Correspondence of Samuel Carr

Company K, 56th NYS Vol. Inf. Regt.

Samuel Carr was born April 20, 1834. On September 25, 1856 he married Julia Van Wagener. In October 1861, at the age of 27, Samuel Carr enlisted in Co. K, the 56th Regiment, N.Y.S. Volunteers under Captain Asa Hodge. He died September 10, 1862, at Yorktown, Virginia. Of their three children, George Henry, Serville Ann, and Clarence, only George lived to adulthood.

The AGO entry for Samuel reads as follows:

CARR, SAMUEL.—Age, 28 years. Enlisted, September 8, 1861, at Claryville, to serve 3 years; mustered in as private, Co. K, October 10, 1861; died of congestion of the lungs, September 10, 1862, at Yorktown, Va.

* * *
Washington Nov 28th 1861
Dear Companion

    I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am better today than I have been in sometime & I hope these few lines will find you all well. I mearly set down to write this letter to you to let you know Something about the pay that I & all the rest of us are going to get. I had to sign a receipt for only 9 dollars & 63 cents But while I was riting this letter the colonel came in camp & com around to our company & stopped the officers from taken any moore names down & Seys he thinks he will have it. So by tomorrow that we will draw our late pay & if he does there will be Some 30 dollars comming to me

    Keep up good curage yet my good wife if I get my money this week I will Send it to you from the mark or I will Send it to Wm. Hammond & after you pay him what you owe him he will pay you the remainder. we haint got any winter quarters yet But the intention is to have it Soon. I think you will get your mony by the first of next week if it goes rite along. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends. Kiss our little Boys for mee & I send one for you in this letter.
no more at presant

Good Bye But Shed no tears. keep cheerful

A hope for the future from your Dear Husband Samuel Carr to his wife Julia Carr & the rest of his family

(A note to his small son shows a picture, printed in red, of a man leaving the plow in the field. The man holds a rifle in one hand and a flag, partly unfurled is supported by the other hand. Underneath the picture is this motto:)

Shoot down the first
man that attempts to
haul down the American flag

I send this to Little George & tell
him those words
until he has
them by hart

* * *

Washington February 11th 1862

    Dear wife I need not write to you for I have got a letter to send with this little Book.

and this I send to Little George for a presant lay them carfully away for him if he lives to get big Enough to go to School it may do him Some good to read them     S. Carr

N. V.   Vet has got a Stiff neck thare is a swelling commin on it - it is
Snowing very fast                                                     S.     Carr

* * *

Head Quarters Co K 56th Reg NYS
Yorktown Va Sept 11th 1862
Mrs. Julia Carr


    It becomes my painful duty to inform you of the death of your husband Samuel Carr a member of my company who died very suddenly last evening at 8 and one half o'clock. He was about camp as usual until about an hour before he died when he went in his tent and laid down but with no appearance of unusual illness. a few moments after Andrew Weber took him a canteen of water and thinking he looked worse offered to get the Doctor for him but he thought he would wait til morning as he remarked to Weber and if he did not feel better than he would go out and see him.

    Not more than half an hour after this one of the men entered his tent with a cup of milk which Col Van Wyck sent him and tried to wake him but failing to get a reply hurried off for the physicians who were close at hand and hastened to the tent where he was laying but it was to late. They could not tell the cause of his death but it is evident from the suddenness that it was caused by congestion.

    His health for sometime past had not been perfect but none of the time was he so ill as to be confined to his tent. While at Harrison's Landing he had an attack of diarrheoa and jaundice but when we left that place he was comparatively in good health and stood the march down as well as any in the Company.

    He was buried this afternoon with Military honors in the Union Cemetery at this place. Chaplain Shelling performed the funeral service. On his head board is printed his name, residence Company and Regiment and time of death.

    This will be a great bereavement for you but you will have the Consolation of knowing that he died engaged in a noble cause maintaining the rights of our bleeding country.

    He was loved and respected by the whole company and by all who knew him and we realize we have met with an irreparable loss. His memory will long be cherished by us all. His kindness and generosity and lively spirit won him a friend wherever he formed an acquaintance. As a soldier none was braver and none could be more dutiful.

    He has pay due him from the Government from the 30th day of June. His Knapsack full of Clothing was lost transporting it from Harrison's Landing. The clothing that is lost you can draw pay for. I will send you a statement of his clothing Account & a list of his Effects soon

your obedient Servant

E Smith Capt
Co K 56th Reg NYS

(The Captain’s full name was Eliphas Smith. I copied these letters from pages 30 - 32 of Brass Buttons and Leather Boots: Sullivan County and the Civil War, published in 1963 by the Sullivan County, N.Y., Historical Society. The book is ambiguous about this, but the originals of the letters may be at the Sullivan County Museum at Monticello, N.Y.)

Visit a web site for the modern day 56th, a group of re-enactors, at

File created: February 27, 2001
File modified: March 12, 2001; September 15, 2002