SOLDIER LETTER GROUP - PRIVATE JEFFERSON GALBRAITH, 173rd AND 195TH PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY

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Consisting of 20 letters written from Private  Galbraith to his mother—[single cover address:“Mrs. E.F. Galbraith/ Bainbridge/ Lancaster Co./ PA”]-- while serving with two PA regiments, the 173rd [Nov. 1862/Aug. 1863] and 195th [Feb. 1865/Jan. 1866]. The earliest letter from the 173rd regiment is dated November 28, 1862; the last letter from the 195th regiment is dated October 21, 1865.

These two regiments saw no action. The 173rd, a nine month unit, spent the bulk of its time stationed in Norfolk. The 195th guarded fords of the Shenandoah at Kablestown, W.VA., made and expedition to Staunton, and was stationed in Washington, DC., from July 1865 through January 1866. During its nine month service the 173rd lost 19 men to disease, while the 195th lost 10 during its year service, primarily in Washington.

Private Galbraith’s war was not a hard war, and his letter Dec. 10, 1862  from Norfolk sets the tone on what was to follow:

“…Our duty is not hard  as we thought it would be when we came here we thought we was for picket duty it is not the case we are guarded here in case of an atact to be reddy for action so you see we have nothing to do but drill & do camp duty which is not hard to doo. The revellee is at 6 o’clock & breakfast at 7 drill too 10 ½ o’Clock  then we do nothing till 4 o’clock in the afternoon when we go out on dress parade that is over we are donefor the day we eat supper at 6                 &tattoo at nine when we retire for the night. It is likely we will serv out our time hear if the men takes care thselves”.

Born in 1839, Jefferson Galbraith enlisted on 4/24/61 as a Private and on that date mustered into Co. A, 10th Pennsylvania Infantry. Mustered out on 7/31/61 at Harrisburg, PA. He enlisted again on 11/1/62 as a Private, and on that date mustered into Co. A, 173rd Pennsylvania, mustering out on 8/17/63. Galbraith enlisted for a third time on 3/16/65, this time as a 1st Lieutenant. On that date he was commissioned into Co. H, 195th Pennsylvania. Mustered out on 1/31/66 at Washington, D.C. He died on 4/22/1922 and is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, PA.    [jp/ld]

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