This letter was written by three different soldiers, all serving in in Co. B, 148th New York Infantry. The first part was written by George “Roy” Tubbs who enlisted on 8 August 1862 at Starkey to serve three years. He was wounded in action on 16 May 1864 in the fighting at Drewry’s Bluff and died of his wounds on 19 June 1864 at Fortress Monroe.
The second part of the letter was written by Benjamin Grace of Barrington who enlisted on 26 August 1862 who, like Roy Tubbs, wounded at Drewry’s Bluff and died of his wounds on 25 July 1864.
The third part of the letter was written by Sergt. Foster P. Cook of Starkey who enlisted on 28 August 1862 and was promoted to sergeant in October 1862. He made 1st Sergt. on 17 January 1864 and was wounded in action on 15 June 1864 near Petersburg. Unlike his two buddies, however, Foster survived his wounds and was promoted to Lieutenant in Co. F.
The letter was addressed to Adam S. Miller of Starkey, Yates county, New York, who enlisted in the company at the same time as the others but mustered out of the regiment on 8 January 1864 for disability.
January 15, 1864
It is with great pleasure I write to you as you had a letter here for you Ben and I though we would write to you so Ben said I might write what I wanted to first. So I sat down and went at it. Well I will tell you my three cent man he lays just at the point of I guess so and we don’t think he will live from one end to the other and there is Tom Raplee, poor fellow. He can’t do duty for him bum gut drags on the ground and we are afraid he will have it cut off. Poor thing. Well, Miller, you know what? I am a nasty [ ] boy but I still remain your true friend. — G. Roy Tubbs
[in a different hand]
January 15th 1864
With the greatest of pleasure I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines & I hope they will find you well. I & Roy are enjoying good health. Well, I am sorry to tell you that Orderly [Randall G.] Bacon has left us. He has gone to recruit niggers & it seemed like losing a brother when he left. 1 Well, when the mail came in tonight, there was a letter came from you & so Roy and I thought we would drop you a few lines. Roy bunks with me now & we have fine times. Since you have gone home I am lost to think where Adam is. But I am glad that you are home for you & Both happen to know what a solder’s life is. But I will drop that & talk about something else.
How does it seem to lay on a feather bed once more? Well I have not give Charles Chambers them cigars yet. But he wants them and when he pays me what he owes me, I will give them to him. What do you say?
Well, I must close until roll call is over. Then I will finish. well, now I will finish my letter. well the boys all sends their best respects to you and now I will close for this time by saying good night. Yours very respectfully. — Benjamin Grace. Co. B, 148th New York Villains
[in a different hand]
I suppose you are home by this time drinking cider and eating to the best of your ability. Well, I say “Bully for you.”
When you have ate enough to satisfy yourself, just get down on 2.5 bushels of apples and 7 gallons of cider for your humble servant “Cook.” I think that will answer me for a day or two.
I suppose Ben has written all the news so I will close by giving you my best wishes and hope you will write to your friend, — Sergt. F. P. Cook
1 Randall Graves Bacon (1837-1924) was mustered in as a 1st Lieutenant on 6 February 1864 in the 38th U. S. Colored Infantry. He served as adjutant of the regiment for a time and when he requested to resign with an honorable discharge in January 1865, his request was disapproved with the following less than complimentary comments: “Disapproved. Lieut. Bacon is a restless, negligent, and discontented officer who is not pleased at being required to perform his duty. He has been an officer about twelve and a half months, has been absent from his regiment about six months of that time on recruiting service and other pleasant detached duty, and has little to complain. In my opinion, the spirit of his resignation is highly reprehensible and he not deserve an honorable discharge. He was finally discharged after he received a gunshot wound on April 5, 1865 near Richmond necessitating the amputation of the first two fingers on his right hand.