Landers, Thomas
Autograph Letter Signed, Headquarters, Camp Hamilton, Fortress Monroe, Va., Feb. 20, 1862 to his parents

octavo, 4 pages, on embossed patriotic stationery, folded, minor spotting and soiling to last page, else very good.

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Pvt. Thomas Landers, serving in Co. D, 16th Massachusetts Volunteers, writes home to his parents he comments on camp life rescuing escaped slaves, etc.:

      “My Dear Father & Mother,

           … everything is getting on very well, the rebels are catching hell all around here these two last battles have plaid hell with them they have taken ronoke and Fort Donaldson they took 28 hundred prisoners at the island and 15 thousand at the fort and 3 thousand horses… they took every damn thing they had and the smartest man in the whole southern army with tow other, Johnson, Buckner, and Pillow, they are out of the way anyhow. … our company went out a scouting last week and went as far as back river which was between us and the rebels and when we got to the river we looked across there we saw seven negro men one white man and two women one was black and the other was most white she had a white child about one year old they had run away from the rebels at Yorktown and had traveld all night in the wet and cold and they were almost frozen when we found them we got them over in an old boat they had some armes which they gave to the captain they had a lot of shin plasters which they gave to the fellows as they are not good for anything here only just for curiosity sake there is a lot of rebel deserters arrive every day there was a big gun burst at Newport News and killed two and wounded several others, it is reported that Gen. Wool is going to attack Yorktown and sewals point very soon we are going to great bethel sometime this week there is about seven thousand infantry about fifteen hundred caverly and four or five batteries of artillery there is a bot nine miles from here I don’t know exactly how many there is any quantity of gun boats and there is four of the largest man of war vessels that there is out and the fort which the devil cant take so you see we are in a pretty safe place. The officers have all got their wives out here, them that has got any, they have all built log houses and have even got brick sidewalks along the whole street they are now building a log house about as big as Bucks Shop I mean the foundery they are going to have a grand ball here as soon as they get it done they are building it for a gymnasium. I swear it seems as though they calculate to live here some time we have plenty to eat, good clothes and all the beer we want to drink they have even got a school here for all that want to learn to write or read or figure all free they find books teachers and everything why it is the greatest regiment that you ever heard of there is over half of the regt. Irish but there is no distinction between us here god damn  them there dare not throw out any of their old talk here they know better no thanks to them for it… I cannot get a picture yet the nearest place to get one taken now is Baltimore but I think there is a man coming here from Lowell soon – then I will have a chance. There was a man here when we came here first but he was a secesh and so they cleand him out …” [sic]