This letter was written by a soldier serving in the 12th New York Regiment. We can surmise from the content of the letter that the soldier was a relatively young man from Syracuse. He wrote the letter to his un-named brother. It has proven difficult to narrow down the identity of this particular soldier due to the absence of relative’s names and the large number of soldiers named Henry serving in the 12th New York. There are as many as 11 soldiers named Henry from that regiment, hailing from Syracuse, and having enlisted prior to the date of the letter. There are only six, however, who are of a relatively young age.
One of the soldiers named Henry that appears to be a very good match was Henry Dallman, age 24, who enlisted on 30 April 1861 in Syracuse. He was a private in Co. E. (later Co. A) and mustered out of the service at the end of his two-year enlistment as a sergeant. The Syracuse City Directory shows Henry to be a salt inspector at the Onondaga Salt Springs in 1869. In the 1880’s, still living at the same address, his occupation is given as “clerk.”
Dallman’s father, Abraham (b. 1804), was a native of England who became a merchant in Syracuse and operated a hotel there in 1860. Henry’s mother, named Eva (b. 1809), was a native of Sweden. This Henry had an older brother named Walter M. Dallman (1834-1888) who labored as a book-keeper and member of the school board in Syracuse early in the war. It appears that Walter enlisted at Syracuse in September 1862, serving as an adjutant in the 149th New York Regiment. Walter was wounded slightly in the throat at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee on 24 November 1863 and in the thigh and hand slightly at Ringgold, Georgia on 27 November 1864, but survived the war.
The fact that Walter Dallman and Charlie Stevens (mentioned in the letter) were both affiliated with the Syracuse public schools seems to strengthen the supposition that this letter was written by Henry Dallman.
Washington D. C.
June 21, 1861
I received your welcome letter of the 16th and was glad to hear from you. Today is very comfortable. There is a good breeze. I suppose you have about all the news from here through the papers but do not believe half [what] the papers say. Today the boys are busy fixing their tents for there is a man here to take photographs of our tents. Most all the boys are going to have theirs taken. I am going to have mine taken and will send it home when it is done. I saw some of the Seventh (7th) Regiment photographs and they look very nice.
We have received part of our new uniform — the pants, knapsacks, [and] blanket — and expect the rest very soon. We have got our shoes, stockings, shirts & drawers, and we expect new muskets soon.
Yesterday there was some fighting between the federals and rebels. There was some five or six regiments went to the scene of action. I see by this morning’s paper that the 14th Regiment (George Williams’) arrived here yesterday and went to camp on Georgetown Heights. I mean to go up there just as soon as I can get a furlough. Yesterday six regiments arrived and there is expected as many more today. The troops are coming here all the time. I do not see how the South can take this place when there is so many soldiers here.
You say that Charlie Stevens ¹ has returned from the South. I should like to see him very much. How does he like the Southern (traitors)? I guess we will give them fits before we get through with them.
Last Monday there was a scouting party went up in Maryland. They was gone two days but didn’t see any sesesh there. They went to a house where they said there was about 200 stand of arms but they could not find any there. They got to the place before the folks was up and when the folks looked out of the window and saw the house guarded all around with our men, the women screamed and hallowed. They was frightened very much. The slaves told our boys that they had a lot of guns but did not dare to tell them where they was. All the farmers (here they are called planters) are busy at work in haying. The grain is most ripe to cut.
I do not know how soon we go to Virginia but I guess soon. The 71st [Regiment] went yesterday. When we do go, I will drop a note home. Tell mother she need not be afraid of my going swimming when I am warm because the Capt. goes with us and he will not let blurred] is warm.
About the dissatisfaction of the troops, I do not see any. My boots hold out pretty good yet. I wear my shoes when I am in the camp. There is quite a lot of Syracusian’s here. Tell mother that she not be alarmed about me for I was never in better health. I received a letter from Mr. Kellogg the same time I did yours. He says they are all well and expect to leave for Rose Cottage in two weeks to spend the summer as usual.
I must close now hoping to hear from you soon. Yours truly, — Henry
¹ This was probably Charles (“Charlie”) Edwards Stevens (1836-1905) who was married in 1858 to Helen Clarinda Hough (b. 1838) in Syracuse. Charlie became a lawyer and later settled in Flint, Michigan. Charlie was the Superintendent of Public Schools in Syracuse from 1863 to 1866.
HISTORY OF THE 12th NEW YORK REGIMENT
The 51st New York State Militia tendered its to Governor E D Morgan services for three months on 15 April, 1861, but Governor E D Morgan was not able to accept. The regiment was reorganised as the 12th New York Infantry at Syracuse, New York, on 30 April, 1861, and was ordered to Elmira, New York, on 2 May, 1861. The 12th New York Infantry was mustered in state service for two years on 8 May, 1861, and was mustered in United States service at for three months on 13 May, 1861.
Elmira, New York, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 29 May, 1861: The 12th New York Infantry was ordered to proceed by the Elmira & Williamsport Railroad to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on 29 May, 1861, and arrived by the Northern Central Railroad at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Sunbury, Pennsylvania, the same day.
Baltimore, Maryland, to Washington, D. C., 30 May, 1861: The 12th New York Infantry was ordered to proceed by the Northern Central Railroad to Baltimore, Maryland, on 30 May, 1861, and arrived by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Washington, D. C., via Annaplois Junction, Maryland, the same day. The regiment encamped at Camp Onondaga, East Capital Hill, Washington, D. C., and was ordered to Benning’s Bridge, near the Chain Bridge, above Georgetown, D. C., on 10 July, 1861.
Advance to Centreville, Virginia, 16 July, 1861: The Fourth Brigade, First Division, Army of Northeastern Virginia, under the command of Colonel I B Richardson, was ordered to proceed to Vienna, Virginia, by the Chain Bridge, above Georgetown D. C., Langley, and Lewinsville, Virginia, at 2 PM on 16 July, 1861. The 12th New York Infantry proceeded across the Chain Bridge, above Georgetown, D. C., the same day and arrived near Vienna, Virginia, between 8 and 10 PM on 16 July, 1861. The regiment was ordered to proceed between Fairfax Courthouse and Centreville, Virginia, to Germantown, Virginia, at 9 AM on 17 July, 1861, and arrived near Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia at 12 PM the same day. The 12th New York Infantry arrived near Germantown, Virginia, in the evening on 17 July, 1861, and was ordered to proceed by the Warrenton Pike to Centreville, Virginia, at 7 AM on 18 July, 1861. The regiment arrived at Centreville, Virginia, at 9 AM on 18 July, 1861.
Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia, 18 July, 1861: Brigadier General D Tyler ordered Colonel I B Richardson to continue a reconnaissance to Blackburn’s and Mitchell’s Fords, Virginia, on 18 July, 1861. The 12th New York Infantry was engaged in the battle at Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia, between 12 PM and 4 PM on 18 July, 1861, and was ordered to remain at Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia, between 18 and 21 July, 1861.
Retreat to Washington, D. C., 21 July, 1861: After the first battle of Bull Run the 12th New York Infantry was ordered to retreat to Centreville, Virginia, at 5 PM on 21 July, 1861, and was ordered to Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia, at 2 AM the on 22 July, 1861. The regiment arrived at Arlington Heights, Virginia, via Munson’s Hill, Virginia, at 2 PM on on 22 July, 1861.
Remustered, 2 August, 1861: At the request of the United States Government, Governor E D Morgan ordered the 12th New York Infantry to muster in United States service for two years on 2 August, 1861.
Mustered out, 17 May, 1863: The 12th New York Infantry was consolidated as Companies A, G, H, I, and K and the 12th New York State Militia was consolidated as Companies B, C, D, E, and F, on 8 February, 1862 (See the 12th New York State Militia). The 12th New York Infantry and the 12th New York State Militia were consolidated as the 12th New York Infantry and the two years men were mustered out on 17 May, 1863. The three years men were consolidated as Companies D and F and were assigned to the 5th Veteran New York Infantry, Companies F and E.
The Military District of the Potomac was established on 25 July, 1861 by consolidating the Military District of Washington and the Department of Northeastern Virginia and redesignated the Department of the Potomac on 15 August, 1861. The 12th New York Infantry was assigned to Colonel I B Richardson’s brigade, Army of the Potomac, on 4 August, 1861.