This letter was written by 25 year-old Franklin Moore (1837-1918) who enlisted in June 1861 in the New York Independent Light Artillery. He remained with the battery until June 1864.
Franklin was the son of Staten Island native Lawrence Moore (1801-1864) & Ann Hutchinson (1801-1880) of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Franklin’s father learned the wheel-wright’s trade and settled permanently in Woodbridge in 1837 where he conducted a very prosperous business. Franklin’s parents were married on 11 March 1823.
In 1860, Franklin resided in Rahway, New Jersey and worked as a carriage maker. In the 1870 Census, Franklin was yet unmarried and working as a wheel-wright. In 1871, Franklin and his younger brother Ellis F. Moore went in together in the hardware business in Woodbridge. Subsequent census records indicate that Franklin never married. In his will (dated 1916), Franklin mentions his “beloved sister” — Martha A. (Moore) Harned (1840-1918), the widow of Isaac Newton Harned (1838-1905). [Source: History of Middlesex County, published in 1921]
For other letters by Franklin Moore, see January 21, 1862 and February 26, 1862. For other letters by a member of the 6th New York Independent Battery, see William Henry Turner in Staten Island Soldiers.
Ship Point, Virginia
April 15, 1862
I again have an opportunity to drop you a few lines. I am well and never felt better in my life. We are again in Virginia. We had a rough time a getting here. We were turned out at three o’clock the next morning after I wrote to you — Saturday the 4th — and by seven we were ready to move. It commenced to rain just before we started and kept up till we got to Liverpool Point about seven miles down the Potomac — the place we were to embark — when it cleared up again.
Owing to some mismanagement, we did not commence to load till Monday night [April 6th 1862] when it commenced to rain again and kept it up for four days. We put the horses on two schooners and the Battery on a barge. We finished loading Wednesday night [April 8th 1862] when we were then taken in tow by steamboats and started. I was on one of the schooners. We got to the mouth of the Potomac Thursday morning [April 9th 1862]. The wind blew so hard and the waves run so high that the Captain was afraid to go any further so we laid there till night when the wind stopped blowing and we started on again and got to Fortress Monroe about sunrise Friday morning [April 10th 1862]. We stopped there about half an hour. I saw the Monitor ¹ and the rest of the sights around there and would have seen the Merrimack ² if we had stayed longer for she was out that morning and came very near taking the other schooner. The boys were pretty well scared up. All the vessels had to stop there to get orders where to go to.
We again started and arrived about two miles up the Poquosin River where we unloaded. We are now encamped about two miles from the river and within six miles of Yorktown. Gen. McClellan is here and this army is over one hundred thousand strong with five hundred pieces of artillery. The Woodbridge boys are all here. I saw them yesterday. They are all well.
This is a splendid part of Virginia around here. The trees are all out in blossom. I shall have to bring this to a close for I have got considerable work to do. Give my respects to all enquiring friends. I remain your affectionate son, — F. Moore
¹ The USS Monitor guarded the waters around Fortress Monroe and was commonly observed by soldiers passing through the area in April 1862.
² The Merrimack was christened the CSS Virginia after she was salvaged and converted into an ironclad ram. She won everlasting fame in her engagement with the USS Monitor at Hampton Roads in early March 1862. After that battle, heavily damaged, the CSS Virginia retired to the Gosport Naval Yard at Portsmouth, Virginia where she remained in dry dock for repairs until 4 April 1862. During the month that followed she made several sorties back over to Hampton Roads to try and draw the Monitor into battle again but failed. Trapped in the James River in May 1862, she was scuttled by her crew.