The following letter was written by George S. Hill (1841-1863), the son of Abram G. Hill and Roxanna Field (1800-1875) of Madison, New Haven county, Connecticut. He wrote the letter to his sister, Lucy Maria Hill (1860-1865).
George S. Hill was mustered into Co. I, 27th Connecticut Infantry in October 1862. The were attached to the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg Chancellorsville. George was wounded on 13 December 1862 at the Battle of Fredericksburg. And he was taken prisoner on 3 May 1863 during the Battle of Chancellorsville when 8 of ten companies were captured in a desperate rear guard action. George was paroled less than two weeks later, apparently suffering from illness however. He died of disease at Annapolis, Maryland, on 14 June 1863.
Camp near Falmouth
April 7, 1863
I now sit down to write to you to let you know that instead of being sick, I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I wrote a letter to Roxanna—if she has got it—and I wrote that I had been sick with the jaundice. I was sick about a week and was excused by the doctor from duty but I have got over them now and I feel as well now, if not better, than I have anytime since I left home. My appetite is good. I eat potatoes and onions and we draw good, nice bread, and we live very good now.
I will now write to you something of a soldier’s life. The hardest [thing] we have to do now is going out on picket. I went out on picket last Saturday morning and came in on Sunday. It was a tough time. It began to snow and rain just about sundown and continued to storm till the next day noon. Now, George D. Bailey, [during] the next cold snow and rain storm you have—if you have any in Old Connecticut for I do believe it is colder here than it is up there—you just go out in the lot and sit down on the ground or on a stone. We have to sit down on the ground if we sit down at all, for there is not many stones to be found out here, so we have to seat ourselves right down on the ground or else stand up. You just try it and you will know something what a soldier’s life is. It is all very fine though it is all to save the glorious Union.
Now, if it was for the Union, I would not say any words. But it is not. It is for the cursed niggers. A white man is a slave now and the niggers play gentlemen. Our Captain has got a nigger to wait on his ass and he [the Negro] gets mad at the boys sometimes and calls them sons of bitches. If he should ever call me a son of a bitch, there would be one the less nigger to fight for. I don’t think I would quite kill him, but I would hurt him so he would not live long.
You wrote to have me get a furlough for 60 days. My time will be up by that time or very close and I could not get a sick furlough if I should try for I am well and do duty everyday. I wish I could get a furlough for 60 days. It would please me very much. But when I come home, it will be a furlough for more than 60 days. If I live till the 15th of June or 3rd of July, I shall see Old Madison once more. That won’t be long to wait. I want to give you to understand that I am well and can write my own letters and I will write to you oftener. I do not think of any more to write now and it is getting late and I must close my letter so good night. Give the children each a kiss for me. I send my love to all you.
This from your affectionate brother, — George S. Hill, Falmouth, Virginia