Sunday, January 22, 2012

January 18, 1862 Letter: Jacob Wright & James Clayton, 11th PA Cav.

In January 1862, Company I ("The New Jersey Company") of the 11 Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was encamped at Camp Hamilton at Fortress Monroe, Virginia.  The Warren County members of Lieutenant Charles Butts' Company I adopted a motto: "We Swear to Conquer or Die." 

On January 18, 1862, Jacob P. Wright and James M. Clayton, of Belvidere, wrote a letter to Franklin Pierce Sellers, publisher/editor of The Belvidere Intelligencer, "We now take the opportunity to write to you a few lines and let you know how a soldier's life is about here.  The soldiers are all gay since pay day.  The regiment was paid off on Tuesday last, and before night, they were all gay.  They had to double the guard around the camp, but for all their trouble, some of them got out. 

"The boys of Belvidere are well.  We have good new stables for the horses and good cavalry tents for ourselves.  We are in good quarters for the winter - as good as soldiers generally get.  We find our feather beds on the soft side of a plank, and two woolen blankets to cover us at night.  If we can get a bundle of hay under our heads instead of our boots, we think ourselves well off.  We are getting fat on salt meat and hard crackers.  The rebels haven't bothered us yet, and they had better not, for there are fighting boys in this regiment.  They are anxious for a fight, and they say they will not return until they have one.  We send our respects to all the friends of Warren.  The Intelligencer is a welcome visitor on our camp.  We are Harlan's Regiment, Company I, Captain Herr, Camp Hamilton, Fortress Monroe, Va.  This is written by J. M. C. and J. P. W."

Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards 

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