1861 Letter by Private George Gassner, 10th Massachusetts - "I was called on to act as Body guard to Gen. Buell"


1861 Letter by Private George Gassner, 10th Massachusetts - "I was called on to act as Body guard to Gen. Buell"


Item No. 1599612

An interesting 1861 soldier letter written by George Gassner, a private in the 10th Massachusetts Infantry. He wrote about being on picket duty and acting as bodyguard for General Don Carlos Buell, who was then a division commander in the young Army of the Potomac—within months he would command the Department of the Ohio. He wrote of an upcoming movement as the commencement of “the Ball.” He also wrote about the popularity of prayer meetings among the men and the abundance of produce that was “available” nearby. The letter reads:

Sept 23 1861
Washington D.C.

Dear Sister
I received yours 3 days ago and now return to answer it. I should have answered it before but I was on Picket guard. When I came off I had to go on advance guard and when I got off of that I was called on to act as Body guard to Gen Buell. He is Gen of the division that we are in.

You can tell Chris that he had better come back Saturday as we have got to take the field the first of October and commence the Ball and if he is not here when it commences he will not get a Partner.

This will be short as I first tried. There is not much going on. Everything seems quite except the ones in awhile when we get news from the west where they are giving the Rebels fits.

In the Camp we have Prayer meetings 2 or 3 times a week and Religious services on Sunday. By going around in the woods on Sundays you might see a Soldier here and there reading his Bible. Soyou can see that we are not quite Heathens. I am surprised to see so much intellect among so many sought men as there is in this Regiment. I don’t think there is another Regt around here like it.

I suppose the folks in old Skip are all well. Tell Chris that I hope this crops will all [be] as good as those at home. The crops here are not going good except the melons which is very good indeed, and peaches and grapes in abundance, and you had better believe I go in for them tons. While I was off Picket awhile ago I went on to Postmaster Gen Blair’s place and picked about 1/2 bushel of grapes and they was sweet ones too. I have got to go to work and so I must close.

George Gassner

P.S. We have had an addition to our regiment of about 30 recruits, and it is comical to see them drill. We call them the “awkward squad,” and have lots of fun with them to see them walking around and don’t know what to do with themselves.

The letter was written on a sheet of stationery measuring about 5 1/4” x 7 3/4”. It has a lovely and patriotic decoration of a US Navy sailor. Very good condition with minor toning and foxing. Creased where originally folded. There is a taped repair along the margins of pages 2 and 3, where it is preventing separation at the folds.

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