Letter written by Corporal Samuel B. Keeler of Company I, 4th NJ Infantry, to his brother Clifford, from a camp near Strasburg, VA. Keeler writes that he sent a description of the battle from the 19th [Cedar Creek] in a previous letter. The battle was hard, but the Union came out victorious and he was unharmed. Keeler thinks highly of General Sheridan, and writes that he is proud to be in Sheridan’s Army. He is confident that Lincoln will be reelected President, in spite of what the Copperheads have been saying. He comments on friends, including some in the 15th NJ Infantry, and family members back home, including one whom Keeler has just discovered is a Copperhead.
Camp near Strasburg Va
Your welcome letter came in Company with Annies. I was very glad to here from you. There is not much use of my tilling you about the Battle we had on the 19th as I told Annie all about it in her letter. you would like to know weather I came out safe or no. well I came out all safe, and I am Thankful for it. I don’t see how every one can come out a live in some of the battles we have. the Battle of the 19th was a very hard one for a while. but we soon got the best of the Rebs and run
them back a gain. we wound up the Fight by a Grand Victory on our side. the last we heard of the Rebs, they was goin up the Valley as fast as they could. I don’t think they will be back again very soon, if they do we will do the same thing to them. we can Whip [Confedederate General Jubal] Early every day his men will not Fight when we get them on the run. that morning they drove us back we fought every step of the way. they drove us about three miles, but just as soon Sheridan came up and said they would have to go back where they came from. we all knew then that things was right. Sheridan had bin to Washington and he we [was] just on his way back that day. if he had of bin he[re] in the morning, Early would not of flanked us
you say I ought to be Proud I am in Sheridans Army. I am Proud of it. there is no Army that has don as well as this Army here before the Army in the [Shenandoah] Valley has always bin Whipped untill Sheridan took Command. Annie says in her letter that Pap got my Check for 200.00 Dollars, so you are beting all of your money [on] Uncle Abe are you. you had better keep your money in your Pocket. the same time your money is safe. Abe will be elected again just as shure as you live. let the Copperheads say what they Pleas a bout the Administration. and Abe will be re-elected in spite of them. The report is that Abe is down here at Sheridans Head Quarters now. if he is not here I think he is a coming in a day or t[w]o. Ben Peterson better mind
how he goes about Pemberton [NJ?] some of the Copperheads will get a hold of him and Kill him yet Emma told me in her last letter that there was a flag from our House to Lippencotts I heard a bout that turn out in the city Mag Anne told me about that. Emma told me that Hogat gave you a Revolver. 15.00 dollars is a good price for it. you had better sell it. that will be so much towards buying your new suit of clothes this Winter. I am glad that Charley has got his papers [discharge – Charles Keeler, Co C, 3rd NJ Infantry]. tell him I say that is the tickett to Vote. tell Cheeks I did not know that he was a Copperhead befor. I am very sorry to here it. tell him I say he must vote for Old Abe. how do General
Taylor vote. – I hope for Honest Old Abe. I saw in the paper how the election went in them states. the Stamps came all right. your letter was mailed on the 13th I received it on the Afternoon of the 21st. I knew that Gaskill was a Copperhead. I never told you that his son George [George Gaskill, enlisted as a substitute in Co. B, 15th NJ Infantry] was down here again. he is in the 15th Regt. in our Brigade. I have not saw him since the Battle. I will go over to the 15th and see if he was wounded or killed, so his folks will know about him. I will go before I send this letter. has Billy Bryan [Co. A, 15th NJ Infantry] got well of his wound yet I guess he is all right for Old -Page 6-
Abe. I have saw them circulars you speak about Clifford, you speak about that Hat I don’t think I gave it to you. I know I told Morris to take it home with him one night to keep you from getting it. you are rather young fer a High Hat I think. I have just bin over to see George Gaskill. He a live and well. he wishes to be remembered to you all. I will bring my letter to a close for the want of some thing to say. give my love to all, and Answer soon.
From your Affect.
Brother Samuel B Keeler
Samuel B. Keeler, from Mount Holly, NJ, enlisted on August 17, 1861 as a private in Company I of the 4th NJ Infantry. He was promoted to corporal April 1, 1863, and 1st sergeant on March 1, 1865 (transferred to Co. A). He was cited for “bravery and good conduct” by Lt. Colonel Baldwin Hufty, 4th NJ Infantry, in the Battle of Petersburg (attack near Fort Fisher) on April 2, 1865 [see OR’s 1-46-1-930]. He was mustered out in July 1865.