Albert N. Ames, 1838-1864
Papers, 1857-1890; bulk, 1861-1864

SC12224

Quantity: 1 box (0.25 cubic ft.)
Access: Open to research
Alternative Format: Available on microfilm: MB/FM,973.7447,A44 99-18488
Acquisition: Gift; Clare Ames Hale, December 1950
Processed By: David S. Moore, Manuscripts & Special Collections, May 1984; revised November 2010

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Biographical Note:

Albert N. Ames was born October 15, 1838, in Oswego, New York. His mother died when he was eleven, whereupon an older sister took custody of him for the next eight years. Albert’s father, Cheney Ames, a state legislator, subsequently remarried and reassembled the family in Oswego. Albert worked at a local factory and trained in a militia group in late 1860 through the summer of 1861, when he enlisted in the First New York Light Artillery being organized in part by his cousin Nelson Ames.

The regiment was trained at the Elmira barracks in the fall of 1861 and Albert was elected sergeant major of Battery D. Nelson was elected first lieutenant before the unit shipped out to Camp Barry, near Washington, D.C. for the winter. The battery came under fire for the first time in early March 1862, at the same time Albert was promoted to second lieutenant. Later that month the battery was transferred to Hooker’s Division of the Third Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, and accompanied that unit to the Virginia Peninsula the following month. Battery D saw plenty of action in the Peninsula campaign but when the Army moved north for the Maryland campaign in late summer of 1862, it was detached and left near Washington on guard duty. During the Fredericksburg campaign Ames and his mates temporarily were attached to the Ninth Corps, where it saw action.

In the spring of 1863, Battery D found itself back in the Third Corps, where they performed “heavy service” in the bloody Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Mine Run campaigns. In December 1863, Albert was promoted to first lieutenant of Battery G, 1st New York Artillery, in the 2nd Corps of the Army of the Potomac. He remained in this outfit for the duration of his service. He was present for all the trials of the 2nd Corps throughout the Wilderness (where his battery participated in Upton’s famous assault and captured nine Rebel guns), Spotsylvania, and Petersburg campaigns. It was at the latter place while inspecting the lines with Captain Nelson Ames, that Albert was fatally wounded by a Rebel sharpshooter. This was only one week after Albert’s original enlistment had expired, but due to a law passed forcing officers to remain for the duration of the war, he had not gone home with many of his enlisted friends.

Scope and Content Note:

These papers consist chiefly of letters related to the military service of Albert Ames during the Civil War. The letters were sent mostly to his family in Oswego, New York, or to his father in Albany, New York. In addition to descriptions of battles and campaigns, the letters contain much information about camp life, army gossip, comments on patriotism. Albert was a conscientious young man who fought solely for the reunion of his country and he never mentions slavery as an issue worth fighting about. The collection includes a small pocket diary kept by Albert from May 3 to September 16, 1864, which details daily activities and accounts of mess (food) supplied to officers in Battery G for September 1864; obituaries, letters of condolence, and other papers concerning his death; and a historical and biographical sketch about Albert that was written in 1890 by Nelson Ames, who later wrote a book about the 1st N.Y. Light Artillery in the war.

Inventory of Documents


Box Folder Description
1 0 Family history and genealogy
    Correspondence, 1861-1864
1 1 Letters to Albert N. Ames, ca. 1864 (2 items)
  1. From mother [Katie Brown Ames], n.d.
  2. From G.F. McKnight, Buffalo, [N.Y.], September 12, 1864
1 2

Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, September 29, 1861-January 26, 1862 (8 items)

  1. Barracks no. 3, Elmira, [N.Y.], September 29, 1861
  2. Barracks no. 3, Elmira, [N.Y.], October 3, 1861
  3. Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., November 22, 1861
  4. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], January 6, 186[2]
  5. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], January 15, 1862
  6. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], January 16, 1862
  7. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], January 23, 1862
  8. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], January 26, 1862
1 3 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, February 11, 1862-April 3, 1862 (8 items)
  1. Camp Barry, [Washington, D.C.], February 11, 1862
  2. H.Q. Division Artillery, Hooker’s Div., March 7, 1862
  3. H.Q. Division Artillery, Hooker’s Div., March 15, 1862
  4. H.Q. Division Artillery, Hooker’s Div., March 21, 1862 (to father)
  5. H.Q. Division Artillery, Hooker’s Div., March 21, 1862
  6. Camp Hooker,  March 24, 1862
  7. Camp Hooker, Lower Potomac, Md., March 30, 1862
  8. Camp Hooker, Lower Potomac, Md., April 3, 1862
1 4 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, April 14, 1862-May 27, 1862 (7 items)
  1. [Camp] 5 miles from Yorktown, Va., April 14, 1862
  2. Camp on Cheeseman’s Creek, Va., April 18, 1862
  3. Camp Winfield Scott before Yorktown, [Va.], April 27, 1862
  4. Camp near Williamsburg, [Va.], May 8, 1862
  5. Camp in Kent Co., Va., about a mile from the forks of roads to West Point..., May 14, 1862
  6. Camp at Baltimore Crossroads, Va., May 20, 1862
  7. Camp near White Oak Swamp about two miles from Bottom’s Bridge, Va., May 27, 1862
1 5 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, June 8, 1862-August 21, 1862 (12 items)
  1. Camp near Seven Pines, Va., June 8, 1862
  2. Camp near Seven Pines, Va., June 11, 1862
  3. Camp near Seven Pines, Va., June 17, 1862
  4. Camp near Seven Pines, Va., June 22, 1862
  5. Camp on the James River, July 4, 1862
  6. Camp near City Point, Va., July 7, 1862
  7. Camp near City Point, Va., July 11, 1862
  8. Camp near Harrison’s Landing, Va., July 15, 1862
  9. Harrison’s Landing, Va., July 26, 1862
  10. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, July 31, 1862
  11. Harrison’s Landing, Va., August 14, 1862
  12. Camp near Yorktown, Va., August 21, 1862
1 6 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, September 8, 1862-October 29, 1862 (9 items)
  1. Camp near Fort Lyon, Va., September 8, 1862
  2. Washington, September 13, 1862
  3. Camp near Fairfax Seminary, Va., September 17, 1862
  4. Grover’s Division, Fairfax Seminary, Va., September 20, 1862
  5. Near Fairfax Seminary, Va., October 2, 1862
  6. Near Fairfax Seminary, Va., October 8, 1862
  7. Camp near Fort Lyon, October 8, 1862
  8. Camp near Fort Lyon, October 26. 1862
  9. Near Fairfax Seminary, [Va.], October 29, 1862
1 7 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, November 5, 1862-December 22, 1862 (9 items)
  1. Camp at Bristow Station, November 5, 1862
  2. Camp near Manassas Junction, [Va.], November 10, 1862
  3. In a rebel fort at Centerville, Va., November 16, 1862
  4. Camp near Falmouth, Va., November 28, 1862
  5. Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 2, 1862 (to father)
  6. Camp near Falmouth, Va., December 2, 1862 (to brother)
  7. Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va., December 7, 1862
  8. [Camp] opposite Fredericksburg, [Va.], December 18, 1862
  9. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., 9th Army Corps, December 22, 1862
1 8 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, January 1, 1863-February 24, 1863 (13 items)
  1. [Camp] opposite Fredericksburg, [Va.], January 1, 1863
  2. [Camp] opposite Fredericksburg, [Va.], January 11, 1863
  3. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 14, 1863
  4. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 16, 1863
  5. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 16, 1863 (to brother)
  6. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 18, 1863
  7. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 24, 1863
  8. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., January 25, 1863
  9. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., February 1, 1863 (to father)
  10. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., February 1, 1863 (to sister)
  11. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., February 6, 1863
  12. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Burns Div., February 9, 1863
  13. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Sickles Div., February 24, 1863
1 9 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, March 8, 1863-April 19, 1863 (9 items)
  1. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 8, 1863
  2. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 10, 1863
  3. Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 10, 1863 (to mother)
  4. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., 3rd Corps, March 22, 1863
  5. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., Sickles Corps, March 29, 1863
  6. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., April 5, 1863
  7. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., April 9, 1863
  8. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., April 12, 1863
  9. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Berrey’s Div., April 19, 1863
1 10 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, May 4, 1863-May 31, 1863 (9 items)
  1. Camp near Chancellorsville, Va., May 4, 1863
  2. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Carr’s Div., May 7, 1863
  3. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, Carr’s Div., May 10, 1863
  4. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Div. 3rd Corps, May 15, 1863
  5. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Div. 3rd Corps H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Div. 3rd Corps, May 17, 1863
  6. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery Brigade, 3rd  Corps, May 26, 1863
  7. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery Brigade, 3rd  Corps, May 27, 1863
  8. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery Brigade, 3rd  Corps, May 31, 1863
  9. Fragment of an undated letter, possibly May 1863
1 11 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, June 19, 1863-August 30, 1863 (9 items)
  1. Centerville, Va., June 19, 1863
  2. Gum Springs, June 22, 1863
  3. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery Brigade, 3rd Corps, June 30, 1863
  4. Camp near Middletown, Md., July 9, 1863
  5. Near Hillsborough, Va., July 17, 1863
  6. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps,  August 9, 1863
  7. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps,  August 16, 1863
  8. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd  Corps, August 18, 1863
  9. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd  Corps, August 30, 1863
1 12 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, September 15, 1863-December 25, 1863 (15 items)
  1. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, [early September 1863] (fragment)
  2. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, September 15, 1863
  3. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, September 18, 1863
  4. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, September 23, 1863
  5. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, September 28, 1863
  6. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, October 18, 1863
  7. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, October 23, 1863
  8. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, October 28, 1863
  9. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, November 11, 1863 (father)
  10. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, November 11, 1863 (brother)
  11. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, November 13, 1863
  12. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, November 14, 1863
  13. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, December 4, 1863
  14. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 3rd Corps, December 12, 1963
  15. H.Q. Battery D, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, December 25, 1863
1 13

Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, January 14, 1864-May 29, 1864 (10 items) – written at winter quarters near Warrenton Junction, the Wilderness, and Petersburg, Virginia

  1. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, January 14, 1864
  2. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, January 17, 1864
  3. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, February 21, 1864 (father)
  4. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, February 21, 1864 (mother)
  5. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, March 13, 1864
  6. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, April 4, 1864
  7. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, April 13, 1864
  8. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, May 16, 1864
  9. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, May 20, 1864
  10. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, May 29, 1864
1 14 Letters from Albert N. Ames to family, June 22, 1864-September 21, 1864 (12 items)
  1. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, June 22, 1864
  2. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, June 30, 1864
  3. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, July 12, 1864
  4. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, July 19, 1864
  5. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, July 22, 1864
  6. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, July 23, 1864
  7. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, August 1, 1864
  8. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, August 5, 1864
  9. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, August 12, 1864
  10. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, September 3, 1864
  11. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, September 12, 1864
  12. H.Q. Battery G, 1st N.Y. Artillery, 2nd Corps, September 21, 1864
    Ancillary Papers, 1857-1890
1 15 School Compositions of Albert N. Ames - ca. 1857 (4 items)
  1. “Railroads”
  2. “Railroads”
  3. “Schools”
  4. “Gases”
1 16 Diary of Albert N. Ames - May 3, 1864-September 25, 1864 (1 item)
1 17

Letters of condolence, etc., concerning death of Albert Ames, September 27, 1864-June 30, 1890 (10 items)

  1. Charles S. Wainwright, September 27, 1864
  2. Orrin North, October 1, 1864
  3. E.A. Nelson, October 2, 1864
  4. C. Treadway, October 2, 1864
  5. S.N. and W.C. Harp, October 2, 1864
  6. Andrew D. White, October 5, 1864
  7. Cornelia Grant, October 6, 1864
  8. George Cook, October 14, 1864
  9. Charles S. Wainwright, February 12, 1865
  10. Nelson Ames, June 3, 1890
1 18

Miscellaneous

  1. Letter: J.W. Osborn to Cheney Ames, September 9, 1863
  2. Military pass and other items relating to Albert’s service. December 18, 1861-late 1863 (4 items)
  3. Obituaries of Albert N. Ames (2 items)
Last Updated: July 14, 2011