Albert J. Barnard, 13 October 1862

Gettysburg, Pennyslvania
October 13th 1862

Dear Mother,

Here I am in the Hotel ¹ waiting for a warm cup of coffee and something to eat. We left Camp Belger Saturday morning at 10 o’clock, got to the depot about 11, [and] had to wait till about 9 in the evening before the train was ready. Arrived here yesterday morning early. Stayed aboard the train all day and all night. There are several regiments here besides ours.

The rebels are—or have been—close to this place. Three were taken prisoners here about two hours before we came up. ²

We are going out on picket this morning at 9 o’clock [and] are to be relieve the 128th New York Regiment. John Higgins was Officer of the Day yesterday and John Dobbins Officer of the Guard.  I tell you, there is a vast difference between the people here in Pennsylvania and those in Maryland. Everywhere we stopped after we crossed the state line, the people came out with baskets full of nice things for us to eat and plenty of hot coffee. Will S. is with me and is also writing home. John Dobbins and Will Gray are all right.

We had [a] funny time last night making Gray talk in his sleep, explaining battalion moves and camp duty. He would jabber away and talk so earnest that it was real fun to watch him. Charlie Wadsworth had a hammock with him which he bring in the car, and then such fun as we had to see the different ones try to get into it. It is almost impossible to get into one unless you know just how to go to work. Maj. Love and one or two others tried, and out they would go, head first. But finally Maj. got in and slept most of the night.

I must close and get back to the train.

In haste, — Albert

¹ Unfortunately Capt. Barnard doesn’t give the name of the hotel where he penned this letter. Most likely it was the Gettysburg Hotel which first opened win 1797. It was nearly destroyed by fire in 1983 but was refurbished and reopened in 1991.

² According to the 13 October 1862 issue of the New York World, Stuart’s Cavalry entered Chambersburg and destroyed some of the machine shops, railway and rolling stock of the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company. They left in the direction of Gettysburg but their advance guard were met about 5 miles west of town by “the farmers throughout the region” and “made a bold stand,” capturing one of the rebels and taking him into Gettysburg.