Letters of John A. Salton
144th N.Y. Volunteers 1864-65
Courtesy of R.C. Dix
Note: John A. Salton was a private in Company C of the 144th NY from the Delhi-Walton-Hamden area of Delaware County
Letter of December 11, 1864
On the Field of Battle, December 11th, 1864
I received your kind and welcome letter just before going into battle in the morning. I have been in three different battles. The last battle I was in was on the 9th of the months and it is with sorrow that I tell you of the death of Peter Littlejohn. He was shot through the head about eleven in the forenoon of that day. He died without saying a word. He was buried in the woods. John E. Salton seen him buried. We have lost in dead and wounded 99 men since we started. Tom Telford was wounded in the breast. I have not time to write any more. Write soon. Give my love to all the folks in the Clove (Terry Clove).
Your Son, John A. Salton
Note: This letter was written during the Battle of Deveaux's Neck and Coosawatchie after the Battle of Honey Hill (all on the South Carolina coast). These actions were designed to cut the Savannah and Charleston railroad at the same time General William Tecumseh Sherman was maneuvering to seize Savannah coincident with his march to the sea. These actions were successful both in disrupting the railroad and in requiring the use of several thousand Confederate soldiers who might have been directed against Sherman. On December 14, 1864, the 144th N.Y. Volunteer Regiment received word that Sherman had captured Fort McAllister. The investment of Savannah was complete. And so was Sherman's famous March to the Sea.
Letter of March 27, 1865
Hilton Head, S.C., March 27, 1865
I now take the opportunity of writing a few lines in return to your kind and welcome letter which I received this morning. It found me well and all the rest of the boys from the Clove in the regiment has got back to the old camp. Since I wrote to you I have been to New York as you will have heard before this. We left here about the first of this month with prisoners of war. There was about 700 of them. Went on boat the Memship Illinois? Went to Fort Morrow, laid there one day, then run up the Elizabeth river as far as Norfolk for coal and laid there two days, then we got orders to take the prisoners to Fort Delaware. We run down there with them and unloaded them and started for New York. Got there the 13th and went up to the Soldiers Home and got dinner. Then Captain came up and told us to go where we had a mind to, but to be back to the Soldiers Home on the 17th. Some of the boys went home but I thought that I would not come home for to take dinner for the time was so short. But we did not get transportation until Wednesday the next week so we might all have went home. But it won't make much difference for I guess that I can stay away from home one year I would like to have seen Drew for it is a long time since I seen him and have got some maple sugar, but I had a good time in New York running round. Went and saw Uncle Jim's folks. I was up to the Central Park. It is nice place, I went to Barnams's museum and a good many more of the New York sites and wonders. But give me the country to live in for all the city's I have been in yet. We started from New York on the 22nd and got here on the 26th and found the boys all here and well. The weather is not very warm yet, bet the trees is leafing out now they are quite green. I got seven letters when I got back so l will have to be pretty busy for a day or two to answer them all. You told me that you had had enough but you said you was behind with your wood. I am sorry to hear that you told me that some of the folks has been sick but was all well again but Drew well. I will have to stop for the time Have not been paid of yet. Write soon and tell me all the news ...Your affectionate son, John A. Salton.
Letter of March 28, 1865
Hilton Head, S.C., March 28, 1865
(Written to M. Andrew D. Littlejohn, Hamden, Delaware Co., N.Y.)
I received your kind and welcome letter a few days ago and was glad to hear from you once more and to hear that you was on the grain? once more. It found me well as I am at present and all of the rest of the folks from the clove. The Regiment has got back once more to their old camp here. They had a pretty hard time of it at first, the weather being very cold, but after Charleston was evacuated they got along once more pretty well. They went through the country and picked up anything that they could get hold of. Some of them got some very good close(clothes?) and a good many other things. Some took the door nobs and brought them to camp and put them on the doors of the tents. The other day we had monthly inspection and when they come to inspect the quarters the officers thought the boys is putting some stills (styles?). Some had white ones and some of them dark colored ones. Some of them brought chintz dishes and some..one thing and some another.
John E. Salton is cooking for the company now .......
Well Drew I have been to New York since I wrote to you we have not been paid of yet and I don't know when we will get paid. You was in New York the...I wish you had been there when I was there. I run around the city considerable. I went to Barnam's museum and to three or four theaters and went up to the Central Park and seen some of their fixings there and went to Uncle Jim's and stayed two nights and seen them Irish girls that was there when you was there, but I don't want to be in New York more than one week at a time again. But all of the (wimmen?) I ever saw or heard of it is on Mercer's Street? and Gren? St. There is the darnest place I ever got into. Dirt of all description. Well Drew the news is pretty scarce here now. So I will bring this to a close. Write soon and tell me all of the news. No more at present. Give my respects to all inquiring friends. Tell Jim Littlejohn to write no more at present.
Yours as before...John A. Salton
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