Letters of  Andrew Jackson Grover

Major (then Captain) Grover wrote many letters from the 76th NY for the Cortland Gazette and Banner, a local newspaper. The following letters were transcribed from that publication.

From THE GAZETTE AND BANNER APRIL 24, 1862 VOL 1, NO. 30, Pg 2, COL 4

FORT DE RUSSY, D.C., April 17, 1862.


During a residence of six months in Cortland, I formed many pleasant acquaintances, many real, and, as I trust, lasting friendships, I think I would be accused of egotism if I say, I obtained the confidence of the people of Cortland and rightly.

For this reason perhaps, I have been expected to write in, reference to the affairs of the 76th Regiment; and in some instances, my silence may have been unfavorably construed. I trust my friends who have so often pressed me to write, and wondered that I did not write, will consider the evident impropriety of my speaking of the very things of which they desire to be informed.

Having been connected with the Regiment from its birth; and having in my portfolio, and in my hand a documentary history of its affairs, the expectation that I would lay them before the Cortland public was not altogether unreasonable. But it should be understood that I am forbidden to speak either in praise or blame of my superiors whether in or out of arrest, in the field or on the shelf. There are certain persons, who are not, as I am, amenable to martial law, who can, and as I understand will, give to the public the information they desire. The people are no longer to be compelled to satisfy themselves with vague and uncertain rumors.

Another reason why I have not written either public or private letters is the fact that ever since I left Cortland, until a very recent date, my correspondence has been tampered with. I became convinced that my letters were read by others than those they were directed to before we left the city of Albany, though I had no definite clue to the guilty party. After our arrival at Washington the unknown fingerer of my letters to my wife, for I wrote to no one else, became bolder, and for several weeks actually stopped every letter which contained any important statement or explanation of what was occurring in the regiment. Other letters which contained nothing of special importance were after considerable delay allowed to proceed. It will be readily seen that it became necessary for me to be very careful what I wrote; and also where I mailed my letters.

I found that it was more difficult if anything for my letters than for myself to get out of camp without a pass. As things are at present I think my letters will be allowed to proceed without unnecessary delay; and my friends may expect communications from me more frequently than in the past.- But they must not expect me to utter a single word which it would be improper for me to utter as an officer in the service of the United States. I will not stoop even to defending myself with illegitimate means against my malignant and unscrupulous calumniate. I bide my time. I can afford to wait. I know that when the character of my detractors is understood I am vindicated. But it will not be my work to reveal their character; I remember it is said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."

The state of the Regiment at present is not very satisfactory. It has been afflicted with internal difficulties ever since its commencement. It was born amid a multitude of blunders; and like an unfortunate ship with no unskillful pilot it has got aground at almost every turn in its voyage. This does not argue by any means the perverseness of the materiale of the Regiment. It has in it the elements of success, and these elements, by skillful hands, can be made to coalesce in perfect harmony. If the war continues we shall be heard from; if it should close soon we shall have the mortification of knowing and feeling that one of the best Regiments ever enlisted has been rendered, instead of service, a burden to the Government by persons whose selfishness and jealousy have rendered them entirely oblivious to generous and patriotic considerations. Could I have foreseen the contentions that were to arise, had I known or even suspected how largely corrupt motives were connected with its inception, and to what extent they were to interfere with its progress and harmony, I should have remained at home, and should now be engrossed in the duties of my peaceful profession. But I am now in the boat, and must await the conclusion, and abide by the results of the voyage.

When I commenced this communication I intended to have given some account of our camp experiences, and descriptions of our camp surroundings, but all this must be reserved for other communications. I shall try to write one letter every week, at least until I shall have exhausted my stock of ideas, or the patience of the editor. My letters will necessarily be brief and hurried; but I trust they will not be without interest on that account. They must be considered as off-hand talks, for I have no time to revise and rewrite. If the editor of the Gazette and Banner, and the people of Cortland will accept what I have to give, they are welcome to it. There are a thousand things of which I shall be glad to speak, and of which my friends will be glad to hear, so that, as I trust, both writer and reader may be pleased.

A.J. Grover.

- Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from microfilm on file at the Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY

THE GAZETTE AND BANNER MAY 1, 1862 VOL 1, NO. 31 Pg 2, COL 3,4,




The story of our camp life has no doubt been often told in the numerous letters which our men have written to anxious friends at home; and it may be a needless repetition for me to refer at all to the subject. But I imagine, that what seems to us who are in camp so commonplace, still arrays itself in the enchantment of novelty to those who are at a distance. Camp life soon becomes very dull. Nothing but the remembrance that it is a holy cause in which we are enlisted, can render it tolerable to minds accustomed to society, study, and regular pursuits. The bustle and interruptions of the camp refuse the opportunity and drive away the spirit of reading and study; and there springs up the uneasy realization that one is not on the road to the highest mental and moral attainments. But we mistake if we look upon camp life merely as something novel or trite, dull or lively, favorable or unfavorable to personal acquirement; it is a school in which hundreds of thousands are being trained for the future - a source of power and influence which is to give character to our nation and determine its subsequent history. Pardon me, Mr. Editor and friends, if my communication opens much like an essay. One with as little time as I have at command must write what is uppermost in the mind.

Camp life is an excellent test of the capabilities and character of men. It is a physical test. We cannot tell by looking at men whether or not they can bear the burdens and endure the hardships which are the allotment of the soldier; the man himself cannot tell; the most skillful physicians are often at fault. It is only the appliance of the test, the actual experience of the hardships and exposures of camp and field that determines whether latent disease and death lurk beneath the glow of apparent health. My own company furnishes illustration of this. One whose health appeared perfect, one who, it was thought, would have borne the hardships of camp and march as well as any, was the first, and thus far the only one who has fallen victim to death. There are others, whose feeble habit occasioned grave doubts as to their capability for the work they had undertaken, who gather strength and health from toil and exposure.

Camp life is also a test of mental power. He, who amid the novelties and confusion of camp maintains self-control, and is enabled to apply himself to profound and consecutive thought, may well congratulate himself on his power. Camp life enervates and dissipates the mind, and it requires unusual effort to do anything which requires close thinking. It also brings out the diversities of men. The dull are more intolerable than ever, and the lively are more lively than ever-all the peculiar characteristics of men become unusually distinct as the inscriptions and figures of old coins become visible by being put in the fire. It is very amusing - is the result sometimes provoking - to see the difference in men as to readiness of research and adaptation to circumstances. Some can never get themselves adjusted to the novelties and inconveniences of the camp, and are ever fretting, without trying to provide for their own comfort, refusing to be content in privation that cannot be avoided. Others put themselves at ease at once, get up numberless little contrivances to make their new home, home-like and comfortable, and thus pluck out with uneasiness cheerfulness the sting of every disappointment, and strengthen themselves for the bearing of every burden. I need scarcely say that one who does the fault-finding, the other the singing - that one class gives us all the trouble we have, the other all the assistance we get.

But it is a test of moral character, if I may be permitted to continue my essay, that camp life should be considered. Are the restraints of Christian society, of humbleness, of neighborhood acquaintance, of ---- to be admired; but in camp these constraints are thrown off. The man finds himself possessed of a dangerous freedom which may frighten him under consequences, at first, but which, when he becomes accustomed to it, render him verily more susceptible to temptation than ever before. The evil within him is like a wild beast that has been chained. While chained he cowers before man's look, his appearance is pitifully cringing and abject; but the chain broken, he starts up almost with fright at his liberation, looks wildly and warily around him, the savage nature which concealed itself begins to glare from his eyes, to swell and strengthen itself in his muscles, and finally he bounds away to his native forests to revive his native habits.

But no more of this! I suspect that the people of Cortland desire to hear facts concerning the Seventy-Sixth, not to hear sermons from me, so I will conclude this paper by reference to some things in which they may be interested.

The hardships of our men began at Albany, in barracks insufficiently warmed, and where food was provided most disgustingly cooked, and served up in a most disgusting place. The chapter of hardships was "continued" in Ricker's Island. But the climax was reached during our first week in Washington.

We arrived in Washington January 31st, about midnight, and were marched to a place called ironically the Soldiers' Rest - so called because troops remained there after there arrival in the Capital city, before marching in camp. We were marched into a large room which we were told was the place where the Regiment was to rest for a time. After super - for supper was in readiness even at the late hour, - the men made their arrangements for sleep; and after a little the floor, - the bare, dirty, muddy floor, - was actually covered with only one layer of sleeping soldiers. For a few days the men enjoyed, or rather endured, this fatiguing rest, many of them contracting the disease which has since sent them to their long home. We were soon ordered out to Meridian Hill; but the idea of camping out at such a time was appalling. Several inches of snow had fallen, and slush and mud were about the only things foreign to one's self, the presence of which could be realized.

The place assigned to us for an encampment, must certainly at certain seasons be very pleasant. Meridian Hill - so called because here is the Meridian stone, set up perhaps by the immortal Washington himself, from which our mariners reckon longitudes as do the English from Greenwich - is a sightly place, a beautiful terrace, about two miles north of Pennsylvania avenue, the Broadway of Washington city. It commands a view of the entire plain on which the city is built, a view of its principal structures and monuments, and also of the Potomac. We were encamped in the edge of what must be in summer a beautiful grove, on the estate of Commodore Porter, a few rods only from his mansion, now occupied as a hospital. But beautiful as was the situation, and suggestive of past events, and recent changes, memory and imagination were not permitted to enliven the toil of the beginning of our camp life. Snow and mud, cold fingers and toes, empty stomachs and soiled clothes, concealed every beauty, and compelled us to attend only to the work of arranging the camp.- Here we remained a few weeks and were then sent to occupy certain Forts defending Washington on the Maryland side. Fort Massachusetts is occupied by five companies under the immediate command of Lieut. Col. Shaul; Fort Slocum by four companies commanded by Major Livingston; and Fort De Russy by Co. A, commanded by myself. The surroundings and circumstances of our present situation will be referred to in subsequent communications.

Before closing I feel called upon to speak of rumors that have been, as I believe, insidiously circulated, that the Regiment is to be soon disbanded. Letters have come into our camp stating that our Quarter-master wrote to Cortland that all the officers signed a petition to have it disbanded. I do not believe he wrote any such thing. He knows it is not so, and would not have written it.- There is no probability whatever that we shall be disbanded before the war closes; as I am not aware that a single officer of the Regiment, now in command, desires to have it disbanded before that time. Our Regiment was undoubtedly managed into its present position; the men have become restless for want of something to do; and persons whose motto is "rule or ruin" have done what they could to increase that restlessness, to make the men dissatisfied and insubordinate; in fact to effect the disbanding of the Regiment against the wishes of its head men and to the disgrace of all. Our men here are sometimes made to believe these rumors, and no doubt write home to that effect; but I assure the people of Cortland that those rumors originated with persons whose only object in circulating them was to make difficulty. The most disgraceful intrigues, the most malicious falsehoods are resorted to, to make the men discontented and to embarrass the officers. To some of these I shall refer as occasion demands and the spirit moves.

A. J. Grover.

Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from microfilm on file at Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY



FORT DE RUSSY, D.C., MAY 2d, 1862.


In my last, after preaching, I fear, a tedious sermon, I gave some account of our camp life up to the time we left Meridian Hill, and promised in a subsequent communication to furnish a description of our present situation and surroundings. In this paper I shall try to redeem that promise, in part.

The Regiment is now divided into three detachments, and occupies three forth the chain of fortifications defending Washington on the Maryland side. Fort Massachusetts, the headquarters of the Regiment, is occupied by five companies under the command of Lieut. Col John D. Shawl; Fort Slocum, which is about one mile from headquarters, is occupied by four companies under the command of Major Livingston; Fort De Russy, which is about one mile and a half from headquarters, in an opposite direction from Slocum, is occupied by my company alone. I shall, of course, in this and other communications, speak more particularly of my own command than of other portions of the Regiment, and shall attempt to describe only what I have seen.

Not one of the guns of Fort De Russy has ever been fired either in fun or in earnest, since its construction; nor has there ever been a pound of powder in the magazine until within three days past. Now we have quite a quantity of powder, cartridges, solid shot, grape, canister, and shells, and shall give more attention to artillery practice.- My wife, who is now with me in camp, will to-morrow have the honor of firing the first gun.

We are very pleasantly situated here, and if we are to remain near Washington during the summer, we desire to remain here. We have the use of quite a large wooden building, about forty rods from the Fort, built for the accommodation of the engineers and laborers who constructed it, which provides m with comfortable quarters, and also a kitchen with conveniences for cooking and a store room for the company. Just back of the building is an excellent spring of water, shaded by overhanging trees which at this time perform for us the double office of keeping the water cool for our use, and delighting the water cool for our use, and delighting our senses with the beauty and fragrance of their blossoms. There is also a small stream, made by this and other springs above which furnishes an ample supply of good soft water for washing. Our situation seems to be a healthy one, and the men are fast recovering from the effect of their exposures at Meridian Hill.

Our encampment is in a really romantic region. From the ground on which the camp is placed we can see but little. We are down in a little valley, encircled by hills on the highest of which the fort is perched; the bases of which crowd each other as if at some former period there was a strife among them as to which should occupy the ground. If we can see nothing in the valley, a few rods' walk gives us some delightful views. We have one view down the Potomac, which, with the aid of imagination, becomes singularly, weirdly beautiful. It is a long line of beauty, which aggravates and influences us by half concealing itself, and which is lost finally in the dim distance.- We look down the river several miles, and our neighbor says we see Alexandria. Perhaps we do in a very clear day; but generally we see only wreaths of smoke or dense fog which conceals, though it is suggestive of the presence of a city. The narrowness of the view renders it interesting, and especially the fact that every object is seen in the distance.

From the parapet of the fort we have several views which would be good subjects for the landscape painter. And we have one grand view of hills sweeping round in a circle from Georgetown Heights to the Potomac, this view terminating with the hills that lie beyond the village and battle ground of Bladensburg. The country all around us is wildly romantic. The road to the city is one of the most romantic I ever traveled. It leads through nearly three miles of woods, compels us to ford streams several times, and continually delights the eye by a panorama of beauty which shows a new scene at every turn. Cedars crowd the ravines, dignified oaks and chestnuts crown the hills, and occasionally magnolias range themselves along the roadside like lines of spectators, promising to drop their flowers upon our heads if we came that way next summer. Just at this time the thick, red blossoms of numerous peach orchards adds to the attractiveness of the scenery which it is a part of our daily food to look at. We are here fretting over our inactivity, but I for one am thankful that, if we cannot be and do what we desire, we can forget often the occasions of our mortification, while looking at the beauty which God has made to remind mortals of beauty eternal.

But so-called practical men laugh at all this. The beauty - they don't see it. In the cedar groves which fringe the streams and diversify the forest; in the chestnuts which crowd the hill sides, they see only ample and excellent material for fencing. The streams, the waters of which sing so pleasingly of the varied scenery they have seen in their onward flow, remind them only of water power; and they are ever looking - not for some romantic turn, or mysterious glen, or overhanging trees, or the wild flowers that fringe their banks, or the combinations of light and shade, in forest and glen, which make one feel as if half concealed spirits were flitting around him - scenes which speak so powerfully to the inner soul, - they are ever looking for eligible mill seats marking out roads, all the while inwardly groaning at the unthrift of the farmers, who permit land to be a waste which might be a garden of fruitfulness, or at the desolation which war has made. This is indeed a region which will at the same time delight and disgust you. It possesses marvelous beauty, but as if it were designed to give us a perfect contrast, we see only dilapidated dwellings, prostrate fences, meet seldom with any but ignorant bears, and cannot pass a house without being barked at by dogs.

My friends will pardon the abrupt termination of this letter; but it must be mailed at once, and the drum beats which calls me to other work. In conclusion, then, we are getting along very finely, and there is a very fair prospect that our Regimental difficulties will be satisfactorily closed.

A.J. Grover

Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from a microfilm copy of The Gazette and Banner in files of Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY.

(Fort De-Russey, D.C., May 3, 1862)

Writing at home and in camp, be it known, are quite different exercises. At home you can sit down quietly, solitarily, and if people have sense enough to stay away during study hours, you can complete your work without interruption, but in camp it is quite the reverse.

I sat down in my room, in my great arm chair, made out of a barrel, saying to Mrs. Grover, 'now I must write a letter for the Cortland paper, and it must be finished this evening,' so at it I went, as I suppose with fair prospect of succeeding my purpose and I began. I wrote three or four lines, and rap, rap, rap! 'Come in!' 'Captain can I go to headquarters with the report?' Interruption number one. That disposed of I composed myself to write again. Then came interruptions number two, three, until at least number twenty was reached. By this time my usually small stock of patience had become exhausted, and I fretfully said to my wife, 'I wish I was a private long enough to get this letter finished.'

I wrote on as best I could. Three or four lines, and, hark! some one comes casting a shadow of annoyance before him, and then comes that tormenting rap, rap, rap, - walk! said with commendable brevity and such emphasis as the occasion demanded. 'Captain can John Jones and I go out walking towards Fort Pennsylvania? No! said in a very proper manner, and again I tried to compose myself for writing.

Finally I was interrupted. The clouds which had been threatening in the distance and compelled us to abbreviate our drill, poured down rain in torrents. You don't have such rain up north. Noisy, rapid streams were quickly extemporized, and ran violently down the little ravines that marked the hill sides as crop-furrows do plowed fields. The lightning flashed vividly, and the thunder peeled, by their sharp percussion-like explosion revealed the perilous nearness of old Jupiter with hands full of deadly bolts.

Notwithstanding all this, the writing went on glibly enough, for these things were excellent preventatives to interruption. But - what's this? Confound it! Imagine three or four exclamation points. Down through, which was supposed to be well covered by tent cloth, came a stream of water as large as your finger, right down on my writing table, covered with reports, rolls, books, papers, etc., etc. It was totally unexpected , a complete surprise. I am sorry for military men ought not be surprised. All that were in the house were at once to work to secure the papers from damage. They had been spread around to suit convenience, but they were in a bad strategical position, in no condition to receive so sudden an attack from such an enemy. My confusion was irritable, it was impossible for me to rally, so I retired with the mortification of defeat.

Next morning, with great circumspection I approached the table, found a tolerably dry corner, and ventured to write a dozen lines to round off a letter abruptly broken in two in the middle. I was under the necessity of mailing something that morning, so the fragment went forward.

My friends, notwithstanding all my trials and tribulations, I am determined to hold out to the end of my disposition to write, or to the disposition of my friends to read what I write.

Moral. - Variety is the spice of life.

A.J. Grover

- Transcribed by Richard Palmer





Perhaps you would like to know,


Yesterday was Sabbath, which was not probably observed quite as well here as it would have been at home. It is common saying that there is no Sabbath in the army. This statement is altogether too sweeping.- There seems to be an incongruity between military duty and God's sacred day, but the people's generally apparent incongruity is not real. Farmers must milk their cows, take care of their milk, and feed the horses and pigs, all classes have something to do on the Sabbath which cannot be neglected the neglect of which would be criminal.- The soldier has duties equally as necessary, and unless it is sin to be a soldier at all, they should be attended to always. It is lawful to do good o the Sabbath day.

Our first duty on Sabbath morning, as on every other morning is Guard Mounting.- No reason can be assigned why that should be neglected on Sunday, that would not be equally as good a reason for the disbanding of an army.

The principal work on Sunday is inspection. The men are called out in the forenoon, with all their equipments of every name and kind, all of which are or ought to be thoroughly inspected. First, their persons are inspected, to see that every man has his boots well cleaned, his clothes brushed, his coat buttoned up, hair dressed, face and gloves clean, his accouterments properly adjusted, and his arms carried in a proper manner. Next comes an inspection of arms to see if all the guns are in a serviceable condition, free from dirt and rust. Then comes the inspection of boxes, to see if each man has the number of cartridges and caps which he is always required to have on hand, and the little implements necessary to keep his arms in good condition. Finally comes the inspection of knapsacks, which consists in a thorough inspection of all articles of clothing furnished by the government, to see that the men have all that is necessary for their comfort and that proper attention be paid to their cleanliness.

The inspection ended, there are no further duties until Dress Parade, which comes under the head of a necessity. And inspection is a necessity. It is in fact a religious duty. It improves the sanitary condition of the men, renders them every way more efficient and it has a good moral effect. Cleanliness is an element of Godliness. It leads to purity of heart and life. I have learned to look out for the man who comes to inspection with a dirty gun or shirt.

Yesterday was a pleasant day, and our inspection passed off to the satisfaction of officers and men. We are here alone, and our inspection was not quite so much of an affair as that of a regiment, still it occupied a full hour, about the time it used to take me to conduct a religious service. The men appeared better than at any previous inspection. they are fast learning how to keep themselves in good condition. And I intend that they shall continue to improve. I can expect to succeed in my intent, for there is now no one here to say with dogged jealousy, "You shan't drill your men, "You shan't get your company in better condition than the others."

Our inspection was a very pleasant one, and as if Heaven intended to smile upon it, he sent along a gust of wind which scattered a shower of fragrant blossoms upon us from adjacent trees.

About half past five we had divine worship. I took up my old work and preached a brief sermon to an attentive congregation. Thus ended the Sabbath. Would that we never had spent one less profitably and pleasantly.


The resignation of Lieut. George, which all very much regretted, for he was an excellent officer, left a vacant post in my company, which many desired to occupy. After some considerable delay things were arranged as follows: Second Lieut. H.W. Pierce was promoted to the First Lieutenancy, S. M. Byram was promoted to the second Lieutenantcy, Norman G. Harmon was promoted to the position of First, or Orderly sergeant, and William H. Myers was promoted to the position of sergeant. It may not be amiss for me to say that I have a good set of officers. Lieut. Pierce is a man of excellent character, and a man of mind.- Byram who has been my Orderly Sergeant since the organization of the company has by his faithful discharge of every duty, his prompt and energetic obedience of all orders and his proficiency in drill, fairly won his promotion. Harmon has shown himself by his promptness, intelligence, readiness for duty, and power to command worthy of more that he has got, though his office is one of great importance in the company,- And Myers whose promotion I here chronicle, has proved himself a good soldier and deserving of honor. I must not be understood that these praises detract from others. It is very difficult for me to choose when there is an office to be filled. I have so many who are worthy and competent.

For the present good-bye,

A.J. Grover

Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from The Gazette and Banner on microfilm in files at the Cortland Public Library, Cortland, New York.


FORT DE RUSSEY, D.C. MAY 17, 1862.


It has come to me that certain parties in Cortland represent this company as having been on the verge of mutiny, on account of my bad treatment of them. Whether I have treated them badly or not, the company will not feel complimented by such representations. The company has never been mutinous, and is morally incapable of mutiny. One thing I can say of my men, and that is, that not one of them, since the organization of the company, has willfully disobeyed an order I have given. The general regulations which govern camps are sometimes violated, but a refusal to obey an order given, or a willful neglect, has never occurred to my knowledge. I am glad to be able to say this, for the men deserve the compliment.- they are under my control, because they are willing to be controlled. It is easy to govern them, for if one should undertake to be insubordinate, the main body of the company would shame him down. Whoever represents the men as mutinous for any reason, whatever is a slanderer - the slanderer of as good a company as has been raised for the war.

This course of remark suggests a reference to another matter - the statement that this company which I speak of so highly, has asked me to resign, and threatened me if I did not. A purer lie could not well be told. If any person exhibits any paper to that effect, appearing to have been signed by my company, he exhibits a forgery. No genuine paper of the kind exists. I will state, what I know in reference to an attempt to circulate such a paper, which attempt recoils on those who made it. There was at one time such a paper actually drawn up; but it could not get signers. Those who were called upon by certain parties outside of the company to sign it would not touch it. The movers in the matter seeing the utter failures of their measure, hushed it all up. No secret were they, and so few had been approached in regard to it, that nine tenths of the men can hardly be made to believe that there was ever any such an effort.

It is evident that the party, outside of the company, who encouraged it he did not originate the thing, who said, to use his own language, he wanted to see the men do to the officers what they had done to Col. Green, this outside party thought that such a thing might succeed, and accordingly he wrote in hot haste that it had succeeded. What he thought would succeed, he said had succeeded. He was too fast, and his lie has found him; and yet, I doubt it being detected in the lie will shame him in the least degree. The company could not be deceived or coaxed into any such thing.

If the people of Cortland will wait for the statements of men who have seen me night and day, and whom they can rely upon, I shall be satisfied. It ought to be understood certain persons think it to be their interest to slander me. And it will come out, if it has not already, that they are persistently making statements which every man in my company knows to be false. I ask that the testimony of those who are near me and know me, be ------ --- line missing ------------ of my bad treatment of the men, it is very natural that persons should try to have the people forget their barbarity by charging the same upon others.

It is said that numbers have been put in the Guard House by me, merely for signing petitions. That is entirely false. I will state precisely what I have done, and my reasons for my course. One man was confined for a week for leaving his post in the night - an offense sometimes punished with death. - Two were confined about twenty-four hours for going to the city of Washington on false papers furnished by the Quartermaster.- Three were confined for running the guard, one over night, one about two days, the other three or four days. One was confined for three or four days for treating disrespectfully certain officers. That is all. And all men of sense will say the punishment was exceeding light, in no way proportioned to the greatness of the offense.

In this my generosity has been my crime. Some punishment was an absolute necessity, and I took the matter in my own hands, instead of turning the offenders over to the rigorous hands of a court martial, for which they and their friends ought to thank me. Besides this putting of man in arrest, I am maligned for drilling my men hard, for keeping them close in camp, and for refusing them many privileges which other companies have. "I am hard on my men" is the expression. Now I do not see how I am to avoid charges of this description. I intend to obey my orders. I intend to have my men well drilled. I intend that every man shall do his duty. And if this occasions dissatisfaction, which I cannot help it. I shall not let up in anything necessary to a successful discipline, and my men don't ask me to - not many of them, - They desire to excel quite as much as I do.

All this I have written because it was on my mind, and because it has been the theme of conversation in camp for two or three days past. I shall perhaps refer to other things as time will prompt.


A.P. Smith has offered his resignation, which was promptly accepted. By the time this is in print he will be at home, or on his way home. His position in the regiment has never been a pleasant one. Not an officer regrets his departure. He has done much to stir up insubordination among the men. He says openly that he desires to have the regiment disbanded; and certainly he has not failed to labor to that end. Mr. Smith has ability, but he as used it against, not for the regiment. Every officer feels relieved now that he is gone. We all wish him well; but at a distance.

Affairs just at present are looking very well for the regiment. Its difficulties are apparently closing up satisfactorily, and it is being paid off.

A.J. Grover

Transcribed by B. Conrad Bush from the Gazette and Banner microfilm on file at Cortland Public Library, Cortland, NY.

Read more letters from Major Grover.

Return to Major Grover's Page

Return to Letters from the 76th New York

Return to 76th Roster (G)

Return to 76th NYSV Homepage

- Last Updated January 19, 1999