Adirondack Journal — Letters Home Series: Civil War Era Manuscripts from the Collection


The Adirondack Museum Library owns more than 600 linear feet of manuscript material. Included in these vast holdings are the Juliette Baker Rice Kellogg papers. This collection consists largely of correspondence to Juliette Baker (1842-1931); better known as "Julia" to her correspondents. Julia lived in and around Minerva, NY her entire life making this collection of letters an important source of information on the lives and times of early Adirondack settlers.

Julia's pen pals included many friends and family members that were fighting in the American Civil War. These letters give great insight into the psyche of the soldiers that penned them. Their dreams were simple: to return to the pleasures and normalcy of everyday life. The soldiers that wrote to Julia were looking for news from home in order to escape the drudgery and hardships of life in the camps. These letters are presented in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.

This week's letter:

Dated Camp Graim Sep 3, 1861, Washington East Virginia, New York to the vt tiers 22 ridgment in Cair of Captain Omsha(?) Company F
Dear friend I avail my self with the oprtunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am yet live and well at present and hope that thease few lines will find you injoin the same blessing. We air in campt near the potomac river whair thair is about one hundred and ten thousand men and still awating for more. I must tel you a litl about how we fair we have bread and beef and bacan and rice and beans and what littl corn and potatoes we git on uncal Sam... Today we can hear the cannon and musket roar among the pickets to morrow we have got to go out on picket. I have had for shotes at the rebels and have cild one. It is a vury hard thing to shoote a man in cool blood but we haft to do it or we wold git shot ourselves. I wish I had your rifel hear and then I could take a longer shot at them Mostly I wold be vury glad to have you hear to go with me out on a scout to morrow. It is like huntin deer to hunt thease chaps. No more for this time. From your friend David Walker. Give my respects to Mr and Mrs. Baker and Juliet Baker and litel Jan an tel Jan... that I am afrad I never shal come back agin to ciss hur agin. David Walker
You must write to me as soon as you get this. Give my respect to all folks in your naber hood.