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.
October 20th 1864
I have just been writing to Mr [D?] I wish you would take the letter to him personally and have a talk with him. You can read the letter and then seal it. I have tried every way to get out of the service honourably but as yet have failed and I very well know the reason. The first application I made was with seven other officers and we stated in our application that some of us had been informed by the officers that mustered us that our mustering from one grade to another would make no difference with our terms of service. When that reached army headquarters it was sent back to know what mustering officers had so informed us – I stated in my reply just what Captain Chester told me as it passed through Brigade Headquarters he saw it and put on it a written denial and he has told a number of our officers that he would not muster me out. He is mustering other officers out and so are other mustering officers and but for this particular spite he would me for had he not denied it he would probably have got himself in trouble. If I can get General [Diven?] to make a personal application at the War Dept. he can get an order for me in a very short time. I wish you would make something of an effort with him – you will see by his letter that Capt. Chester will block every attempt I can make from here for the papers would have to pass through Brig. Hd. QRS – I also enclose an order from the War Dept. which I wish Mr. [Diven?] to have, for on the strength of that I think I am entitled to be mustered out. I think it is a very great injustice for me to be left longer than my turn. We are camped about ¾ of a mile west of the Weldon R. R. I am very busy building forts and heavy works. It has been very quiuet along the lines for several days, but about an hour ago, say 8 pm, the news was received here that [???] routed Long Street [sic, Jubal Early] in the Valley and captured all his trains and 43 pieces of artillery and such cheering I never heard as the despatches read to different regiments. You can hear it for miles and miles – over and over again – it is really glorious news. The bands are playing national airs and there is a general jubilee – a few more such victories and I think our fighting will be about done. The soldiers are busy voting but there is a very great lack of tickets of all kinds. I wish you would attend to this and let me know as soon as possible what he says – have you seen or heard from Joe I have not heard a word from him since he left from here.
I will have another salute of shotted guns before morning – how is Election going on then – I think it is going for Lincoln here. Kind regards to all.
Ed[mund O. Beers]
I have just received a letter from Joe. I wish he would go with you to Mr. [Diven?] as he knows all the circumstances.1
- Beers, Edmund O. “October 20th 1864.” Letter to Brother. 20 Oct. 1864. MS. Near Petersburg, Va. This letter appears here courtesy of Dan O’Connell, who has a large collection of letters from Union Engineers during the Civil War. ↩