This letter was written by William H. Welch (1844-1936) who enlisted on 25 December 1863 as a private in Battery M, 16th New York Heavy Artillery. In April 1864, he was transferred to Company I. Companies were attached to various brigades/divisions of X Corps, Army of the James, through December 1864 and then XXII Corps and XXIV Corps, to July–August 1865. They were used primarily as infantry rather than artillery during the Overland Campaign of 1864. William mustered out at Washington D. C. on 21 August 1865.
William was the son of Thomas Welch (1815-1875) and Mary Dower (1818-886), both natives of Ireland who married in 1840 and lived for a time in Canandaigua, New York. Thomas Welch worked as a laborer on the railroad and William gave his occupation as “railroader” when he enlisted as a substitute in 1863.
Fort Magruder [near Yorktown, Virginia]
September 2nd, 1864
My dear mother,
I thought I would write you a few lines hoping to find you in health which these few lines leaves me and all of the boys at present. I wrote you a letter last week and got no answer not yet. I hope you will write as soon as you will get this letter.
I would like to have you go to Baxter and have him to make me a pair of boots and have him make them like the other and as soon as I get paid, I will send money to pay for them, We expect to get paid this month and I will send it all to you as soon as I will get it and all I will ask you to get me is the boots and two woolen shirts out of it and you can have the rest of it for yourself.
I heard that the old man is gone away and you must get along the best way you can until I get my pay and I will send every cent of it to you as soon as I will get it. When you answer this letter, let me know when you heard from Tom and let me know where he is and I will write to him as soon as I will find out where he is.
No more at present. So goodbye for this time. Write soon. — William Welch