Three letters of William S. Delany, Co. H from Delany Family History, Provided by Janis Taberna, great granddaughter of Pvt. Delany.   

Thanks to Janis Taberna for contributing these letters from her ancestor that sample three time periods of the Roundhead campaigns, December 1861 (corrected from 1862 date listed in Delany Family History information), Febraury 1862 and February 1863. Because the letters are hand typed transcriptions with scans provided, the letters are presented as thumbnail images for readability.  

Photos on Right: War time images of William S. Delaney from Taberna Family Collection.

Below is a short biographical profile provided by Janis Taberna to give some background on her ancestor and lead-in to the letters.  This information came to the websmith in e-mail form.

William Smith Delany was born in Slippery Rock Penn. in 1836 and died Dec 22, 1898 in Ellwood City Penn. He is buried in Hickorynell (now Lillyville) Cemetery in Ellwood City Pa. His GAR marker is 1383 and his dates for service was Aug 31 1861 to July 24 1865. As stated in the Delany family history ,William was wounded in the neck while fighting a battle at Petersburg, Virginia on July 30, 1864. The wound caused stiffness in his arm and neck and was allowed to return home for a short time after this. When his wound healed he re enlisted in the Army . On July 24, 1865 at Harrisburg Penn., he received a medical discharge. He served in the Union Army Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 100 Pa Infantry under James C Stevenson. He held the rank of private, Corporal and Sergeant. In the book there are letters that he wrote home to his wife and sister in law dated Feb. 1862 Beaufort SC where he talks of a 21 day sea voyage and landed in Hilton Head. They had a hard navy battle and see horried sights. How they were eating good on sweet pototes corn oranges and nuts. and Dec 13, 1862 Beaufort SC, also Feb 26, 1863 Camp near Newport News, VA. There is also a Declaration for invalid pension, Volunteer enlistment paper and Declaration of recruit. The letters are very interesting and states Tom Taylor ferried 150 blacks down the river in one day. They appear to be happy and are praying for the Yanks.  He talks about not seeing Bruback since he left Falmouth as he was sick and left behind. He also writes of an address of 9th Army Corps 100th P V Company H Washington DC.


December 13, 1861 Letter from Beaufort, S.C. to "Catherinely".  Not sure if this is a wife, mother or sister of Pvt. Delany's.  He talks of a general giving a speech about an upcoming battle that was likely to occur within 10 days.  The general is assumed to be General Isaac Ingalls Stevens, the commander of their division.   The upcoming battle may be Battle of Port Royal Ferry, January 1, 1862.  He also commiserates having to leave the islands and "Living like Kings", a testament to being quartered in southern aristocracy plantation surroundings and eating very well. He also talks about the 'nigs' as being smarter than he thought but have no learning.
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Feb 1862 letter with no day shown.  This long letter to Delany's sister-in-law describes his experiences dating to their arrival in South Carolina in November of 1861.  The naval battle upon arrival, building fortifications, talks of "getting fat on oysters", his sentiments of the strikingly different landscape with low hanging moss, brush, swamps and islands then back home in Pennsylvania, and seldom seeing anything but negroes, alligators, wild cats and other wild game such that he feels wild himself.  Also, he talks of how beautiful the town of Beaufort is with big houses and flowers in big yards. Thumbnail 1
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A facsimile of the original Feb 1862 letter with General George McClellan patriotic graphic. Thumbnail 1

February 26, 1863 letter from Newport News, VA to his sister-in-law.  Pvt. Delany talks of Newport News and Fortress Monroe mostly--an island of 'rip-raps' (stone and concrete) with gun emplacements at the mouth of the harbor protecting the fort and jokes about this being the place where 'soldiers that don't want to soldier' get placed.  He also talks about a sick friend Bruback and another friend Jacob Pflug, who he sees most every day. Thumbnail 1
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