Guide to the William H Gardiner Papers, RG 177

Listed by:   Dieter C. Ullrich
Date:   June 2004

Date Span:  1862-1863

Size of Collection:  7 items

Biographical Sketch:   William T Gardiner was a resident of Belfast, Maine prior to the American Civil War. He enlisted as a private in the Union Army in the Spring of 1861. He was mustered into Company K of the 4th Maine Volunteer Infantry on June 15, 1861. He was eventually promoted to Sergeant of Company K and later Sergeant Major of the regiment. During the time period in which he wrote, Sergeant Gardiner's regiment was engaged in combat at Second Bull Run on August 29 and 30, 1862; Chantilly, Virginia on September 1, 1862; Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862 and Chancellorsville, Virginia from May 1 to 4, 1863. He was taken prisoner at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and died of scurvy at Andersonville Prison, Georgia on August 16, 1864 (Grave #5907).

Scope / Content:   Consists of seven letters written by Sergeant William H. Gardiner while stationed in Virginia and Maryland during the American Civil War to Carrie Patterson of Belfast, Maine. Correspondence includes descriptions of camp life in the Union Army, details of the 4th Maine's troop movements and comments on the regiment's activities during the Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancelorsville.


Aug. 13, 1862.  Authorization by Massachusetts's commonwealth secretary for Wm. C. Williamson to visit Belfast, Maine, and that he has given his oath not to evade military service by this visit.

Sept. 6, 1862.  Fort Lyon, Alexandria, Va.  Gardiner writes an affectionate, flowery style letter.  He does explain the command in which the 4th Maine is serving, and mentions some names of acquaintances.

Oct. 4, 1862.  Camp, Point-of-Rocks, Md.  He describes the 50-mile march from Fort Lyon.  His regiment is on picket duty along the Potomac.

Oct. 10, 1862.  Conrad's Ferry, Md.  More flowery prose, describing the 14-mile march in moonlight to Conrad's Ferry.  He gives several names of soldiers form Maine, with comments in promotions, new assignments, etc.

Dec. 25, 1862.  Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.  He is in a blue mood, in his tent on a drizzly Christmas day, and wishing he was somewhere else.

Feb. 9, 1863.  Camp near Fredericksburg, Va.  He describes the comments made by soldiers during shelling.  Also the impact of contact with hardened veterans upon a visiting preacher from home.

May 9, 1863.  Camp near Potomac Creek.  The unit has been in serious combat, and many lives have been lost.  He is spared, but is suffering from effects of shelling and fighting, and canít bring himself to describe what he has seen.

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