1861: Corporal Leonard Doig to Cousin

Soldier of the 14th New York Infantry

Soldier of the 14th New York Infantry

This letter was written by 18 year-old Corporal Leonard Doig (1843-1912) of Company F, 14th New York Infantry. He was the son of railroad agent, James Doig (1808-1869), and Betsey Murray (1821-1888) of Oneida County, New York.

In 1870 Leonard was an unmarried bookkeeper with his brother Edward and boarding with the Orrin A. North family and 3 others in New Britain, Hartford Co., Connecticut. In 1880 he was a bookkeeper living with his brother Augustes in New Britain, Hartford Co., Connecticut.

Leonard left America on 24 July 1881 to travel on the European continent. In 1884 and 1885 he was a merchant at Cleveland Villa, Church Road, London. In 1888 he lived in London, England. returning to the US shortly after that time. Leonard departed Southampton and the ship New York and arrived at Ellis Island, NY on 14 Apr 1894. He returned to England and came back with his son Leonard Elliott on the ship St. Paul arriving alone at Ellis Island on 12 Apr 1897. He again went to England, returning with son Leonard on 7 Nov 1903 at
Boston on the ship Columbus.

In 1901 Leonard was a manager of hardware residing at 76 Hurstbourne Road, Lewisham, London with his wife Magdeline, children Florence and Leonard (chartered accountant clerk), and mother-in-law Harriet T. Elliott. In 1905 Leonard and his son Leonard were living with Augustus R. Doig at 26 High Street, New Britain, CT. In 1910 he was a bank accountant lodging at 96 Flushing Avenue, Queens, Queens Co., NY.

Leonard’s obituary appeared in the Watertown Daily Times on Wednesday, 30 Oct 1913:

FORMER OGDENSBURG MAN DIED IN EAST – LEONARD DOIG, VETERAN OF CIVIL WAR, DEAD IN MASSACHUSETTS – Boonville, October 30. – A telegram was received Tuesday morning by J. H. Doig announcing the death at 10 Monday night at Ashmont, Mass. of his oldest brother Leonard Doig. Leonard Doig was the eldest son of James and Betsey Murray Doig. He was born in Lowville, Sept. 19, 1843, and came to Boonville with the family when he was ten years old, where he resided until the breaking out of the Civil war, when he enlisted in Company F, under Capt. Charles Muller, 14th Regiment, N.Y.S.V., under Col., James McQuade of Utica. He served faithfully the two years that regiment was in active service, participating in every skirmish and battle during the bloody peninsula campaign, under Gen. George B. McClellan. After returning from the war he entered the banking house of Mr. Mirriam at Ogdensburg, where he remained for several years, and then removed to New Britain, Conn., where he was bookkeeper for the manufacturing firm of Russell & Erwin Manufacturing Co. Afterwards he was transferred to London, England where he officiated as manager of the firm’s London and continental business for many years. He returned to this country about 10 years ago, and has since resided in New Britain, Conn., and New York city. Mr. Doig was married three times and is survived by one son, Leonard Doig, and one daughter, Mrs. Florence D. Frost of Galveston, Tex. He is also survived by a sister Mrs. Angus C. Davies of Ashmont, Mass., and five brothers, James of New York, Edwin Murray of Denver, Colo., Augustus of New Britain, Conn., and Walter and John Howard of Boonville, N.Y.

In the Civil War, the 14th New York was made up of a majority of abolitionists from the Brooklyn area. It was led first by Colonel Alfred M. Wood and later by Colonel Edward Brush Fowler. The 14th Brooklyn was involved in heavy fighting, including most major engagements of the Eastern Theater. Their engagements included the First and Second Battles of Bull Run, the Battle of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. During the war, the men of the 14th Brooklyn were well known by both armies and throughout the country for their hard drill, hard fighting, and constant refusal to stand down from a fight. During their three years of service they never withdrew from battle in unorderly fashion.

On 7 December 1861, the State of New York officially changed the regiment’s designation to the 84th New York Volunteer Infantry (and its unit histories are sometimes found under this designation). But at the unit’s request and because of the fame attained by the unit at First Bull Run, the United States Army continued to refer to it as the 14th.

The 14th Brooklyn received its nickname, the “Red Legged Devils”, during the First Battle of Bull Run. Referring to the regiment’s colorful red trousers as the regiment repeatedly charged up Henry House Hill, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson yelled to his men, “Hold On Boys! Here come those red legged devils again!”

In the early part of the war, when the 14th Brooklyn was in General Walter Phelps’ brigade, the brigade was named “Iron Brigade.” It would later to become known as the “Eastern Iron Brigade” after John Gibbon’s Black Hat Brigade was given the name “Western Iron Brigade”. At the conclusion of the war, all members of the “Eastern” or “First” Iron Brigade were given medals for their service within the Iron Brigade.


Arlington, Virginia
September 2d 1861

Dear Cousin,

Yours of the 18th was fully received and I should have answered it before but I have not had much time to write lately. Besides that, there has nothing occurred that would be interesting to you. I suppose that you have heard of our great victory at Hatteras Inlet in which Gen’l Butler took so many prisoners and consequently I can write no news in regard to that.

There is nothing going on her at present except now and then a skirmish with the rebel pickets in which there is no great loss on either side. I was out on picket the other day but did not see anything of any consequence.

The health of the regiment is very good, some few of them having the fever and ague. As this regiment is a favorite one, we do not have any of the more laborious kind of work to do such as chopping and digging. So if you would like to enlist in a good regiment where no doubt you will have plenty of fighting, I would be very happy to have you in Company A.

I hope you will excuse this short and interesting letter and write again as soon as convenient.

From your affectionate Coz, — Leonard Doig

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

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