1863: Adoniram Judson Lupher to Newton Stevens

This letter was written by Adoniram Judson Lupher (1841-1913), the son of Henry Lupher (1814-1878) and Lovina Crouch (1822-1876) of Townville, Crawford county, Pennsylvania. Adoniram was a member of Co. I, 150th Pennsylvania Infantry, part of the second “Bucktail Brigade” (149th, and 150th Penn) formed under Col. Roy Stone. Lupher entered the war as a private and was mustered out as a corporal.

The 150th Pennsylvania were placed in the defenses at Washington D. C. in the fall of 1862 where they remained until February 1863 when they joined the Army of the Potomac as part of the First Corps. Going into its first major battle at Gettysburg with 397 men present it saw action on all three days. Colonel Wister assumed brigade command and every field officer was wounded. The regiment lost 53 men killed & mortally wounded, 134 wounded, and 77 missing. Lieutenant-colonel Henry S. Huidekoper and Corporal J. Monroe Reisinger received the Medal of Honor while members of the regiment. In 1864 the 150th was transferred to the Fifth Corps where it was in various brigades, including that of Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain. It continued to serve until it was mustered out in June 1865.

Lupher’s letter provides us with a great description of the Convalescent Camp, otherwise known as “Camp Misery”—a poorly maintained distribution center to send men fit for field service back to their regiments. “When Clara Barton visited in October 1862, she referred to it as ‘a sort of pen into which all who could limp, all deserters and stragglers, were driven promiscuously.'” Soldiers were not provided with any ground cover and they were so ill fed they literally had to forage on their own. [see Camp Convalescent]

Obituary: “At the outbreak of the Civil war, Mr Lupher enlisted in the famous 150th Pennsylvania volunteers (Bucktails) and followed the fortunes of that great regiment until it was mustered out. He was a member of William Gleason post, GAR, and Steuben Grange. Early in life Mr Lupher became a Christian and ever since his residence in Townville he had been an earnest and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He was a man whom everyone respected and his loss is a personal one with the people of Townville.”

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Addressed to Mr. Newton Stevens, Plumb P. O., Venango county, Penna.

TRANSCRIPTION

Washington [D. C.]
January 23, 1863

Well Nute, after trying so long to answer your most welcome letter which came to hand in good time, I made up my mind to write a few lines this time and send it anuff at any rate to let you know I have not forgotten you, if nothing more. Nute, please excuse me for not writing before. I have made one or two commitments before this but something would come along and I would have to jump up and leave and perhaps to be gone twenty-four hours or such a matter and by the time we could get back, we would not feel much like writing till there would be something else on hand.

We have moved twice within the last two weeks and walked about three miles one day to guard and back the next day so you can see they are giving us good exercise. But we have moved a little nearer now. We have to walk about a mile and a half to guard and we think this is far enough—especially while it is as muddy as it has been for three or four days. But I guess it is going to dry up again. It is so pleasant today.

I guess you would have laughed some yesterday to see Frank, Almond [Delamaster] and myself with ten other guards including Mat [Matthias G.] Gleason, the corporal. What a big time we had wading through the mud over to the Convalescent Camp. It is about five miles from the soldier’s retreat where we are now guarding. We guarded a squad over of two hundred and eighty old soldiers of the different hospitals and stragglers which we picked up around through the city, We have been over three or four times, generally take about one hundred and ten from here every morning. When we have such small squads there is only seven guards with the corporal goes. But I tell you, Nute, it is a pretty hard-looking camp right in the woods and all mud at that, with old smokey tents sitting right on the ground and no floors in them. The soldiers have to lie on the ground. Would you not [think] that would be a good place for a sick and worn-out man to stay and live or die? But I think a great many of them must die. It is rather hard to put men in such a place after they are out in the service in place of sending them home where they should be but there are hundreds of men there playing off for their discharges and to get rid of fighting. Well sometimes I think I cannot blame them very much when I see how they are managing the war. I sometimes think our officers are working more for money than to close the war. But perhaps you will not agree with me. I am sure I wish it were not so for I should like to see this terrible war as I will call it closed for I think I have seen anuff already to call it a terrible war—and I have not seen anything yet to what some have.

Well, I must tell you when we go to the Convalescent Camp we have a pretty good time while we are there for there are several boys there we are acquainted with—Hiram May, William Higby, Charley and Don Stuart. Wouldn’t you like to go over there a little while? But you may be glad you are not there to stay as they have too. Steven Wade, Aden’s brother, and his cousin Chancey are there. But I suppose you are [not] much if any acquainted with them. Oh, Aden was there yesterday himself with the boys. I guess they were glad as ever they were to see him as us fellows were. He slept with us in our little tent night before last, I guess we had a pretty good time.

But I must halt this interesting epistle by asking you to excuse all mistakes as usual. Well there is so many Irish sitting here blabbing. We are writing in the government warehouse—Frank, Almond [Delamaster] and myself. Well good night. — Adoniram

I forgot to tell you about Abram Hanna. ¹ Poor fellow. They have neglected making out his discharge so long, I am afraid it is too late now. He was crazy all last night and we went went over to see him this morning before we left camp and he did not know us. I think and the doctors too I guess he is not long for this. Tell his folks if they ever expect to see him they must come quick without any delay and he can have his discharge if he lives for them to come after him but I am afraid he will not.

Write soon. Don’t wait as long as I have this. Do you have many big sleigh rides this winter? I guess us fellows would have some big times if we were back there again.

¹ Abraham Hannah [Abram Hanna] enlisted in September 1862 to serve three years in Co. I, 150th Pennsylvania Infantry. He died at Washington D. C. on 25 January 1863.

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