1863: William Sinclair Gregg to Samuel R. Butler

This letter was written by William Sinclair Gregg (1843-1923) who enlisted at the age of 18 on 24 September 1861 to serve three years in Co. E, 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). William was mustered out of the regiment on 12 December 1864 at Columbus, Ohio.

William was the son of William Gregg (1802-1862) and Hannah Carleton (1804-1875) of Belmont county, Ohio. He married to Harriet Jane Okey (1853-1902) in December 1870 and lived out his days in Belmont county, Ohio, where he worked as a retail grocer.

William’s letter was assumed to be—and sold on e-bay as—a Confederate letter because it had two Confederate postage stamps on it. Actually the letter is not postmarked and was clearly hand-carried. Mostly likely the stamps were attached to the envelope as souvenirs collected by William & sent to his friend. The Five Cent Davis Stamp was produced by typography in London in 1862. More than 36,000,000 of the 5 cent stamps were produced.


St. Helena Island [S. C.]
March 25th 1863

Respected friend and schoolmate,

I embrace this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know how and where I am. I am as well as common at present. I received your letter yesterday and read it with great pleasure.

Well, we have got into the Sunny South—as it is called—at last. I little further than I like. We have got into the state where Rebellion was first thought of or at least where the war commenced and that is South Carolina. We are about sixty miles from the City of Charleston and I think from the way things are going now, we will be closer before we are further off.

We are daily expecting orders to take the ships again and that will be our destination. You had better believe we had a gay old ride on the Atlantic. Not so very gay neither for it was pretty scaly—at least I thought so when I saw the waves running so high as a common hill and dashing over the hurricane deck. But we got through safe.

Well, to change the subject a little, one year ago day before yesterday we were on the battlefield of Winchester and a scaly [poor] time it was but fortunately for our regiment we did not get a chance to go in—or rather they retreated just as we were going in.

You say you have had considerable snow this winter. I have not saw snow but once and that was at Suffolk. It is pretty warm & warm enough to go barefooted at any rate and it is just right to swim in the salt water.

There is a review today of all the forces on the island. Our regiment has just gone out. Well, Sam, I believe I have wrote all I can think of at present. When you write again, tell me what is going on. Give my best respects to all enquiring friends if there should chance to be any. I remain as ever your friend, — William S. Gregg

Direct to Port Royal, S. C., Co. E, 62nd OVI.


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