Letter written by Corporal Silas G. Burdick of Company C, 85th NY Volunteer Infantry, to his cousin Joel A. Crandall, from Barracks No. 4 in Elmira, NY. Burdick writes of good times in the camp; he is eating plenty of rations and is “hearty as any pig.” The regiment has orders to go to Washington, D.C. Burdick describes the upcoming election for company officers. Hiram C. Miller will be captain of this regiment, and Rufus Scott will be captain of a new company. Burdick mentions that they will soon be receiving new rifles, and briefly writes of William P. Maxon of the 23rd NY Regiment. He describes how the previous night he was corporal of the pickets, and how they had fun putting drunk men in the guard house.
Barracks No. 4 Elmire Nov 22nd, 61
I hope you will be willing to decipher my scribbling Well and hearty as any pig. I am able to eat my rations as well as any one in the regiment We are having great times here now. We have orders to go to Washington next Monday yet we do not expect to get away before a week from then, some predict not till, January. There has been a considerable excitement in relation to our election but it is all settled now We do not have our election till next week. H.C. Miller is to be Capt Yet there is to be a new company raised Which Rufus Scott
is to be Capt; There is 14 men to leave this company to help make the new company. I hope this thing will all be settled to the satisfaction of every one Now I would like to step in and see you all an hour or so and get some more apples & kiss the Girls once more We shall get our Rifles before we leave here. There were orders this morning. Well now you see there is so likelyhood of our doing some good for our country William P Maxson belonging to the 23rd regiment was here but a short time ago, he is a noble looking fellow. I suppose you have all all your work done and have nothing ot do except going to see Jenny & take care of
of your sisters. I wish you would my best wishes to all the girls I was Corporall of the pickets last night. That is nice business all any one has to do is to station the Gaurd and then he can go and lay down or go out and have some fun running the gaurd, They cannot put one in the gaurd house who is corporal. We have some fun putting [???] drunken men in the gaurd house They put in two last night. One of them was so dead drunk that he did not know enough to know his own name There are a good many drunken men in Capt Kings Company
I must end my scrawls for this time. So good luck to you
Silas G. Burdick enlisted as a private in Company C, 85th NY Infantry on September 2, 1861 at Geneva, NY, aged 19. He re-enlisted as a veteran on January 1, 1864, but was captured with many of his regiment at Plymouth, NC on April 20, 1864. He was confined as a prisoner at Andersonville, GA, but was among the fortunate who survived and was mustered out on June 9, 1865 at Elmira, NY.