Aunt Katy's Civil War Tale
4th of July, 1865
"My dear Bea,
"I received your letters of the 21st and 27th of June last night was was very glad to get two such good long letters. As you gave me a history of one of your days work, I don't know but I'll do the same for the want of something better to write.
"The first introduction we had to the 4th was some time before daylight this morning when we were awakened by quite a volley of carbines and for some time there was quite a lively popping sounding very much like a skirmish. They soon got the men out and took away their ammunition which put a stop to any further celebrating in that line.
"Well, I got breakfast, that is made some coffee and fried some pork and got my boys up and we ate breakfast, after which we took a few games of Euchre to pass off time. I laid down after awhile and got to sleep and was waked up by hearing some pretty tall yelling. On inquiring what was the matter, was informed that the order had come to muster out the 9th New York Cavalry.
"There was considerable cheering when it became known that the order had actually come and everybody felt pretty good natured. As it was not my turn to pick blackberries today, Jim and I went riding out a few miles and have just got back so all we've got to do now is get supper and eat it.
"They will go right to work as soon as they get the rolls and get ready to muster us out. It will take about all this month to make out the papers and get around so you need not be looking for me before next month sometime."
On July 18th the regiment started at sunrise for Alexandria and there took a boat to Washington. At the depot there "our regiment and a Pennsylvania regiment had quite a general fight. Said to be three men killed in the Pa. Reg. A very disgraceful drunken row."
July 18th;"All quiet today. Only one fight. Left Washington about dark, got into Baltimore about 12 and got supper. Lay down in the streets until morning."
July 20th;"The Sergeant Major killed passing under a bridge near Harrisburg." Evidentaly they were riding on top of the cars again.
July 21st;"Left Williamsport about daybreak and got into Elmira about 11 a.m."
July 22;"Folks were just getting up when I walked in. Surprised Bea nearly into hysterics. Ma just put another plate on the table for breakfast."
July 24th;"Took Bea along to Buffalo with me to collect my pay and discharge."
After five days of sight-seeing, a trip to Niagara Falls, buying a new suit, (no doubt much needed and appreciated after four years of army garb) and enjoying the theater two evenings, Uncle Lonzo collected his pay and discharge and they returned home.
Grandpa had bought two farms during the war from less prosperous neighbors so Lonzo and Bea took over the larger house and joined in the work of the large dairy and grain farm. The first of their 11 sons was born the next year. Their twelfth child was a girl.
Actual letters and diaries of a soldier of the 9th New York Cavalry were used in this story. Information was verified from the "History of the Ninth New York Cavalry, War of 1861 to 1865" compiled by Newel Cheney, Captain and Brevet Major, dated 1901.
My thanks to A.W. for proof-reading and to Vicky, Sue, and Kevin for supplying gifs.