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4 Transcribed Early Civil War
24th Regt NY Infantry Soldier Letters
KIA Bull Run II
Measles outbreak & he smoked to “keep off the measles”
2 or 3 per day being carried to hospital
A man drowned while bathing
30 men attempting escape
Do you want to know how I feel. I will express it in the
languageof a Massachusetts boy to his father
"I have grown two feet in one day I prefer gunpowder
to butter on my bread and have made arrangements
forever hereafter to sleep in a cannon" ain't that good.
Ha ha ha, but I do not think I shall sleep forever in a cannon.
Set of 4 TrueOne-Of-A-Kind Civil War Soldier Letters
Soldier-TEEAR , FRANK (FRANCIS)— Age , 27 years. Enlisted, May 7, 1861, at
Ellisburg, to serve two years; mustered in as private, Co. K , 24th Reg't, NYSV
May 17, 1861; promoted sergeant, date not stated;killed, August 30, 1862, at Bull Run, Va.
Condition(scale 1-10) -7.0 to 8.0-Lettersare in good, Used Condition for being over 150 years old!Edge & other wear like curls, creases, bends, tears, holes (especially at folds or creases) soiling, smudges, dirt, marks, & staining all possible.Writing is fairly clear and generally legible although it will take some time to decipher in areas.
4.5 to 7.0-Envelopesare in well-worn to good used condition with tears, dirt, & wear showing in photos.
PLEASE see the photos for the most accurate, objective description of the condition.
(4) Early War letters w/ covers written by soldier Frank Teear to his wife Lestina (L. Williams).Some were hand delivered (indicated in letters), hence no postage or cancellation.
Please note – This cursive handwriting is inpencilin 2 letters &penin 2 letters & is pretty clear and not terribly challenging; these period letters are often difficult to read, but given a small time investment, you can get used to translating most CW letters.
I have transcribed to the best of my amateur ability and have corrected most spellings to make it easier to read & have added punctuation and/or made paragraphs to aid in understanding the contents.
Please ask if you'd like any additional information on entries or more photos. =)
May 31st 1861
My Dear and ever true wife,
I received yours of the 28th with joy, when the mail arrived I was sitting in the corner of our barrack room partly asleep, thinking of you and my dear little Franky, and wishing I could see you a short time.I confess that at times I feel a little "blue" not that my determination to sweep every rebel from our country has abated one iota, but because that natural feeling which is common to all, (a love of home and wife and children) will rise in spite of my endeavors to put it down.There is no one dearer to me on this globe than you, I might have done wrong by leaving you in the condition that you say you are, but I could hardly believe it, if it is so, why we must make the best of it, it is nobody's business but our own.It seems my dear wife that you cannot suffer while I am engaged in this glorious cause, surely the God of the widow and the orphan will not forget the lonely, surely my dear wife you wrote a desponding letter this time, or else it's seems so to me, probably my being in rather a desponding mood made a difference.In regard to you keeping house this coming winter I shall let you use your own judgment and I shall send you every cent that I can while I live, I do not expect to make anything out of this. I did not enter into it for that purpose, but if I can only make you comfortable that is all I ask,so my dear gal cheer up and hope for the best.
When you want a girl get one,but I live in hopes of seeing you by the 4th of July if we are not ordered off to the seat of war in a hurry, but do not be too sanguine for I may disappoint you. I am glad that Joseph has got a good hand and well suited and wish him all the success that a brother could wish and a story that is started about my leaving because we could not agree is not worth noticing, he knows me and I know him and that is enough, but people must have something to talk about, but I deny the statement.
I want you to keep those pictures and have them framed and also to send me your likeness and the babies as soon as you can. I shall send you mine when I get my uniforms. Hiram is sitting by my side writing and George is on guard. H says he will write in a day or two to Joseph. I should write to Joseph but I suppose he hears all of my letters read and that is just as well.
You said you wanted to know how we lived. In the first place I take the liberty to say that Joe Freeman is not the exponent of the Ellisburg company. He must remember also that if they do not treat other people well they cannot expect to be treated well, I do not know of a dissatisfied one in our company. Sometimes we do not get as good as we would wish, but we do not make a fuss about it, we on the whole live first rate. Our fare consists of bread, always fresh from the bakers, good beef, first rate soup, potatoes, beans, pork good, sometimes tea and not very good coffee and also eggs with applesauce and about twice a week we have pudding and milkdo you think we shall starve?
I guess Joe is homesick don't you? Tell Joseph I should like to have a piece of that cheese and also a little butter but we can do without. We had a tub of butter sent us and also a cheese from Ellisburgh. Doctor Buell says in his letter to me this morning that he will send us two more next Friday morning (this morning). Edward Hawes and Aulding Searles left us day before yesterday for home.
I hear I must leave you for a short time to drill!
Well wife I am here again to finish this I hope before dinner. We have had two hours drill in the hot sun so you may think that I sweat some. George Clark from Belleville was here yesterday went home this morning.We had a fine parade last night formed a hollow square to hear the glad tidings of our soon receiving our uniforms. We are to have our shoes and shirts on Tuesday next and the rest last of the week. We are to be sworn in as soon as United States officer arrives.Governor Morgan thought it proper to repudiate the contract for the clothing as that which has been received is very poor so we shall gain something by waiting. Doctor Buell says that Mirt Stacy has got another child and also Amelia fish. Tell them when you see them that I wish them much success, I am feeling first rate in health and I heartily wish you and my little one the same. If there is any possible way of getting away you may expect me home about 4th of July. I sent you a letter last Tuesday and sat down and answered the one I received this morning as quick as I had read it. You must write as often as you can and tell me all the news. Yours in love and forever. Frank God bless you
(Extra small note included.)
Do you want to know how I feel. I will express it in the language of a Massachusetts boy to his father "I have grown two feet in one day I prefer gunpowder to butter on my bread and have made arrangements forever hereafter to sleep in a cannon" ain't that good. ha ha ha, but I do not think I shall sleep forever in a cannon.You must send me a paper once in awhile. Our regiment is called the 24th Oswego. You must get Frederick to get the interest on that note of Martins that is due on the 1st of June if you want the principal get that too. I shall write to Mr Maillard soon and settle with him.
Well I must close, Good bye, Frank
Letter #2 (hand carried)
June 2nd 1861
My dear Wife,
Today is Sunday and as I did not feel like going up town to meeting for the reason that I would rather talk to you.I take my seat on a bunk with a rough pine board nailed across the posts for a table and with my pencil in hand I shall try to write.I wrote an answer to your list last Thursday and thought I had sent it, but looking among my letters yesterday I found that I was mistaken, so you will receive this soon after that. I mailed it yesterday.
I have just written to Doctor Buell in regard to the families of Our Volunteers, some of them complain that their wives want clothing and money and if the committee does not furnish it, they (the Volunteers), will come home. Surely they will not let them suffer.
We received from Belleville yesterday, with joy, 3 tubs of butter, two cheeses, 4 bottles of tomato ketchupwhich shows that our friends have not forgotten usand out of which we had a good feast. We cannot express our thanks in words, but everyone feels.
My dear gal you seemed to think because I had not had my pants off that I did not wash myself, but I went to sleep.I take a bath in the river everyday when not too cold.I shall take care of myself as well as I can.
This is certainly a most delightful day and has been fine weather for the week past. Everything looks green and nice, corn and potatoes are just peeping out of the ground, winter wheat looks very well and spring green is up and growing fast and the farmers put on smiling faces. It is comparatively still here today.
George and some 20 more of the boys have gone up town to meeting andthose that are left are engaged in writing to the loved ones left behind, except one or twowho would die if they should keep still.
The Buffalo regiment is drilling so as to be in good order for the work that is before them. They and the Cayuga regiment have received orders to leave for Washington on Tuesday next.
The Rochester and Syracuse left last Wednesday for the seat of war. That will diminish our numbers to about 4,000 here. The troops are all quartered in the barracks which must suit the citizens very well for most of them began to be rather unruly.The Rochester and Syracuse regiment occupied 36 cars and most of them being freight cars the boys felt first rate of course and were bound to have a breathing hole and soon their bayonets were seen through the sides of the car quickly followed by the butts of their muskets. When everyone had a window of his own then came the word "Tiger". Probably you do not understand the word Tiger. Well after giving three cheers for anything, then comes Tiger and everyone yells the worst he can.
I have just returned from a first rate dinner and am now thinking whether you had as good. I'll bet you did not have a better.
Clark Whitney starts for home tomorrow. He came back here and was examined but not accepted. I do not knowbut I shall send this by him.
We have preaching here this afternoon (at the barracks) at four o'clock. Our shoes and shirts and drawers are on their way here and we expect the remainder of our uniforms the last of the week, so we feel that we shall soon look like soldiers.The news came here last night that the rebels had taken possession of Cincinnati (is that spelled right) but is hardly credited here.Well wife I must cut this letter short, so you must excuse its shortness four we have to meet at the officers quarters in a few minutes to sing. I will write again in a day or two, kiss my little dear Frankie and take one or two for yourself. I long to see you, time seems awfully long. We are all well and in good spirits tell me all the news, goodbye, God bless you.
Three cheers for the red white and blue.
There I am called to go. Frank
June 10th 1861
You will be surprised to see me with a pen but I thought I would have a change for once. I have been waiting patiently for that letter, but have not received it yet. I did not hear from you at all last week and begin to think you are sick, or else the baby, but I hope not. It seems that I cannot get along without hearing from you once a week, I must have one letter a week and as many more as you can send. I sent you 3 letters last week, two by mail and one per Clark Whitney. Did you get them? I shall write certainly two per week and three when I am a little desponding.
I must correct one statement that I made in one of my letters to you last week. I said that many of the boys had the small pox, but I meant the measles. Six of our boys are down with them now and only 20 out of the 80 which compose the Sandy Creek Company are fit for duty and 10 to 20 of the other companies are down with them. Every day two or three are carried to the hospital. I know this will not be very good news, but you shall know the worst. My health is first rate and I am feeling well. I do not know whether I ever had them or not. God has protected me thus far and my prayer is that he will continue to do so. In him will I put my trust and not be afraid.
Wife,I smoke now and then because I think it helps to keep off the measles, and those sick spells that I used to have, I have not been troubled with since I used tobacco, you won't care anything about it, will you? I know you always had a disgust for the weed.
We are having very fine weather here and things are growing fast, corn will soon be fit to hoe, strawberrys (wild) are ripe. We have fixed up our barracks very fine, making a nice little Arbor in front with evergreens intermingled with flowerswhich gives it the appearance of one of those fairy bowers spoken of in novels.
We had no preaching yesterday. Our minister being in Owego.
Another man was drowned yesterday, belonging to Colonel Christian's regiment, the cramp took him while he was in bathing.
The boys were determined to get out on a spree last night, ten of our boys were put in the guard house, but none from our company, and the guard house of the Buffalo regiment is full. 30 made an attempt to escape last night, but were caught except two. One was fired at by the sentinel five times, but without effect.
Tell Jimmy, Oren has had the measles but is well again, or very near. Give his love to all the boys and girls. Well my dear wife my paper begins to tell me that I must soon stop period now you must write just as quick as you get this if you haven't already. When do you go home? Give my best love to all. How does Joseph get along, does his man stay with him, tell Frederick I shall write him soon.We have not received our uniforms yet, nor any money. I hope we shall get some before the 4th.
Now write soon and tell me all the news, kiss my little Frankie for me,
God bless you both,
Goodbye, Frank Teear
June 21st 1861, Friday night
My dear wife,
This is probably last letter that I shall write to you before I see you? You must excuse my haste, for this is an exciting time just now.Today we received our uniforms today, and of course feel pretty proud.6 or 7 of the boys are coming home and start tomorrow morning. Theron Haight is coming and I shall send this by him, I should have come with him had I the money. Do you think you can send me enough to get home with, 5 or 6 dollars, if you can send it by one of the boys when they come back, but if not, let me know as soon as you get this. Wife I never mean to draw on you for money, but I must see you, and as the government is so slack about pay, I must borrow. Sam is here to see me he came night before last, goes back tomorrow morning. Now wife if you can send that let me know directly on receipt of this.I am well and feel alright on spiritual things.I must close, but hope soon to see you.
God bless you. Frank
Orders came last night after the boys had received their furlough that we were to be mustered in today, so they do not start until night or or perhaps Monday. Wife, I do not know how long we shall stay in Elmira, but our time is short not over two weeks. So if you can send me the money you had better send it by letter as soon as you get this and then I can start right home. I got a letter from you this morning stating that you had not left home but expected to shortly. I hope to be at home soon, if you cannot send me the money, let me know on receipt of this.
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