War Between the States

3 pages, 7 3/4 x 12 1/4, in ink, signed by William H. Vallance, Quartermaster Harris Light Cavalry.

Head Quarters Harris Lt. Cav.
Camp Palmer, Feby. 7th, 1862
To Major Alfred N. Duffie
Commanding H.L.C.


I have the honor to acknowledge your reply to my communication of this morning (No. 2) and express the obligation under which I am for the information thus afforded to me.

Perceiving you have been misled by unfounded representations, I would respectfully endeavor to undeceive you in some matters dwelt upon in your above named communication.

You are made to say, "that until yesterday there has been no fixed hours for the delivery of Forage." I am yet to be made aware of any alterations that occurred yesterday of such a nature in my department. If such is the case it has been done without my orders, nor can I find that such has been done.

The example mentioned in your communication of Company L, having received a less quantity than their requisition called for has already been made a source of complaint- adjudicated upon by the Colonel Comdg. and the result proved that the same was owing entirely to the neglect of duty by Q.M. Sergt. Ellis of that company.

In answer to your statement marked 2nd, I would reply that upon application to Mr. Ensworth, Chief Property Clerk, at Arlington Ho.[use]. I have oftentimes met with the same response, that is to say as to the furnishing of transportation for that purpose, but as I believe with poor results from the "Wagon Masters" to whom I presumed now referred in your previous communication.

Mr. Ensworth has always most courteously aided me in all my endeavors and to him I am grateful.

On Monday last, I directed a note to Arlington House requesting the use of twenty teams for one day’s service as they were absolutely requisite for the good order of the Regiment. I have not yet received one.

The remark attributed by company quartermaster Sergt. Ellis to Mr. Ensworth that there has always been ample quantity of Forage unhesitatingly pronounce to be a misunderstanding on his part.

I regret that your communication comments not upon the matters of the supply of wood and transportation as by me respectfully suggested this morning in my previous communication. I ask not any indulgence from the strict performance of my duty, but if officers see not that the organization and administration of their companies is not complete and efficient, it is very difficult for me to think as well as act for them.

I am Sir,
Very Respectfully,
Your obedient Servt.,
Wm. H. Vallance
Q. Master Harris Light Cav.

Light age toning and wear. Very fine. This document came from the personal papers of General Alfred N. Duffie. It is addressed to him in 1862 when he was major of the 2nd New York Cavalry, the "Harris Light Cavalry." Rare.

General Alfred N. Duffie: (1835-80) Born in Paris, he was the son of a French count. He graduated from the military college of St. Cyr in 1854 and won four decorations in the Crimea. Wounded in the battle of Solferino against the Austrians, he took leave of absence to come to the U.S. in 1859, where he met and married the daughter of a prominent Staten Island family. When the Civil War broke out he resigned his commission in the French army and offered his services to the U.S. On August 2, 1861, he was commissioned captain of the 2nd New York Cavalry and was promoted to major in October. In July 1862, he was appointed colonel of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry which he led in the 2nd Bull Run campaign. In March 1863 his distinguished services at the battle of Kelly's Ford got the attention of General Joe Hooker who requested his promotion to brigadier general which was granted. He commanded a division of the Cavalry Corps under General Alfred Pleasanton during the Chancellorsville campaign and the early phases of the Gettysburg campaign. After this he was ordered to the Department of West Virginia and his subsequent service was in that department under Generals' Benjamin F. Kelley, Franz Sigel, David Hunter and George Crook. In October 1864, he was captured by Confederate partisans near Bunker Hill, Va., and was not paroled until the end of February 1865.

William H. Vallance, who signed this document, enlisted on August 1, 1861, at New York City, and was commissioned 1st lieutenant and quartermaster of the 2nd New York Cavalry. He was discharged for promotion, June 10, 1862, and was commissioned captain, U.S. Volunteers Quartermaster Department. He was dismissed on November 11, 1864.

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