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John Bryden Letter: June 7, 1864

Editor’s Note: John Bryden, Jr. of the 57th (and later 61st) New York wrote a series of letters from the Siege of Petersburg in 1864/65 to his wife Sarah at home. These letters were placed online in 2009 as a part of the web site My Dearest Sarah, a collection of the letters of John Bryden to his wife prior to and during the Civil War. Bryden’s descendants John (father) and Heather (daughter) Bryden made the appearance of these letters at The Siege of Petersburg Online possible, and I thank them greatly for their cooperation.  The transcription of the letter which appears on this page is copyrighted by Heather Bryden as a part of her web site and may not be reproduced without her express written consent.  All rights reserved.

June 7, 18641

Written in pencil on a half sheet of landscape-ruled 8” x 10” paper.  Watermark present, but illegible.


In Line of Battle near Cold Harbor

June 7th 1864

My Dear Wife:

Your letter of date May 20th I received June 7th and was very happy to hear from you and that you were all well.

We evacuated Fredericksburg and came to the front again.  Dick Flyn and George Bertholomy and Edward Herrington has just been over to see me.  They look first rate.  I think if I get through this next 6 months without being wounded or killed I will be a lucky man, I tell you that.

It is awful slaughtering of men.  We are still at it.  But still I do not fear it.  If so it is so.  It must be.  God only knows, I do not.  But I will do my duty.

I have nothing new to write.  You know more about it than I do.  General [Ulysses S.] Grant means to fight them here. The day we started on the move, I lent Tom Sayers 2 dollars.

No more this time.  I guess we will not get any [illegible] ‘til next winter, for it does not look like it at present.

My love to Harriet and all inquiring friends and accept the most of it yourself and the children.

From your ever true and affectionate husband.

My love [to] Mrs. Edwards and Jimmy. I am glad he gets along so well.

Please to write often, from your ever true and affectionate H,

John Bryden


  1. My Dearest Sarah. 2009. 15 May 2012 <http://www.bloodandsawdust.com/dearestsarah/My_Dearest_Sarah/Welcome.html>.  This letter is used with the permission of My Dearest Sarah’s owner/editor, Heather Bryden, and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the owner.  All rights reserved.
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