Letter by James W. Vanderhoef, June 27, 1865
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.
June 27th, 1865
Dear Sister, Brother and Family
Your welcome letter of the 20th instant came to hand this evening in company with one from Jennie. How happy I was to get them I am unable to describe, but on opening them what a contrast between them. Jennie's filled with love and words of comfort, yours with love and misery combined. Dear Molly is our troubles never to end why are we thus persecuted what have you or I ever done to deserve the treatment we receive. Could a brother have done more than I done for my family when at ahome, I first settled all trouble in the way as I thought, and thus took the step which with honor I had waited for seven long years, namely, in marrying Jennie is there one in the world outside of a portion of my family who can blame me for the step I took. Did not our long courtship demand that in proof to the world we should be one, all I can say now is it is done and I don't care a dam for how meny of my friends disapprove of it or not, so far thank God Jennie has not been dependant on any of them, although the night that I left home not a penny did I leave pett, all I brought home with me was no more and I left a penniless Wife at home it was a fine start in the world for a new married couple but I did expect to draw my two months pay in Annapolis but I was unable to do so. But thank God my Government owes me this night 560 Dollars which as soon as the paymaster comes will be mine. I know Jennie is not in want. And as long as I am able to make one cent for to keep her from the same I will do it, if God will only give me my health again I will be content. I will here mention Molly although I don't like to worry you, I have been on the sick list since the 19th of this month with the cronic Disentary and a distress in my head.I have thought best to tell pet of it so she knows it as well as you do now if I do not get better soon I shall make application to be sent to hospital but the doctor says the medicine I am taken now must affect a change in a few days. but the diet we have here is not suited for such a complaint and I think the hospital is the best place for me before I am to far plaid out.
Dear sister it allmost sets me crazy to hear of Caroline's conduct what did I not do for that girl when I was home, of course she washed some of my clothing for me and I boarded there for a time, but she pressed me so hard, and felt so bad over my staying down to Jennies that I gave way and slept some nights before my marrage at the house. My God Molly if it was not for the love that I know Jennie and you bear for me, Caroline should never have theoppertunity of laying her living eyes on me again, I almost Kurse the luck that gave me the opportunity of again returning home. But I have thank God during the great National Trouble ever had my Country and those I loved at heart. I have strove to do Justice and my duty to the first and gain honors and rank for the sake of the second, it has pleased God to spare me through many a hard fought contest, and through what was next to death, the imprisonment. But can be thankful for his mercy. Would it not have been better for me if I had of remained on the Battle field of Gettysburgh in honor, then to have gone throught what I have, and still will have to go through, before my cup of misery runs over or is filled. From the night of my happy union with the only one who could, and can make me happy as a Wife, and companion through life, from that night my lot was cast, first with Alexander and then it has steadly followed me and still will until I am no more. Unhappiness seams to be the lot of not only me of our family but yourself, has had a good share, and still they can not diminish the undiing love we bear toward one another. Ever since I can remember, and with the help of God it shall continue. I am happy to hear that you and Guillan was to see the undertaker and that he was kind enough to promise his services in advance of payment. I wish I had his address I should like to write to him. Let nothing be wanted dear sister for to make the final resting place of our Dear father complete. My heart is like to brake when I think of the situation you may be in this very night, if I could only transfer myslef from this place home I would do it even if it needed to assistance of the Deval. I must close this my head aches so I can hardly see. Dear Sister and Brother do all you can, and let me know the worst as it comes, and as soon as possible. As for Mrs Low don't trouble her for a cent, let her injoy the sweet bliss of the possession of Dollars that has coust the health and bodely happiness of my Pett, as soon as I reach home if God and Mrs Vanderhoef goes with me, or remains if she prefers it with her Mother. But your humble servant does not. I have wrote to Jennie to night it leaves tomorrow morning in company with this. I will no close. My kindest reguards to all friends. Love to the Children. My undying love to you and Guillan
May God bless you boath and famely.
Please write soon and send the undertakers address.
Your Loving & Devoted
James W. Vanderhoef
Capt. 45 Regt. N.Y.V.
P.S. Molly if you can send me some stamps"
Citation - Document 83
Letters of Captain James W. Vanderhoef
June 27, 1865
Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection