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144th New York Infantry Letter

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Item Number: UL2046
 

 



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"I should like to have you see some of the slaves as they are on the plantations with all their notions for they have been made to believe that the Yankees have horns and tails and are great thieves and robbers and destroy everything where they go, and to see them roll their eyes when they see the Yankee soldiers come around the plantations, and the little ones hide..."

6 pages, 5 x 8, in ink, written by Abram Bogart, to his wife and children. Comes with the original envelope, addressed to [Mrs] Abram Bogart, Masonville, Delaware Co., N.Y., with bulls eye cancellation, and stamped Due 6. The postage stamp at the upper left corner of the cover has been torn off.

Hilton Head, S.C., August 5, 1864

Dear Wife and Children,

It is with pleasure that I write to you to let you know that I am in the land of the living, and have tolerable good health at this time, and hope you are the same. You spoke in your letter that you had got some things to take care of and a garden to hoe, and how do you get along with it and have you any chickens to eat this fall, and that you had rather hear that I was killed in battle than hear that I was under arrest. Now I had rather serve my time out in some port than be in this aristocratic army for it gets worse every day for we have got to have everything scoured and polished til you can see your [face] in it, and the Rebs can see our guns glisten as far as they can see us, and they know right where to shoot, and we canít see them, only by their smoke, and we canít sight our guns for they glisten so that it hurts our eyes and draws the sun so that we are getting sun struck, and then have to retreat to save ourselves, and [the] sick, there is as many again die here as gets killed in battle. On that account and the reason we get sick of it, the officers put on airs and strut about and find fault with the men, and punish them for nothing, but when it goes to a court martial then they are done for. I am back to the company and nothing found against me after laying off from the 21st June til August, and now I am almost a mind to try them, but the old saying is the more that you stir a turd the worse it stinks, so I think that I shall let them be this time, so you see how it is now and I donít want you to feel bad for I have told you that when the worst comes to worst that I should look out for myself and so I shall never fear. I donít see why my folks donít write to me any more, or have they got ashamed of me. If so just let me know it for I donít want to think that I have got friends when I havenít got any for I hate assumed friends anywhere for that is the great curse in this war, and when we are out of sight they are against us, and I think it is time there was a sifting of the wheat and see who is right and who is wrong, for it is in the army as it is in the country, when they are with you they are friends, and when you are away they will talk about you and find fault with what you do, and it is just so with the generals. One finds fault with the other, and that is the way with this army down here, and then they say that they canít depend on the troops, and the private has it after all. I should like to have you see some of the slaves as they are on the plantations with all their notions for they have been made to believe that the Yankees have horns and tails and are great thieves and robbers and destroy everything where they go, and to see them roll their eyes when they see the Yankee soldiers come around the plantations, and the little ones hide and then come to their Ma and say I donít see any horns and some of them are as pretty as a n____er [N word] can be, slim and straight and they hanít over black around here, but are very timid and keep us as far as they can.

So good by,

Abram Bogart

More content. Light age toning and wear. Typical misspelling. Very fine content with good description of the slaves on a South Carolina plantation.

Abram Bogart, was born in 1825 in Catskill, Greene County, New York. He enlisted on August 15, 1862, at Sidney, Delaware County, New York, for a period of three years, and was mustered in to the 144th New York Infantry Regiment, Company I, on September 27, 1862. He was transferred to Company K, on October 16, 1862. He mustered out with his company on June 25, 1865, at Hilton Head, S.C. After the war he returned home where he worked as a farmer with his wife Mary, and their three children.

The 144th New York Infantry recruited in Delaware County, was mustered into the U.S. service on September 27, 1862.

It left New York on October 11th, 956 strong, and was stationed in the defenses of Washington at Upton's Hill, Cloud's Mills and Vienna until April, 1863.

It was then assigned to the Department of Virginia, and assisted in the defense of Suffolk, Va., during Longstreet's siege of that city. In May, it joined the 7th corps at West Point, Va., and shared in the demonstration against Richmond.

In July, it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 1st Division, of the 11th Corps. This division was detached from its corps on August 7th, and ordered to Charleston harbor, S.C., where during the fall and winter of 1863 the regiment was engaged at Folly and Morris islands, participating with General Quincy A. Gillmore's forces in the siege of Fort Wagner, and the bombardment of Fort Sumter and Charleston.

In February, 1864, the regiment served in the 1st brigade, 10th Corps, and was engaged at Seabrook and John's Islands, S. C. It was then ordered to Florida, where it was chiefly engaged in raiding expeditions, and was active in the action at Camp Finnegan. It returned to Hilton Head in June; was active at John's Island in July, losing 13 killed, wounded and missing. They then served in General Potter's Brigade of the Coast division, and participated in the movements of General Sherman, fighting at Honey Hill, and Deveaux Neck.

Its casualties at Honey Hill were 108 and at Deveaux Neck, 37 killed, wounded and missing. Lieutenant James W. Mack, was killed in action, at Honey Hill. Attached to the 3rd separate brigade, District of Hilton Head, it was heavily engaged at James island, S.C., in February, 1865, losing 44 killed, wounded and missing.

In the fall of 1864, the ranks of the regiment were reduced to between 300 and 400 men through battle and disease, and it was then recruited to normal standard by one year recruits from its home county. The regiment was mustered out at Hilton Head, S.C., June 25, 1865, under command of Colonel Lewis. It lost by death during service 40 officers, and men, killed and mortally wounded; 4 officers and 174 enlisted men died of disease and other causes; for a total of 218.

Source: The Union Army, Vol. 2.



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