153 years ago today, Frank C Heermans died 10 Jul 1864 at Andersonville prison. He was born born c. 1842 to of Abraham, son of William (my ancestor), son of Abraham Heermans of Kingston, a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The below letter to his cousin William G Hall was written a month before his regiment would fight in Gettysburg. I do not know if that’s when he was captured. The scans were sent to me by my distant cousin Peggy Duff, who I believe got them from the Dutchess County Historical Society.
Headquarters 20th Regt N.Y.S.M.
Camp A Halls landing at the mouth of the Potomic Crick Vir. June the 5, 1863
I take this opportunity to answer your last letter wich I received last night it found me as well as can be expected for a souldier hoping that these few lines will find you and all the rest of the friends at home the same, you wrote your letter the same day that we was fighting the battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) I presume that you saw the full particulars of the fight in the papers, but for all that I’ll try to give you a little discription of the fun that I passed through. We crossed the river on Friday at one O’ck and at three O’ck we had the most of our troops acrossed then the rebils commenced to shell us, the first one that they shot bursted over our heads the second one come very near killing the colonel of the 23rd Regt he was siting on his horse behind me some three ro…(?) it just passed his head and bursted it wounded two men in his regt by this time our battaryes open upon them and silenced them, then we was marched some two miles farther down the river, they did not trouble us eny more that night. The nex morning we packed up redy for a fight, at nine O’ck the ball commenced we was under constant fire untill after dark, at three O’ck in the afternoon there was three Co of our Regt was ordered out to a road as fi…(?) the Companies was A. R. J. we was on the left and just before we reached the road John R. Margas and Nickle Gilroy got shot John R. got shot in the arm and Gilroy in the cheek we laid three days and three nights in front of the enemy and it seemed like three weeks to us, we lost only some thirty men in our Regt, but thank God I never want to see another such a fight for I can’t begin to discribe it to you, a Saturday night we laid in a ditch and you could hear the wounded boy groaning and hollowing for help, but the nex morning we took care of them a Monday night we crossed the river and cheeted rebs, we have bin here I believe ten days. To day we are doing extry duty at present unloading boats with army supplies such as hay, Oats, Corn Be (?) but the word is now that we are agoing back to General Burnsides headquarters to do guard duty to wich is only six miles from here so now I must draw my scribling to a close for I don’t believe that you can read half of it
Please wright soon and oblige your sincere friend and Cousin
F C Heermans to William G Hall
The below information about the 20th NY is from the New York State Military Museum.
(The 80th Infantry Regiment of the Twentieth New York State Militia; Ulster Guard) was active at South mountain and Antietam, encamped at Sharpsburg for one week and marched through Crampton’s gap, Leesburg, Warrenton and Stafford Court House to Fredericksburg, where it participated in the battle. Winter quarters were established soon after near Hall’s landing and occupied until Jan. 7, 1863, when the 80th was assigned, to the provost guard brigade, with headquarters at Brooks’ station and remained on duty at army headquarters until after the battle of Chancellorsville. In June, 1863, the regiment was assigned to the 1st brigade, 3d division, 1st corps, and was closely engaged at Gettysburg, where it lost 170 killed, wounded or missing out of 287 engaged. It suffered most severely in the repulse of Pickett’s charge on the last day. After the battle of Gettysburg, the 80th was again ordered to headquarters for provost guard duty and continued in this service until the end of the siege of Petersburg, when it shared in the final assault, April 2, 1865.