The author of the letters, Jonas Horn was with the 85th Pennsylvania

Volunteer Infantry Regiment


The 3 letters were written by Private Jonas Horn (1823-1907) of Company D, 85th Pennsylvania Infantry. 5 members of the Horn family were in Company D. All mustered into service on 11/11/1861

  • Captain William H. Horn, Resigned 1862

  • Sergeant John Horn,

  • Private Hezekiah Horn, Mustered out 11/22/1864

  • Private Jonas Horn, Discharged on Surgeon's Certificate 6/24/1863

  • Private Elias Horn, Transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps 3/16/1864

In the July letter Jonas mentions Hezekiah Horn being taken prisoner in NC. In the August letter he mentions Elias Horn.

Jonas was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate in 1863

The 85th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was organized at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, beginning October 16, 1861, and mustered in for a three-year enlistment under the command of Colonel Joshua B. Howell.

  • July 1862 at Malvern Hill

  • July - August 1862 at Harrison's Landing

  • August 16-23, 1862 Fortress Monroe

  • Sept 18, 1862 To Suffolk, attached to Wessell’s Brigade, Division at Suffolk, Va., 7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia

This website has a complete listing of the locations by dates for the 85th. https://civilwarintheeast.com/us-regiments-batteries/pennsylvania/85th-pennsylvania-infantry/

Transcription has been cleaned up a bit to make reading easier. Some words cannot be deciphered because of handwriting or spelling.



July the 20 1862

I received your letter and I was glad to hear from home. I am well at this time and I hope these few lines may find you in the same state of health.

We are (?) one mile from (Jamesirer?) in the woods. We have to get up in the morning before daylight and form a battleline. There will be no fighting done for sixty days.


Hesekiah is taken prisoner. He is in North Carolina. He will be at home as soon as we will.


We have to go out on pickit(?). We was out one night and it was raining. Me and Harry laying under a ?


It is now Sunday. We have got preaching every Sunday at eleven o'clock.

I sent twenty dollars in this letter and you may keep it or put it on (intres?). I have got ten dollars more to send.


I haven't got much to write at this time. I want to know if Mary Ann is well. You never write about her. I would like to see her.


I must come to a close with my letter. I want you to write Sunday and tell me if you got this money. So good bye brother Andrew.

Jonas Horn



August the 4 1862

I received your letter on the 1 of this month and was glad to hear from you all and I am well at this present time and Elias is well. Harrey(?) too.

I sent you a letter with twenty dollars in it. I want to know if you got it.


I haven't much to write now at this time thient(?) much a agoing on now you wrote in your letter that you got a (?) him.

I want to know if you lot one no more on this

we go down to the river and take a swim. The river is too (?)


Write everything is dear here. Butter is 50 cents a pound, cheese 50 cents and one dollar, a quart of (?)Stute Charis and Cheese 50 cents a pound.


We have cannons mounted on our brest(?) work that throw a shell seven miles. We was out on pickit the other night and the gnats was so bad that they stung me so that my hands and face swelled up so that I couldn't see. our friend is vary ? he is sick now.

We drill every day it is hot here with our woolen (shirts?).

I need (to) come to a close.

So good by Andrew

Jonas Horn



September the 24 1862

Dear brother I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well at this present time and I hope these few lines may find you in the same state of health.

I received your letter on the 15th of this month with five dollars in it. I was very glad I

(Couldn't write anney? summer and I did?)

We are in Suffolk all the men in this town went to the rebel army. The women here look like a pumpkin that was frost bitten. I am on guard every day.

I want to know how you getting along here at home. I want to know how the corn crops is. We have all the rebels all drove back again no more on this we (?) soft bread here.

I don't know anything about Elias where he is. I haven't heard from him since he left. We are about forty miles from the North Carolina line. It very hot here and cold nights no more on this.

I must come to a (close) with my letter. I want you to write soon. I like to hear from home. I would like to see you all.

So I must come to a close.

Good by Mary

and Andrew

and Alexander

and all

Jonas Horne


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History:

The Battle of Seven Pines, also known as the Battle of Fair Oaks or Fair Oaks Station, took place on May 31 and June 1, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the culmination of an offensive up the Virginia Peninsula by Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, in which the Army of the Potomac reached the outskirts of Richmond.

On May 31, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston attempted to overwhelm two Federal corps that appeared isolated south of the Chickahominy River. The Confederate assaults, although not well coordinated, succeeded in driving back the IV Corps and inflicting heavy casualties.

Although the battle was tactically inconclusive, it was the largest battle in the Eastern Theater up to that time (and second only to Shiloh in terms of casualties thus far, about 11,000 total). Seven Pines therefore marked the closest Union forces came to Richmond in this offensive.



The transcription below has some edits and alterations to make it easier to read. The misspellings and lack of punctuation are mostly left out.


Written on "The Union Volunteer" letterhead

Virginia June 9th 1862

Dear Brother

I received your letter of May 28th last night and was glad to learn that you are all well and I now seat myself to answer it by saying that I am well and I thank God for it.

We have had another hard battle on the last day of May. We was driven back two miles and lost everything but what we had on our backs and had to stand in the rain for twenty four hours and the mud and water up to our knees and are still without tents or blankets.


We are fourteen miles from Richmond. I am getting tired of soldering. I don't expect to get home against harvest so you will have to get along as well as you can without me. I would like to know how the grain looks.


Our division is cut up very bad and I don't know what they will do with some say we are not going to be sent back to Washington City or Baltimore but I don't know (what) they will do with us. I hope they will take us out of these fine swamps for we will all die here

well I don't (have) anything more to write at this time so I will bring my letter to a close for the present by saying that I want you to write as soon as this comes to hand.

Farewell for a while

Jonas Horne

to

Andrew Horn



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Updated: Dec 4, 2020


Image above from the Battle of Williamsburg--Gen. Hancock's charge, May 5, 1862. This was one of the engagements of the 85th PA Infantry.


Below is the transcription of a letter currently in the store and listed for sale both on our site and eBay. Some spelling and grammar corrections are made for the ease of reading. There are no true sentences in the letter (periods followed by a capital letter in the next sentence) so some of this is guesswork in transcribing.


This letter was written by Private Jonas Horn (1823-1907) of Company D, 85th Pennsylvania Infantry. The 85th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was organized at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, beginning October 16, 1861, and mustered in for a three-year enlistment under the command of Colonel Joshua B. Howell.


The 85th Infantry served their time around Washington until March 1862 when they moved to the Peninsula and saw action at the Battle of Williamsburg and the Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks). The 85th Pennsylvania Infantry was organized at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, beginning October 16, 1861, and mustered in for a three-year enlistment under the command of Colonel Joshua B. Howell.

Jonas was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate on 24 November 1862.


Fort Good Hope, Dec 30th 1861


Dear Brother

I now send you a few lines to let you know that I am well. Hoping these lines will

find you all in Good health. I received our letter of the 22th (sic) and was glad to hear that you are all well. We all a giting along first Rate all in a Good humor in our mess this Morning and I thought I would write you a funny letter in the first place. I will give you the nick names as we are all Cooks. Mine is Sal & Reeses is Bets.

(What follows is a bit confusing) To Reeses is Mol & millers is Cate and Brattons is Sues

But we all sleep together on the ground. We sleep on the table and and eat and sit on it.


We have a good deal of disputing about milking old (cow name?). It takes hard squeezing to get her to give down her milk for she has not had a calf since the last time and she is so poor that it would take three to make a shadow. We have not seen a straw stack or hay stack since we came here.


They are talking of swearing us over again and we have pretty much quit swearing and for that reason we won't swear till we understand what it is for.

We think it is for the purpose of making Reglers (regulars?) of us and if so we won't take the oath. We are willing to fight for our Country as volunteers as long as we are volunteered and that was three years if the war lasts that long. There is a good deal of fuss in Camp this morning about it but I think it will not amount to much.


We don't get much war news here. We are building a large fort here and expect to stay till spring if the Boys across the Potomac does not advance South and then we Expect to follow them and Drive the Rebels out of Existence or make them lay Down their arms or love the United States.


I must bring this to a close. The Girls all send their best respects to all the Boys and would like for them to come over and hold them one night.


Jonas Horn

To

Andrew Horn


#CivilWar #Letter

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