Stephen F. Gilbert
Submitted by PHGS member Cliff Sears

Family History

Stephen F. Gilbert was born in Groveland, Livingston County, New York in February 1842. He was the son of John S. Gilbert, a blacksmith, born in Yates County, New York (c.1816) and Emily Fenton, born in Steuben County, New York on July 23, 1817. Stephen’s siblings were brother John H. Gilbert, born in Steuben County, New York (c.1847) and sister Diantha A. Gilbert, born in Steuben County, New York (c.1849). The Gilbert family moved to Hornellsville, New York sometime between 1842 and 1843. On May 6, 1865 Stephen married Addie T. Jones in Hornellsville, New York. Stephen’s sole descendant, Arthur F. Gilbert, was born on May 18, 1868 in Hornellsville, New York. Addie died on June 14, 1871. Stephen was remarried on August 7, 1872 in Almond, New York to Carrie E. Ostrander of Almond. Carrie was a teacher at Park School in Hornellsville. Carrie eventually moved to Kansas where she remarried on January 2, 1879 in Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas to Roselle Doty

Stephen F. Gilbert died on January 14, 1874 in Hornellsville of consumption. Stephen, Diantha (Stevens), Adie, and Emily are all buried in Hope Cemetery in Hornell. 

Professional History

Stephen F. Gilbert became a stenographer immediately after his military discharge in 1864, employed at William Osgoodby’s general stenographic business in Hornellsville. Mr. Osgoody performed Stephen and Addie’s marriage rites in 1865. Stephen was elected Town Justice of Hornellsville in 1867 and he also served as on the first board of Managers of the Hornellsville 
Library. Stephen remained in Hornellsville until 1868 when he moved to Rochester, New York as a partner in Mr. Osgoodby’s business, now Osgoodby & Gilbert. Stephen assisted the New York State Supreme Court as a stenographer. Stephen resided at 23 Tremont St. and maintained his office at 90 Powers Building, both in Rochester. Stephen was admitted to the Monroe County Bar in June 1869. 

Due to health reasons (pulmonary consumption), Stephen moved to California in the spring of 1871. By this time Stephen was an accomplished shorthand reporter for the Osgoodby & Gilbert firm. He remained in California for approximately nine months and was then forced to return to Hornellsville due to Addie’s ailing health. 

In the fall of 1872 Stephen was elected as a member of the Assembly for the Second District of Steuben on the Republican  Party ticket. After serving one term Stephen was then elected as Police Justice in Hornellsville. In 1873 Stephen served as a reporter to the Committee on Privileges and Elections in the Senate and the new Capital Commissions in New York City. It was while performing these services that Stephen experienced hemorrhage of the lungs, which ultimately resulted in his death. Stephen’s work ethic helped to recognize him as one of the most expert and accurate stenographers in the state. 

Military History

Stephen F. Gilbert was a member of the 141st Regiment, Company F, of the New York State Volunteers. Stephen enlisted for three years as a Private at age 21 on August 21, 1862 at Hornellsville, New York. According to Stephen’s military file obtained through the National Archives he was 5 feet 9 inches tall, had blue eyes, light hair, and a light complexion, and was paid a 
bounty of $25 and a $2 premium. 

From September 1862 to March 1863 Stephen was detailed to hospital duty as a cook in Elmira, New York and Washington, DC. While on duty at Laurel Station, Prince George County, Maryland Stephen contracted a cold that resulted in a severe cold in his lungs which contributed to his health problems in later years. Stephen was hospitalized twice during his enlistment due to his lung ailment. Stephen was promoted to Corporal on May 22, 1863. In October 1864 Stephen received an honorable discharge from the military after sustaining an inguinal groin hernia from being thrown from a horse. 

During Stephen’s tour of duty he consistently wrote home to his family, especially his mother. The following are transcripts of Stephen F. Gilbert’s Civil War letters: 

Elmira  Sept 3rd 1862

Dear Mother 

I have just got through my dinner for the sick men and I thought I would write you. I have been appointed cook in the hospital and my wages will be about 19 dollars a month. We are expecting our clothes every day but they do not come. We will get them this week if nothing happens and probably some of our bounty money. I do not think that I can come home before next week. I shall come as soon as I can after I get my money and clothes. I do not have to work much just now, only 2 hours a day. 

Camp Hathaway Laurel Station 
Friday Oct. 10th 1862

Dear Mother, Brother & Sister 

Yours of the 2nd was received in due time, and I will answer it to night before going to bed. I wrote in my last all about my under shirts. I am well and hearty yet, and expect to remain so, as long as we stay in this camp for it is very healthy here for any one that don’t want to play sick, to get rid of doing their share of the work. John GRANGER has played up sick ever since we came here, and he has got a furlough to go home, and stay a month. He left here Wednesday morning for home, and if nothing has happened he must be in Hornellsville by this time. I suppose that he will try to get his discharge when he comes back, but I hope he will not, for he is as well able to stay here as I am. There hasse been sent home 5 men from this regiment and some more are going in a few days. Five companies have left here, and camped in different places to guard the railroad, and enforce the draft. Another 
company goes to morrow and it is said that Capt RUSSELLS will be the one to go this time. 

It has rained a little here to day, but not enough to get any one very wet, and if it does it will not hurt me any for our tent is a good thick one and will not leak a drop. You must have had a house full of visitors, when all of the folks that you tell about were there, I would like to have seen them very much. If you want any money, let me know, and I will try and send you a little. I do not know when I shall get more pay, probably not in a month or two, but I will spare you some if you need it if you will only let me know when, and how much you want. A soldier by the name of DURFY, in Co. B was drummed out of camp Tuesday with his head shaved, and a board on his back, with the word 
thief painted on it. I suppose he is the man that stole my overcoat, but I cannot find any thing of it yet, as he has probably sold it to some one before this time. He was punished for stealing money from one of his own company. I must close for my candle is going out. Write soon and direct to S.F. Gilbert, 141st Reg. N.Y.V., Washington D.C. 

My love to you all. Good night. 

Oct 25th 1862
Dear Mother 

I received a letter on Monday and answer it the first opportunity. We are moving the Hospital to day and I cannot write much. I send you 8 dollars this time. Send my Buckskin gloves by John GRANGER when he comes back. 

Write soon for I shall be anxious to know whether you get the money or not. 

Yours in haste. 

Miners Hill 
January 15th 1863

Dear Mother 

Enclosed I send you 10 Dollars which Doctor ROBINSON was kind enough to lend me and wait until pay day for his money. You must make it last as long as possible for there is no telling when the Paymaster is coming and this will be the last that I shall be able to send you until he does come which I think will be before the first of March and perhaps before the first of next month. It will be four months pay I suppose and that will be 80 Dollars if I get the extra pay. I was mustered for 20 Dollars a month and it must be all right. Answer soon. 

From your Son Stephen

Suffolk Va 
Apr 18th 1863

Dear Mother 

I received Diantha’s letter the night before we left Arlington and have not had time to write until now. We left our Barracks on Arlington Heights about daylight on Wednesday and marched through the mud and rain to Alexandria and went aboard the Steamer Rockland and arrived at Norfolk about 9 o’clock Friday morning. Left about noon for this place where we arrived all safe and camped last night. There are about 25,000 or 30,000 Rebels in front of us, and we expect a battle soon. The forces here have been skirmishing with the Rebels since last Saturday and quite a number have been killed on both sides. There were three men killed on our side yesterday, just before we arrived 
here. There have been some firing this morning but nobody hurt. The Rebels are about 2 miles from us now but we have got a good army here and are not afraid of them. The weather is very warm to day. There is plenty of news but I have no time to write more. I will write again in a few days. 

In haste 

Direct to  Co. F 141 Regt  Washington D.C. 

Suffolk Va 
May 4th 1863

Dear Mother 

I sent you 90 Dollars by Express this morning but I do not know who soon you will get it as everything is so uncertain down here. We received marching orders to leave for the other side of the river to day. there was quite a battle yesterday and the Rebels were drove back two miles. Write soon as I have not had a letter since we came here. 

Yours in great haste 

Camp of the 141st Reg  Williamsburg, Va 
June 11th, 4 o’clock AM

Dear Mother 

We arrived here the 9th and leave in an hour in light marching order for a reconnoisance through the Rebel pickets. I sent you my ambrotype (?) which I had taken before I left Yorktown. I sent Diantha a French book the day we left and wrote a little in it. We expect to see a little fighting to day, but we may not. 

Good bye in haste 

Near Warrenton Junction, Va. 
Sept 18th, 1863

Dear Mother, 

I shall not go to Washington in a week or two and thought I would write to day and let you know. 

The regiment left here the 16th and marched to Bealton Station, 8 miles South of here. All the sick were left. Some are to go to Washington tomorrow and then the hospital will join the regiment. I shall go and wait until the list is made out for the Invalid Corps before I go to the Lieut. 

Write soon and direct as before.


Camp of the 141st Regt. New York Vols. 
Lookout Valley, Tenn. 
Nov. 19th, 1863

My Dear Mother, 

I received Diantha’s letter of the 29th Oct containing the stamps in due time, and was very glad to hear from you after so long a time. The mails are quite regular now and I hope they will continue so. I am getting along very well now and do not expect to go to the Invalid Corps or any where else very soon but if I should go there I would not be obliged to stay any longer than if I were with the regiment. We are building winters quarters now and expect to stay here some time. 

The regiment received pay a few days ago but as I was not here on muster day I did not get mine, and will have to wait until next pay day for it. I intended to send you 25 Dollars, but I could not do it. If I get my pay next time I will send you Fifty. If you need money very bad I will try and borrow some and send it to you, but I would rather not do it if you can get along. I wish that you would not work so hard, but take it a little easier. I do not know how much it costs you to live, but it seems to me that there is no necessity for your making a slave of yourself. 

I will send you every cent of my pay if you need it, and with what John earns I think you ought to get along without working so hard every day of your life. I wish that you would have Diantha copy the receipts that are written on the contract for the house and lot and what other receipts you have and send them to me. Tell her to copy every one and do it as well as she can. I have forgotten exactly how much we have paid and would like to know how much we owe on it. I have a plan in my head to pay it all up and get a deed by the first of March if it is not too much. 

Write soon. 
From Your Affectionate Son 


Shellmound, Tenn. 
February 13th, 1864

My Dear Mother, 

I received Diantha’s letter of the 5th just last night and will answer it today. The paymaster was here Saturday and paid me four months pay. I borrowed Fifty Dollars of Harris SAWYER and thus am enabled to send you one hundred Dollars. Lieut. WILLOR will make up an express package for Company F. to day and to morrow he will go to Bridgeport and send it off. I shall send Eighty Dollars in money and a check on ADSIT for the remainder of the one hundred. Miles HAWLEY sold me the check and as soon as you get it you can present it to Bur ADSIT and receive the money. If nothing happens you will probably get it by the 25th and when you get a deed you must recollect that it is to be a warrantee deed. 

I would like to send you more but it is impossible to do so now. I expected to receive something on my clothing account as I had not drawn my allowance for last year but instead of my getting my due I was overcharged so much that it took all that was due me and some of my wages besides. I intend to make it come out all right hereafter or somebody will get in a scrape that they cannot get out of very easily. 

George BURDITT left here the 10th of this month for home and you will probably see him before this reaches you. Write as soon as you get the money as I shall be very anxious to hear it reaches you safely. I must now go over to the Lieutenants and help make up the package. 

Enclosed I send you a Rebel envelope. 
From Your Son Stephen

Chattanooga, Tenn. 
May 10th 1864

My Dear Mother, 

It has been more than a week since I have written a letter home and I thought I would write you before leaving here for the regiment. I came down here the 3rd just, in charge of some sick men and have not been able to get back to the regiment yet, but expect to go to Ringgold to day and by to morrow night I hope to be with the 141st. I heard this morning that our Corps was within 4 miles of Dalton Ga. And if it is so there will be some warmer work before long. 

I have been staying in the Soldiers home most of the time since I came here but do not like it very well and will get to the regiment as soon as possible. I cannot get any letters as long as I remain here, nor any pay or clothes and the best thing I can do is to get to the regiment. I would like to have you write often, as a letter from my mother is always welcome and more precious to me than any other and I hope you will write to me whenever you can do so. 

I shall write again as soon as I get to the regiment. 
From Your Loving Son 


In camp near Dallas Georgia 
May 29th 1964

My Dear Mother, 

I have been waiting several days to get an opportunity to write but could not get time to do so, and if I had written it would not have reached you as no mail has been sent North for nearly two weeks. We are now allowed to send letters every day but do not know how long we shall have the priviledge. I wrote to Diantha two days after the battle at Resacca while we were on the march and hope she received it in due time. Our Corps came up with the rear of the rebel army on the 19th at Cassville and expected to have a fight but they ran away the same night and saved us the trouble of driving them out of the town. We staid there until the 23rd and then started after them again. On the afternoon of the 25th we came up to them at this place and our division was ordered to attack them and find out their position. About five o’clock we ran upon their batteries and breastworks which they had posted in the woods when they opened upon us with musketry, grape and canister and now and then would send a shell tearing through the trees, but the regiment stood their ground until dark when troops came to relieve us. We were out of ammunition and fell back with a loss of twenty five in killed and wounded. Co F. lost one man killed and one wounded but neither were from Hornellsville. The man that was killed was Oren COUDERMAN and is a relative of the COUDERMAN’S in H’ville. 

Our Corps is now held in reserve and we do not expect to be in again at this place. To day is the fifth day since the fight began and there seems to have been but little gained on either side. The rebels cannot hold out much longer and we are confident of gaining the battle. The 107th was under fire the same length of time that we were and lost heavily. There killed and wounded is reported at 173 which is no more in proportion to the size of their regiment than our loss was as their regiment is five times as large as ours. Harris and Mike have been quite sick for the last week and are now in hospital. They were not here at the time of the fight. Eugene THACHER of the 107th was killed. Bill BALLON was wounded in the shoulder. Gilbert WRIGHT was shot in the mouth but will get well. Joe
FAULKNER was wounded in the thigh. Bill LAURPHEAN was not hit. Lieuts GRAY and WILLOR, Levi DOTY, John MORRISAY and myself came out without a scratch. George MORRISON and FLINT are safe. Our Division lost 1300 men the 25th and now we are about half a mile in the rear of our front line of battle but not out of reach of stray bullets, but don’t mind them much.   I will write again as soon as possible answer soon. 

From Your Son Stephen

Direct to Co F. 141st N.Y. Vols  1st Division  20th Army Corps 
In Camp near Marietta, Ga. 
June 22nd 1864

Dear Mother, 

I rec’d Diantha’s letter of June 10th just now and have twenty minutes to answer it before the mail goes. I am well and sound yet and hope to remain so through the campaign. We have just passed through the hardest weeks service I think we have had so far. Since the 15th we have been constantly fighting and marching night and day through rain with but few opportunities to rest and sometimes hardly a chance to eat. Our regiment has been on the skirmish line most of the time and has lost but few men, although under fire most of the time. I am getting so accustomed to hear bullets whistling around my head that I do not mind it much now. 

It has rained every day for the last three weeks & if it does not stop before long I shall begin to build an ark and make other preparations for a flood. We have marched, fought, eat, and slept in the rain until one does not know what it is to be thoroughly dry. Myself and everything I possess have been soaking wet more than two thirds of the time since the 1st of the month, but my health is good and bids fair to remain so. 

We are now less than 20 miles from Atlanta and gaining some every day. We have driven the rebels about ten miles on our part of the line since I wrote last. There will be no rest for us until we get to Atlanta and you may be sure that we are very anxious to get there. 
The postmaster is calling for the letters and I must close. Will write again soon. 

From Stephen

Head Quarters 20th Corps 
Near Atlanta, Ga. 
July 21st 1864

Dear Mother, 

I have just time to write you before moving and will improve the opportunity. Diantha’s letter of the 5th just was received several days ago but I had, only the day before, written to John and thought best to wait a day or two. Since then I have had no time to write. 

The 20th Corps crossed the Chattahoochie river the 17th and yesterday was engaged during the greater part of the day. We were marching quietly along when all at once the rebels made a charge upon the whole line and succeeded in breaking through at one place, but Gen. Hooker immediately ordered up a Brigade of fresh troops and regained all that had been lost. Our regiment was under fire the whole afternoon and lost about 30 killed and 50 wounded. The Colonel was killed, the Lieut Col. Lost his arm, the Major was severely wounded in the thigh, and the Adjutant was shot through both legs. There were three wounded in Company F but none killed. Lieut. WILLOR had a slight 
touch on the finger but is on duty to day. Joe FLINT received a flesh wound in the arm but not very severe. The other man was not from Hornellsville. 

These Head Quarters at one time were up nearly to the line of battle and the bullets whistled around quite thick. The rebels made repeated charges upon the 1st and 3rd Brigades of our Division during the afternoon but were repulsed each time with heavy loss. The 107th was not engaged, they being held as reserve. The loss in wounded in the whole Corps will not exceed 1000, besides the killed. The rebels must have lost many more men than we did as they were the attacking party, while some of our men had breastworks to fight behind. We have captured 6 battle flags, 6 officers and 130 men from the enemy since the fight began. They have fallen back towards Atlanta but it is not known how far. We are now but five miles from the city and expect to move on again this afternoon. The 141st is 
reduced to 6 commissioned officers and 90 men that carry guns and if we go into one or two more such fights as this last one there will be none left. 
I have not time to write more. Please answer soon. 

From Your Affectionate Son. 
Stephen F. Gilbert

Head Quarters 20th Corps 
Near Atlanta, Geo. 
August 22nd 1864

Dear Mother, 

I have been anxiously looking for a letter for several days in answer to mine of July 21st & 29th but as yet have not received any and now write another hoping that you will receive this one if you have not the others. I also wrote on Aug 11th but it is hardly time to expect an answer to that. I am certain that you must have received my letters and answered them and they have miscarried in some way, for I know that you would not fail to write even if you did not get my letters. 

I saw Dan CARROL from Hornellsville to day and he says that Mr. CARROL is in Marietta. I sent word to him by Dan to come and see me and I expect to see him soon. I suppose that you do not know who Dan CARROL is but John does. 

There is some talk about either filling up the regiment or consolidating it with some other but I do not know which will be done. In either case I do not see that it will effect me in any way but I hope there will be no consolidation. There seems to be no change in affairs here and the fate of Atlanta is still uncertain. I am getting along very well here but you need not be surprised if you should soon hear that I am in the regiment again, and after all I may stay here a long time yet. We have seen no Paymaster yet and the prospect of getting paid very soon looks very bad. I suppose they dare not venture down into this dangerous country until Atlanta is taken. 

I would like to have you send me more stamps if possible for I am entirely out and have no way of getting any. The Government will owe me by the 1st of Sept 120 Dollars, but it seems a long time coming and I may not get it all when we do get paid. Write soon for I am anxious to hear from home as the last letter I received was written July 22nd, just one month ago. 

Your Affectionate Son 

Stephen F. Gilbert

Head Quarters 20th Corps 
Medical Directors Office 
Atlanta, Ga. 
Sept. 24th 1864

Dear Mother, 

I have waited until I am tired without getting a letter and write as I have done every time but once for the last two months – write without having a letter to answer. I received one letter the 14th of this month and answered it the same day and that is the only one that has reached me since July. 

I spoke to the Doctor about letting me have a furlough but he does not seem inclined to grant it so I suppose there is no use in thinking about it, for if he will not help me I could not possibly get one. He has been ordered to New Mexico and will probably leave in two or three weeks. I do not know who will be Med. Director then or whether I shall stay here, but if I should lose my place here, I can get another somewhere else without much trouble. 

I want you to send me my largest Phonographic Book by mail as soon as you get this. Grahams work is the one I mean. I shall probably be in some office until my time is out and have an opportunity to study some and I think it best to finish up what I commenced three years ago. 

This army will probably start another campaign in about a month and it is rumored that the 20th Corps will remain here to garrison the city. I hope it will be so. The Paymaster has just arrived at the depot and we will now get our pay in a few days. We expect to get paid up to 1st of this month, and after paying Harris that 50 Dollars I owe him and one or two small debts I think I shall be able to send you 40 Dollars, I shall write when I send it so you will know when to look for it. 

Write every week even if you do not hear from me and perhaps some of the letters will get through. 

From Your Affectionate Son 

S. F. Gilbert
P. S. Hereafter direct to 

Head Quarters 20th 
Army of the Cumberland 
Care of Med. Director 



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