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New York Soldier Reports on Fort Sumter before It Was Taken
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I am quite lame with the kidney complaint but not bad enough to fetch me home yet for they wont let a man go home as long as he can go and then they had rather he would die here for they die here every day....if you have got any friends that talk of coming tell him to join the masons or odfellows or some other d n d disorder and stay at home

ABRAM BOGART. Autograph Letter Signed, to a “friend,” South Carolina, October 10, 1863, 4 pp. 8vo.

Inventory #21265.06       Price: $375

Complete Transcription

[Inverted above dateline:] you must excuse my poor writing for my pen is very poor and wont make a mark half the time

October 10 1863 South Carolina

Dear Friend

I thought that I would write a few lines in way of remembrance for I thought you had forgotin me or els you would have writen to me before this time  I am quite lame with the kidney complaint but not bad enough to fetch me home yet for they wont let a man go home as long as he can go and then they had rather he would die here for they die here every day for Joseph Olmsted died 5 oclock this morning and thare was two in the dead house thare that had to be buried this morning that died yesterday so you can se how things go here and if you have got any friends that talk of coming tel him to join the masons or odfellows or some other d n d disorder and stay at home <2>

noon

very pleasant weather down here and not much going on here nowdays  a few shels thrown ocationly to keep up wachfulness on booth sides and keep the troops a drilling until they are driled to death for it is one day here and another thare and it something besides fighting the rebels all the time and it seemes as though they was afraid the war would close before they all get rich so one workes against the other slyly but to an injury to the cause to make it delay the engagement if possible an give the enemy notice so they can be ready and now they are a going to wait and quarel among the oficers and one is a fraid that the other is geting a little more praise than the other now that they have got Fort Wagner and Sumter, now they must make a fus with general Gilmore and let the rebels renew their strengh and get over their freight for they deserted and came in every night theire one spell <3> but it is all played out now and there is no more deserters that come in and our folks are not doing any thing here but fireing a few heavy guns in range of the citty and letting the rebels work and fortify the city on all sides and corners and they improve the time and shel our pickets most beautifully once in awhile especiely moonlight nights but I suppose we shal go at them again soon for General Gilmore sticks by us yet in spite all opposition

Sunday morning 11th

it is reported that we shal waite til the army of the Potomac gets Richmond before we do much more here than keep them in check and from going to Richmond to reinforce Lee but how it will work we cant tel yet but I spose you know more about what is agoing on here than we do for they had it in the papers about the taking of Sumter before thare was a gun fired at it from our battery on the land and we got the news down here <4> when we had got but one gun mounted so you se you have the news before it is done. for I was in sight of it all the time and could se every shot that was fired at it til it was done with and it is a horrible looking mas of ruings and good for nothing but creg [Gregg] and wagner can be fixed up again if need be  the part of spoliation is hard in war  when they get once at it in earnest for it is to be who can do the most damage then  well it is three oclock and they are falling in for meeting and it is some thing new with us for we hant had but avery few sermons since we have been in the army for our minister is rather a poor stick but he begins to improve down here like some of our oficers now. They cant get by it but it is any thing but right yet in this regiment for the Brigade sergeon finds a goodeal of fault with them lately and they begin to improve a little now but thare is room for more improvement yet for thare has been quite a change in our rations already and we can have wisky every day if we want it and soft bread and a few onions once a week and fresh beef once a week and it seems a little like live again but this picketing every other night is enough to kill us and I guess it does help us out of the way some for thar was died last night but enough of this for once for I gues you cant read it now so good by

                                                                        Abram Bogart

[Includes envelope addressed to “Mrs. Abram Bogart / Masonville, / Delaware Co. / N. Y.”]

Historical Background

Organized in August and September 1862, the 144th New York Volunteer Infantry regiment traveled by railroad to Washington, D.C., where it joined in the defense of Washington until April 1863, when it was ordered to Suffolk, Virginia, near Norfolk. There, General Longstreet besieged the regiment for two weeks. The regiment participated in the pursuit of Lee’s army after the Battle of Gettysburg, before being ordered to Folly Island, South Carolina. The regiment remained there and on Morris Island from August 1863 to February 1864, and participated in the sieges of Fort Wagner and Fort Gregg. Confederates abandoned Fort Wagner on September 6, and Union forces captured Fort Gregg later that same month. With the capture of these forts on Morris Island, the Union forces bombarded Fort Sumter for 13 months from August 1863 to September 1864, reducing the location of the start of the war to a pile of rubble.

Contaminated drinking water led to outbreaks of chronic diarrhea and typhoid fever that disabled many and killed dozens of soldiers in the 144th New York.

Abram Bogart (1825-1899) was born in Catskill, New York. By 1860, he was a farmer in Sidney, Delaware County, New York, with $600 in real property. He enlisted as a private in Company I of the 144th New York Volunteer Infantry in August 1862 for three years. A month later, he transferred to Company K in the same regiment. He mustered out with his company on June 25, 1865, at Hilton Head, South Carolina. After the war, he returned to Sidney and continued farming. By 1870, he owned $2,500 in real property. He began receiving an invalid pension in 1886, and still lived in Sidney in 1892.

Joseph E. Olmstead (1841-1863) enlisted in August 1862 and was mustered in as a private in Company K of the 144th New York in September 1862. Promoted to corporal in October 1862, he died October 10, 1863, at Folly Island, South Carolina.

N.B.: The Gilder-Lehrman Collection has 31 letters by Bogart from both before and after this one.


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