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LT: August 3, 1864 Justus G. Matteson (10th New York Cavalry)

Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and published letters written during the Civil War. Owner/editor Chris Wehner was kind enough to grant me written permission to publish a selection of letters from his site which focus on the Siege of Petersburg.  Look for letters to appear here during the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Petersburg and beyond. These letters may not be reused without the express written consent of Chris Wehner.  All rights reserved.

Dear Friend,

I recieved your letter in due time and was vary happy to hear from you. when I recieved your letter I had no paper, and we have been on the move every since untill to day. we have scarcley had the sadles off of our horses in three weeks. we have had two or three fights since I wrote last, have’nt had any hurt in our Co allthough the reg’t has lost an number. in the last engagement we charged the enemy, just dark in the woods. they got a cross fire on us, so we had to get up and git. that was at reams station on the weldon R.R. I think that we have got a pretty strong futting on that road.1

It has been quite rainy here of late, so much so that our trains could not hardly move, but the roads are getting in prety good condition now.

I have seen a list of the drafted in Cortland Co- I know a great many of them, have heard of some that has got clear. those to that I think were more able to come than many that has to come. Sister writes that Bill Attwood could not get clear. she thinks that his folks will have to go to the County House. I think it is to bad. It is said that Hathaway cleared all of the coperheads by having a coperhead doctor to examine them. I wish he (Hathaway) was oblige to be here.

Sister writes me bad news from your folks, of the deaths of Johns children. It does seem strange that there can be no remady found for that dreadfull disease. I expect to hear that sister has got it every day. I do not know what I should do if she should be taken away. it would seem as though I were left alone in this world. I hear that Ken Attkins is married again, to Pa. Walker.

I have but six days more to serve to make me two years. we have strong belief that we will get out of the service this fall. we shall if justice is done us.

Mary, I am looking forward to a future day when I shall not have to be scribling in this way to when this writing can be stopped, and a more natural way taken up to get at each others ideas. I therefore will close hoping to hear from you as often as convenient.

I remain as ever Your Friend

J. G. Matteson
Co. L, 10th N[ew]. Y[ork]. Vol. Cav
Washington, DC2


  1. Matteson is describing the July 30, 1864 cavalry skirmish at Lee’s Mill involving the 10th New York Cavalry and other elements of Gregg’s Second Cavalry Division versus elements of Butler’s Confederate Cavalry division.
  2. Matteson, Justus G. “Reams Station, Weldon Railroad.” Letter to “Friend Mary” 3 Aug. 1864. MS. Reams Station, Weldon Railroad. This letter appears here due to the express written consent of Chris Wehner, owner of SoldierStudies.org and may not be used without his permission.  All rights reserved.
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