1865: Edd to Friend Mary E. M.

There is insufficient personal detail in the following letter to attribute it to any particular regiment, let alone any particular soldier. Numerous Union regiments were dug in near Petersburg where the city had been under siege for more than half a year by this point in late February 1865. The letter was written by a Union soldier named Edd (Edward) to his lady friend Mary who had the initials “M. E. M.” Edd speaks of the Union troops firing a salute on 24 February 1865 to celebrate the fall of Wilmington, North Carolina—the last remaining supply port for the Confederacy. In response, the Rebels in Petersburg unleashed a barrage of shells into the Union lines “quite hard.” Edd also speaks of deserters and a Peace Commission in Richmond.

Bomb-proof quarters in Fort Sedgewick in front of Petersburg (LOC)


Before Petersburg, Virginia
February 25th 1865

My dear Mary,

The times still passes off slowly yet but is on account of its being so unpleasant for it has rained nearly all the time since I got back.

We fired a salute last night for the capture of Wilmington and its surroundings. Oh, there is another peace Commission gone to Richmond but for what purpose, we have not yet heard. I hope they will do something so as to settle the war for I don’t think I should cry if it should end—not bad at any rate. The Rebs after we fired the salute last night opened on us quite hard but we would not reply to them. But I guess we didn’t get ourselves under cover anywhere. I reckon I did not for I got to the magazine and stayed until it was over. I’ll bet I didn’t wish myself at home any, Oh no!, where I was the week before. Although we all enjoyed the shelling very much, they done but little damage. Some of the shells went through some of the bomb proofs and some striking the ground and bursted which reminded me of the track we made the time we got out of the road coming home from Jane’s.

There is no news except a lot of the Rebs are deserting every night when it is dark. There was 560 came in night before last on the lines. As there is nothing more, I will close by sending my best wishes to all.

My truest love and a kiss to you. I remain your kind, true friend, — Edd

[to] M. E. M.

Please write again.

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