Letters from John A. Clark

John A. Clark age 20, a farm laborer, enlisted at Cooperstown, NY to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. H, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, November 7, 1861; died of typhoid fever, August 7, 1862, at Ascension General Hospital, Washington, D.C.

He was the son of Hannah and Oromil W. Clark who were married November 12, 1827. His father died November 1847. His mother remarried Levi Pierce. They lived in the Town of Otsego, Otsego County, New York

The letter head has a large picture of the bust of General McClellan covering the top half of the first page framed by a patriotic frame of flags, guns and a winged eagle at the top.

Jan the 24 1862

Dear Mother

i now take my pen to let you know how i get along i am on striker island east of new york i am well and like it first rate we got our pay the 22 they cheated me out of 7 dollars and i canst send home but a little this time but i am in hopes i can send more the next time i don know how long we shall stay here but i hope not vary long if you write to me direct it to captain swan 76 regiment new york states volanteers i think we shall go to the seat of war in a fewer days but you need not afraid to Write for it will get to me all right tell the Children i have not forgot them and i hope i shall be back in the Spring i now got to drill good bye from your son

John A Clark

The letter head has a picture of Fort Sumpter with the statue of lady liberty in a shell burst over it.

Jan the 26 (1862)

i now take my pen to let you know that i am Well and Would like to see you Well enough but i canot get a while but i dont Want you to feel bad for i Shall Come out all right in the Spring i Would like to have you Write to me if you can and let me know how you get along and the Children if they are Well and how your helth is kis Mary and Julia for me tell Mr Burnell tha i Want him to let you Stay in the Old house till i come home and i will thank him for it i Want you to him read this if he can for i have to Write in a crampd and a Pan on the 25 we had a dredful storm out on the island it Wreked a Sloop and drove her ashore She Was loaded With beer and the boys Went down and Stole about two thirds of a barel and 40 hog heds of butter and then they put the Captain in the guard house While at Cherry Valley i Was put in Captain Swan Co and they have named it the 76 reg We Have a bully squad of boys Write to me i Want you Write direct to me in the care of Captain Swan at Strickers Island an i sent you 5 dollars in another letter the 24 it was a government note and Will pass anawhere for it is as good as the Silver i Would Write more but We have got to diner i Would have Sent more money home if i could but they dint pay me as much as expected but i Send more the next time

John A Clark

Fort Mass
April 18th (1862)

Dear Mother

i now set down to Write you a few lines to inform you that I am Well and in good health at present and hope this Will find you the Same and the little ones also I got your letter last night and was glad to hear from you and mari but I am Sorry that you have So much trouble and i Wish i was there to help you but i aint now but think i Shall be in a Short time at least you said you had not a place to lay your head and i am sorry for it and i try to help you as soon as i get any pay So that you Wont be So hard up again i hope you Wrote that you Wanted me to one kind Word to you if i had said an unkind Word to you i am Sorry for it for I did not intend to i knew that i Wrote rather plain about John but not half so plain as i Shall if i Were see him i tell him that in plain words i was Sorry to hear that Cooperstown were built up for it had spoilt the place dont be cast down by anything but look up to the lord and trust in him for he is a friend to all that trust in him in the hour of need and i find it to be true since i came to the army you must give up hope as long as ther is life for there is better days closely i hope you must excuse my bad Writing for my pen is poor and my ink is afall

Write Soon

John A. Clark

Washington May 18 1862

Dear mother

i now set down to pen you a few lines to you know that i am better than When i Wrote last to you and hope you are the same yesterday i drawed two month pay and enclosed you will find 10 dollars they keep back two month pay so that i shall draw 26 dollars once in two month after this and i Would Send more but i had to by a stove that cost me 4 dollars and then i bought a pair of boots they cost 3 dollars and a half So you Can See that i aint got but about 6 dollars and after this i Shall Send you 15 dollars each time that i draw i Want you to Write back as Soon as you get this So that i Shall know Whether you get it or not and i Shall not easy about it till i hear from it i want to Write a few Words to Winfield So i most close this from your ever loving Son

John A Clark

Dear Brother i will Write you a few lines and Want you to answer it have mother Write it for you So that i Can read it i Want you to go to School every day this Summer So you Will be a man and come down South to fight for you country as i have done We get a pop at a rebel once in a great While Since the regement has been in Camp We have Shot 3 men so that they made out to die and they are no loss this from your Brother John Clark

July 11th 1862

Dear mother

It is With great pelasure i now Write these few lines in order to let you know how i am i am pretty smart for me to day yesterday i had a hard head ache i dont know how long i shall stand it i dont know how long i can stand it but not long i am afraid for i like it First rate Since I wrote last i went down to paymasters Dixon to get My pay and he said he Could not pay me untill the regement got their pay and he did not know When that Would be now if you Want 5 dollars i Can Borrow it of some of boys and Send it to you now dont be afraid to let Me Know it if you Want it but if you dont Want it i Can Send you in September 25 dollars for i Shant draw my pay now untill there is 4 months due me for i Can get along Without money untill then you Can See just how the matter Stands and let me know if you Want the money before that time and i will get it for you no more at presant this from

your loving Son

J Clark

Ascension General Hosp
Washington D C
Box 229

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 21, 1999