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Primary Sources for the 93rd New York State Militia

Herald, July 12, 1864

NEW YORK, July 11, 1864.

Pursuant to requisition of the President of the United States and general orders from Governor Seymour, Commander-in-Chief of the militia of the State of New York, this regiment will leave for one hundred days service in the fortifications at Washington city, on Thursday next or as soon as armed and equipped. Each company will be required to fill all vacancies of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, without delay, substitutes may apply at headquarters, Jefferson market, from nine A. M., to ten P. M. By order. W. R. W. CHAMBERS,
Major and Colonel commanding.
INGERSOLL, Adjutant.


New York Tribune, July 23, 1864

Military Affairs.

The 93d Regiment, N. Y. S. M., commanded by Col. Chambers, left yesterday afternoon for Washington, They number about 200 strong, mostly boys. Two militia regiments, the 77th and the 99th, departed yesterday for Governor's Island, where they will muster into the United States service, and when transportation can be furnished they will leave for Washington.


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Relay House Aug. 2, 1864

Dear Mother

I received your letter this morning, just as I was going on guard & you may just think I was glad to get it for I dident like to see other boys hand in their letters & me get none. You say you don't see why I have to go on guard being company clerk the reason is that our Reg. is all broken up for part of us are detailed for one part of the State & part for the other. Co. B is kept here hard at work for the Gen. who commandds the Post says that we cant be spared as we do more work than any other around for we are detailed for pickets for the Provost Guard & to guard the deserters & prisoners that he has.

I was out on picket on Sunday with six others of our co. including Sergt. Boyd who is a great friend of mine & who commanded the party our duty was to guard a bridge that crosses over a railroad very small creek but here it is called a river, with a great long name on it that I cant remember. We had a just a fine time of it I can tell you for we only had two on at a time & there were lots of blackberries around so that we could pick those & then plenty of swimming in the river. there are some boys in the company who cannot write & the other night one of them put a letter in my hands & wanted me to answer it while he went on guard it was from his sweet heart & I read the letter & then answered it without ever having known the girl & dident tell me what he wanted to say & read it to him he was highly delighted & said it could not have been better. You asked me what kind of chums I had, they are two very decent & cleanly fellows but I have nothing to do with them except when I clean the tent up with them.

Thursday Aug 4, 1864

Dear Mother

I had to stop the first part all of a sudden to go on guard & have not had a chance to go on until now for I have had to be on guard ever since, for we have so many men detailed to different parts of the State that we have to be on two days & off, & that is very hard on a fellow for if we had a full Reg. we would have one day on & ten off, which is every different from two on & one off. but I expect they will be recalled in a little while & then we will have easy times again. Tell Ed & Kittie I will their letters tomorrow when I do Carrie’s (which I received this morning together with your own most welcome note). Tell Helen that if she don't write to me on Sunday I will give her fits when I get home & then wont go with her to Ill. in a couple of years as I promised to awhile ago. If I don't see that letter of Grandma's coming along in a few days together with some of her thin cookies I shall go distracted. I wish you would send me some good things to eat in a box for they would taste good after having eaten hard tack a that you have to break in pieces with a stone before you can eat it, You can send it to the care of Capt. Adamson & it will come all right. I have not heard from Father yet & I wrote to him a week ago so that I begin to think that he has determined to have nothing to do with me for having come out here. just remind him & tell him to write a few lines


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Relay House Aug 5, 1864

Dear Carrie

I received your most welcome letter yesterday & hasten to reply to it. for if I don't do so now I wont have a chance again in two or three days at least for we are having more men put on special detail every day & as Co. B. boys are smart they get detailed by the Gen. in preference to any other, so that our company is sadly thinned out we have twenty able to do duty now, & of these fifteen are wanted every day so that you see it is the exception & not the rule when we are off duty. I was off yesterday & went swimming & in a place where I thought it was over my head I struck bottom & it happened to be on a stone & I thought I was way over my head & dident think about my touching bottom. I wish you could have seen me strike out for shore it was just a caution & in a couple of strokes my hand struck the bottom. I never felt more foolish in my life than I did when I got up & looked out in the creek for the turtle. I wrote a love letter day before yesterday for one of our boys, I tell you it was rich [.] I never enjoyed myself more than when I was XXXXXXX scribbling for him. he made it very sentimental after the Ledger style & then he seemed to know that it was rather silly for he would make a sort of half excuse for it to me at every sentence. when I am off guard I am scribbling pretty much all the time either for the Capt. or some letter for one of the boys. You talk of my having so much vanity that you are afraid to tell me what people say of me. now you know as well as anything that if ever there was a person perfectly devoid of such a thing as vanity that person was me & now you go & say I have too much. I know what it is for, you are jealous & don't want me to have a good opinion of myself for fear I cant see the supreme goodness mess of yourself. now you needent feel scared for I o shall ever be conscious of the value elder sister. I have often heard you speak of the inconvenience of living [in] your trunk but it is a little more so to live in a knapsack & have a haversack for a closet to contain all of your fifine china crockery, & eatables for three of four days, our food has been wretched for three of four days back for we have had sour bread instead of hard tack for some of the boys grumbled at the tack because it was so hard & now they have the fine sour bread instead. I have remember that I had about eleven dollars when I started from home & now I have somewhere in the neighborhood of two. part had to go for susistance while were on Baltimore Heights part for ink, pens & paper & one thing & another but the best part has gone I don't know where for I never spent it. it probably got in the hands of Co. I. boys for they are the […] thieves of the Reg. One night while I was sleeping in the guardhouse one of them stole a shoelace from my shoe & when they do that they are pretty mean. Please write as often as possible & don't wait for answers.

Your loving brother
Louis LeClear


West Jersey Press, August 10, 1864


FORT DIX, August 6th 1864.

Editor West Jersey Press - SIR - You have no doubt heard through other sources accounts from Co. A 1st N. J. Militia, which so promptly responded to the call of Gov, Parker, and feel proud that Camden Co. was the first to step forward in this patriotic enterprise, and furnish such a noble body of loyal men for the emergency. Our men without one exception have ever been ready to respond to any order from Gen. Tyler, no matter for what destination, if a command came to move to the front every man would be at his post only too glad to offer his life in behalf of this country. The body of old troops stationed at this post were hurried forward to the front as soon as we arrived, and are now rendering efficient service in the field, men of experience have thus been allowed to return, to their duties in the front where they are absolutely required, while the militia are being drilled and disciplined in fortifications and important points along the border, so they may be ready and competent to repel the invader. Our company I think without exaggeration can boast of as fine a set of men as were over mustered into the service. Capt. Lee is an old veteran, has been tried in the crucible and found to be true, brave and loyal. Lt: Wm. C. Shinn is universally liked, he was wounded in the fight at Chancellorsville, which deprived him of an eye, his courage is undisputed. Our 2d Lt. Charles H. Kain, though inexperienced, is remarkably well posted and has gained the confidence of the members of Co. A, and his ability cannot be questioned. Thus Co. A, under such efficient officers, has become remarkably well drilled and disciplined, and in case of another emergency will be ready and thoroughly qualified to take any post that may be assigned to them. Fort Dix is situated near tho Relay House on a high bluff at the junction of the Washington branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, garrisoned by a portion of Co A; and an efficient body of New York Artillerymen, who did good service in the fight at Monocacy, is mounted with six James' rifled 12 pounders, and one, 24 pound howitzer, which stand like faithful monitors ready at any moment to thunder forth the alarm, and scatter death. among the ranks of the invader. The river Patapsco lies about a quarter of a mile from the fort and it is spaned by & massive stone bridge, the country is wild and hilly, and a view from the parapet, to those who appreciate a glimpse at nature is a rare treat.

We are not the only troops stationed at this junction, the 93d New York, hundred days men, and twelve hundred emergency men from Delaware are encamped near us. Well has she been called the diamond State, her brilliancy shall still light up the pages of history with an undying lustre.

God bless her rocky Brandywine,
Where patriot fathers fought and died,
And heroes blood poured forth like wine,
And crimson turned the crystal tide.

She has done nobly in this emergency and with her sister states is ever ready to stand by the old flag. The sentiment of the people in this portion of Maryland is generally secession. We have met with some however who still cling to the Union. The family of Mr. Thomas Donelson, who reside in a beautiful country seat near the Relay House, are devoted loyalists and furnish tho boys with fruit and vegetables in abundance. Mr. Donelson is an eminent Baltimore Counsellor and his kindness will long be remembered by the members of Co. A. Our Guard House is filled with disloyal men and spies, a special guard is detailed for the purpose of keeping them secure, but notwithstanding the vigilance of the officers and men two have escaped, one complained of being sick and then taken out of the Guard House and relieved of his hand-cuffs looked remarkably droopy but in an instant almost he was over the fence and down a precipice, some 50 or 60 feet, the sentry fired, a search was made, but it has since been decided that he took the under ground Rail Road.

You have heard some unfavorable accounts of Co. A. but from sources that flavor strongly of Copper—reports have been circulated by certain newspapers speaking of the departure of the thirty days men as a mere excursion, a seasonable pleasure trip, of their “luxuriating at the Relay House,” &c., &c., now men who publish such things should certainly not object to being published themselves, because in doing a great and good act it is a universal maxim among men (of Morry's stripe) to let the world know what they were done for the exaltation of the race and the glory of mankind, the world, of course, being unable to discover their virtuous acts. Our friend the editor of the Democrat can sit in his editorial sanctum and cry to the world, Gentlemen I told you so, this Government has been conducted upon wrong principles, is conducted upon wrong principles, it has made a great mistake in prosecuting this war for the establishment of the Union, then indeed it is not necessary, if the democratic party had the power to-day [if it only had the power!] -you would see a different state of things, the Government would be conducted upon sound principles and the old ship of state would ride peacefully upon the waters of the political sea—this is the shout of the democracy, it is thus they raise a great furore at home a great hue and cry about nothing, slandering the President, spitting out the vile venom of copperheadism, endeavoring to poison the minds of our people and create a rebellion at the north. Thus it is that they give confidence to traitors and increase the enemies of the Government when they owe their very life to its existence. — Such is the political insanity that affects a majority of the Democratic party, alas that Morry should become its victim still you can hear them repeating

“Alas the age of virtuous men has past, And we are deep in that of mere pretence— Men have grown to old to be sincere, And we to wise to word them.”



LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Dear Father

Relay House. Aug. 8 [1864]

I received your long expected but welcome letter this morning & hasten to reply to it. I cant think how it took so long for it to go. for the mails are, as a general thing, very prompt.

You said you thought it would be a good Plan for me to keep a Diary. I think it would also but I can get no book of any kind to write in for in the first place there none in the one store that is here. & in the second place I have no money to get one with for though I had a plentiful supply when I left home it is all gone some I have spent & some has been stolen from me & I could get no clue of the theives. when I say I have spent some I mean a good deal for things are very high here a I have spent probably about three dollars the rest has been stolen. I had ten dollars when I left the City so that about seven has gone & no good for it. however while in camp the need of money is not so severely felt. it is only while on the march that the want of money is really felt for sometimes you have even to buy a drink of water while in Baltimore we were not allowed to leave the ranks & some of the boys paid five & ten cents for canteenful of water & then at the same time you may have no rations & it is a very unpleasant thing to go hungry.

There are a couple of car loads of Rebs. right outside of the camp from Harpers Ferry and a good many of the boys are out looking at them. I went out to see them about half an hour ago. they are pretty ragged & dirty but look as if they had all they wanted to eat with the exception of a dozen or so & I guess nothing could fatten them [.] they were long slabsided affairs with hair all streaming over their coat collars down their backs. they looked as though there was not such a thing as water in the U. S. for dirtier human beings I never saw. - You asked me if I have not got more than I bargained for, my answer is yes. & so has everybody else that came in it among whom are a good many veterans & they say that they never has as much work as we have now to do during the first six months they were out. our Reg. is detailed all over the State & we have only one hundred men here doing duty. out of these seventy men are required daily for camp guard, for prisoners guard at fort Dix & Pickett at the railroad bridge. so that the duty comes pretty heavy on all of us for every one of us are on five days out of the seven [.] you can see the difference when I tell you that in the Volunteer service you have one day on & seven or eight off so that that we have it more than ten times as hard as the Volunteers do that are doing garrison duty. As for our having any fighting I think it not at all likely that we shall see any unless the Johnnie's come in as far as this for we are so split up that it would be no object to them to send us to any other place. so that if the other companies do not come back we are booked for the rest of our time in this place.


Herald, August 12, 1864


New York, August 11, 1864.

The Ninety-third regiment is now in the field, recognized by the government, and guarding the Most important stations between here and Washington—viz: at Annapolis, at the Relay House, at the Grand Stone bridge, &c. The Ninety-third is mustered in its on on military organization, for the term of one hundred days. The one hundred days' men are exempt from the draft. Colonel Chambers is now in this city, by orders from headquarters, to recruit this regiment to its maximum number, and he earnestly calls upon all good, able bodied men to assist him in the good cause. All recruits will report to Canteen John W. Cramp, recruiting officer, at Military Hall, No. 196 Bowery, and will receive equipments, rations, &c., as soon as mustered, at Second regiment armory, corner of Hall place and Seventh street, and be immediately forwarded to the regiment, By order,
W. R. W. CHAMBERS, Colonel commanding
Ninety-third regiment N. G. S. N. Y.


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Relay House, Aug 19, 1864

Dear Mother

Your most welcome letter came to hand yesterday but I could not answer it as i was just stationed at Washington Junction and was settling my self for the rest Of my time. when this morning about eight oclock I got in a muss with the fifth Sergt. of our Co. who was in command there about your letter. for I found out that he had tried to get at the contents Of it before he gave it to me, under the impression that there was money in it. I gave him a piece of my mind about the matter and about two or three other things that he had acted meanly in when he was going to strike me and I took my musket in my hand plainly told him that I would put the bayonet through him if he attempted to touch me and that made him keep back a bit for he could do nothing to as long as I kept that in my hands; we both went up to camp and as there was no other person to be put in his place I was relieved and am now in camp doing nothing. You can send your box as soon as you please but I do not think it would pay to send the bread as it would probably be stale before it would reach me and we get very good Gov. bread here most every nigh fresh from Baltimore. if you could put in more crackers instead it would be as well. put the directions on full and fair and have Ed get a receipt for it at the office and send it on to me by letter so that I can get the box without trouble or delay. You ask how many time I have washed my clothes yet I always wash them twice a week so that I have a clean shirt always in my knapsack. I am going to have a clean shave of my hair to day as it is impossible to keep it in order with the length I have now so I am resolved on getting a regular fighting cut, it will have grown out though by the time I get home so you will not have the benefit of it. Give my love to all at home and tell them all to write soon. tell Grandma that I will excuse on account of her being ill but hope she will not have it in her power to plead the same excuse again. Write as soon as possible and take all the love you can hold from Your loving son

Louis LeClear
Saint Dennis Md
Aug 19
Mrs. T. LeClear
Staten Island
Letter No. 35


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Ellicott Mills Aug. 20 [1864]

Dear Mother It is just a month today since we were mustered in to service so that we have got through with about one third of our time- It seems however as if it was only a couple of weeks ago since I first left home and if the rest of the time passes as quickly I shall be well You can see by the heading that I am at last where I wrote you I wanted to be. You know that yesterday I told you about the muss I got in with the Sergt. at the bridge and about being relieved I was lucky for me that it turned out so for in the course of the day a Corporal came in to camp with one of the men from the Mills who did not suit the Sergt. and he sent word to the orderly that he wanted me in his place so after some little contention I was allowed to go. Our Lieut. had taken a fancy to me and he wanted to send the Sergt. at the bridge here and put me in is place but I had rather be private down here than Sergt. there so I came and here I shall stay for the rest of my time unless I get sick or the Rebs. come, neither of which things seem likely to happen just now, for this is a healthy place and out of the Rebs. way. All we have to do here is to put a guard of one man at the door of a big room in the highest story of the house in which we are stationed to see that none of the prisoners we have here escape. the consist of Sesesh prisoners brought here to stay over night for want of transportation, of drafted men who overstaid there ten days and of deserters. we have so many of our boys here that we only have about two hours out of the twenty four for duty. and then fruit is very cheap out here. you can get splendid big peaches here for thirty five cents a peck and great big watermelons for twenty which is very cheap for so early in the season. we are right in the middle of a little village and have a very fine homes for there are cloth mills here and lots of girls who work in them they are going to have a ball here Monday night and we are invited I am going dancing pumps and all I expect we will make a fine clatter in any quadrille we get into. If you have not sent the box yet please put the best pair of my balmoral shoes in so that I can have a pair to wear while the others are getting mended. You can direct all my letters to Ellicott's Mills Mills Md. Provost Marshalls Office. Please write soon and send the box by the same Express. Your loving son
Louis LeClear
Letter No. 36


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Ellicotts Mills aug. 31 [1864]

Dear Carrie,

Having been guarding a lot of negro conscripts for the last three hours I take this opportunity to relieve my mind of the strain the responsibility of having them under my care has occasioned by taking a little while with you. You know that it is always said by the proslavery people in our state that all this talk about whipping slaves was “bosh” but it is no such thing for I was talking with one of the boys around here last night about it and says that he has often seen them tied up by their thumbs so that their toes would just touch the floor and then cowhided with a whip that would make the skin burst open at every stroke just as you will see the skin of an apple burst when it is baking. And then one of the Negroes told me that he had been a slave and showed me the marks on his back of the whip. He says if the master happens to a bad one he will lash them in that way from head to heels and turn them round and do the same on their breasts. That is the way they christianize their niggers. And as for the love the slaves to his masters that is another of their lies. There is a man out here by the name of Carroll who had in the first place about five hundred men slaves and now he has not five left for they have all enlisted in the army, a nice specimen of their love isent to enlist in a month or six weeks after having the chance.

You say that you would think that time would pass heavily on my hands, on the contrary I never knew it to pass so quickly for we are just busy enough now in preparing for the draft to keep us from what you could call idleness. And if we happen to have nothing to do for a while we go up to the railroad a mile or so and get all the fox grapes we want or up the turnpike after apples or peaches for the people out here are either very loyal or else are afraid of us for all we have to do is to say that we want such and such a thing and it is given, I rather think it is their patriotism for they will give them to me when I am along as quick as when there is a crowd along.

I cant see how you manage to live with so many musquitoes around especially, if it is at all warm. I hardly think you could find as many as you sent me in this part of Md. It is getting cold here now too, so that a blanket wrapped close around you isent a bad thing at night, and I think that by the time we are ready to go home we will find it about the thing to sleep with our clothes on. In a week from tomorrow our time will be half out I tell you it don't seem long now before we will be home. But then being with Reg. we may be detained a week or two beyond our time. Please tell Ed and Helen that answer their letters tomorrow as I only received them last night. From your loving brother,
Louis LeClear


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

Relay House Encampment
Hospital Oct 2nd 1864.

My dear Daughter.

I have but a moment to write. I reached here about half after nine this morning, safe and well, found your dear brother in a very critical state, Typhoid fever, has been delirious for days, but knows people today — the doctor says he hopes he will get along, but he cannot tell how it will terminate. He says if he gets well —it will be at least three or four weeks before he can be moved — such a looking object as he is. The Doctor says he has worried for me continually, and he thinks my being here, may do much for him- I hope it will. He is continually moaning and talking, but when he opens his eyes, he knows me, and is happy. He coughs hard, the Doctor says has congestion of the lungs with the fever, says it is a very usual thing. He seems to understand what he is about. I have just stopped my writing to bathe Louis — bathed his head, neck and arms when he was so much fatigued that I was obliged to stop. No sheets — no pillow cases nothing but his blanket over him on the bare cot. I had cloths with me, that I spread over his pillow, put on a clean night shirt, and he looks more comfortable. I shall go out tomorrow and try and hire some sheets — there are no accommodations here for Ladies, I can assure you, but that I care nothing for— if God sees it best to save him, shall be very thankful. I can not say any thing about coming home —tell Eddie, Kittie, and Helen to be good children, and do the best they can. Much love to them, and to your own dear self, and Husband. Love to Helen, my Helen E.W. and say to her that I hope she will spend as much time as possible with you, and I will pay her fare.

Write soon, direct to Relay House Encampment—to Louis, and I shall get it. I had good company through.

Send this to Aunt Helen, for I cannot write now. Please write to grandma too - has your father returned? If so, and he thinks of coming on, let him bring those two small linen sheets, and one other also small pillow cases, three - but he had better not come till I write again. Much love to him and if he is not at home, write to him Louis' condition. He is almost entirely deaf. This afternoon does not know as much as this morning. Must stop.

Your loving Mother Caroline R. LeClear

Saint Dennis
Oct 3
Mrs. Wm. H. Beard
Staten Island


LeClear Family Letters, 1862-1863, 1864, Howard County Historical Society

WEEKS ON PROVOST GUARD Last summer while quartered at Relay House. MD. our col. received an order from the Brig. Gen. telling him to send a detail of a dozen men to Ellicotts Mills to act under the order of the Provost Marshall of that place. A detail was accordingly made out, composed the most orderly files belonging to CO's B. & E. and I was luckily one of the number. In half an hour after the order was made public we were on our way to the village.

Arriving there we were escorted by a sergt. of the 44th Penn Voll. To our quarters, which were we found the fourth and fifth stories of a large building originally intended for a Free Mason's Lodge, but at that time occupied by the Provost Marshall and his assistants. After taking off our knapsacks and sitting down to rest we commenced talking about the duties we might have to perform when the Marshall, whom I shall call Capt. Brown came up to give the Sergt his orders, in speaking to us he informed us that our work was to be as follows, 1st we were to guard all deserters, bounty-jumpers, etc., brought in by the detectives, all recruits were to be kept in custody by us until sent to the camp of instruction, 3rd & lastly we were to make ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit. After giving us this information the Capt. went away and left us to obey his last order to the best of our ability. After putting ail our traps in order those of us who were not detailed for guard strolled out to see the place; we found it quite a good sized town though there was none of that activity that is so marked in a village in our own State.

During the first two weeks nothing of any interest occurred; but on the third Sunday after our arrival I went out about three miles to get some fox grapes for the mess; on returning I noticed a dozen horses and mules standing in front of the house, and a crowd of people at the door who seemed somewhat excited. Going up to one of the bystanders I inquired the cause of so unusual a gathering and was told that a detective had seen about forty guerrillas in the North Woods and that a great number of horses had been stolen on the day previous by them.

On going upstairs I was informed by the Corporal that the Sergt. had gone to Relay House for some Cavalry. and that we were to ride out to the woods and see if we could discover them. Some people talk about the boys always being so anxious for a fight, it may be that they are. but I know that I was not in as jolly a state of minds as I might have been; however I went to my room put on my equipments, slung my musket over my shoulder and joined the rest in the street. After standing there a few moments we received the order to mount, we obeyed the order though not in the most regular manner as part of the horses were baulky and the mules had no saddles. As quickly as we were settled in our seats the command was given and we rode of amid the laughter of the bystanders; for as may be supposed we made did not make a very fine show, as some were on horseback for the first time and none were able to ride very well with a After riding for a hour with no very serious mishap we arrived atthe and after tying our horses and leaving a sentry to guard them, we struck into the woods after marching for a few moments we halted to await the coming of the reenforcements. In the course of an hour we heard the trampling of hoofs and the clanking of the sabres that let us know that the Cavalry was at hand, and a minute afterward they marched up to us, headed by a Lieut. who took command and formed a skirmish line, so that we were able to sweep the whole wood at once. We managed through trampling down the under brush with our fingers on the trigger ready to shot the first Johnny that should show himself, but no Rebs were to be seen and on getting to the other side of the wood the Lieut dismissed us saying that his detachment was large enough to handle all the Rebs. around there. We did not like this very much as we had just had enough of the fun to make us want more. There was no help for it however & we set our faces homeward. Arriving at headquarters we resumed the old routine nothing of any importance to vary they m[…] till our term of […]


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