Letters of  Lawrence M. Banker

Lawrence M. Banker age 27, a wagon maker, enlisted September 24, 1861, at Harford, NY, to serve three years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. F, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, October 4, 1861; killed in action, August 28, 1862, at Gainesville, Va.

According to Harford Town Historian George Chevalier, town records show Banker's name as "Marcellus". 

Catherine Shults and Abram Banker, Lawrence's parents, were married June 22, 1826. They had two other sons,  George and Isaac and lived in Harford, New York. From the tombstone (right), another son, Peter, also "died in the service of his country" in October, 1864.

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

Banker's tombstone in Harford Cemetery.
Mike Brown photo, April 2001

Letterhead has a picture of clasped hands in front of the Constitution
with the following inscription under it:

Fort Totten Washington, D.C. March 4th 1862

Dear Mother

As I have a few moments I Spend Them in writing To You I presume you have Seen Lewis Sweet & Sent $80.00 by him to pay to H H Terpening I presume you have recd it. I recd a letter from Uncle Nathan Stating That he had paid Terpening The Seventy Dollars That I left with him To pay on The Mortgage I wish it was all paid & I want you To Take Care of my Clothes To fix Them and Take care of Them when I get Home

If I Send all The Money home That I get I cant buy any Clothes So you will See The necesity of My wanting you To keep Them in repair and times is ready and I presume you would like To know how we live in camp we have removed from Meridian hill we are Three 1/2 Miles from Washington

Our Regiment is divided in five parts we are Quartering five forts Co. A in one Co. B and C in a fort and E. F. G in Fort Totten and The Chery valley Boys are Garrisoning The other two & it is rather cold weather Yesterday it rained all day To Day it is pleasant but cold. Will is sick he has Taken cold Wesley is better Eugene is better Capt Barnard is back To Camp Lieut Mead is going Home and we have first rate here Since we are in Camp We have beef pork potatoes Sugar Coffee Beans Tea Vinegar Molases Not a very Great Quantity of Tea and Molasses but Enough for a change

I presume You Think My letters are rather uninteresting for I have So much To do That I cant write a leter without being disturbed a Dosen Times

I am Officer of the Guard To day I have been Seargeant a Great Many Times but This is The first Time That I have been Officer and I have a Great deal To do The most of the Seargts have bad Colds in our Co Oren E. Ellis is Sick he Tents with Me and D. Montgomery from Dryden.

We have built a Log Tent or house five feet high and put our Tent on the Top it is a first rate house we do our Cooking have got a Stove Tea Kettel Boiler Stew pan Cups and Ike has got his Tent riged in The Same Style only he Sleeps over head he as his bunk fixed over head He and G. Weiler and C Boutin George is a first rate Boy he is Sick at present with a Cold Ike is fixin Boots he has all That he can do or could have if he Would work all the Time there is a Shoemaker in C G he works all The Time but Ike will do more in one day then he can in Two I have placed him in Lieut Greens Office Twice to make out the pay roll The Lieut Thinkes a Great deal of Ike he will Excuse him from drill or Guard whenever he asks for one and you must Excuse This for I am in a hurry

Take care of my Book my Love To All
Yours Truly L.M.B.

Fort Slocum Washington, D.C. May 19th 1862

Dear Father

Enclosed I Send you $120.00 One Hundred and Twenty dollars which I want you to pay to Henry Terpening and find how much there is due on the place I would like to have you to Take This Money and pay it as Soon as possible and let Me know how Much There is due Yet

Ike let me have Twenty dollars The last pay day and now he let Me have Sixty Dollars you See that he Sends as Much as I do I recd Sixty Eight Dollars I Send Sixty Ike Recd Fifty Six he has don a good business at Shoe Making and if he could take his Tools with him it would be first rate but it will be impossible for him to Take Them at present he will Send Them home by Express

G Weiler and I Send Our Clothes Georges Clothes are Roled up in a package The newest Coat is mine the rest belong to Ike and we Take care of Them for us Send Georges to Freds or George will Tell what to do with them

I Send you a letter Yesterday I hope that you will get it and We have received Marching Orders last Night they were read on Parade and To Morrow we are To go To Richmond You See That we receive Short Notice we will Join McClleands Army Still We May Not but we will with but a doubt Join The advancing Army

I do not know who will have Command of the Regiment but I presume That They have a Col apointed I do not know whether Col Green has been Mustered out or not but I hope that he has not I hope that he will have Command of the Regiment and Leander Jones will Send Fourty dollars. B Holden will Send home the Most of his E Shapley will and the rest of the Boys The same The Boys are all in good health at present

I will write To you as often as possible I am in a great hurry for I have a great deal To do Give my love to all of our friends at Harford I would like to write them all but I have not got the Time To do so at present perhaps when I write To you again I will be at Richmond or near there perhaps The old Seventy Six will get Return her lost reputation hope That we may have The priveliage of trying

My Love To You and Mother, Etty and Aletha and Elly Uncle Lewis & family

Yours truly
My Respects To David Brunson & Family Mr Dickingson & Family & Mr Griffen and Family and all the rest & Ike Sends his Love To You All

Lawrence Banker was killed in action, August 28, 1862, at Gainesville , Va. He is buried in the Harford (NY) Cemetery on Route 38. 

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 July 10, 2004