Letters of
Cpl. Moses Tompkins, Co. I

Moses Tompkins age 18, enlisted October 21, 1861, at Middleburg, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. I, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, October 22, 1861; promoted corporal prior to October, 1863; returned to ranks, April 3, 1864; wounded and captured in action, May 5, 1864, at the Wilderness, Va.; admitted to prison hospital Florence, S.C October 8, 1864, died, November 16, 1864, at Florence, S.C., a prisoner of war, cause not stated.

Abagail and Samuel Tompkins, Moses's parents, were married at Duanesburg, Schenectady County, New York in 1833. They were residents of the Town of Middleburgh, Schoharie County, New York. Moses worked as a day farm laborer prior to entering the service and gave his earnings to his parents for their support. During his service he sent home a monthly allotment for their support. His mother, in her deposition supporting her claim for a pension based on her son's death in the service, stated that her son's army letters are being handed over to the department, all that she has. The following letters were found at the National Archive in Washington in Abagail Tompkins' pension file.  

Ed. note: Spelling and punctuation are original - paragraphs have been added to enhance readability.

             May the 20 1862
Head Quarters Fort Massachusets Camp Doubleday

Dear Parents 

it is With pleasure that i sit Down and more to let you no that i am well i Doing well I hav sent you $40 by telagraph express and you will hafto go and git it of Perter Danforth it all goes to him we think of going a way from here with in a short time The Captens wife is here She give me $1 that you did sent to me 

the talk is that we will halfto go to Fortes manrow but it is unsirten Wether we move from here or not hav bin looking for a leter from you for a number of days but hav looked in vain you must not forget to write oftan and tel the policktors from around thare now a few lines for fed i want to now what he hat erkesol Was a talking about the morning Mrs Cook came away What Did hat tel you tha you Dast not Do i had a leter from luck Metcalf she said that they were all well i hav Writen to her and theadore 

how was the hops took and everthing else around thare and how is it hav you turne out the stock yet and how did doly look and work I supose there is no Discount but what will go and i said we was agoing to fortes manrow but the orders is now That we will go to Fredickburg we dont now how soon we will go but we aspeck we will go in short the artilery has com to take the forts ware our reg is stasioned May 14 

all Well and wishing that these few lines mite find you the same Dave Duel is not fit for march yet How does Bufris and Aken make it go It has bin quite a wile since i hav had a leter from home and i thought would not write until i got one but i see you are to long winded for me and so i thought i would Write weather you Did or not how Does old Groty and old Pat get along has he got well 

Well i must Close this leter by biding you all good by 

Moses Tompkins 
Direct your leters the same as before To Mr Samuel (Tompkins)

Soldiers mentioned in this letter: 

John Elihu Coo, age 32, enrolled October 1,1861, at Middleburg, to serve three years; mustered in as captain, co. I, October 14, 1861; wounded in action, July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.; mustered in as major, same date; as lieutenant-colonel, September 30, 1863; wounded in action, may 5, 1864, at Wilderness, Va., and October 7, 1864, near Hatchers run, Va.; discharged, October 15, 1864, near Petersburg, Va.

David H. Duel age 19, enlisted November 1, 1861, at Middleburg, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. I, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, November 2, 1861; wounded in action, August 28, 1862, at Gainesville, Va.; reported discharged prior to April, 1863.

July the 5 1862

Dear Friends 

i now sit down To pen a few lines to you to let you know that if got 2 leters from you last night thay found me Well i hope thse few lines may find you all the same Thare is now news to write onely we are having good Times here now 

We dont have much gard duty to do just now We have got a nother Col. and now we are ready to go to Richmon or eney other place We have had a hard figth To richmon the hardest figth we ever have had in this wore and i think before We take that place we will hafto Fight some more and i think if we have good luck in hoeing them out at Richmon that the wore will soon be ended 

We have got 3 rebel Prisnors at our head quarters Thay say that Richmon cant be taken but i say thare is no cent in the book if at first you Dont suckseed Try Try agane and this is the way we will Do at Richmon 

now i will tel you The Reason i have not Reiten fefore I have had leter from you but have now money to get Stamps With and Stamps is varey hard to be had at eney Rate you would to now What had become of my money now i will tel you I send $40 Dolars home and that i think Acounts for the most of it next Pay Day i dont think i shal send home so much i think if eney of you Was here you would not send eney you would say like Warner Dos let to morrow take care of it self 

The news is here that old Jack was kiled at the batle of richmon you need not send me eney more Papor for i have got enough of it and what you send gets all must up I never got the money you sent me in between To papors i can not tel Wen we will get our next pay you wanted to know if i thought that we would go to richmon I can not Tell but i dont hardley Think we will it is sundy morning all well Well have you hird from hank Rice latly or mort Birst We live quite good now for solders what we call good you would call bad God Speed 

Well i must close good by             Moses Tompkins (signiture missing)

Direct your leters the same as you Always have no mater what place we go to This is for the hole (sentence ended here)  

Camped near Fredrickburg
Augest the 2 1862 

My dear friends 

i once more take my pen in hand to let you now that i received your leter of the 26 it found me well we have moved bout half a mile firther north in the run of firther South we onley moved fur to change Camps Thare has some of our boys gon of on a scout 

thare is not much news to wrtie from here Daniel is well and paul and dave Duel is here and is well if we are on the way to Richmon i think if we dont move faster Toward Richmon than we have lateley we never shal yet thare i dont think we will move varey soon for a fite for our bergade never has bin to gether yet 

how dos george get along dos he work to our house yet what are you to work at now we hafto Dril quite hard for the worm weather and poor Victuals we have we get Bread and coffee for super and about the same all the time will i must close by biding you all good by 

my Dear litle niece i would like to see your tamey and grogey vary much           

Moses Tompkins

Aug 2 1862 

My Dear friends 

i now atemp to write to you since you have writen so meney to me i thought i would write to you To let yu now that i am not varey well The Docter said that i had teh consumption but i dont now how it is if i have got it i have not got it varey bad i tent in the tent with Moses well i must lose by hoping this leter will find you well 

so good by from your friend 

Irah W to May

Pleas write often weather i do or not for it is quite a job for us to write this money that i send you is all i have got i dont hardely think i will get home by hoppicking

"Irah W" is Ira Warner age 18, enlisted, October 21, 1861, at Middleburg, NY, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. I, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, October 22, 1861; mustered out with company, December 1, 1864.

Jenuary 17 1863
Camped Near Prats Point, Va.

Dear Parents 

i received a leter From you yester Day I Was vary glad to be here From you Again I got the check in your last leter for the box i have Not got the box yet but we have got our pay for 6 months At last Irah says he is Agoing to Send Some money in the leter To Rubies 

The Talk in That we Are Agoing acrost the river again but Irah Says he is not Agoin Acrost Again For wen we was acrost before we got hured back and he Says no fool him Again he thinks if he ever retretretes Again it will be toward home 

you wanted to now how Paul Widman was I do Not noe eney more about him then you Do or David Duel eather they are of to the hospital and I am in the field Miles a Part I will send you $50 or $60 but I dasent hardeley Trust so much in a leter to once I wrtoe a leter to Jed about to Wiakes and you i have not hurd from him Thare is no news here Much Proker is out on Picket and was Well wen he went out The 134 Regt is about 8 miles from us a Plaice caled Falmouth 

i will now Close by leting you now that i am comin home after the wore

                Moses Tompkins (not signed)

Daniel M. Proper, age 35, enlisted October 21, 1861, at Middleburg, to srve three years; mustered in as corporal, Co. I, 76th NY Volunteer Infantry, October 22, 1861; returned to ranks prior to April, 1862; deserted, January 19, 1863, at Pratts Point, Va.

Feb The 9 1863
Camped Near Prats Point, Va.

Dear parents 

I now take The Preasent oppertuenty of Writting a Few lines To let you now that I am Well and hope these Few lines will Find you in Joying the Same good health I got the box and I was on picket and the boys That was in the Tent with me Drew the box and ate every thing up but a little tee and a few other little stuf the Boots is a good fit i would not Take $10 for them I Never got a smell of the Chees Nor the cake I sent you $ 20 About 3 weakes ago and have not hird From it if that goes Through write then I am agoing to send $50 more 

we have had a vary hard storm we went to cros the river and old Burnside stuck in the mud and then we returned To our old quarters and now Jo Hooker is in fool command and now i supose he will hafto make one move like burnside Did then he will give it up to some other one 

I will now close by hoping you will write as soon as you get this From you Sun 

M Tompkins  To Samuel

Head Quarters 76 Regt
 Near Culpeper, Va.

Dear Parents

 I no more take the pleasure of Pening you A few lines To inform you that I Reeived your kind leter Last eavning and was vary glad to here from you amd am well at present and hope these few linew will find you the Same Ira is on safe guard To a house and is agoing to get him A Wet Duck That is Reich What Do you think About that he has asked me to the Wedding 

the Boys all want me to reaninlist I would Do it if it wer Not for you in s much as it is against your will and I will Not Do it Ira has sent for a wedding Dresss I supose by the next Time you here from him he will be Doulbed up We have good winter quarters This winter but i exspect if Nothing hapens to have beter Next Winter in york State I have sent home $260 or $270 i Do Not Now which Mother you Nead not go out awashing as long as i have got to armbs and Leggs tell the golden to Weight until I come home before he starts on A expedision 

Tell Nate wen he Wants to go a Soldering to First ask my advise about it I am Shure he Dos not Want to Carey a Napsack through the mud in old Va. for $13 a month for three years Tell Fatehr I had rather be Shot Dead then to be cold a Gured 

We are especting our pay now I see ware you have marked out that Father is hardley rich enough to Send one Dolars woth of Stamps tell him I Will send him A Dolar after pay Day Now Mother Dont werey About me for 7 months Will Not be but A litle Wile Tell Nate to Write if he is a mind to I would like to here Form him but if he Dos Not want to tell him i will exscuse him This is No 3 leter has not the golden got So he can write Mother The most of these leter are for you and the rest for Father But it has not ought to be eney For him for he can Write and Does Not To me 

Hann is here and has got his Discharge Agoing to leave tomorrow For Washington NO More this time Tell Rebeckey To be a good Girl and help you 

From Moses Tompkins to A and S Tompkins

Camp Near Culpeper, Va
February 11

My Dear Mother    

With Pleasure I Sit My Self Down to Pen you A few lines For your prusal Alho at that Sme time I due Not know as I have anything to Write That will be vary interesting esept it is my health which is exceeding good At preasant Mother uncle Sam dose not feed us very well this winter we have bin on half rations for Some time and So I guess i hd beter have A box Sent Again 

you May think I am Askin For much everything we get to the Sutlers cost very high butter cost 50 cts per pound and every thingelse in proportion for that reason I think had beter Send the box containing eatables say for instance Some butter and chees Dride beaf pies and cake but no dried fruit Send A good Size box for I feel hungry Now 

We have bin to the front to Days Was gon to Days we started the 6th on the march we arived in camp the evening of the 7th we had A hard march threw mud and Stop up to our Ass but we are in camp Again All right be Shure and Send the box imidiately for we may move Again Soon if thare is A Stray turkey Around catch him and put Some Chicking fixing in him and put him in one corner of the box and he will guard the other Things by Sticking The box tight it will come Safe Now be Shur and fix it So it will not get Tore open 

Now mother do Not work you Self to Death and write often Ira was her last Night and I went home with him and Stade all Night had a good bed to sleep in and a good Breakfast he has got a fine place when we get our pay we are A going to have a party Thare Ira Sends his lov to you and All the rest of the folks Now do Not morn for me for eight monts is not a grate wile Tell golden he can youse the hook yet next fall. 

The boys are all Well No more Plese Write off Soon as you get this Now be Sure and get good thick Cords for the box and Send it Write Through Direct To me 

Moses Tompkin

Co I 76 Regt     First Brigade     First Divison     First Corps

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 Archives, Washington, DC.

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- Last Updated March 27, 2001