You are looking above at a picture of John Speaker Osler at age 96. The following
materials were contributed by his descendant, Leo McGuire, 41 Merritt Drive, Schenectady, New York 12306. Leo can be reached at
JOHN SPEAKER OSLER
and the Civil War
John Speaker Osler joined the Union army at Troy in Bradford County, PA, in 1862.
Shown first are two pictures, the front and back of Osler's preserved letter, and a translation provided by
Leo McGuire. The slogan under the flag stamp in the letter reads "The Flag Will Fly Over Sumter" in reference to the first shot of
the War when Southern troops fired on and seized Fort Sumter at Charleston, SC.
Osler Letter from Camp
Osler Letter from Camp
Translation of Osler Letter
I hope you will let mother read this I never brother expect to see you again. If it is gods will I may return home but if he sees proper to take me from my friends I hope I will be prepared to meet you in heaven and I
want you all to pray for me and all of the boys for we have a great deal of sickness here and Wales is sick now but he is getting sum better he had a fever he is a good old boy and David Bryan is at Gorgetown in the
hospital. Samuel went down to see him he is getting better the doctor would not tell him...
John T. Sales is midlen well and Samuel is well and in good spirits he sayed that he never expect to see old LoyalSock again not any of the boys don't for there is to many musket balls falling for all to get back George Tardo is well and in good spirits and my health was never better then it is now since I left home I hope I may come back I promised myself if
god would return me safe home I would live a Christian all the days of my life may God help me pray for me and don't forget to remember me to my friends write soon write soon and don't forget me it may be the last time you hear from me for we are getting orders to go to fight if we get at it there will be some killed
that is for sure so good by
John S. Osler
The boys say I am getting fat. I wanted Goney to write a few lines but he said he couldn't but he could not. He went to go get a canteen full of water of would write a few lines for him. He is not very he will get better
I think when whether someone writes a few line to him when you write to me
yours truly John S. Osler
It is with plessure that I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and I ope that these few lines find you the same you said that you heard Dave was sick that is so the (hate ?) false reports and he is getting better when he was down to Gorgetown at the hospital he is no ways danger and Walas is sick now he has been pretty sick
but he is getting better and Gorge Pardo has been sick he has got well now John Carles is about the same he has always been.
The rest of the boys are all in good spirits and you spoke about us having (?) but we did not until yesterday but that was not any of ( ?) must close at present for I have anymor room to write my best to all good bye.
I remain your friend
We also present here a picture of the envelope, addressed to Mrs. Jeremiah Osler of Hillsgrove, Sullivan County, PA, in which one of the letters arrived. We do not know which. As you can see,
on the left-hand side of the envelope is a patriotic testament to the flag of the United States.
Civil War Envelope
Sent to Hillsgrove, PA
A war colleague of Osler was Jacob Shermany. We have a copy of a letter that he wrote to several Osler family members. Here is
the Shermany letter with a translation from Leo McGuire.
Shermany Letter from Camp
Shermany Letter from Camp
Translation of Shermany Letter
28 th Regiment Keystone State
Col J.W..Geary, Com'D
Headquarters 28th Penn Regiment Co G
My friend Julia Osler,
I have taken my pen in my hand to inform you that I am well at present and I hope that these few lines may find you enjoying good health. Margaret said in her letter
that you had not got an answer to your letter and I thought that I had written you but I might have forgotten it. I have written as high as seven letters in one week and
doing the cooking kept me busy. I have to write in the evening I have but little time to play I am sorry that I did not write you.
I would like for to see you all and have a talk with you there is nothing going on here I do not know what to write today I got a leter from Uncle Harry Snell last week
and I was glad for to hear from my old friends. I hope that you will excuse me for not writing to since I had received your welcome letter with pleasure. We are here in
the mud and it does not seem like soldering for it seems like home for we have been here for so long that we have become aquainted with the people in this place and don't
think of the enemy anymore. There have been so many false reports that we don't care for them I like this place well and a great many of the people I have found.
I find old friends here where I get my washing done and she is a very fine woman. She has a gal living with her and she puts in me mind of Matilda Rise more then anyone
I ever have seen in the world but she does not do the other thing that is all the difference.
this is friend
January 15, 1862
My friend Jim Osler
I have the opportunity to write to you again and I have received your letter with the greatest of pleasure and it found me in good health. I thought that I had answered
your letter. Margaret had written a letter to me and told me that you didn't get an answer from me for I have to write a good many. Write to me and tell how how you are doing
this winter for the people here can't get work for to do if they would like to write. Times are hard here there is nothing going on here so no more at present.
Osler joined up with Company C of the 12th Regiment. Shermany was a member of the 28th Regiment..The 28th Infantry Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers
was known as the Goldstream Regiment. It was stationed at several locations during the Civil War. The 28th Regiment's war history was as
Organized at Philadelphia and mustered in June 28, 1861. Moved to Baltimore, Md., and Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 27. Attached to Geo. H. Thomas' Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah,
to August, 1861. 1st Brigade, Banks' Division, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to October, 1861. Geary's Independent Brigade, Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade,
1st Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps, to April, 1862. Geary's Independent Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to June, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia,
to August, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1863, and Army
of the Cumberland, to April, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June, 1865. 3rd Brigade, Bartlett's Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington,
to July, 1865.
Duty at Sandy Hook, opposite Harper's Ferry, till August 13, 1861. Moved to Point of Rocks, Md., and guard frontier from Nolan's Ferry to Antietam Aqueduct. Pritchard's Mills, Va.,
September 15 (Cos, "B," "D," "I"). Point of Rocks, September 24. Knoxville, October 2. Bolivar Heights, October 16 (Cos. "A," "D," "F," "G"). Nolan's Ferry, October 30. Berlin, November 10.
Point of Rocks, December 19.
Crossed Potomac February 24-25. Operations in Loudoun County, Va., February 25-May 6. Occupation of Bolivar Heights, February 26.
Osler's letter was written somewhere in the vicinity of Washington, D.C but we are not sure when. The Shermany letter was apparently written at Point of Rocks, MD in early 1862.
John Speaker Osler was born in Elkland Township, Sullivan County on August 21, 1839. He
died on July 18, 1934 at the home of his daughter in Montour Falls, NY. He lived for many years after being honorably discharged from
the Union Army on a farm near Elkland. Here is a copy of his obituary from the Sullivan Review at the time of his death.
John Speaker Osler
Finally, we present the invitation received by Osler to participate in the Gettysburgh commemorative
ceremony of September 27, 1910. A note accompanying this invitation states that he was sent by the Army during the War to Elmira to recruit more
soldiers, and that he was injured twice in battle and hospitalized in Washington, D.C. At the time of his death, he was receiving a pension of
$100 per month for his war service.
Invitation for John Speaker Osler