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John Bryden Letter: March 19, 1865

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.

March 19, 18651

Written in pencil on landscape-ruled 8” x 10” rag paper, folded in half along the short axis to form a four-page signature. There is a watermark on each side of the fold at the top center. The watermark is in the shape of a fleur-de-lys in a circle.

This letter has been heavily color adjusted for legibility.


Before Petersburg [Virginia]

March 19th 1865

My Dear Wife:

Your paper you sent me I received this morning. I always keep looking for more papers from you than I do get. Please to send me one a little oftener than you do. I have not got much to write this time but I am looking for a letter from you concerning the money. I sent $50 dollars by Express and one in a letter and three in another. I will send you 5 in this.

I was over to see the boys in the 146 N[ew] Y[ork] V[olunteer] Regiment. There is but a 300 left now of them. They send their best regards to you.

Sarah we have been all ready to move again, but it the Order was countermanded. I am very glad of it as it is not a fit time for marching. Anyway, I expect we will have a terrible slaughter before long. I do not know how I will make it. But I will do the best I can and trust to Providence.

This envelope [stationery?] is our Division and Corps badge. We have to wear that on our capes [caps?]. They are made out of the finest of cloth.

No more at this time from your ever true husband,

John Bryden

Please to write soon and let me know if you got the money or not right off.

So goodbye this time. My love to you and the children from,

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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