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:


Dare-devil Dick (February 27, 1862)


Capt. Silas Titus

…We have been out to Camp Tenallytown, where Brig.-Gen. Peck’s Brigade is stationed, and we must say that the happiness of our excursion culminated at his headquarters. We found the General well, and everything in order of battle, ready to enter the “deadly breach,” and destruction betides the foe that meets him. It is known that the General is very thorough in his command, and thorough generally; but as be is ever gentlemanly and generous to old and young, great and small, soldier and civilian, his brigade do not fail to recognize and appreciate him, and acknowledge his true-heartedness as a friend, his ability as a strategist, and his integrity as politician, statesman and soldier. His staff, Maj. Spencer, Surgeon; Capt. Morris, A. A. General; Capt. Silas Titus, A. D. C. and Quartermaster: Capt. Green, Commissary; Lieut. Charles Sterling, A. A. D. C, and Lieut. D. Lodor, A. A. D. C , are all agreeable and unanimous in the great work before them, and for courtesy, energy, bravery, and all the requisites for a belligerent or beatific life, as the case may arise, they need no advisers or reviewers. We had the pleasure of riding through the brigade with a portion of the staff, Capt. Titus leading off, which was a treat few outsiders ever get in this “vale of tears,” or any other vale. We were greatly amazed at the order, style and discipline of the different regiments, and especially the “Anderson Zouaves,” Col. Riker, and should “consolidate” with that regiment soon if long in its vicinity. The whole brigade call Capt. Titus “Dare-devil Dick,” which needs no interpretation. I would only advise those who follow him up steep banks to never mind the bridle, but put both arms around the horse’s neck, and they-will manage to keep up and come out as well as we did.

The “Pennsylvania Thirteenth,” a nice little sheet published in camp, contains the following:

“Capt. Silas Titus, our worthy Brigade Quartermaster, was made the happy recipient of two handsome Presents, one of which was a beautiful meerschaum pipe and box of fragrant Turkish tobacco, the present of a well-known citizen of Pittsburg, Mr. V. H Garrard. The other, a beautiful and highly decorated bridle and breast strap, a present from the Quartermaster of the Thirteenth Regiment, Lieut. A. C. Day. May the worthy Captain long live to enjoy the rich fumes of the tobacco from out of his meerschaum bowl, and rein his noble horse with his beautiful bridle.”

Long live the Captain!

– The Subsciber

Syracuse Daily Courier & Union, No. 7, Thursday, February 27, 1862.


Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silas_Titus

Original extract courtesy of John Tierney


Son of the Emerald Isle (February 2, 1862)


[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]



Jan. 28th, 1862.

To the Editors of the Sunday Mercury:

In our regiment there is a son of the Emerald Isle, who, by his original and peculiar manners, affords us much amusement.

One dark night, daring the present wet and muddy season, Finnigan was on guard, and had been pacing up and down on his post for two hours, and nary a drop of whiskey in his canteen.

At last, the relief-guard came round, much to Finnigan’s relief. Finnigan, like a true soldier, brought them to a halt, and challenged, as usual, in his peculiar style.

Upon ascertaining it to be the relief, he cried out, “Yees are wilcom, gentlemen, if iver mortal man was wilcom!”

And, amid the laughter of the guard, he fell into his place in the rear.



Letter to the Sunday Mercury, February 2, 1862

(Editorial Note: The initials A. V. M. would seem to suggest that the writer of this letter was Albert V. Meeks the Captain of Co. G – John Tierney)



Private Ludwig Diedrich (Louis Dietrich). Co. F & Co. H.


Dorf Kapelle (Village Church) in Ludwig Diedrich’s birthplace, Gierswald, Germany.

Ludwig Diedrich was born on 11th April 1808 in Gierswald, Hanover, Germany and died in May 1864 in Spotsylvania, Virginia.

Another name for Ludwig Diedrich was Louis and he is entered on the General Index Cards as Louis Dietrich. He enlisted at New York on the 30th June 1861 (at age, 53) as a Private in Company F (as per a letter from Department of Defence, Veteran’s Administration).

Ludwig died in a field hospital in Spotsylvania, Virginia from wounds received in the Battle of the Wilderness.

Ludwig married Charlotte Ilsen on 6th April 1854 in Valprechausen Parish, Germany. Charlotte Ilsen was born on 8th April 1823 in Albertshausen, Hanover, Germany.

Ludwig also served in Company H. Ludwig served as a Private throughout his service.

He was survived by three children: Henry Diedrich, born on 16 Apr 1859 in New York City, who died on 21 Jun 1933 and was buried in Brooklyn New York. Theodore Diedrich was born on 24 Apr 1861. Another name for Theodore was John. Ludwig “Louis” Diedrich was born on 15 Dec 1863, his occupation in 1920 was as a carpenter in the housing industry in Brooklyn, New York.


Men Make Hogs of Themselves (January 16, 1862)

unioneagleCamp Tennallytown near Washington D. C Jan 16th 1862.

 Dear Ma & Pa

With pleasure to me I take my pen in hand in answer to your kind and allways welcome leter dated on the 11th when I assure you it gave me pleasure to learn though your letter that you all were in the enjoyment of good health as thanks to an all wise providence this leaves me at present. You state that you are pleased to hear that  I am comfortable situated this cold weather. Dear Ma as for cold weather I hardley no what it is for thear has been no cold weather as yet out where I am oneley Two or Three days and as we are comfortable situated we having good Tents and Stoves in them we hardly know what cold weather is. Dear Ma I ave got nothing new to tell you of  oneley I expect to be home in a little wile providing thear is no advance in the Armey around the City of Washington but if thear is an advance before I receive a Furlough I hope an all wise providence will gide me in doing my deauty to my ingeered Country which God knows I love as I do my Parrance and if I am to lose my life in the defence of my Country I am satisfied for I believe a man can not dye in a better or a holyear cause

Give my love to Thomas please tell him I received his letter which I will answer as soon as I can tell him I have answered all his letters but the last one which was Three I directed them as he told me to and it is verry strance if he did not get them I receive the News Papers most every day so I can read what is going on  around me I do not think thear will be an advance in some time of the Armey under General McClellan but when thear is one rest assured nothing will stop him from carreing his planes in excecution. We will be payed off in a verry short time then for a Jolly day amunkes the Boys of our Regiment. As for me I hardly care wether some of the Men in our Regiment gets eney money or not I will tell you the reason of this ensted of sending thear money home to thear folkes they spend it for Rum which tell Pa I never tutch in no way shape or manner it panes me to see men make hogs of themselves by getting drunk and God nowes I have seen anuff of it since I have been in the armey We spent a verry nice New Years in Camp every thing passing off will with out eny acsident the Day was one of the Beauterfulles I ever witnessed. You say it panes you to see so much Difference in the opinion of People in regards to this Rebellion You say they all most all in faver of the South in the place where you live.

Dear Ma I do not beleave thear is a man living in this once prosperous Country can make me believe the Southern People did wright in Firing on and allmost starved handfull of men in Charlston Harber and thear trayling the Emblem of Liberty  in the dust which has gave Succer to men from every clime allmost on the face of Gods earth and thear is no argument strong enuf in my estirmation can be brought in thear faver hut will brand that act as unyemor cruel and cowardly tis true thear is men will argue that the South has been imposed  upon by Men of John Brown strip but was not he condened by most every man in the Northern States but Ma I hope  they that are erposing Abreham Lincoln adminestration will have the vale pooled off of thear eyes for I can not see eny thing rong with him as a ruler for I beleave him to be one of the Best men the Country can produce you must excuse the blotes n this paper for I have no good place to right

hoping this will do for an answer to your letter and hoping it will find you in the Enjoyment of good health as it leaves me I will close by sending my best whishes and regard to all of you.

Yet I remain your Son

Wm P Allcot

P.S. I thank you for the Two sheats of Paper that you sent me

Write soon

Direct as before to me

So Goodnight

 William P. Allcot Papers, 1861-1864. Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary


Oh! How I Wish Drunkeness Might Be Abolished (January 14, 1862)

acwoodscoeNational Battery

Chain Bridge

Jan 14th, 1862

My Dearest Aunt,

I am in receipt of your most valued letter dated the 4th which was duly received with great pleasure by me and which I will now try to answer. In the first place, I must thank you for your kind wishes and in return wish you a very happy New Year hoping you may blessed with good health as in former days and that we may all live to see our country once more prospering in Peace and in harmony. Truly it would be a season of rejoicing and praise if this could be brought about by the wisdom of our rulers without Bloodshed and the Slaughter of so many, many precious lives.

I was very much pleased to hear that you were all enjoying good health. I had heard of Lieut. Benidict’s death and I think it a mournful accident. Truly his Wife and friends must feel very sad and I should think he would be missed from town very much.

Oh! how I wish that drunkeness might be abolished (in the Army especially) as it causes so much trouble. I never could relize before the awful effects that the use of Ardent Spirits can produce. I am a Non Commissioned Officer now (a Corporal) and I believe my sobriety was all that ever gained me this promotion. Why there is scarcly a day when it comes my turn to be Corporal of the Guard but I have to confine some one (through the Captain’s orders) from being intoxicated or disobeying orders.

We are all well here with the exception of slight colds and there is hardly a man in the Company but what is able to do duty for which I feel very thankful for. lf any one is sick here they get very poor care and attention. How I wish I might be in Crown Point to go to School this winter but this cannot be and I will try and content myself with doing my duty thinking of home occassionally. I will try and write to Aunt Lucy tomorrow. I have neglected her which I should not have done.

Give my love to Thomas Raine, tell him I should like to hear a few words him.

Excuse Hurried writing and all mistakes. I have received several letters from Cousin Samuel. He is still at Norwich at work with his intentions to remain untill this war is over and l am ready to go west with him. And now, Dear Aunt, I must close for this time. Give my love to all remembering, much love and many kisses to the little Grand Son.

In Haste your Affectionate Nephew,

Alfred C Woods

Address as usual

I have just heard we attack the foe tomorrow