This letter was provided by Stephanie Adams, the ggg-Granddaughter of George Welles Keeler.
George Welles Keeler was the son of Charles Wells Keeler who is listed on various records as being a Keeper of a Livery Stable and as a Farmer. The letter is addressed to George’s mother, Sarah Ann Wells Keeler. The Miss Mary referred to is probably his baby sister, Mary Katie. The Uncle Bill referred to in the letter is William H. Keeler, the brother of Charles. According to the 1850 and 1860 census rolls, William lived with Charles and his family. His occupation is listed as Carriage Maker. The book, “Keeler Family” by Wesley Keeler (1985), states that William served as a quarter-master sergeant in Co. D, 17th Regt., in the Civil War.
From the “Keeler Family” book, George Keeler “…served in the Civil War in Company D, 17th Regiment, CT Vol. Inf., as secretary to Gen. W.H. Noble, commander.” George is listed on the 1880 census as being a bookkeeper. There is a photograph in the family of him standing in front of a men’s clothing store which he is supposed to have owned. His great-grandson, Stanley C. Altrock, reports that George headed up the state chapter of the GAR in New Haven, CT in his later years. His GAR medals are still in the family, one dated August 28, 1885 and two from Columbus Ohio dated September 11, 1888.
U.S. General Hospital New Haven Apr 20th/63
I received your letter this morning and was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you were all well.
I wrote to Wright day before yesterday. I think I won’t do anything about it till I hear from him again, which I hope will be in a day or two, after I have heard from him I think I will speak to the Dr. about it, if I don’t succeed in getting transferred I may possibly get a place here after a while. I don’t think they will send many away from here at present as all who are able are to do guard duty. The Dr. has had orders to detail 100 men, 9 Sergeants, and I don’t know how many Corporals, to serve out there time here as guard, and in case of there being any resistance shown to the putting in force of the Conscription Act, they are to be sent any where in the States, they are to be furnished with new Rifles (the Springfield), they may be putting me in when I get able. I hope they won’t. I think I had rather go to the Regt the guard are to be used in hunting up Deserters also, next time you write send me some Postage Stamps and a $1 bill, for I may come over Home again this week or next if I can get a pass and you think Uncle Bill will be home in which case I will waite (write?), I don’t know as I can think of any thing else to write so I will close. I do so hoping to hear from you soon. I remain as ever yours.
P.S. Give my love to all the family and engineering friends and Miss Mary her usual kiss.
George W. Keeler
Excuse bad writing as the pen is bad.