2 April 1864

William J. Bancroft directed this letter to his sisters in Shortsville, Ontario county, New York. He wrote the letter from Camp Stoneman near Washington D. C.

Camp Stoneman
Washington D. C.
April 2, 1864

Dear Sister,

I received your kind an welcome letter yesterday and was not displeased with my first of April present. I should have gotten it sooner but the “L” was tortured into an “F” so I did not get it until yesterday morning. We had a very good sermon about the same hour that they hold service in Shortsville. It was pleasant but windy. And after that we had dress parade.

You must send me a copy of the golden shower. Just roll it up and put a piece of stout paper around it and it will come. Or if you cannot spare one, send the chain. Either will be very acceptable to me. I have found one or two professing Christians. One Corp. Baker in Co. E appears to be a very fine man. ¹ He is a pretty good singer and we have spent some very pleasant moments together.

I received a letter from Albert Tuesday. He was in Plymouth and did not know when he should get paid off. He is not certain of getting home this spring but it he does come, he will call on me. He is having great times now fishing eels and catfish. I guess he will try to get transferred to thus company. If he does, we will see some good times together. You say that Mr. Barhite has been around collecting the money that was subscribed for Annie’s tombstones. I did tell Alma I would give five dollars but it is not paid yet. I was in hopes that I should get paid and then I would send it to her in a letter. But as they are ready to get them and as pay day seems no nearer than one week ago, you may ask father to pay it  in for the object is an worthy one — that of erecting a monument to grace and virtue. Let all see in what esteem the kind, virtuous, and good are held by their friends and associates and emulate her graces, but not her faults for she no doubt had faults as well as all the rest of mankind. We will, I think, be paid next week. The paymaster has been here this week but was ordered to the front to pay off the troops there so that they can move. It is said that he sent his papers back to the city to another man who will come on and pay this regiment soon. Find out what time they intend to have the stone set up and if it is not within two weeks, you need not pay it and I will send it to Alma as soon as we are paid.

Give my respects to all of the young folks that we were wont to be with at our bible class. I would enjoy being with them again but I have marked my path and I am content to follow it. And I hope that this regiment will yet be placed where we shall make ourselves heard from and though I wish for an honorable and speedy peace, I had rather it should hold out long enough so that it can be proved whether the regiment is composed of the true mettle for good soldiers.

Present my congratulations to Mr. Janes and lady in the increase of his family. I should like to hear from him by letter. I find it impossible to remember all by letters but I should be glad to answer anyone who will be kind enough to favor me with a letter. Mr. Barton’s address is Sturgess Street, Joseph county, Michigan.

After looking again at your letter, I have come to the conclusion that I had better let you pay the amount and if you think best, something more. By the way, have you received my corporal’s warrant that I sent home? I put it in an envelope and sent it to you. I should like to know whether it got there or not. I have written since requesting you to have father send ten dollars. If you have not sent it, send it as soon as you get this. I am sorry that it happens so I cannot send the money to Alma myself but it is as well perhaps. Your affectionate brother, — Wm. J. Bancroft


¹ This must have been Lamont M. Baker who was the only corporal named Baker in the 24th New York State Cavalry at the time. Corp. Baker was in Co. G, however.