Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 14, 1862: Isaiah Albertson's letter from 11th NJ Regiment

On June 19, 1862, 21-year old Isaiah Nelson Albertson, of Hope, enlisted in Colonel Robert McAllister's new 11th NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Albertson was elected Corporal of Company D on the day of his enlistment.  On July 14, Albertson wrote from Camp Perrine, in Trenton, NJ, to his brother Edward H. Albertson, who later enlisted in Company H of the 31st NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment in September 1862. 

Albertson wrote, "Dear Brother: I thought I would write a few lines and let you know how I am coming along about this time.  Well, I am in the tent writing on a rudely constructed desk, and it is as hot as a bake oven in here, but at night it's quite pleasant, and cool in the morning.  I almost forgot to say that I am in good health in spite of sleeping on the ground as we have no straw in our tents now.  I suppose you are hard at work harvesting about now.  I hope you have plenty of help and I hope you are all well at home.  Tell Jay [brother Jay Albertson] not to work too hard harvesting and tell him to write and tell me how Turk is coming along, and how many turkeys you have now and how high the corn is and anything you wish to talk about. 

"I have just come in, had to go out to get our pay.  The paymaster came into camp today, and it is quite lively in camp this afternoon.  We only get $13 now.  That is the U.S. pay.  The state pay comes when discharged.  They say we get $25 when our Company is full - that is 25 of the bounty.  They send money home for the soldiers if they wish to have any part of it sent.  So Father may expect $13 about the time you get this letter.  All of them that are here get one month pay whether they have been here one month or a day. 

"Just one month yesterday since I enlisted.  I received my first letter from home Saturday night about nine o'clock.  I had just come off guard.  I read it in the guard house by candle light.  I was glad to have such a good letter from sister Ell [Ella Albertson].  I cannot tell how long we shall stay here, but, as we are digging a couple of wells, I should think we will stay here three or four weeks at least, maybe longer.  I almost forgot to say I got $5 in the letter, but I did not need it, but I thank them for it.  She wanted me to get a large photograph. Well, inside you will find a piece of sheet iron with a piece of my picture on it [a Daguerreotype or tintype photo].  I had it taken before I got the letter from Ell.  Probably, I will get my photograph yet.

"There is a lively time in camp now drinking root beer at the sutler's house, but they can't get outside of the guard as they have strengthened it with loaded rifles.  Ike Hendershot has gone home today.  I cannot think of all I might tell you so I must stop writing.  I would like to see you & Ell down here if you can get any time to come, but I will write and let you know in time before I leave.  George Smythe & folks sends their best respects to all of you. I remain as ever, your Brother of old, Nels."

Copyright 1999-2012: Jay C. Richards

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