This letter was written by William Badger Tibbits (1837-1880), a native of the state of New York, and one of the first in that commonwealth to offer his services to the Federal cause. He was commissioned captain in the 2nd New York Infantry May 14, 1861, being mustered into the U. S. service at Troy for a term of two years. On May 18 he accompanied the regiment to New York and there embarked for Fortress Monroe, at the end of the journey encamping at Mill creek and participating in the Battle of Big Bethel. On Aug. 5 the regiment was ordered to Newport News where permanent quarters were erected and the ensuing winter was passed.
In Jan., 1862, his regiment joined an expedition up the James River, on March 7. It became a part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Virginia; from April 6 to 17 it was stationed at Young’s Mills, and on June 6 was assigned to the 3d Brigade, 2nd Division, 3d Corps. With his regiment Capt. Tibbits took part in the campaign on the Peninsula, was engaged near Fair Oaks and in the Seven Days’ battles. During the campaign in Virginia he was active at Bristoe Station, Groveton, the Second Bull Run and Chantilly. On Oct. 13, 1862, he was commissioned major of his regiment, which after various marches and counter-marches in Virginia, took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg and then went into winter quarters near Falmouth, occupying the same until the opening of the Chancellorsville movement in the spring of 1863. On May 26, 1863, Maj.Tibbits was mustered out of the service, the term of enlistment for his regiment having expired.
On Feb. 5, 1864 he again entered the service as Colonel of the 21st New York Cavalry. With this regiment he served in the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia. He was at Remount Camp, Md., from Aug. to the close of Oct., 1864, then joined the Army of the Shenandoah, being assigned to the 1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division. He saw much trying service throughout the year 1864, when his regiment was constantly employed in the arduous duties devolving on the cavalry arm of the service. During 1865 he took part in engagements near Paris, at White Post, and near Berryville, and on Oct. 18, 1865, he was commissioned Brigadier-General of Volunteers. He was mustered out of the service Jan. 15, 1866, and died Feb. 10, 1880.
William wrote the letter to his older brother, Charles Edward Dudley Tibbits (b. 1834) of Troy, New York. William and Dudley were the sons of George Mortimer Tibbets (1796-1878) and Sarah Bleeker (1802-1883). Dudley was married to Mary Elizabeth Knox. William mentions his older sister Eliza Atwood Tibbets (1831-1870) in the letter; she was married to John Hobart Warren in 1853.
Addressed to Dudley Tibbits, Esq., Troy, New York State
Near Winchester, Virginia
December 14th 1864
[Dr.] Catlin & I have just returned from a walk, exercise having been prescribed by him as the best method of freeing ourselves from the evil effects of __creating. I am much mortified to think that I should have placed myself on the footing of the little boy with the big plum pudding — venison did the business. We are blessed in having a very good cook & today our saddle of venison was wasted to a turn and afterwards washed down with G. T.’s bottle of wine.
My box arrived on Monday & such a box! More good things in it than I have time to enumerate. Do not fail to thank my dear sister Eliza, Mr. Warren, & all others who so bountifully & kindly subscribed to it. We seemingly have made no impression on it yet altho three meals a day come from its fathomless depths. The wine sent by Mr. Warren I am keeping for some grand occasion. Forsyth’s tobacco is used in common. But I must hasten on as it is late — past 12 o’clock.
Maj. [Charles C.] Otis goes home on 15 day leave tomorrow & I write by him. The flag I will order if I am so fortunate as to secure a leave. Otis is to order for me a sack coat at Brooks on his way home — not a jacket as I wrote you. You had better ask him if he did so & in case he did not, write to Brooks Brother & say to them that I want a sack coat of heavy cloth suitable for winter & for my present rank, same as full Brigadier. They will understand about it. Gen’l [William H.] Powell has not yet returned. I expect him in the morning. As soon as he comes, I will forward an application for 20 day leave.
There is no news to give you. I wrote Mr. [John Augustus] Griswold on Sunday; mailed letter to him at Washington. I wrote him also on receipt of my appointment.
Good night my dear brother. Love to Mother, Miss Mary & all.
Affectionately, — William
Please tear this up. Could you make a move with Messrs Harris & Morgan, the gentlemen you saw before. Go to Albany & if Mr. [Reuben Eaton] Fenten is in office, see that the appointments requested to be made by me this week are granted. It is important you do so at once altho ____ I am still CO of the regiment. I am afraid someone will interfere there.