1862: George W. Hartson to his Aunt

This letter was written by Pvt. George W. Hartson (1842-1923), the son of Henry S. Hartson (1816-1892) and Lettice Ford (1813-1851) of Potsdam, St. Lawrence county, New York. George enlisted on 10 October 1861 to serve three years in Co. C, 92nd New York Infantry. He was transferred to Co. B in January 1863 and mustered out with the company in January 1865 at Albany, New York. When the regiment mustered out, they could boast of having participated in 16 battles and numerous skirmishes and reconnaissances.

George’s father was from Chittenden county, Vermont so the aunt to whom George addressed this letter was probably his father’s sister, otherwise unidentified.

One other soldier in the same company is mentioned in George’s letter, that being Abram Tuckerman also of Potsdam. He mustered into the company in January 1862, was transferred into Co. B in January 1863 with Hartson, and was killed in action on 5 June 1864 at Cold Harbor, Virginia.

Letterhead drawn by George Hartson, 92nd New York Infantry


Yorktown, Virginia
August 23, 1862

Dear Aunt,

I have just got time to answer your letter. We have been on the march for a week back. We are at Yorktown now but I don’t know how long we shall stay here. I am well and I hope you all are well. I would like to see you this morning but I guess I shall not for awhile yet. We camp next to the York river. We can go down to the river and get as many oysters as we have a mind to, It is salt water. We go in swimming most every morning. The doctor says it is the best thing we can do.

I know that that Alf [?] and John would like some of these oysters. The boys catch their crabs and eat them but I can’t go [with] them. We have lived well while we was on the march. We would kill all the hens that we could find and everything that we wanted. Fruits is ripe here. We could get pears and peaches and apples all that we wanted.

I got a letter from Palmer last night. He is well. He is in Baltimore yet. He has got a good place. Abe Tuckerman wanted me to write a few lines for him so you can tell his folks if you see them. He is well and has not been sick a day yet. He got their letter last night.

We have had a good many of our men come in lately. They say that Old Hunt ¹ is coming back again. That is the worst news I have heard lately. They are shipping a good many troops at Yorktown. I suppose that we shall go before long. I don’t know where they are going to. I suppose some are going to reinforce Pope and some are going to Washington to fill up their regiments. I hope we shall go. I think our regiment wants filling up as bad as anyone.

I hope you will have a good time if you go to Vermont. I don’t know as I can write much more this time. I have got all of your letters and wrote back to you. I wrote two letters to you that you have not got. I told you to let the money out on interest if you had a good chance. Write to me again. So goodbye for this time.

Tell Jake if he enlists to come in this regiment.

— George Hartson

¹ Lewis Cass Hunt (1824-1886) took command of the 92nd New York Infantry in May 1862. He was wounded in the hip on 31 May 1862 during the Battle of Seven Pines. A summary of the 92nd New York Infantry on the Potsdam Public Museum website states that Col. Hunt “was eminently fitted for its job, and well liked by the officers and men.” Apparently that sentiment was not universally shared by all members of the regiment.



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