Letters from Waldo Potter


Waldo Potter, age 18, born 1844, a farmer, enlisted September 20, 1861, at Union Valley, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. A, October 4, 1861; discharged for disability, December 3, 1862, at New York City. Re-enlisted at Norwich, and mustered in as private, Co. G, 2nd New York Heavy Artillery, January 4, 1864; wounded by a ball in left shoulder June 10, 1864, at Cold Harbor; wounded June 15, 1864 contusion to left foot, thigh and left shoulder by shell; wounded July 3, 1864 contusion to left foot by shell; wounded, gun shot wound right thigh, in action April 7th 1865 near City Point, Va.; Died April 7, 1865 from wound.

Fanny H. and Joel Potter, married May 3rd, 1835 at Taylor, NY, were the parents of Waldo, Alburtus, and Almira. They lived in Town of Taylor, Cortland County, NY.

The following letters were found in Waldo's mother pension application file in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


Philadelphia                
July 11/62

Dear parents

I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am a going to my regiment to morrow and when you write you may direct to the regiment I have about $80 that I want to send to you and I dast not send it by mail for it mint get lost so I think that I will take it with me and send it home by uncle chancey when he gits his discharge I am in some what of a hury excuse all mistakes rite soon your truly          

Waldo Potter           

HO for           DIXIE

I thought that I would put in a few dollars and if Chancy come I will send the rest by him.

         W. Potter

(Chancy is Chauncey Potter, age 35, enlisted September 20, 1861, at Union Valley, to serve three years; mustered in Co. A, 76th NY Vol Inf, October 4, 1861; discharged for disability, September 23, 1862, at Washington, D.C.)  


      Washington
Sept 26 1862

Dear parents

I have just received a letter from you and was glad to hear from you and to hear that you was all well as could be exected under the circumstances I thought that I would send you ten dollars now and I exect to get two months pay more now in a short time and then I can send more I would send you more this time iff I had not got to buy me a pair of boots and a pair of shirts and a few other things but I would rather go without a sent in my pocket than have you want or get in to any trouble I tell you what it is from pas and mother's boy and mean to be to I wish you would rite and let me know how much I have sent home for I lost my memoirandum and how old I shal be next January and when my birth day is

I am no better as yet but soon hope I shal be I have got the diarrhoea I am so that I sit up all day but am very week and have no appitite Doctor george from Cortland has ben here to see me twice the first time he brout me some fried cakes and he sayed that they came all the way from cortland Oh was they not good I do believe that the poorest med in the world would be good iff it came from Cortland the next time he came he brought me some of the nicest butter in the world for it came from Cortland to

If I should tell you how poorly we lived here you would not know what to say tell Almiry I will answer her part of the letter when I get the answer from the one I rote Frank is not killed I do not think for there is a sargeant here of his company and he sayed that he was prety badly wounded but he thought he would recover and that is all I can hear from him some tell one thing and some another george Culver was seen struck and died at Culpeper or near there and was buried between Culpeper and South Mountain peace go with him good by for this time from you ever loving son Waldo Potter

 These two bills have ben with me through all of Virginia


 Washington
October 4th 1862

Dear parents

I have just receiving you fine and ever welcome letter but I was some what surprised to hear that almira was sick by some means or other I did not get the answer to the one I rote to her mother brothers and sister I should like to see you once again but the lord only knows whether I ever shall or not iff we meet not on this world I trust that we shal in an other

I can not get my discharge but I think that I shal get my pay soon and it might be I could get a short furlow what do you think of it Let me know next time you rite never be afraid of asking me to send you mony for it gives me pleasure to send it to you when I have it I have got a plenty by me and more to I have got some over 15 dollars with me now and should you want any dont be afraid to send for it excuse my bad riting for my pen is not good

your ever loving son
Waldo Potter

Tell albertus to rite and to plant these seeds in the spring for they are bell pair sene one as big as your two fists the pair Come from Vermont

I send you a book      it cost me 20 read it       one and all       to remember        me        W. P.


Fort C F Smith               
March 11, 1864

Folks at home

I rite you from my head quarters we got here las monsday we came on the water to alexandria and from there on foot we are on the Virginia Side in arlington heights every thing is bustley here we have baracks to sleep in and good straw ticks and good grube in our mess room we have earthen dishes to eat out of every thing is Clean and neat I am in Co. G and Dock mery arth and gorge thay are in Co E they ar in another Fort about a quarter of a mile from here I am well and tuff as a buck

give Jim the Directions and till him to rite for I rote him first             

Waldo              Potter      Direct to

I sent 50 dolars by express       From Alexandria       Have you got it or        Haint you      It is warm and nice here      How is it at home       General Potter

Directions       Fort C.F. Smith       Co. G, 2 NY Heavy Artilery        Washington,          D.C.       Care C F Smith       Co G 2 N.Y. Heavy Artilery


Mount Pleasant hospital
June 15th 1864

Dear beloved parents    

It is with pleasure that I now have the power to rite you a few more lines you may be some what surprised when you hear of my being in the hospital I will tell you why I am here

I am wounded in three places by a mortar shell but not dangerously I was lying with the rest of the company before the breastworks Charles murray and garett Brown lay one on one side and one on the other the shell burst rite over me and piece struck me on the sholder one in the groins and one on the top of my foot my foot is the worst of any it like to have spoilt that mold on my foot iff it had I should have ben mad

the doctor thinks that some of the boans are cracked them in my foot but I can hable round some yet it is my left foot left shoulder and left groin I am some stiff

I tell you one thing it saved me from and that is a long march for the army moved the same night it was the 11 day of June I got them letters you rote the day before it was the first male our regiment had get since they left the forts

our regiment has ben farely badly cut up for we had 1700 men and now we number only 800 men one thing I have not got vary money and iff you will send me two or three dollars send it dont trust any more for I might not get it

I have been in six diverent fights and one skirmish and that was as bad as a fight and five out of the six we charged rite up to the rebels breast works rite in the mouth of their cannon and we took them every time but twice and then we did not know when to stop for the rebs say that them heavy arty felows dont know when they are whiped the greatest wonder is that I got out alive I have got two ball holes through my coat and one through my pants

I can not stand it to rite eny more now rite all of you and all of the news for I am anxious to hear from you good by for this time

from your son Waldo Potter.

          Direct to          Waldo Potter        Mount Pleasant Hospital          Washington D.C


Camp near Petersburg Va.
March 12th 1865

Dear parents    

I now take a few moments to rite you in answer to your ever welcome letter witch I got yestarday from well and I am glad that you Mother is so mutch better I hope this will find you still on the recovery I have been payed off and I will send some money in this letter I have got a plenty of stamps now the sutler sent to Washington and got some I will send 75 dollars in this one it will pay for your new haus I am all most a fraid to send it but I may loose it or get it stolen if I keep it by me you can do with it as you see fitt I will have 100 more to send home it will make 175 in all and I hope it will get home all safe it will make over 899 dollars I want to make it as bigh as 1200 iff I can and I guess that I can some of the boys got over 200 and now they have not got a sent they have gambled it a weigh I may send the rest before I get an answer from this iff I do I shal put it in to a letter to mira as berties the weather is getting some warm here now and it is spring with us it is not quite spring with you yet I do not know of any more so good by for now rite and let me know how you like you new home good by for now from

you ever loving son              Waldo Potter


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 February 20, 2000