Rikers Island's Civil War Letters of the 76th NYV Infantry
CW letter cover NYS' three regiments of U.S. Colored Troops mustered in and trained on what are now NYC DOC islands -- the 20th and 28th USCTs on Rikers and the 31st USCT on Hart. A web page noting the unique role in USCT history played by these two islands was first posted on the NYC DOC cyber site few years ago in observance of Black History Month. That page now resides on this NY Correction History Society site. Several other Union units also mustered in, mustered out, trained or were otherwise stationed on one or the other island. The page below features excerpts related to Rikers in the letters of the 76th NYV that served a while on the island. NYCHS appreciates the Major Andrew Grover Civil War Roundtable allowing us use of its web site materials. These Rikers-related excerpts come from about a dozen of the many letters transcribed by B. Conrad Bush -- 1940 Reading Road, West Falls, NY, 14170; e-mail mailto:Bushresear@aol.com -- during research at various archives. Wherever possible, the original spelling and capitalization have been preserved by him. Some paragraph breaks have been added to aid readability.
The Webmaster, New York Correction History Society
Andrew Jackson Grover William Hix aka Persons Henry Sutton John F. Potter Charles Walter Devoe George & Theron Guernsey
Edgar Jones Edward James John Lindsey William Henry Galpin William Wallace Hadley Leander Jones
Herman D. Smith
Letter by Andrew Jackson Grover
Notes Stay on 'Ricker's Island'

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Major Andrew J. Grover

Born in W.Dryden, Tompkins County, Dec. 22, 1830. Orphaned at 7. Enlisted at 16, served in Mexican War. Sickness left him lame. Funds from war service paid for Methodist Seminary education. Entered ministry in 1852. In 1861, helped organize the 76th Regiment. Commissioned captain Jan. 17, 1862. Took part in battles at Rappahannock Station, Sulphur Springs, and Gainesville. Seriously wounded, resigned commission, but recovered, and commissioned a major in February 1863. Killed in at Gettysburg July 1, days before he would have become colonel.

THE GAZETTE AND BANNER
MAY 1, 1862
VOL 1, NO. 31 Pg 2, COL 3,4,

NOTES FROM THE 76TH.
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.

FORT DE RUSSY, D.C., APRIL 25TH, 1862

FRIENDS AT HOME:

The story of our camp life has no doubt been often told in the numerous letters which our men have written to anxious friends at home; and it may be a needless repetition for me to refer at all to the subject. But I imagine, that what seems to us who are in camp so commonplace, still arrays itself in the enchantment of novelty to those who are at a distance. . . .

The hardships of our men began at Albany, in barracks insufficiently warmed, and where food was provided most disgustingly cooked, and served up in a most disgusting place. The chapter of hardships was "continued" in Ricker's Island. But the climax was reached during our first week in Washington.

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

We arrived in Washington January 31st, about midnight, and were marched to a place called ironically the Soldiers' Rest - so called because troops remained there after there arrival in the Capital city, before marching in camp. We were marched into a large room which we were told was the place where the Regiment was to rest for a time. After super - for supper was in readiness even at the late hour, - the men made their arrangements for sleep; and after a little the floor, - the bare, dirty, muddy floor, - was actually covered with only one layer of sleeping soldiers. For a few days the men enjoyed, or rather endured, this fatiguing rest, many of them contracting the disease which has since sent them to their long home. We were soon ordered out to Meridian Hill. . . .

A. J. Grover.


Letters by William Hix aka Persons
While on 'Wreckers' [Rikers] Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Major Grover Monument

The Major Andrew Grover Civil War Roundtable holds an annual ceremony July 1 at his grave. The site is in the Cortland Rural Cemetery on Tompkins Street (Route 13). The monument is centrally located in the cemetery, straight up the main road from the entrance. The Roundtable meets at 7:30 p.m. the second Tuesday each month at the Cortland County Historical Society, 25 Homer Avenue. Questions on the 76th or on the Roundtable may be sent by e-mail to Mike Brown, editor of its newsletter, the Guidon, at brown@bpmlegal.com or by postal service at 41 Creamery Road, Richford NY 13835

Wreckers Island, NY Jan 24

Dear Mother & Friends,

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to you I presume Elon has writen to you that I was not agoin to write you again while I was in Albany as we left so suddenly I told him to write you I should not I dont know what he has written about the ride to New York and here but I will write some to and before that I will some to Nettie;


William H. Hix, who took the name Persons from his mother's brother-in - law with whom he had lived for several years, enlisted in Cortland on Sept. 24, 1861, at age 19. He mustered in with Co. F, 76th NYV Infantry, Oct. 11, 1861. Detached to serve with the West- ern Gunboat Service, he was scalded to death on June 17, 1862, when the gunboat "Mound City" exploded in the White River, Arkansas.

Well, Nettie how do you do, pretty aint you, what do you do this cold weather, dont your fingers and nose and ears get cold little

now I will tell you what I saw and heard in Albany; well I went to the Grand Concert they had in Albany a little while before we left. . . .

Jan 25

This is terrible day, the wind blows huricane, this forenoon and its very lonely and disagreeable; we have had our pay I had 35 dollars and ten cents and sent 30 dollars home I intend to make as much as I can for I say its worth it.

We had a mighty nice time freezing and such like coming from Albany, to NY City a very fine time to the city and the beautiful airy ride we had comeing up to this Lone isle
A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith
as for me I am determined to be as contented as I can and take what comes and make the best of it Elon has written all about the ride and the Isle and I have to say is what the Drum Major said although a pious man and one who has seen service and been in battle he says we aint but a short sail from hell more than half right and now I have written quite a little and guess I'll close by telling what I saw coming up hear as we passed Blackwell Island we saw the prison for the culprets of the city they were dressed in their uniforms which were Striped the stripes running round the body and arm and legs and they looked like a damned pack of hornets

we have seen great sights and things that I should never have seen had I not went a soldiering we have seen very hard times I think what times we are to see God onely

as for me let come what will come I must meet it an what is more I expect to meet whatever may happen so let it come . . . .

                 W.H. Persons


Letters by Henry Sutton, Private, Co. B,
While on Rikers 'Iland'

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Henry C. Sutton, who lived with his parents and their 6 other children on a farm in North Pitcher, NY, enlisted Sept. 20, 1861, at age 19. He mustered with 76th NYV's Company B Oct. 4, 1861. In a battle Gainesville, Va., he was killed by a Miniť ball through his head, on Aug. 28, 1862. Sutton's letters launched descendant Conrad Bush on transcribing Civil War correspondence.

Wensday the 19th 1862

Dear father I thought that I would write A few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this will find you the same I Dont know but you think that I write to often but it dont cost me enything but the envelops and paper and that is not much to me ... only write Mother would you like to see me I should like to see you and I hope the time is not far distant when I shall return home if the Lord spares my life for our armey is ridling them Sutherners like thunder now I dont think that they can hold out much longer if our men serves them as they have lately for they have given them fits lately but I am afraid that I shall never get a Chance at them for thare is so meney ahead of us now and the Officers hae been trying to get the Col out of his office and he sed if thy succeded in doing it he should disband the reg and I hope they will for if I am discharged here I Shall join Charley Gralets reg of Cavelry for I like that vary much ...

Sketch of 76th Regiment on review.

I will close by bideng you good by write often from your afectionate
Brother

Rikers Iland Jan the 28th 1862


Dear Aunt J

thought that I would write to now A few lines to you to let you know that I am well and hope that hese few lines will find yu the Same
A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith
my leter will be Short for I have not got much news to write and what litle I Do write you Cant Read I Dont Expect but if you Cnt Read it Sent it back and I will Read it for you but enough of that ... the other night thare was A Ship wrecked upon the iland but they was nobody hurt thare was four men and A Boy on Board they had on board tub barels of beer and the boys went Down and Tapped one of them and got all the beer they wanted to Drink but I Did not for I thought that it warnt mine and so I let it be ... tomorow morning wee lave here for Dixe and I am glad of it for I want to be Down thare A Doing Something for my Country for I have not Done eny thing for it yet but it is becase I have not had A Chance to but when I Do get at it I will fight the harder... Please write soon to me no more at present


Letter by John F. Potter, Co. A
About Stay on Rikers Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

The Gazette and Banner
February 13, 1862
Vol 1, No. 20
Pg 1, Col 5,6,7

DOINGS OF THE SEVENTY-SIXTH
SOLDIERS' RETREAT, WASH., FEB. 3D, '62.

Dear Editor and Friends: Once again I seat myself upon my cloth's valise, to let you know that the gallant and loyal Seventy-Sixth still lives and to tell you of its welfare and its progress in the art of war. . . .

We left Albany as you are aware some three weeks since, amid a beautiful snow storm, and as we marched through the town, cheered at, gazed at by an immense and wondering crowd, the gentle and light winged messengers from the skies would light softly upon the men, and when they reached the Depot, every soldier was beautifully ornamented and "coated all o'er with snow." The cars left about 7 o'clock Friday night, and arrived in the great metropolis about 7 the next morning, being 12 hours on the road. . . .

With our entrance into the city it commenced raining, and kept up a perfect drizzle for three or four days. When the last train got in, the men left the cars at the 31st at depot, and marched down Broadway to the City Hall Park Barracks. . . .These barracks were the best built of any that we have been in yet, and the food we received here was good, much better than our Albany fare. The men were loath to leave this rendezvous, so convenient was it to see the elephant. If a man was lucky enough to get a pass, it was amusing to hear him tell of all he had seen in his short town. You's think he had been round the world!

By way of rarity, allow me to say that the first Sabbath, I had the pleasure of listening to Henry Ward Beecher in the morning. . . . In the afternoon I visited the Cathedral, and in the evening, the Unitarian church on Broadway. The pulpit is occupied by Dr. Osgood, the author. . . . The Sunday evening following, hearing that Dr. Cheaver was going to preach a "war sermon," I repaired thither. . . . The latest fashion in New York is to cheer the preacher whenever he says anything good and patriotic, and it was so on this occasion. . . .

John F. Potter, Co. A, wrote a number of columns as a "regular correspondent" to the Cortland Gazette and Banner, under the pseudonym "JFP." His columns for December 1861, Jan., Feb., March, April and May 1862 are available on the 76th NYV web site. Potter, 21, enlisted Oct. 1, 1861, at Utica; mustered in with Co. A, Oct. 4; discharged for disability, Feb. 26, 1863, at Washington, D.C.

Tuesday morning came, and with it the day that saw us leave for Riker's Island, on board a couple of steam tugs and an old barge. It was an exceedingly cold, raw day, and when we arrived at the Island, we found it minus a single stove, and we had to "grin and bear" it through all that day and night. Most of the men went to bed to keep warm, but they found it freezing under the blankets, as clothing was rather sparse. The barracks, too, were built loosely, for summer rather than winter use. The Island, which has become notorious as the resort of Knights of the muscle and pugilists generally, is situated about 12 miles above New York, on the East River, just above Blackwell Island, and adjacent to Long Island.

It comprises about 90 acres of good soil, an orchard, and one dilapidated old house, hired by one Harry, who keeps inside of it a bar and a family, the number of representatives deponent knoweth not. Its climate is miserable cold, uncomfortable, disagreeable and lonely, and its chief productions, so far as I was able to practically demonstrate, were oysters, clams, salt water and ------- which the boys amused themselves by digging.

In summer time, it wo'd be a capital place to recreate, to hunt and fish, as wild docks abound delightly, and fish can be obtained in any quantity, but it's not exactly the spot for delicate wildlife in the tedious winter time, as the wind whistles Yankee Doodle and keeps the men dancing an Irish jig continually.

The second day after our debut on this Island - the 23d of January, 1862, - was the happiest day the regiment has experienced yet. It will always be known as the great pay day, and when the history of the Seventy-Sixth shall have been written, this day will stand out in letters of shining gold, pure silver and nice treasury notes! The boys were perfectly happy, but what were they to do? they couldn't get off the Island to invest, and like good boys and true soldiers, sent home two-thirds of their money to their wives and parents. Out of $40,000, which was paid the Regiment, full $30,000 was sent home. This speaks well for the boys, and more eloquent in their praise than words.

But what was kept back burnt their pockets so that they were not satisfied until they had got rid o the most of it. If anything came on the Island, no matter of what ingredients, quality, quantity, or substance, it would go like wildfire. The boys hadn't had any money in so long a time, that it seemed more like an Eastern carnival, than a cold imprisoned Island. I overheard the Colonel tell some of the men who were anxious to visit the beach, that they could do so, but that it was against the orders to swim off!

Regiment Reunion Ribbon, 1911.

. . . Until Saturday, the 25th ult., the weather although cold, was comparatively fine; the day and night following, however, "old boreah," and the elements generally, seemed out on a bender, roaring and howling with all the characteristic roughness of the play-fellows of father Neptune. Any one wishing to go to New York, would have to cross the East River to Port Morris, and then take the Harlem cars. But the storm had been so severe that no one had attempted to go over for 24 hours. The 26th ultimo came, and as some business must be done, so must some one go over the River - a distance of about one mile.
A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Accordingly, about half a dozen of us decided we would brave the waves at a venture. The boatmen told us we must prepare for a wetting, but wetting or no wetting, we must go, so off we started. The crew consisted of three orsmen, one steersman, two jolly Lieutenants, George and myself - eight - all told, if I except two empty blankets, one empty trunks and a box full of letters. . . . The frail boat rolled and pitched about on the heavy seas like a half-empty cask on the top of a high flood. . . . Soon we gained the opposite shore, very greatly to the delight, not one of us but what was wet through. We immediately made for the first place where there was a stove. We had received a whole month's ration of salt water, inwardly and outwardly, and it was some minutes before we could fairly get dry. . . .

Two days after we embarked on board the Atlas, en route for Washington, a description of which I will give you in my next. . .

Yours, for our country,

J.F.P


Letter by Pvt. Charles Walter Devoe
While at 'Camp Riker'

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Camp Riker Jan 28th 62
Head quarters of the 76th Regt.

Father and Mother it is with pleasure that I write you a few lines. we are in camp at Riker Island 14 miles from New York on the East river. it is a very pleasant place and we have considerable fun here. the boys go out on the shore and get clams. we have been here eight days now. I went down to New York last Night.


Charles Walter Devoe, of Milford, Otsego County, age 23, enlisted Sept. 29, 1861, at Springfield, NY, mustered in with Co. K, 76th NYV, Oct. 14, 1861; wounded in action, Aug. 28, 1862; died of his wounds, Aug. 29, 1862, at Gainesville, Va.

I left Cherry Valley the 16th of Jan. I staid in Albany two days. our Regt left Albany the day before I got there and I had 15 boys with me to take care of. I staid in N.Y. three days and then the Regt left for the Island last Thursday. . . .
A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

our Otsego Regt got smashed up in Albany and part of them went with the artilery and part of them went the 76th. when the Regt got broke up they transfered me back to Capt Youngs. we have about eleven hundred men now in our Regt. J.F. Newell is here with us. I have got no position yet.

we are going to leave here two morrow and I will write as soon as we stationed. you must excuse me for not writing before for I did not know how long we should stay here. . . . give my love to all inquiring friends.

Yours With respect

Charles W. Devoe Company K 76th in care of Capt J W Young


Letters by George and Theron Guernsey
While on 'Riker' Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

One month after being discharged from the 12th NY for being only 15, George M. Guernsey enlisted in the 76th NYV claiming to be 18; mustered in as corporal 76th NY V's Co. D Oct. 4, 1861; returned to ranks, April 25, 1862; died of disease, Aug. 2, 1862, at hospital near Falmouth, Va. Theron C. Guernsey, age 19, enrolled Sept. 14, 1861, at Freetown, mustered in as corporal, Co. D, 76th NYV, Oct. 4, 1861; promoted sergeant, Oct. 1, 1863; re-enlisted as a veteran, Jan. 2, 1864; promoted first sergeant, March 16, 1864; wounded in action, May 11, 1864, at Laurel Hill, Va.; mustered in as first lieutenant, Co. C, Aug. 22, 1864; captured in action, Oct. 1, 1864, at Poplar Grove Church, Va.; paroled, no date; discharged, May 18, 1865.

Jan 23d 1862

Dear Parents

Theron Guernsey

here we are on a lonely Isle in the harbor of New York, called Riker Island. we left N.Y. last tuesday and came here to be paid off and today thursday the 23rd we received our pay (38.13) thirty eight dollars and thirteen cents. George and I send home by our first Lieut. fifty dollars he will leave the letter to Barbers. I send 25 and George 25.

We are some twelve miles from New York City. we do not know how long we shall stay here, it may be four or five weeks. it is a pleasant place here. we started from New York about eleven oclock. it was mighty cold coming down here. we got here about three oclock. we had no dinner at all. we was here till the next day about night with out fire some got pretty cold, but I stood it pretty well. we are some twelve miles up the East River. we expect to join some expedition, but do not know for certain.

Jan 23

Dear Parents

I thought I would write you a few lines in this letter. I am well as I can be and weigh 160 lbs. I was weighed last Monday night at Barnums Museum. G.W. Hawley and I run the guard that night and got back without being discovered. we saw all the sights in the Museum, the Whale, big beard, Hippolamous, seal the fat woman also the theatre and every thing you can think of even old P T Barnum himself.

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

On saturday I went all around the city. on the Island where we are we can see all kind of craft from the three masted ship down to the one masted cutter and from the great steam ships down to the little steam tugs. thare is about 75 acres in this Island. I walkd around it once or twice every day. it is good exerise.

when we came here we passed Blackwells Island. I could see the convicts to work breakin the rocks. they had striped clothes on. they looks pretty cold. we are pretty near long Island. Flushing a place on it is in sight of heare. This Island belongs to the Col Riker and is named after him.

Write as soon as you get the money Direct to one of us New York City Co D 76 Reg NYS Vol

From G M & T C Guernsey To A C and L M Guernsey


Letter by Private Edgar Jones
While on Rikers Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

At Greene, Edgar W. Jones mustered in Nov. 8, 1861 with Co. B, 76th NYV; left Nov. 28 on sick furlough at Pitcher, N.Y.; rejoined the 76 at Rikers Island by Jan. 30, 1862. He was with the 76 from then to August 1862. He died of Typhoid Fever Sept. 12, 1862 at Emory U.S. General Hospital, D.C.

Rikers Island
Jan 28th 1862

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Dear Friend Sneg

I received your kind Leter 23rd and was vary gad to hear from you and here that our folkes was all well. . . . father give my best respect to aunt lucy and the great general you sed that you sent me to papers but I have not recved eny of them. I Sent $51 home but you had not gat that when you riton.

We are again to live for new york and then we shall start from there for washingon on the Cars. you Can write and if we go the Leters will be forwarded on to me. give my best respct to all of girles. tell bill dakey that I will write to him rite a way. . . I have rote all of the news I Can think of.

Direct as the same


Letter by Private Edward James
While on Rikers 'Islan'

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Edward James, 19, enlisted Sept. 14, 1861, at Freetown; mustered in with Co. D Oct. 4 at Cortland; captured Aug. 29, 1862, at Bull Run, Va.; paroled; reenlisted as a veteran, Jan. 2, 1864; killed May 5, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness, Va.

Rikers Islan
Januare 29th 1862

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Dear Father and Mother

I take the opertuenty to writ to you and let you (know) that I am well at present. Henry and Luther are well to and enjoy good helth. we all go to leave here tomorrow we are going on to Washington and I have drawn my pae and I am going to send home $25 doolers . . . .

we left Albany the 12th of January at 5 o'clock at nite and we got to New York Januare the 13 1862. We staid thar to New York over Sundy and Mond and tuesty we left for Rikers Island and we stay till this time and we started for Washinton to morrow and this probebly this will be the last time that I will have the opertuent of writing to you again and if it ant the last time that I have to writ home you must not writ untill I writ agane and tell you all have to direct your leters . . . .

So I must bring my leter to the close I send my love to you all so good buy

Edward James


Letter by Private John Lindsey
While on Rikers Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Rikers Island
Jany 24th (1862) N.Y.

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Dear Father

Yesterday we got our pay I will send mine home today in the care of H. Sears Lieu Mead takes it to New York City and he will see it safe so that you will get it

John Lindsey, 18, a laborer and student, enlisted Oct. 12, 1861, at Cortland; mustered in with Co. F Oct. 18, 1861; died of typhoid fever, June 27, 1862, near Fredericksburg, Va.

I drawed $32 dollars 20 of it i will Send home when I pay for my Knife and for some money that i borrowed to by paper and Stamps with I will have $29 left I will Keep 9$ to by paper ink and get my boots fixed with I want to by a inlain rubber blanket that will cost me 1.40 i will Keep the rest so not to be out of money again

we are on a island and do not expect to go off in 2 months I have got to see to my money being sent to you now and have not got me to write any more as soon as I get some ink and paper I will write a good long letter to you write as soon as you can my love to all Mother Fus Sarah John Franky and you

John Lindsey


Letter by William Henry Galpin
While on Rikers 'Iland'

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

William Henry Galpin, 19, a farm laborer, enlisted Sept. 21, 1861, at Homer; mustered in with Co. G Oct. 5, 1861; wounded in action, July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; re-enlisted as a veteran, March 30, 1864; died, June 26, 1864, at a field hospital from wounds received in action June 18, 1864 near Petersburg, Va. The family lived in a house in Homer purchased with Henry's re-enlistment bounty.

Rikers Iland
Jenuary 22, 1862

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Dear Father

I am penn in hand to Wright you A few lines. I am well and I hope that you are and son I will Comence to tell you. I got my pay yesterday and I Sent you twenty Doolars to you and i want you to Wright and let one now Whether you got it ok.

We left Albeny the 17th for New York and when we got on the Cares and the Streets was Crowded fool and when we got into york the Streets was fool. we stade in new york three days and then we started for Riker Iland. About three or fore miles down the river on the Iland is hone houre and thare is About Eighty Acors in it and we Came down the river on a Steamer and we Can see the Sailes boats and Steamers goin up and down and I Cam out on the beach and we have grate times and now we have got our pay son. I got tired sighting a good by
New York City, 76 Regt
in Care of Capt Lansing

W. H. Galpin


Letter by Private William Wallace Hadley
While on 'Wreckers' Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.
Regiment Reunion
Ribbon, 1912.

William Wallace Hadley 29, a rugged farmer, enlisted at Jasper, NY, and mustered in with Company K in July 1863. He was captured on May 6, 1864 in the Battle of the Wilderness, Va. Paroled in 1864, he was discharged Sept. 8, 1865 at Elmira, N.Y. Never fully recovered physically, he resided in Jasper until his death at age 70 on June 16, 1905.

Wreckers Island
September 30 (1863)

Dear Brother

I take this time to write to you to let you know that I am well at preseant. we expect that we Shall leve here to day for Elixeandry and from their the army of the Patomach to face old Lees army. we Shall take bote at 4 this after noon.

their is five of us that tents togeather Charles Hardy and Sturet, Smally from Dewite Sanderson from Pratsberg. all of the boys from three town they are all real cleaver fellows. we are in compeny I 76 NY.

their is lots of robin goin on hear. their was one man had his pocket all cut to pices last night. their was to come to our tent on the Side whare I Slept and cut the rope off and began to reach under and I ris up and saw him at work. I then woke up Smalley and he rose up and Saw him we Sat still and saw him work we then gat our knife out and tride to to Stab him and he left. the order is to mark the men that is round after haf past nine he then went to the next tent and cut one rope their.
A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith
when one of our company Struck him over the head with his boot and then he runover on the other Street and tride it again he was Served the Same as before and one of the men took after him and he run the gard. the gard tride to stop him but couldent.

I like here first rate. it is healthy here. there is one Sick and he was wehen he came here. it is salt watter all around. 20.00 dollars to you by Express it to Adison NY . . . their aint any postofice here only to Send when their is Some one goin. . . .

I must Stop and start good By

W W Hadley


Letter by Private Leander Jones
About 'Riker' Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Leander T. Jones, age 18, enlisted Sept., 1861, at Harford; mustered in with Co. F, 76th NYV, Oct. 4, 1861; admitted to Blackwell Island Hospital, NY, Sept. 1, 1862 suffering from Typhoid Fever and died there Oct. 2, 1862.

Headquarters 76 Regt N.Y.S.V.
Camp Case Feb 7th 1862

Dear Mother & Brother

I have waited this long in the hope of receiving a letter from you but not getting one I concluded I would write to you. When I wrote you last I wrote from Riker Island telling you we would probably stay there several weeks well we were happily disappointed, for the next day we were ordered to Washington, we here dont know one day what we will do the next we are all as well as common except Dan Tanner who is rather over the hedge, nothing serious though.

We are in tents now, ha! ha!! ha!!! I wish you could see us here four of us in a tent with a stove and the necessary cooking utensils (which cost us about $1.00 a piece we live better than you think our stove keeps us warm while at the same time we can do our cooking in good style it is not very cold here, but little snow on the ground we dont do enough to circulate our blood

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

Albert Taintor came here last night he is here yet he is here yet I have had a talk with him he is encamped about 12 miles from here on Upton Hill Va. . . . .

L.T. Jones

Co. F. 76 Regt NYSV

Washington D C

Feb 1862 I received a letter from you directed to N.Y.City yesterday I got that jacket

L T Jones


Letters by Private Herman D. Smith
From Rikers Island

Excerpt from the 76th NYS Volunteers The Cortland Regiment site
maintained by Michael Brown of the intellectual property law firm of Brown, Pinnisi & Michaels hosting it.

Herman D. Smith, 20, enlisted Sept. 19, 1861, at Cortland; mustered in with Co. A Oct. 4, 1861; promoted corporal prior to Feb., 1863; killed in action, July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.

Jan 23 / 62
Rikers Island

Dear parents

we recd yours to Day and was glad to hear that you were well we recd our pay to day from the time we were sworn in, October 4th up to the first of January and we send 45 Dollars Home by Express the only safe way to send it $20 comes from me 10 of which will pay the Doc do as you see fit with the rest

we are on an Island 8 miles E.N.E. of N.Y City we dig clams an Bake them and when we want Oysters we go Down when the tide is out and knock them off the rocks.

A.J. Grover
W. Hix
H. Sutton
J.F. Potter
C.W. Devoe
G.&T.Guernsey
E. Jones
E. James
J. Lindsey
W.H. Galpin
W.W. Hadley
L. Jones
H.D. Smith

we dont know when we shall leave here or where we shall go but expect to join an expedition on the Ocean we are in Long Island Sound now but I must close, write as soon as you receive the money direct it to N.Y. and they will forward we are both well my throat is entirely well. I have a slight cold.

Yours truly

H.D. Smith


Rikers Island
Jan 29th

Dear parents

Ere this reaches you we shall be on our way to Washington, we start to morrow at ten A.M. go to N.Y. By Steamboat and from there by R.R. We sent $45 to you by Capt Fox to Cortland and from there by mail. . . .

I am glad we are going off this Island for the water is not fit to drink here. Brackish and more or less salt we can not buy anything here with out paying exorbitant prices apples sell quickly at 5 ct a piece, Pies we cant get at any price, the hotel Keeper baked about a 100 the other day and the Boys made a rush and took them all away from him the most of them paid him afterward, so he did not loose any thing. if a Pedlar come on the Ground he can get any price he is a mind to ask for his wares.

Money is no object, a Boot Seller came here and sold a cheap Article for 4.50 per pair the Col arrested him and he Paid back 1.25 on a pair rather than take them back.

Write soon and tell all the news at Tully we are well as usual and do not suffer for anything now that we have money. There are lots of nice shells here I wish I could send some to Allie and Agnes If you answer this direct to N.Y. and write please forward on the Envelope

Give my love to Allie and all the rest
Your aff Son H.D.Smith


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