(Company C, Cole’s
Captain John C. Horner
These are letters written by the
Horner family during the Civil War. Captain John C. Horner was the
father of Lt. John Ross Horner who was a member of the 20th
New York Militia. Sarah was the mother of John Ross Horner. Annie
was his sister. With thoughts on family and friends they indeed
give the reader a glimpse of the view of the Civil War.
Apparently, Sarah stayed at Two Taverns located just east of
Gettysburg even though the family farm was located to the south
nearer to Emmitsburg. Lt John R. Horner was killed in Virginia.
Captain John C. Horner resigned in June of 1862 due to his old age
and also poor health conditions.
Camp Wadsworth, Uptons Hill, Virginia
Dec. 17th 1861
My Captain was down to Washington today. He returned a little
while ago and a short time after, I found a keg in our tent, and
being it was directed to the undersigned, I made no inquiries as
to where it came from, or how it came here, but went to work at
once without any ceremony to remove the head, which by the way
proved to be the bottom, and to search the contents, but instead
of finding everything "right side up with care", I found it all
upside down, or else I stood on my head, but I presume it was the
former. However, everything was all right, except the apple butter
got out a little on the cakes, but that is all right. Everything
is very nice. How good it will seem to have good butter and that
from home. We can get butter here but it is anything but good.
Delicacies are very nice, but something we do not indulge in very
much here. Pies and cakes are sold here by the Sutlers but they
are miserable things. That was a huge old apple. I have had my
teeth into it already. Thanks to the one that sent it. Tell
Witherow that they’re big Allison Hickory nuts are huge things and
are hard to take. I know the Henskle Burris with the food and
cakes what a slew of things and again let me thank mother for the
butter it will keep three of us going for some time. Captain, who
is one of my Franklin schoolmates, says he will remind his old
folks that they have a son in the army. Chickens are a scarcity
I wrote Ann Sunday evening that we were to march somewhere that
night at 11, but the order was slightly changed, and we didn't
stir out till 2 in the morning and marched at 4 with two other
regiments, but could not find out definitely where we were going
until I found out by being there and now I can tell you where we
were. We marched in quick time to within 3/4 of a mile of Fairfax
Courthouse, a distance of about 10 miles, and that too by sun
rises. The sun was just making his appearance as we drew up in the
middle of a wide field and stacked arms. There we were ordered to
remain and no man was allowed to go over 100 yards away. We were
allowed to build big fires of a pile of suits? close by. We had
driven in the Rebel pickets and were close to Fairfax, which up to
this time was occupied by them. They retreated and some of our
forces advanced and now hold possession of the town. At least so I
am told. But you would like to know what we were doing during this
time. It is enough to say that about 100 Army wagons, followed us
out here, and as corn fields were not scarce and abundance of good
hay had been preserved in Secesh barns, these wagons were soon
loaded, and we followed them back to camp where we arrived about 3
o'clock in the afternoon, having marched about 10 miles and back
since early morning. You may rest assured there were some tired
lads in camp by this time. We retired early. And about 10 at night
the next tent to us took fire from a little fireplace in it and in
a minute was all in flames and 5 men it all sound asleep. It was
discovered by the guard just in time to jerk it down and save the
men with a few scorched fingers.
Write soon. Tell Witherow to write & Charlie and all the rest.
Your Brother, Ross
My dear Son,
It is with sorrow I seat myself this morning to write you a few
lines. We received your letter which informed us you had listed in
the Army. I was very sorry to hear it. God alone knows what is
best for us. It is a great grief to me to think that three of our
family is in the Army and a fourth almost frantic to go. Witherow
can scarcely be put off. His father and I are opposed to him
going. He is young and not very stout and is yet in the morning of
youth, and character is yet not permanently formed would be more
easily led astray. I tried to prevail in your Father not to go to
War, but he appeared so determined on going, I did not say very
much. I told him I thought he was too far advanced in life and his
constitution too feeble for the undertaking.
I hope and trust your long an overruling providence will cause
this war to cease and our family be gathered home again is the
prayer of your Mother.
We have communion next Sabbath. I wish you were here to go with
us. Do try and come home this fall. I will enclose in this letter
2 dollars that Will left in my care for you. Write soon.
Farewell from your affectionate Mother,
Sarah J. Horner
Patterson, N.C. January 1st 1861
New Year's eve in North Carolina! Last year and year before in
N. York and time only can tell where I (yes, where we all) shall
be when another year shall have rolled over our heads. Time is an
irresistible current which flows on, and on continually. We may
sit down, or rest in idleness, but this mighty current of time
hastens on. We cannot stand still, but the earth in its circuit
about the sun has added one more to the number of our years.
What a little while since last New Years Day, but we are just
one year older but in a while 10 years have past, yet we are about
to look upon ten years in the future which is a long period of
time. We are young, but have unfortunately 10 years is upon us! We
could set our eyes on the dead past while the future is in a gloom
The little village of Patterson presents no particular
attractions, to me at least, except the situation which is a very
pretty one. The whole village factory and all belong to a company
and the inhabitants, all except this one family, are renters, and
rather poor, too. I haven't heard of such a thing as a singing
school, since I came to this part of the country. Lenoir is a dry
little country place about one quarter the size of Emmettsburg. I
was over there all last week. The schools there Male & Female
are having holiday (a week or two).
I'd received your letter in Lenoir Saturday before Christmas.
Poor chance here to get anything for a Christmas gift.
This country may be good for some things, but you don't find me
teaching school here five years from this time.
I was going to write you a long letter tonight and to mother,
too, but my light is going out and I must stop, but will soon
write to mother, but for the present, my respects to all of you,
P.S. I wish you would send a little cabbage seed the next time any
of you are writing. Cousin Louisa would like to get some from the
North. She thinks it will do better than her seed here. Now don't
Captain John Horner,
Dear Sir - Yours of Sept. 4th inst. just received and I take
this early opportunity to answer it.
I am glad to be able to inform you that his body (your son's)
has been properly buried and a mark placed over it. It is by a
culvert on the railroad where the battle raged hottest. John
Hammore, No. 446, 8th St, Washington can give you the exact
locality. He was a friend to our Regiment and went out with our
surgeon to the field, under a flag of truce, and helped to bury
him. The Rebels had stripped off his shoulder straps and shoes,
taken his watch, purse, sword and revolver.
We managed to cut off a lock of his hair and some buttons with
you can send it for him. I could not get to the field to recover
his body nor could I bring it away being there on a horse and with
too few ambulances to bring it away with our wounded. So they
wrapped him in a blanket and buried him like a true soldier he
was. I should have forwarded his baggage without your request
given it affections to my duty.
One of the recollections of a brotherly kind, schoolmates, and
members of the same fraternity there. I am not satisfied with
merely of what officially for me to do, but would mingle the tear
of sympathy with those of a cavalry family. Please consider me not
as a stranger but as a friend.
Am in vacancy of the years have bound me very close to your
son, otherwise I should not have taken the measures officially
conducting him with none as a Lieutenant.
He was loved by all the men and respected by all. Our Regiment
has been very badly cut up, only about 350 left, but I trust yet
that we may do our share in suppressing this formidable rebellion.
With great respect - Yours, N. N. Baldwin, Capt. Comp K. New York