This letter was written by Edwin Thomas Scott (1837-1905), the son of David Wetherell Scott (1806-1854) and Lodensy Butterfield (1817-1870) of Allegany County, New York. Edwin wrote the letter to his wife, Lola M. Stebbins (1845-1920), whom he married in 1862. They had one child at the time of this letter — Lucile (“Little Lucy”) Lynn Scott (1863-1933).
At age 24, Edwin enlisted at Cuba, New York, on 1 November 1862 as a private in Co. E, 12th New York Cavalry. He was transferred to Co. C in May 1863 and was promoted to Sergeant in January 1864 and to Quartermaster in June 1864. He mustered out at Raleigh, North Carolina, on 19 July 1865. According to enlistment records, Edwin stood 5 ft. 7 inches tall and had light hair and blue eyes.
[Editor’s Note: This letter has no envelope and the author only signed his name “Ed” but a thorough search of all Co. C, 12th N.Y. Cavalry troopers with a wife named Lola and daughter named Lucy led me to Edwin.]
Headquarters 23rd Army Corps
Raleigh, North Carolina
April 14th 1865
It has now been several days since I have had an opportunity to write you & probably long before this reaches you, you will hear of the occupation of this place by Gen’l Sherman’s army. We also hear great news from Gen’l Grant’s army which seems to indicate that the war is “played out” so now we may all hope to be speedily discharged & sent home. But not before everything is arranged for the best interests of the government. As you will read all particulars in the papers, I need not write you of the rapid march we took from Goldsboro. Since the army started from that place which was only last Monday, I have been back to New Bern again by Railway. I left my horse at Goldsboro so to have him when I come back & day before yesterday I overtook the army about halfway up here. The different army corps took different roads so they could advance ore rapidly. I believe the 20th Corps reached the city first — that is, after [Judson] Kilpatrick’s Cavalry. They were first & fought the rebs some 15 miles beyond the city last night.
The troops are all in excellent spirits at the prospects of so speedy a close of the war & cheer after cheer tells how glad the soldiers are that it is so nearly over. Gen’l Sherman says he shall soon discharge one of the largest & best armies in the world. It is impossible for me to give you any idea of the extent of so great an army. Just our corps alone (the 23rd) reaches out when in motion with its long wagon train and artillery over 20 miles. Then there are five more corps & all belong to Sherman. It is about fifty miles from Goldsboro here. They are fast building what few bridges the Johnnies burned & by this evening we may expect to see a train straight from New Bern. The telegraph, I believe, is already in operation.
Raleigh lies in a hilly, open country — very picturesque, healthy, & not much unlike Southern Pennsylvania. The city is on an elevated spot, contains the State buildings, Asylum, & a great many beautiful residences.
I am sorry to say I have not received a letter from you though I have written many, but our mail has had hard work to find us, so I suppose I shall get a great number of letters in a few days. I anticipate you have been to see mother by this time. But I have not heard from her, so I do not know. Henry Herrick brought me the last news I had from home. He left on the 27th & arrived at Goldsboro week before last.
My health is very good. Give my love to your mother, Charley & Carrie & all the family. We hear Old [Joseph E.] Johns[t]on who has command of the Rebs in this state has gone up to Gen’l Grant to surrender. If so, we shall not have to chase him much farther.
Kiss little Lucy for me & tell her she will see her papa in a few weeks.
Your affectionate — Ed
Direct to Co. C, 12th New York Cavalry
Escort Headquarters 23rd A.C. ¹
¹ The 23rd Army Corps was commanded by Jacob Dolson Cox in April 1865. He later became the 28th Governor of Ohio.