1861: William H. Crandall to parents

How William might have looked in 1861

How William might have looked in 1861

This letter was written William H. Crandall while at Camp Curtin outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. William and other young men recruited by Captain Jacob Dorsheimer at Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, were mustered into service on 20 April 1861 “for three years or the war” — the first company of Pennsylvanians to volunteer for the long term. We learn from the letter that Dorsheimer’s company (Company C) was still at Camp Curtin awaiting formation of the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment which was composed primarily of three months’ men.

The letter includes a first-hand witness account of Major Robert Anderson’s whistle-stop at the Harrisburg Depot in May 1861. Major Anderson — the hero of Fort Sumter — was met at the depot by Gov. Curtin and other state officials along with an immense crowd. Capt. Dorsheimer’s company was apparently among the 12 companies that made the march into Harrisburg to greet the career officer, recently promoted to Colonel and given the command of troops in Kentucky.


Camp Curtin, Harrisburg [Pennsylvania]
May 13, 1861

Dear Parents,

I received your letter as it was forwarded to me and was glad to hear once more and should have answered it before but have been expecting regiments from Elmira and thought that perhaps Albert might be in them but they have not arrived so I drop a line.

Major Robert A. Anderson

Major Robert A. Anderson

Our regiment is not formed. We expected it today but we cannot tell when as we have only fifteen minutes notice. Perhaps the special call tomorrow on the parade ground is for that purpose. This of course is all guesswork. There was a little more than a regiment from Michigan arrived here tonight to avoid going through Baltimore in the night and eleven more on this road — all good looking that are here.

This afternoon fourteen companies went to the depot to salute Major Anderson as he passed through this place. He stood on the platform of the car as he came in town. He is a rather slender looking, but has a manly, noble look. [He] was dressed in citizen’s costume. He remained only about twenty minutes. I did not learn his destination.

We have just learned the President has called for ten regiments more from Pennsylvania.

We are in a splendid company of boys picked from a large number who wished to go in it. All are the true blue, all are in good spirits with good quarters and excellent provisions or fare. We are under the best of officers who look carefully after us and are very kind.

There goes the call for parade and I shall have to close. All letters directed to me at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, in care of Capt. Dorsheimer, will reach me even if we leave here. Goodbye for the [present]. With my love, yours — William H. Crandall


About Griff

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries. View all posts by Griff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

The Letters of James A. Durrett

Co. E, 18th Alabama Infantry

Spared & Shared 15

Saving History One Letter at a Time

The Civil War Letters of George Messer

Company F, 107th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Jeff's Prayers are as Effective as Abe's

The Civil War Letters of George S. Youngs, 126th New York Vols

Soldiering is a Very Uncertain Game

The Civil War Letters of Lemuel Glidden, Co. K, 145th Indiana Infantry

Tough as a Pitch Pine Knot

Letters of John Whitcomb Piper, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

%d bloggers like this: