1861-62: Peter Cozzens Doyle Letters

These letters were written by Peter Cozzens Doyle (1842-1901) while serving in the 21st New York Infantry (“1st Buffalo Regiment”) during the Civil War. Peter was born in Washington county, New York—the son of John Doyle (1812-1847) and Clarissa Mowry Cozzens (1810-1886). He came to Buffalo with his parents by way of the Erie Canal when he was only 4 years old. When he was a teenager he went to work as a telegraph operator for the Lake Shore Railroad. At age 16 he became a bookkeeper for the Buffalo Courier and worked for the paper until the outbreak of the Civil War.

At age 19, he enlisted to serve two years in the 21st New York Volunteers and was mustered in on 20 May 1861 as regimental quartermaster sergeant. He was promoted to a 2d Lieutenant in Co. H on 1 September 1861, as 1st Lieutenant on 6 March 1862, and as Captain on 9 September 1862. He mustered out with the company on 18 May 1863 at Buffalo. During the summer of 1862 we learn that Peter was detached from his regiment for a time as he worked as a telegraph operator for the signal corps. In late July 1862 he sent a letter to his brother datelined from King’s Division Headquarters at Falmouth where he wrote: “I have to make all the [telegraphic] ciphers for this section. I am the only one who has it on the line from Washington.” Not long afterwards, however, Peter returned to his regiment where he was promoted to a captain’s position.

After Peter was discharged from the service, he returned to Buffalo and went to work for the Courier again. In 1869, he was elected the superintendent of the Buffalo Fire Department. The following year he became the Chief of Police. He became a leader in the Democratic Party of Buffalo.

Peter wrote all of these letters to his older brother, William Doyle (b. 1837). In 1863, Peter married Annie Kelderhouse (1841-1900) of Albany, New York.

For a great history of the regiment, see “Buffalo in the Cornfield: The 21st New York at Antietam,” by David A. Welker.

See also—1861: Ansel W. Dumphrey to Ira Ayer, Sr. published on Spared & Shared 9.

Letter 1

Barracks No. 4 [Camp Rathbun]
Elmira, [New York]
May 19, 1861

Dear Brother & Mother,

I hope you will pardon me for doing what I have done but I have made up my mind to stay here. I have [ ] the office of quartermaster to H[enry] P. Clinton & hope you will not feel as though I have done wrong as I could not have stayed in Buffalo & of been contented as I like it here and it is the only way I could do to take it. You may think it strange that I should like a soldier’s life but I do. I am stopping at a private house with Colonel [William F.] Rogers & do not have to sleep outdoors nor drill at all. I could have a commissioned office but prefer this as it is better & I am not exposed any as the rest of the boys are although they are all in as good quarters as they ever were. The barracks are on the Race Course. It is a splendid place with the Chemung river flowing in the rear of our quarters.

You must excuse me for writing this with a lead pencil as I have not any ink as yet. Please send all of my things & frank the United States Express Co., Mark it to me and H[enry] P. Clinton, Quartermaster, 21st Regt. N. Y. Vols. The prospect is that we will stay here for a year or two as the quarters are regular houses built on purpose. Dr. Heacock is to be our chaplain & will be here next week. 1 I have just got back from divine service which was held on our camp ground this morning at which the whole regiment was present. Everything goes off nicely here.

A CDV of Private Henry Francis of Co. H, 21st New York Infantry. Taken by Brady at Upton Hill 1 October 1861. He is wearing the NY State shell jacket with SNY buckle, M1842 musket.

Tell Mother not to feel bad at what I have done as I do not think she will ever regret my doing what I have done as I am just as comfortable here as I was at home. We have a nice boarding place in the same house with the Colonel & all of the officers with a private family where we could have good care taken of us if taken sick. There is no prospect of our being so. As yet there has not been any sickness here at all. I shall be down next Saturday night. I think we are to have our new uniforms Monday. 2 There has been a great many folks from Buffalo here today and all are happily disappointed in their views of a soldier’s life as everything here is as pleasant as you could ask to have it. Please to inform Mr. Warren 3 of my determination & give them my love & tell them I will come & see them when I come to Buffalo.

Lieut. Bergtold told me to have mother tell his mother that he was well & likes it here very much—more than he anticipated. Do not forget to send my pants, pistol, boots, shirts, rubber coat, and also some white shirts & anything you can think of as it will come by express free. I send this by Mr. Cameron who is in a hurry & will have to cut short a great many things which I would like to say. I pray that you or Mother will not let this trouble you. Please send my trunk tomorrow afternoon. Goodbye, — Peter

1 Dr. Heacock joined the 74th New York Infantry instead.

2 The uniforms originally ordered for the 74th New York Infantry were turned over to the new regiment. It was armed (June 4th) with percussion muskets, model of 1840; subsequently exchanged (July 11th) for percussion muskets, model of 1842, and was supplied with common and wall tents. The total expenditure by the State, on account of the regiment up to the 15th of August, 1861, was $40,846.81, exclusive of subsistence and quarters.

3 Mr. Warren was Peter’s employer.


Letter 2

Camp Kalorama
Washington D. C.
July 11, 1861

Dear Brother,

I have just received your letter 9 P. M. & sit right down to answer it. The reason I have not written oftener is because I have been so very busy. You can imagine how busy I am when I tell you that I get up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning & have just got through although I never enjoyed better health than now. We do not have any of those lake breezes or any other breeze either—the thermometer stood at 200 in the sun. I do not know what it was in the shade. I received a letter & paper from Henry and will try and answer tomorrow.

We expected to leave for Virginia last night but have not as yet although do not know what hour we shall. You asked me about pay. We received our state pay last week. Mine amounted to $4.89 which was for 7 days & expected to receive the remainder up to July 1st from the U. S. pretty soon. Tell Mother I will send her $30 as soon as Lieutenant Wheeler pays me for my overcoat which will be when the U. S. pays.

I am messing with Capt. [Henry M.] Gaylord, Al[gar] Wheeler, J[ames] McLeish, & Quartermaster [Henry] Clinton who have hired a colored woman to serve us for $3 per week—rather steep, but everything is 3 times as dear here as in Buffalo. Butter is $3 per lb., Beef steak 30 cents & if I should tell you what flour was worth, you would not believe me. I wish you would ask Mr. Warren if he will want me again in August. If not, I can get a situation here I think with a better salary. I was offered a place in Capt. [Edward Griffin] Beckwith‘s—the commissary who furnishes all the regiments with provisions—a place at $90 per month—but refused. I like this first rate here but would not recommend any person to leave a good situation & go as a private. They have a pretty hard time of it.

I have to go down town (one & a half miles) every day but we have 7 horses & do not walk at all. The drummers are beating Tattoo which is for the boys to go to bed which they do as they have to get up at 5 in the morning & drill 2 hours. We do not do much drilling in the middle of the day as it is too hot.

The regiment marched down to the Arsenal 4 miles & changed all their muskets this A. M. for better ones.

My love to Mother. I am glad that she is going East & am only sorry that I have not the money to send her. I have been to most of the public buildings but on business only & have not seen them all. Last Sunday afternoon I was to Alexandria & seen where Col. Ellsworth was killed. There is not enough to go there to see. The people have all left. I seen Mat Buell who is [telegraph] operating there. Love to Will Cameron & his father & sister & tell him I should like to write to him a letter but I have not time & he must take the will for the deed. There are a good many which I want to write to very much but I do not see if I keep on this way how I possibly can.

I did not see Mr. Otis as I was away & he left your letter with the Colonel. The Colonel has just returned from Philadelphia where he has been to see his mother. [Henry] Clinton says quit. I want to go to bed & give him my love & I think that is a pretty good idea as we have to give out rations for 5 days in the morning. So good night. Excuse this & I will try & write a better one in a day or two. Send me a paper once in a while.

— Peter

Enclosed I send a picture of Maj. Durfee which please keep for me. — Peter


Letter 3

Fort Runyon as it looked in November 1861

Headquarters 21st Regt. N. Y. Vols.
Fort Runyon, 1 Va.
July 29th 1861

Dear Brother,

I received your letter and also one dollar enclosed. I do not want any money. we have not received our pay for June or July yet but will before long. I can get a Lieutenancy in Co. K, Capt. [John M.] Layton, before long but I think I shall return in August. There was an order read at parade this evening from the Adjutant General which said the regiment had been turned over by Gov. [E. D.] Morgan for their full time 2 years which created quite an excitement as the boys were expecting to of been sent home when their three months were up. Some of them feel kind of sore. The regiment should of been mustered in [at] Elmira for two years instead of 3 months. 2

I am well & hearty as usual. This is rather a dull place for anything to write about. There is quite a number of regiments arriving every day from Washington.

“I suppose you heard all about the rout of our army [at Bull Run] last week Sunday. It was awful…All the wounded were brought here & dressed the best we could in a hurry & sent to the hospital—some poor fellows without arms.”

Peter Doyle, 21st New York Volunteers

I suppose you heard all about the rout of our army [at Bull Run] last week Sunday. It was awful. The soldiers commenced coming in the fort at 6 o’clock in the morning & by noon there were 10,000 of all regiments with & without arms here. We had orders not to let anyone pass over to Washington & our boys had to feed them all day which was no easy job to do in the rain. All of the wounded were brought here & dressed the best they could be in a hurry & sent to the hospital—some poor fellows without arms. It was an affecting sight.

I have written to Henry. Love to Mother & tell her she better not put off her visit on my account but to go. I seen Capt. Faxon the day we moved across the river but have not seen him since. You can tell Carrie Beldon that her friend Maj. Durfee has been here and spent several days with me & has returned home. Compliments to Kitty and Sarah Clark & say I should like [them to[ come up and spend the eve but have not time. Oh how the mosquitoes bite me. They seem to pick me out in particular.

Tell Mother I wished she was here to fix my pants but suppose I will have to do it myself. It has been raining all day & is dark as pitch though it is now 10 o’clock & I guess I better go to bed as I have to be up at 5 in morning.

So goodnight, — Peter

Write soon. Tell Henry I received a Courier this evening from him which was very acceptable. Love to Mr. Babb, Charley [ ] & all friends & Mr. Cameron.

1 Fort Runyon was a timber and earthwork fort constructed such that the Columbia Turnpike and the Alexandria & Loudon Railrooad ran directly through the pentagonal structure which controlled access to Washington via the Long Bridge. It was almost the same size, shape, and in nearly the same location at the present-day Pentagon.

2 Transferred to United States service for balance of State enlistment by order of Governor E. D. Morgan and attached to Division of the Potomac. Forty-one members who felt they had finished their terms of service and refused to answer roll call were placed under arrest and sentenced to the Dry Tortugas. The malcontents were moved to Rip Raps in late August and were released from their sentence on condition that they finish their term of service with the 2nd New York Infantry.


Letter 4

Headquarters 21st [New York] Regiment, Co. H
Fort Runyon, Va.
August 9th 1861

Dear Brother,

Lt. James S. Mulligan, 21st New York Vols.—“a good soldier and gentleman.” (Photo Sleuth)

I have not received any answer from my last letter & thought I would let you know of my good luck. I was appointed 1st Lieutenant of Co. H, Capt. John Layton, & I am very much pleased with the appointment as it is a good company and I am quite a favorite with them all by this time. The appointment dates August 1st. Besides there was at the same time appointed a good soldier and gentleman appointed 2d Lieutenant, James S. Mulligan who has since received an appointment of 1st Lieutenant in the Regular Army but I think he will stay with us until the 20th August when I think we shall all come home (this is private—do not mention it).

Enclosed I send you a check for $5 which please draw and send to Mrs. Jenkins, No. 54 Sixth Street. Mother knows her. It was sent by her son Frank who is a member of the company. I have sent $65 for different members of the company.

The prospect is that we shall have some little trouble with the Southerners very soon who are near, Let them come. We are prepared. The Mayor and Alderman Adams are here today, for what purpose I cannot tell. I am very well—never enjoyed better health. Why don’t you send me a paper once in awhile.

The regiment was paid off yesterday for the month of June & when I receive my pay as lieutenant, as my pay heretofore has been small & it takes near all to live on, I am one month behind now (July).

There is not much excitement here now. The regiment is happy and cheerful & they expect to come home on the 20th. Our camp is on a nice hill with the City of Washington in full view. There is a nice breeze today which is quite a luxury for us. I do not know as I can say much more only that I want to hear from home often if only two lines. I received a paper yesterday from Henry. Love to Mother & Henry & Emy and all.

— Peter

This is an awful poor pen.


Letter 5

Camp Buffalo
Arlington [Heights, Virginia]
September 12, 1861

Dear Brother,

Yours of the 5th was received Sunday & as I was busy getting ready to go on picket, I thought I would wait until I returned which I did yesterday noon. Five companies of our regiment was sent out Monday and we stayed 48 hours. We went to Balls Crossroads. You have seen the name in the papers. It was here the balloon was fired at. It is a beautiful country. The houses are all deserted & the soldiers have destroyed them. I have seen a secessionist—one who was taken prisoner Monday. He was a fine-looking young man. Had on a gray uniform and belonged to the 18th Virginia Regiment. He says Jeff Davis is not dead. Our pickets are within 200 yards of each other & if the boys showed themselves, they would be sure to bring a bullet after them. But of the 300 men who was on duty of our regiment, not one was wounded or hurt although they was shot at quite a number of times, but we have all returned safe & sound.

The 79th New York Volunteers enter Lewinsville in September 1861 on a reconnaissance.

There has not anything been said yet about my commission. It will be all right, I have no doubt. Time will tell. I think Henry had better let the Tug business drop. I told Quartermaster [Henry] Clinton & he said tell him to take the advice of one who had had experience & not go into it as he cannot make a living at it. Clinton lost money and I know if anyone could make it pay, why he could.

i send you a copy of myself which I had taken a day or two ago. What do you think of it? There was a fight at the Chain Bridge 4 miles from here last night & what the result was, I have not heard yet. We could hear the firing very plain. 1

It rained very hard last night but it is just as dry under our canvas covering as in a house. I have not time to write much now as the mail is to be sent off & I want to get this in. I am well. write soon. From your brother, — Peter

1 The fighting Peter heard was a skirmish that occurred when a topographical reconnaissance party led by Gen. Smith marched to Lewinsville and were fired upon by a Rebel battery. Both sides fired at each other with artillery until the rebels withdrew.


Letter 6

Bivouac 21st [New York] Regiment
Near Bailey’s Crossroads
Sunday, March 30, 1862

Dear Brother,

I wrote yesterday and my letter did not get in the mail. Our regiment is laying in the woods just as it was when I arrived here, expecting to go down the river every day. The 49th went down last Sunday. I have not had to sleep in camp any night yet. I have stayed at a Mr. Bailey’s. I feel very well. Last night it snowed about an inch and this morning it rains. I have got a small tent with a stove in which keeps me nice & warm. It would be comfortable if it was not for a large puddle of water in the middle of my tent.

Lieut. Al[gar] Wheeler has been appointed Aide-de-Camp to General [Marsena R.] Patrick. Why have you not written? I wrote you and Maj. Drew as soon as I arrived. I have not heard a word since I left home. I send 2 pictures for my cabinet of fine arts. Is Mrs. Rogers agoing to take the house next to us? The Colonel is well & wishes to be remembered. I have been busy drilling since I arrived. We have to drill morning and afternoon. I am sitting on my valise and using a stool for a table, so you must excuse this poor letter & set me an example by writing a good one. Love to Mother, Henry, and yourself. From Pete

Direct to Washington D. C.


Letter 7

[Editor’s Note: In April, the 21st NY Volunteers were attached to the 2nd Brigade of King’s Division, Department of the Rappahannock, and were part of McDowell’s advance on Fredericksburg in mid-April 1862.]

Headquarters [Marsena R.] Patrick’s Brigade
Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
April 24, 1862

Dear Brother,

Gen. Marsena R. Patrick on horseback (LOC)

I received your letter by Major Drew, We have been on the move so since I have not had time to write. We are now opposite the far-famed City of Fredericksburg, only 60 miles from Richmond. We arrived here last Saturday afternoon. Last Friday Gen. Auger’s Brigade drove the rebels out of Falmouth & they [the Rebels] burned the bridges over the Rappahannock & we have been compelled to stay here, I suppose until one is built.

Our camp is is near where Gen. Washington was born. The Paymaster is to pay us off today. There is nothing new. We are all well. Harry Clinton send his compliments. Love to Mother and all. Write soon.

Your brother, — Peter

Direct to 21st Regt., General Patrick’s Brigade, Washington D. C.

My regards to E. Cummings for papers.


Letter 8

Camp Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
May 2, 1862

Dear Brother,

I received your letter yesterday while coming from Washington on the boat. I felt very sorry you could of arrived before our regiment left Catlett’s but you did better than I expected a civilian could. It was on account of your meeting friends. You would have been disappointed also if you had went to Aquia Creek as the railroad is mostly destroyed and it is 15 miles to our camp from Aquia. I went there Monday on my horse and it took me nearly all day. If you could of only let me known, I would of met you at Washington. I suppose you did not know the yourself.

I seen Dr. Trowbridge in Washington trying to procure a pass down the river. Don’t know how he succeeded. It will be pretty difficult, I think. I just let Capt. [George D. W.] Clinton and the Colonel read your letter. They are laughing about the Prayer Book. Ha. Capt. Clinton says very interesting letter. You can write to Mr. [Anson] Stager 1 & tell him if he will give me a place with our division (“Kings”), I will go. I shall be through here in a few days. Harry’s successor has been appointed. He is one of [Marsena R.] Patrick’s friends.

“There is a bridge across the Rappahannock made of canal boats with lumber on the tops.”

— Lt. Peter Doyle, 21st New York Infantry

There is a bridge across the Rappahannock made of canal boats with lumber on the tops. We have no troops stationed there yet. There is heavy firing somewhere today off at a distance. I had quite a time coming home in getting my horse off of the boat. He fell off the gangplank and to swim about a quarter of a mile he came near getting drowned [but] came out safe at the end excepting getting my saddle & the mail wet which was on his back.

The “canal boat bridge” built by the Union army in the spring of 1862. The bridge was swept away by high water on 4 June 1862. See Mysteries & Conundrums.

General [Marsena R.] Patrick & staff with a company of cavalry just passed by to go across the river. The firing is in the direction of Banks. I guess there is an engagement going on there. He is not a great ways from here.

I sent you 50 dollars by express Tuesday. It is for mother. We will have two months more in a few days and I will send some more then. There is no evidence but that we shall stay here some time and yet we may move tonight. Such is the way we keep posted. We cannot tell where we will sleep the next night. All we do is to look out that we have a place for tonight. Such is war.

I am well acquainted at Headquarters and they would like to have me come. I don’t think of anything else of any importance to write. We are all well. It has been very hot today & now there is a storm coming up. The drums are beating for dress parade. I wish you was here to see us all & hear the cornet band again. The boys all feel good & I the same. Write soon and oblige your brother, — Peter

1 Anson Stager (1825-1885), who had a long history with the telegraph industry prior to the war, entered military service as an assistant quartermaster of volunteers and in February, 1862, ws appointed colonel on the staff of Gen. Henry Halleck. In this position, Stager served as chief of the U. S. Military Telegraph, devising and implementing the military cipher system used throughout the war.


Letter 9

Headquarters 21st New York Volunteers
Near Catlett’s, Va.
June 12, 1862

Dear Brother,

It is now half past nine. I have been out bathing in a small brook & the chaplain says there is to be a mail sent in the morning. We have not received a mail in 3 weeks except one. Capt. [Edward L.] Lee brought over a few letters last Sunday in which I received a letter from you at Washington. I was greatly disappointed that you should of come so near where I was and not seen me. It has been pretty hard for us to tell where we was ourselves. We have been on the move almost every day, going over the same ground backwards and forwards. We are expecting to go to Fredericksburg but have halted here 5 miles from Catlett’s on our way to Fredericksburg.

Capt. Robert P. Garner, Co. A, 21st NY Volunteers—“my tent mate.”

We are expecting a mail tomorrow although if we move, we will not get any. I have just bought a Baltimore Clipper. There is no news of any account in it though. Capt. Bob Gardner [Co. A] has just come into the tent. By the way, he is my tent mate. Ours and Co. A’s officers use one wall tent together. We have just had a lunch. I bought a gooseberry pie and we have just finished it. It’s so late I will finish this in the morning. So good night.

I have just had breakfast and will proceed to finish my letter. There is nothing new this morning [at] 8:30 A. M. We still lay here with no signs of leaving today. Still we may.

What was you doing at Washington? The next time you come down, telegraph me before hand and I will come over & see you. As soon as I arrived at Catlett’s I telegraphed you & they said you was at Fortress Monroe. I have not seen anyone about [telegraph] operating yet. You ought to know whether I had better go or not. Will my pay be the same? Who did you see at Ft. Monroe? The companies are out on drill. It’s drill morning & afternoon. The weather is awful warm and there is not much fun standing out in it and drilling. How is Mother? I suppose she is making “Garden” and is busy. There is some pretty gardens in some of the villages which we go through. The inhabitants as a general thing have left. The houses are closed up and very seldom it is that we see a pretty (white) girl. They are rare sights.

Capt. [Elisha L.] Hayward [of Co. H] has been at Washington since last Sunday. I suppose he went to Fredericksburg and is waiting for us there. Capt. [Robert P.] Gardner sits opposite on the ground using a trunk for a writing desk, writing home also.

Did you get my letter in which I requested the Courier should be sent to me. Please have it sent & pay for 3 months. I will send in a day or two as the Paymaster is on his way to pay us off. How is Mr. Warren? Love to him. Capt. M. Gray & is Mr. Stevens there now? I write oftener when the mail gets regular. The Colonel & Harry are well & was disappointed that you did not come & see us. Compliments to all friends. Love to Mother, Henry, and all. Your brother, — Peter

Write. Don’t forget to have the Courier sent. — Peter


Letter 10

Camp 21st New York Volunteers
Town Run, Fauquier County, Va.
June 18th 1862

Dear Brother,

Yours of the 13th came to hand today. We were surprised by seeing Jimmy, the mail boy, come in to camp on a donkey this afternoon with our mail. He goes back to Fredericksburg in the morning at 8 with our mail so I thought I would write tonight.

We are all quite of the same mind. Capt. [Robert P.] Gardner writes and sits in a cracker box with a piece of board across his knees. Lieutenants [Levi] Vallier & [Frederick] Minery are sitting upon a bed made of 4 sticks drove in the ground with small round poles lengthways to serve in the place of feathers—not quite so soft though—while your humble servant sits on the ground writing upon a empty ammunition box. We all form a circle around a stick stuck in the ground on the top of which is a candle. News are scarce. I would not write such nonsense [but] I thought Mother might like to know how we passed our evenings.

Oh by the way, I had a nice wash this evening. There is a old darkey in camp who warmed up a tub of water (tub with us is a barrel sawed in two) and I stripped and he gave me a good wash. You say you came down to get me into the Telegraph Department. I have not heard a word about it from anyone but you. If he wants me, why don’t he say so? I should like to go if it would be better for me. You had ought to know, I have not been appointed Quartermaster, nor there is no prospect that I shall. He can send me word any day if he wants me.

It is impossible to say where we are going. We are 22 miles from Fredericksburg. The rest of our division is there. News is scarce in this part of Virginia. Suppose the part you refer to is around Richmond. I told the Colonel. He said he did not get a letter today. I received a letter from Henry today. I will wait until tomorrow & answer that. Harry Clinton is with the regiment and well. It’s about bed time and I think we had better save the candle for tomorrow night. So I will say good night. — Peter

I wrote you last night.


Letter 11

Headquarters, King’s Division
Falmouth, Va.
July 28th [1862]
11 P. M.

Dear Will,

I received your letter this evening. Glad to hear that Mother is going East. Hope she will have a good time. Tell Mother to remember me to all the folks. I should like to go along.

I send you enclosed a letter which was taken out of of the Richmond mail. Last Wednesday there was a reconnoissance in force. Infantry, cavalry and artillery under command of Brig. Gen. [John] Gibbon went from here. The General wanted me to go with it so I took my instrument and some wire. I was to make connection with Southern wires but we did not see any. We was out 3 days. Went 40 miles & within one and a half miles of Orange Court House where we had quite a little skirmish, killing 2 and wounding 1 & taking one prisoner. It was there I got the letter, The mail was just going into Orange Court House and our cavalry, being in advance, seized it. There was a good many Richmond papers in it. The General having found out the force of the enemy—all that he wished to know—we returned arriving here yesterday morning all safe & sound, but very sleepy and tired. 1

Gen. John Pope—“He is just the man! The soldiers all like his style.”

I have just received a message for General King saying General [John] Pope’s Headquarters will move to Warrenton tomorrow. I think some[thing] will be done before long by Gen. Pope. He is just the man! The soldiers all like his style. The regiment went across the [Rappahannock] River today. I believe the whole of [Marsena R.] Patrick’s Brigade is to be stationed there. They are to do picket duty. Nothing new. I have not seen the Colonel since I left.

I am so tired. I shall have to go to bed now. This is such a miserable letter. I would destroy it if I had time to write another before the mail went out in the morning.

Orrin is at Alexandria in the hospital. Tell Mrs. S. to write to him there, care of Surgeon Summers. He is getting along very good. I hear from him every day or two by telegraph.

I received your letter from New York okay. I have to make all the [telegraphic] ciphers for this section. I am the only one who has it on the line from Washington but I believe I wrote you that once before. If you will excuse this, I will write a better one in a day or two. Love to all. Good night. — Peter

Weather very warm.

1 John Gibbons reconnaissance in the direction of Orange Court House concluded that Confederate forces led by Beverly H. Robertson, Richard S. Ewell, and Stonewall Jackson were concentrated near that location and that they expected an attack from either Warrenton or Madison Court House rather than Fredericksburg. We learn from Peter Doyle’s letter that he was taken along on this expedition for the purpose of tapping into Southern telegraph message but no telegraph lines were found.


Letter 12

Headquarters 9th Army Corps
Falmouth, Va.
August 20th 1862

Dear Brother,

I returned last night from Washington. I went down to draw my pay. I sent you by Adams Express $120. Please put what is not needed in the bank.

I found Capt. [Elisha] Hayward sick at the Avenue House. 1 He wanted me to try and get with the company. I seen Mr. [Anson] Stager & he don’t know whether he will let me go or not. If he does not, he is to give me charge of a line. That will be good, won’t it? He advises me to go with the company. Thinks he would. He said he did not know before that I was Lieutenant. If I go, will telegraph you. Yes, Burnside is a splendid man, & so is McClellan. Hope I will be with George. Did you understand my last letter? Don’t say anything to Mother about my leaving until you hear from me again. Write me your advise immediately.

I am okay. The regiment is with Pope near Culpeper. I must close now as mail is going. Your brother, — Peter.

Have written Mother but no answer.

Fowler Brodnock, [telegraph] operator here, wants to put $50 dollars in Erie Co. Savings Bank. Will you advise me how he will go to work to do it? Please ask Mr. Lee why has Mr. Stevens not written me. Please ask Annie if she received my letter. I think my letters must of gone to Gen. King’s Headquarters at Culpepper.

Love to all. Write immediately here. — Your brother

1 Capt. Elisha Hayward of Co. H, 21st NY Volunteers, died of disease at Washington D. C. on 9 September 1862.


Letter 13

Headquarters 1st Army Corps
Brooks Station, Va.
December 4, 1862
9:15 P. M.

Dear Brother,

Why don’t you write? I sent you the other day by Adams Express $310 which please deposit for me and let me know what my balance is there, if not too much trouble. Tell Mother I received the package by kindness [of] Clark Dodge and it, the old fire shirt, came in very handy as the weather is now quite cool, although today has been very pleasant. It is pretty cold at night. We have not moved from here (Brooks Station) as yet but we expect to tomorrow or next day, perhaps toward Falmouth. I think before many days the people will be satisfied with Gen. Burnside, or, in other words, there will be a battle fought soon. Of the results, of course, we are all confident of success. Trains running regular between Aquia & Falmouth with supplies.

Our Gen. [John F.] Reynolds has been made a Major General. I am kept pretty busy but not as busy as you are, I suppose. I will send you a copy of one of my morning reports to show you how large a force I have. This is private. I seen Harry Clinton today. He is a Captain and commander of subs and okay. I believe George C[linton] is in Washington and well remember me to their folks. Has the Colonel left yet? The regiment is sadly in need of him. It looks very lonesome at the regiment since he has been away. Hope he will be here soon. We hear he is to be Adjutant General of New York State. He deserves it or anything else which the government could bestow upon him.

Oh what do you think about the socks and gloves for Christmas? Do you think you could get them for me? I have received my commission as Captain with rank from September 9th 1862. All very pleasant to receive. I do not know of anything to write more of any interest and therefore will bid you good night, — Peter

Love to Henry and family and all friends. Write often if only a few lines.


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