MS - 025: Joseph G. Patterson, Company G, 90th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry
Processed by: Christine M. Ameduri
According to his Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR), Joseph G. Patterson was mustered into Company I, Col. Lyle's Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry in Philadelphia, Pa., on September 24, 1861 at the age of 14, "by the consent of his parents." This Company subsequently became Company I, 90th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry. In April of 1862, he was transferred to Company G by regimental order.
Although his mustering in papers record his age as 14, there is reason to believe that he was only about 12 years old when he volunteered for duty, for he states in his June 12, 1862 letter home to his parents, "i have seen more hardships this last month than i did the whole 12 years of my life..."
Based on the information in his letters home to his parents and siblings, coupled with the official history of the 90th Regiment, he participated on the forced March from Piedmont Station to Front Royal in May 1862 and the "Mudd March" in December 1862 - January 1863, where he laments, "It looks very much like not putting us in quarters...it is a shame the way they are moving our Division around". And "We have been marching everyday this year and on Christmas Eve we was marching". On September 24, 1864 he was discharged at Fort Duchesne, Va. by reason of expiration of term of service.
In June of 1865 he filed for a disability pension on the basis of having chronic diarrhea, but his application was rejected in July of that year. He is listed as "Treasurer" of the Officers of the Association of the Ninetieth Regiment Infantry, in Reunions of the Survivors of the Ninetieth Penna. Vols. (Infantry) on the Battle-field of Gettysburg. September 2d &3d, 1888; September 1st & 2d, 1889.
Scope and Content Notes:
The collection consists of 28 letters written by Joseph G. Patterson to his mother and father, written between April 1862 and January 3, 1863. The bulk of the letters were written in April, July and October. One letter is addressed to his brother, John. The letters include a patriotic boy-soldier's first hand account of camp life, his wish to continue his education once he is no longer serving in the army, and information about cousins and friends who are also serving in the army, and with whom he gets to meet occasionally. The letters are arranged chronologically.