August - September 1863 Letters

(No letters for the month of July)

The 112th New York is attached to Foster's Brigade, Vodges' Division, Folly Island, S. C., 10th Army Corps, Dept. of the South, to February, 1864.

The 112th is decimated by sickness....and they're on the move.

Hampton Hospitl  Aug 4 63

          Dear parents,

                    Once more I will try & write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living & enjoying myself well, considering.  I recd your letter of the 26 & it was with pleasure that I recd it.  Yours found me still at H.H. & all right.  I expected to go to the regt last tuesday  but the Dr thought best for me to stay a few days yet.  Night before last all of the sick & convalescents of our brigade came here & they are the worst looking lot of men I have seen since I came to Va  there is nothing but skin & bones to them.  10 of Co H came & as many in proportion from other companies so you can imagine the size if the 112.  Our Lieut came here & the Capt is sick at Norfolk. Lieut Barker from Co B has command of the co. there is only one sergeant able for duty & 24 men.  The lieut says the general impression was when they left Portsmouth that the brigade was going to Charleston S.C.  The boys tell me that Jim (Rhodes) is tough  also B. Fritts H. Garfield, G. N. Eddy & J Springer. Beny Whitney is at Portsmouth Hospital & quite sick.  Phil Mark is here, he has the diarrha & is all wore out, he is so poor I hardly knew him.  That Peninsula march was awful, the officers think there is no record of such marching since the war.  I want you to tell me when you write again whether the folks are so busy or whether they have forgotten me that they do not write.  Lately I get only 1 letter a week & that is from you but probably they are so busy at work they do not get time.  I shall not write any more letters until I get some.  You spoke about my socks I have got stockings enough & as to sending me a small box you need not trouble yourself for I have plenty of everything.  I wish that I could send you some water melons we have plenty of them & peaches & apples.  I received your papers that you send me I recd the Philidelphia Enqurer yesterday but as we have them here I found nothing new.  I hear that our regt is at Portsmouth to day waiting for transports.  As there is no news I will be under the necessity of closing.  Write often. My love to you all. Good bye.

Yours affectionately



Morehead City N.C.  Aug 8 1863


Dear parents,

          I now seat myself to inform you of my whereabouts.  Aug 8 finds me at Morehead City about 2 miles from Beaufort.  You will see that I left Hampton rather unexpectedly.  I went into the guards the day before we had orders to leave & I expected no such good luck as to get away.

There is 3?of the 112 along we were ordered to report to Hilton Head S. C.  about 30 miles south of Charleston but owing to the boat (it being a river boat) the capt would not go farther so we landed here to wait for transportation.  Some thing we may stay here some time as transport bound for Hilton Head seldom stops here.  We have a good house to stay in & plenty to eat & we are enjoying ourselves life top.  There is only part of a regt here  the 81 NY  there is a lieut & sergeant in it from our county  They was pleased to see us the lieut has a brother in the 112.  The soldiers & officers here all seem like old acquaintances they are kind & accommodating. Meldon is 40 miles from here the cars run there.  I will not write much this time. When I get to a stopping place I will write all

For the time being address your letters to Washington.

Good Bye

                             Robt L. Coe

I will write again if I stay here.


Folly Island S.C.  Aug. 30 1863


Dear & beloved parents.      

          I thought I would take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know of my whereabouts & c.  as I am aware of a parents interest after their children.  To begin with I will tell you; we are not allowed to write anything about what is going on; or being done by our army.  Our brigade is here on Folly Island & has a splendid location.  I like it much better than any place we have encamped yet: shady & on the sea shore.  About my health, I am getting used to camp life again & am as tough & healthy as ever.  I believe the boys from our part are well.  I had quite a time getting here.  We started from Fort Monroe the 6 & arrive here the 17.  We laid at Morehead NC 8 days & would went to N.Y. had not it been for a boat bound for here getting out of gear & had to put in for repairs so we got transportation on her.  While in N.C. I wrote you two letters & told you to address yours to Washington To-day was mail day & I expected to hear from home but did not.  We have mail here twice a week so that I can get yours every week as usual.

Day before yesterday our brigade came in from the front: we lay within 200 yds of Wagner.  Charleston is in plain sight & looks like a beautiful city.  I would like to tell you what is going on but as I cannot I will mearly say look out for stirring news from this department soon.  Our capt & 2 lieut are at home on a furlough.  The capt was left at Norfolk & the lieut at Hampton.  Our 1st lieut & adjutant has resigned & gone home, so you see that our co officers are scattered.  Lieut Barber of co G has command of the co.  The co. can muster about 40 men able for duty.  I have heard tell about the sunny south & expected to see some scorching weather but I have not since I came here  seem near as warm weather as in Va; as a general thing it has been rather chilly  with a good deal of rain; but I presume back in the country away from the sea shore it is warm.  It said to be very healthy here.  We get no papers here nor hear much news. I have not read a paper except the Mayville Sentinel since I left Hampton.

I suppose the draft has gone off before this  I saw a list of the drafted men that were in the towns that drafted first.  I am very anxious to hear from our town & who the 18 may be.  I see that Provost Marshal Palmer is one of the drafted.  We was mustered yesterday & expect pay soon  I have 4 months due  Jim had a letter stating that Ed thought of getting a furlough & going home  Has anything more been heard from Ros  & is Tip (Harrison) Coe at Ananopolis M.D. yet  where do you think he will be exchanged & has anything been heard from Dave  More & Dan Johnson since they went away; We have a capt & lieut with quite a number of non commissioned officers & privates home after between 100 & 200 drafed men for our regt it will be rather though  for them to hear so much booming to commence on but they will soon get used to that. When you write tell me all about how you got through haying & how the grain is this fall. Now write all the news for you must know I like to hear what is going on at home. Write often. My love to all. Hoping this will find you all well  I close  Good bye

                                                                             Robt L. Coe


Co  H  112 Regt N.Y.S.V

                    Washington D.C. 


Folly Island S.C.  Sept. 7 1863


Dear parents & friends

          I will take my pen or pencil in hand to write you a few lines to let you know how I prosper.  Monday Sept 7th finds your son on Folly Island & in good health & furthermore in good spirits.  I recd a letter from you of the 23 last Friday & you may guess that it was with pleasure that I recd it.  I also got one from C. Fenton.  I was surprised to hear that Ben was drafted I supposed that he was …..I hope …. Clear for I don’t think he could endure a soldiers life  we have good news this morning from the front: Forts Wagner & Gregg are ours so the rebs have no longer a foothold on Morris Island,  these forts were charged on late last night.  By the taking of Wagner we have got one of the strongest forts in the rebel possession.  Where Wagner is, once was nothing but a great sandbank & in fact is nothing but that now, being dug out in the center (forming the fort) so that it is impossible to knock it to pieces.  There has been some of the greatest engineering around this fort that has been during the war  Gen Gilmore is said to be one of the greatest engineers we have in the service.  Gregg is another sand fort at the extremity of the island & nearly on a line from Wagner to Sumpter.  Now that we have Wagner the road to Charleston looks brighter  Yesterday we was up to the front, got in last night about 11 o’clock  Bird I wish you was here I would like to take you up to the front 24 hrs  there is where you would learn to make polite bows & climb for your hole  it is fun sometimes & sometimes it isn’t so funny.  In the night it makes a splendid looking fireworks.  The col. Commanding there tried to get our brigade to charge Wagner last night; but Col Drake had command of the brigade & he thought it not best as there is only one regt in the brigade that ever did such a thing.  Our regt has been one of the lucky regts so far have not had a man killed here yet while most other regts have. Four men have died since we came on the island.  We do not have much idle time here & that we do not want  if we can end the rebellion soon.  When we get Charleston (and surely we shall) I think the rebellion will be nearly used up; the each & every one are ready & anxious to bring the war to a speedy termination if possible.  I hear it rumored the 49 N.Y.V. & 9 cav are coming to Charleston.  I have not recd the letters you spoke about. I hope they may come yet especially Emmas for I want the picture.

There is something strange about Ros that the capt cannot learn anything about what become of him.  I hope he will yet be heard from & alive.  I have just recd a daily paper for the first time & it seems some like old times to be privileged to read a paper. it was of the 1st inst.  When you write tell me where the boys drafted from our part are sent.  I must bring this to a close.  Write soon with all the news.

My love to all.

                                                                        Robt L. Coe 


Folly Island S.C.  Sept  18th 1863


Beloved friends,


                    Once more I seat myself for the purpose of informing you of your sons condition.  Sept 18th finds me well & all right & I do hope this will find you the same.  The boys from our part are usually well.  There is considerable sickness in camp but nothing that can be considered dangerous  I have not recd but one letter from you since here & can not imagine the cause  unless they are delayed at some place.  Jim gets none from the Creek either; we have about made up our mind not to write any more until we get an answer  but I thought I would write this & trust in good luck of having one in @ few day. To day is mail day & I may get one yet.

I have not much news to write you for you must hear by the papers the most that transpires around here.  Of course before this time you have heard of the taking of forts Wagner & Gregg.  Just one year from the day we was mustered into the service four co’s of our regt lay in Ft Wagner. It is one of the strongest built forts I ever saw & the only reason I can see that the rebs could have in leaving was that they was afraid of being undermined & being eat up by lice & fleas; it is the worst place for the fleas I ever saw   the night we was in there I could no more sleep than I could on a bed of nettles.

Our brigade is having busy times now; we will go up to the front one day  come back & get one nights rest & then one picket  I think we do more than really belongs to us.  For instance one week ago to day, four co’s (the only ones then in came) went to the front & got back Saturday night about 11 o’clock  had the remainder of that night & the next to rest then 2 co’s  H & A went on picket & the same day the brigade had to go to the front again. If we (H & A) had to stay on picket 2 days  the last night was the worst night I ever was on picket. the rain poured right down   We have had one night sleep & know not whether we shall get to-nights or not  but probably shall.  But this is the decree of a soldier  he knows not one minute where he will be the next.  I for one am willing to bear these hardships for the sake of putting this rebellion down in a reasonable time.  You at home I presume think that the movements here are slow but I tell you it takes some time to take a place like this.  I use to think (when at home) that things might be pushed ahead faster but I know now something about it.  Time has got to be taken & if any one thinks different  let him come & try it.  I will admit that there is times & places where things might be pushed ahead more vigorously  but not in sieges.  There are 8 from the regt going home on furlough  This does not include sick furloughs, one from this co is going.  Sergt. Braistard of co. D is going, he will tell you all about affairs here.  Father I wish you would trade my old watch, if you look for one that has cases & if you have not the old one get a cheap hunter cased watch worth about 10 dollars  an old one will do as well as new if a good timer.  I have been in want of a watch some time.  Send it by Braistard if he will bring & if not you need not send one for probably it would never reach here.  We have not been payed off yet but expect to soon

Tell Emma that I should think she might write her brother a letter once in a while.  I must bring this to a close for I have got to wash a shirt & 2 pr of socks yet to night.  When you write tell me all about your crops & the general news.  Do not get discouraged about the war  for I think we shall be at home to eat sugar next spring.  Write often.  My respects to all inquiring friends.

                    Your son

                                                Robt L Coe


Block Island S.C. Sept 28 1863


Dear parents,

          Having one day to myself I thought that I would take a few moments in writing   I should some days ago but we have been very busy & more than that I left my writing materials on Folly Island.  I recd 2 letters from you  the 19th one was of Aug 31st the other Sept 7 I was some surprised to hear that you had recd none of my letters for I have wrote one every week since here. Last night I recd a letter that Emma wrote to Wm Skellie it was of the 14  she said that you had not heard from me then  I think it strange.  Well now I will tell you where we are  9 co of the 112 is on Block Island almost 5 miles from Folly & 1 ½ from the rebel batteries on James Island in plain sight of all their works & with a glass can plainly see what they are at.  We came here the 21 with orders to stay 10 days.  Once in a while the rebs take to shelling us or as the boys say “sending over Beauregard dispatches” but one has been hurt yet.   Last Saturday George Thompson of our co. had just come in from picket & was sitting on a box when a mortar shell was sent over bursting over head  one of the pieces came down tearing his left arm to pieces & right leg just below the knee  also causing a serious flesh wound in the left leg.  Surgeon Mead dressed the wound as soon as possible & sent him to the Post Hospital on Morris I. His arm & leg were amputated but he died soon after the amputation  he lived about 5 hours.  He leaves a wife in Chautauqua.  I understand that all amputation has to be done by the Medical Director by his orders at the Post Hospital on Morris.  About Ben Fritts  I had not heard any thing about his desertion until I read your letter.  Probably the way the report started was this, when the right army of the regt left Portsmouth Ben & 2 others by some means got left & did not come tell the remainder of the regt did when they got here  the other boys said they would have to go to the front 40 days & Ben joking I suppose said if he did get sent to the front  U. Sam wouldn’t have to furnish any more rations for him.  You wished to know about the Greek fire  I will tell you.  What is called the “Greek Fire” is principally a composition of phosphorous dissolved in bisulphide of carbon  this is put in the shell (generally percussion shell) & when the shell explodes it ignites & throws the fire in every direction  burning every thing combustible  also it is impossible to extinguish the fire & more than this the bisulphide of carbon causes such a smell that it is almost impossible to get near the fire.

Ben Whitney has got back from the hospital  he looks rugged again. There is not much going on now in the department but I think for the next 2 weeks there will be a great change.  We get no papers here & therefore do not hear much news from abroad.  We hear that Burnside & Rosencrans are or have been doing a good thing in taking Chattanoga  Knoxville & Kingston.

Everything now looks as if the war would terminate by spring & some thinks much sooner but I don’t   if we can bring it to an end by spring I will be satisfied.  You did not say whether Ed was with his regt or in the hospital yet.  I spoke my last about furloughs  the boys have not got them yet & probably will not.

We expect our pay this week!  When you write tell me all the news & every thing you can think of  Hoping to hear from you soon  I remain as ever your affectionate son.

                                       Robt L. Coe


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