Newport News, Va. ¹
October 3d, 1862
As I expect to leave this place pretty soon, I thought I had better let you know about it, I expect to leave the first of next week, or the last. I wish you would please tell my correspondents not to send any more letters here. I understand this hospital is going to be broken up so if any is sent here, they may probably be lost. I will give you my address as soon as I can. Please don’t write until you hear from me again.
I feel very good this morning excepting the pain in my legs and back. I have taken a very bad cold but hope it will amount to nothing. The Dr. thinks it is nothing serious. I hope not.
Mr. James Onderdonk has left Newport News for some other place, I do not know where. Some say the boat he went on has gone to New York City and others say that have gone to Albany, and it may be it has gone to the bottom—I do not know. I suppose we will all know soon enough. If you won’t say anything, I will tell you (I think he has his discharge). I do not intend to get mine until the war is over if I can help it. I am doing well enough only I would like very much to see home a little while. I keep telling Mary that I intend getting it but I only do it because she has written so much about the disgrace of coming home before the war is ended. You need not worry about me for I shall strive not to disgrace the family any as long as I can help it. I have started in a noble cause and I intend to either finish it or it must finish me.
Give my love to Mary & Mother. Tell them I am getting better. Tell Uncle Cornelius I want to see him very much. I hope he is well and all the rest. Give my respects to all the rest. Tell Sammy to be a good [boy] and Anna to be a good girl. I will come and see them as soon as the war is over. Remember me to Grandpa & Grandma. Don’t forget. No more letters till you hear from me again.
From your obedient soldier son, — Cornelius Van Houten
P. S. Dear Father, do you want some money. If you do, I have some for you if you will give me the interest of N. J. I would rather you would have it in any rank. I think there is about $60 now in one of the Newark Banks. I want to take it out, so if you will take it, I will be very glad. Please let me know as soon as you can and oblige your son, — Cornelius Van Houten, General Hospital, Newport News, Va.
¹ Cornelius had been at this hospital nearly two months; since 9 August 1862. In the meantime, according to Hanifen’s history of the battery (p. 31): “Battery B was attached to Sickles’ Division. A large detail of men from the Second, Third and Fifth Michigan Infantry filled our depleted ranks, and they were excellent soldiers, brave and faithful. The section of howitzers were turned in and replaced with Parrott guns. The Third Corps during the Antietam campaign held the defenses of Washington south of the Potomac river — Birney on the right, Sickles on the left of line. For a few days we remained at Fort Lyons. September 14th, marched to Roach’s Mills on Four Mile Run. From there we were ordered to Upton’s Hill, where the Battery occupied Fort Buffalo with four guns, the redoubt to its right with two guns.”