Letter of Sgt. Freeman Schermerhorn
To the parents of John Goff

Freeman Schermerhorn, age 24, enlisted September 21, 1861, at Truxton, to serve three years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. G., 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, October 9, 1861; discharged for disability, November 28, 1862 at New York.

John Thomas Goff age 22, enlisted at Cortland, NY September 29, 1861, to serve three years; mustered in as private Co. G, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, October 5, 1861; died of typhoid pneumonia, March 25, 1862, at Fort Totten, Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Thomas and John A Goff, married January 1, 1832 at Preble, NY, were the parents of John Thomas, Mary M., age 29; Francis, age 19; Anna, age 14; Herbert, age 10. The ages are as of 1862. They lived in Homer, Cortland County, NY.


Fort Totten March 23d/62

Mr. J.A. Goff - Dear Sir

I write to inform you of the sickness of your son John. he was taken sick last thursday, he seems to be about the same as he was the last time he was sick in Cortland. since friday night he has been delirious & this afternoon he is no better but of the two worse.

the Hospital here is small & pretty full, so he has to been taken there yet, but has staid in his tent, & has been cared for as well as could be. We have got to move from here in the morning & go over to Fort Massachusettses as there is an other Regt coming here to relieve us. we shall try & get him into the hospital & of course have to leave him, but he will be taken care of as well as possible.

Doct. Nelson is very unwell yet, not able to get out, but is on the gain, he is in the hospital on Meridian hill. Doct Metcalf attends the sick here, but we do not think much of him. I think that when a man is taken sick here he is in pretty poor hands, as far as doctors are concerned. There are quite a number f boys sick in our Co now, two besides John who are very sick.

This afternoon on parade the orders for morning were changed & we go to Fort Slocum which is but half a mile from us.

I have just been to see John, & have asked him what I should tell you for him, but could get little or no satisfaction from him save he said you could sell the old mare before she foals if you want to suit yourself & you will suit him. He eats, but very little, & is dreadful weak, although he is able to walk a little & set up some, he is not raving, his trouble only amounts to talk. I think by his actions that he is by spells in a good deal of pain, but he says that he has no pain, he does not know where he is much of the time, sometimes he says he is in Europe & again in his Fathers barnyard. I will try & write to you in a few days again.

From your most obedient Servant
Freeman Schermerhorn
Sergeant Co B 76 Regt N.Y.V.
Washington D.C.


This letter was 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