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Pvt. Alfred A. Saunders
Company K
14th New York Heavy Artillery
Volunteers


Camp Near Weldon rr
behind petirsburg Va. Sept. 10th 1864


Dear father & mother

            I now sit Down to answer your Kind letter of the 4th which i read this morning & was glad to hear you was all well as this Leaves me quite well at present & in good Spirits    i got a letter from george yesterday & answered it    he & family was well    there was a letter came here - Directed to Charly    you ought to put 1 ten cent stamp on & 1, 3 cent stamp    the 3 cent stamp pays the us postage & the ten cent syamp pays the confederate postage    you sent me the direction to Charly but I think that i had better tell you the Direction    it is co, E, 14th N.y. H. art. prison No 3 1st floor Danville, Va. flag of truce boat Via point look out prisoner of war    i would send it myself but i have not got the stamps So i shall have to send it back     but as it will come back Alraight it wont be delayed long   i am on fatigue to day so i have not long to write but i will write all i can    will you send me the utica morning herald or the weekly    one or the other for i do like to get a utica paper for it comes from home more than anything else    our co is getting bigger than it was for we have got some of the wounded boys of the 17th of june back again & some 6 or 7 of the boys that was detailed in alighter Battery & some more are comeing back just as i was writing these last few lines    there is three boys just come in    Will mother they say there is a jackas of a major in comand of our regt    our co Has been without a comissioned officers at all & been in comand of a orderly Sergt & a good one he is to    fannie wrote & wanted to know where that little orderly was    he was killed the 17th of june   Shot through the Head   then Corporal Charles E. Dority was promoted to orderlyship   he was shot through the brain the 25th of july by a sharp shooter & now learn William Warring is our orderly    he was promoted from a private by the co & a good one he is to   tell me how jake feels about patriotism now for i feel just patriotic enough to give the johnies thier independence & settle the thing right off for i dont belive in such warfare as this a lying still in camp 2 or 3 months, but they will do as they like, & no odds to me.   but I kind a want father to put in a Vote for Maclelan for my sake   so no more at present from your affectionate son   A Sanders

back tell fannie i sent the letter



EDITOR'S NOTES:

Alfred A. Saunders (a.k.a. Sanders)(b. abt. 1845) was a younger brother of Fannie M. (Saunders) Austin who was also born in England. Four days after his brother-in-law (Charles H. Austin) enlisted into Company E of the Fourteenth Heavy Artillery Regiment at Vernon, New York, Alfred Saunders enlisted into Company K of the same Regiment in Berlin, New York on Christmas Day. He was mustered in as a Private, Company K, on January, 23, 1864 to serve three years. Alfred Saunders survived the War and was mustered out with his Company on August 26, 1865, at Washington D. C.


Alfred Saunders does not identify "the little orderly" who was "shot through the head" in the charge on Petersburg on June 17, 1864. However, based on roster information, it was most likely:
James Clark who enlisted November 19, 1863 at Albion, New York at the age of 21 years. He was mustered in as a 1st Sergeant in Company K, 14th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment to serve three years. He was killed June 17, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia.

Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the Year 1897, Vol. 4, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers, New York and Albany, 1898.


Charles Dority enlisted November 23, 1863 at Rossi, New York at the age of 21 years. He was mustered in as a Corporal in Company K, 14th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment on December 21, 1863, to serve three years. He was promoted to sergeant, date not stated and was killed, July 25, 1864, in rifle pits.

Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the Year 1897, Vol. 4, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers, New York and Albany, 1898, Pg. 162.


William Warring enlisted December 18, 1863 at Watertown, New York at the age of 31 years. He was mustered in as a Private in Company K, 14th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment on December 18, 1863, to serve three years. He was promoted to first sergeant, date not stated;mustered in as second lieutenant,Co. B, January 11, 1865; as first lieutenant, May 2, 1865; mustered out with company, August 26, 1865, at Washington D.C.; veteran; commissioned second lieutenant, October 31, 1864, with rank from October 17, 1864, vice M.W. Lemon, promoted; first lieutenant, April 22, 1865, with rank from March 1, 1865, vice C.H. Van Brackle, discharged.

Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the Year 1897, Vol. 4, Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers, New York and Albany, 1898, Pg. 801.


Charles H. Austin, brother-in-law of Alfred Saunders and husband of Fannie Austin, was among the 78 missing members of the 14th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery Regiment in the aftermath of the Petersburg Mine Explosion during the early morning hours of July 30, 1864. According to Fox, "the regiment was selected to lead the assault at the Crater, and was the first to plant its colors on the enemy's works, where it captured a Confederate flag. It's casualties in this action were ten killed, 44 wounded, and 78 missing; total 132."

A press release as printed in the Utica Daily Observer, Tuesday Evening, August 2, 1864, page 1, from the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac concerning the battle was filed at 9 o'clock in the evening on July 30th and reads as follows:

"After the explosion at an early hour this morning everything betokened a brilliant victory, but soon after matters assumed a different aspect, part of the attacking forces, having given way, thus exposing the balance to an enfilading fire from both artillery and infantry.
   The mine was to be exploded at 3 AM, the batteries to open at once along the entire line immediately after the explosion, and the 9th corps to make the charge, supported by the 28th, Ayre's division, of the 5th corps, and the 3rd division of the 2nd corps.
    The greater part of the arrangement was carried out as ordered although the commencement was later than the hour designated, on account of the fuse going out twice. The explosion took place at precisely 40 minutes past 4 o'clock. The roar of artillery that followed was almost deafening.
    At half past 5 o'clock the charge was made, and the fort and part of the line on each side was carried in the most brilliant style. The 2d division which was in the center advanced, and carried the 2nd line, a short distance beyond the front, and here they rested, holding their ground with the utmost determination. It was at this time the colored division under Brig. Gen. White, was pushed forward and ordered to carry the hill, which would have decided the contest. The troops advanced in good order as far as the first line where they received a galling fire, which checked them; and although quite a number kept on advancing, the greater portion seemed to become utterly demoralized, part of them taking refuge in the fort and the balance running to the rear as fast as possible. The men rallied and again pushed forward but without success, the greater portion of their officers being killed or wounded.
   During this time they seemed to be without anyone managing them, and finally they fell back to the rear out of the way of the volley of canister and musketry that was plowing through the ranks.......The loss in the 2nd division of the 9th corps, General Ledlie commanding, was very severe, and is estimated from 1,000 to 1,200, while many make the figures larger.......Col. Marshall commanding the 2nd brigade of this division was... taken prisoner along with several of his staff."