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LT: December 15, 1864 Luke and Charles 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.


My dear father:

I take this present time to write a few lines to you. We are well today and hope you are well too and hope you are the same. Received your letter last Friday and have not had time to write to you till today. We have had some cold weather here. We had one little snow storm here. It freezes here so the ground will hold up a horse. I and all the rest of the boys had to go to the front last Saturday night [December 10, 1864]. We had a devil of a time Sat night. It rained like shit and we had to march in mud up to our knees. It rained and we had to carry four days rations and our nap sack full of things and our tent cloth and our guns and everything–it made a big load.

We had to march–we went up near Petersburg. I was within 1 1/2 miles of Petersburg so that I could see some of the buildings and see the rebels picket lines. Sunday night was a cold windy night and we had to tent right out on the ground. It made our teeth chatter. We could not have any fire much for the rebels would see us and could throw shells into us. We did not stay there but two days and then we came back to the old camp again. That is the soldiering goes and I like it the best that I can. You know that I can stand it for I am tough. They have had a battle in the same ground where we were since we got back to our old camp again. The cigars went bully. I can just get enough time to smoke and that is about all. That little dog you must learn him to respect soldiers so when I come home he won’t bit me. I should like a slice of pork of that pig or —- is the same.

Tell John Newhouse I would advise no one to enlist without they was afraid they would be drafted. Our fair is rather hard and we have to go on some devil of a tramp sometimes. He can as he is a mind to but soldiering is a hard life the best of it.

Father, I wish you to send me five dollars and Charles five. Send it in two letters five in each for we are out of money and we have got to have our boots taped and other things we have to have. I don’t know when we all draw pay. I want you to send some as soon as you get this letter.

I am well and tough and hardy as a buck and are ready for another trip, for I expect we shall have another before long. I want you to be sure and answer this letter as soon as you get it and send the money.

Good bye give my love and best respects to all this is all for this time from Luke and Charles Ostrye to Paul Ostrye.1


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


  1. Ostrye, Luke & Ostrye, Charles. “Camp City Point Va 15 Dec 1864.” Letter to Father. 15 Dec. 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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