Aaron H. Ingraham
Letters, 1861-1863

SC10028

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Acquisition: Purchase; Tuttle Co., Rutland, Vermont, 1929
Processed By: Nicholas Webb, Student Assistant, State University of New York at Albany, October 2008

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Biographical Note:

Aaron Ingraham, a native of Amenia, New York, served in the 48th New York State Volunteers during the Civil War.

Ingraham was the son of George Ingraham and Electa Hunt Ingraham of Amenia. Born in 1839, he was the second of four children. An older sister, Jennie, was three years his senior; a younger sister, Phebe, was born in 1847, and a younger brother, George Irving (“Irvie”), was born in 1851. At the time of his letters, Ingraham’s parents were farming in Amenia, but the family may have taken up agriculture because they had fallen on hard times; one letter alludes to a series of unsuccessful business schemes by Ingraham’s father involving the manufacture and sale of washtubs and perfume.

In the summer of 1861 Ingraham joined the 48th New York State Volunteers, a regiment commanded by Mexican War veteran and minister Colonel James H. Perry. Ingraham joined as an enlisted man rather than trying to obtain a commission, a decision he quickly came to regret as he found it difficult to secure a promotion from within the ranks. After several weeks’ training near Washington, D.C., the regiment traveled to Daufuskie Island, on the Georgia coast near the South Carolina border, and prepared to attack Fort Pulaski on neighboring Cockspur Island; on April 10, 1862, the Confederate garrison surrendered Fort Pulaski after an artillery exchange demonstrated the superiority of Union firepower.

Ingraham and his regiment spent over a year at Fort Pulaski. While on Daufuskie Island, Ingraham was appointed Quartermaster-Sergeant, a position in which he assisted the Regimental Quartermaster with the provisioning of goods and supplies. A shrewd trader, Ingraham used this position as an opportunity to earn money for himself by doing business on the side, receiving cases of milk from his parents which he would resell at a profit to the soldiers.

In March 1863 Ingraham was promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company C, and later that year he was promoted to First Lieutenant. In 1864 his regiment left Fort Pulaski, and in June 1864 he was killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor.

Scope and Content Note:

During the initial processing of this collection in 1930s the letters were numbered in chronological order. This arrangement has been followed in the present item-level descriptive aid. The collection consists of 74 numbered letters from Aaron Ingraham to his sister and parents, ten numbered letters from other members of the Ingraham family, and a small assortment of non-numbered fragmentary letters. All letters date from the years 1860-1863.

The majority of Ingraham’s letters date from the 48th Regiment’s journey down the Atlantic coast to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, and its subsequent posting at Fort Pulaski, Georgia. They contain detailed descriptions of camp life, accounts of skirmishes and a great deal of incidental social and economic detail.

The most significant military operation described in the collection is the siege of Fort Pulaski, which Ingraham discusses at length in two letters (#18 and #19). A subsequent letter (#26) includes a hand-drawn map of the fort. Other armed encounters discussed in the collection include a brief skirmish with Confederate steamers (#34), the burning of a Confederate blockade runner (#41), and an exchange of prisoners during which the Fort’s artillery accidentally fired on a rebel ship under a flag of truce (#36).

Many letters contain detailed accounts of Ingraham’s ongoing trade in milk and typically include reports of current prices. Of particular note is a letter (#16) in which Ingraham justifies his decision to make money from his position as Quartermaster-Sergeant, arguing that speculators, politicians and high-ranking officers are the real profiteers and that an enlisted man can only be expected to try to make a mild profit on the side.

Many letters also discuss Ingraham’s continuing attempts to secure a promotion. Ingraham had a lively sense of his own social superiority and was unhappy as an enlisted man. Although keen to receive a promotion into the officer corps, he had difficulty convincing his superior officers to promote him, and his letters often reflect his frustration and self-pity. Of particular note is a letter (#54) in which Ingraham blames Governor Horatio Seymour for his troubles, arguing that the Governor fills vacant commissions with well-connected outsiders rather than promoting qualified men from the ranks.

Other letters contain indicators of Ingraham’s attitude towards the slavery issue. Ingraham was not motivated by abolitionist sentiments; he holds a low opinion of the local freed slave population, is dismissive of Colonel Perry’s attempt to organize a freedmen’s regiment (#22), and sometimes jokes about sending “contraband” slaves to assist his family on the farm.

Several letters reflect Ingraham’s attitude towards women and marriage. His sister Jennie, three years his senior, had not yet found a husband at the time of his letters; he urges her repeatedly to find one, makes disparaging references to her unmarried status (#15), and suggests that too much education has made her an unsuitable wife (#45). Meanwhile, his letters also lament the scarcity of women in camp and his own inability to find a wife.

In addition to these themes, Ingraham’s letters contain many other incidental details of camp life in a garrisoned regiment, including baseball games (#56), “lemon aid” (#41), and an appreciation of tobacco smoking (#12).

The collection contains seven letters from Aaron’s aunt Abigail, who had settled in Canadice, N.Y., to her sister Electa, Aaron’s mother, in Amenia. They include details of the agricultural and religious life of Canadice. Ingraham’s sister Jennie is represented by two brief letters. The collection also contains one letter by an unidentified correspondent who has moved from Amenia to Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Container List:

Box Folder Item No. Description
1 1 10028-1 A.L.S., 28 August 1861, Camp Wyman, to “Dear Mother.” Describes life in camp.
1 1 10028-2 A.L.S., 1 September 1861, Camp Wyman, [L.I.?], to “Dear Sister.” Describes Ingraham’s new uniform and his daily camp routine.
1 1 10028-3 A.L.S., 13 September 1861, Camp Wyman, to “Dear Mother.” Tells the story of a chase after some escaping Confederate prisoners.
1 1 10028-4 A.L.S., 22 September 1861, Camp Sherman, Washington, to “Dear Parents.” The regiment has traveled to Camp Sherman. They were cheered by civilians the entire way, even in Baltimore. Ingraham is proud to be a member of Colonel Perry’s regiment; he tells a story of how the Colonel walked through camp at night to tuck in sleeping soldiers.
1 1 10028-5 A.L.S., 25 September 1861, Camp Sherman, to “Dear Mother.” On a day’s leave, Ingraham visits Washington, where he meets an old friend with a secure, well-paying position as a Capitol policeman and wonders if he can get such a job himself. Describes the hardships of life in camp; a friend from Amenia, Sidney Wadham, is homesick and unhappy. The regiment is expected to join a naval expedition soon. Gives condolences for a death in the family.
1 1 10028-6 A.L.S., undated [September 1861], Camp Sherman, to “Dear Mother.” The regiment had expected to be sent into battle, but they remain in camp awaiting orders.
1 1 10028-7 A.L.S., 6 October 1861, Annapolis, Md., to “Dear Parents.” The regiment has arrived in Annapolis. Describes the character of some of Ingraham’s superior officers.
1 1 10028-8 A.L.S., 15 December 1861, Hilton Head, S.C., to “Dear Sister.” Long, detailed description of a brigade review before General Viele in which the 48th New York distinguished itself for the quality of its drill. Ingraham urges his sister Jennie to find a husband.
1 1 10028-9 A.L.S., 20 December 1861, Hilton Head, S.C., to “Dear Parents.” A long, detailed letter. Advises the ladies of Amenia on what goods to knit for the soldiers. Knit a separate forefinger on the mittens, he suggests, so that soldiers can squeeze the triggers of their rifles, and “don’t think to send much to the officers as they don’t know how to feel greatful [sic] for them.” Ingraham is proud of the 48th New York, said to be “the best drilled regiment for the time we have been in the field the Army affords,” although he does not like to read newspaper columns in which soldiers boast publicly about their regiments. Discusses at length Ingraham’s desire to secure a promotion without leaving the 48th. Describes overnight guard duty on Christmas Eve and watching the freed slaves celebrate the holiday.
1 1 10028-10 A.L.S., 15 January 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” A recruiting party has returned with only two new recruits. Ingraham has acquired a cat and kittens to deal with the rats in camp.
1 2 10028-11 A.L.S., 2 February 1862, “Mrs. Dunn’s Plantation, Daufuskie Island,” to “Dear Sister.” Life in camp is harsh and exhausting. Ingraham is tired of having “to run at the beck of every man with a military coat … down here in this wild region among savages – we are almost savages now.” He explains that his letters may be delayed because the mail is censored.
1 2 10028-12 A.L.S., 18 February 1862, Camp Perry, Daufuskie Island, to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham describes the meager rations in camp and the pleasure he gets from his pipe: “I don’t believe anyone but a soldier can really appreciate smoking – it is a true adage ‘the pipe is the soldier’s friend.’” Rumors in camp say a Union victory is imminent, but Ingraham is skeptical. He continues to struggle to get the Captain to recommend him for a promotion. In a gloomy mood, he reflects that both he and his sister Jennie are likely to remain unmarried.
1 2 10028-13 A.L.S., 7 March 1862, Daufuskie Island, to “Dear Father.” Ingraham has been promoted to Quartermaster-Sergeant. Although disappointed that he is not in a combat position, he is happy to have been promoted. He requests that his family send him a long list of items.
1 2 10028-14 A.L.S., 14 March 1862, Camp Perry, Daufuskie Island, S.C., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham describes the perks of being Quartermaster-Sergeant: he no longer has to rise early for roll call, and he now lives in an officers’ tent which is “rid of vermin.” Discusses his chances of future promotion.
1 2 10028-15 A.L.S., 20 March 1862, Camp Perry, Daufuskie Island, S.C., to “Dear Parents.” The army is building batteries for an assault on Fort Pulaski, and the troops are nervous about a possible attack by the Confederate Navy; two units, each believing the other to be Confederate scouts, fired on one another, and a man was killed. Meanwhile, escaped slaves have been crossing over to camp from Savannah; they are sent on to Hilton Head, where they are put to work and where charitable Northern ladies, mostly “dames of an uncertain age who perhaps have met with more or less disappointments during life,” have established a school to teach them. He suggests that his sister Jennie fits this description and may be interested in coming South to teach.
1 2 10028-16 A.L.S., 3 April 1862, Camp Perry, Daufuskie Island, S.C., to “Dear Parents.” An impressionistic description of life in camp, which is full of a “great quantity flies, gnats, bugs, lizards” as a hot Southern spring begins. Discusses corruption in the military logistical staff, the exorbitant prices charged by suppliers, and the opportunities for honest and dishonest profit available to a quartermaster. General Sherman has been relieved and the regiment expects to move soon.
1 2 10028-17 A.L.S., 4 April 1862, Daufuskie, to “Dear Parents.” Discusses Ingraham’s continued efforts to secure a commission. He has refrained from answering a letter from another correspondent, “because he is such a poor writer and speller.”
1 2 10028-18 A.L.S., 10 April 1862, Camp Perry, Daufuskie Island, S.C., to “Dear Sister.” A detailed description of the siege of Fort Pulaski. Ingraham is impatient with the slowness of the proceedings and wishes for an all-out attack, but he is enjoying watching the Union and Confederate artillery exchange fire.
1 2 10028-19 A.L.S., 13 April 1862, Daufuskie, to “Dear Mother.” Retrospective account of the taking of Fort Pulaski. Briefly describes a day’s ride to see an abandoned plantation house and reflects on the recent Confederate defeat at New Orleans. He admonishes his brother Irvin that “he must not use tobacco in any way till he is as old as I am” and apologizes to his sister Jennie for suggesting that she come south to teach the freed slaves.
1 2 10028-20 A.L.S. [first page missing], 20 April 1862, [Daufuskie Island, S.C.], to family. Ingraham thanks his family for their care package of clean shirts and sundries. He asks that they send him powdered milk and coffee, which he can sell to the soldiers at a handsome profit.
1 3 10028-21 A.L.S., 27 April 1862, Daufuskie, to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham has been ill with a “billious [sic] attack.” He advises his family on which crops to plant: the war, he thinks, will drive up the prices of grain and beef.
1 3 10028-22 A.L.S., 12 May 1862, Daufuskie, to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham thanks his sister for the gift of a pistol and jokes about sending a family of slaves to assist his father and mother. He describes in unflattering terms the raising of a black regiment by Colonel Perry. Responding to the news of a friend’s engagement, he laments that he has not seen a woman in months and admonishes his sister that she should find a husband.
1 3 10028-23 A.L.S., 18 May 1862, Daufuskie, to “Dear Parents.” Describes an overnight trip to Hilton Head and briefly describes the surrender of a Confederate gunboat by its slave crew.
1 3 10028-24 A.L.S., 20 May 1862, [Daufuskie to family members?]. A brief note on a 10 cm x 14 cm slip of paper. An upcoming troop movement is rumored, but he does not think the 48th will be sent. He asks his sister Phebe to knit him a cap.
1 3 10028-25 A.L.S., 31 May 1862, “Cockspur Island, Ga., about 14 feet from Fort Pulaski,” to “Dear Parents.” The regiment is preparing to move from camp into Fort Pulaski. Describes (perhaps exaggerating) the giant rattlesnakes that infest coastal Georgia.
1 3 10028-26 A.L.S., 6 June 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Includes hand-drawn map of Fort Pulaski. The regiment has taken over Fort Pulaski. Ingraham discusses the prices of milk and coffee, on which he hopes to make a profit. He was complimented by a superior officer, who suggested that he was under consideration for a lieutenancy.
1 3 10028-27 A.L.S., 10 June 1862, Hilton Head, S.C., to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham is in Hilton Head on a provisioning trip. He describes the logistical difficulties involved in moving goods from Hilton Head to Fort Pulaski and discusses his side business selling coffee and powdered milk.
1 3 10028-28 A.L.S., 22 June 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham has had a brush with arrest and military discipline. When a schooner ran aground on a sandbar near the fort, Ingraham sent a team of horses to help the captain save his cargo, not knowing that the ship was carrying liquor. Fortunately, his superior officer decided not to prosecute him.
1 3 10028-29 A.L.S., 28 June 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” A long letter, mostly asking after family and friends in Amenia. Ingraham describes his quarters and workspace at Fort Pulaski and confides that he is writing this letter at his desk when he should be working.
1 3 10028-30 A.L.S., 29 June 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Father.” A brief note enclosing money and requesting that his father send more milk to sell.
1 4 10028-31 A.L.S., 15 July 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Discusses McClellan’s defeat on the Peninsula and its possible effects on the 48th New York and on the broader course of the war. “If England does interfere I hope we will give her such a drubbing as she never has had.” Ingraham laments that if he had the opportunity to start the war over, he would have tried to secure a commission; the novelty of being an enlisted man has worn off, and he is tired of being subordinate to men he considers his social inferiors. Morale is low because the troops “have been humbugged so much by ambitious politicians and speculators.” He fears that the rigors of war will “engender a feeling of superiority – a spirit of aristocracy” among the officer corps, which would be “the downfall of the Republic.” Describes an accident suffered by a fellow soldier, who fell off a parapet of the fort while sleepwalking.
1 4 10028-32 A.L.S., 19 July 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham hopes the rumor he has been hearing is true that McClellan has taken Richmond, since this will mean a swift end to the war. Describes Col. Perry’s replacement, Col. Barton, and his effects on Ingraham’s chances for promotion. There has been an incident at the Provost-Marshal’s: a case of milk has arrived which Ingraham believes to be his, but the address label has been scraped off and several other soldiers claim that it is theirs.
1 4 10028-33 A.L.S., 24 July 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Father.” The case of milk was divided between Ingraham and another soldier; Ingraham reports on the profits he made by selling his half and discusses his other profit-making ventures.
1 4 10028-34 A.L.S., 29 July 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes the rejuvenating effects of a sea breeze on morale in the hot Southern weather and relates the story of a brief artillery skirmish with a pair of Confederate steamers.
1 4 10028-35 A.L.S., 6 August 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Discusses the Union government’s effort to raise more regiments and Ingraham’s own continued effort to secure a promotion.
1 4 10028-36 A.L.S., 10 August 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” “The most exciting day we have had in a long while.” A Confederate ship approached Fort Pulaski under a flag of truce and the Adjutant went out to negotiate an exchange of prisoners. He then allowed the ship to land further upriver to avoid the current, forgetting that the cannon at Fort Pulaski had standing orders to fire on the ship if it moved. The Regiment has technically attacked the enemy during a truce, and the Adjutant is likely to be punished for his mistake. Ingraham, meanwhile, has a long list of requests for goods he can sell.
1 4 10028-37 A.L.S., 14 August 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Father.” A long description of Ingraham’s latest dealings in the milk trade – “I think by getting the price down I can soon get the custom of the whole regiment.” Briefly describes a “Southern Tempest” in which “nearly everything but the fort was leveled.”
1 4 10028-38 A.L.S., 17 August 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham is applying for a promotion to First Lieutenant. He has made a large sale of a recent milk shipment.
1 4 10028-39 A.L.S., 24 August 1862, [Fort Pulaski, Ga.?], to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham’s petition to become a First Lieutenant was rejected by the Colonel. He laments the difficulty of securing a promotion: “I think the milk business about the best & only really safe trade a man can take hold of here.”
1 4 10028-40 A.L.S., 27 August 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “My Dear Sister.” Nothing new is occurring in camp. Ingraham inquires extensively after local Amenia gossip and discusses his milk trade.
1 5 10028-41 A.L.S., 1 September 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes the burning of a Confederate blockade runner, the Emma, which tried to slip past the Union blockade with a full cargo of cotton. Ingraham describes his diet in camp: to maintain his health, he drinks “a great deal of lemon aid [sic] to take away the bad taste of the water and keep off the scurvey.”
1 5 10028-42 A.L.S., 14 September 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” [This letter appears to be missing an insert page.] Ingraham is mildly homesick. He gives news of various Amenia locals in the regiment and discusses going to Hilton Head to hire black laborers to work on the fort.
1 5 10028-43 A.L.S., 24 September 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Discusses General Lee’s advance into Maryland. Ingraham thinks that if Lee and Jackson can be decisively beaten, the rest of the Confederate Army will fold. He recommends that his parents sell one of the family horses, as he had been informed that the price of horses has nearly doubled in the past year.
1 5 10028-44 A.L.S., 12 October 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham is ill with a “billious [sic] complaint” and has little news to report.
1 5 10028-45 A.L.S., 14 October 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” The latest shipment from Hilton Head brought several boxes of milk and a care package from the family, which was sent in August and has long since spoiled. Ingraham discusses his younger siblings’ schooling: his brother Irving must get an education, he writes, but Phebe should not be overly educated lest she turn out like Jennie.
1 5 10028-46 A.L.S., 25 October 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes a battle between Union and Confederate troops when a force from Fort Pulaski landed on the mainland to try and cut the rail lines between Charleston and Savannah. Miraculously, no one from Ingraham’s regiment was injured. He complains about the difficulty of securing a promotion and argues that the North should be settling the captured Southern territory: “Had this department been handled in a half way decent manner these many fertile & beautiful islands might now have been under cultivation by northern men & in a northern way & a fine healthy state of society already established where now there is nothing but negroes & demoralized officers & soldiers… if Government would let me choose my 160 acres I could live like a nabob.”
1 5 10028-47 A.L.S., 31 October 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” An outbreak of fever at Hilton Head has killed General Mitchell and many of his staff. Ingraham discusses family matters and informs his sister that he has grown a mustache.
1 5 10028-48 A.L.S., 5 November 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham asks after his parents’ recent trip to Canadice, New York, and hints that he thinks they ought to buy a farm there. He wonders whether the recent New York State gubernatorial election will affect his chances of receiving a commission.
1 5 10028-49 A.L.S., 12 November 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham complains at length about his difficulty in securing a promotion. “What a pity I was born poor… Had I been rich I might have been more ambitious – had I been more ambitious I might have known something – had I known anything I might have been in a different position at present.”
1 5 10028-50 A.L.S., 21 November 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham advises his parents to buy a farm in Canadice: “You certainly never can find a pleasanter place than Amenia; but there are others where one might do better & live more comfortable.”
1 6 10028-51 A.L.S., 25 November 1862, Cockspur Island, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham discusses the upcoming Thanksgiving celebrations at Fort Pulaski and his enjoyment of tobacco as a relief from the stresses of camp life. He is raising a kitten to chase the large rats which plague the camp.
1 6 10028-52 A.L.S., 7 December 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes a visit to see Mr. Harrison, a friend from Amenia, at Hilton Head.
1 6 10028-53 A.L.S., 9 December 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham discusses his own and Jennie’s romantic prospects and recommends that Jennie cultivate the acquaintance of a Mr. Gilbert, “a philanthropic man & one of a good deal of practical knowledge & judgment.” Ingraham thinks that if he were out of the army he “could make a pretty good pocket full of money out of Uncle Samuel” in a civilian war job.
1 6 10028-54 A.L.S., 14 December 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham discusses his health and complains about Governor Seymour, who is filling vacant commissions with well-connected outsiders rather than promoting qualified men from the ranks: “All he is working for is votes not the good of the cause.”
1 6 10028-55 A.L.S., 28 December 1862, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” A vacant commission may have opened up due to the resignation of a Lieutenant Colonel. Ingraham has acquired a cat and two kittens to chase rats and mice.
1 6 10028-56 A.L.S., 4 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham wishes his father could visit to watch the soldiers drill; it would “revive [his] military spirit.” The 48th Regiment “whipped” the 47th in a baseball game, 21 to 7.
1 6 10028-57 A.L.S., 10 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” A brief note confirming that Ingraham received his parents’ letter of the 28th.
1 6 10028-58 A.L.S., 18 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham describes the “gymnastics” of his “truly marvelous cats” and tells the story of a prank he played on the company butcher in retaliation for his leaving dirty tallow around the mess hall. Discusses the Emancipation Proclamation, which Ingraham thinks will have no effect so long as slaveholding territory remains under Rebel control; until territory is taken, Emancipation cannot be enforced.
1 6 10028-59 A.L.S., 22 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Father.” A brief note. The Colonel has recommended Ingraham for the position of Second Lieutenant; Ingraham asks that his father travel to Albany and “see the thing put through in proper shape.”
1 6 10028-60 A.L.S., 25 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” More on the possible commission. Ingraham’s father need not go up to Albany if the journey will be difficult, but Ingraham thinks that his presence would help secure the commission. Meanwhile, a pair of ironclads has arrived at Port Royal.
1 7 10028-61 A.L.S., 30 January 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” More on the possible commission. Ingraham once again says that his father need not go to Albany while hinting that perhaps he really should. He recommends that their family not address their letters to him as “Lieutenant” just yet, “until you hear that I am one – there has been one or two cases of the kind which causes a great deal of amusement.” If he receives his commission, he will need a uniform, and “Amenia ought to do something for me in that way.” Perhaps his Uncle Hal[?] can organize the collection: “I want him to do something for his country… & should he refuse someone may say it is an indication of treasonable sentiments.” Ingraham mentions that, as an officer, he will not be allowed to traffic in goods, although some officers do.
1 7 10028-62 A.L.S., 8 February 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” No news yet on the commission. Ingraham describes his appearance after a year in the military. Informed that a friend is marrying, he laments that finding a wife “is as impossible to me as it would be to take Richmond with a pop gun.”
1 7 10028-63 A.L.S., 15 February 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes the military situation on the Georgia coast. Conflict between Generals Foster and Hunter has led to disorder in the Union ranks, and Ingraham thinks that a lack of decisiveness on the part of Union commanders prevented the possible capture of Savannah.
1 7 10028-64 A.L.S., 18 February 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Father.” A brief note informing his father that he will be sending money for milk and a pair of pants.
1 7 10028-65 A.L.S., 25 February 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham is impatient to receive his formal commission papers. He discusses the logistics of having his new clothes sent to him and notes that the scarcity of news in camp makes it hard for soldiers to form political opinions about the course of the war.
1 7 10028-66 A.L.S., 1 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham’s commission has finally arrived. He discusses the privileges and increased pay that his new position will bring.
1 7 10028-67 A.L.S., 9 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” [This letter appears to be missing a second page.] Ingraham is on overnight guard duty for the first time in over a year in his new capacity as an Officer of the Guard. “I find I have grown quite rusty in military matters by my long sojourn in the Q.M. department – in fact my present duties are so different from former ones that I am real awkward.”
1 7 10028-68 A.L.S., 10 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Ingraham discusses his opportunities for further advancement and asks after his father’s improvements of the family property.
1 7 10028-69 A.L.S., 17 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Ingraham requests his father’s intervention in Albany on behalf of Sidney Wadhams, an Amenia friend who remains a corporal and whose “talents have been abused” by indifferent superior officers. He discusses General Hunter’s possible upcoming maneuvers.
1 7 10028-70 A.L.S., 22 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Discusses the possibility of an attack on Charleston or Savannah, as Confederate deserters are saying that rebel morale is low. Ingraham mentions that he has a black servant whom he pays $7 per month.
1 8 10028-71 A.L.S., 27 March 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Parents.” Describes the social advantages which members of the 48th New York enjoy in town as part of “the finest looking Reg’t in the department.” Nonetheless, many members of the Regiment are impatient to see combat and envy the “troops not half as well disciplined or drilled as ourselves winning immortal laurels in skirmish or battle.”
1 8 10028-72 A.L.S., 5 April 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” Discusses “the great expedition from Port Royal” which Ingraham believes has gone to Charleston. If the rebels were to take advantage of the situation and attack Fort Pulaski, “a little skirmish would be the best thing in the world for us now” – the Fort can easily repel any attack, and “’twould stir us up and make us remember what we came out for.” Discusses his marriage prospects – officers who go on extended leave usually come back as married men.
1 8 10028-73 A.L.S., 9 April 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga. to “Dear Parents.” Discusses the news of the First Battle of Charleston Harbor and describes the company to which he has been assigned as a Second Lieutenant: “they want to be swore at or threatened [with] the Guardhouse every few minutes – seem to expect it at least.”
1 8 10028-74 A.L.S., 24 December 1863, Fort Pulaski, Ga., to “Dear Sister.” A long (3.5 two-sided pages) letter. Describes the 48th’s plans to entertain another regiment and discusses various social events at Hilton Head. Ingraham complains about the difficulty of finding reliable black servants and mentions that a number of enlisted men have expressed interest in serving under him if he were to be made captain of a company.
1 9 10028-1a A.L.S., 16 February 1860, unidentified correspondent, Kalamazoo, Mich., to “Dear Daughter.” A native of Amenia who has settled in Michigan, the correspondent discusses his or her poor health, writes that “I am pleased with this country but not with the prevalent customs of the people,” and asks “does religion prosper on Amenia Circuit?”
1 9 10028-2a A.L.S., 4 February 1861, “Abigail,” Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Describes religious life in Canadice – Abigail is uncertain whether it is proper for Methodists to have tea parties, but in Canadice they do.
1 9 10028-3a A.L.S., 25 April 1861, unidentified correspondent [Abigail?], Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Describes agriculture in Canadice.
1 9 10028-4a A.L.S., 10 November 1861, unidentified correspondent [Abigail?], Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Abigail discusses the death of her sister and her worries about the war. “History,” she writes, “will record this as ‘the time that tried men’s souls,’ but I think it tries women’s too.”
1 9 10028-5a A.L.S., 2 March 1862, [Abigail?], Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Discusses religious life in Canadice and the progress of the war. Abigail expresses strong abolitionist sentiments.
1 9 10028-6a A.L.S., 31 March 1862, [Abigail?], Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Discusses the war deaths of various boys from Canadice.
1 9 10028-7a A.L.S., 22 September 1862, [Abigail?], Canadice, [N.Y.], to “My Dear Sister.” Discusses the death of Abigail’s sister. Abigail is happy that her nephew Aaron is in Colonel Perry’s regiment, where “he will be under religious influence.”
1 9 10028-8a A.L.S., date unidentified, “A.” [Abigail, Canadice, N.Y.?], to unidentified correspondent [sister?]. Describes the winter weather in Canadice.
1 9 10028-9a A.L.S., missing first page, date, location and recipient unidentified, signed “Your Jennie.” Discusses the activities of family members and neighbors.
1 9 10028-10a A.L.S., missing first page, date, location and recipient unidentified, signed “Jennie.” Final page of a letter.
1 9 no number A.L.S., no date or location, Aaron Ingraham to parents. Final page of a letter[?]. Asks after family members and the price of milk.
1 9 no number A.L.S., missing first page, no date or location, Aaron Ingraham. [Daufuskie Island, March 1862, to parents?] Fragment of a discussion of the impending siege of Fort Pulaski; also discusses Ingraham’s promotion opportunities and the accidental drowning death of a fellow soldier.
1 9 no number A.L.S., unidentified fragment. [1861-62?] Fragment of an Aaron Ingraham letter discussing the chances of a Union victory and his current financial situation.
1 9 no number A.L.S. on 4.5 x 13 cm. slip, no date, location or recipient, signed “A.” [Aaron Ingraham, 1861-62.] A general has complimented his regiment on the precision of their drill.
1 9 no number A.L.S., unidentified fragment, 6.5 x 11.5 cm. Fragment of a letter in a hand that is not Aaron Ingraham’s. Discusses recent deaths in Amenia.
1 9 no number A.L.S., fragment, 19.5 x 5 cm., signed “A.” [Aaron Ingraham.] Fragment of a letter.
1 9 no number A.L.S., missing first page, no date, location or recipient, signed “Your own brother Aaron” [Ingraham]. Describes guard duty and the activities of Amenia locals in the regiment.
1 9 no number A.L.S., 8 November [1861?], “Off Savannah River,” to “Dear Parents.” The regiment is still on board a transport ship; Ingraham is seasick.
Last Updated: October 1, 2009