1862: William L. Beers to Friends

This letter was written by William L. Beers (1840-1862) who mustered in as a corporal on 7 October 1861, at Mount Morris, Livingston County, New York, to serve three years in Co. C, 89th New York Infantry.

William Beers was killed at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862.

A letter of his dated 1 January 1862 is in the collection of the Military History Institute in Carlisle, PA.

See also — 1862: Edwin Moses Sherburne to Jane A. Cate for mention of 89th New York in North Carolina.

TRANSCRIPTION

Camp Clay
Washington [City]
January 1st 1862

Dear Friends,

I thought I would send you a few lines and let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same.

We had an inspection yesterday. The Vice President [Hannibal Hamlin] was up to see us and Daniel S. Dickinson presented us with a flag that is worth one hundred and seventy-five dollars. It looks more like the Fourth of July than New Years.

It was reported here in camp yesterday that there was a battle over in Virginia but I don’t know how it come out but I think that we got the best of it for there was a great hurrahing down in the city last night.

This morning we was called out in line of battle about two o’clock. The colonel said he heard the firing and didn’t know but the rebels had attacked us and then he wished us a Happy New Year and then he dismissed us.

There is three forts within two miles of here. Some of the boys has gone over to the 44rd Regiment today. Charley Low has been over to see us. I want to go over to the 27th [Regiment] one of these days. I think we will be discharged in the spring. I don’t think we will ever be armed for there is about 20 regiments yet before ours to arm.

You must excuse bad writing for I had to use my knee for a writing desk. No more at present. Give my respects to all inquiring friends. I will close by wishing you all a Happy New Year.

— William L. Beers

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