1865: Augustus Luke Holbrook to Cyrus Holcomb

This letter was written by Augustus Luke Holbrook (1835-1911), the son of Nathaniel Holbrook (1809-1881) and Cynthia Hill (1817-1881) of Grand Isle, Vermont. Augustus was married to Roxanna Priscilla Hall (1837-1892) in December 1854. Their three children, at the time of this 1865 letter, were Elda Holbrook (1856-1939), Melbourne Holbrook (1859-1920), and Flora Arabelle Holbrook (b. 1862). Roxanna was the daughter of Simeon Hall (1798-1858) and Roxana Holcomb (1764-1839) of Grand Isle, Vermont.

Augustus wrote the letter to his brother-in-law, Cyrus Holcomb (1824-1907) — the son of Samuel Holcomb (1799-1869) and Martha Knapp (1798-1851) of Grand Isle, Vermont. Cyrus married Alameda Celeste Hall (1832-1883). Cyrus had moved from Grand Isle, Vermont, to Chateaugay, Franklin county, New York, in 1859.

Augustus was a shoemaker by profession when he enlisted as a musician on 12 September 1861 in Co. C, 5th Vermont Infantry. He received a disability discharge on 9 August 1862 and was a resident of Poughkeepsie, New York, when he re-enlisted on 5 January 1864 as a private in Co. H, 14th New York Heavy Artillery. He was detailed on daily duty in the hospital department at Washington D. C. until he was mustered out on 26 August 1865 — one month after this letter was written. His service was credited to Clinton, New York. His muster roll states that he stood 5’8″ tall and had brown hair, blue eyes, and a fair complexion.


Addressed to Mr. Cyrus Holcomb, Chateaugay, Franklin county, New York
Postmarked Washington D. C.

Post Hospital
Forts Simmons & Mansfield
July 26th 1865

Brother & Sister,

I expect to be paid today as the First Battalion of our regiment were paid yesterday and if we are paid today, I will put money enough to pay the express charges on a box that I have sent to the Express Office. I have directed the box to you and would like to have you go to the depot and get it and take it to your house and put it where it will be dry till I or Roxana goes home and will satisfy you for your trouble.

The prospect is that we will be kept in the service at least till winter sets in and I think then we will be mustered out. Roxana says tell you that she wants you to go and get that barrel of flour she left in the house and give her as much when she comes home. I think it would be a pretty good idea for perhaps somebody would draw it out if they knew there was any there.

We received a letter from Penn and Elda tonight. They are well and had heard from the Island. All well there. I am looking for a letter from you everyday. Roxana enjoys herself better than I ever knew her to before except by times when she is homesick thinking of Melbourne and Elda. Then she squalls a little while till I get time to divert her attention.

We are going on an excursion down the Potomac to Mount Vernon to the Tomb of Washington and several other places of amusement some time next week if the weather will admit. The doctor’s folks are going and want us to go with them, We had a picnic last Friday about two miles from here and very near Fort Sumner. Calista is about four miles from here and will probably come here within a few days. I sent word to her by one of the patients of our hospital that belongs to Co. A of the [  ] Vermont who was returned to duty this morning.

Visitors at Washington’s Tomb near his Mount Vernon Residence

I must close by asking you to write as soon as the box gets there. If the weather should be wet while the box is on the way, I would like you to open it and hang the things up until thoroughly dried. All well. Write us often. Remembering your absent friends.

— A. L. & R. P. H.

P. S. Flora says tell Elnora come to my house. — A. L. H.




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