Private Chauncey D. Potter, Co. A

POTTER, CHAUNCEY D.-Age, 35 years. Enlisted, September 20, 1861, at Union Valley, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. A, October 4, 1861; discharged for disability, September 23, 1862, at Washington, D. C.

Chauncey Potter was the brother of Waldo Potter, whose letters are also on this website. 

(Paragraph breaks added for readability in the following letters. Follow hyperlinks to regimental roster for soldiers named in letters)


Camp Rathbone
Jan 7 -1862

Dear Brother and Sister:

I take the opportunity to write a few lines to let you know that i am enjoying comfortable health at the present time, hoping you are the same. I wrote to Phylander about Waldo being sick and that i was down there last Thursday and saw him and i have not seen nor heard from him since. I hardly know what to write about, unless i write about the fare here, that Phylander wanted i should write about, for that seems to cause some excitement here today. In the first place, I will go back to the time when we came here and give you a brief synopsys of our fair as near as I can. 

The first time that we went down into the mess hall. I say down for the hall is the lower part of a large brick building and the mess hail is partly under ground. The first meal that we ate in there was about nine o'clock in the evening, the first day that we got here and the smell in the hall sickened a good many so that they could not eat but a little, but I hate quite hearty from the fact that I was rather hungry not having ate only a few crackers after eating breakfast in the morning. We had butter night and morning that week out, but the potatoes were some of the time more than half rotten, worse than you would boil for your hogs and monday morning after there was a new contractor came into furnish the food and there was cooks and waitors detailed from our regiment to do the cooking and wait on the tables. 

I just received a letter from Nelson and one from Emory and I stopped writing long enough to read them and was glad to hear from them, and in a day or two Orlando Oliver was appointed to see that the potatoes were wash and clear of a!1the rotten ones to be thrown out or cut off and he was in there one or two days and the contractor and the boss cook found so much fault about the potatoes being cut away that he left and they have been growing worse and worse ever since and this morning our captain had one of our boys take a plate of potatoes that was part rotten and a plate of meat that smelled very bad and they went up to the Colonel with them and Rounsvell said when he came to the barracks that the Colonel sent for the contractor and said if they could not agree they had better dissolve the contract it and the colonel told him that the best such victuals be set on the table the better it would be for him if he had to discharge his hands and go home himself. Two or three companies that went into breakfast after we did, I
understand tore the tables up in one room and stacked them with the legs pointed like spears towards the skies.It is now a quarter past three and we have had no dinner and one of the waiters said that sixteen or twenty of the boys after fixing the tables again had got to go into the cold cell and live on bread and water for three days. 

Our food for breakfast is potatoes, bread, meat and coffee and for dinner we had part of the time port and beans or peas for dinner and for supper we have cold meat,
bread and coffee. Some of the boys say that if they are a going to live worse than prison convicts they had rather be in prison. I am very sorry that they tore up the tables so far this Regiment had the name of being the best Regiment that had been in Albany. It is not right that we have such fair I know and there seems to be a n_gg_rs in the wood pile somewhere and I don't but the boys will keep until they pull him out for i believe there is someone somewhere (to work) that makes money out of it.

Co A 76th Regiment NYSV
C.D. Potter 
Albany Depot
Albany, NY

Camp Rathbone
Albany Jan 4, 1862

Brother and Sister: you will see that the other sheet was written yesterday and' sealed it up last night intending to have sent it hits morning but i got a morning paper and when the mail boy came in after the mail' was a reading and did not send it and this afternoon David Williams and myself went downtown and we went right to the hospital the first place that we stopped and i found Waldo on the bed, he said that he got better so that he got up yesterday and sit up all day and today he had lain a bed all day to par for it, but he thought that he should be over it in a two or three days. He said that his throat was well and he was very anxious to go with us. He said the doctor did not know, but he might stand it if we should go down where it is warm soon. He wanted i should tell you to write to him. I think he said that he not had no letter from home yet. 

Bramwell went downstairs to his dinner today for the first time. I had forgotten to say in the other sheet, that Orlando Oliver was in the hospital and i saw him today and he is so that he is up around, a part of the time and from there we traveled around from street to street and Williams begged tobacco for the boys, for we have not got our pay yet and the boys that use tobacco get rather uneasy without it and he had very good success for he got between six and ten pounds. 

Then we started for camp Thursday morning the 9th and when we got part way we met Geo T and B a going downtown to escort up between four and five hundred boys from Cherry Valley to fill out our Regiment and I was them when they came into Camp and they looked like a good lot of boys, but i could not tell so well, it being in the evening at almost seven o'clock and when our boys got back to the barracks, 

Williams got them up in one end and told them what luck he had had and they gave three harty cheers for the donors, that made it ring in here. Those boys that i was speaking about, in the other sheet of tearing up the tables, I understand that there is a little over thirty-six pounds of brick on there backs, four hours a day. 

There was two or three things that I intended to have mentioned in the other sheet, but i forgot it. Once in a while we have pudding and molasses or bread and molasses and
coffee for supper and what do you think we had for breakfast this morning, it was bread that had been cut up long enough to get a considerable dry and a little sour at that and cold boiled beef and potatoes almost and coffee, that was the food for breakfast this morning. 

For a while when we first came here  there was only one store for two companys and it was about as cold a part of the time as a barn, and how do you think that you would feel to sleep with nothing but a blanket and an overcoat over you, that is the way that i slept a part of the time and i thought that i should freeze some of the time, but now Lee
sleeps with me and we have got another stove, and I sleep more comfortable now.

C.D.  Potter
Co. A 76th Regiment NYSV
Albany Depot
Albany, NY

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- Last Updated June 15, 2015