Felix Voltz was 18 years old (possibly younger) when he ran away from home on January 30, 1865 to enlist (to his family’s dismay). He mustered out with the company on July 1, 1865, at Arlington Heights, Virginia, and served as a drummer in the 187th Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry for five months.
Felix wrote letters to his family in Elmira, New York, which describes the rigors of Union Army life from February through June 1865. The letters are held in the Special Collections Department of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. http://spec.lib.vt.edu/
Below is a letter from Felix to his siblings describing his life in the army. More than once, Felix comments on the regret he feels for leaving home.
June 2, 1865
June 2nd / 65
Camp at Arlington Hydes
Dear Brths & Sisters
Yours dated May 24th came with great Pleasure to hand. I was very much Pleased to hear from same. I was very sorry to hear such bad news from Duchene Family Specialy to hear in what Reght Joe Enlisted in and know in his grave that their is no chance no more for me to hear from him or even to see him again. Dr Brth [Dear Brother] I must let you know that I see Brother John last week and his stayd with me all that day and that night Dear Brthr you can immagine how sursprised I was to see a Brother that I have not seen in such a long time.
Dear Brother I have another favor to ask of you I have A leseice [lice] on Me it is what they call the Camp Edge. I tented with one of our Drummers named Fred Remmel and he had it bad and he send home for some Medicine he says he dont know the name of it but the Drum Major is now home on A furlough now I supposed you have seen him before this and he had it and used some of this medicine and it cured him and wish you would ask Joe Roach about it I wish you would see to it as soon as possible and send it by Mail if you send it by Mail it will be here in about three days I will close for this time so good day I remain your truly Brother.
Article written by Henry Madison
Photo taken from https://imagebase.lib.vt.edu/browse.php?folio_ID=/cw/poet