These letters were written by Charles “Aldis” Lamos (1844-1905) while serving in Co. B, 11th Vermont Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. While manning the defenses of Washington D. C., this regiment was also known as the “1st Vermont Heavy Artillery,” but when they were taken to the field for Grant’s Overland Campaign in 1864, they once again shouldered their muskets as infantrymen as part of the Vermont Brigade, 6th Army Corps.
Aldis was the son of John B. Lamos (1810-1892) and Mary Ann Barker (1813-1872) of Addison county, Vermont. He had numerous siblings, many of whom were mentioned frequently in his letters. These included John “True” Lamos (1833-1907), “Moses” Baker Lamos (1837-1907), Esther “Ann” Lamos (1840-1925), George “Squire” Lamos (1841-1867), “Mandana” Lamos (1847-1886), Mary Jane Lamos (1850-1913), Justin Lamos (1851-1900), and Stephen Douglas Lamos (1857-1939). Aldis wrote nearly all of these letters to his sister Ann who married William Preston (1838-1923) in 1863. All of these letters were written by Aldis except letter number two which was written by his older brother, True Lamos.
Aldis attended the public schools at Bridgeport, Vermont. On 11 August 1862, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the army and was promoted on 26 December 1863 to Full Artificer. He mustered out of the service on 24 June 1865. His military records indicate that he was wounded during the war but nothing is said about it in these letters.
Before and after the Civil War, Aldis worked as a carpenter. In 1868 he came to Peekskill and entered, first into the building business. Afterwards, in 1896, he entered into the sash and door business, founding the concern later conducted by his namesake son.
Aldis was a Presbyterian in religion, and a Republican in politics. In 1875, he married Carrie Benedict Lent, daughter of John Jarvis and Susan Esther (Lockwood) Lent, born in Peekskill, New York.
[Note: These letters are from the personal collection of Adam O. Fleischer and are published by express consent.]
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Fort Lincoln [Washington D. C.]
September 21st, 1862
Dear Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers,
I will again take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well. I received your very welcome letter of the 19th and glad to hear from you.
We are taking fun by the dozen. Last night we was ordered to load our guns and sleep with them under our heads so we will be ready at a moment’s notice to fight. The guns of the rebels are large and savage but ours are equal and more too. And I for one am not afraid to fire them for if I fight, it will be for the Union. And if I die, it will be the same.
We are having better living than we had when we first came here. Sometimes one gets poisoned and some gets shot on guard. We have to drill pretty hard now but it will not last long. I have lost 12 lbs. of flesh since I [en]listed but I think that I shall gain some soon.
I received a letter from [brother] True last night and shall write him today. He is well. He said that he had not heard from home in a long time. How is [brother] George a getting along? I hope well. Tell him that I wish that I could go a hunting with him. I would like to be at home and see you all but you must wait until I help put down this Rebellion for I think it a duty and I shall and will do it. Perhaps I shall lose my life but if I do, I think it will be lost for a just cause.
I can’t think of anything more to write only I don’t want you to say anything more about that 3 dollars. You are welcome to it so goodbye. Write, write, write, one and all. Kiss [brother] Steve for me. George, write [to me]. Tell Just[in] to be a good boy and go to school.
I remain your ever true brother, — C. A. L.
My address is:
Washington D. C.
Co. B, 11th Regiment, Vt. Vol.
Now write soon all for I can’t write you all. When I write a letter, I mean it to all of you. Write soon and all the news. — Charles A. Lamos
Tell Father that Oliver Goodwin is here and Henry Parmer and Warren Clark.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
[Note: This letter was written by John “True” Lamos (1833-1907)]
[Ticonderoga, New York]
Friday, October 5th 1862
I received your kind and long looked for letter. Happy to hear from you and the rest of the family. You gave me a fair account of what the family were doing at the time you were writing your epistle. Wished to know how I was employed. I can tell you, I was at a farmers house taking fun by the dozen eating apples, pears, plums, grapes, &c. Would you not like to have dropped in?
You wished to know if I sent on that letter to [brother] Aldis. I did and he rec[eived] it. I had a letter from him Thursday. He is on the east branch of the Potomac guarding a bridge. Expected to march soon. He thinks they will winter in Virginia. He is well and likes [soldiering] very well.
They have been expecting a draft here in Ticonderoga but it has not come yet. Everything is hurly burly here. I sometime wish I was back out of hearing of it all. Then again, I can hardly wait for the daily papers to come in. When they do come, can’t tell anything about it. I am at Ticonderoga yet. Do not know how long I shall be here. I did not expect to stay half as long as I have. I am going down to work in the boat yard tomorrow. Will be there some two or three weeks. I had about as leave go to jail.
Vermont news I do not know more about than you do—only she has filled her quota so I shan’t be drafted in this call. I have not been to Vermont since I commenced work in Ticonderoga. Only passed through to carry Aldis to Middleburg.
We are having very changeable weather this fall. It rained most of last week [and then] cleared off cold enough to freeze a body. I wish you could be out here this fall. There is plenty of fruit of all kinds. My trunk and took chest is lined with it.
I heard that there was quite a gathering at Mr. H. Norton’s this summer. They thought that Abe was going to be married. Have not heard whether he was or not. I think W. P. will get the right side of Father if he continues to leave half of his venison. Perhaps it is only an exchange, deer for deer. Please write soon and oblige your ever True brother.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Washington [D. C.]
December 4th 1862
It is with pleasure that I hasten to answer the kind letter that I received from you the other day. I am well and as tough as a bear. I have not seen a sick day yet. I hope that these [few lines] will find you the same.
We are having very warm weather here for the time of year. I suppose that it must be cold in Long Lake.
We are engaged a building barracks for winter and as I was the only carpenter in the regiment & I had to take command of the whole thing so it made hard work for me but it will be done in two or three days more. So you see I get some work at my trade by coming to the war.
I received one dollar in the letter and I shall keep it as I am short of money. We have not been paid yet but expect to soon. I hear from [brother] True once a week. He is getting [along] well now. The war, I think, will soon close and we soldiers return to our homes. I don’t care how soon but do not wish to leave it until it is settled.
I must close & write some to Jennie. I received hers one day before yours. Goodbye. Write, write soon. Yours truly, — C. A. Lamos, a soldier of the U. S. A.
I received a letter from you the other day and happy to hear from you and to see that you could write so well. I think that you write well for a girl your age and Mandana also. How are you getting along? Are you learning fast? You must be a good girl and study your books and I think that you will make a school mam. Tell Mandana the same and Juty and Steave.
I must close for it is time for dress parade. My best wishes to Father & Mother & to George Wouser & C. Kiss little Ervin and Aldis for me and Steve also. We celebrated Thanksgiving some today. Been out to dress parade. Goodbye. Love to all. I will close hoping to hear from you again soon and what is more, see you all. Still remaining your ever true brother, — C. A. Lamos
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR
Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
Defenses of Washington at Brightwood [?]
Fort Massachusetts [later named Fort Stevens]
February 12th 1863
It is with pleasure that I hasten to answer the letter I received from you last eve. I am well & hope these [few lines] will find you the same. I have not heard from [brother] True in a long time. The last letter I received from him, he was well. I thought by the reading of it that [brother] Moses had been to Bristol but I guess that it meant that he had been over to Vermont.
The measles & smallpox is all around us. We have lost several in the regiment with the measles. I think that George will make a good constable. I can’t write any more for I have a hard headache and feel pretty dull.
George Waldron is married. Tell Dana [Mandana] I will write soon. My love to all. Goodbye from your brother, — Aldis
P. S. Direct after this to:
L. A. Lamos
1st Artillery 11th Vermont Vols.
Washington D. C.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE
August 8th 1863
I will write a few hasty lines to let you know that I am well but most worn out with fatigue. My weight is 132 lbs. Last fall my weight was 171 lbs. So you see we are having hard times. The rest of the boys have lost as much as I have but we go on with it with a light heart hoping that we shall at last come off conquerers and return to our homes. We are a throwing up earthworks and planting our batteries around Richmond with the expectations of a battle soon. We have not been in any very hard battles yet but have skirmished a good deal. Several of our boys were killed.
It is very sickly here now. I tell you, mother, it is very warm. Some of the [boys] melt, as you might say, and fall every way.
I just received a letter from [brother] True. He is well and drafted. He will pay 300 dollars and stay at home.
I don’t think of anything more—only it is a very warm day. Remember me to all brothers and sisters. Also my nephews. Goodbye. Write soon. Ever remaining your obedient son, — Aldis
P. S. Remember that we are the boys that will see our country safe before we shall leave her. Death can only take us away. — C. A. Lamos
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX
Washington [D. C.]
September 15th 1863
My own dear sister,
I received your very kind and welcome letter some time ago but sickness has kept me from not answering it before. I was in the hospital when I received your letter. I was in the hospital four weeks with the fever ague. I came from there yesterday so you see that I am not very tough yet. I am down most as low as a man can get and live but am now slowly gaining and am in hopes to get around again soon. I has as good care as could be expected. All done for me what they could.
About your picture you sent me, I am very much obliged for it but I am sorry to say that when it came, the glass was broken and it had scratched the picture so that it was spoiled. The face was all scratched up so I will have to get you to send the second one and try and not have it get broken. Send a card picture if you can get one.
I suppose that you would like to hear what the army are a doing. Our men are trying to take Charleston and also Fort Sumter. I don’t know how they will come out but am in hopes that we shall succeed at last. I don’t think this war can last much longer but it may last some time yet. I have served one year and 15 days. Got two years more, lacking 15 days. I am not sick of serving my country yet although I wished I could be at home while I was sick but I guess I shall get well soon. You must not worry a bit about me for I shall be much better before you receive this. When you go home, give my love to all. Tell Mother that I am in a good cause and am bound to see it through and after that, I will come straight home to see you all. I don’t think of anything more so goodbye. Write soon to him who will forever prove an affectionate brother, — Charles A. Lamos
1st Artillery 11th Vt. Vols.
Washington D. C.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN
[Washington D. C.]
October 18th 1863
I received your very kind and welcome letter two or three days ago. Was glad to hear that you was well but that new school you have commenced rather took me by surprise. I had not heard a lisp of it (nor either did I mistrust it). But I do hope that you may prove as good a teacher as you have in the past so that your committee will never regret the day he employed you. And I must say a word of flattering—that is the picture you sent. I [am] much pleased with. It is a very good-looking one, I think. If he is as grand as he looks that he is a nice man. But as I cannot write much more today, I will simply say whether I ever do visit you or not, may your homes forever be made pleasant by him who can make even the battlefield pleasant.
You wanted me to write what the armies were doing now. I tell you, they are doing a great deal fighting every day within the last week. There has ben a great many killed on both sides. The President has just called for 300,000 more volunteers. If they don’t volunteer, they will be drafted. This war has been a lingering along long enough and I do think that the rebellion will be crushed in a few months now.
I am much better than when last I wrote you but not very tough yet. I will close this letter by bidding you goodbye. My best wishes to you and your companion. Every remaining your brother, — Charles A. Lamos
P. S. My love to all of Father’s people when you see them, — Aldis
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT
Washington [D. C.]
November 15th 1863
It is with pleasure that I hasten to answer your very kind letter that I received the other day. I was truly glad to hear that you was well and enjoying yourself so well. I am well. Never enjoyed better health in my life. I have got all over my sickness but had a long time of it. I am getting as fat as a bear and full of fun.
I had my negative taken yesterday for 6 card pictures. I will send you one in my next letter. Your picture came all safe this time which I am much pleased with. I expect [brother] True down to see me soon. He said in his last letter that he would come when he got through work. You asked me if I heard from True very often. I do. He writes me every other week.
It rains very hard today and is getting to be very cold weather. But we have our barracks most done so we can get along very well. I can if I don’t have any more sickness and I don’t think I shall.
I don’t think of much more worth writing so I will close by wishing you all good wishes that a brother could wish. So goodbye for this time. My regards to all enquiring friends. In haste but very truly your brother, — Chas. A. Lamos
Battery B, 1st Art. Vermont Vols., Washington D. C.
P. S. Please tell [brothers] Moses & George that I would like to hear from them.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER NINE
Washington [D. C.]
January 3rd 1864
I received your kind letter and hasten to reply. I am well and hope these [few lines] will find you the same. It is very cold down here. I must tell you that I have been promoted to the Regimental Artificer. My pay is 4 dollars more per month. I have no guard nor picket duty to do, All the work is to draw drafts of bridges, rifle pits, batteries, &c. and see to doing it so you see I shall have a easy time the rest of my time and get larger pay. I rank the same as a sergeant.
I will enclose in this my photograph. It is not a very good one. True has not been here yet. I hardly think that he will come. I received a letter from him the other day. He is well and spoke of visiting home this winter.
I don’t think of anything more. Please write soon. I give my regards to all. I remain your brother, — C. A. Lamos
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TEN
Washington D. C.
February 21st 1864
I received your very kind letter last eve. Was truly glad to hear from you and hear that you was well. I am also well and enjoying myself very well. Have just enough to do for exercise. We have had some very cool weather down here now. It was all that we could do to keep warm and a tight fit to do that. There is not much a going on here now but expect there will be soon—as soon as the ground gets settled.
I am sorry that you was so much disappointed by not seeing me with [brother] True. I am afraid that it will be a long time yet before you see me. But never mind. Perhaps the time will come. I don’t think of much more. I am somewhat sleepy so I will close and lie down. My best regards to Wiley and love to yourself. So goodbye for this time.
Write soon. In haste but very truly. Your brother, — Charles A. Lamos
P. S. Tell Dana that I will write her soon. Yours truly.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ELEVEN
Camp near Hanover Court House on the Peninsula
May 31, 
It is with pleasure that I am again permitted to address you a few lines to let you know that I am well but most dead—that is, all worn out. We left Washington the 8th for Dixie. In 3 days after that we came into hard country. [ ] rebels we fought about 4 hours and drove them at the point of the bayonet. Our brave Colonel was mortally wounded ¹ and several others from our regiment was killed and wounded.
I tell you, sister, we are having hard times. We have been 4 days without a thing to eat and marched all the time. Last night we got a little hard bread. It is very hard but it will keep us from starving. I also in a charge threw away all of my clothes so I am without a change nor a blanket but no worse than the rest of the boys. We have to sleep on the ground without anything over nor under us and when it does not rain, we are lucky, and when it does, we have to take it.
We are within 6 miles of Richmond City and I think that we will attack it soon. Expect that there will be a great many lives lost in taking it but it must come. We have been in 7 hard battles since we have been here. The rebs fight well but we can whip them and will do it soon, I think.
I must close for we must start another march. I am tired, faint, sleepy, hungry, and dirty and can’t do a thing for it but I will bear up with the best of patience for I know that the cause is just. I have got one hole through my pants on my hip made by a shot. I want you to send this to Father’s and have it do to answer theirs for I can’t write to all. And when you write, enclose a sheet of paper and envelope and I will endeavor to answer it. I cannot carry paper with me and there is no chance to buy it down here. I have plenty of stamps with me. I can’t write anymore.
Please write soon. Much regards to all. Goodbye for now and perhaps forever. Please send this home. In haste but very truly your weary brother, — C. A. Lamos
¹ Aldis claims the Colonel of his regiment, Jame Meech Warner, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania. While it is true he was severely wounded on 18 May 1864, he survived his wounds and did not die until 1897. He was breveted a Brigadier General for his gallantry at Spotsylvania Court House.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWELVE
August 4th 1864
It has been a long time since I received your last epistle that I have not answered yet but I think that you will excuse me when I tell you the reason. We have been where we could neither get nor send mail as the rebs have [been] between us and Washington and we could not get mail through without danger of its being captured by the enemy. But at last we have succeeded in getting on their flank and they have skedaddled for Richmond and where they will probably stay for awhile.
We was transported on steamers to Washington the 12th of July at the time of the raid in Maryland. We first was marched to Fort Stevens (where we lay so long). We found the rebs within one half mile of the fort. We took possession of the fort and soon succeeded in shelling them back and we have been fighting them ever since. They have had many men here than we have and have made us fall back several times but they was afraid that we would get reinforced so they thought that they had better leave.
We are now expecting to be transported back to Petersburg soon. The boys are getting worn out and hate to move (what is left). Our company has 13 men left out of 152. I am one of that number that has been spared and still we are willing to press on and strive to conquer until the last one falls. Our regiment numbers about 350 men out of over 1800 that we took out. The rebels loss was very heavy in Maryland—more than ours.
Your paper and envelopes you sent with your address on it I put it in my coat pockets and sweat it so that it was spoiled. I have lost all my old letters and the paper that was sent therein. I don’t know who that I am owing. Tell Mother that I will write her next. This leaves me well and in comparative good spirits. Don’t worry about me if you don’t hear from me in 6 months for I will write as often as possible but we get in places where we can’t write. My love to all. A kiss for the babe. Write soon. Still we strive to win.
Your brother, — Chas. A. Lamos
Comp. B, 11th Vermont Vols.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THIRTEEN
Addressed to Mrs. Ann H. Preston, Long Lake, Hamilton Co., New York
November 4th 1864
I again take my pen in hand to address you a few lines to let you know that I am well and [hope] these will find yourself and family the same.
We have had very hard fighting here in the Valley since I last wrote you. We have had very good success in whipping the enemy and capturing a great many prisoners and a large portion of their artillery. I got a slight wound in the leg in the fight of October 19th [See Battle of Cedar Creek]. It troubles me more now than it did when it was first done. The doctor says that I must keep still or I will have a bad thing of it. It was done by a piece of shell.
We have not gone into winter quarters yet and it don’t act as if we were going in this winter. I guess that they calculate to freeze us to death. It is now snowing very hard and the chilly winds blow and the boys stand around a little fire (made on the ground) shivering. We are all very thinly dressed for this time of the year but we won’t complain but I wish that I had father’s pig pen for me a shelter and to break the cold winds.
I suppose that you are all thinking about who will be our next President. I will tell you Lincoln, of course. We want a Union man. We are not making a President for the South but for the North. Then let us as a company vote for Lincoln and have our rights or fight four years more. We can’t lose all that we have gained nor we shan’t.
I must again bid you goodbye. My love to your husband and a kiss for the babe. Please answer this soon. I remain as ever your brother, — Charles A. Lamos
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOURTEEN
Front Lines of Petersburg [Va.]
January 18th 1865
My Dear Sister,
I received your very kind letters by the last mail dated December 11th 1864. It was a great while on the way but it was a good one when it reached me. I am well now and hope these few lines will find you the same. We are now lying in front of Petersburg a facing the rebel’s strongest armies. We also face, or are in range of 8 forts of the enemy with the muzzles of several large 30 and 100 pounder guns a looking over the parapets daring our approach. Our main lines are within a stones throw of each other.
The rebs have made several attacks on us but has been repulsed with heavy loss. We have a hard army here to whip. It is no boys play to fight here. Our forts throw 100 30-pd. shells into the City yesterday. It caused several buildings to be burnt. I tell you, sister, here lies the main armies of both the United States and the Confed[erate] and here it must end and here it shall end. And the time is not far distant. The day will come before six months. But great will be the blood that will be shed on that day. But we shall at last win. We are right and why shan’t we prosper?
The weather is quite cold but we don’t complain. We have log huts and fireplaces so we keep quite comfortable.
I suppose [brother] True is home. I have not heard a word from him in a long time. I don’t know what the reason is. If you see him, tell him to write and let me know where he is and tell me if he sent the diary for 1865. I have not rec[eived] it. I can’t write anymore now. I hope you will write every opportunity. My love to all. I remain your very kind brother, — C. A. Lamos
P. S. Please tell [brothers] George & Moses to write their brother a letter who is in the army. I have had no letter from them this summer. I don’t know the reason. — Aldis
C. A. Lamos
Co. B, 11th Regt. Vt. Vols.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division
6th Army Corps
Army of the Potomac