Letter – Zebulon Ryder, 24 December 1861

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Letter written by Private Zebulon P. Ryder of Company I, 11th PA Cavalry, to his father while in camp near Suffolk, VA. Ryder states he is having an easy time but is unsure of how long that will last. During his last scout, his regiment captured three Rebel pickets. He wishes to be home for Christmas dinner, and would like photographs of his father and his aunt. He would be willing to get his own photograph taken if his father sends him money. On the 15th of January, he is set to receive six month’s pay. Ryder is proud of his spending habits; he only buys writing paper and tobacco from the sutler. He concludes with a description of the Secesh Drill, and makes fun of the locals and how they say “we’uns.”


-Page 1-

Camp Suffolk Dec 24/62

Dear Farther

I reaceved your letter to night Dated the 20th and i was very glad to here from you and to here that you and all the folks at home whare well This leaves me very well at presant and I hope it may find you the same I am haveing prety easy times of it out here but i do not no how long it will last, Just Came home of a scout we captured 3 of the Rebel Picket 1 of them belonged to the 2d Georga Cavelry I supose you have herd of them before and the other 2 belong to some Infantry Regament i do not no from what state thay whare from, I thought that Arch Brower went home long ago or i would have writen to him, I went down to see Fread Driscol the day before I went out on a scout and i found him very sick but

-Page 2-

the Doctor said that he would soon get over it, I would like very much to be home to get my Christmas Diner for i supose you will have something good, you said that you was a going to send me your likeness I wish you would for i would like to have it very much and my aunts also if you send me on some money i will get mine takeing as the man that takes them came here last thursday, I only wished we would get paid off and then i would get 3 or 4 takeing but i would Rather wait now untill the 15th of January and then i will get 6 months pay which will be 75 Dollars, and i will have 5 of them to send home to you as i only gave 10 dollars of it to the sutler and you can see that i do not spend so much money as i use to do for that is only 2 dollars a month and i only spent that for writing paper

-Page 3-

and tobaco dont you

Reckon that is Right Smart for me My Mother sent for a lock of my hair i would send it to her but it is so short that it is impossible to cut it but i must stop for tonight and Bid you good Bye

from your Son

Zebulon Ryder

11 PA Cav

This is a specimen of the Secesh Drill

Gentlemen of North Carolina I came down to drill you a little Atention North Carolinians 2 strings to the Right Right Smart get halt hind Rank a little Closter get turn around get & Get meens March, Two of our Boys that was takeing prisoner got home last week

Tell Frank to write and Aunt also

-Page 4-

Zebulon Powell Ryder

Company I 11th Pa Cavelry

give my love to Aunt Uncle and Cousands Brothers and Sisters

Right Smart I Recon

What dose you all Come down here to weens for

Weens if what thay us


Zebulon P. Ryder was born in New York City. He enlisted in Company I of the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry on August 3, 1862 at around 16 or 17 years of age. He was first assigned to duty in Suffolk, Va. with his company, and survived the war, being discharged May 16, 1865. At some point he moved west to Tennessee, married, and worked as a farmer. He died February 26, 1909 of pneumonia in Buena Vista, TN.

Another letter by Zebulon Ryder, dating from 3 August 1862, can be found at Spared Shared. Be sure to check them it as well!

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