Introduction to "Memories and Letters of a Civil War Veteran" Memories and Letters of a Civil War Veteran Memories and Letters of a Civil War Veteran

Introduction to "Memories and Letters of a Civil War Veteran"
Israel P. Spencer
These pages are copyrighted © by George R. Spencer, and not to be used without permission
Let me add that the copy of these letters were given to George R. Spencer by, Priscilla Willard Spencer,
the widow of Ben Spencer, who was the grandson of Israel.

Transcribed by George Spencer for his Rootsweb pages circa September 2003.

Photograph: Israel, 1863, Company A, 136th Regiment, Iron Clads, NY Volunteers


In March, 1839, in Sangerfield, Oneida Co., NY, my 2nd great Grandfather, Job(2) married Welthe Lewis. From that marriage they produced 4 sons and 2 daughters.

Of those 4 sons, 3 participated in the Civil War. Their first son, Morton Lewis (age 21), enlisted on May 16, 1861 (the first from Allegany Co.) and was assigned to Company B, 23rd

Regiment (Southern Tier Regiment), NY Volunteers. He was unable to continue in the war effort, as he was wounded on December 13, 1861 at Fredericksburg, VA, a shot to the right arm, and was sent home shortly after that. He later became a veterinarian and died on 9 November 1930 in Little Genesse, NY. He never married.

However 2 of their other sons also joined up and entered the Civil War. Frederick R. (age 19) enlisted August 6 1862 and was assigned to Company A, 136th Regiment (Iron Clads), NY

Volunteers as was his younger brother, Israel P. (age 18), who also enlisted on 6 August 1862 and he too was assigned to the same Company and Regiment as Frederick.

Frederick had health problems on the onset of his tour of duty, contracting dysentery and was hospitalized from Nov 2 that year and on April 10th, 1863 he rejoined his regiment.

Israel in the meantime continued on with his Company 

On April 27th, 1863 their regiment was involved in the Battle of Chancellorsville, VA. that lasted until May 6th.
Total Union casualties of that encounter were 1,113 killed, 7,052 wounded and 4,422 captured or missing.

On July 1st, 1863, their regiment was involved in the Battle of Gettysburg, PA, that lasted until July 3rd.
Total Union losses 3,070 killed, 14.497 wounded and 5.434 captured and 23,001 missing.

The 136th was on the left flank of the battle.

They both served with the 136th until they were mustered out on June 13th, 1865 in Washington, DC. Although in the beginning they were with the Army of the Potomac but eventually the regiment was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, which was commanded by General T. Sherman. Both were involved with the Siege of Atlanta and Sherman's "march to the sea" in Savannah, Ga. Frederick came out of the war unscathed, however Israel was wounded in the arm during the Battle of Bentonville, NC.

What follows now are transcripts of my great Uncle Israel's letters to home in chronological order as he wrote them. There is mention of Frederick in his letter, and a letter or two of Fredericks. Israel's sister, Agatha DeEtte, kept these letters and then gave them to her brother Israel for keeping. On January 1, 1918, Israel's son, Omar C. along with Israel's help, reproduced the letters, and had 6 copies made, for other family members. The originals I (George Spencer) am told were destroyed when the house of Israel's burned down in Vernonia, Oregon.

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The original file was extremely large and slow to load.  Thus, 15 pages now cover the content of all Israel Spencer's letters.

Updated March 14, 2005 - Gail Pomerantz [Gitalaya Web Designs : 1995 - 2005]