About this Letter

The letter “FROM LEVI D. GREEN TO DEAR MOTHER – SEPTEMBER 20, 1863” is a letter written by Levi D. Green to his mother during the American Civil War. In the letter, Levi provides an update on his well-being and that of his comrades. He requests that his mother send back a spoon that he had forgotten and mentions the gifts he has sent home for various family members. He also asks his mother to write to him often and provide updates on what she is up to.

Levi also mentions that he and Robert Rider are now cooks and recalls their good times when they were with the headquarters Army of the Potomac. He mentions General Mead and provides a physical description of him. The letter ends with a request for his mother to remember him.

Overall, the letter provides a glimpse into the life of a soldier during the Civil War and the longing for home and loved ones. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers during the conflict and the importance of communication and connection with family.

Letter Transcript


Camp near Bull Run Dear Mother I received your Ever welcome letter Lat knight it found me well and Tough and I hope this will find you the same. Marvin was quite well. Last knight He is quite smart this morning he had a bad cold he was on guard and it rained all knight So he get wet I think he will get smart soon.

I want you to send that spoon back to me I forgot to take it out of the pocket you can send it by male I don’t know how to get along with out it. We sent some plank road to pa half a plug the name of it is Navy Tobacco. The new pants is for Bill and the over coat that has no cape is for Bill the red shirt is for Lorenzo and the white one is for pa if he wants it. And the over coat with a cape the new dress coat is for William.

Rosalind you say thinks that I am pops best boy. She wants me to ? then old tits of ? Would if I was their you say Sterns and she don’t hitch I hear that she is married. She had better look out for me I am quite coltish we can get it plenty of meat for our bat in Washington for 25 cents. Some of the boys has got bernt in the fraz wall I have just got back from drill I had to drill 2 hours on mounting and dismounting. I have got a sorrel hors Marvin has got a black hors Carton Canli has got a gray horse Danniel Tompkins has got a rone horse William Reikon has a black horse Robert Rider a bay V. L. Rider a black.

Ma I want you to write often and let me know how you get a long. Sterns what do you live for and what are you up to are you a packing Rosalind arse or what are you about write and let me know can you shoot a chipmunk woodchuck. I can not and if you can you can do more things than I wold like to be at home to drill you in the infantry well. Our regt was neatly drilled in the Manual of Arms we have been transferred in Cavalry.

You must direct L. D . Green Washington D.C. Co. E 19 N . Y. Cavalry and it will come state try and see if it don’t come I will pay the wiskey if I had a good drink. I think it would make my big to switch like the old bay. I could fight better than I could with out it.

No more this time write soon.

John I will send you a plate with your name

Levi D. Green Co. E 19 N.Y. Cavalry Washington, D.C.

Robert Rider and I are cooks – when we was with the hed quarters Army of the Potomac we had good times we could see Orvill every day General Mead is a tall man his eyes are like that of Falk (?) Sharp.

When this you see remember me All though you see me not

write Soon

Researcher’s Notes: The letter references Daniel Tompkins. Tompkins joined the Dragoons at the age of 19 years. He enlisted on Aug. 13, 1862, at Wellsville, N.Y.; mustered in as private, Co. E, Aug. 16, 1862: discharged for disability, Nov. 7, 1864, at Washington, D. C. Later in life, he moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Those following the Green Boys will know that Marvin and John Sterns Green moved to Eau Claire county Wisconsin after the war. John Sterns moved to Altoona, Wisconsin, and opened a livery stable there. Sterns is buried in Eau Claire, while Marvin married and, after a family dispute over his choice of a bride, moved to Chico, California. 

The letter also references Robert Rider. Rider joined the dragoons at the Age of 21 years. He enlisted at Wellsville on Aug. 5, 1862, mustered in as private, Co. E, Aug. 16. 1862; appointed corporal, July 1, 1864; mustered out, June 19, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va. No further information is had on the life of Robert after the war.

Finally, Levi speaks of a VL Rider. This is a transcription error from the original letter. VL Rider is Van Renslaer Rider. Rider joined the regiment at the Age of 18 years. He mustered in as private, Co. E, Aug. 16, 1862; appointed corporal, Sept. 1, 1863; sergeant, Sept. 19, 1864; mustered out with company, June 30, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va.

I will also make two conclusions not fully supported by the research; however, this does make sense to me as a researcher. Levi says that “William Reikon” has a black horse. I believe that this is a transcription error, and Levi is speaking of William T. Rider. Rider enlisted at the age of 28 years. As of Aug. 5, 1862, his enlistment was at Wellsville, mustered in as private, Co. E, Aug. 16. 1862; appointed corporal, July 1, 1864; mustered out, June 19, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va. After the war, William moved to Agnew, Michigan.

My final supposition about this letter is that this letter had one more transcription error. In the letter, Levi speaks of “Carton Canli” having been issued a gray horse. I am almost sure the person he is speaking of is Carlton F. Cline. Carlton joins the regiment at the age of 20 years. He enlisted, on Aug. 12, 1862, at Independence, N. Y.; mustered in as private, Co. E, Aug. 16, 1862, to serve three years; appointed corporal June 15, 1863; sergeant July 20, 1864; mustered out with company, June 30, 1865, at Clouds Mills, Va. I am sure Levi is referencing Carlton Cline because records show that Cline moved to Hallsport, New York, after the war. Furthermore, Cline lived next door to Marvin, Levi, and John Sterns Green. I have attached the 1855 census record to support my conclusions.

So, there are two things to consider. The Dragoons roster shows a Carlton F. Cline, and the census shows a Carlton O. Cline. The census indicates that Carlton Cline was nine years old at the time of the census date. The Dragoons roster means that Carlton F. Cline joined the Regiment at the age of 20. If we conclude that the census was taken in 1855 and Cline joined the Regiment in 1862, that puts Cline at nineteen or twenty, depending upon the birth date. 

So, let’s have a little more fun. I have found a record of the birth of Carlton T. Cline, born in 1842. He died on 28 Dec 1903 (aged 60–61) at Wellsville, Allegany County, New York. Cline is buried in the Hallsport Union Cemetery in Wellsville, Allegany County, New York. If we can accept that nobody seems to know the actual middle name of Mr. Cline, I conclude that we are all speaking of the same person. 

Snapshot of the 1855 census showing Carlton O. Cline living next door to Marvin, Levi and John Sterns Green.