Category Archives: Bucktails

1862: Amos Clinton Metzgar to Alberto Osborn

The following letter was written by 37 year-old Amos Clinton Metzgar (1825-1903) who enlisted on 31 May 1861 in Co. E, 42nd Pennsylvania (1st Pennsylvania Rifles, or “Bucktails”) and was discharged on a Surgeon’s Certificate 23 February 1862. A note in his 1890 Veteran’s Schedule claims he was discharged from the service “due to epilepsy” but this letter suggest that he received a gunshot wound to his leg on 15 September 1861 that was not healing. I can’t find any engagement of the regiment on that day so it may have been an accidental discharge.

I could not find an image of Amos or Edward but here is one of Robert B. Valentine who fought with the Bucktails (Ronn Palm Collection)

The boys of Co. E were recruited primarily in Tioga county and, like other companies in the regiment, were mostly lumbermen on the upper reaches of the Susquehanna River. The boys wore a distinctive bucktail in their hats and bragged of their marksmanship. Co. E branded themselves the “Tioga Rifles.”

The last page of the letter was written by Edward Osborn (1833-1876) who enlisted on 7 August 1861 in Co. E, 42nd Pennsylvania, and was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate on 18 April 1863. Edward was the son of Daniel Osborn (1809-1878) and Harriette Hoadley (1811-1863) of Stony Fork, Tioga county, Pennsylvania. In the 1860 US Census, Amos Metzgar lived on the property adjacent to the Osborn family in Stony Creek, Tioga county.

Amos and Edward addressed the letter to Edward’s brother, Albert Osborn (1836-1908) who also was in the service. Albert served initially as a sergeant in Co. G, 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry from 9 October 1861 to 2 June 1862. He then reenlisted as a private in Battery E, 5th US Artillery from 10 August 1863 to 17 June 1866 (though the veteran’s schedule claims he was a veteran of Gettysburg and Cold Harbor).

To read other letters I have transcribed and published on Spared & Shared that were written by members of this regiment, see:

Jacob Snyder, Co. E, 42nd Pennsylvania (Union/1 Letter)
Lewis Hoover, Co. K, 42nd Pennsylvania (Union/1 Letter)


Headquarters Bucktail Regiment, Co. E
Camp Bucktail City
January 30th 1862

Friend Alberto,

I take this opportunity to write to let you know that I am as well as can be expected on the account of my leg. I han’t got well yet. I han’t been any about since I got shot. That was shot on the 15th of September. The rest of the boys are all well at present time and I hope this will find you enjoying good health.

Albert, they have made out my discharge and I will start for home next week and when I get home, I will write to you again. Albert, it is very muddy and rainy here all the time. The camp is very quiet at present time. Nothing going on to raise a excitement in or about camp for the mud is so deep that they can’t get around.

Albert, may God watch and protect you through this campaign and land you safe in the old free state once more on Stony Fork to join your friends there that is close to you.

So no more at present. From your friend, — Amos C. Metzgar

[In a different hand]

Dear brother,

I thought that I would write a few lines in Amos’s letter. I received a letter from you night before last about eight o’clock in the evening and I sat down and answered it before I went to bed. Captain [Alanson E.] Niles started for home last Sunday and I sent 30 dollars by him.

The weather is not very cold. It is not as cold as I wish it was. If it was cold enough to harden the mud so that we could get top of it, it would be a great blessing. No more at present. From your affectionate brother, — Edward Osborn