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LT: October 16, 1864 Luke Ostrye

Editor’s Note: This item is part of a collection of letters from New York engineers written while their units were at the Siege of Petersburg.  Researcher and Engineer enthusiast Dan O’Connell generously donated all of the items in this collection for use at The Siege of Petersburg Online.  These transcriptions are copyrighted by Brett Schulte and may not be used without my express written consent.  I do not have images of these letters so some errors could be from transcription or in the original.

Note: All of the Ostrye brothers’ letters were transcribed by Charlotte Smith.


Dear Father and Mother:

I take the present opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know we are well at present and hope you are the same. I received your letter the 13th of October and was glad to hear from you and hear that you was well. I am glad that you got our likenesses. You did not understand what it meant that none of mine was taken with gun in my hand and Charles was. We both tent together and sleep in the same bed. The gun that I had in my hand was a borrowed one. We haint got no guns yet, all the guns we got are a pick and shovel. We are to work building forts and breastworks now. The weather is pleasant this morning. It looks as beautiful as summer here. We have had some cold nights here and some frost too, but the weather is warmer now and more pleasant. There is not much Sunday here., but I can’t help that, but there is meeting here Sundays. I like to be soldier boy and fight for Uncle Sam. There is new recruits coming in all the time. This is a very real place here. I wished you would write longer letters. They are too short. I hope you will write long letters. I have expressed home 22 dollars in an express package, when I was to Baltimore, but you don’t say you got it yet. They are fighting all the time somewhere and we hear the cannons roar. They was firing last night in Butlers division. When I first came here I could not sleep when they was firing the cannons, but I can now. They don’t trouble me now. I to hear them roar. Sometimes they make the ground shake here.

Milton Sullivan is Sick and has gone to the hospital this morning. all the rest of the boys from French creek are well at present. I have wrote one letter to my sister, but have not received no answer. I want you to write and let me know where she is and send all how times is there. They picked in 25 rebels last night and they said that the rebels couldn’t stand long they don’t get much to eat in the rebel army. They say that if old Abraham is elected that they will have to go down the stream.1

I have not got no more to write now. I hope you will send my best respects to all–from Luke Ostrye. (written by W H Hodge)

PS Director your letters to Luke Ostrye Co G 15th NY Vol Eng Corps Washing DC.. Butter 80cents, Cheese 50 cents Onions 20 cents, potatoes 10 cents a pound , apples 5 cents apiece and everything else in proportion..good by2


Other Letters Written  By Luke and Charles Ostrye at the Siege of Petersburg:


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Ostrye is referring to the Presidential Election of 1864 between Abraham Lincoln and George McClellan.  The prevailing thought, then as now, was that the war was won if Lincoln was elected, lost if the North opted for Little Mac.
  2. Ostrye, Luke. “Camp City Point Va October 16, 1864.” Letter to Father and Mother. 16 Oct. 1864. 15th Engineer Regiment: The Civil War Letters Of Luke And Charles Ostrye. New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, 28 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 Dec. 2015. <http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/other/15thEng/15thEng_Letters_Ostrye.htm>.
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