This letter was written by Morgan E. Darby (1817-18xx) who enlisted at age 43 on 31 December 1863 at Seneca, New York, to serve three years in the 16th New York Heavy Artillery. Morgan wrote the letter to his wife, Almira [Elmira Durham] Darby (b. 1816), and his sons, George M. Darby (b. 1850) and John E. Darby (b. 1858).
In 1855, the Darby’s resided in Jerusalem, Yates county, New York. In 1865, the Darby’s resided in Pulteney, Steuben county, New York. In both State Census records, Morgan’s occupation was given as “Boatman.”
Morgan mentions his nephew, Elias Sanders of Co. F, 1st New York Mounted Rifles. He also mention John Seabury of the 16th New York Heavy Artillery whom he calls a “dead beat” soldier.
In the field near Richmond
on the Chapin’s Farm
December the 2d, 1864
Dear wife & sons,
It is with pleasure I write these few lines to let you know that I am well at present & hope these will find you all well. I received your letter dated the twentieth & mailed the 26th & I was so very glad to hear from you & to hear that you was well. It gave me comfort to hear that George was to home & you got the money safe. The old doctor has got discharged from the service. I wish I was but not dishonorably discharged. When I get discharged, I want an honorable one & then my friends won’t be ashamed of me.
Almira, I never want to do anything than can ever throw up in the faces of our children for God knows there is nothing on earth we ought to care for & you & them is all I care for on earth. God is the better world where I hope we shall meet & there to part no more. I hope we shall meet on earth & our last days may be our best days.
Almira, we had a dispatch this morning that Grant had taken the Danville Railroad. If that is so & we hold our line — which is about thirty-five miles in length & is well fortified — I think there be some hungry belles in Richmond before next spring for I can’t see where they can get their grub.
Almira, Elias Sanders was here & eat dinner with me today. He sent his respects to you & wanted you to write to him if you can. Direct to First New York Mounted Rifles, Troop F, Washington D. C.
Almira, I have wrote the one thing so much I have got my letters all by heart. There is nothing new here. I am taking care of horses yet & I shall until I get a place that suits me better. Tell me you have got your house yet & how you like it & what kind of a house you have got & how large the garden is & what apples is worth & how the weather is. It has been here about as Indian Summer is there but it is going for a storm. It’s cloudy today.
Almira, Elias makes a good soldier. John Seabury is a dead beat.
George, my dear boy, I am glad that you are to home for I felt uneasy when you was gone. I am glad you have got you some boots & I will send you a pair of pants as soon as I can. I can’t send a box from here. We expect to go away from here soon in some fort. I have got a pair I never have had on. I sent a ring in my last letter & I will send one in this. Tell Harrison I think he had better waited till the war was over for the hard times is coming on. Johnny, I am glad you are getting to be a man & when I come home I will have two men to help me — George and Johnny Go to school and learn all you can. So goodbye till next time. From your husband & Pa. My love & all the kisses I have. Morgan Darby to his wife & sons. A. & G. & J. Darby
Almira, I would buy a house if I could. Goodbye till next time.