Letters of  Private Henry Ferguson

Henry Ferguson age 20, enlisted at Buffalo, NY to serve three years, and mustered in as private, Co. K, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, August 5, 1863; captured inaction, May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, Va.; died, October 5, 1864, at Andersonville, Ga., a prisoner of war, from chronic diarrhoea.

Sarah and Andrew Ferguson, parents of Henry. His father Andrew died March 20, 1853 or 4, at Brantford, Canada West. Sarah had the following children living at home in Buffalo, NY in 1863: Mary, born August 4, 1849; Elizabeth, born October 28, 1854.

The following letters were found in Sarah Ferguson's pension file at the National Archive, Washington, D.C.


December 24, 1863
76 Regt Camp
Near Kelleys Ford Virginia

Dear Mother

I have just received your kind and loving letter and was glad to hear that you ware all well at home as this leaves me at presant. But i have Ben Sick for the last week with the Feaver and Ague. thank god i have got Well again.

i have just got my Shanty Finished as i suppose you now for i gave an account of it in my last letter. just as i received your letter we were ordered to pack up be ready to march
-- line missing --
not started yet or neither doe i now how soon we may go. it is awfull Cold hear. their was a little snow last night but nothing worth knowing. it has ben very nice Weather hear all along untill now. it has turned quite Cold hard Frosts and Cold Winds. it is Fresing awfull hard this evening for it is now evening and We have not gone yet and i hope we may not go for i hate to leave my Shanty now that i have got it so Comfortable but i cant help it if we doe have to leave hear.

Dear Father you say that you did not get the money i sent to you. i am very Sorry to hear it. i sent 12 dollars to you but i did not Register it for their is no way of Registering a letter hear for it and like as if i was in a town or City for i am in the Woods with Scarcely a hous near us but the Shanty of the Regt. you see that i had no Chance to Register the letter and i had to send it by chance but when i send Some More i will Send it By Express so that you will be shure to get it but i can not send you any Money untill we get Paid again that will be on or about the 15 of Next Month or maby Not for 2 More Months yet. i can Not tell but as soon as we get Paid i will send Some to you. it is a good thing that i did not send any More at the time or it would all be lost. i should have but i wanted to get a pair of Boots and the Cost 9 dollars down hear and i wanted to get some other little things such as tobacco and the like. agan see i did not have any more to spare out of 26 dollars and luck it was that i did not for it would be lost and done nobody aney good but by keeping it hear it has done me some good.

Dear Mother if you have not Started up a Box you might put a little Shugar in it and oblidge your Son and bee shure that you send the Butter and tea for i am longing to get a cup of good tea onst more i am tired of Coffee and hard tack. if you can send me some Home Made Bread that is if you have not Started the Box if you have you Need not mind. be shure that you Direct the Box rite for i see that you doe not Direct you letts as i told you to When you rite to me Direct to Henry Ferguson Co K 76 Regt N.Y. Vols First Division First Army Corps Washington, D.C. and direct the Box the Same But do not get Washington before you doe the Company or Regt rit it just the same as i hav on the above lines.

Now Dear Mother i must come to a close by sending my best love to you and the Children. Kiss Charley for me and tell him that i can not get my likeness taken or i would send it to him.

PS dont forget to give my respects on the other sheet.


Camp Near Culpeper, Va.
March 31st/64

Dear Mother

It is with Pleasure i sit down to answer your letter and not with Pleasure rather for i feel very bad about your situation and i am very sorry to hear it for as you say it will be very hard for the children to get along without you or Ellen to take care of them but i suppose they will have to doe the best they can untill Ellen can come home to them.

Dear Mother i have not a grate deal to say this time as i am in a hurry and have not time to rite a grate deal I am quite well and hope these few lines will find you the same. i will inclose in this letter $20 dollars and i hope you may get it safe i could not Express it for as much as three weeks and you might be in use of it before that time so i thought i would chance it in a letter. i have no more to say at presant only to tell you to keep up your spirits as well as you can and Put your trust in god and to tell Mary to be a good girl and Elizabeth and tell Charley to Be a good Boy and if u was there to come Back i will give them all a nice Present. i must close by Sending my best love to you all So good by for the presant and God Bless you all from your ever loving Son Henry Ferguson

PS give my love to Ellen and Emmma and Mrs. Hudson and Elizabeth Lafler and all other inquiring friends and Jim St Clair sends his love to you all Direct as Before good By


These letters were transcribed by B. Conrad Bush, 1940 Reading Road, West Falls, NY, 14170; e-mail Bushresear@aol.com; from original letters found at the National Archive, Washington, DC.


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- Last Updated December 24, 1999