The following letter was written by Andrew W. Barrows (1832-1871), a native of New Hampshire, who was a market man with a stall in the New Faneuil Hall Market in the 1860s and who died of typhoid pneumonia in Washington D. C. in March 1871. He was married to Lydia Adelia Pettingill (1839-1870).
Andrew was the son of Warren Barrows (Unk-1868) and Phila Smith (Unk-1838) of Westmoreland, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. He wrote the letter to his old brother, Warren Snow Barrows (1824-1888) of Hinsdale, Cheshire county, New Hampshire. Warren was married to Maria L. Walker (1828-1919). Warren was an active member of the Democratic Party in Hinsdale and served as chairman of the Board of Selectmen for many years. One of his last duties in the town was as depot master.
We learn from the letter that Warren had recently returned from the Battlefield of Gettysburg. His reason for visiting Gettysburg is not stated in the letter but my hunch is that he went there to retrieve the body of Sgt. Abraham H. Cooper (1827-1863) of Co. F, Hiram Berdan’s 1st U. S. Sharpshooters (Regular Army). Sgt. Cooper was killed in action while on a reconnaissance at Pitzer’s Woods in 2 July 1863. 1 He was the unmarried son of Arad Cooper (1787-1856) and Hannah Fisher (1794-1834) of Hinsdale. In August 1863, a month after the battle, Warren was appointed by the Judge of Probate in Cheshire county to serve as the Administrator of Abraham’s Estate which probably necessarily included his burial and attendant expenses.
Andrew’s letter makes it pretty clear that he placed the blame for the war squarely at the feet of the abolitionists, stating that he “would sooner see some of these long hailed folks (meaning abolitionists) rot on the ground than a southern Rebel.” The letter was written less than a month before Lincoln delivered his address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
See also—1864: Andrew Russell Barrows to Warren Snow Barrows.
[Note: This letter is from the personal collection of Greg Herr and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]
October 21, 1863
I received your letter this morning and was very glad to hear you were alive as it had been so long since I heard from you. I began to think you had gone to war or else you were dead. I was surprised to hear you had been out to the great Battle field at Gettysburg. I think you mist of seen things that you never dreamt of or expected to see in your life time. I am sure I would like to go there but [at] the same time, I would not like to see the poor fellows bones piled up on the top of the ground to rot no matter whether they are rebels or abolitionists. I would sooner see some of these long hailed folks rot on the ground than a southern Rebel.
I han’t time to write any news now so I close hoping to hear from you soon. Yours truly, &c., — Andrew
Enclosed I send you a check for $200. Please write soon as you receive it and let me know if you do get it all right. All well.
1 “Students of the Battle of Gettysburg are familiar with the reconnaissance action at Pitzer’s Woods. At noon on July 2, 1863, 300 Union soldiers probed the Confederate position. Four companies from Col. Hiram Berdan’s 1st U.S. Sharpshooters—about 100 men—led the way. They formed into skirmish line in the woods near the Warfield and Flaherty farms and then pushed northward, moving along the crest of Seminary Ridge. When the four companies reached a position northwest of the Staub Farm, they made contact with three regiments from Brig. Gen. Cadmus Wilcox’s brigade, the 8th, 10th, and 11th Alabama. A twenty-minute fire-fight developed. After it was all over, the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters counted their losses. They had subtracted nineteen officers and men. Of this number, five had been killed in action (including Sgt. Cooper).” [See Tales from the Army of the Potomac, by Timothy Orr]