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.
CAMP CITY POINT VA 5 NOV 1864
I take this opportunity to let you know how I get along. Charles and I are both of us very well and hope these few lines will find you the same. We had quite a hard rain the other day here it is pleasant now and cold nights here and not very warm days. There was some firing last night but all is quiet this morning. We are keeping busy to work all the time. today we had to drill a little and then go out on inspection. We have been to work to build us a log shanty. We haint got it done. We can’t tell but next spring where we winter. Thursday night [November 3, 1864] we was called out and thought that we would have to go to the front, but we didn’t. We went down to the point and hard tack. It was all night and we was out in it and did not get back to camp till morning. We have learned a little what it is to be a soldier and I expect to do my duty and be a good soldier. There is a good deal of — all over the north about the election, but we can’t say how it will come out yet.1 I was down to the hospital last Friday [probably October 28, 1974] to see Garret Newhouse. He is feeling better. He will be back to his company in a few days again. We are drawed us some clothes. I got a dress coat and an overcoat and niger rubber blanket and Charles got dress coat, woolen blankets and rubber blanket, 2 pair of socks and I got two pair of socks. We are well prepared for winter now. I have got all the money you sent to me. I want you to send me some more for I haint got any. I am almost ashamed to send for any more, but I don’t expect to draw pay this two months and have got to buy so many things to live on for one thing another that 5 dollars don’t last long. Send me $5 when you answer this letter. I write for you to send me a box of things, you can send it as soon as you get it ready if you haint sent the box off you needn’t send me any shirts for I can get these here cheaper. The thing that was in my red shirt pocket, I forgot it when I changed my clothes in Elmira and I want you to send it to me if the box is gone then send it in a piece of paper do it up. Garret Newhouse got a letter today, but I don’t know what was in it. John Mina and Henry Cady went to the hospital today and took the letter to Garrett Newhouse. All the boys are as well a common and enjoy themselves well. I want you to write often and long letters. You have a better chance to write than what I do. The last letter I got done very well if you will keep a doing so. I want you to write whether John has come home or not. If he has come home to have him see about the land and have it paid for and all straight. This is all that I have to write now so goodbye for this time.
This from Luke Ostrye to his father Paul Ostrye. (written by wm Hodge)2
Other Letters Written By Luke and Charles Ostrye at the Siege of Petersburg:
- LT: September 15, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: September 21, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: September 29, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: October 16, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: October 23, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: November 20, 1864 Luke Ostrye
- LT: December 15, 1864 Luke and Charles Ostrye
- LT: December 16-23, 1864 Luke and Charles Ostrye
- Ostrye is discussing the Presidential election of 1864, which was only days away from occurring. ↩
- Ostrye, Luke. “Camp City Point Va 5 Nov 1864.” Letter to Father. 5 Nov. 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>. ↩