Letter from Private Anson Johnson

Anson Mortimer Norten Johnson, age 22 years, 6 foot 1 inch tall, dark complexted, blue eyes, black hair, a farmer by occupation, born in New York enlisted on September 20, 1861 at Pitcher, New York in Company "B", 76th New York Volunteer Infantry and mustered in as a private, for a term of three years on October 4, 1861 at Cortland, New York. He was killed at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Anson died without a wife or children.

He was the son of Nathaniel Johnson who married his wife October 24, 1830 or 31, at Whitesborough, New York and they had one other son Albert J. Johnson born Dec. 1833. In 1876 his father was living in Long Fork, Howard County, Nebraska. This letter was found in his father's pension application at the National Archives, Washington, D.C.


Headquarters of the 76 N.Y.S.V.
Camp Near Gilford Station, Va.
June 28th /63

Dear Mother

It is with pleasure that i seat my self down to write you A few lines to let you no that i am well at preasant and i hope these few lines Will find you the same. I recieavd your kind letter last knight and was glad to hear from you and hear you was well and no man hurt yet nor we haint bin in eny fight Since the fight at Chanslersville. I saw Morris Backwell When We Was on the last march they had him in A fight and lost thair colonel. they dont no Wheter he was kiled or not.

When We Was on A march last weeak our colonel was taken sick and he Got a liaf of abesents and Went to Washington and he Was apointed provost Marshall of D.C. and the boys are glad that he is gon. the Major has taken command and the boys are Well pleased to think he aint coming back eny more.

you ask me if I had hurd eny thing from Albert I haint hurd from him since the battle at Chanslersville and i dont no Whether he is dead or alive and if you hear from him before I do please Let me no Whare he is and if he is alive or not. this is all at preasant and you must write as soon as you get this.

from you son

Anson Mortimer Norten Johnson In this Army


The letter was accompanied by an illustrated poem published by Charles Magnus, No. 12 Frankfort St. N.Y. The illustration is of a Union Regiment with mounted officers, flags flying charging up a hill amidst bursting cannon shells. The soldiers are wearing knapsacks and the western high black hats.

Advertisement at bottom of page: Purchase MAGNUS ORNAMENTAL AND GLORIOUS UNION PACKET, made up from an endless Variety of Scenes, each Packet will gratify yourself and gladden the hearts of Friends at home.

MOTHER, IS THE BATTLE OVER ?

"Mother, is the battle over ?
Thousands have been slain, they say,
Is my father coming ? - tell me,
Have our soldiers gained the day ?
Is he well, or is he wounded-
Mother, do you think he's slain ?
If you know, I pray you, tell me,
Will my father come again ?
Mother, dear, you're always sighing,
Since you last the paper read,
Tell me why you now are crying,
Why that cap is on your head ?
Ah! - I see, you cannot tell me,
Father's one among the slain,
Although he loved us very dearly,
He will never come again."
"Yes, my boy, your noble father
Is one number'd with the slain;
We shall not see him more on earth,
But in heaven we'll meet again.
He died for the Union's glory,
Our day may not be far between,
But I hope, at the last moment,
That we all shall meet again."

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 26, 1999