This letter was written by Amos Coar (1842-1887) of Co. E, 2d Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. Amos enlisted in February 1864 and was mustered out of the service in January 1866. Amos was the son of Thomas Coar (1815-1884) and Susanna Jago (1817-1847). After his mother’s death in 1847, his father married Amanda Ulmer (1829-1862).
In the 1850 Census, Amos was enumerated in his father’s household in Whitmarsh, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. In the 1863 Draft Registration, he was enumerated as a single farmer in Moreland, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. After the war he married Emma Barndt (1849-1919) and resided in Philadelphia where he worked as a “flour dealer” until his death in 1887.
Amos wrote the letter to Enos Clayton (1822-1902) of Moreland, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Perhaps Amos had worked for Enos as a hired hand before entering the service. Apparently Amos had been captured by Confederates during the early stages of the Overland Campaign which started with the Battle of the Wilderness. He was probably among those wounded and taken prisoner on the field at Cold Harbor in early June 1864. The letter was written from Camp Parole which was a place where Union soldiers on parole could be kept by their own side, in a non-combat role. They could be restored to a combat role if some prisoners of war were traded to the other side. This would enable them to be returned to a combat role as an exchange for the newly freed prisoners of war. Conditions in the camps were unpleasant; the parolees refused to do guard duty or routine work, claiming that would violate their parole.
Camp Parole [Maryland]
July 7th 1864
I take the present opportunity to write to you once more to let you know that I am a getting along as well as I can expect. I feel pretty weak yet. I hope these few lines will find you and all of the rest [of the] family enjoying the pleasure of health.
We are in a hard old place here for wounded men and men that haint got much appetite. My appetite haint very good and I have to buy what I can eat when I can’t eat what they give me. I would like to have a furlough but I guess I cannot get one very well for there is so many that wants them. I would like to see you and your family and to help you a little what I could such as lead the horse to the drag and hand sheaves and little jobs like that for I expect you are busy with your hay and gain. I expect the farmers are pretty busy now.
How is Josey Pearson a getting along? And I expect the bear is a going yet with Josey? I haven’t heard anything at all of Frank since I got wounded. They made a charge Saturday against Petersburg but I can’t say whether our regiment was in or not. I think they ought to be relieved for we went in on Friday with ten hundred and 33 and Saturday morning they stacked guns and they was [only] two hundred and 38. And I don’t know whether they was any more came in after that. I would like to hear from him very much.
This is all at present as I must bring my writing to a close. I didn’t receive your letter in answer for the first one I sent.
Your affectionate friend, — Amos Coar to Enos Clayton
Convalescent Hospital near Annapolis, MD
Ward 42, Section D.