A Confederate A Federal

William Wallace van Amber
Civil War Diaries & Letters


Letter dated August 16th, 1863

Letter Dated 08/16/63

Rikers Island, New York
Sunday morning, Aug. 16 1863

Dear wife,

Here I am yet on this island alive and well, hoping and praying that you and our little dear one is the same. Yesterday we was ordered to pack knapsacks to leave for Washington or Alexandria, nobody knew which, but when the roll was called, we was not called and sent back to our tents. We go to the cook room and draw our rations; it is bad stuff. The boys on our street was almost all drawn, out of a hundred there was not but about 15 left. We are all put in to squads or streets. Our town of tents is laid out in regular streets. There is an orderly sergeant placed over each street and he takes charge of the men and calls the roll every night and morning. I have not missed a call yet. Henry Knox and I

Letter Dated 08/16/63

stay together yet but don't know how long we may. We may be sent off in two or three days or not in a month nobody knows anything here, only as they are ordered.

There is about 5 hundred conscripts on this island and more officers than men. There was the dead body of a man floated up to the shore here Thursday. He was picked up and buried. He was a rebel prisoner from Fort Schuyler. He tried to run away and was shot through the head. The fort is in sight of here, there is a great many men there. This is the third letter that I have written to you and have not heard a word from home since I left. You may write a dozen before I get one. When you go to mothers write to me so that I can direct my letters to you there and you will get them if I don't get yours. I have directed all my letters to Russell, you direct yours to Rikers Island, New York and if they come soon I shall get them.

Letter Dated 08/16/63

Now Ett, I can't think of any more to write that you would like to know, but hoping that you are well and may remain so. My prayer is that this thing may very soon be closed up and I may be allowed to return to my own dear home and the hearts and arms of those I love and love me too, and praying that happy time may soon come I bid you good-bye hoping soon to hear from you.

yours ever and now