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Alexander D. Maseker Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 1969

Biographical History

Little is known of Alexander D. Maseker beyond the information given in the collection. Letters to his wife have a Newark, New Jersey address, but Corporal Maseker evidently served with the 1st Long Island (New York) Regiment as part of Graham's Brigade. His unit participated in the siege of Yorktown and the Battle of Fair Oaks during General George B. McLellan's peninsular campaign.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Alexander D. Maseker Letters consists of 18 letters written by a Union soldier during the Civil War.

The two letters from 1847 and 1848 are love letters, addresed to an unidentified "Amanda" and simply signed "M." The first is a love poem; in the second he writes, "And do you really wish to break off our acquaintance that has given me so much pleasure for months, cruel cruel one?...Henceforth I will put no trust in Woman, they are hollow-hearted, caught by glare and glitter, selfish and cruel..." Both letters originate from New York.

The letters from 1861-1862 are addressed to "My dear wife" Margaret and their children. The letters contain descriptions of army life in the camps and on campaign. Referencing the Battle of Fair Oaks (May 31 - June 1, 1862), Masekes writes, "The 31 wea had one awful fite...When wea went into the fite wea numbered in our company 63 men and when wea mustard men the nex day wea only had 29 men." (3 Jun 1862)

These letters originate from Washington DC and numerous locations in Virginia (Lewinville, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, and encampments on the Pamunkey and James Rivers). There is also one written from Blackwell Island Hospital.

There is no internal evidence that the "M" of the first two letters is in fact the "Alexander Maseker" of the later letters. Although the handwriting is similar the style (spelling, vocabulary, sentence structure) is quite different, as is evident in the excerpts cited above.

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections of Civil War era letters and correspondence. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Maseker, Alexander D.

Corporate Bodies

United States. -- Army -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.


Fair Oaks, Battle of, Va., 1862 -- Personal narratives.
Peninsular Campaign, 1862 -- Personal narratives.
Soldiers -- United States.


United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns -- Sources.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.
United States -- History, Military -- To 1900 -- Sources.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Alexander D. Maseker Letters,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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