Letter – Horace Ensworth, 1 December 1864


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Letter written by Private Horace B. Ensworth of Company B, 81st NY Volunteer Infantry, to his father, from Fort Harrison, VA. Ensworth writes that the 18th and 1st Corps have been consolidated. Ulysses S. Grant, must charge to Richmond, but Ensworth is weary of charging. He says talking about a charge and actually making one are very different. He expects hard fighting in the coming days. Ensworth says that many men are enlisting in the regular service to keep themselves from having to go through the next campaign. He is determined to stay for the entire length of his service if only to save himself and his family from disgrace.

-Page 1-

Fort Harrison, Va. Dec. 1st 1864

Dear Father

as I havent had a Letter from you Since the 17th and have Written you two Letters and havent had eny answer I Will Forward a few more lines to you hoping that they Will reach you all saft [safe] Well Father I suppose that hell Will bee to pay now before Longe for Every man that is able to carry a riffle has got to take one and the 18 and 01st Corps is Concolidated to gether and I am not shure but I think that it is Called the 24th Corps Father I begin to think that they are not a gewing to Leave a man for that old Grant has got to charge from hear to richmond, and chargin is played out With me I never will make another one as Longe as I belonge to the 81 Regt

-Page 2-

Well they can all of them talk about What a fine thing it is to be in a charge and and get out of it all right but being at home and making a Salliant [salient] Charge or beeing down hear and Charging upon the Johnnies is to [two] differant things in My Way of thinking Well Father I doe not know but I think that they Will bee some pretty hard [fighting] done down hear in this department before meny more days pass off It has Every appearance of it now from the signs of our own men and the Johnnies to Well Father Since I commenst to Wright this Letter I have had to gew out and drill We have to drill 4 hours Evry day and We are on picket Evry 2 days so you see What We have to doe down hear in the Southern Cuntry they is a good meny of our army that is a running a way to the rebels so to get sent of to the foreign countries and

-Page 3-

Besides they is a great Meny of them that is a Enlisting into the Regular Survice and a taking the Bounties and a gewing to the old Cuntries In Order to save themselves from gewing throug the next Comming Campeign I have several aplycations fer to gew With differents Ones I think that I shall Live Just as Longe to Stay as I agreed to as I should to desert from my Home my Cuntry and my friends I might have an Easier time but What Would bee threwn In my Parents faces Every time that they Was Eny one got mad I Will stay Whare I belonge or gew Honorably Well Father I supose that you have Got my Boots ready to send by this time I tell you that I am Barefoot and my pants is nearly gone I sent a Letter to Abie to day Wright soon and let me know the knews of the day.

-Page 4-

direct to Horace B. Ensworth

Co. B, 81 1st Division 1st Brigade

18 Corps

Dr. Horace B. Ensworth was born in New Haven, CT in 1843. He enlisted on September 28, 1861 in Oswego, NY and was mustered in as a private with Company B of the 81st NY Volunteer Infantry. He re-enlisted in January of 1864 in N.W. Landing, VA. He was appointed corporal at some point and then promoted to sergeant in February of 1865. On April 3rd of 1865 at about 8 o’clock the 81st was the first Union regiment to march into Libby Prison in Richmond, VA. Ensworth was detailed to oversee the feeding of the 1,600 men held there until the last one was paroled. He mustered out August 31, 1865 at Fort Monroe, VA. Ensworth died on September 13, 1935 at the age of 92 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Orwell, NY.

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