While looking up some information on the 23rd New York Cavalry I found a great site for information on New York troops in the war, but also a letter written by a member of the 12th New York Cavalry while stationed at Newport Barracks. The letter is part of an online project of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, you can read the entire letter here: Letter From the Twelfth New York Cavalry. The 23rd New York Cavalry, who fought at Newport Barracks, was often attached to the 12th New York during their service in the New Bern area. I have quoted the section that discusses Newport from the letter dated July 10, 1863:
We are stationed at a small place known by the name of Newport, (it should have been called No-port, for hang me if I can see anything that entitles it to such a name,) on the military railway that runs from Newbern to Morehead. In the beginning of the war our camp ground was occupied by the 7th N. C, (rebel) regiment, who erected log barracks as much for the accommodation of their invaders as themselves. We find our log houses much preferable to the crowded tents in which we lately took shelter, and half bless the labors of the defeated enemy for the comfort they afford us. Two companies of the 98th N. Y. Volunteer Infantry, with an excellent staff of officers, are companions of ours in camp, and all do duty together—our pickets doing the outside guard some six or eight miles from camp, in woods and swamps as dreary as any ever pictured by the romance writers of ancient times. Lonely occupation is this picket work, I assure you, and as dangerous as one can imagine. No sleepy heads are wanted in our army, and I am somewhat pleased to relate that the Erie county boys are careful upon their posts and can be depended upon in every time of danger. A great many incidents, as laughable as they are ludicrous, might be related in regard to some of our midnight picket duty, when the more superstitious among the men fancy approaching rebels in the sonorous squeaking of reptiles, and the short spasmodic grouts of hogs, half wild, around them. And no wonder, for, I believe, there is not in the world such a swarm of loathsome reptiles, from alligators down to ants, as is to be seen and heard here. Confound their noise; they make one wish that some St. Patrick would visit us in mercy and give us rest from such a provoking plague.
You can search for any New York unit here: New York Civil War Regiments.
- I also want to mention that the blog now has over 1000 views and I want to thank everyone who has visited here since I have started posting. I plan to keep updating the blog even after I am finished with the book on Newport Barracks so please keep checking back.