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The Second Mass and Its Fighting Californians

A Reference site of images, articles, artifacts of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry including the Cal 100 and the Cal Battalion.

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William H. Pringle

Co. L., 2nd Mass Cavalry

Age: 26    Occupation: Carpenter


Enlisted March 11, 1863

Captured Rockville, Maryland July 14, 1864

Paroled February 23, 1865
Died at York, Pennsylvania April 14, 1865


Private Pringle's Final Days

This group of three letters tells the story of the capture, release, illness and death of Private William H. Pringle of Company L, 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry.


August 29, 1864

 Mister Pringle

I regret too right too you the loss of your sun he was taken sick and had orders too stay with the wagon train and while with it the wagon train was Captured by the rebs and Pring was taken he among several more of the regiment. The loss of Pringle is regretted very much by the company and am proud to say that it is no more than it is. he is a prisoner and I hope that he will bee exchanged soo far he is a true good soldier. He is missed by every one of his Company. As I have but a few moments to spar I shall close hoping that you may receive this leter and that youre son may soon bee exchanged.


Your soldier friend,
Private James M. Hawkins
Co. L, 2nd Mass Cav
Washington DC

Good news. A letter from William. He was paroled February 23, 1865 and is no longer a POW. However, Pringle is seriously ill will disease contracted in prison. But he is well cared for and says he is, “getting some better.”  

 York, Penn April 6th 65

 Dear Father &Mother 

This is the first time that I have felt like being abel to write since I have been where I could write to you and it is all I can to write now. I cannot give you ——— account of my imprisonment but write to let you know that i am still liveing and i am getting some better.

I started from Baltimore for home on the 17th March and got this far on the road when we had to stop on account of high water. The rail road bridges were said to be swept away so we had nothing to do but to wait for the water to fall but unfortunately for me I was taken worse again so I was put into this Hospital and i shal remain here until I am abel to travel without hurting much.

I would like to know how often you have heard from me since I started for home. there were several Ladies that said they would wright and let you know that i was still liveing. The ladies have taken very good care of me since i have been staying here. They bring me anything i want all i have to do is tell them i want so and so and they are shure to fetch it with them the next time they come. I will have to close my letter. I will start for home as soon as i am abel. I feel a great del better to day. Give my love to all the family. I wad myself a few days ago and i weighed just one hundred and ten pounds. Excuse all mistakes. 

From your Son
W H Pringle

Direct — William H. Pringle
Ward 8 U.S. Hospital
York Pa

William Pringle died of disease on April 15, 1865, just nine days after he wrote to his parents. It was the same day that President Lincoln died. This letter is from his brother John, who was serving with the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. With the war now over, William’s death hits John particularly hard.  

May 6th 1865
Camp Near Winchester, Virginia

Dear Father

I have received too letters from you and too from Mother. We have been on a ten day raid and we just got in last evening when I received your letters with the sad news about William and had a rebel shell or bullet hit me it could not have had a worse effect. But it is the lords will and I will not complain for what is our loss is his eternal gain. I can not write much but will write soon again. I am well and harty. One of Josh Haddocks boys is with me, Abe Haddock. When I feel steady I will write again.

 John D S Pringle

 The news about William makes me feel unwell and light headed.

 Good By

 I will write mother in a day or too.


Courtesy Mike Sorenson