Asahel C. Austin

“Austin”, “Ace”

Asahel was born around 1829 to Lascum and Mary Austin in Rhode Island. By 1846, his parents had moved to Connecticut, and it was there, in 1852, that he married Margaret Ives. In 1853, they had their first, and only child, Frank.

When their son was just 9 years old, Asahel enlisted into the 20th Connecticut as a corporal. By the end of the war, he would be promoted to first sergeant of company I. Cecil had high regard for him, saying:

You spoke of Austin and Ives, now they are good company and kind hearted. There is not a man in the Co. that has done so much to make things go smooth as Austin.

On the 19th of March, 1865, at the battle of Bentonville, Sgt. Austin was wounded badly in the face. Cecil wrote on the 21st:

Sergt. Austin was badly wounded in the face, it is feared he will loose his right eye. I believe his life in not endangered, I have not seen him, being unable to leave my company.

And then on the 27th:

I went yesterday to see our wounded. I saw Ace, he seemed in very good spirits. He was wounded when just about to fire his gun, that is why the ball took the course it did. It cut the bridge of his nose and took off the underside to his right eye. I don’t think it will disfigure him very bad. Of course, it will not add much to his beauty.

After the war, Austin became an axle maker in New Haven. He passed away in 1897, one year before his wife.


In these letters:

  1. Date Author Description
  2. 1863-03-22
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • This letter is primarily about what is happening at home in Connecticut, but Cecil does mention the possibility of moving shortly and what role the 20th Connecticut might play.
  3. 1863-02-15
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Apologies for making Caroline “blue” in his prior letter, Austin’s trouble on the march, when their cow will calve, and other details.
  4. 1863-02-08
    • Caroline Burleigh
    • In this interesting letter, Caroline writes an adorable account of Louise, a letter from Austin, the rising costs of fabric, and much more.
  5. 1863-02-08
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes on a lazy Sunday in camp about the poor weather, the condition of his uniform and clothing, and the state of his pay.
  6. 1863-02-01
    • Caroline Burleigh
    • Caroline writes a lengthy letter about the state of the war, their baby, her headaches, her low view of Austin, and lots more.
  7. 1863-02-01
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about a visit from Mr. Bristol, the untimely death of a captain, their child, and why he chose to fight in the Civil War.
  8. 1863-01-28
    • Caroline Burleigh
    • Caroline writes to Cecil, and complains about the state of the war and how the soldiers were being treated.
  9. 1863-01-25
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • A brief letter about picket duty and a wintertime march.
  10. 1862-12-20
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this short letter to Caroline, Cecil writes about camping and rations on campaign in poor weather and mentions getting a new pocket-watch.
  11. 1862-11-30
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • In this letter, Cecil scolds Caroline for worrying too much and working too hard, reminding her to place her faith in Christ. He speaks of his dissatisfaction with the chaplain, how he spent Thanksgiving, and worries about their daughter’s propensity for stammering.
  12. 1862-11-16
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • A letter from Cecil to Caroline about the ongoing construction of winter quarters, business back at home, the cold weather, when they will be paid, and the fellow members of his mess.
  13. 1862-11-11
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • A letter from Cecil, telling Caroline about their efforts to build huts for living in, Burnside being placed in charge of the army, and the ineptitude of their own Colonel Ross.
  14. 1862-10-03
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about traveling by train from Frederick to Harpers Ferry, tells Caroline to send him a box, and describes Harpers Ferry in the aftermath of a battle.
  15. 1862-09-28
    • Cecil Burleigh
    • Cecil writes about being frustrated by the tactical gridlock, how ugly the Potomac River and Virginia state are, and how he wishes that Caroline would write more often.