Letters of  Private Thomas Hoffman

Thomas H. Hoffman, age 19, enlisted September 24, 1861, at Harford, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. F, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, November 7, 1861; wounded in action, August 28, 1862, at Gainesville, Va.; reported discharged, prior to October, 1863.

Catherine E. and Isiah Hoffman were the parents of John. Her husband Isiah drowned in 1843.

Feb 1862 Washington D C

Dear Mother I now take my pen in hand to let you no how I am geting along I am well and in good spirits and I hope that theas few lines will finds you the same we are all in Washington now. we came here yesterday Feb 1st we started from rikers Island Jan th 29 we were too days and nights on the way we came on water and on the corse we got through all safe and sound per visions is light, buy one cake fore four cents, one apple for four cts Mother I saw Some big waters and I saw some land of great curiosity I saw some white stones in the ground and the ground is read in some places a kind of ash color in other places I rode on the water and the cars at that same time that was when we crosed the ferry at Havelgras yes at Havegras I saw six thousan mules in one body you cent look eny way but what you cen see a wagon with six mules hitch to it they are all out does they stand in the mud three feet which they had about as meny horses thare to when we were coming through baltimore some reble throd a stone through the winder of the cares and it liked to hit one of our boys one of leatenent was poisened to day so he was cared away to the Hospital his recovery is doubtfull last night one of the soldiers of a nother reg dyite with poisened by eateing cake they arrested a hukeseter for selling him the cake I dont know how he will come out herd his hed cut of I cent think of eny thing else to write the next letter I will tel all O yes Mother I received your letter the first of Feb and I was glad to here frome you to I wrote a letter when we started frome rikers Island. I also wrote to the effect o that money I cent you ten dollars of my wedges. I have not herd weather you got it or not I wish you would write fast as soon as you git this letter so I will no I will write often I cend you my love no more at present from your son Thomas Hoffman

Mr Thomas Hoffman
Washington, 76 Reg Co. F, D.C.

O yes Melt Allen is sick with the momps, he was left to new york city hopsital thats all Mrs Cathrene Hoffman

March 2 1862 Washington D C

Dear Mother i now tak my pen in hand to in forme you that i am well and i hope these few lines will find you the same i am a going to send twenty dowllers home son to you and it wount be the as the other but you can draw it to the bank eny where you are a mind i will send it in a leter so that you can havit to use What you want of it i shall have all i want When i come home take good care of your self you musent be a fraid of the money i send you for i earn it easy uncle sam is rich and so be i i set on my ass and uncle sam pays me for it i have bin on it dont tire me much for i am tuff and ruged tell grapas i send my respect to him and granmas tell ant line and uncle sam I just i Send my respect to them So good by Write Son as you get this so good by

this from Thomas Hoffman to his mother Catherine Hoffman

Washington April 11 1862 

Dear mother i now set down to let you now how i get a long i am well and i hope these few lines Will find you the same i want you to send me to dolars in the next leter i received your leter last nite and was glad to here from you i am at fort Slocumb yet and i dont no how long i shall stay her i hope we shall stay here a spell i think i must write a litle mor news our boy fought at island number ten ten days and then they get within two miles Tel Dave he must be a stidy boy and be saving of his money he makes this sumer Tell him he must send it home to his mother and she will tak care of it i dont want you to git marid a tall i guess i can tak care of you with out you giting marid i send my love to all the folks at home so good by 

this is from your efectnat son Thomas Hoffman to his mother Catharine Hoffman 1862

Mr David D Farice I tak my pen in hand to let you no that I am Well and I hop this few lins Will find you the Sam I Wish that I Was Here With you to Day tha Sa that you Are Amaking Lager And should lik to be her to eat Supar you must rite to me as you get this from Mr Nelson A D Allen to Mr David Farice Ples Direct your leter to Washington D.C. 76 Regt Co E

April 23 1862

Mother i now set down to Write a few lines to you to let you now how i got a long i am wel and i hope thes lines will find you the same i recev your leter last knight and Was glad to here from you i got the money you Sent to in i cant think of much do day for i have got to go on drill prity son i expect eny minets the drum Will for drill tell Dave he must be stidy this sumer and not run around this sumar he did I last sumer i send my lov to all the folks at home so good afternoon 

this is from Thomas Hoffman to Cahtarine Hoffman

Letter head has picture of a woman pouring a drink for a wounded Zouave soldier on a battle field.

Washington May 18 1862 

My dear Mother i now Set down to Write a few lines to you to let you no how i get along i am well and i hope these few lines will find you the same i hav sent you $40 dollars yesterday and i Want you to Send me five dollers back you can for i haint eny now i cant think of much to day i Send my lov to all the folks at hom So good by 

this is from your Son Thomas hoffman to his mother Catharine Hoffman

the Weter is Warm here now

Letter head has a picture of an eagle on a flag near the shore line of the ocean.

Head Quarters 76 Regt. N.Y. V. Fort Slocum May 18th /62

Mrs Catharine Hoffman

Dear Mother

I thought I would pen you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present hopeing that these few lines will find you the same. I have had my likeness taken to day and I thought I would Send it to you to you to remember me by. You can take those checks I sent to any Bank you are a mind to and draw the money on them at any time you must write as soon as you get this and let me know if you have got them yet for I feel anxious to hear from them I dont think of any thing more at present so give my best respects to all inquiring friends good by fro this time


H. Thomas Hoffman

I would like to have you draw the money on those checks and send me five dollars in your next letter for I am out of money.

Deposition of men who were in action at Brawner Farm, Gainesvile, Va. August 8, 1862.

Captain John Barnard, deposition made April 26, 1886;

I am 51 years of age, a clerk in the middle division of the pension office Washington, D.C. This is also my post office address.

I was in the service of the United States during the late war as Capt. of F. 76th N.Y. Vols. Thomas H Hoffman was a member of my command and one of the best men in the company. 

I took the Company into action at Gainesville, Va. on the 28th of August 1862. Thomas H Hoffman was in the company at that time and was seriously wounded. I was right there with him when he was shot and saw him again immediately after the action was over and when we were gathering up the dead and caring for the wounded. I came upon Hoffman just as the surgeon was ripping up his pants to get at his wound.

I have a very vivid remembrance of the man. His eyes were closed as I came up but when I stooped down over him he opened them, and then lifting his hand, which was shaking and tremulous from loss of blood and appearing fully to recognize me he said. "Captain, if I ever get over this won't I give it to them." It was a scene I shall never forget. 

I was compelled to leave him within a few moments and hurry forward to attend to other duties and never met him afterwards. We went into action towards night, but the fight did not last two hours, and by one o'clock the following morning, we were on the march again and although I did not see Hoffman again I supposed he had been mortally wounded in the action, but this is a point upon which I have no personal knowledge. I have however always considered him as dead since that time. 

I am unable at this late day to say who the surgeon was that attended Hoffman on the field.

Deposition from Henry Cliff October 21, 1885, at Dryden, Tompkins County, New York.

My age is 57 years, my business is that of a tailor and my residence and P.O. address is Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY. I was 1st Sergeant of Co. F, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, and was well acquainted with Thomas H. Hoffman. He was a private of that Company and a good Soldier. He was with the Company in the Battle of Gainsville, Va. August 28th, 1862 and was wounded in both limbs, I think, and I think that he died the next day. 

I saw him after he was wounded, and talked with him, he was by the side of the road as we fell back. He was badly wounded because he was carried from the field back whare I saw him, that is my impression now. I know that Sergt. Banker was shot and I was looking after him, and they said that Hoffman was hit, and I saw him lying by the side of the road. We had to fall back that night, and I never saw him again dead or alive.

It is my impression that all of them (wounded) fell into the enemy's hands. The next day the rebels had started for Thorough Fare Gap, and some of our boys went over and seen the dead and they spoke of seeing Sergeant Banker, Thomas Hoffman and Dan McGregor dead, and it mus believed by the Company that he was dead, and it has always been understood that he was dead, and I think that the rolls of the Company show it. It is in the history of our rgiment that he was mortally wounded there and died and what he said to Captain Barnard after he was wounded is there also.

My impression is that he (Hoffman) was by the side of the road, but we carried Banker to the hay stack, and I would judge that Hoffman was carried there.

Deposition of John Vanderpool, Dryden, a private in Co F 76th Regt. New York Volunteers stated:

"Thomas H Hoffman was in the Battle of Gainesville, Va. August 28, 1862 and that about the time the Regt. was leaving the ground, saw the said Thomas H Hoffman lying on the ground near a hay stack apparently dead; that he stopped and examined him and found that he was shot through the groins, and was dead having as he believes bled to death from the effects of the wound; that he and Hoffman tented together and he knows that said Hoffman is dead and he was killed while in his line of duty as a soldier."

Nelson A.D. Allen, age 18, enlisted October 28, 1861, at Speedsville, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. E, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, November 1, 1861; transferred to Us.S. Army January 27, 1863.

Lawrence M. Banker, age 27, 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.

John H. Barnard, age 27, enrolled September 16, 1861, at Preble, to serve three years; mustered in as captain, Co. F, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, October 12, 1861; discharged, September 16, 1862. Commissioned captain, January 17, 1862, with rank from October 9, 1861, original.

Henry Cliff age 34, enrolled, September 18, 1861, at Dryden, to serve three years; mustered in as sergeant, Co. F, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, October 4, 1861; promoted first sergeant, November 1, 1862; wounded in action, July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; discharged for disability, caused by wounds, November 25, 1863, at Philadelphia, Pa.

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 December 26, 1999