These letters were written by Asst. Surgeon Augustus Robert Nebinger (1834-1884), the son of Dr. Robert Nebinger (1796-1867) and Elizabeth Powell (1799-1864) of York county, Pennsylvania. Augustus attended the Jefferson Medical College and began his practice in 1860 in York county. He first served as an assistant surgeon with the 158th Pennsylvania (Drafter Militia)—a nine month’s regiment that was posted much of the time at Newbern, North Carolina. He later served as the assistant surgeon with the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry. His brother William Powell Nebringer served as an Assistant Surgeon with the 56th Pennsylvania. [Note: For some unknown reason, Nebinger signed his letters, “Rox” which must have been a nickname.]
In the first letter, Augustus writes his Father of the failed “Foster Expedition” and then provides his brother William with the day’s list and treatment of sick soldiers in the 158th Pennsylvania. From the list, we learn that Asst. Surgeon had to treat sixty-six soldiers that morning before he even had the opportunity to eat his breakfast.
In the second letter from New Bern, North Carolina, Augustus tells his father he is ready to leave for Washington D. C. to rejoin the regiment.
In the third (partial) letter, Augustus writes his father from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, following the Battle of Gettysburg, where he was treating the wounded at the “School House Hospital”—a large brick building adjoining the old jail on King Street. In the letter, he expresses concern for his younger brother, Sgt. Robert H. C. Nebinger (1840-1907) who was a member of Co. F, 56th Pennsylvania. The 56th was the second Union infantry regiment on the field on July 1st and the first to open fire, taking on the Confederates of Davis’ Brigade. A twenty minute firefight caused the Pennsylvanians heavy casualties before the regiment was withdrawn to the woods along Oak Ridge, the extension of Seminary Ridge north of the Railroad Cut.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Camp near New Bern [North Carolina]
February 24, 1863
My dear Father,
Your No. 7 (dated 12th) with sister’s No. 6 (dated 11th) [are] received—yours yesterday and hers on Friday last.
I was sorry to learn that you were having another visit of your old complaint–colic, but as you say nothing about it in yours I suppose you are again well. I hope Mother will speedily recover from her second attack of cold.
I am glad to learn that Bob is better satisfied than he seemed to be from you writing some time past. I hope Fighting Joe [Hooker] will soon speak to the South in an unmistakable manner showing them that there is yet a U. S. that will crush rebellion.
Yes, I had reference to the Foster Expedition which was so badly managed. We learn that on arriving in Hunter’s domain, he claimed the expedition but Foster also claimed the honor of commanding so they done nothing but let the fleet lay at Hilton Head while Foster went to Washington. I have heard that there were some 70,000 men in the expedition. Will our generals never cease interfering to defeat each other? Had either of them been what they profess to be—Patriots—we would have heard good news from that expedition some time ago.
The sash cost about what I thought you would pay. I have not received it yet but expect it soon as the Express Boat is now due. I wrote to you & sister last week and thought of writing to [brother] Will but did not. Will soon.
There, I have answered all there is to answer in sister’s letter for you, and not for yours after thanking you again for the favor you have done me since I hired to “Uncle Sam.” Oh! shirts all right—only a little long in the sleeves.
Strange as it may appear to you at home, it is very seldom that two of you write the same thing. I mean that I do not get the same news twice and therefore your fears of repetition have so far [at] least been without foundation. Even was it your fear would not the pleasure of receiving a letter from any of you prove an antidote to all indifference there might be in reading the same thing over.
well now, after thinking a long time, I must say I can’t tell you what I would like to know, any more than I can tell what I would not like to know. So I shall just ask asll to write what comes uppermost & if I want specially to know anything, I will ask. Of course I would like to know of all the family in all your letters. Now questions concerning John Chap, Geo. & all their families are crowding but you know what I wish to learn of them without my particularizing.
I am waiting patiently to hear from Bob W. & Gust. I am afraid the organization of counter societies is calculated to weaken instead of strengthen the government. I think that is usually the effect of such moves. Success to the New Order of Patriots. Willi s always either one thing or the other—never halfway—and of course if he smokes, he will smoke, smoke, smoke.
The Great 22nd has passed & thought it rained very hard all day, we had a Grand Review of Spinolas & some other Brigade by General Prince. After the review, of course supper & champaign, whiskey, &c. followed for the officers from Lt. Cols. up—and I must say their conduct in New Bern was a disgrace to our arms. Making speeches & running their horses through the streets. Not being in the crowd, I have the above [account] from some of the participants.
Oh! please give Jontie McGrew my very best regards for the present of “The Soldier.” We are still in status quo and of course nothing new to write. Burnsides is said to be coming to take charge of us in North Carolina. I am well & weight 168 to 170 lbs. Bully!
Your affectionate son, — A. R. Nebinger, Asst. Surgeon
I send you this as a sample of our days work which we do before breakfast commencing about 5½ A. M. This is one of mine as you will easily perceive by the writing. “H.” means in hospital. “L. D.” means Light Duty & Ex. [means] Sick in Quarters and excused from all duty. Ain’t it nice work on an empty stomach?
In your letter you make a request at the close and by jingle I cannot make it out. If you recollect, let me know what it was. As I write at least once a week, I think I should receive say twice. Your brother, — Rox
February 24, 1863
Pvt. Jno. Cling, Rx, Cough syrup, LD.
Pvt. W[illiam] O. Rhoads, Rx. Quinio, Ex.
Pvt. Jonathan Stover, Rx. Quinio & Syrup, L.D.
Corp. Samuel Bishop, Rx. Quinio, L.D.
Pvt. J[eremie] H. Morrett, Rx. Gargle, L.D.
Pvt. John [W.] Griffith, Rx. L.D.
Sergt. Fred Goodyear, Rx. Mass Hydg. [?] Pill Purgative, L.D.
Sergt. William C. Leady, Dress wound, Ex.
Corp. Alex. [W.] Gaston, Dress wound, Ex.
Pvt. Christian Leidig, Dress wound, Ex.
Pvt. James A. McKee, Rx. Mass Hydg. gr XV. Pill L.D.
Pvt. Samuel Upperman, Rx. Cough syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George Gordon, Rx. Cough syrup, L.D.
Sergt. Samuel D. Zeigler, Rx, continued Ex.
Pvt. Henry Smith, Rx continued, Ex.
Pvt. Samuel Berry, Rx., Poultice, Ex.
Corp. Andrew J. Rutz, Rx. Quinio & Ferri, L.D.
Pvt. J. J. Reed, Rx. Cath. syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George Riddle, Rx. Syrup, Quinio, L.D.
Corp. Jacob Fry, Rx. Quinio & armacid q.s. Agna ?, L.D.
Corp. Henry Posser, Rx.
Pvt. Oliver Elliott, Rx. Sinafism syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George T. Stains, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Abner Shatzer, Rx. Cup & Pulv Dor., L. D.
Pvt. Fred Burket, H.
Pvt. Henry Bittner, H. Stimulants & Tonic
Pvt. Jerry Bear, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Charles Hoffman, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Samuel Tucker, Rx. Tonic [?] Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George Little, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Daniel Henry, Rx. Mass Hydr, [?] L.D.
Corp. David Wingart, Rx. Syrup P. [?] L.D.
Corp. Jacob Horsch, Rx, Quinio. L.D.
Sergt. James R. McCurdy, Rx. Syrip, Ex.
Lt. Parrick G. McCoy, Rx. Quinio, Ex.
Corp. George Yocum, Rx. Syrup, gargle, L.D.
Pvt. Andrew Fiches, Rx., Syrup, Quinio, L. D.
Pvt. Daniel Keller, Rx., Cathartic, L.D.
Pvt. Eli Ford, Rx, Diarrhea, Pill (SEB) Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Samuel Mixell, Rx., Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George Sudsbury, Rx. Sinofism syrup. L.D.
Pvt. David Wagner, Hosp. Tonic, L.D.
Pvt. James Dishong, Rx. Cathartic, L.D.
Pvt. John Stull, Rx., Syrup. Gargle. L.D.
Pvt. Fred Hauff [Hoff], Rx. Continue, L.D.
Pvt. John Hullinger, Rx. Pill (SEB), L.D. [Died at Philadelphia, 3 July 1863]
Pvt. James Baker, H
Pvt. Adam Vallance, H
Corp. Jacob Chisholm, Rx. gargle, L.D.
Pvt. Peter Ensley, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. George Trott, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. John Irvin, Rx. Quinio, P[?] at night, L.D.
Pvt. Abner Wink, Rx. [?] Sulf., L.D.
Pvt. George Mellott, Rx. Syrup, L.D.
Pvt. Jacob Saltkeld, Rx. Sinofism syrup, L.D.
Sergt. Joseph Martin. Rx. Cathartic Quinio, L.D.
Pvt. John Wilt, Rx. Quinio, Duty
Pvt. David Ashwell, Rx., Cathartic, Duty
Pvt. Amos Detrich, Rx. Quinio, L.D.
Pvt. Jacob Glenn, Rx. Cough mixt., L.D.
Pvt. Abram Seacrest, Rx, Mass Hydg & Oil, L.D.
Pvt. Samuel Henry, H. Tonic [discharged on surgeon’s certificate 20 March 1863]
Sergt. Wm. Martin, Rx. Cath to Quinio, L.D.
Pvt. G. W. Sailhammer [Seiihamer], Rx. Quinio
Pvt. Peter Clark, Rx, Dress wound. Ex.
Pvt. Henry C. Clevenger, Rx, Collyrium [eye drops], L. D.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
New Berne [North Carolina
May 31, 1863
My Dear Father,
I have not much to write and very short time to write in the morning as I leave for Washington D. C. to join the regiment. [I am] well as usual and glad to get back to the regiment. We have had no skirmishing since my last.
I hope U. S. Grant will succeed in takin Vicksburg. Have any of the 130th got home & how do they look, &c.?
I write on one of our cards because my paper is in trunk. I have received 2 letters from home in two weeks, both from you. I shall write you from Washington as soon as I have seen the place.
Love to all from your affectionate son, A. Rox Nebinger
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
…I have heard nothing of Bro. Bob but hope he is among the 150 effective men in the 56th [Pennsylvania] Regiment. We have 4 or 5 of the 56th in our hospital but none of them knew anything of him. Tomorrow if I have time, I will visit the other hospitals (2 in Va.) and make further inquiry. We have one of Jenkin’s men in our hospital who say Stobe was not in the action.
This is rather a nice old town of some 5,000 inhabitants with a good sprinkling of negroes. Too ark to see. I am anxious to hear how you are getting along. Love to all. Direct to School House Hospital, Chambersburg, Pa.
Yours affectionate son, — Rox
Morn, I wrote to George to speak to Gen. Geary. I withdraw the request as then made. If I am thrown out when these hospitals are discontinued, I will then want influence to get some other hospital. — Rox