1864: Lewis Higby to Family

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Pvt. Elias Warner wears the uniform of the 3rd New York Cavalry in this tintype

This letter was written by Lewis Higby (1841-1864) of the 3rd New York Cavalry. Lewis enlisted in August 1861 at Utica to serve three years in Co. G, 3rd New York Cavalry. He reelisted on 16 December 1863 and this letter was written not long after he returned from a Veteran’s furlough. He died of consumption (tuberculosis) at Watson, New York in 29 September 1864.

According to his enlistment record, Lewis was born in New York City. He worked as a mechanic before the war and he was described as standing 5 feet 7.5 inches tall, with grey eyes and brown hair at the time of his enlistment. His parents were William R. Higby (1809-1890) and Frances (“Fanny”) M. Dean (1813-1887) of Watson, Lewis county, New York.

See Also—1864: Harrison Henry Barnard to Family on Spared & Shared 13.


Camp Peck, New Bern, North Carolina
Monday, March 7, 1864

Dear Brother and Sister,

Having time, I send you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this will find you the same.

We are camped some 9 miles from New Bern about 2 miles from Rocky Run where we used to camp when we left here for Virginia last fall. There is reported to be a large force laying some 8 miles from here. We don’t expect to be attacked before the 14th. I got here the 2nd of this month. We have been in our saddles night and day most of the time since. We returned yesterday. A squad of some 15 of us went out and thought we would go till we see some of them. About 6 miles this side of Trenton we run into about 90 rebs in ambush. They fired a volley into us but only hit one horse and one man very slightly in the shoulder. We fired our revolvers into them but we had to lean so damn quick I don’t know whether we hit any of them or not. I suppose we will have a fight before you hear from me again. I hope so for we shall all die certain if we don’t. It is so lonesome since we got back and we don’t get nothing to drink stronger than coffee.

Tell Sam that the 12th Cavalry keep right on shooting one another as usual. The weather is warm and nice. Goodbye for this time and write all the news when you write.

From your affectionate brother, — Louis Higby

Direct to Third Cav., Co. G, New Bern, N. C.


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