1863: George Vosseller to Samuel Stewart

How George might have looked

How George might have looked

These two letters were written by George Vosseller [a.k.a. Vossler] of Co. B, 15th New Jersey Infantry who was 36 years old when he enlisted in August 1862. A younger relative — perhaps a cousin, Oakely W. Vossler (b. 1839), enlisted with him in the same company. Sadly, both were killed in the fighting in and around Spottsylvania Court House in 1864; Oakley on 8 May and George on 12 May.

I believe Oakley was the son of Peter Vossler (b. 1802) and his wife Ann (b. 1802) of Washington Township, Morris County, New Jersey. [Note: the 1850 Census has their surname miss-spelled as “Fupler.”]

The following regimental history shows the movements of the 15th New Jersey from the time they were mustered into the service until May 1864:

Moved to Frederick, Md., September 30, 1862, thence to Bakerville and joined Army of the Potomac. Duty in Maryland till October 29. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Duty near Falmouth, Va., till April 27, 1863. “Mud March” January 20-24. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin’s Crossing April 29-May 2. Battle of Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks’ Ford May 4. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. Fairfield, Pa., July 5. At and near Funkstown, Md., July 10-13. In camp near Warrenton till September 15, and at Culpeper till October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Duty at Brandy Station till May, 1864. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May 3-June 15. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21.

George wrote the letters to Samuel Stewart (1839-1903) of Hackettstown, Warren County, New Jersey. Samuel was the son of Thomas Stewart (1816-1871) and Mary Martin (1816-1889).

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Samuel Stewart, Hackettstown, Warren County, New Jersey

Camp near the White Oak Church, Virginia
April 15th 1863

Friend Samuel Stewart,

I received your kind letter and was happy to hear from you all and was much disappointed not to see you down here for when you was in Philadelphia, I looked for you to come down and see us. But you did not come and I would’ve been pleased to see Thomas, my old Coz. [If he’d of come down here here and stayed about a week with me, then he would think that I was right about this war. But I hope that if I have insulted Thomas, I hope that he will forgive me.

Samuel, I am as well as common and hoping that these few lines may find you enjoying good health — one and all the same. I wish you would answer more of my letters. I have sent some five or six letters, Samuel, and have received one from you.

And now we lay here under marching orders and I don’t know where we are agoing but I think that we will start to Richmond. And if we go there, must be some heavy fighting to do and I pray to God for protection and to spare my life for to return home to see you all some day once more.

Samuel, I tell you what, some of our men is down on old Abraham and his cabinet for passing that conscript law in this way and now, I will tell you what, for they say that all of the poor is down here. Now the most of them is poor or men in the Army of the Potomac. And now, a poor man can’t pay his money, then he must go to war and the rich man can pay his three hundred dollars and stay home with his family. That is wrong, Sammy, for they all say many won’t fight but it will prolong this war. Many can’t fight.

Samuel, tell me how the horses is all getting along. Write as soon as you can. No more at present, but remain your friend, — George Vossellear

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Samuel Stewart, Hackettstown, Warren County, New Jersey

December 4th 1863
Camp near Brandy Station, VA.

Friend Stewart,

I have not had time to answer your letter before we had been on a hard march for about nine days and some very hard fighting. But our company did not lose a man but the Bumshot flew very sharp. But I think that God is on our side now for everything [has] gone inner favor.

After we broke camp, we marched over the Rapidan and there we laid down there for the night. And the next day the fight broke open and lasted three days. And we drove them back about twelve miles and then we fell back and burnt every house that was in our sight. And when we came back to Robersontown, there was a very nice place and we burnt it down to the ground. ¹ And we burnt up one tannery. There was about three or four thousand dollars of leather and beef hides and I think that there was about one million of dollars worth of property. And their fine houses and furniture made us a very fine light for us to march by, and some of the owners of these houses stood by some of our men’s sides and saw them burn but they were prisoners and they say that is hard. But if they don’t want to see it, they must lay down their arms and come back in the Union.

Samuel, I want you for to send your old friend a box of something good to eat. I want some onions. And send me some good cake for ____. Thank you all for sending me a good box but do not put anything in the box that will break. Don’t put any apples for they will rot. Send some dried fruit and some butter. Do not put anything that is warm. Send me some donuts.

Yours, — George Vosseller

¹ I cannot find a Robersontown on the map coincident to the Mine Run Campaign. I feel that George must have been referring to Richardsville north of the Rapidan River crossings.



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