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John Bryden Letter: September 24, 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.

September 24, 18641

Written in ink on white, portrait-ruled 8.5” x 10” rag paper. Illegible shield-shaped watermark.

This letter has been heavily color-corrected. The original appears to have been water damaged.


Near Petersburg September 24th, 1864

Dear Wife:

Your letter of date September 11th I received 24th and was very happy to hear from you and that you were all well and the children.

I received a letter from my father the same day stating he had been up and seen you. It is now about time for him I think. He praises the Children up very much to me. He says he doesn’t think I would know them but I think different for I know I should know my boy Willey. As for the rest I could not say.

He says they are very fine children. I am very much pleased to hear so good an account of them.

You may tell Mark Wire that if he bets on me he will lose the bet sure as I have felt of the boys some considerable since I wrote to Mark. My opinion is at present that Old Abe will get the field on this account. That [Senator George H.] Pendleton is on the same ticket with [Major General George B.] McClellan that [is] what will kill Little Mac.

I went over to see Luther Rice but I found out that he is sick and gone to the hospital. I see Barney Plunket that he had been sick but got better. They are in the 16th New York Heavy Artillery. Jonathan Warner is well and send his love to you and all inquiring friends.

We are now in Fort Stedman and picketing now in the very front of the city so we can look right into town.

We still keep up picketing. Firing at one another and cannonading kill and wound considerable in the course of 24 hours. All along the line it has been pretty tough this Summer.

I will answer Father’s letter tomorrow if nothing happens. I answered Mark’s. No more at present of any account I am in good health and hope that these few lines will find you the same and the children and all inquiring.

What will please you the most is I will send you $50 dollars by Adams Express as soon as I can get it off and 50 dollars to James Herrington’s mother and it will be with yours and you can take it up to her and she will pay the one-half of the charges so it will not cost you so much. More I will send by mail in the letters.

I want a box I mentioned in Mark’s letter. You need not send it ‘til I write to you to send it. Get my boy a pair of boots this Fall.

From your ever true and affectionate husband,

John Bryden

Write soon

This is for you to get your Relief Money and all you have to do is to show this where ever they give it.

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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