Raw Bacon (April 8, 1862)


Alfred Covell Woods

No 1

Near Yorktown

Warwich Court House, Va

Apr 8th, 1862

My Dear Aunt,

Do forgive me for delaying so long to answer your very kind and welcome letter but I have been so situated that I have seen no opportunity when I could infringe upon my duties enough to find time to even write you a few lines owing to the removal of our Regt from Tennally Town (Tennallytown, MD, 4 miles northwest of Washington).

I did not receive your letter until after our arrival at Fortress Monroe. Since then we have been toiling through the mud and water driving the Rebels and taking a few Batteries on the way. We have now come to a stand still for the Rebels have five miles of Batteries before us to take and we have got to wait for some large seige guns before we can shell them out. General McClellan was here yesterday making a reconnasance and he says we shall soon have work enough to do. The Rebels throw their shells over our heads here almost every day to aggravate us but they do us no harm. Our light artillery can not reach them and we have to put up with it for the present. We are all in good health here. Provisions are very scarce. Last night my supper consisted of a piece of raw Bacon. The roads are almost impassable so that the teams cannot transport provisions to us. All that we got we have to forage from the enemy and that at the risk of ourselves. Sometimes if you look on the map you will see where we are on the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers. I used to wish when were at Tennally Town that we could be placed nearer to the ememy but l did know the privations the advance of our army had to undergo until we were placed here. Some of the Regiments in our Brigade are within speaking distance of the enemy.

The weather for the last two days has been wet and cold. Our Boys have been engaged night and day in throwing up intrenchments. We have no tents. No fires are allowed on the advance only to cook by.

I have just returned from a short point above here where I could see a Regiment of the enemy drilling in the skirmish drill. The main body of their troops together with five of their Batteries are about half a mile from here. lf they knew how we were situated here in the woods they could shell us out of here with ease.

(A C Woods)

Letters of Alfred Covell Woods.

Contributed by J. Tierney


For biographical information on A.C. Woods, see:



James S. Moore (Morre), Co. B.


James Moore enlisted in the Army on 1st May, 1861. He mustered into the 62nd NYSV on 30th June, 1861. James Moore was promoted to Corporal on 1st September, 1861. Thought he is recorded as mustering out as a Private, the 1890 US Census records him as a Corporal of the 62nd NY. James Moore endured 6 months imprisonment in Andersonville Prison. James Moore re-enlisted in the 62nd NY on 1st March, 1864. He was discharged from the Army on 30th August, 1865.

The Census data records his P.O. address in 1890 as Port Richmond, Richmond County, NY. He is recorded to have suffered from rheumatism.


Picture credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andersonville_National_Historic_Site

The Sacred Soil of Virginia (March 30, 1862)

sunday_mercury_title_1865[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]


Camp Tennally, Washington, D. C., March 23.

Anxiety to March — Orders Issued — Affection of the Soldiers for their Colonel — Crossing the Chain-Bridge — A Halt — Heavy Rains — Rumors of New Movements — Back Again in the Old Camp.

After a hard week’s march to the sacred soil of Virginia, thank God! we are in our old camp again. It may be sacred for some, but I would rather be in Tennallytown, as it is bad enough, God knows, as the mud answers for bootjacks. I will give you a sketch of our march, as it is no harm, after the march is over for the present. On the eve of March 9th, the boys got orders to march on the 10th. We also got orders to carry four day’s rations in our haversacks. On the morning of the 10th, everything was in readiness; but, as is usually our luck, it rained; however, the boys were so anxious to go, that the rain did not mar their feelings. But there was one thing that cast a gloom over the whole regiment, and that was when we heard that our colonel (Riker) was not going with us. We were formed in line-of-battle  on the parade-ground, and cheer after cheer rent the air for Riker. It was feared at one time that the regiment would not leave the ground without the colonel; but as the major (Dayton) rode along the lines, he explained to us the reason why we could not have the colonel with us. He told us that the colonel would follow us the next day; and, as the major was going with us, it made things look somewhat brighter. Although the regiment moved off, there was still some wanting, and that something was our gallant colonel. It was evident that, if we had to fight, we would fight better with Colonel Riker at our head; but if we had to fight without him, we would leave our mark on the battle-field as well as the rest of the regiments in the army, and I hope the day is not far off when we will prove it to your readers and yourselves.

I will now return to our march. We moved off at 10 o’clock a. m., with the Fifty fifth Regiment, N. Y. S. M., in advance of the brigade. We took the Chain-Bridge road from Tennallytown, and arrived at the bridge at 1 o’clock. We crossed the bridge, and marched to Langley, where we halted about an hour, and then marched about two miles further to a place called Prospect Hill. We were ordered to halt there for the night. We here lay down to have rest. Morning came, but no orders to march. Another and another morning came, and no order; the boys began to think that we had reached our destination; but on the morning of the 15th, the assembly beat, and the whole division moved toward Chain-Bridge again.  When we got about two miles form the bridge, we were ordered to halt, and night came on, and, as it is our luck, rain came with it. We got orders to do the best we could for that night, as it was about the last night that we would be out from under cover, for we were going on gunboats. This cheered the boys up a little. There was a great demand for sleep, but rain spoiled the sales, as it seemed to have it all its own way. The rain came down heavy all night steady, as if it was designed to do us harm. The fires would not burn, and it seemed that daylight would never appear. About 7 a. m., on the 16th, the sun made its appearance, and everything appeared was bright again. About 9 o’clock, we got orders to form a line of march, and orders came that we were going back to our old camp at Tennallytown, and it cast a gloom over the whole regiment. As we have had so many orders to march, and, when we were ready, they would be again countermanded, the boys give up all hopes of ever leaving Tennallytown.

We are at present under marching orders, with three days’ rations, uncooked and packed, and three days’ cooked, to be kept in haversacks. If we ever leave, it will be the best thing that ever happened. Nothing would please the boys more than to enter the field of action; and if they ever do, with Colonel Riker and Major Dayton (better known as little Put) at their head, you may rest assured that they will leave their mark.

Yours,           M. C., Fifth Ward 

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 30, 1862 

J Tierney’s note: The writer who identifies himself only as “M. C., Fifth Ward,” (one assumes he was a resident of New York City’s Fifth Ward which adjoined the notorious Sixth and was bounded roughly by the Hudson River to the East, Reade Street to the South, Broadway to the East and Canal Street to the North) gives a slightly irreverent but detailed account of the Advance on Manassas by Keyes’ division between March 10 and 16, 1862. Checking against accounts of the same movement in both De Trobriand’s Four Years with the Army of the Potomac and Penrose Mark’s history of the 93rd Pennsylvania, Red: White: and Blue Badge, shows that this appears to be a very accurate description of the Advance on Manassas. In so far as the chronology is concerned it is actually more accurate than Mark’s version of the event which contains clear calendar errors.

A similar account by Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of the division’s Advance on Manassas had appeared in the Sunday Mercury a week prior but it did not contain the level of detail which this letter does.

Identifying the writer is a little difficult as there were two men in the regiment at the time this letter was written with the initials “M. C”.

One candidate for authorship is Michael Carroll who enlisted as a private into company “C” on June 1, 1861 in New York City at the age of 40. His service in the regiment seems to have been uneventful, mustering out at Petersburg, VA. on June 29, 1864.

The other is Martin Coughlan who enlisted as a private into company “A” on May 3, 1861 in New York City at the age of 22. He was promoted to corporal on December 1, 1861 but was reduced to private at some stage for reasons unknown. He was transferred to Captain David J. Nevin’s company “D” on the regiment’ s mustering-in day, July 3, 1861, meaning that he saw no actual front line service in company “A”. Coughlan deserted on October 21, 1862 at Hancock Station, VA.

It is interesting that the writer has such a high opinion of both the Colonel and the Major but fails to mention the Lieut. Colonel who, at this time, happened to be Nevin who had been promoted from the Captaincy of company “D” in October of the previous year. This oversight could be used to support an argument that the writer might have more likely been the mature Michael Carroll of company “A” than the youthful Martin Coughlan of company “D”.

One of the most interesting incidences related in this letter is the description of the near mutiny in the regiment when it was discovered that Colonel John L. Riker would be unable to lead the regiment on its march to Prospect Hill. While the writer says the reason for Riker being unable to lead his men was explained by the Major, he does not elaborate on this for the readers of the newspaper. However, we now know that at this time Riker was under arrest and facing a court-martial on several embarrassing charges including neglect of duty, creating a false muster, attempting to sell a commission, receiving illegal rebates from a sutler and keeping a woman in his quarters. Riker was found not guilty of the charges and while he did not join the regiment at Prospect Hill his was able to lead it to the Peninsula. A 140 page transcript of the case against Riker may be found in file II 813, in the Court-martial Case File, Records of the Judge Advocate General’s Office (Army) entry 15, Court-martial Case File in the National Archives Record Group 153.


Captain George H. Moeser, Co. F.


unioneagleLike many of the 62nd, George Moeser’s parents were born overseas and immigrated to the United States. Arriving from Bavaria, Germany, possibly on the ship Baltimore, in the 1830’s, Captain Moeser’s parents George (b. 1805) and Charlotte (b. 1814) settled in New York City and began their life in their adopted country as a tailor and housewife.  No record could be found of any additional children or relatives crossing with them.  George H. Moeser was born in New York City in 1837 and in 1860 married Lena (Helena) Moeser in Manhattan, New York and together they will have three children, George (b. 1862), Elizabeth (b. 1864) and John (b. 1866).

After the firing on Fort Sumter, George H. enlisted with the 62nd on April 27, 1861 in New York City and was mustered into Company F on July 3, 1861 at the age of 24. He was commissioned a Captain on October 23, 1861.  Captain Moeser fought in the various operations of the Peninsular Campaign and joined the rest of the 62nd in the assault on Fredericksburg, Virginia.  It was here that the Captain was wounded by a gunshot to the left side of his head and right leg.  He was remove from the battlefield and sent to a military hospital near Alexandria, Virginia.

No matter what war or during what time period, military and civilian bureaucracy will muddy the waters and confuse the facts.  While recovering from his wounds in Alexandria, Captain Moeser was reported absent without leave and was dishonourably dismissed from the service under Special Order #53.  Later, after clarification of the confusion surrounding his whereabouts was researched and verified, his rank and privileges were returned to him. He was then honourably discharged from the service.

After The Great Rebellion, George, like hundreds of thousands of soldiers from both sides, returned to their homes and tried to re-establish their lives.  George returned to New York City and established a home for his family on 194thStreet, East Village and opened a grocery, and he would continue to operate a grocery until about 1900.  The Federal Census of 1900 showed that their son, John, had been unemployed as a house painter for about three months and was now living with them. At this time the family was living in Manhattan.

On January 24, 1905, George successfully applied for a pension for his services in the War, but no mention was made of the amount.  On August 6, 1913 Captain George H. Moeser died at home, with Lena following on November 25, 1916.  Both were buried at Saint John’s Catholic Cemetery in Queens, New York.

By Joe Basso

Article originally appeared in ZOUAVE!


See also: http://andersonszouaves.tripod.com/id366.html

McClellan’s Wild Indians (March 22, 1862)

unioneagleCamp Tennalby.

Washington. DC. Mar 22d 1862

Dear Cousin Hen.

I received your most welcom letter of the 18th and was very glad to hear that you with the rest of my friends are all around as yet. I should think that it fetches some of the folks around on the Island now that the oldest inhabatance is leaving for parts unknown, or over Jordan as some calls it, but if they was not here they would get ust to it. As soon as enny of our friends Dies out here the Sergant of the Company they ust to belong to Sends Three men to dig a grave in the nearest Churchyard and they then they put the corpses in a coffin, 8 men puts him on thare shoulders, as many more follows with reverse arms. . . a fifer and drummers makes up the Persesion, puts him in the hole, fires 3 rounds over the heap of dust, then leaves him alone to his Reflections. Hen, we left Camp Tennalby on the 10th and marched over in Virginia about 20 miles to Manases in the Rain and Mud. . . to get a pop at the Cowardly. . . but as soon as they heard that we was in Virginia they left dam quick, only leaving behind them some old wagons and 20 wooden cannons painted black. After staying in Manases about 5 hours we marched back to Prospect hill about 4 miles and halted for 3 days and nights. While on Prospect hill I thought I had a dam good prospect to starve to death and drown, for it rained . . . for 2 days and one night and us poor Beggars was in it without any Shelter. Then we started to join the Burnside Expedition but when we reached long bridge thare was no Conveyances to take us to Richmond, Virginia, whare they was then. So we camped in the field until Sunday the 16th when we marched back to Tennalby whare we have been ever since. Now we are under Marching orders with 5 days rations ahead, reddy to leave at any moment. I am now in the Commorsaryes department as I was tired of doing nothing. The only thing I ust to do was to cary the Colors out on a Battalion drill or a Brigade drill or Inspection. So perhaps I would not go out for a week to a time as there is only Companies drills now once a day witch the Flag does not appear on the grounds. I am pretty well ingaged now, all my time giving out Rations for the Cook w cook for the men and drawing 5 days Rations to a time from the Quarter Masters. All I do is oversee it, and I have got a very nice little fellow with me that does all the work. So all I do is to keep account of what comes in and what is giving out. Big thing in dress parade last night. The Adjutant of the Regt read in the Orders that Gen. McClellan was going w send us on a march to settle this Rebelion as we are tired fooling with them, but he has kept the army of the Potomack for to wind up this dam mess with and if he gives us orders we will do it dam quick. The biggest part of the Division has imbarked all redy, and as soon as they get out of the way we are going to follow suit. So in two or three weeks. . . you will hear that the Andersons Zouaves or McClellans wild Indians as he calls us have give the. . .all the fight they wanted. . .

Letter of Abraham T. Perine to his cousin Henry

See: “In love and friendship, by Marjorie Kerr”. Staten Island Historian XVI (1955) 28-30.


How to Become a Zouave (March 23, 1862)


Sgt. Robert F. Beasley

[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]


PROSPECT HILL, VA., March 16th.

On the March–Clear Weather and Cedar Huts–Rain–Off Again in Another Direction–Camp Misery and its Pleasures–How to Become a Zouave.

 On the 10th, at 10 o’clock, the regiment marched from Camp Tennally to reinforce General McCall, at Manassas. Before we got there we got orders to halt. The weather cleared, and the boys made cedar huts, and we stayed there until Friday, and then we marched back to Camp Misery ; and we halted again, and we got orders to prepare for the night. The hills were soon illuminated with camp-fires, and it began to get cloudy. On Saturday, at 1 o’clock. P. M., it began to rain in torrents : and there we were, without anything to keep us dry, for we had to leave our tents at Camp Tennally when we marched. To-day (the 16th) at ten o’clock we were formed into line of battle, and we marched back to Camp Tennally, where we got orders to be in readiness to march to-morrow, the 17th. It is said we will go to re-inforce the Burnside expedition. I hope we will have better weather than we had in Camp Misery. We had to stand up all night.

If you want to be a Zouave you must not eat for three weeks, and must not drink for two weeks, and must not sleep for one week, and then you will be a Zouave.

Yours, C. F. B.

P.S.–There are two more members of Hose 43 that I did not mention before : Norman Provost, Sixth Connecticut Regiment, and William V. Malloy, Ninth Regiment, N. Y. S. M.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 23, 1862.

Note: Despite being signed “C. F. B.” it is clear from its content that this letter was actually written by “R. F. B., Co. A.” (which is assumed to be Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of Co. A)  – John Tierney


For biographical information on Sgt. R.F.Beasley see:


Private Timothy Kelly, Co. K.

unioneagleTimothy Kelly was a soldier in Co. K of the 62d NYSV, who held the rank of Private. He was wounded at Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862), Fredericksburg (December 11-15 , 1862) and at Chancellorsville (May 5, 1863). One of these wounds is recorded as a slight face wound. Not much more is known about Timothy Kelly.

An existent Provost Marshal’s Office document relating to Timothy Kelly reads;

“Provost Marshal’s Office,

Sixteenth Congressional District,


Plattsburgh, N.Y. July 20 1863.

To Cham Trans Co.

Please furnish transportation from Plattsburgh to New York City for Timothy Kelly (Private Co. K 62d N. Y. Vol)

George Clendon Jr

Pro. Marshal”


The Anderson Zou-zous (March 16, 1862)

sunday_mercury_title_1865[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]



Anderson Zouaves All Ready–Wild with Joy for a Trip to Dixie–The Name of the hero of Sumter not Forgotten–Another New Soldier Paper. 

It was my intention to have kept you posted in all matters of importance regarding the Anderson Zouaves, but we have been kept in a continual state of excitement for the past two weeks, owing to orders having been received to prepare ourselves for an instant march ;  and, although we as yet remain here, still we are packed up, and ready to start at an hour’s notice.

Our men are perfectly wild with joy to think that we should have the good luck to see some actual service in the field, for we have lain so long here that we were under the opinion that we were to be kept in charge of the chain of forts at this place to protect the Capital of our beloved country. Although it is one of the most particular points around Washington (as it was by this way the rebels intended to attack the Capital), still we could gain a name which would strike terror to the hearts of the Southern foe. With such leaders as Col. J. Lafayette Riker and Major Oscar V. Dayton (who, by the way, is called by the boys “Little Put”), we cannot fail in making our mark. All we want is a chance to meet the enemy, and we will show them that the name we bear has not been forgot, and the attack upon Fort Sumter has yet to be avenged by the Anderson Zou-Zous.

We have just issued the first number of the Anderson Zouave, and I send you by post several copies, to show you what your brother-typos are about in the army. Of course, you must excuse this our first attempt in the newspaper line ; and it is our intention hereafter to make this as useful an organ of its kind as possibly can be, and an instructor for officer and soldier alike.

But I must close this, hoping the next time I write I will be able to furnish the readers of you valuable paper an account of how the Anderson Zouaves behave on the field of battle.

J.L. S.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 16, 1862.  

(Note: This letter was most likely written by James L. Shields, the Sergeant Major of the regiment at the time, however, it is also possible it could have been written by James L. Silvey, a 19 year old private in Capt. Edwin P. Davis’ Co. D  – John Tierney)


Washington’s Birthday (March 9, 1862)


Sgt. Robert F. Beasley

[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]


CAMP TENNALLY, D. C., Feb. 25.

How the Anderson Zouaves Celebrated the Twenty-second – A Big Blow – Taking the Tents Down – More Firemen Volunteers. 

I take this opportunity of letting you know how we kept Washington’s birthday in our camp. The day being, at two o’clock the regiment was called together, and the Rev. Mr Harvey made a short prayer, and then read Washington’s “Farewell Address,” to which the men listenned very attentively. Col. Riker then made a speech on the present war, which was very much liked by the men. After the speech was finished, the regiment was dismissed, and the boys g(a)ve three cheers for the colonel and major, and went to their quarters.

Yesterday–the 24th–the wind began to blow, and it blowed so hard, that we had to take down all of our tents to keep them from blowing away. It was … fun to see the men running in all directions to get out of the wind. But to-day it is very fine.

R.F. B., Co. A.

P.S. – I saw in your last week’s paper that you would like to know the members of hose Co. No. 43 that have enlisted for the war. I will let you know who they are: Charles W. Sheffield and George W. Falkner, Anderson Zouaves ; and William Thompson and John Thomson, Baker’s California Regiment. I don’t know of any more.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 9, 1862 

(Note: The letter is signed “R. F. B., Co. A.” which, assuming that the roster of the Anderson Zouaves is complete and correct, could only be the initials of Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of Co. A. – John Tierney).


For biographical information on Sgt. R.F. Beasley see: