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New Jersey Soldier Expects Battle Soon
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I hardly think old Lee will show fight. During this Campain without he is forced, we may have a brush with him when we get down the Rappahanock.

ALBERT [M. RUNYON*]. Autograph Letter Signed, to his parents [George and Mary Runyon*], October 31, 1863, 4 pp.

Inventory #21265.08       Price: $200

Complete Transcript

Camp of the Fourteenth N. J. Vols. Along the Orange & Alexandria RR Near Warrenton Junction, Vir. Sat. October 31st 1863

            Dearest Mother & Father As I am at leisure this morning I will take up my pen and drop you a few lines to assure you by the blessing of God I am well & forked end down as usual. it has been raining this morning like fun, but from present appearances, I think it will clear up before noon, but I think it must be close on to noon now. Although I have but just eaten my breakfast, it rained so when I got up this morning I made up my mind I would wait until it stopped raining before I done any cooking. Well mother we are now about six miles from where we were when last I wrote you. we changed camp night before <2> last & had the pleasure of enjoying a good nights rest. yesterday we ordered to pack up and be ready to move. so after a march of six mile we halted & stuck up our shelters, at where we now lay. There are a great many Troops in this vicinity. I hav’nt the least idea how long we will stay here, but I suppose we will move on as the Railroad gets rebuilt. They are getting along right smart with it now. they will catch up with us in the course of three Days if we lay here.

            Well Mother I had to cease writing for about three quarters of an hour for Inspection & Muster  we have been mustered again for two months pay. I dont know though when we will get the soap. it is according how long we stay in one place.

            There it is raining again and I thought it was going to clear away, so I see I am a poor Judge of the weather, but it makes <3> but a thimble full of difference to me how much it rains while we are not on the march & then I like clear weather, for you can imagine how happy it makes a fellow feel to march with shoes full of water & clothes sticking fast to the body. it feels so refreshing, ha. ha. But you need’nt imagine that it ever is so, because I speak of it here. its fun alive, ha. ha. and a very good thing to remind him that he knew a spot of earth once, he called his home, and when he used to sport in his store clothes, ha. ha. & of the good mother that would always see that he dried his feet before he went to bed in case they should be wet. But theres no danger of a soldier, for all he has to do is to think of old times, often Dreaming of roast Turkey & molasses cake, awake in the morning & to his great delight, the Turkey is turned to <4> old grunter & the cake to Jack (Laugh) well so the world goes, one half made to eat the other half  The Soldier may yet have to be brought down on a level with the citizen, ha. ha.

Well there is nothing that looks to me like a fight, therefore there is no war news of any interest. I hardly think old Lee will show fight. During this Campain without he is forced, we may have a brush with him when we get down the Rappahanock. but I must close my letter as I have a little washing to do before it rains again. I hope this finds you all in the enjoyment of good health. remember me to all & I ever remain your loving Son,


Historical Background

Organized near Freehold, New Jersey, in August 1862, the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry defended Baltimore from September to January 1863. It then moved to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, until June, when it again moved to Frederick, Maryland, and engaged in the pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg. The regiment participated in the Bristoe Campaign in mid-October 1863, shortly before Runyon wrote this letter from Warrenton Junction, where the regiment was helping to rebuild the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

The 14th New Jersey advanced to the Rappahannock on November 7-8, and remained there through the winter. In the spring of 1864, it participated in the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House in May and Cold Harbor in June. The regiment then moved to Baltimore, from which it engaged in the Battle of Monocacy in July and General Philip Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign from August to November 1864. Runyon was transferred to the veteran reserve corps at the end of September. The 14th New Jersey returned to the siege of Petersburg from December 1864 to April 1865 and was present at Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. After participating in the Grand Review in Washington, the 14th New Jersey was mustered out in mid-June 1865.

Albert M. Runyon (1846-1893) was born in New Jersey and enlisted as a private in Company C of the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in August 1862. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on September 30, 1864, probably because of some disability. Runyon was mustered out of service in July 1865. He married Annie E. Laird (1849-1922), with whom he had eight children between 1867 and 1879. By 1870, they lived in South East, Pennsylvania, where Runyon was a laborer. By 1880, he was a railroad brakeman.

George L. Runyon (1819-1891) was born in New Jersey and married Mary Martin Giles (1818-after 1900) in 1841. They had seven children, of whom Albert M. Runyon was the second. In 1860, George Runyon was a painter in Piscataway, New Jersey.

*Author and recipients may also have been:

Albert N. Dabb (1838-1875) was born in Cornwall, England. In December 1858, he married Jane Ann Johnson (1840-1874), with whom he had one son in 1860. In 1860, Dabb was an ornamental painter in Passaic, New Jersey and owned personal property worth $300.

He enlisted in Company C of the 14th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on October 22, 1863. He joined the regiment near Bristoe, Virginia, and wrote to his parents from near Warrenton Junction, Virginia, a few days later. He was discharged in May 1865 from the General Hospital at Baltimore, Maryland. In 1870, he was a painter living in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He also developed plans for new school architecture.

Nicholas Dabb (1816-1887) was born in Cornwall England. In 1837, he married Mary Yelland (1814-1882), with whom he had nine children, of whom Albert N. Dabb was the oldest. He was a painter, and in 1850, he moved with his wife and six children to New York. By 1860, he was a painter in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he remained for the rest of his life. He engaged in the business of carving and ornamenting wood and stone, and manufacturing machinery. By 1870, he had accumulated $22,000 worth of real property and $3,000 of personal property.

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