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LT: March 28, 1865 Justus G. Matteson (10th New York Cavalry)

Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and publishes 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.

Camp of the 10th N.Y. Cav.

Friend Mary,

I recieved your letter last night and now improve the first oportunity to answer it. for I can not say when I shall have another chance to write. we are now expecting a move every day.

Gen. Sheridan arrived here with his Cav. last night [March 27, 1865]. It is thought that we will join him and then go to meet Gen. Sherman, although there is nothing definite. It is now warm and pleasant here. fruit trees are in bloom, citizans are getting in their cropps as fast as possible.

Last saturday [March 25, 1865] at 4 a.m. the Rebs charged one of our forts just up in front of our camp and took it. they pulled our fellows out of bed. told them that they was giving furlows. they took them (the 14th [New York] heavy Artillery) a most all prisonors. now was not that to bad to be routed perhaps from pleasant dreams to find themselves prisoners, But they had to take their turn. The Rebs got through our lines for some ways.

Our men closed up the gap when they came in and cut them off and having a cross fire on them they had to surrender, some 3,500 of them. there was a great many of them (others) killed and wounded.1 The same day on our extreme left the 5th and 2nd Corps had a fight and took as many more prisoners.

It is the opinion here that this war can not last but a few more months longer. I for one hope it will not.

My Uncle that was in the 185th [New York] was Fathers half brother (see note). He lived up near the County House.

I have not been over to the 185th in a long time.

Mary, Pleas except the Album as a token of esteem and grattitude from me.

I am sorry that I have not a photograph to put in it. I think you have.

Yes, yes, would that I could say Home again. I may not ever have the chance but provided I do I think I’ll know how to appreciate them.

Lt. says saddle up for drill.

Well, Mary, just as we got ready to drill there was an order came to get ready to break camp. I presume that we will have to leave these quarters some time tonight. It seems a most like leaving home we have been here so long. Mary do not delay writing on act of our moving. I may not have a chance to write you in some time. I remain as ever your Friend

J. G. Matteson2


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Matteson is discussing the Battle of Fort Stedman, fought on March 25, 1865.
  2. Matteson, Justus G. “Camp of the 10th N.Y. Cav.” Letter to “Friend Mary” 28 Mar. 1865. MS. Fort Stedman, Va. 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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