The Civil War Letters of Oren T. Wooster

Oren Wooster was the oldest child of my greatgrandparents, Barclay Wooster and Elizabeth H. Tift. He was born in the hamlet of Lysander in Onondaga County, New York circa 1844. I am aware of no record of his early life other than his being listed by name in the US Census of 1850, the NY Census of 1855 and the US Census of 1860.

At 18 years of age, he enlisted on August 21, 1862 at Volney in Oswego County, New York. He was a private in the 12th New York Cavalry, initially in "A" Company. Together with his fellow troopers he was sent to Camp Washington on Staten Island. The members of "A" Company were sworn into federal service on 19 November 1862. On 20 May 1863 the regiment was reorganized, and Oren and the other members of the old "A" Company were placed in the new "B" Company. In the final week of May 1863 he was sent by sea to the area around New Berne, North Carolina.

He remained in and around New Berne until, following six days in the hospital, he died of yellow fever on 25 September 1864. He was buried at No. 18, South Row, 12th New York Cavalry Cemetery in New Berne.

After the war, his parents received his personal effects. Among these were his mother's last letter to him. It appears that it arrived after his death and that he had never read it. His parents were Democrats and not sympathetic toward Lincoln. His mother's letter strongly reflects this.

His letters home had been saved, passed down through the family and given to me in 1945 by my grandfather. I received them in an old candy box, and they had been looked through so many times that they were hopelessly out of order, many of them separated from their proper envelopes. After half a century it seems like I now may have time to sort them out. I will add the letters to the site as I get them transcribed.

Table of contents of the letters

Burial Certificate

Photograph of Grave Photograph is courtesy of Judy and Bill Johns. Judy is Oren's first cousin thrice removed and my third cousin once removed.

12th New York Cavalry

12th New York Cavalry Home Page

Regimental History from Dyer

Regimental History from Phisterer

The gallant but ill-fated 12th ... By David A. Norris

Roster of Officers

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Copyright © Kenneth Jennings Wooster
All rights are reserved.
Last Modified: 3 January 1998; 23 December 2002; 2 December 2004.