Letter by James W. Vanderhoef, May 1, 1861
Transcription of letter written by James W. Vanderhoef, from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, who fought in the Union Army from 1861 through 1865. Please note spelling variations and errors are his.
"Washington Navy Yard
May 1, 1861
I embrace this favourable opportunity of addressing these few lines to you, it being the second chance I have had since my arrival here. I wrote to Jane the first, and I now write to you. I expect you have heard of our arrival here long before this, we had a hard time of it from New York to Washington. We sailed from New York Sunday at 5 o'clock and arrived at Annapolis on Wednesday Evening, some of our men feeling very bad from the sudden change of diet and sea sickness, the next morning at 3 o'clock we commenced a march of 36 hours during which time we had but two hard sea biscuit a man and very little water what we did get was partly swamp water with a few exceptions but we at last arrived at our journey's end pretty well played out in body but not in heart. The place was called Annapolis Junction.we remaned there over night expecting an attack but in the morning was disappoint(ed).we then took cars from there to this city ariving Friday morning at 9 ½ o'clock all hands in good cheere and anxious to see the capital. And we now anxiously await an onset from Jefferson Daves Esq--he is stationed some 7 miles from here with a reported army of 60 thousand men at a place called Alexanderer his flag is visible from the top of the White House--so we do not know what moment he may give us a good square turn for the capital of Our United States which before he can get he must concour (conquer) 22 thousand men that didn't come here to play or be played with. A secessionist by the name of Doyle was shot here last Sunday morning by the Washington City Guards and instantly killed 5 Balls passing through his body, he never spoke after the guard fired. Troops are hourly arriving here some of the 69 Regt. Of New York have just arrived and the remainder with the 8th of New York is expected tomorrow morning. Dear Sister I have not much time to rite to any being but suffice for me to say that I don't think I ever seen a more grand sight than I have seen since I have been here this time. The Capital, Hall of Representatives, Navy Yard in fact ever Publick building and street is filled with soldiers of some Regiment, and all seam alike well in Good heart and anxious for a brush. Having rote all the news of interest I will now close, but before I do so I must state my disappointment in not seeing one of my friends the day I left. I expected very much to see Eathen Guillan or Alexander Low but all I saw of the boys from the company who was out good and strong to bid us a last good Bye there is some 30 boys from WmsBurgh here with me so I am not a lone Dear Sister you will give my love to mother, Caroline, Henry and all ?? friends not forgetting yourself and Guillan rite when you receive this for I should like to hear from you all.
I am as ever shall remain your obt servt and Brother
James W. Vanderhoef
Company H 71 Regt
P.S. Give my best respects to Uncle James and Ant Caroline and let him know how I was pressed for time when I started, that I couldn't call and see them
Read about the "71st Infantry Regiment, Civil War:
Second Regiment Excelsior, or Sickles', Brigade; Jackson Light Regiment" (http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/ civil/infantry/71stInf/71stInfMain.htm).
Citation - Document 22
Letters of Captain James W. Vanderhoef
May 1, 1861
Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection