Friday, August 19, 2016

Daniel Mott in the Civil War--One of his Last Written Letters By Pat Kinsella Herdeg

At the end of this month, it will be 154 years since my great great great uncle Daniel Mott died fighting in the Civil War. Younger brother of our Diadamia Mott, who married William Youngs and whose daughter Kate married Byron Baker, Daniel was a farmer in Virgil, NY.
He enlisted in the 76th NY Regiment, and by all accounts went missing in action on August 28th, 1862 during the Battle of Brawner’s Farm, in the Second Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Second Manassas.

We have written about Daniel’s death here:

Our Daniel mustered in as a private in 1861 in Cortland, NY at the age of twenty-six. He was to serve a three year term in the 76th NY Regiment, Company A. The Register of Enlistments records that our Daniel is six feet, one half inch in height, with grey eyes, brown hair, and ‘florid’ complexion. 

Marker for the 76th NY Regiment at Brawner's Farm Field that day

Six weeks before Daniel died, he wrote this letter to his older brother Samuel:
                                                                                                                                Camp opposite Fredericksburg,Va.
                                                                                                Sunday, July the 13th, 1862
Dear Brother,

I seat myself on my knapsack with pen in hand to inform you that I am well, hoping this will find you all enjoying the same blessing. We are under marching orders and have got our knapsacks all ready packed so as to start at 15 minutes warning yet we may not start before tomorrow morning. I expect we will go to Warrenton, Va. about 35 miles northwest of this place and near the blue ridge mountains. There is quite a great many sick in the regiment. Nearly all that are not able to march have been taken to the hospitals in Alexandria and Washington last Sunday.

The climate agrees with me very well but I dread the march. We have to carry so much on our backs that I often wish I had the strength of Sampson of old. But I can get along as well as most of the Reg.; then we are all toiling together and if needs be will fight till our last drop of blood is spilled in defense of our country. I hope the President’s call for 300,000 additional volunteers will be promptly responded to and I think New York will fill up her quota of 50,000 men without drafting but to do this every town and county ought to bear a share and I think Virgil should spare a few more of her sons.

My advice to any young man that can possibly leave home and whose health will admit, is to enlist by all means. ‘What’ says some young man ‘leave at such a busy time of year as this.’ Yes I say leave now when you are called for and so much needed to help crush out this accursed rebellion for the preservation of the Union is of greater importance than haying or harvesting. And if the new volunteers in large numbers will come on and hold the places that we older and better drilled ones now hold so as to let us go on to Richmond and Charleston, we could go on in such large numbers as to break the back bone of rebeldom in a short time.
Tell Laura, Alice and John (Samuel’s three children) that I have not forgot them yet but want to see them all real bad.

You must write soon as convenient. I send my love to you all, this from your friend and Brother,

                                                                                                Daniel Mott

Direct as follows and it will follow us go where we will
Doubledays Brigade 76 Regt
Co. A N.Y.S.V. Washington, D.C.

Such a strong image to imagine Daniel writing while seated on his bulging knapsack, waiting for orders to march. His hope ‘to break the back bone of rebeldom in a short time’ did not come true, as the war lasted another three years.

When Daniel died in 1862, our Diadamia (sister to Daniel) was raising six year old Rosena and one year old Edwin. Our Kate (my great grandmother) would be born two years later. I wonder if Damie often looked at her three children and caught glimpses of her dear Daniel. And do echoes of him pass down the 154 years onto our lives?

Daniel, we thank you, we honor your sacrifice for our country, and we remember you still.


Nancy Wright said...

You know, it's amazing what's in each of our lives as we live our time on this earth....all decided by the era that we were born into! What a family history we have and so much to be proud of!

Mom/Aunt CB said...

Yes, Daniel left his mark on ALL who read this! And the knowledge that Diadamia eventually lost her 6 year old, as a young lady, leaves us with the sad fact thet she, too knew death in her life again. She lived to be over 90, deaf and half blind with Macylar degeberation and her last years, living with relatives whhenever she could. she knew grief intimately!