This letter was written by Charles Gordon Austin (1814-1899)—a Canadian by birth—and his wife Pamelia Anna Tyler (1817-1897) of Rossie, St. Lawrence county, New York. Several of their children are mentioned in the letter, including: Benjamin M. Austin (1840-1885) who enlisted as a corporal in Co. C, 60th New York Infantry and transferred in November 1862 to the 6th US Cavalry; Elizabeth Tirzah Austin (1835-1909) who would later marry Charles F. Northrop; and Lucy Maria Austin (1843-1914).
Charles wrote the letter to his son Zadok Baldwin Austin (1837-1925) who enlisted on 7 August 1862 as a private in Co. F, 10th New York Heavy Artillery (106th New York State Volunteers). At the time of his enlistment he was described as 24 years-old, with blue eyes, light hair, and standing 5 feet 7.5 inches tall. Zadok mustered out of the regiment on 23 June 1865 with his company at Petersburg, Virginia.
Rossie, St. Lawrence county, New York
July 23, 1864
I again seat myself to write you a few lines to inform you of our health which is tolerable good with the exception that I am troubled with the erysipelas. My face and hands have been swelled pretty bad but they are better now. Clarissa was sick last night but appears to be all right again this morning.
I received your letter Wednesday. I was glad to get it for it had been three weeks since I had had one from you before but I was sorry to hear that you were sick and in the hospital. The chronic diarrhea is a disease when it gets settled on anyone is hard to be cured. I think you had [better] try and get a furlough and come home. I think it would be better for you. It won’t cost you a great deal—that is, if you are able to come. write as soon as you get this and let us know how you are.
I received a letter from Benjamin last week Wednesday. He was well when he wrote. That was July 6th, 1864. He was twelve miles from Richmond. He said they would stay there a spell to rest their horses. I have received two letters from Tirzah since I write to you last. Robert is killed. He was out on a raid forty miles from camp when he was shot by a rebel through the neck and killed instantly. He was carried back to Newbern and buried. Tirzah is well and so is Priscilla and George Gibson. The folks in Hammond are well. Lucy is at home now and is well. I have not got your things yet. Write as soon as you get this. We remain your loving father and mother.
— Charles G. Austin & Pamelia A. Austin
To Zadock B. Austin