed it on the edge to keep me from rolling off; and hold the hay. At the head my knapsack, filled with, viz. 2 pr. Drawers, 4 prs. good stockings, 1 pr. good extra shoes, two white cotton under shirts, two woolen shirts, and other small things, besides what I have on me now. I have a large heavy over coat, two blouses and two pairs pants, good nice cloth too: better than most people wear at home everyday; in the morning we get to eat a pint of coffee, a half pound of beef or salt pork & 4 crackers about 3 inches square and 1/2 inch thick. At noon we get a pint of beef soup or bean soup, occasionally perhaps once a week or 10 days two or three potatoes and onions, with three crackers. At night we get a pint of coffee and 4 crackers. We have all the soap we want to use, and are issued a candle to every tent once a week. I have also two good thick blankets which I fold and lay on my knapsack on getting up at reveille 6 1/2 AM, then I sweep out clean, eat my breakfast. Then go down to the Spring and strip off blouse and shirt & have a good wash. Then I go to the woods and get my days wood, return and by that time, police call beats. When I see that my half of the company grounds is all swept and the dirt carried off, then I go in and write or study, drill or do what I please until 10 AM when drill call beats for the Recruits. I go out and drill a squad one hour, then am at liberty again until 2 PM. when we drill an hour again and then are free until 1/2 hour before sunset when if it is fair we have dress parade. If not, undress parade, the former is with arms in the Battalion parade ground, the latter without arms in the Company parade ground in front of the tents.
We have no chaplain, neither have I seen them in Regts except in Washington last Winter. When we have a burial as we have had five in this camp, an officer, Lieut Cross, Comdg. Battalion reads a chapter or two at the grave and a prayer. He is not a religious man, drinks considerable, and swears hard sometimes, but he is good to the men, that is as far as any regular officer is good to his men. He don't have anything to say to them, only about their duties. I never saw him smile.
We have only one other officer in the Battalion. He is a 2nd Lieut. and really smarter than the other one, For five hundred men we have but two commisioned officers, the 1st Sergts. have to act as Captains.

That ministers son that I told you about is dead. He died in Warrenton. I never knew a person of so much courage. Ever since he came out he was sick and he followed us all around over the peninsula, bound to stick it out not even letting his folks know that he was sick- At Harpers Ferry the last time, I suspected such was the case, and knowing that his father had the influence to get him out, I wrote him that unless he got his son home then he would never see him again. He wrote immediately to the Secretary of War, and to his friend Genl. Ripley, Chief of Ordnance U.S.A., and went to see Senator Fessenden. General Ripley wrote to Lieut. Cross immediately, but in the mean time we commenced to march to this place about 90 miles, and before a form which always has to be gone through to get a discharge could be finished, the long marches with the severe cold weather which came on just then, carried him away. We buried him at Warrenton, and I sent home his portfolio which contained only a few sheets of paper and some French Exercises which he had tried to study and his Bible. Poor fellow. When he came away from home they told him to be a man and come home strong and tell them of the war. He was not an only son but the oldest one. His Mother wrote me a very sorrowful letter. They are very intelligent folks.--Our Paymaster said he should pay us before the tenth of January. I will send you 40 dollars as soon as I get it and Annie 40 or 50 and Hannah 20. I have no particular use for it here at the same time, I should like to have you keep some so I could have little things sent on by mail occasionally. I would like a nice pocket knife now. It would be the handiest thing I could have. When I have one sent I would like one of this shape.

Send me some scientific reading. I want something besides newspapers. I am sick reading about the wars and the sensation stories. Send me two or three envelopes.

Your Aff Bro


[The following, written on a stray sheet, in pencil and numbered 6 is closely related to the above letter in point of time]

.....time we were there we had him sent to Hospital, but he left the hospital and joined the Company {sick) for the long winter march, in the snow--bitter cold nights in camp, no chance to change his clothing--eaten up with body lice they soon completely prostrated him and he died finally tormented to death with body lice--his name was Julian Day, the only son of Unitarian Minister of Portland, Me. He joined the Company coming out of School, was but 18.--his discharge came the day he died. I had written his father that he would never see him again unless he got him out right away, but it was too late.

Your Aff Brother
Newton T. Hartshorn.

Camp near Falmouth Va
January 11th 1865
Dear Brother Vaola

We have been paid off today for 6 months, or I have six months pay. I have $83.00. I propose to send you 25 dollars, Annie 30 and Hannah 18. We expect to get the other 2 months pay before long. I will send the money in a letter just as soon as you answer this and let me know whether to send it to Bangor or not. I will also write and find out about Annie, whether she will go to New London or whether it will take the 30.00 to pay for the fall term. I send Hannah 18.00 for she is suffering for clothing proper to wear and I shall tell her to by all means lay it out on clothes and entirely for herself. The 25 dollars I send you, you can do what you like with it. I hope to be able to send you 25 more, next pay and if that is not for 2 mos, 50 dollars. Better keep some on hand. I shall want stamps and such little things sent by mail.

Your Aff Bro.

Camp near Falmouth, Va.
January 24th. 63

Dear Bro

I have just returned from 5 days in the rain, cold and mud without much to eat and no shelter or blankets. We almost perished one night, being wet through to the skin and it was cold and no wood within nearly a mile to build a fire. We tried to get the Pontoon train to the river but failed, getting stuck fast in the mud. The whole army was stuck. 24 horses were hitched to a piece of light ordnance and could not draw it out. The boats were left scattered along the road for about 5 miles. We could get no sleep for there was nothing but mud to sleep in or on the wagon tongues. One fellow did lay down in the soft mud, 6 inches deep and went to sleep but soon awoke most dead. We were so benumbed & wet that when a fire was at last built the next night many burned themselves. One poor fellow sat by the fire until his hands & face were burned to a blister; another got to sleep standing by the fire & fell into it, burning himself considerable; another got to sleep standing and fell to the ground but the shock did not wake him. We could not leave the train for Genl Burnside ordered us to stay by it. The army has all gone back to the camp again. I walked 22 miles yesterday in the deep mud. My face is swollen bad and I have a very bad cold. Otherwise I am well but very much exhausted. The Battalion is out trying to gather up the boats but I was sent back to make out the Company papers. You spoke about coming out and acting as chaplain to the Battalion. I scarcely think the plan would be good. We have no large tent in which to gather and our Officers I don't think would take any interest at all in it. It would be different in the Volunteers.

I send you 23 dollars. I send you a little sketch I made at midnight the 2nd night. A man sitting by the fire, his head between his legs his hands in his boots and the cape of his coat thrown over his head. He sat so all night and the rain pouring down. I sketched this on the spot.

Write me soon
Your Affectionate Brother

I send $20.00 this time; will send some next time.

P.S. I sent $40.00 in a letter to Hannah & Annie and found an answer with yours on my return here. They have moved their school to Reeds Ferry and are very pleasantly situated

Jan. 27.
My face is getting worse. I fear it will have to be lanced. I send a Rebel Pass picked up at Frederick Md.

Camp near Falmouth Va
Feby 24th- 1863

Dear Brother

I recd your letter a night or two since I wrote about two weeks since but suppose the letter might have been missent. I am better of that swelling in my face but on guard the other night and it being very cold I got chilled through and every bone in me aches. My eyes are so sore I can't look from one thing to another without shutting them and my lungs pain me. I guess I shall be all right though in a few days. At any rate I will keep off the sick report as long as possible. I might get a furlough to come home for a month but I don't want to spend the $30.00.

I am contented enough for the present and time passes away quickly. Edward writes me he is going West. Annie thinks (foolish) of coming out to Maryland and Lizzie thinks of coming out to Penna. I should think they had some evil genius to keep them bounding back and forth as regular as a pendulum. They will just begin to get prosperous in one place and off they go to another. If they could only be here with me one year they would get sick of that way and want to stop in one place a little while at any rate.

As soon as they are the possessor of a few dollars they are independent and start off on some wild goose chase and after having got out of money send back for help and if it don't come manage to get into bad company and if expostulated with, accuse me with having driven them to it. I know just how it will be. It is strange they have no fore thought at all. To be sure I used to run about some such way but I never repeated it and have learned better. You may send me a knife and I should like two small white handkerchiefs.

I sent home for a barrel of apples. It has started. They sell here at the rate of $20 per bushel. I shall sell half and pay for the express &c. I sent for a number of things to come by mil and Edward put them in the barrel of apples and of course the juice of the apples if some happen to rot will spoil them. It seems as though he had no judgment at all. And then they will be nearly a month getting here by express & I shall not have any use for some of the things then for by that time shortly after we shall move. I sent for India ink and brushes to paint with but they will be no use to me on the march.

One man here is making $2.00 a day painting with India ink and on the sick report at that. I could paint even better than he, I think.
I send another picture drawn on Christmas night. No, I believe on New Years though.

Afft Bro

P.S. I am sick abed with the fever but don't think dangerous.

[undated; but probably written between Feb. 24 and March 6, 1863]

Dear Brother

I read yours last night. I did not answer the other one for I thought you could best decide about the Algebra. I am not yet able to do duty and am in considerable pain in my breast and left side. I have been sick now five weeks.
I received a letter from Lizzie a night or two since asking (though not urgently) for $12.00 to help her to pay board &c.

Then Edward sent me fibers and bark of a plentiful weed on the farm. The stuff was very fine and silky, at the same time strong and had been out in the snow all winter too. A piece of it wound and twisted as large as a piece of twine could not be broken by a very strong person. I sent it to the Publishers Scientific American asking if it was patentable if good. I perfectly understand the part of your letter regarding the girls. If you think I had decided upon the course I wrote you for my own benefit individually you are mistaken. You and the girls should have every cent of my money if I did not think it best for all for two years to condense it. My view of the case as regards giving money is just like yours. In regard to giving your help (for you say you think it best for their benefit to finish your course there). I will explain my reasons for thinking so. I had not the shadow of a selfish thought when I made that decision and had thought over it a long time.
As I received time after time letters from Brothers and Sisters asking for money under circumstances of some cases of great necessity, I could not help crying. Edward wrote me if possible to send Hannah some money for clothes for she was ragged, downhearted, and could scarcely appear among people for the want of comfortable clothing. That case must be attended to first. I sent her I thought enough for clothing, supposing she had a home where she could get her daily bread and I spoke of the pleasure to help her a little. Next I supposed Annie must be in want of money for she wrote me unless I sent her $25.00, she could not pay her board in New London and I sent her $22.00 but she wrote me afterwards something about laying it out studying in music in Manchester. Next I sent you 22 or 3 dollars that I knew you needed. All these things made me feel bad and I tried to plan some way to help the whole but divide it as I might some one would have to go without. The necessities of all were great. Money was what they wanted and must have. I thought of Father overwhelmed with care and debt; of sisters contriving every way to get comfortable clothing and enough to eat, of Edward sick & centless; of you striving to fit yourself for usefulness and I knew something must be done and I must commence now. I looked back over many years but it has been just the same as now: nothing but wrangling, poverty, inability and indecision. Debt seems to have gnawed the very life out of Father. Edward says Hannah is most crazy and now believes he is trying to injure her and Annie. Annie says Hannah has been so strict with her she now having got a taste of wine, loves it. Juliett thinks all Hannah came home for was to get the property away from Father and so it goes. When I see such things it seems as though I would like to clear out and never come near such a family again. But I know my duty. As I said before, something must be done.

It is better that some be ruined than the whole. I asked myself what good a little money here and there could do. No good. It would be like shooting away 50 lbs. of powder in muskets at an ironclad while with one charge and a cannon its side could be pierced and perhaps the vessel sunk. You say the girls might be ruined for the want of a little money and we should loose nothing dying of extreme poverty occasioned by helping them.

In a letter from Hannah she said something about going home and stopping. Now as Hannah had a good deal of energy, calculation, &c, I thought she might carry on this business with the assistance of Father and before I got out, be able to clear the farm or do something anyway. So I wrote her asking if she would like to go home and take charge of business; that is do the calculating and directing and with the assistance of Father and hired men carry it on. I did not say what it was, only that it was honest and honourable in every respect and I would let her have all my money. But Ed got hold the letter first-- & read it--immediately wrote to me asking why if so much could be made at it he could not go into it. But he has failed in business transactions so often I was afraid he might get his mind on some thing else and run off and leave it and I should loose my money, to no purpose. So I would not tell him but mentioned the fact of a man in France making $180,000.00 a year at it and he remembering it too found out the business. He wants me to assist him with my money. He promises to lay all my money out in stock which will be kept on hand and so I shall be in no danger of loosing it. About that time, Hannah proposed a plan to me to help her on starting a school or Home similar to Mr. Muller' s. But I wrote her I could give her no pecuniary aid for two years. That was three weeks ago. I have since written her twice, but rec'd no answer. I shall try and make $20.00 by drawing portraits or painting them and will send it you if I can get it that way.

Were I as unscrupulous as most here and traded watches I could make twice as much as my pay. I know a number who have made $40.00 in 10 days at it. I shall try and furnish Lizzie the by drawing portraits also.

It is true we should loose nothing but they would gain nothing. If they depended upon us for support and money only would save them from ruin. Such an event would only put off a little later, to be sure. In that short time they might change, but necessity drives one to most anything. Thinking this all over, I made up mind the girls could be persuaded to stop at home two years and study what they could by saving my money. I should with interest and all have over $500.00, perhaps $600.00 by saving all I can make out $635.00 in 18 months from now and I was confident that with that sum at an honest worthy business which I have studied into if the war continues on even if it does not, I can make at the least $4 000.00. This sum is very large. You don't believe I could make it. A paper some ten years ago said a man in France made $180,000.00 in one year at it. Can you not persuade the girls to go home and wait two or even one and a half years. I have other letters from Home & Munn & Co. Annie says she is going to Md. in 2 weeks. Munn & Co says the specimen I sent patentable and is very valuable. Is very important.
This letter is very shabby, but then all you want is the reading I suppose, or my thoughts. I am getting short of paper again.

Your Aff. Bro

Camp near Falmouth Va
March 6th 1863

Dear Brother
I am getting better so I can just sit up a little and write this. I had a barrel of appels come from home yesterday and lot of other things. They are splendid and I can eat nothing but apples either. The Doctor says they wont hurt me.
I will write again soon.

Your Aff Bro Newton

Camp near Falmouth Va.
March. 9th 1863

Dear Bro

I recd your letter last night. I am almost discouraged about helping the girls, for it seems like money thrown away. Then too I ought to look out a little for myself. My time is half out, and I have made up my mind to put the rest of my money in the bank for is it right that after going through dangers and hardships after I get my discharge to have no money but either have to enlist again or go to work to earn a living. I don't want to enlist again for it is already wearing out the best part of my life and I fear unless I commence saving enough to take care of my self a little I shall find myself as Edward has with poor health, a wife (no fear of the latter) and no money or friends. I have lived from hand to mouth long enough, and now after I get out of the army I hope to have $500.00. With that I can soon make enough so as to do the girls some permanent good, but where I furnish a few dollars here and there no one knows whether it does any good or not or rather it don't do much good. No, I think it the wisest plan for me though it pains me to do it to put the earnings the last half of my time in the Bank. Supposing I had continued sick, I should have wanted some one from home to come in and take me home, but no one had any money. Father, Edward, Hannah & all the girls put together could not have raised money enough when very likely it might be the saving of my life, which is sweet to me though I am a soldier here. The girls are much older than I am and have had, especially Annie, twice as good a chance as I had to learn. Why in the name of common sense can't she do something towards taking care of herself? They have always been educated to lean on others and they always will. It seems after all their talk about education they don't care much about now for unless some fine place is got for them, nice clothes to study in and the books all laid open before them they will not study. The fact that they can't study at home shows they don't want the education but good times which they have at a boarding school.
I send 1.25 for the knife.

Your Aff Bro Newton.

[Written crossways in the text, as postscripts]

I got the bbl. apples and enjoy them greatly. American (weekly), the Advocate and Guardian, the Laws of Life, Harper's Magazine, and the Cabinet.

I felt happy all through my sickness, thinking if it pleased God to take me, I was in a measure prepared to go.

I am going to put my clothes on today and sit up for the first time.

Camp near Falmouth Va.
March 12th 1863

Dear Brother
I recd the book and the handkerchiefs last night. I am glad to get them. I wrote you in my last that I should enclose l.25 but I forget it, having a chance to send the letter to the mail bag then, but I send it in this. I continue to get better. Have been out doors once.

Your Aff Bro.

Camp near Falmouth Va.
March 17th 1863

Dear Brother Vaola
I received your letter a few nights since. I hope you have my other letter as it will relieve your anxiety in regard to my health. I have written four or five letters to Edward and Hannah since I got better, and last night I received a letter from Edward saying they had recd mine and were very glad to hear. When they first got the letter father said he hardly dared to hear it read but as the letter was directed to me they must have known I was not dangerously sick. When Father came in from the farm and heard the letter read, he said Bless the Lord Oh my soul. I hope I shall live to get home once more.

I have been out some though not for two or three days as the weather has been bad. I am rather weak and my head is quite light and my hands pain me some, but I shall get over this soon, I hope.

We are expecting to move everyday. That will put me back some. I have read the life of Mueller half way through and like it very much. I had a strange addition to my barrel. In it besides the apples &c. were 2 lbs. tobbacco one pr. nice boots, 1 pair extra fine gauntlet gloves, a lot of writing paper and envelopes and two shirts. These things must have got in by mistake in Washington, where they examine the boxes to see no liquor is in them. Probably they opened other barrels with mine and in putting back the things put them in the wrong barrel. I look for the knife every night now, as you spoke about sending it some time ago. I do not know but it may be lost. I sent you $1.35 to pay for it.

If you can get "Mahans Field Fortification" in Bangor, won't you send it to me. If you have a small edition of Chase's Algebra that you can spare for a few months, send it and after I go through it I will return it again.

Write me often. Send me Agricultural papers when any chance to come into your hands.

Your Aff Bro

Camp near Falmouth  VA
March 23rd 1863

Dear Brother Vaola

I rec'd your letter last night and the knife. It is a very fine one but not just what I wanted, there being no small blade. A Clerk here by the name Dan. O'Donoghue has a knife which I like very much. It is manufactured by the New York Knife Co, is called the American knife, is shaped like ....[Here six lines of the letter have been cut out, probably containing another sketch of the knife.] ...from home but the mail did not come. I have commenced painting portraits a little. I have $1.50 for each and can paint two in a day. I have a great many engaged. Also landscape paintings of where we have been. I can paint more natural with India Ink than with pastel and it is so quick. I wonder I never found it out before. We are expecting the pay master every day now unless he comes soon we shall muster for six months pay, which will be about $120.00 for me.

We have a very strict Officer in command of us now. He changed everything as soon as he got command. The men have to walk four miles to drill: Pontoon Drill one hour in the forenoon and afternoon, three times a week and the other three days we have to drill all the forenoon and the noncoms have to recite lessons on Pontoon Drill in the evening but I am not for duty yet, but shall be in a few days. I had better stop here. It may be as well for me at the end of my enlistment which will be half out in three weeks. Will you send me two camel hair brushes the best you can find. They cost but a few cents. When you are sending to me anything hereafter you can send it for 2 cents for every four ounces and not exceeding 4 pounds. This I read as one of the acts of Congress.

The frogs are beginning to peep here and right in among the boats too. I think the army will move forward soon. I think it will cross above Fredricksburg. One of our men goes down to the river every other day and notes the changes of the tide and rise and fall of the back water. It appears some as though the Rebels had a dam above for very suddenly some days the water will rise 8 or 9 inches and then fall again.

I suppose you will be subject to the draft if you can, if you are drafted, go to Portland and enlist in the Engineers. You can do the Country just as much good. You can learn twice as much and receive much better treatment. If any such thing should happen, try and get into the Engineer Corps. I wrote to Lizzie and Annie. I did not say anything about what I had heard about them.

I told them to study wherever they were. I said I would be glad even to sleep at home much more to go home and study, for I had not been in a house over night for one year and had studied at Harrison's [?] Landing, when the sweat was running off of me and the flies so thick I did not pretend to keep them from biting me hardly and the maggots were crawling all around and on me and it smelled so that in ordinary times I should have had to leave or vomit--But I had sat there all day and studied hard, even going without my meals often. This was no great sacrifice, for generally we had nothing but rotten bacon, wormy crackers, some greasy soup at noon and coffee that tasted of the swamp, where the water was got at night.
I told them I was glad I had sisters I could depend on, for I had rather see a sister dead than ruined &c. &c.

I don't think they mistrust. I have heard anything but good of them, and as long as we expect good of them they will hesitate to do evil. In the case of Annie, very often those who had charge of her were mistrusting her and watching her all the time and warning her not to do this or that. Now the latter is very good for a child, but wont do for a person that is high spirited like the girls.

Father used to watch Lizzie when she used to go with Sam Mace to dances and give her a scolding which only made her the more determined to go with him, when if he had let her alone and seemed to trust her I don't believe she would ever have gone with him more than once. Now in many things you used to trust me and believe me implicitly in everything I said and consequently I never used to try to deceive you in anything. You showed confidence in me and it led me not to betray you in anything. You showed confidence in me and it led me not to betray the confidence. It is just so in the world over, except it comes to the Policy of Governments when it may change.

I remain Your Affectionate Brother
Newton T. Hartshorn.

I send you a painting, the first I ever tried to paint with India Ink. If you can find without much trouble a knife like the one drawn, you can send it. I can dispose of this knife for $1.50 here.

Camp as usual [i.e. near Falmouth Va.]
May 24th '63

Dear Bro

I ought to have written you before but I have not been very idle and have put it off from day to day. I have again, thank God, escaped through many dangers, more than ever before have I been exposed. Since writing you I recd the Algebra and have got perhaps 1/3 through. I am going on furlough in a few days for fifteen. The weather is very warm. Everything looks like making a summer Camp here. I don't hear from home very often now... The army is in good spirits though we have been repulsed. The soldiers are very much incensed to hear of such affairs as those in New York. The expressions are let us go home and bayonet them, then we can fight the Rebels. I had a letter from Annie the other day. I will not write any more now

I remain your Aff Bro
Newton T. Hartshorn.

Camp as usual [near Falmouth Va] June 6 [1863]

Am all right. Capt. Cross was killed and many in the Battl. killed or wounded or some at any rate. We got the bridge built. I can not get a furlough long enough to come home----

The bullets flew very thick but I felt well, never better in my life. Men fell pretty fast around. We move shortly.

Your Aff Bro

US Genl. Hosp. Armory Square
Washington D.C. Nov.3rd 1863

Dear Brother Vaola

I rec'd your letter from Bangor some days since, but as I had nothing particular to write, I did not reply immediately. I did not know too but I might come home, but I believe I have given up that idea for the present for if I expect to get a place here I must be here myself to attend to it. I was up to Secretary Chase's today and he talked quite favourable although they do not employ enlisted men there yet. He took my letters of recommendation from Mr. Boylston [?] and several other prominent men of Amherst. Also my letter of application and my Topographical drawing and said he would see what he could do for me. Now if it was some of the subordinate men that told me that I should not think it very likely I could get a situation soon, but he is at the Head of a Department, you know, and he can if he chooses do something for me. He told me to come again in a day or two. He was very attentive to me bade me sit down beside him and talked quite free for one to his inferiors and having so many applicants as he very likely does.
My health fails to get good but I am taking medicated baths and electric shocks now which I think are very good. I am very comfortably situated here and find plenty of good friends. As for that matter I always could get friends enough. The trouble was or has been I got too many that had no influence to do anything for me.

You spoke of my silence regarding religion. I do confess I have not so much interest to speak and write of religion because I have been where no expression has been given to religion for more than two years. Still practically I possess religion the same as always and my acts have been governed accordingly excepting in one thing and that is in keeping the Sabbath. My work for the past three years or while I have been in the Army has been just the same on Sunday as work days, excepting where I could govern it myself and then generally I would put off until the next day, but I got in the habit of doing just the same Sunday as any other days and often times a Sunday would pass by and I not know it only for the inspection. Another thing I do not pray so much as I used to yet I am trying now to live better.

You spoke about money again. I will see how it is in a month or so. Perhaps I can let you have 25 or $50.00. As for your paying, I never feared but you would do that when the understanding was such and I don't want you to mention that but I feared when the time came and I got my discharge and should want the money it would come so hard I would not have the heart to take it from you at all. As for any coldness having sprung up between us, I don't think there has: your letters were rather dry and uninteresting. They were often times so near alike and after I was occupied in investing my money to make something my attention was taken up and I wrote to Edward oftener and I got interested in his letters.
I think I shall sell out of the hens unless they commence soon to lay, as Hannah seems inclined to leave home and entrust them to Lizzie and Father. As for the rest of the money that Edward had, I am all safe. I shall not go back to the Battalion again for I can get a commission now I am sure of if I am able to go into the field.

Very Truly Your Affectionate Brother
Newton T. Hart shorn.

[Across heading of foregoing letter-Nov. 13 1863]

I must say I do not have as much religion as at home or at any rate I can not see that I show it as much or think of it as much for oftentimes we have to work Sundays &c. so there has got to be no distinction between the days and were it not for the inspections I should scarcely know when Sunday came. Still I pray (to myself though) most every night but my demeanor toward my fellow men is just the same as ever. I don't swear but it has become so common for me to hear continual cursing that I cease to notice it and oftentimes when I am provoked I find an oath almost ready to slip from my tongue. I have drunk no liquor since I came in the army though we have had it issued every day sometimes for weeks.

Armory Square Hospital
Washington D C. Nov 20 '63

Dear Brother Vaola

I have not received an answer to my last from you but I want to know if you would like to come on to this City and write in some of the Offices.

A lawyer, Robbins from New Hampshire, asked me if I could tell him of any one who was steady &c who he could get. He has charge of a room in which three or four clerks are employed. The pay at first would be small and you could not possibly save more than twenty dollars per month as board is at the cheapest rate $20.00 per mo. He gives $50.00 per mo and increases the pay if the clerk is a rapid writer, but then this chance will likely be taken up but I thought I would like to know your mind as such chances are plenty and the work only six hours a day. Good clerks are very scarce here. I have been trying to get detached out. Don't succeed as yet. I don't know about the money I spoke of letting you have. I am using considerable now.

My health is improving. I think I shall be able to go into the field again soon.
Of course you are aware that Hannah is in Md. (Port Deposit Coal  Co) so also is Annie. If I go into the field again I shall go in the 5th New Hampshire. Write me often.

Your Affectionate Bro
N. T. Hartshorn

Armory Square Hospital
Washington D.C. Nov.23rd: 63

Dear Brother

In addition to what I wrote you the other day I will write I have seen Mr. Robbins and his talks quite favorable. He says he will give you $10.00 per week sure to start on or pay you by the 100 words and as you wrote very fast I think that would be the best way. There will be considerable working in figures--also he says he can give you an extra chance once in a while to make a fee for being witness or something of the kind which is $2.00 and I have no doubt but you would like very much the work is but six hours per day. Then there is great scarcity of reliable, honest sober men for clerks in the Capitol which would enable you to get a better chance. In the mean time you could if you chose preach occasionally in the Hospitals of course without compensation pecuniarily and then you would enjoy yourself for awhile in Washington and the climate is better than in New England during the Winter and you could be with me providing I got a situation here but I fear I shall not be able to do it. My prospects for getting a commission are better now than ever and I don't know but I had better get it if I can. My health is improving. If you come better come immediately. Borrow money there to pay your fare and I can let you have it on here. The fare from Portland about $14.00.

Your Aff. Bro.
N. T. Hartshorn

P.S. This Mr. Robbins is a reliable man, is the father of the Doctor of this Ward and is in here with his family quite often. He is a lawyer from N.H. and the office he has charge of is the city record of wills or something of the kind--I think Edward can have a chance there too and I have written him to know if I got him such a chance the pay would be sufficient. There is going to be a great scarcity of clerks in the War Dept and other Public Offices and I almost sure you could get a situation if you chose during the winter in the Treasury and the pay there is $1,200.00 per year, though of course you don't want to stop long at such business. I don't know but you will think all I have said or I don't know but it will be for purpose but I thought if you did feel inclined to come to Washington and spend the Winter making twenty or twenty five dollars per month clear you would like it.


[On back] Better get $25.00 if you come. If I am gone, as you know I am liable to be you can call here and speak to Miss Platt, the matron of the Ward and she will tell you where to find Mr. Robbins and also where I am gone: if to the Company a letter will reach me the next day after putting in the P.O. If you go home before coming father has not sent me the money I have written for, you could bring it on but better come direct through Boston if you can or if by water-cheaper do so.

Armory Square Hospt.
Washington D.C
Dec 26th 1863

Dear Vaola

Edward arrived the day before Christmas and has got settled very satisfactorily in a good family and I am quite confident he will do well for there are plenty of good chances in the city and he can be looking out for one and at the same time write where he is, for he does not enter into any contract to stop long. Then he has letters of introduction to the right sort of men here.

I think you had better go to Cal and recruit your health and purse too, not that I want you to pay me  what I let you have. --no! --no!

Vaola, I am not so mercenary as that and perhaps I have told you the same before. I believe I have, but I now say it again, I think you and me are about square talking everything into consideration. The trouble I have been to you and all those books &c.

My own prospects I will not say anything about for they are ever changing now, but at any rate I shall be glad to get out of the Army and hope to have a little left of my wages, at least my $100.00 bounty. But my health is very precarious, though I do look rugged in my mind I know and expect death will come to me early. I don't like to say much about my ailments, and all things considered am quite cheerful but I've come very near dying a good many times. I think--still it may be a delirium--but it seems to me that if I had to wait for another gasp to relieve my breath it would come too late. How soon this my be proved I know not... the Doctors wont tell me anything or would not and I have ceased to say anything about it for no doubt they think it a trick (and many do play it) to keep from the field and I shall not speak of it again but on examination for duty if asked the reason why I can not expect to go to the Company, I shall tell them the only thing that seriously prevents me from doing duty is neuralgia which does set me most crazy if I get wet.

As for my farther attempts at study or hard study such as would be necessary to graduate at any College, I have given them up, and shall be contented. Occupy an humble position in society and by lessening my cares shall hope to prolong my life. Although I might like Kane make one grand flash and then die yet I choose to live a quiet even life and I hope a Christian one. I must avoid all excitement and be restrained by fashion. Whether this course yourself or the others I can not tell, but although I may not aim high, I will try and aim sure. I will be candid with you. I feel I have not the peace, the perfect peace of a saint, neither do I know as man can have perfect peace still it is my calm unpassionate resolve to live just and good perhaps very humble but in any case shall now live where and how in my own best judgment I think proper and I am sure you will approve of that course, although my judgment might be different from yours.

Your Affectionate
N.T. Hartshorn

Armory Square Hospt.
Washington D.C.
Jan 27 1864

Dear Vaola

I recd your letter a day or two since. I am in Ward "A" but don't like very much to be Ward master in any ward. The shoes and other things cost $2.25--I am real sorry you lost them but the weather is quite pleasant again and perhaps you will get acclimated before another wet time. Still if you want more, let me know. Better spend another $2.25 or even more than get sick and spend $25.00 and injure your health into the bargain. Ed has not yet got in the Govt employ but has fair prospects. Hon's Hale and Rollins endorsed his letter which was short and to the point.

My prospects continue the same and I shall soon be out of here if not in the city shall be in my Regt. E. I think has got his painting started and will do well with that. He does not write for Mr. Robbins. Now Juliett did not call when she went to Mr. Clement. Perhaps she went by Annapolis Junction. I wish you would go and see my Battalion. Enquire for Sergt. Turner, Corpls. Clarke, Flood, and Mr. Beahn for me. Tell them you are my Brother and you will be well recd. At any rate, say to them I spoke to you of them and as for that I would like you to see all the boys. There is no distinction among them in my estimation, except perhaps Mr. Beahn. See him at any rate, but you understand you need not say I mentioned any one in particular for the rest would feel slighted.

Leave them some good sound reading, some papers like the Independent if you have them. Then there is Sergts Cobb and Smith that I should think might like some good reading. The other Sergts. would likely scoff and perhaps Cobb would. I haven't heard from Hannah or Lizzie.

Your Affectionate Brother
N.T. Hartshorn

[Edward Hartshorn to Vaola, his brother, via. Newton Hartshorn. No place nor date, but obviously from Washington, between March and April, 1864]

Washington D.C.

Dear Brother Vaola

I was in the ward Room this morning when the letter was hand to Newton for you--the Gentleman spoke prettily of you. I am glad you are in a place to do good and learn--I was very much hurried today getting my letters from Hon Rollins & Hale--and had to wait a long time to present them to the Secretary- I call on Monday or Tuesday to get an answer-- Hope to get a situation.
I then went directly to get your shoes which cost $1.50, Dictionary .60 and Map .15. I do not know as the Map & Dictionary will suit. I had no time to look for a better map and did not know what you wanted till I did look at more--but it cost so little it will not matter much & you can send by letter for another if you wish--
Well, when I got to the Hospital, the Gentleman had just gone-- it was about 3 o'clock P.M. He said he would not go till Monday so Newton will have to send to you by mail-- He too is not here & I write this note for him to see & send--Annie has gone to visit Mrs Lincoln Today--write soon write much--cost of shoes, Map & Dictionary $2.25

Dear Brother Newton    Please send this to Vaola--I cannot write as I have to get wood into the cellar here--will you send.

Armory Square Hospital
Washington D.C. April 12 1864

Dear Brother Vaola

I send you the pocketbook,--on this I am a little lame. Your late bearing towards me however (of which I have become acquainted) seems to have the appearance of passionate decission rather than cool conclusion. I think a little enquiry would benefit your feelings

Very Truly Your Brother
N .T. Hartshorn

The Wartime letters of Newton Timothy Hartshorn

These letters were among a family collection that was presented to Princeton University by Newton Hartshorn's daughter Peggy Westerfield. Other papers from the family collection were also given to the Baker Library at Dartmouth College.

Newton Hartshorn also kept a diary during his time in service. Included among the pages were sketches he made of the camps and battlefields in eastern Virginia.

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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