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John Bryden Letter: October 8, 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.

October 8, 18641

Written in ink on lined 8.5” x 10” paper, folded in half along the short axis to form a four-page signature. There is a watermark in the shape of a crown on each side of the fold at the top center.


Front of Petersburg

October 8th 1864

My Dear Wife:

Your letter of Sept[ember] 25 I received Oct[ober] 7th and was very happy to hear you were all well and the children as it leaves me at present. Hoping these few lines will still find you the same enjoying good [health].

Sarah, I sent into Brigade Headquarters my application to come to New York on Recruiting Service along with seven others. I cannot tell how I will make out, but I will have to run my chance with the rest. I live in hopes to come home. Anyhow, it will not be known for a week yet, and then I can tell you how it went.

Sarah bad news came to me today that Jonathan Warner got killed and Call Thompson and a good many boys I knew from Clinton. So James Herrington[‘s] brother says. He is in the 117th Regiment. He could not give me the names of but 2. He had forgot.

We have had hard fighting on the right and left of us and some occasionally in our front of us. We are in a fort right in front of the city so we can. So it is a nice place.

You wanted to know the date of my muster. The date of it is 10th day of Sept[ember] 1862. It will expire the 10th Sept[ember] 1865.

I am very happy to hear things goes so well with you. It gives me good courage. It helps me to keep up courage.

I do not know of anything more [at] this time. I wrote to my father the other day. No more this time. More the next as I will know how things goes.

From your ever true and loving husband. Accept of my best love and the children and best wishes from yours,

John Bryden

My love to all inquiring.

Please to write soon.

I sent you $50 Dollars by Adams Express. James Herrington sent his in a letter by a man that was going home.



I got the $2. I lent it to Sam Hill as he had got none. He got back the other day from the hospital. From New York he tells me he could not get home on furlough.

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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