Category Archives: Battle of Fredericksburg

1862: Frank Ball to Horatio Ball

The following letter was written by Francis (“Frank”) Ball (1841-Aft1865), the son of Horatio Ball (1796-1873) and Adelia Cornell (1797-1878) of Albion, Orleans county, New York. He wrote the letter to his older brother Horatio Amberelius Ball (1835-1873) whom he referred to throughout the letter as “Raish.”

I could not find an image of Frank but here is one of James Newton who served with Frank in the 105th New York Infantry. Corp. Newton was wounded at Fredericksburg on 13 December 1863 (Robert May Collection)

Frank enlisted in January 1862 to served in Co. F, 105th New York Infantry—a regiment that was organized during the winter of 1861-62, and mustered mustered into the U. S. service in March for three years. It left the state on April 4, was stationed for a month at Washington; then as part of the 1st brigade, 2nd division, 3d corps, Army of Virginia, it participated in its first battle at Cedar mountain, where 8 were wounded. A week later it moved on Gen. Pope’s Virginia campaign, culminating in the second battle of Bull Run, its loss in the campaign being 89 killed, wounded and missing. In the ensuing Maryland campaign under McClellan, it fought in the same brigade and division, but the corps was now called the 1st and Hooker had succeeded McDowell in command. The regiment had slight losses at South Mountain, but suffered severely in Miller’s Cornfield at Antietam, where the 1st corps opened the battle, losing 74 killed, wounded and missing. [See “The 105th New York in Antietam’s Cornfield: The High Price of Achievement”]

The regiment was also prominently engaged at Fredericksburg, where Gen. Reynolds commanded the 1st Corps, the 105th losing 78 killed, wounded and missing. After assailing the Confederate right at the point of bayonet and overrunning the Confederates position, when they were not reinforced, they were counterattacked and grappled in hand-to-hand combat before yielding the hard-earned ground. The “gallant old 105th New York was annihilated,” according to their commander Isaac S. Tichenor. “Captain Abraham Moore [Co. F] tried to rally the surviving members of the regiment. He failed. One soldier explained, “The 105th New York Volunteers was literally killed in action.” [See “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock” by Francis A. O’Reilly, page 241] A great number of the surviving members of the 105th New York were taken prisoner, including Feank Ball, as he states in the following letter.

Being much reduced in numbers, in March, 1863 the 105th New York was consolidated into five companies, F, G, H, I and K, and transferred to the 94th N. Y. Infantry. It had lost during service 2 officers and 48 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded; 45 enlisted men who died of disease and other causes, a total of 95. Its gallant Lieut.-Col. Howard Carroll was among the mortally wounded at Antietam.


Addressed to Mr. Horatio Ball, Esq., Albion, Orleans county, New York

December 30th [1862]


I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. We are well down [here in ] Dixie. There is no prospects of any fighting. All quiet along the Rappahannock since the last slaughter. Now and then a thirty-two [pounder] wakes up to let the Confederates know we are still here.

Raish, you spoke in your letter of several things true. This thing is carried on under a cloak. We have many changes here. Sumner and Franklin and Burnside all left us. You wanted to know my Corps and Division at the fight of Antietam and South Mountain. My regiment was in Hooker’s Corps and [James B.] Rickett’s Division, [Abram] Duryée’s Brigade. Like everything else, we’ve been changed. We are in Reynold’s [1st] Corps, Robinson’s [2nd] Division, Root’s [1st] Brigade. We was in Gibbon’s Division, General Franklin’s Grand Left at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Va. You can guess it’s hard to keep track.

Raish, we want Little Mac back. He is the only man that can handle this army. See how quick he made the Rebs dust out of Maryland? Between me and you, the Army of the Potomac is on the point of [ ]. Raish, if a [ ] tomorrow.

Capt. [Abraham] Moore starts for Brockport on furlough. We got a small regiment—about 200 men. Many of them is detailed on extra duty. There is some talk of consolidating my regiment with others and making one of three. Raish, this is hard when a regiment has been cut up. Of course the absent commissioned officers will take command and we will have probably strange officers.

My Brigade comprises the following regiments—viz: the 104th New York, 16th Maine, 94th New York, 107th Pennsylvania. This is the Brigade that drove the Rebs at Fredericksburg in Franklin’s left on a bayonet charge. Raish, I held trumps that day but when I went in, I as leave [had] been out. But thank God, I come out all right. But many that was my comrades lies over the river filling soldiers’ graves. Raish, I seen many sights [as] I walked over the dead and dying. I’ve been to Rebeldom. I was there two weeks and exchanged. I was in the same tobacco house that Hank Hewitt was and Alf Raymond. From there to Fortress Monroe. From there to Annapolis, Maryland. I seen the Monitor and the sunken Cumberland and the Congress sunken by the Rebel Merrimack of Newport News.

Raish, a soldier sees many things. I seen enough. Now I want to see York State. I got 8 months pay coming. If I had that, I have some hopes of settlement this summer. The Rebs gets plenty fresh meat and that makes them savage. Raish, you can guess the rest. Give my love to all and a bigger share yourself. Raish, heavy artillery are in front of the enemy. Lizzy’s man is as safe as at home. Rasch, you must write often and I will do the same. Send me the news of Albin and oblige, — Frank Ball

Civil War Letters of Andrew J. Lane, 32nd Massachusetts

I could not find an image of Andrew but here is a painting of Pvt. John N. Nichols of Co. K, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry
(Kevin Kilcommons’ Collection)

The following letters were written by Andrew J. Lane, Jr. (1841-1925), the oldest son of Andrew Lane (1818-1899) and Susan S. Simpson (1820-1894) of Rockport, Essex county, Massachusetts. Andrew had two brother who are mentioned in these letters—Ivory Lane (1842-1869) and Leverette Lane (1844-1929). His younger siblings included Horace (b. 1847), Franklin (b. 1852), John H. (b. 1855), and Susan (b. 1857).

Andrew enlisted on 27 November 1861 as a private in Co. D, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was promoted to corporal prior to his being wounded at Shady Grove Church Road on 30 May 1864 and he was discharged on 1 December 1864. According to the regimental history, Company D was recruited in Gloucester, and was almost entirely composed of fishermen and sailors and had a reputation for unruliness. It was commanded by Captain James P. Draper. The late Adjutant-General James A. Cunningham was First Lieutenant, and Stephen Rich, Second Lieutenant.

[Note: There are reportedly sixty letters in this collection that I will be adding to this webpage as I get them transcribed.]

To read letters by other members of the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry that I have transcribed and published on Spared & Shared, see:

Luther Stephenson, F&S, 32nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
Edmund Lewis Hyland, Co. F, 32nd Massachusetts (1 Letter)
William Litchfield, Co. F, 32nd Massachusetts (4 Letters)

Letter 1

Interior of Fort Warren in Boston Harbor

Fort Warren, [Boston Harbor]
December 5, [1861]

Dear Father,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you all are the same. I like it up here first rate now. The first day we came up here, we hadn’t much to eat. They marched us in and we scambled and get a piece of bread. That’s all we had. Dipped that in a pail of tea. That’s all we had that night. We have good grub now—corned beef and beans. We have got good places to sleep. Got a sack filled with straw. We lay in the fort. Have a fire all night. There is four companies up here now. We don’t drill much yet. We have to stand guard. We have to stand 3 days in a week; go on two hours then stay off 4 so that makes 8 hours out of 24.

There is about 1200 prisoners up here we have to guard. That is all we have to do. There is all kinds of prisoners here. Some of them are dressed up as nice as any gentleman you ever saw, Some looks like the Old Harry [the Devil]—Hatteras prisoners. I was on guard last night. I have seen Slidel & Mason. 1

No more at present. Give my best respects to Johnny and tell him I wish he could see us up her and see the rebels. I don’t know but we shall stay here until the war is over. If I find out that we are, I shall send home after some things. I suppose we shall know before long. Give my love to all the folks. No more at present. — Andrew Lane

Direct your letter to me Coo. D in 1st Battalion, car of Capt. [James P.] Draper.

1 Fort Warren at this time was occupied as a depot for Confederate war and state prisoners during the winter of 1861-62. In February 1862, a detachment of prisoners from Fort Donelson were sent to Fort Warren— “mostly long, gaunt men, given to wearing sombrero hats, and chewing tobacco. With this party came Generals Buckner and Tilghman. [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 2

Fort Warren [Boston Harbor]
April 6th 1862

Dear Father,

I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received a box last Sunday by Joseph Sewall. The pillow case fits pretty well but it full large.

They put us through drilling now. Our parade ground is dry and hard and in good order now but it snowed last night but it’s gone now. It is my turn to go on guard tomorrow.

I was on guard a week ago last Saturday night and was laying on the bench asleep [when] one of the fellows came in and said the garrison was alarmed. I springed up and grab my gun from the rack. She was all loaded and capped. When I got out, there was all the company drawed up in a line of battle. I couldn’t think what was the trouble. I thought the prisoners had risen [up] or the [Confederate ironclad] Merrimac had come. Come to find out it was done to see how quick the men would be on hand. Most all our fellows were in their bunks asleep with their boots off. They were all equipped, fell in and out on the parade ground in line of battle in 4 and a half minutes, all ready for a fight. Some of the companies were longer than ours. All 6 companies were out in 6 minutes. It was work, I tell you.

I don’t know of anything about so I must close. I am going to put some rings in and you can do what you please with them. Give one to John, one to Frank. Give Mary Wade Smith one. Do what you have a mind to with the rest.

[Joseph H.] Wingood is going home tomorrow, he expects, so I will send it by him. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Write all the news.

Letter 3

Fort Warren
May 21st 1862

Dear Brother,

As I have plenty of time I thought I would write I am well, live and kicking and hope you all are the same. I received your letter last night and was glad to hear from you for I haven’t heard from home since [Joseph] Wingood came back.

You stated in your letter that Alexander was dead. What was it that ailed him? I received a letter from Solon last week. He didn’t say anything about the prospect down there. I guess it ain’t much.

We was paid off two months pay last Wednesday. We was paid up to the first of May. We have drawed more pants. There was new hats came for us last night. It has been hot up here inside of the fort drilling in the middle of the day.

Caleb Farr was up here last Monday with a load of sand. I was on guard outside and went down [and] board of him two or three times. He thought the war would soon close. Everything looks nice up here now. The grass looks green and forward around here. I shall be home on a furlough in about a week from next Monday if nothing happens. Bane will be at home the first of next week. I expect his turn comes before mine does. I don’t know of anything more to write now so I must close now.

Write soon. Tell Ivory to write. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Give my best respects to Rob and all the folks.

Letter 4

Fort Warren [Boston Harbor]
May 26, 1862

Dear Father,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. We had orders come for us to be in Boston at 3 o’clock this afternoon to go to Washington. All six companies is going. Major Parker came down here last night at 2 o’clock. Our cooks are cooking 3 days rations. I am packing up some boxes to send home. Look out for them. Tell Mother to keep cool—not to fret about me for I shall do the best I can. This is quick notice for us, I tell you. They say that Gen. Banks has been cut to pieces and the rebels are advancing onto Washington.

Give my love to all the folks. We are getting ready for to go so no more this time. So goodbye. I will write as soon as I get there and tell you all the news.

From your son, — Andrew Lane

I haven’t got time to write any more. Have good courage for I have got [it]. Don’t worry about me. Goodbye. Bane [Vane? Cane?] was coming home tomorrow. I was coming next Thursday but orders some so we can’t. 1

1 After months of garrison duty at Fort Warren, most of the members of the 32nd Massachusetts were “glad to be out of jail, some said—glad to be moving to the front; all desiring to see that actual war for which they had passed through long and careful training, and anxious as new troops can be, for a share in the realities of the campaign.” [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 5

Camp at Washington D. C.
Wednesday afternoon, [May 28th 1862]

Dear Father,

I take this time to write to you. We have just arrived here about 4 o’clock. We have been on the road since Monday afternoon. We haven’t stopped but twice since we started and that was in Philadelphia yesterday and got some dinner there [after which] we started again. We left our muskets in Boston and got Enfield rifles in Fall River. When we was at Philadelphia, we heard that there was a mob in Baltimore so we loaded our rifles.

We was accepted in Philadelphia tip top. We got into Baltimore at light this morning and marched through the same street that the Old 6th was attacked. We had no trouble. Flags was flying all around. They took us in and gave us a good breakfast. They cheered us all the way along. We are all hoarse cheering so much. I tell you that everything looks splendid out this way. Grass is almost high ready to mow. Peas all podded.

We had a good time coming out. We come from Fall River to Jersey City in a steamer. She had berths enough to accommodate 1,000. We are here close to the White House in a building. We are going to stop here to guard Washington. There is 8,000 troops here now [and] 5,000 more expected tonight. These are going off tomorrow. We are going about a mile and a half to the other part of the city on the Potomac to relieve troops to go South.

I can’t write anymore this time. I shall write again son. Direct your letter to Washington D. C., 32nd Regiment Infantry, Mass. Vols., Co. D.

Write to me soon and let me know how things are. I think this is a the nicest place in the world. — Andrew Lane

Letter 6

Washington [D. C.]
Monday, June 23rd 1862

Dear Father,

As I have plenty of time this morning, I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope all of you are the same. I haven’t heard from you for some time now.

It is warm here. They say we are about to leave here. I think we shall go this week for the officers are packing up their things. They say we are to go to Alexandria. That is about fifteen miles from here. We are going there to guard a railroad track but it is hard telling where we are going. We ain’t doing anything where we are now. Our captain is gone on to Boston with a prisoner.

There was a lieutenant-colonel died in the city and out regiment had to go to escort him to the depot. He was way up by the White House. We had to march about five miles. There was a band there. We marched reversed arms—that is, under our arm, butts up. They all thought up in the city that we was Regulars. They told our officers that it was the best regiment they had seen for they were all young fellows.

When we first got here, we had rather poor grub but have better now. All of us Rockport fellows are all in one tent together. I think we shall leave here this afternoon or tomorrow for I just heard the Colonel tell the sergeants to get their things together so I think we are going right off.

I suppose you will begin haying before long now. I don’t know what to think of this war. I don’t think it will close very soon for they don’t seem to be doing anything as I can see. They don’t print anything in the papers here. I think we shall have to see some fighting before we get out of this.

There is seventeen hundred men to work on the Navy Yard making shells. 1 I don’t think of anything more to write so I must close now. When you write, direct to Washington to be forwarded to 32nd Regiment.

From your son, — Andrew Lane.

1 Members of the 32nd Massachusetts would have had an opportunity to view these activities at the Navy Yard from their encampment at Camp Alexander. The camp was pitched on a high bluff overlooking the eastern branch of the Potomac.

Letter 7

Camped somewhere, don’t know where
Somewhere near Fairfax [Virginia]
June 27th 1862

Brother Joe,

As i have got time now, I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and all the rest of the Rockport boys and I hope all of you are the same. We are all of us in one tent together. we have moved since you heard from me last. We had orders to start last Wednesday which [we] did. We started in the morning and marched with our knapsacks on, the brigade train in the rear, 20 of them with six mules each. We had a good cool day to march. We arrived here about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. We came through Alexander. We are about three miles beyond Alexandria.

There is a lot of regiments here. The 99th Pennsylvania, some Indiana Regiment and [the 10th] Rhode Island, and they keep coming all the time. There is a regiment just came. There ain’t but two houses to be seen [and] them are all riddled to pieces. Everything looks deserted out here and everybody gone. Our army has cut all the wood around as far as you can see. Large oaks [have] been cut off here. We are about twenty miles from Washington. I think they are afraid that Jackson would come around this way and try to get into Washington—that is the reason we came here.

The Bloody 69th New York is here and a lot of batteries of artillery. They are practicing here now. They have got 6 horses to a piece. They go around here like lightning, fire, then off again.

When we came through Alexandria, I saw the house where Col. Ellsworth was shot. The house was all ripped to pieces. They say the same flag is flying that he put up there. I saw Henry Robinson the other day before we left and [illegible] and McLain’s brother. They belong to the 14th Mass. Regiment. If you only had such land as there is here to clear up, you would never work on that Dennis pasture—I bet you wouldn’t—for here it is level as a house. There is not a rock to be seen and mellow loam. But anyone wouldn’t want to live here, I shouldn’t think.

We belong to a brigade now—Sturgis’s I believe. I don’t know how long we shall stop here. I expect we are leaving now. I must close. Give my love to all the folks. Tell [illegible] to be good boys. Direct your letters to Washington to be forwarded to 32nd.

From your brother, — Andrew Lane

Letter 8

Fortress Monroe
Laying on board Steamer Hero awaiting orders
July 2nd 1862

Dear Father,

I take ths time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you all are the same. We had orders come last Sunday night for us to report in Alexandria on Monday and Monday morning we pitched our tents and started and marched to Alexandria—the distance about six miles. We waited there until sundown for a transport when we started for Fortress Monroe—the distance about 200 miles. We anchored in Hampton Roads at nine o’clock last night and went to the wharf this morning and [are] waiting for orders. I think we shall go to Richmond to reinforce McClellan as there is lots of regiments on the way.

Saturday and Sunday before we left, the cars was running night and day bringing troops from Harper’s Ferry to go on to Richmond. There is any quantity of steamers loaded with troops. I never began to see so many steamers and vessels and gunboats as there is here in the Roads loaded with everything. There is six lays here loaded with horses, some with cannon, some with wagons, and a great many with hay if we shall go up the James river.

I haven’t got much time to write for the mail is going off now. I will write as soon as we arrive at our destination. The officers don’t know where we shall go and we may stop off at Fort Monroe yet. We can’t tell. 1

If you write to me, direct to Washington to be forwarded to 32nd Regiment and it will come where we are. I must close now. Write to me soon. From your son, — Andrew Lane

1 “We arrived at Fort Monroe early on the 2d of July, and reported to General Dix, commanding that post. Here we heard of the seven days fighting across the Peninsula, and found the air full of exciting and contradictory rumors as to the incidents and result of the battles. Even General Dix had no precise information as to the whereabouts of General McClellan, but he knew that he wanted more men and wanted them quick, and we were directed without disembarking to proceed up the river until we found the army. Facilities were provided for cooking the necessary rations, and early in the afternoon, after receiving repeated injunctions to take 42every precaution against falling into the hands of the enemy, we weighed anchor and steamed away up the James. Our heavily-laden boat could not make the distance by daylight, and we passed the night at anchor in the river, with steam up and a large guard on duty, and with the early dawn were again underweigh, in search of the army.” [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 9

Harrison’s Landing
Sunday, July 6th 1862

Dear Brother Joe,

I take this time to write to you to let you know where I am. All of us Rockport boys are all well—the same as we was when we left home. I wrote hime when I was at Fort Monroe.

We landed here the 3rd of July. I tell you, it looked dark when we landed. The army was on the bank of the river. They had retreated back from Richmond to here and the rebels followed them back and was fighting. When we landed we got eighty rounds of cartridges and started up, the mud up to our knees. I never saw such a time in my life there. The men was laying dead and wounded, horses and mules laying dead, and the shells bursting around. We went up to the edge of the woods. I thought we were going right into a fight. I felt just like it. We was drawn up in line of battle at the edge of the wood and halted. Just through this woods was a large field and they took the rebel battery by a charge. They was on the retreat. That was never known to be done before. 1

We stopped there until night when we moved away to the right in the woods and there we stopped. We have been here ever since. This division we are in is the 3rd Reserve. The army and two reserves have gone on before us but I don’t know how far they have gone. There is three regiments in this division that is cut up bad—the 9th Massachusetts, and a Pennsylvania Regiment. We are laying back for them to recruit up. I wish you could see the 9th Massachusetts Regimental flag all riddled to pieces with bullets. The men are all Irish. They only had two officers left in their regiment. They say the rebels fight like the devil. They would come up and put their hands on our cannon when they was firing grape and canister into them and our fellows would put in double charges of grape and canister and mow them down like grass. They all say here that they killed 5 rebels where they killed one of ours.

You folks at home that think that a half dozen men can go through the South had better come out here and try them. They ain’t no cowards. The men say that our batteries would cut regiments down and they would close up again and come steadily on. They wouldn’t flinch a bit for the bullets, but when they come to a charge bayonet, they leave.

There is regiments arriving here all the time now. The Maine 5th was drawn up in line of battle behind us that first day we came but I didn’t have a chance to go and see them but I saw one [illegible] and Steve Parker’s and the fellows are in. He sas the boys are all right but Benson for he is wounded and expects to be taken prisoner. The Maine 5th has gone on the advance. It was cut up pretty bad.

I don’t know what to think of this retreat that McClellan has made. They say that he done it to let Burnsides and Pope come in behind them to Richmond. The fellows say that the rebels are drunk—full of whiskey and gun powder. They [illegible] full of it.

When we come up the river, I saw the Cumberland and Congress that the Merrimac sunk. The Monitor lays off here. She took a rebel gunboat yesterday. All we had to eat the first day or two was hard bread and pork. Now we get beef, bread and coffee. I don’t know how long we stay here. We pitched our tents last night. I think we shall stop here some time yet. Direct your letters to Washington D. C., 32nd Mass. Volunteers. Write to me. — Andrew Lane

We are 16 miles from Richmond now. We are close to the James River. Give my love to all the folks.

1 Col. Parker had the following to say of the regiment’s arrival at Harrison’s Landing on the James river: “At the head of the wharf a mass of men were striving to pass the guard, hoping to get away on the steamer which had brought us. Passing them, we looked for the road up which we were ordered to move “direct.” In every direction, and as far as we could see, the soil which twenty-four hours before had been covered with promising crops of almost ripened grain, was trodden into a deep clay mud,—so deep and so adhesive as, in several cases, to pull the boots and stockings from the soldiers’ feet, and so universal as to have obliterated every sign of the original road. Everywhere were swarms of men in uniform, tattered and spattered with mud, but with no perceptible organization, wading through the pasty ground. On and near the river bank were open boxes, barrels, casks, and bags of provision and forage, from which each man supplied himself without the forms of requisition, issue, or receipt. Everywhere too were mule-wagon teams struggling in the mire, and the air resounded with the oaths of the drivers, the creaking of the wagons, the voices of men shouting to each other, the bray of hungry mules, and the noise of bugle and drum calls, with an accompaniment of artillery firing on land and water. To all these were added, when we appeared, shouts, not of hearty welcome and encouragement, such as we might naturally have expected from an overtasked army to its first reinforcement, but in derision of our clean dress and exact movements—warnings of terrible things awaiting us close at hand—questions as to how our patriotism was now—not one generous cheer.

Officers and men alike joined in this unseemly behavior, and even now when we know, as we did not then, the story of the terrible days of battle through which they had passed, and the sufferings that they had patiently endured, we cannot quite forgive their unmannerly reception of a recruiting force. Through all this we succeeded in finding General Porter’s headquarters, and by his direction were guided to a position a mile or more distant, and placed in line of battle with other troops in face of a thick wood, and then learned that we were assigned to the brigade of General Charles Griffin, division of General Morell, in Fitz John Porter’s, afterward known as the Fifth army corps. As soon as we were fairly in position our Colonel sought for the brigadier. The result was not exactly what his fancy may have painted. On a small heap of tolerably clean straw he found three or four officers stretched at full length, not very clean in appearance and evidently well nigh exhausted in condition. One of them, rather more piratical looking than the others, owned that he was General Griffin, and endeavored to exhibit some interest in the addition to his command, but it was very reluctantly that he acceded to the request that he would show himself to the Regiment, in order that they might be able to recognize their brigade commander.

After a time however, the General mounted and rode to the head of our column of divisions. The Colonel ordered “attention” and the proper salute, and said: “Men, I want you to know and remember General Griffin, our Brigadier General.” Griffin’s address was perhaps the most elaborate he had ever made in public. “We’ve had a tough time men, and it is not over yet, but we have whaled them every time and can whale them again.” Our men, too well disciplined to cheer in the ranks, received the introduction and the speech, so far as was observed, in soldierly silence, but months afterward the General told that he heard a response from one man in the ranks who said, “Good God! is that fellow a general.” We all came to know him pretty well in time, and to like him too, and some of us to mourn deeply when he died of the fever in Texas, after the surrender.

The officers of our Field and Staff found in the edge of the wood just in front of the Regiment, a spot somewhat drier than the average, and occupied it, but not without opposition. A long and very muddy corporal was gently slumbering there, and on waking, recognized his disturbers by their clean apparel as new comers, and thought they might be raw. Pointing to an unexploded shell which lay near him on the ground, he calmly advised the officers not to stop there, as “a good many of them things had been dropping in all the morning.” His strategy proved unsuccessful, for he was ranked out of his comfortable quarters and told to join his regiment. After all, the day passed without an engagement, and the sound of guns gradually died away, until near evening, when the Brigade was moved about two miles away and bivouacked in a wood of holly trees, the men making beds of green corn-stalks, and going to them singing and laughing.” [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 10

Harrison’s Landing
July 12th 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I take this time to write to you to let you know that I am well and was glad to hear that all of you were. I received your letter and paper yesterday and was pleased with them. We are laying back in the woods where we landed at first. We have pitched our tents at the edge of woods. It is a pleasant place, I tell you.

There is a plantation here that we are on. The night we came here the corn was up to our shoulders just as far as you could see. They turned in three thousand head of cattle into it the night we came here. I tell you they went into it good. It looked too bad to see them eat that corn. That is the drove that follows the army for them to eat and when they retreated back, they came in before the army. That is the biggest drove that I ever saw. You tell Joe that I should like for him to see them and pick him out a pair of steers for there are some of the best looking cattle I ever saw in my life. They have ate the corn all up and they have moved them over across the street into another corn field.

A recruiting poster for the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry in mid-1862

I don’t think it is so hot here as it is at home. We haven’t done the first thing since we have been here yet but I think we shall move soon. We are back as a reserve. The advance troops are out three or four miles beyond us. They are building forts and entrenchments and I think we shall have to go out and help them. The 5th Maine Regiment is out there. I and [Sylvanus B.] Babson, 1 [Joseph] Sewall, and Pickney went up there the other day to see the boys. We saw [Otis] Wallace & [Charles M.] Coburn and some more fellows. They was glad to see us. [Stephen] Perkins is taken prisoner [or] shot—they don’t know which, for he went out after his knapsack after the regiment had fallen back [and] they never saw him since. Scraper left his regiment before the fight commenced. They haven’t seen him. I saw a sergeant in his company. He says he hopes he never will come back. He thinks he has deserted.

Yesterday Otis [Wallace] and Coburn & Thomas was over here to our camp all day. It rained a little. They look just the same as ever. Some of our boys are gone out after some hogs. We saw four or five over the other side of the plantation and they went into the woods and they have gone to shoot them. Bane is gone with them. I don’t know whether they will get them or not. If they do, we shall have some fresh pork.

I like it out here tip top. It was a hard sight the first day we landed to see the stragglers down at the landing. I should think there was 10,000 that had lost their regiments. The mud was up to our knees and they was laying about in that—dead, wounded, and tired. I thought we was going right into a fight for the rebels threw shells over where we were. Killed horses but they took [their] battery in a short time after that.

Continued [sheet]

I don’t think there will be any more fighting until cool weather and they get more troops here. I think that Burnsides and Pope will get in the rear of them. Fort Darling is about 15 miles up the river from here and they say the gunboats are going to shell them out—that there is a slew of them here. I saw the Monitor that day we landed. The talk is here that they are drafting. I hope they will. That will bring them out. You tell Ivory not to think of going to war for if he knows when he is well off, to stay at home. I suppose if they draft, you and he will hope to stand a draft. But if you are drafted, don’t you come. I didn’t know but if they drafted that Ivory would be for coming in someone’s place for the rebels are careless. They will fire right at anyone’s face.

Old Abe & McClellan was here the other day reviewing the army. It was about 10 o’clock at night when he went by us. They cheered him good. It was so dark that we could not see him very well.

If you could only see the horses and mules there is here, I think your eyes would stick out some. I don’t see any grass out here. All wheat & corn. Fields of wheat that you can’t see the ends of them. I think you are right into the haying now. I heard some time ago that the grass was winter killed bad.

When we came up the James river, we saw the Congress and Cumberland that the Merrimac sunk. Their masts was out of the water.

Tell Ive [Ivory] mind not get cut by that machine when he is mowing. Tell Susan to be a [good] girl. How is Old Fide. He alive yet? Tell John to spread swaths. Write soon. — Andrew Lane

1 Sylvanus Brown Babson was 21 years old when he enlisted on 22 November 1861 as a private in Co. D, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry. He was promoted to sergeant in 1863 and was killed in action at Laurel Hill, Virginia, on 10 May 1864. He was one of the “Rockport Boys.” Babson was the son of Isaac & Mary (Whitman) Babson. He was married to Lucretia N. Sargent on 26 January 1864.

Letter 11

Harrison’s Landing
August 2nd 1862

Dear Parents,

I received your letter and two papers last night and was glad to hear that you was well. I am well and all the rest of the Rockport boys. I wrote a letter to you the other day stating that I and [Sylvanus B.] Babson was detailed for extra guard and we are there yet but expect to come up the first of the week. We went up to camp yesterday and signed the pay rolls and was paid off with two months pay.

We had quite an exciting time night before last. Just after 12 o’clock, the rebels opened fire upon us with shot and shell came where we was fast and [I] think they had a crossfire upon us. And as we was right on the bank [of the James River] and they was on the other bank, both about the same height, and all the army stores & provisions was there, I think they tried to destroy it. 1 We had five tents pitched on the edge of the bank. I and Vane had a shelter tent made of our rubber blankets a little one side from the rest. We was both asleep. The first thing I knew was that I heard something go over us—sounded like a rocket when it starts. I gave Vane a pull and out we went. And they was a coming right along, I tell you. Some of the fellows ran one way and some the other but there was a gang of us laid down flat in a little hollow place. Some went about ten feet beyond, some went into the bank behind. Some burst right over our heads. I expected every moment to get one in the back of the neck. There was four fellows that had been fishing come along close by us and stopped. One says to the other, “This is a dangerous place.” They started to come and lay down where we was [and had] just started when a 12 lb. shot struck where they left, sent the dirt all over us. Then the gunboats opened fire upon them and some siege guns that our folks had planted on the bank. But our fellows soon got the range of them and they left. They fired at us I should [think] an hour. It did not hurt any of our fellows. It killed one fellow a short distance from us. Cut him in two. They shelled the camp away back. There was one shot went through two tents up in our camp but did not hurt anyone.

The boys picked up 4 shots in the morning around our camp. They killed and wounded about twenty men—mostly Pennsylvania and New York men. They killed and wounded eight or ten horses.

Yesterday afternoon about 2,000 troops went across the river and burned eight houses and some small barns. They set them just before dark. They burned most of the night. They came back about 12 at night. This morning they have gone over again. They are cutting away the woods in front of the plantation and have gone away back in ythe woods a scouting. I don’t know how they will make out for they say that there is 40,000 or 50,000 troops above here across the river.

Oh, that night there was seven of our gunboats drawn up ready for the young Merrimac and ram as they was seen up the river. Some think that the firing was to draw the gunboats down but they did not come as there was two already down.

The way I look at it, I think we are pretty well bagged for they [are] in front and behind and all around. If they don’t do something soon, we shall have to cut our way out or surrender up. I call this war a real humbug. It is all a money-making business for the officers but the privates has to take it. I don’t blame the boys for not enlisting. If they knew as much as I do now, they wouldn’t. I pity professor if [he] comes out here where he can’t get a lunch and get only 4 small hard bread and a piece of pork. You tell them to come as an officer and then they can have anything they want—green corn and good hot loaves even. You folks don’t have no idea of this war. I pity Calvin Pool if he goes in the ranks. If a man is sick here, they don’t mind anything about him. I want to see all the men we can have out here and put this thing through and go home, but I wouldn’t enlist if I was at home and knew as much as I do now if they gave me five hundred dollars bounty. You may think by this that I am pretty sick of it. The thing of it is they don’t try to put it stop.

You said something about a box. If you have sent one, write how you sent it and how directed too. They send everything here by Adams Express. Write soon and tell me about it. Write all the news. — Andrew Lane

I enclose a twenty dollar note in this letter. You can use it if you want it or put it in the bank. Give my love to all the folks. Here is a little shiner for sister—one dollar. Tell her that is better than a nigger.

1 Most likely Andrew was detailed as a guard at the quartermaster stores on the banks of the James River. According to the regimental history, “eighty men and three officers were at one time serving as guards over the quartermaster’s stores, on the river bank. It was while they were there, that enterprising John Reb. brought some field pieces down to Coggins’ Point, just opposite to us on the James, and opened fire about midnight, first upon the shipping in the river, and afterward upon our camps. Two of the officers of our detached party, after the freshness of the alarm had passed, were sitting in their shelter tent with their feet to the foe, watching as they would any pyrotechnic display, the flash of the guns, and the curves described by the burning fuses, when one of the guns was turned and discharged, as it seemed, directly at our friends, who, dodging at the same moment, struck their heads together and fell, each under the impression that the enemy’s shell had struck him.

It was on this occasion that Colonel Sawtelle, the officer in charge of the transportation—our quartermaster said he was the only regular officer within his experience who could do his duty and be civil too—emerged from his tent at the sound 53of firing and stood upon the bank gazing silently and sorrowfully upon his defenceless fleet, among which the shells were exploding merrily. Soon his silence broke into a shout to his superior, “Look here Ingalls, if this thing isn’t stopped pretty quick, the A. P. is a busted concern.” In the regimental camp a half mile away, the shelling did no serious damage, but produced some commotion. One of the officers complained that every time that he got comfortably settled for sleep, a shell would knock the pillow out from under his head; in emulation of which story, a sailor in D Company declared that he slept through the whole affair, but in the morning counted twenty-three solid shot piled up against his back, that hit but had not waked him.” [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 12

Near Arlington Heights
September 3, 1862

Dear Parents,

As we have stopped marching this morning and have got our mail once more, I will try and write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I was glad to hear that you were. Now I have began, I don’t know what to write.

Anyway, it looks good to see Washington once more for we can see the Capitol all plain from where we are now. I should think it was about 6 miles off. I think we shall stop here for awhile and get rested and recruited up as General Porter rode through our lines this morning and they cheered him. He says now, “Boys, you are going to have a good rest,” so I think by that we are going to lay by for a spell and let them 300,000 take a turn. Porter’s Corps is pretty well used up. Some of the regiments can’t muster only 2 or three hundred men. His Corps done most of the fighting on that retreat from Richmond and it is pretty well used up.

There was fifty men in our company this morning. We haven’t got nary officer. Our lieutenant was taken sick the other day and has gone to Alexandria. A lieutenant from Co. G has got charge of us now. All of our Rockport boys stand it tip top and are well.

I suppose you hear and read and know more about [more] things than I can tell you for I can’t hear nothing. Haven’t seen a paper for twenty-two days since we left Harrison’s Landing and we have been going ever since. For a week past, we have been trying to catch Jackson but haven’t yet and don’t think we will either. He is a smart one. We haven’t had much of a brush with him but some of them has by what I have seen and I don’t think our folks got any the best of him by the loads of wounded that I see them hauling off the battlefield. Our whole army was after him. We have been all through Bull Run and everywhere else. We expected to attack him every day. We kept in the woods so we couldn’t keep the track of him. He would fight one day here, then that night he would start. The next day you would expect to have a great battle [and] the first thing we would hear, he has attacked somebody else 15 or 20 miles ahead. [Then] away we would go there [and] when we got there, [it would be] all over and don’t know where he is. So that is the way that they have kept us a going night and day, rain & shine. I tell you what, it is rough.

I haven’t seen a Southerner left on a plantation on the whole march—all niggers. Every [man] is in the Southern army, I expect. I thought I used to be tired sometimes when I was at home, but I wasn’t. I tell you what, let a fellow get a good soaking, then march 13 or 20 miles over this country. He won’t feel very nice. If men should live to home as we do out here, not much to eat, and nothing part of the time, hard bread and water the rest, then lay down in a puddle of water to sleep when you you could get a chance [and that wasn’t very often. For all that, I haven’t had cold feet first rate but I expect better times now. I hope that they will close this thing up pretty soon. Oh, if you could only see the property that has been destroyed in this war—cars blown up, engine stove up, provision strewn around.

Our new companies are down to Alexandria. They are coming up to join us now. They have found out where we are as one of the captains has been here. We haven’t had a chance to shoot our small guns at the rebs but we came pretty near if we had been nigh. We laid on a hill and the rebs was down across a hollow in the edge of the woods. They seen us on the hill and they put the shot and shell into us until Griffin’s Battery—the one that we was supporting—opened on them. There was a squad of graybacks showed themselves out of the woods when our battery put some shell among them. They left quick, you better believe. They killed 4 out of our brigade and wounded several but none of our regiment. But the regiment on the right of ours. They have took some of our regiment prisoners what couldn’t keep up. All I can say is that we have been lucky. There is plenty of new recruits in these forts here but they belong to New Jersey.

The letter I got from you was dated August 24. I couldn’t have wrote today if I hadn’t got this paper. I will write as often as I can but I don’t expect that will be very often. Some of us will manage to keep you posted. I must close now so goodbye. I feel tired. I expect to have some sleep.

— A. Lane

Letter 13

[Beginning of letter is missing. It was written probably sometime during the last full week of September 1862 following the Battle of Antietam.]

…these new fellows are sick of it already. I was talking with some of the 20th Maine that came just as we left Washington. He said if he had his bounty with him, he would burn it up. I told him he would have a chance to spend his bounty—that is all the satisfaction they get out of us. That shuts them up. We tell them they are paid for it and they have got to do the fighting.

Calvin Pool don’t look so slick as the first time I saw him at Arlington Heights. N. Burnham looks tough as any of them. You say you expect they will draft. I hope they will. I hope they will draft Young Allen Smith and Charley Pool and some others I know of.

How is the second crop and apples? You didn’t say anything about them. How is Ivory? Is he warrish? How did George & Charles get clear from going? You tell them boys at home if they knew when they are taking comfort, they are now at home. Out here you don’t know where you are or where you are going or what you are going to have to eat, nor where you are going to lay at night. Turned out nights at all times. Get your sleep when you can and when you lay down to sleep, you can’t sleep much on the hard ground. You have to do our own cooking. I have got a quart dipper that I do all my cooking in—make coffe, boil potatoes, squash meat, beans.

The 5th Maine was in that fight Sunday night back at Middletown but Otis and them boys come out all right. I don’t know whether they was in the big fight back at Sharpsburg or not. I haven’t found out. I expect they was.

Bane and Sewall went on picket last night [and] haven’t come off yet. All the Rockport Boys are well. Our company is small now. All we have got is 54 now. They are all strewn about sick. Capt. Draper has resigned and gone home. Lieut. Rich has command of the company now.

Tell Mother that she needn’t worry about me if she don’t hear from me for some time for we are marching about so much that there ain’t no chance to write and if there was, there [ain’t] no chance to send it. I will write as often as I can. I should think some of you would write as often as every Sunday. I get a letter about once a month.

We have just drawn some fresh beef. I am going to have some for supper. I wish I had a piece of your short cake too. I must close now. Give my love to all the folks. Write soon. We have got three months pay due. — A. Lane

Letter 14

Warrenton, Virginia
November 15, 1862

Dear Parents,

I write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and the rest of the boys are [too]. Since I wrote to you last, we have been on a march. We left Sharpsburg the 30th October. We came here last Sunday. Have been here a week. When we was at White Plains, we had a snowstorm. Since we have been here, we have been reviewed by McClellan and by Porter. Burnside [now] has command of the Army and Hooker has the Corps that Porter used to. So we are in Hooker’s Corps now. We are waiting here for clothes. The cars run here to Warrenton.

I received your letter & paper and the other bundle yesterday. I was glad of them. I don’t think we shall be paid off until January for I see by the papers that there ain’t no money in the Treasury. We haven’t seen anything of the rebs this time. The advance had a little skirmish with them at Snicker’s Gap. We held that Gap two days, They say the rebs are at Culpeper. I don’t know where we are a going. Some think we shall go to Richmond but I don’t know nor anybody else.

I must close now for the mail is going out now. I guess you had better send some money. Give my love to all the folks. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Letter 15

Camp of Potomac Creek about 5 miles from Fredericksburg, Va.
November 28, 1862

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you all are the same. Yesterday was Thanksgiving—the driest one I ever saw. We have been laying here a week now and our supply train hasn’t got up with us until last night so all we have had for six days was 14 hard bread. The day before Thanksgiving we had a half cracker dealt out to us. So I turned out Thanksgiving morning with nothing to eat. All we had the day before a half hard bread so I didn’t have no breakfast. So we waited [and] expected it would be here every moment but dinner time came—nothing to eat. The regiment was almost starved. You could hear the regiments holler “Hardtack!” all around but there wasn’t any to be had. So just at supper time the train came up. We had 15 given us apiece and some fresh meat and coffee. So we made out to have some supper. That was the hungriest I ever was in my life. All we had was one day’s grub in six.

I and [Joseph] Wingood is in one tent together. He had money but couldn’t buy anything. There is a large army here with us. We ain’t reserve now. We are in the 3rd Army Corps in the middle so if there is any fighting to be done now, we shall have to go in. As we have got Hooker for a leader and he is a fighting man, I feel tip top. I have got [as] good health as I ever had and look as well, so they tell me, but there is a great many sick. There was a fellow in our company died last night—Henry Pew, Jr. of Gloucester—with the chronic diarrhea. It is pretty tough laying around on the frosty ground. There is two fellows over here from the 35th Regiment—one of them I know [named] Sol Grimes. He says they lay about two miles from here. Wingood has gone over to see Burnham and the rest of the boys.

I received your bundle last night and was very glad of it. In two days more, we shall have 5 months pay due us. One year ago yesterday I enlisted. I hope they will settle this thing up so I shall be free once more. You won’t catch me into another scrape like this, I’ll bet you. I thought when I enlisted it would be settled up before this time, but I can’t see any prospect of its closing now.

Our mail has just come and one of our fellows has just handed me three letters. I am glad to hear that you are all well. We have had heavy rains here. The roads are hub deep with mud but yesterday was as pleasant a day as I ever saw. We are close to Aquia Creek where we landed when we came from Harrison’s Landing. We have traveled this road over three times. All the Rockport Boys are well. Give my love to all the folks. Write often. Accept this, — A. Lane, Jr.

They have just got the cars running from Aquia Creek now.

Letter 16

[Note: At some point in time, someone attempted to darken the ink of the handwriting and actually made it slightly more difficult to decipher the words and names. Contains a description of the Battle of Fredericksburg.]

Camped in our old camp about 3 miles from Fredericksburg
December 19th 1862

Brother Leverett,

I received your letter last night and was glad to hear from you. We are all well. We have been in a tough old fight, I tell tell. But the Rockport boys come out all safe. We did not have any killed in our company. We had five men wounded. Our regiment went up on the charge bayonet. The rebels are on a hill entrenched and they can’t be drove out very easy as there is a clear field in front of them for half mile that we had to cross. 1

Our army had to fall back. We stayed in Fredericksburg two nights. It was directed we fell back in the night to this side of the river. Then we was ordered to our old camp. We just got in when we was ordered to go on picket. We have been on picket two days. Come off last night. I haven’t had a chance to write before since the fight and haven’t got much [time] now. I will give you the details some other time about the battle when I have more time. 2

There ain’t any snow here now. It is good weather. You must break Fanny in this winter in the sleigh.

We have build us a log hut that we live in out here. I wish you could see us. I see John Knowlton that day we went on picket. He is loafing about here. I expect you had pretty good times down East last fall. What is Ivory doing? I don’t hear anything about him. Tell him I want him to write and tell me the news. I see all the Rockport boys in the 55th Regiment last Thanksgiving Day. They was over to our camp. They looked tip top then. They was in this fight and I haven’t heard how they come out. Scraper [?] said that Crofert [?] Holbrook was wounded. Bane [?] just told me that he was over there yesterday afternoon and the Rockport boys—part of them—was left behind on guard.

You ask father to inquire of the expressman if there is any sight to get a box out here. If there is, to send me one. I want a pair of boots & some shirts. Our sutler has got boots but he asks $8 dollars for them. I heard that boxes were put through now. If that is so, I want one. I want some sugar & tea and something to eat. The mail is going so I must close now. — A. Lane

1 From the regimental history: “We recall the terrific accession to the roar of battle with which the enemy welcomed each brigade before us as it left the cover of the cut, and with which at last it welcomed us. We remember the rush across that open field where, in ten minutes, every tenth man was killed or wounded, and where Marshall Davis, carrying the flag, was, for those minutes, the fastest traveller in the line; and the Colonel wondering, calls to mind the fact that he saw men in the midst of the severest fire, stoop to pick the leaves of cabbages as they swept along. We remember how, coming up with the 62d Pennsylvania of our brigade, their ammunition exhausted and the men lying flat on the earth for protection, our men, proudly disdaining cover, stood every man erect and with steady file-firing kept the rebels down behind the cover of their stone wall, and held the position until nightfall. And it was a pleasant consequence to this that the men of the gallant 62d, who had before been almost foes, were ever after our fast friends. Night closed upon a bloody field. A battle of which there seems to have been no plan, had been fought with no strategic result. The line of the rebel infantry at the stone wall in our front was precisely where it was in the morning. We were not forty yards from it, shielded only by a slight roll of the land from the fire of their riflemen, and so close to their batteries on the higher land that the guns could not be depressed to bear on us. At night our pickets were within ten yards of the enemy. Here we passed the night, sleeping, if at all, in the mud, and literally on our arms. Happily for all, and especially for the wounded, the night was warm. In the night our supply of ammunition was replenished, and toward morning orders were received not to recommence the action.”

2 The 32nd Massachusetts was brigaded with the 4th Michigan Infantry and a few years ago I helped my friend George Wilkinson create a website entitled, Crossing Hell on a Wooden Bridge to showcase his large collection of 4th Michigan letters and diaries. One of the letters in this collection written by the Major of the 4th Michigan describes the movement of the battalion at the Battle of Fredericksburg in which both the 4th Michigan and 32nd Massachusetts were a part:

“About 1 p.m. the order came for our division to fall in. In a few minutes we were ready. Our regiment led — Lieut. Col. G. W. Lombard commanding — and in less time than I can write it, we were on our way. We hastily crossed the bridge, while our batteries on the hills this side of the river, threw shot and shell over our heads that screamed through the air like so many demons. But on we pressed, following our gallant leader, until we reached the main street running parallel with the enemy’s front. As we turned from this down the street leading to the front, their artillery — previously planted — opened upon us, and it seemed as though we were to be annihilated there. But it was of no use, on we went, following our brave Colonel (J. B. Sweitzer, as brave a man and officer as ever drew a blade or pulled a trigger), commanding our brigade, and our gallant Lieut. Colonel following closely upon him, with sword waving high over his head, cheering us forward.

But the brave 4th, taking a double quick and with a cheer, rushed forward with the spirit and enthusiasm which they only can do, hardly needing the encouragements which their officers gave them. Close behind came the brave and heroic 9th Massachusetts, and they followed by the 32nd Massachusetts, while the brave New York 14th, commanded by Lieut. Col. Davis — and for the last 18 months we have fought beside — brought up the rear. To march down those streets was like walking into the jaws of death. Shot, shell and bullets came crashing through our ranks, but not a man flinched but pressed forward, eager to get to the front where they might revenge themselves upon the enemy. We filed to the right around an old brick yard and proceeded to the extreme right, where we unslung our knapsacks and everything else that might impede our progress. And then, filling our canteens from a brook that was running near, we lay on our faces to escape the storm of lead that was hurled against us.

After resting for a few minutes, our colonel asked permission of our brigade commander to advance, but he wanted us to wait a few minutes. He asked him three times and the last time, in going to him, one of the 118th Pennsylvania, thinking he was going to leave us, drew his piece to shoot him. But before he had time to think, the soldier was seized by a squad of our men, disarmed, and I fear would have suffered for his folly only for the interference of our officers.. The order was then given to load. Every ball was rammed carefully home, guns capped, and we stood ready for the order forward.

About this time, General Humphrey led in his division in person accompanied by his entire staff, and bravely did they advance while the brave fellows fell by scores in almost every rod of the road. The sight was horrible and one I hope I may never see again. But — brave fellows — on they marched, bearing their breasts to the leaden hail that was poured into them. We moved our brigade to the left again and on the center. In a few minutes, all being ready, our brave Sweitzer, accompanied by his aids, Lieut. Cunningham, Plunket and Yates — as brave young officers as the world ever saw, and all [of] them mounted — rode to our front. The brigade lay at the feet of a small hill but not low enough to protect them, unless by lying down. We had to rise this little ascent, then cross an open space, but slightly ascending for some 25 or 50 rods. Then there was a small mound, as such as one as they build their fences on in Virginia, and the enemy some 30 rods from that protected by a strong stone wall, while the hills beyond were covered by their cannon. This open space the rebels swept with shot, shell, and cannister, while the musketry seemed almost to sweep everything before it.

As Col. Sweitzer rode to our front, and saw the energy and determination that was depicted on the countenances of his brave command, he took off his cap and waving it high above his head, in his clear and distinct voice, gave the command, “2nd brigade, forward — double quick — march.” With a cheer, we started — the brigade commander taking the lead. As we reached the crest of the hill, the leaden and iron hail was awful, and many a brave man fell. But quickly closing up our broken ranks, we marched into that terrible fire, and in a few minutes reached the little mound earth — fell behind it upon our faces — to escape the terrible fire we were exposed to. Our officers were everywhere, where their duty called them, and encouraged everyone by their own example. In a short time we were ordered to relieve the regiment on our front. As they fell back, our men took their places, and we opened fire on the enemy. And the men were ordered to keep down as much as they could. But as they became more and more excited they would get up and take deliberate aim as though they were shooting squirrel.

I was acting as Lieutenant Colonel, and had charge of the right wing. Captain Jeffords, of Company C, was acting Major, and had the left wing, while our brave and gallant Lieutenant Colonel had the center, commanding the whole. I cannot speak too highly of him — this being his first effort in taking the regiment into battle under his immediate command. But by his cool bravery and heroic bearing, he won the admiration of all — both officers and men — and the 4th need have no fears while under his command. He had established a name as a military man that will always follow him. And Captain Jeffords, although young in years, the prospect before him, if his life is spared, will be the envy of men older in military science and arts of war than he is. He is all we can wish for. Brave to a fault — cool in battle, he too is one of our favorites and the one that the boys will stick to.

The line officers all were heroes. Captains French, Hall, Lamson, Parsons, McLean, and Loveland. Lieut. Allen, commanding company G; Lieuts. Robinson, Gilbert, Vreeland, Gruner, Theil, Bancroft, and Rogers — all were everywhere where duty called them and acted nobly. But what shall I say of our lamented Adjutant, James Clark. But lately promoted to a Lieutenancy in the regiment and Adjutant of the regiment in full, and this being the first engagement he had been in as a commissioned officer, he was everywhere present, and by his cheerful voice encouraging his comrades on. He was the personification of heroic daring and cool bravery. After the action became general he came up on the right to company D of which he used to be a member, and smiling to his comrades and associates, says, “Boys keep your front ranks filled,” Sergeant Chester Comstock was between him and me. One of the boys told him to keep down, or so he would be hit. The words were hardly out of his mouth when a musket ball struck poor Jimmy on the third button of his overcoat, glanced to the left and went directly through him. He fell over toward where I was lying, and with a smile upon his countenance, he yielded up his young life without a struggle or a groan. I detailed four men from Company D to carry him to the rear, and put a guard over him, to protect his body from the robbers that follow in the wake of an army for no other purpose that to pillage the dead. Brave boy, although dead to us, your memory will live in our breasts. Kind and affectionate, to all, and by his gentlemanly ways he had won the respect and admiration of the whole regiment. I wish I had the pen to write his eulogy, but it is written in the hearts of all who knew him.

And what shall I say of Fred Wildt? He too, was instantly killed — shot nearly in the same place that poor Jimmy was. He was First Corporal in Company D, and one of the best and neatest soldiers in the regiment, ever ready to do his duty, which was always done cheerfully and willingly, and one who kept the neatest and cleanest equipments in the company. Brave boy! He too, has yielded up his young life upon his country’s altar. He too was carried to the rear and today Fred Wildt and James Clark lie side by side in Fredericksburg. Captain J. W. Hall, with the company and Chaplain of the regiment, Rev. Mr. Seage, buried them on a pretty little knoll in separate coffins, making their graves with a carved head board in order to find them again if necessary. Sleep on, brave soldiers and comrades, and while we who are left to fight our battles will revenge your death, sad hearts will be at home. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters will mourn your loss. But it will be consoling to them to know that they died brave and facing the enemy. How will this end? Am I not to lose all these brave and patriotic young men of Ann Arbor who left with me one year ago last May? I hope not. But it seems as though fate was against me. John Fisher was slightly wounded, but will be around in a short time. These are all the casualties in Company D. All the rest are here and well. I wish I could make mention of all this company, but suffice it to say they all did bravely. At last, night closed the scene, and the tired hosts of either army laid down and slept almost within hearing distance. The living laid down with the dead, and thus they slept. All night long could the groans of the poor wounded and dying soldiers be heard, as he wore the weary hours away in pain. One poor fellow belonging to 28th New Jersey was shot through both hips, and his groans for help were heart-rending. Our orders were to hold the position at all hazards. We were almost entirely out of ammunition, but about 12 or 1 a.m., that came, and we filled up anew, so as to be ready in the morning to renew the contest.

Sunday morning at last dawned upon us. The rebels during the night had dug some pits for their sharp-shooters, and if one of our men showed his head a dozen bullets would be after him. And thus they lay all the Sabbath, targets for each others sharpshooters. On that evening the regiment was relieved and fell back to the city, where they remained until about 3 a.m. on Monday, when the Division recrossed the river, being the last of the Grand Army of the Potomac to leave Fredericksburg….” — Major John Randolph, 4th Michigan, December 17, 1862.

Letter 17

Same old camp 1
January 3rd 1863

Dear Parents,

I received your letters and paper last night and was glad to hear from home. I am well and so are the Rockport boys. We have just had a hard march. The orders came in camp Tuesday noon for us to have three days rations and be ready to march in an hour’s time. So we packed up and got our rations and started. We couldn’t imagine where we were a going as the army was not on the move—only two of our brigades. One other division was with us. We started on the road leading to Warrenton. We marched until 10 that night when we halted for the night in the field, having marched 20 miles since 1 o’clock. It rained and the roads were muddy and bad. As it was my misfortune, I had to go on guard so I did not get any sleep. We were not allowed to kindle any fire. We had to go without our coffee.

We started at daylight and advanced 10 miles to Morristown without seeing the enemy as as part of our party had took another road and come here and had seen nothing, we were ordered back. It now being 12 o’clock and we being 30 miles from camp, we started. It began to snow and we thought we were going to have a storm. We reached our old camp at 7 o’clock having traveled 30 miles in 7 hours—the most we ever done, but we were pretty well used up when we got there.

Col. George L. Prescott—a “Bully man.”
(Heritage Auctions)

Our Colonel [Francis Parker] has resigned and gone home. The Lieut. Colonel [George L. Prescott] has command and a bully man he is too. He says, “Now boys, I want you all to try and get in camp tonight for I am going to muster you for pay in the morning and you shall have your whiskey after you get in,” and he done all he agreed to. There was some of the boys gave out [and] he let them ride his horse and he carried their gun for them. That is more the Colonel ever done.

The object of our expedition was to capture Stewart’s Cavalry as they say about 20,000 had crossed a ford but as we did not see anything of them, I guess they had recrossed again. And as we was out, I heard that they had made a dash to Alexandria and captured two of our regiment and killed a lot of our cavalry and captured a lot of our wagon train enroute for Centreville.

You wanted that I should state how bad I was off. I ain’t very bad off. I have got 2 shirts. Them I have on. The shirts that we draw are those white cotton shirts. The shoes are poor for they [are] nothing [but] old rags.

1 “After the disastrous attempt upon the heights of Fredericksburg, the Regiment had remained in their old camping-ground near Stoneman’s Switch, in the neighborhood of Falmouth. Excepting the reconnoissance to Morrisville and skirmish there, with that terrible march on the return when our brigadier, Schweitzer, led his “greyhounds,” as he termed them, at such a terrific pace for twenty-five or thirty miles, nothing occurred to break the monotony of camp life. The night of the 31st December, 1862—that of the march above alluded to—was extremely cold, and the men, in light marching order, without knapsacks or necessary blankets, compelled to fall out from inability to keep the pace, suffered terribly from exposure, and many lost their lives in consequence.[The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

Letter 18

[Contains a good description of Burnside’s Mud March]

Camped in our old camp
January 25, 1863

Dear Parents,

I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your letter last week stating that there was a box about to start. I haven’t received it yet.

We had marching orders last Friday but did not start until Tuesday. We left camp Tuesday afternoon and marched about a mile and a half and camped for the night. It came up a rain storm. Rained all night. The next morning we started with mud over our shoes. We marched about 4 miles then camped and there we stayed until last night. We came back to our old camp. It has stormed all the time we have been gone.

We was to try a flank movement but Burnsides got stuck in the mud. Our brigade and others left our guns and went to work and cut trees and logged the road all the way so as to get our artillery back for they was stuck. They had to have 12 horses on a piece. We carried all the fences that the farmers had to make roads of. You would laugh to see them march a brigade up to a fence, then charge on every man with a rail on his back. I tell you, they take down the fences. It ain’t no use to tell about moving for they can’t.

Yesterday we signed the pay rolls for 4 months pay [to be] paid off tomorrow, I expect. The fellows say that there is a lot of boxes down to the depot. We shall get them soon. I didn’t take no peace on this last march thinking about them boots going over my shoes every step. When we got back, somebody had carried our house off and we have got to go to work and make another. I am on Police today. Been cutting wood for the officers. I expect today is Sunday but I shouldn’t know as it was.

I should like to see J. Graham just now. I expect he will be here today or tomorrow. The Rockford boys are well and anxious for their boxes. I must close now for they are after me to work. I will write again soon as I get the box. Accept this from your son, — Andrew Lane

Letter 19

Camped in old camp
January 28, [1863]

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. Mr. Marshall arrived here on Monday afternoon but his boxes were down to Falmouth but he went up to our headquarters and saw our Major and he started a six mule team off after them and they came about dark. We was building our house that afternoon so we just got her up that night in time. I gave him an invitation to stop with me which he accepted. He stopped here until about 9 o’clock when he and Cobson went over the the 35th. We was paid off Sunday night. Four months pay [or] 32 dollars, so we had a good chance to send it home by him. He took money for most everyone in our company. I had a fifty dollar bill so I gave him that to take home so if I get out, I shall send home.

I opened the box and found everything good in it and enough of it. I tried on the boots. They fit tip top. Yesterday I went down to the brook and had a good wash. Then stripped off my old shirts and socks, drawers, and put on new ones from head to foot. I feel like a new fellow. I think I shall gain a streak off of this box. That kettle is just the thing. When you nailed the box up, you drove a nail and it went through the side but I can stop that I guess.

You tell Susan that I tried her cake first one. It went good. Her molasses drops I haven’t tried yet. You return my thanks and best wishes to Mrs. Henigher for her cake. The same to Mrs. Smith for her cake and tea. I had a pot of her tea last night for supper. It was very nice. Tell Aunt Margret that the fish halibut is the best I ever tasted. Everything in th box was nice and just what I wanted. To mother and Susan, tell them they shall have a new dress when I get home and I expect to one of these days if nothing happens. It rained all night last night. It is snowing now today so it is nasty enough around here.

Oh, them stockings knocks all. I put on that long legged pair and they feel like stockings. My legs use to feel cold with them short legs on and no pants on. I guess I can stand it now.

We can’t move very soon now for it is storming and the mud is up to our ankles anywhere here. They say here that we are going to shift camp ground nearer to wood. I hope not now we have got our house built. There ain’t but two of us in it now. Yesterday Wingood went off on provist Guard over to General Griffin. If they like him over there and he does his duty, he won’t come back to the regiment again. It is a good berth—don’t have to go into any fights & get used better than we do. All they have to do is to go out on patrol twice a day and pick up stragglers that is out of camp. He is got a good place. I must close now.

So goodbye, — Andrew Lane

Letter 20

Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
February 14, 1863

Dear Parents,

I received your welcome letter tonight and was glad to hear that you were all well. I am well and the rest of the boys are the same. There is two hundred men detailed out of each regiment in our brigade. They went last Monday. They have gone, as I understand, about fifteen miles from here to a place called U. S. Ford. They [say] that our pontoons was left out there when we got stuck in the mud and they are building a road to get them back. I have been to work over to Gen. Switzer’s Headquarters building him a log house and a stable. He is home on a furlough and is going to bring out his wife when he comes back.

I don’t know what to think about our staying here. The Army is all leaving here. The 9th Corps has gone. I see a train start today loaded going down to Aquia Creek to take transports. They were ordered to report at Fort Monroe. They have been going now for ten days. The 33rd [Mass.] left about a week ago. Sigel’s Corps is going too. I think that they will all but this center division and they will either stop here and hold this place, or evacuate itor go nigher Washington. This thing is kept still for I don’t see anything about it in the papers. They are going up the Peninsula or to North Carolina. It is hard telling wher they are going to but time will tell.

Our Colonel is home on a furlough. They grant furloughs to privates [now]. There is one gone from our company to Gloucester. His name is James Murphy. He stops at Barnard Stanwoods when he is at home. There was two out of our company discharged the other day—Isaac Manwood and Carliss Stanwood [who] lives at Rockport. I heard that the high school gave an exhibition and tableaux. One of the tableaux was the boys in the 32nd Regiment receiving their boxes, some of them eating apples, one with a piece of salt fish, another trying on his boots. I should like to see the performance.

I heard that Ivory was down on the long beach hauling seaweed. He thought that was tougher than it was standing guard out here. Tell him I would like to swap with and let him try and see when it rains. He has somewhere to to go for shelter but out here he would find none. He would have to stand it wet or cold and lay down in the water that would come up to his hips.

There was five fellows came and joined the company [who have] been off sick. I don’t know those fellows that you told of in your letter. The weather out here is fine—warm for winter. The fellow in the tent with me had a ox come this week and has another on the way. I received a letter from Leverett last night which I will answer soon. I wish you had the oak timber that has been cut out here for fire.

Last Sunday I had them beans bakes for breakfast. They was nice. I baked them in the fireplace. They feed us better now [that] Hooker is in command than they used to. My rations of candles is about burnt out so I must close. Write often. Write all the news. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Letter 21

Camped near Falmouth, Virginia
March 7th [1863]

Dear Parents,

I received your welcome letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you was well as I am and the rest of the boys are. Capt. Rich came back last night. I haven’t seen him yet to speak to him. Our brigade has been on picket this week. They came in yesterday. I didn’t go for I was on guard over to General Headquarters the morning they went. I don’t know of any news to write. The furloughs of this regiment is stopped for the present. Our Colonel is under arrest for breaking his furlough. So is the Major. A captain has command now. They say this regiment is disgraced and I think it is.

I received a letter last night from George Simpson. He says the folks are all well. He says that they are going to draft down there. He says that the won’t stand it. He says there will be war at home. All the folks say so. Some of these folks would look pretty [sorry] if we had to be called home to put down a war. I am glad that law has passed. It serves them all right. I want to see everybody come and whip this thing out. There ain’t no use in keeping us out here three years. I want to see this thing put through. Then go home. I hope that some of them fellows I know of in Rockport will have to come. They have been blowing long enough. Let them come out and try it. I hear that they can’t hire no substitutes. They have to come themselves. It is raining here today. That fellow that is in the tent with me—his name is Charles Parsons. He belongs to Manchester. He is about my age. He has a carpenter’s trade. He is a pretty good boy. We was mustered the first of the month for pay but I don’t think we shall be paid very soon. If we don’t, I shall want a little money.

Tell sister I have eat them molasses drops. They were very nice. Tell her to be a good girl and keep the the dishes clean. It is all dull times here now. I don’t know of anything to write now. I will try and write more next time. I must close now and get ready for inspection. So goodbye. Write soon. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Letter 22

Camp near Falmouth, Virginia
April 10, 1863

Dear Parents,

I received your welcome letter and was glad to hear that you were all well as I am, as usual, and the rest of the boys. I expect [Sylvanus B.] Babson will be home on a furlough soon for he had a letter come stating that his mother was sick and his furlough has been sent into Hooker’s [headquarters].

We was reviewed last Wednesday [8th] by Father Abraham and staff, his wife, and two sons were there. His sons were about the same as Frank and John. They rode a pony. They looked nice. The biggest one had a cavalry suit on. His wife was in a carriage with four horses on it with a company of lancers for guard. It was the best review I ever was on. He had acres of staff and guard with him. Them are regular government suckers. Old Abe looks rather poor. He don’t look as well as he did at Harrison’s Landing. He looks pale now. 1

The weather is pleasant and the roads are getting dry. I expect every day when we will move but I don’t see anything that looks like it yet. Where we went on review, we could look over to Fredericksburg [and] could see the rebel camps, enough of them, and could see their fires in the woods.

Solomon Pool was over here to see me about three weeks ago. He looks about the same as ever. He says he is third sergeant and is on the staff of the 1st Army Corps General but I don’t believe it the same time for he didn’t look so to me for he didn’t have hist stripes on and he wasn’t dressed up enough to be on a General’s staff for they have to look pretty well. Besides he had an old plug for a horse. Stephen Perkins and Henry Ferrel that used to drive team for Preston was over here to see [me] the other day from the 5th Maine. They are in camp at Belle Plains about ten miles from here.

We haven’t been paid off yet and I don’t know when we shall be. The last of this month we shall have six months due.

You stated in your letter that if I would like to get acquainted [with] Underhill and E. Young [but] I don’t know of any New Hampshire Battery about here. If he ain’t in this Corps, I shouldn’t be no more likely to see him for this army covers a great many miles. It is about like me being in Rockport and he is in Essex. We don’t have no chance to go about for there is a Provost Guard that picks up all who is out of camp. This army has cut 33 square miles of heavy oak wood since they have come in this camp. We have cut and burnt some of the handsomest White Oak timber as ever grew. If it was in Massachusetts, it would be as good as gold.

That likeness of sister’s looks natural. I think she has grown tall since I came away from home. If we are here when we get paid off, I think I shall have mine taken as there is a place about a mile from here where they take them.

I don’t think I ever was do heavy as I am now in my life. I think I would weigh about 180 now. I don’t know of any news to write so I will close now. I want you to write often and tell me all the news. — Andrew Lane

Accept this.

1 Noah Brooks, journalist for a Washington paper wrote that President Lincoln reviewed “some sixty thousand men,” representing four infantry corps. Brooks accompanied Lincoln’s party, and recalled, “[I]t was a splendid sight to witness their grand martial array as they wound over hills and rolling ground, coming from miles around . . . The President expressed himself as delighted with the appearance of the soldiery . . . It was noticeable that the President merely touched his hat in return salute to the officers, but uncovered to the men in the ranks.” [The Lincoln Log]

Letter 23

In camp near Falmouth [Virginia]
April 10, 1863

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this will find you the same. We drew eight days rations the 14th and would have moved but yesterday it rained all day and night as hard as I ever saw it but it is a pleasant day to day. I expect we shall be on the move in a few days now. There was 15,000 cavalry went out the 4th and they was reinforced by 20,000 from Washington. Where they have gone, I don’t know, but I expect they will make a raid somewhere.

We was paid off today with four months pay and I am going to send fifteen dollars in this letter and some more at some other time for I am afraid to risk too much in one letter. I don’t know of any news to write.

Sol[omon Pool] was over to see me the other day again. I saw a letter he had from his father. By that letter he is not doing much in his store. He is on the move. He wants to come out here. He wants to know the price of pork out here for he had 20 barrels on hand. He wanted to know the price of apples and the price of land. There is land enough here but God only knows who owns it for there ain’t nobody lives here. And pork, the U. S. buys by thousands so he wouldn’t do much with pork here for this country is full of wild hogs. You can’t get along the roads for them. He had better stay at home. He thought he could set up a shop outside the lines. If he done that, Johnny Reb would grab him quick. These fellows at home have curious ideas about the army out here. They have no idea at all. Our pickets g oout 4 miles in the woods away from camp on picket.

I don’t think [Sylvanus B.] Babson will get [a furlough] now as we are about to move. My candle is getting low and I must close now. I want you to write often [even] if I don’t, for I don’t expect I shall have much chance when we move. Accept this from your son, — Andrew

Letter 24

Camp near Falmouth [Virginia]
April 19, [1863]

Dear Parents,

I am well and we haven’t started yet. I heard last night that our cavalry took 3,000 prisoners yesterday at Gordonsville. I don’t know whether it is true or not. I enclose fifteen dollars more in this letter. You send me some post[age] stamps when you write for we can’t get any here.

There is nothing new to write so I will close. Accept this.

— Andrew Lane

Letter 25

In camp near Falmouth [Virginia]
April 25 [1863]

Dear Parents,

I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you and to hear that the folks are all well as I am and the rest of the boys are. We haven’t started yet. It has stormed now for three days. Today is pleasant. The peach and cherry trees are in blossom here. We have just received orders to go on picket in the morning for three days. I hope we shan’t have so hard a time as we did before. There is one hundred and fifty cases of the small pox in our division in the 3rd Brigade in the 20th Maine Regiment. They have moved the regiments away from the brigade. 1

I heard there was five or six in our brigade in the 4th Michigan Regiment but I don’t know whether it is true or not. The 20th Maine did lay about as far from our brigade as from our house to David Smith’s. They have moved them about as far as it would be from our house to John Groves.

We have got to carry 380 men on picket and that will take about every man. Our company has got 42 men left. We are color company now. I haven’t heard anything more about them prisoners. I guess there wasn’t anything in that report. The cavalry is out yet. They haven’t come in yet. I don’t know any news to write.

Our Lieut. Colonel has command again. Our Colonel is under arrest yet. He ain’t allowed outside the limits of the regiment. Rather tough for him. I must close now for the drum has beat for taps—that is, put out lights at nine o’clock.

— Andrew Lane

1 “In the spring of 1863, members of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry were vaccinated against smallpox while serving with the Army of the Potomac near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Something went terribly wrong, and dozens of solders in the unit came down with a virulent form of the deadly disease.The regiment was unable to participate in the Battle of Chancellorsville in April-May 1863, due to a quarantine prompted by a tainted smallpox vaccine that had been issued to the unit’s soldiers. To read more on The 20th Maine’s Quarantine Experience with Smallpox, readers are referred to an article posted on the National Museum of Civil War Medicine on 17 April 2020.

Letter 26

[After the battle of Chancellorsville, the whole army retired to its old position about Stafford Court House and Falmouth, on the Rappahannock, opposite the City of Fredericksburg. The 32d Massachusetts was detailed to guard duty along the railroad from Acquia Creek; half of the command under Lieutenant-Colonel Stephenson being posted at or near the redoubts on Potomac Creek, guarding the bridge; the remainder, or right wing, under Colonel Prescott, posted south of Stoneman’s Switch.]

In camp on Potomac Creek
May 21 [1863]

Dear Parents,

As I have time to spare this morning, I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same. I haven’t received any letter from you since before we started that time across the [Rappahannock] river. Since I wrote last, our regiment has been detached from the brigade and is now guarding the railroad between Stoneman’s Switch and Potomac Creek Bridge. It is a good place if we can only stay here this summer and I think we shall be likely to as there has got to e somebody stay.

Our regiment relieved the 35th New York Volunteers. They went home yesterday, their time being out. The 2nd Maine went yesterday. The talk is here that our Corps is going to do guard duty around Washington and Baltimore as our Corps is very small. The most of our Corps has gone home. There was all of one division (the 2nd) all 9-month’s men. They have gone—all but two regiments—and there are quite a number of regiments gone from our division. They have got to do something with it as there ain’t 10,000 men left in it out of the 40,000 there used to be. There is a great many men leaving this army—2 year’s men and 9-month’s. I think they will draft before long.

We live tip top down here. We have got those big wall tents and stoves to cook with. If we can stay here through the summer, I shall have some hopes. The 35th has been here ever since the Army came here [and] haven’t moved.

Sol was over yesterday to see me. He has been sick for about a week back.

All the Rockport boys are well. [Sylvanus Brown] Babson has been promoted sergeant. The weather is warm and pleasant here now. Our company is on guard today—24 men, 3 corporals, 1 sergeant. It didn’t take me. Our company has to go on guard once in five days. I don’t know of any news to write so I will close now. Write often. Accept this from — Andrew

Letter 27

In camp on Potomac Creek
May 23 [1863]

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and was glad to hear that you all are well. I received your letter and papers night before last and I was glad to hear from home.

I was on guard last night. We are fixing up nice here, setting out trees around our camp. It use to be think pines here but the Army cut it off last winter. The cut the stumps high out this way. They don’t bend much when they shop here. While we was gone out this time, it caught a fire and burnt all over.

You stated in your letter that [brother] Ivory had gone to Amesbury to work in a mill. I should think that was a poor place for him in a mill. He will be sick again, be all stuffed up and have the tissick [dry cough]. I should think you would want him to help you this summer. What was his notion of going over there? Is there anybody over there that he knows or went with him? What pay does he get?

You told about throwing away knapsacks. If I only had all the blankets and overcoats that was threw away, I shouldn’t want to be worth any more money. Overcoats cost 9 or 10 dollars apiece. The roads was full of them. Some of the old farmers would yoke up a pair of bulls and follow us up until they got a wagon load of blankets. I expect after this every Reb will have one of our coats on. I didn’t throw away my coat but I did my blanket.

I don’t know of anything new to write. I should like to have a pair of gingham shorts. Write often. Write all the news. From your son, — Andrew Lane

Letter 28

[“On Thursday afternoon, May 29th, orders were received to break camp and move to Barnett’s Ford. The left wing moved promptly, but the right wing, owing to the temporary absence of Colonel Prescott, did not march until after nightfall…At Hartwood Church the two wings of the Regiment were again united, and moved on the following day past Barnett’s to Kemper’s Ford. Mrs. Kemper and her daughter were the only inmates of their mansion, Mr. Kemper being “away,” which meant in the rebel army, and of the swarms of servants which no doubt once made the quarters lively, there remained only two or three small girls and an idiot man. Our stay here was one of the bright spots of army experience. The location was delightful and the duty light. We had a detail on guard at the ford and pickets along the river bank; opposite to us on the other shore, and within talking distance, were the rebel pickets, but no shots were exchanged, and all was peaceful and quiet. We had extended to the family such protection as common courtesy demanded, and when we were about to leave, a few of the officers called to say good-bye, and found the ladies distressed and in tears on account of our departure, or the dread of what might come afterwards. They told us that ours was the first Massachusetts regiment that had been stationed there; that they had been taught to believe that Massachusetts men were vile and wicked; “but,” said one of them, “we have received from no other soldiers such unvarying courtesy and consideration; we have discovered our mistake, and shall know how to defend them from such aspersions in the future.” Promising in reply to their urgency that, if taken prisoners and if possible, we would 162communicate with them, we took our leave, with the impression that it was well to treat even our enemies with kindness.”The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel.]

Camped at Kemper’s Ford
June 1, [1863]

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know where I am. I am well and hope those few lines will find you the same. Our railroad guard played out quick. We was there ten days. Just got things fixed up so as to live when we had to move. Our division was ordered to picket the Rappahannock from Falmouth to the Rappahannock Station that is near Warrenton. The 9th [Massachusetts] is at Barnett’s Ford, the 62nd Pennsylvania Regiment & 4th Michigan is at Kelly’s Ford. 1 Our regiment has to picket about three miles along the river. The river ain’t very wide here. The rebel pickets on the other side—cavalry—came here the day before yesterday and I went on picket as soon as we arrived. I came off last night. The rebs didn’t know what to make of our coming. I guess they thought we were going to cross for they flew around and doubled the posts. Everything is all quiet as yet. We don’t shoot nor they don’t.

The morning I went on [guard], the next post to me after they was posted, the rebs called out for them to come down close to the river and have a chat. Said they wouldn’t shoot. They asked our fellows if they had any papers to exchange with them. They asked what the news was and what regiment. They said they belonged to the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry. In some places our posts are as near as from our barn to the gate. Can throw a stone across easy.

The reason we had to leave the railroad was because our division is so small. They had to have all the men. The 91st Pennsylvania relieved us. It is all the regiments there was left in our 2nd Division in our [Fifth] Corps now—ours and the Regulars, and theirs is small for there is a great many that has served their five years and they have been in about every fight. They haven’t been recruited any.

I am sorry we left the railroad for I was in hopes to stay there this summer. But it is hard telling. You will be in one place one day and somewhere else the next. I think we shall stop here some time if we don’t get drove off. I think Hooker is a little afraid of their crossing and attacking him.

I must close now as the mail is going soon. Write soon. write all the news. How is the mill doing now? Has it paid out anything since I came away? Our orderly sergeant is dead. He died the 11th of the month.

The Rockport boys are all well. Accept this from your son, — Andrew Lane

1 For a good article on The Fords of the Rappahannock, readers are referred to an excellent article by my friend, Clark B. Hall published by the American Battlefield Trust.

Letter 29

In camp at Aldie, Virginia
June 25 [1863]

Dear Parents,

As I haven’t wrote for so long, I now write you a few lines to let you know where we are. We haven’t had a mail or had a mail go for ten days. Our [Fifth] Corps is here supporting the cavalry. We was up to the front in that cavalry fight and drove the rebs through the Gap. I don’t know where the rest of the army is. We are about 25 miles from Centreville [and] about the same from Harper’s Ferry. We held Manassas Junction Gap 3 days, went through Bull Run to Centreville, then here.

We have evacuated the Rappahannock. We have had a tough time of it coming here. There was a good many men sunstroke. Our regiment has just come off picket tonight and they say there is a mail going at 9 o’clock so I write these few lines. I must close now. Write soon. Accept this from your son, — Andrew Lane

All the Rockport Boys are well.

Letter 30

[“On the 29th of June 1863, the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, now under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Prescott, was ordered to Gettysburg, where they finally arrived on July 2nd after a three-day march. Despite the long trek, the unit felt fairly rested, as marching eleven miles a day was a relaxing stroll compared to the thirty miles that many regiments were often forced to travel on a forced march. As they approached Gettysburg, the 32nd would have heard panicked rumors about Lee’s latest breech into Union territory, and then heard the distant echo of cannon, followed by the solemn reports about the first day of battle. July 1st had been extremely challenging for the Union. Despite inflicting heavy casualties on the attacking Confederates, the Union army had taken a severe blow on the ridges west of town and had been pushed completely out of Gettysburg and onto the hills south of the borough. Hearing the news of the costly July 1st fight, the Massachusetts men would have felt the high stakes of the impending day’s battle and the significance that any role they might play in it would carry: Should Lee secure a major victory on northern soil, northern morale and political support for the war would surely plummet. Furthermore, if Lee were able to break through the Union lines at Gettysburg, there was no other Union army to block a potential Confederate march on Washington. [Charles] Appleton [od Co. G] and his comrades understood that they may be joining the only force that stood a chance of stopping Lee’s army from marching straight to the northern capital, and the 32nd needed to be ready to help halt them at all costs.

On July 2nd, Lee sought to attack the Union’s left flank, anchored at Little Round Top, simultaneously with an attack on the Union right flank, on Culp’s Hill. From there, he hoped to roll up the Union line and oust the Federals from their commanding defensive position atop Cemetery Hill. Just prior to the attack on Little Round Top, General Daniel Sickles had, without orders, decided to advance his 3rd Corps from its original position atop Little Round Top out onto what he considered the more easily defensible (yet far more exposed) ridgeline along the now famed Peach Orchard. In doing so, he had stretched his lines so thin that he created a gap in the Union left flank. Confederates under General James Longstreet threatened to exploit this gap and punch through the Union line. As one of the more rested Union regiments, the 32nd, along with the rest of Lt. Col. Jacob Sweitzer’s brigade of Barnes’s division, was called upon to plug that critical hole in the Union left along a “stony ridge” bordering George Rose’s Wheatfield around three o’clock in the afternoon. Accompanying them was none other than their old rivals-turned-friends, the 62nd Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvanians’ familiar presence likely provided comfort and a needed morale boost to the 32nd as they faced off in what would be some of the most brutal fighting of the day. As the Confederates began their attack late that afternoon, the 32nd advanced into the Wheatfield, where they received a staggering blow from the 2nd, 3rd, and 8th South Carolina regiments under Major General Joseph Kershaw, which felled large chunks of the 32nd’s line within mere minutes. However, not long after this first blow, the Union line to the right of the 32nd, made up of the 62nd Pennsylvania and the 4th Michigan, began to crumble and retreat. Fearing that they would be cut off from the main Union line if they did not retreat from the overwhelming Confederate tide, these soldiers felt they had no choice. However, their retreat left the 32nd essentially abandoned by its fellow comrades. Panicked and pressured by the heavy small-arms fire of Kershaw’s approaching forces, the 32nd began to turn and fall back. According to the regimental logs, an unnamed Lieutenant Colonel saw the 32nd starting to flee and ordered the men to stand their ground. An officer’s orders had to be followed: Disobeying could result in public shaming and a court martial, or punishments ranging from a brand on clothing to execution, in rare cases. Despite the charging column of Confederates closing in in the lone Massachusetts men, the regiment dutifully reformed and marched back into the bloodied Wheatfield to counter the Confederate attack.

The unsupported Massachusetts men suffered their heaviest casualties of the war in the four hours of fighting in the Wheatfield. The blood of friends and foe spattered across the wheat, now flattened by repeated advances and retreats from both sides. Bodies of friends and comrades co-mingled together, littering the ground around the regiment, and the pitiful cries of the wounded were only drowned out by the incessant rifle fire and roar of the cannon as the Wheatfield changed hands six times during the battle. At 8 o’clock that evening, the 32nd mercifully received an official order by General Sykes to retreat behind Little Round Top. As the bloodied Massachusetts men caught their breath and began to account for friends and comrades, they discovered a shocking 81 men killed, wounded, or missing–more than a third of the regiment’s 227 men with whom they entered into the battle.” —From Charles Appleton, Company G, 32nd Massachusetts Infantry, Killed at Gettysburg, the final footsteps of Gettysburg’s fallen.]

Map of the fight in the Wheatfield by Col. Jacob B. Sweitzer’s 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division, Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, on 2 July 1862. 2nd Lt. William Patterson f the 62nd Pennsylvania remembered that just before the fighting commenced, the Wheatfield was “covered with the plumage of waving grain, ready for the harvest, and when twilight gathered over its surface the ripening stalks were trampled into the earth and dyed with the blood of the blue and the gray, and when the light of the moon cast rays over this gory plain, it revealed scores of the pale, upturned faces.”
[See Civil War Times, August 2021]

Camped at Middletown, Maryland
July 9th 1863

Dear Parents,

As I have a few moments to spare this morning, I improve it by writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am alive. I received your letter & papers last night. I suppose you see by the papers that we have had a hard battle at Gettysburg. We fought the 2nd of July. Our regiment went in the fight with 252 men and lost about 100. We had 90 killed and wounded. 1 We got flanked by a brigade of [South Carolina & Georgia] rebels. There wasn’t but 3 regiments of our brigade in [the fight]. The 9th Massachusetts was detailed away on the right to act as skirmishers. They never lost any men. The 4th Michigan hasn’t got but 90 muskets now. They lost their colors and so did the 62nd Pennsylvania lose one of their colors. Our regiment is the only one that brought out their colors.

George Hale Nichols (1843-1864) was a college student when the Civil War erupted. He planned to follow his family members into a career as an educator. Nichols mustered into Co. K, 32nd MA Infy. He was taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 2 and died of disease as a POW in Richmond, VA on 27 March 1864. In this photo he holds his hat on his knee with a Corps Badge, “K” and “32” visible. Backmark of J.B. Starkweather, Jamaica Plain, MA. (Cowan’s Auctions)

I tell you, the bullets flew like rain in front and behind for we was flanked. They came up so nigh that I could strike them with my musket. The men fell like grass. Our company was lucky. We only had one wounded. Company G carried in 18 and lost 12 out of the 18.

We had a hard forced march. The rebels retreated and we are following them up. There will be a big fight at Antietam, I think. We are about 20 miles from there. We lost a great many men as well as the rebels. I haven’t got much time to write as I expect to start soon. You need not send them shirts if you have not. All the Rockport Boys are well. They say that Vicksburg is gone up.

After we get through of this, I will write all the particulars about the battles.

Accept this, — Andrew Lane

1 Official post-battle figures state that 78 out of 227 officers in the 32nd Massachusetts were killed or wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg. Sweitzer’s Brigade officially lost about 30% of its strength (427 out of 1423) but one regiment, the 9th Massachusetts, was only lightly engaged in skirmish duty near Wolf’s Hill, while the other regiments were caught in the maelstrom of the Wheatfield. See also—Stumbling Across Civil War History-Part 2.

Letter 31

In camp near Warrenton [Virginia]
July 28, 1863

Dear Parents,

As I have time this morning, I improve it by writing a few lines to you to let you know where we are. I am well but about played out after the march we have had. We have been marching now for the last 60 days. We have marched 600 miles in that time and the boys are ragged and about used up. All the Rockport boys are well.

We are in camp about two miles beyond Warrenton. We came here yestrday about noon and have pitched our tents. The whole army is in camp around here. The 1st Corps is at Warrenton Junction. The 8th Massachusetts was with them. We crossed the river at Berlin on a pontoon. We have been following the Blue Ridge along.

The other day we went into the mountains at Manassas Gap. It is ten miles through the Gap and the hardest road I ever saw. We had to climb hills, then go through sloughs. The rebels held the Gap. The 3rd Corps was in the advance of ours. They met the rebels about 3 o’clock and began the ball when our Corps came up behind and formed in line of battle and advanced up to the 3rd Corps and formed on their right. The 3rd Corps kept driving the rebs. When they opened on our fellows with a battery, we advanced into a piece of woods for about a mile but could not find any rebs. The 3rd Corps drove them through the Gap and as far as Front Royal so our Corps did not get engaged. We was out of rations and had to go back. From there we came here. How long we shall stay here, I don’t know.

We are getting clothes today. We received a mail this morning—the first we have had for a long time. We haven’t had any go before this. I received your letter and was glad to hear from home. Joseph Sewall left us last Wednesday to go home for to get conscripts for our regiment. Our Major, one Captain, one Sergeant, and 8 men went from our regiment. I think he will have a chance to come home.

About that letter, I wrote that letter at Middletown, Maryland. Just as I had finished, we had orders to pack up and start. Just as we was leaving the field I saw a little ragged boy standing by the barn. I gave it to him and told him to post it. There was a stamp on it when I gave it to him. He must have pulled it off. I didn’t much expect he would put it in.

I pity them conscripts if they come in this army. Half of them will die before winter if they march them. These months are the hottest part of the year out here. We may stop here some time yet and recruit up and have them conscripts join. We want about five hundred in our regiment to make our complement of men. I received them stamps in the other letter and this. Write soon and tell us the news. Accept this. — Andrew Lane

Letter 32

Camped near Beverly Ford 1
August 27, 1863

Dear Parents,

Having a few leisure moments to spare, I thought I would improve them by writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am well as usual and am getting fat.

We are having pretty easy times of it now. There is a great many sick in the regiment at present. They seem to break our with sores—the scurvy some say it is. Our company is in good health. We haven’t any sick in our camp. Our Colonel has gone home on a sick furlough. Capt. Cunningham is in command of the regiment. Company C come back to the regiment yesterday. They have been gone ten months on detached service. I am glad they had to come back for they have had an easy time of it. They haven’t been in any fights. 2

There was five men to be shot yesterday in our division in the 3rd Brigade. They dug their graves yesterday morning. They was to be shot between the hours of twelve and four in the presence of the division. They are to be hot close to our camp. They have prolonged their time until Saturday. They came out as substitutes in the 118th Pennsylvania Regiment [and] then deserted. It will serve them right if they can’t take a joke. There was 200 came out for the 12th Massachusetts [and] they have all deserted but about fifty. So you see thy have got to do something to stop such things. They are a damn sight more plague than they are good for it takes all of the regiment to guard them. I hope we shan’t have any if they are like them. The conscripts are good enough but the substitutes are the worse. 3

The execution of five deserters in the 5th Corps, sketch by A. R. Waud

I received your letters and papers last Sunday and was glad to hear that you was all well. That handkerchief was just what I wanted as I didn’t have any. You wanted me to try and get a furlough. There ain’t no such thing as getting a furlough now. Furloughs are played out. There are men here sick—just alive—and [they] can’t get home. I don’t see how you get along withIvory and Leverett both gone. I suppose Frank is big enough to go to market this summer.

There is good news from Charleston. We get papers every day from Washington so we get the latest news. The cars runs within two miles of our camp. How do you direct a letter to Ivory? If I knew, I would write to him. How does John Knight like soldiering down South? There was talk here about our going to Charleston but I don’t think there is anything in it. How does the Dennis Pasture shell out this fall?

I don’t know any news to write. All quiet on the Rappahannock. Write soon and tell us all the news. — Andrew

1 The camp at Beverly Ford was described by Sergt. Spalding in a letter home as the cosiest he ever saw: “Our camp is in a forest of young pines, planted since our arrival. It looks beautifully, especially in the evening. I went out a little way from our camp last evening to take a bird’s-eye view of it. How cosy it looked with the lights from our tallow candles glimmering through the trees from nearly every tent, which seemed almost buried in the green foliage that surrounded it. Our camp is laid out in streets, one for each company. At the head of each street is the captain’s tent, which is surrounded by an artificial evergreen hedge with an arched entrance, with some device in evergreen wrought into or suspended from the arch—as, for instance, Company K has a Maltese Cross (our corps badge). Company I, of Charlestown, has the Bunker Hill Monument. Company D, of Gloucester (fishermen), has an anchor, &c., &c. But our tented cities, be they ever so comfortable and attractive, are short-lived. We build them up to-day and pull them down to-morrow. We may be quietly enjoying our quarters to-day, and to-morrow be twenty-five miles away. Such is a soldier’s life.” [The Story of the 32nd Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, by Francis J. Parker, Colonel]

2 Company C (Captain Fuller) had been detailed since 12 October 1862 to serve as a guard to the reserve artillery. They were detached from the regiment for ten months!

3 The new recruits from the City of Philadelphia filling the depleted ranks of the 118th Pennsylvania included 109 drafted men and substitutes. They left Philadelphia on 22 July 1863 and 50 of them deserted before they could even get them to the regiment at Beverly’s Ford. Because desertion undermined the discipline of soldiers and military authority, army commanders decided to set an example to potential deserters and chose soldiers of foreign birth to do so. These men could not defend themselves and there was little sympathy for them. For this reason, five immigrants, men who could barely speak English, were court-martialed, convicted, and executed for desertion in August 1863. These men were George Kuhne, 22, of Hanover; John Folaney, 26, of Italy; Charles Walter, 28, of Prussia; Gion Rionese, 20, of Italy; and Emil Lai, 30, of Prussia.(See Civil War Immigrant Executions)

Letter 33

On picket near Cedar Mountain
Sunday, September 20, 1863

Dear Parents,

I received your welcome letters last night and was glad to hear that you was all well as I am.

Since I last wrote, we have advanced across the Rappahannock and are now camped about two miles beyond Culpeper and the Rapidan. The rebels are fortifying the other side of the Rapidan. The rebels have been fooling us having a strong picket on the Rappahannock. Gen. Meade sent out a reconnoissance of cavalry and the 2nd Corps and they skirmished to Culpeper and didn’t find a heavy force. When the whole army advanced, they left the railroad in good order so the cars followed us up.

Sol Pool was over to see me at the other camp. He said that the cavalry had orders to start the next morning so he was in the reconnoissance. The 1st Maine Cavalry boys [are] out in front of [us] now doing picket to the river.

Here where we are on picket is a house—a real nice place in a grove of oaks. He has got a farm of 600 acres, so the old nigger says that is here. They deserted the house before we came here. There is furniture in and bedding in the house. Our fellows have got nine cane seat chairs out in the fields sitting around and beds. They have tore everything all to pieces. I tell you, we are living high out here. There [is] apples, corn, cabbage, beets, squash, potatoes, watermelons, sweet potatoes out here. That’s what we had yesterday for dinner.

The boys tear houses down to get boards to build tents of. This man had about twenty slaves. He carried them off with him to Richmond. He left two old servants and one old man. Letters that we found show that he has got five sons in the reb army—one a Major [and] he was killed at Gettysburg. Two that is Colonels and one a quartermaster.

We came through Culpeper. There was nobody there. The stores was all cleaned out and houses all deserted. I don’t know whether we shall advance and have a big fight or not. It kindy looks as though we are going to stop here for awhile as we have got a good position. The army is up and down the river fifteen miles long.

I will close now as I don’t know nothing new to write. From, Andrew

Letter 34

Camp of 32nd [Massachusetts]
Near Brandy Station
[November 1863]

Dear Parents,

I have neglected writing before now because we have been on the move most all the time. We came here last night. We have been doing picket duty the other side of the river about ten days. We joined the Corps last night. We crossed at Kelly’s Ford. We lay in the woods between Kelly’s Ford and Brandy Station. The other two divisions of our Corps that has been laying here have laid up and made houses. It looks like winter quarters but I don’t see it yet. I think Old Meade is going to make a forward movement across the Rapidan toward Richmond. We have been carrying eight days rations this fall. Supposed to have them on hand all the time. The other day they didn’t issue rations—for three days they went. Every time the General went by they would all cry out, “Hard tack!” That made them mad so they gave us a hard tack drill.

They inspected us last night and found out the men didn’t have any rations. They are going to give us eight days more. The government thinks the men has rations enough but they don’t. You’ll see in the papers that the army draws potatoes. The last time we drew, we drew one potato to a man, two spoons of beans, 1 spoon full of molasses, and two of rice. I call that hell of a mess—not one thing or the other. Somebody is making money out of this war. No wonder it lasts. Thank God I haven’t got but one year more to serve. I guess I shall live through it if I don’t get shot. I am well and the rest of the boys.

That fight that we had at Rappahannock Station, we was there but not engaged. Our Corps was on the left of the 6th. They were engaged. We advanced in line of battle across a plain field. They shelled us. I saw two shells burst in the 18th Massachusetts—killed and wounded some. The shell just went over our heads. We moved to the left under cover of the woods.

We expect to be paid off now every day two months pay.

When we get in a place where I think we shall stop, I think I shall send for a box. Have a pair of shirts & drawers and a pair of boots if I don’t get them before. I shall buy a pair of the sutlers if they bring any and they suit. I received your letter last night and was pleased to get it. I begin to think you had forgot me altogether.

I suppose you though the same of me but tell the truth, I had no paper nor envelopes nor there wasn’t any in the company, nor none to be had. There ain’t been no sutlers in the army since we retreated from Culpeper. They have got the railroad in running order again. The Rebs tore up the track, burnt the sleepers, and carried off the [?] so our fellows had to lay a new track.

Excuse this. From your son, — Andrew

Letter 35

[Contains a good, albeit brief, description of the Mine Run Campaign.]

Camp near Bealeton Station, [Virginia]
December 13, 1863

Dear Parents,

As I have a few leisure moments to spare, I thought I would improve them by writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same.

Since you heard from me last we have been on a hard march. We didn’t have much fighting. The rebels took up a position on a range of hills and fortified themselves. We was ordered three times to charge them and take the hills. The last time we moved to the right with the intention of flanking them but they found out that there was a large brook between them and us that was from three to six feet deep and it was a very cold day and water would freeze the moment it struck. We didn’t have to go and we was glad we didn’t. If we had went, what of us hadn’t got killed would have froze to death. It was a hard look to see them cannon looking at us in the face.

We are back across the Rappahannock all safe once more. We have gone into winter quarters. We have got a stavin house built. We are doing picket duty along the railroad now. I think I could have a box come. I think I should get it. I want a pair of shirts. I don’t want any under shirt. A pair of drawers, socks, a pair of good, thick calf boots with an extra top, No. 9. Put in a pail with some butter, some tea & sugar. We ain’t been paid off yet and I don’t know when we shall be.

I think we shall stop here if nothing happens this winter. Send the box by Express and get a bill of it. I haven’t anything new to write so I must close. Excuse this. From, Andrew

Letter 36

Camp of 32nd Regiment
Bealeton Station [Virginia]
December 25 [1863]

Dear Parents,

I now take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your letter last night and was pleased to hear that you were all well.

Today is Christmas and I have just come off of picket and there is quite excitement here in camp about reenlisting. If the regiment can get two-thirds of the men for duty to reenlist, they are to go home as a regiment for thirty days furlough. Our company has to get thirty in order to go. They have got 26 so far and I think they will get the other four and the regiment will go home soon. The old men & conscripts that don’t reenlist are to be transferred to some other regiment or form a battalion here. The most of our old company have reenlisted. Of the Rockwood Boys, E. Pickering, W. Pickering & J. Wingood [have] but I can’t see the reenlisting although it may be a good thing as we have got about 11 months more to serve and in all probability this next summer will be hard fighting and we shall have more men and I think they will settle it up. You see if I don’t reenlist, I have got to go through just as much as they and get nothing for it. And if the war was settled, then they would have 11 hundred dollars where I get nothing. But to serve three years more—there ain’t money enough coined to hire me to. I don’t think I shall reenlist. I think I shall run my chance to come home next fall whether I get anything or not.

Those fellows that enlist—if they enlist and serve three years, their pay and bounties will amount to over two thousand dollars. That is more than a man can make at home. But then he is got to suffer for it. Babson will be here Sunday night. I don’t know what he will do. Henry Dennis Jr. wrote to me and told me if I reenlisted too late from Rockford, he would give me ten dollars out of his own pocket. I wrote him back and told him we had no idea of enlisting. It is tough on us. I don’t know what is best.

I expect you will hear of our company being in Gloucester in a few weeks but I don’t think I will be with them. Write soon and let me know what Father [thinks[. I will do what you think best.

— Andrew

Letter 37

Camp of the 32nd Regiment
Bealeton, Virginia
January 5, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same. I received the first box last night and was much pleased. Everything was in good order. The boots fit well. They are just what I wanted. They all say that have seen them that they are the best pair they have seen since they have been in the army. I have got a new suit this morning from head to foot. Now I shall lay back and take comfort. There is about two inches of snow here now and looks like more.

There was twenty-eight of our company mustered yesterday for three years more. I couldn’t see it—-the three years. All the old ones that is here have reenlisted but seven. There is nearly three hundred reenlisted in the regiment and are coming home on a furlough soon. I don’t think there will be any sight for me to come home this winter as the furloughs are stopped. Only those who enlist can go. If there is any sight to come, I shall. If not, 11 months will soon slip away.

Of the Rockport Boys enlisted, there is J. Wingood and the Perkings—that is all. It is hard. I should like to go home with the company but I can’t reenlist. I and Babson are all the Rockport [Boys] that are here that haven’t enlisted. It is too late now to…. [rest of letter missing]

Letter 38

In camp near Bealeton Station [Virginia]
January 26, 1864

Dear Mother,

I received your welcome letter today and was glad to hear that you all was well as I am am are are getting fat—weight 180 now. I suppose you would feel bad to see the company and not see me with them but I can’t help it. I don’t feel like reenlisting for three years more and what is more, I shan’t. I did not come for money and now I shan’t reenlist for money. I have made up my mind to stay the rest of my time and then if I am alive, I shall return home. If this don’t last but 90 days, I am glad of it. Then I shall get home the sooner, but those that reenlist will have to stay. Mother, if I had any thoughts of reenlisting, I would been one of the first to put my name down. I would not reenlist now anyhow now that the company has gone home.

If them fellows get the bounty and get home as soon as I do, all right. Mother, I don’t want you to think you are to blame for my not enlisting. You are not. I expect they will have a good time at [home] but when they come back, the will feel blue.

It don’t make any odds to me whether they stay to home to recruit or not, I shan’t come. I expect to join the company when it gets back. If I get killed before my time is out, all right. If not, I shall come home to stay. Secretary Seward don’t know any more about this war than I do. I have seen enough of this paper talk about the rebs giving up but I can’t see it yet.

I have done what I think best. I want you to keep up good courage. This summer will soon slip away. From your son, — Andrew

Letter 39

In camp near Bealeton, Va.
February 28, 1864

Dear Parents,

I now improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your letter & papers last night and was pleased to hear that you were all well. The order came last night for our Corps to have three days rations and be ready to start this morning. It is ten o’clock now and they haven’t started yet. The orders are to be ready at a moment’s notice. I don’t have any idea where we are a going.

I am here on cattle guard yet. All the rest of the fellows have gone back to the regiment that was detailed when I was and the old fellows [veterans] have come back but that corporal and he is not coming back so I think I shall stop now. I like it here. We don’t have much to do. We kill twice a week now, seven cattle at a time, and those don’t take us but an hour. It is a good place for anyone to practice. It cuts the hide all the same.

The regiment came back last Monday. The boys look well but feel blue. They don’t seem like the same fellows [as] they did before they went home. I didn’t hardly know them—they was dressed up so. I went up to sign the pay rolls the other day [and] the captain wanted me to enlist. I told him I couldn’t see it. There is some more of them coming home.

They raised the old boy in Baltimore. the provost marshal had to get them out of the city. They went into them Jew’s shops, pulled the shoe cases onto the floor, then jumped into them. Then they threw the clothing out into the streets in among the boys. Some of them got silks worth a hundred dollars. The provost marshal took and arrested some of them, then come on to Washington and arrested some more. He took Corp. [Charles S.] Davis from our company. 1

I had a letter from Ivory the other day. He told me he was going to leave the mill [and] that he was coming home.

We was paid two months pay the other day and have two month more due. I put ten dollars in a letter about the time the Regiment started. You never stated whether you received it or not. I don’t know of anything new to write, therefore I will close for I am going up to the regiment now to see the boys. We lay a mile and a half from the regiment by ourselves in the woods.

From, Andrew

1 Charles S. Davis was a mariner from Gloucester, Massachusetts. He received a severe wound in the the right elbow at Laurel Hill, Virginia, on 12 May 1864 and was discharged for his wounds in April 1865.

Letter 40

In camp Bealeton Station [Va.]
March 27 [1864]

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I am here on cattle guard yet but I don’t know how long we shall stop here as they have reorganized the Army. They have put the 1st Corps with the 5th Corps. They are not going to have but three Corps in the ARmy this summer.

It has been very stormy here of late so we can’t move very soon. Old Grant went to the front the other day. We had a big snow storm here last week. It was about six inches deep on a level. It is all gone now. The mud is up to one’s knees now. Farr came back last Sunday. He says he was down to the house and you were all well.

We was paid off last Sunday. I shall enclose twenty-five (25 dollars) in this letter and run the risk whether she goes or no.

There ain’t nothing new to write about so I will close. Write as soon as you get this and let me know if you received it. I sent 10 dollars in a letter before [but] you never told me whether you received it or not.

From, Andrew

Letter 41

In camp near Bealeton Station
April 9, [1864]

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you [know] that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same. I received your letter the other day and was pleased to hear from you and to hear that you received the money all right. We had a very heavy rain storm here last night. It is very muddy here now. Capt. Burdett, the Brigade Quartermaster where we are here, leaves tomorrow [and] the Quartermaster of the 3rd Brigade takes his place. I don’t know if he will send us to our regiments or not when he comes in command but I don’t think he will.

There is a talk here about our Corps moving to the front to Culpeper but I don’t know whether there is any truth in it or not. They say the Invalid Corps is going to relieve our Corps and they are going to guard the railroad. We have to kill [cattle] three times a week now.

I don’t have any news to write as everything is quiet along the lines.

Who bought John Grover’s land? I see by the Gloucester paper that it was to be sold at auction.

The storm last night washed away three bridges between here and Washington so there is no trains run today. One of the bridges was Bull Run Bridge. As I know of no news, I will close. From, Andrew

Letter 42

Mount Pleasant Hospital
Washington [D. C.]
June 4th 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know how we are getting along. We have had a hard time of it. I got wounded on the 30th of May in the right side—not bad—only a flesh wound. It went in and struck a rib and glanced out. We was transported to the White House [Landing], then took a steamer for Washington. Arrived here today. Walter Johnson was killed just before I was hit.

We lost about twenty-five or thirty that night. It was about eight miles from Richmond near Mechanicsville.

I must close now as the mail is about to leave. We haven’t had no chance to write before as we have had no mail leave. I will write again soon and let you know where I shall stop. So no more this time. From, Andrew

Letter 43

McDougall Hospital at Fort Schuyler in New York Harbor

McDougall Hospital [at Fort Schuyler] 1
New York [Harbor]
June 12, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know where I am and how I am getting along. I arrived here yesterday from Washington. There is almost a thousand of the slightest wounded sent here as Washington is full of badly wounded. I am getting along tip top. There is some talk of sending the wounded to their own states but I don’t know whether there is anything in the rumor or not, but I hope there is.

This is a pleasant place. Here we can see the steamers & vessels pass and get the salt air.

I should like to have you send me a little money, 2 or 3 dollars, as I haven’t got any money. If I had stopped in Washington a few days longer, I would have been paid off. I don’t [know] of any news to write so I will close. If they don’t transfer [us] to our own states, I will try for a furlough if they give any. I haven’t had any letter from home since we started on the march.

Accept this from Andrew

Direct your letters to Fort Schuyler, McDougall Hospital, Section A, War 4, New York Harbor.

1 Fort Schuyler (McDougall) Hospital was located on the East River. It was “formed like a wheel, the hub being headquarters and the spokes extending into wards for patients.” It housed approximately 1600 patients.

Letter 44

Fort Schuyler
July 21 [1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along. I arrived here Tuesday noon. The doctor came around this morning. He thought I was pretty well. They talk here of sending a squad to the front the first of the week. I don’t know whether he will send me or not.

There is a chance to get detailed here now as there are plenty of citizens here to clear the draft. I tell you, it makes me feel homesick to get back here but I shall soon get over that.

My side is healed now. It don’t run any now. They live here now about the same as they did before I went home.

I see the Government has called for 500,000 more men. I think Ivory was lucky to go for one hundred days as he would be pretty likely to be drafted. I don’t know any news to write so I will close.

Direct to Section C, Ward 1, Fort Schuyler

From, — Andrew

Letter 45

Fort Schuyler, McDougall Hospital
July 31, [1864]

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same. I haven’t gone to the front yet and don’t know when I shall go. I see by the papers they are fighting out there again. I hope they will get through before I get there. I see by the papers the 8th Regiment has gone to Washington. There was about three hundred sick and wounded came here the other day. The hospital is near full now. I don’t know any news. — Andrew

Letter 46

Fort Schuyler, New York Harbor
August 9, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your welcome letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well.

There was three hundred wounded arrived here last night from the front. They was wounded in that charge before Petersburg [see Battle of the Crater]. There is quite a lot of Massachusetts men among them but none of them that I know. 1 The hospital is full here now. I expect they will be for sending off a squad this week to the front. I guess Farr didn’t think that he would be sent back so quick.

I wrote a letter to Ivory the other day. I didn’t know where he was but I direct to Washington. I haven’t had no answer from him/

We have had plenty of rain here since I have been here. The crops look well in this state. They have had more rain here than in Massachusetts. We have had five heavy rain storms since I come back here.

I don’t know of any news to write so I will close for this time. Accept this from, — Andrew

1 Most of the Massachusetts regiments were in Brig. Gen. James Ledlie’s Division who led the charge the charge into the Crater. These regiments were the 21st, 29th, 56th, 57th, and 59th Massachusetts who were all brigaded with the 100th Pennsylvania “Roundheads” under the command of Brig. Gen. William F. Bartlett.

Letter 47

McDougall Hospital
Fort Schuyler [New York Harbor]
August 17, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same.

It is a very heavy rain storm here today. It commenced this morning and rained until noon and raining now.

I don’t hear anything about their sending any to the front very soon. It is rather [poor] living here but I don’t care how long I stay here for I think that they will have a big fight out there before long and I ain’t anxious to be there. They haven’t done much since I left and it is time now for them to do something if they are going to this fall. I hope they will take Richmond before I go back.

I should like for you to send me a Gloucester paper once in awhile.

They have transferred all of those that came last that was able to go to their own states. When you write, tell me how you direct a letter to Ivory. I don’t know any news so I will close for the present. Accept this from, — Andrew

Letter 48

McDougall Hospital
Fort Schuyler [New York Harbor]
August 23, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your letter today and was sorry to hear that Mother was sick. I am sorry [too] that you sent that box for I don’t think I shall get it here. If it comes here, I don’t think the doctors here would allow anyone to eat anything but what they allow him and I make out pretty well now for something to eat. It is better than it was. We have got a new doctor in charge of the hospital. He looks out better for the men than the other one.

I had a letter from Ivory the other day. He like it out there but he is on guard every other night. He thinks that is rather rough. He is afraid he won’t go to Washington before his time is out.

I see by the paper that Joseph Sewall has gone back to the regiment. I see by the papers that our Corps has moved and got possession of the Weldon Railroad. They had a hard fight. I can’t think of nothing more at present so I must close. From, — Andrew

Letter 49

McDougall Hospital, New York
August 26 [1864]

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received the box this morning. The chicken & meat was spoiled. It smells very bad. All the rest of the things were good. That camphor scented the cakes so they taste of it but nothing too hurt. I am sorry about the meat. It has been so long on the way way this warm weather. They opened it down to headquarters but I don’t think they took anything out as the box was full. They don’t allow the boys to eat apples here but they did not trouble mine. Everything is quiet here. I don’t know of any news here so I will close. Accept this, from Andrew

Letter 50

McDougall Hospital, New York
September 4, 1864

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same.

We had a general inspection here the 2nd of this month. He was a regular officer. I don’t know where he was from. He was a sharp one. He straightened the boys arms and legs for them. He is going to give the hospital a cleaning out. He recommended some for the Invalid Corps [but] most for the front. They are going Monday. There is three to four hundred of them. I heard about his coming so I managed to be out of the Ward when he came around so he never took my name at all. So I am all right for another while. If I had been in, I should been a victim sure for he took some of their names that their wounds wasn’t fairly healed up.

It is quite a rain storm here today. I expect they are shivering there at home for fear of this draft. I suppose it will come off tomorrow.

I see by the papers that Atlanta is taken. That is a death blow to the rebels.

I don’t know anything new to write so I will close. From, — Andrew

Letter 51

Fort Schuyler, New York
September 8, 1864

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your welcome letter today and was pleased to hear that Mother was getting better. You stated that she thought I was poor. I did lose some flesh when I first came back but I have gained since. I am fat now and never felt better than I do now.

Now about the box. The camphor only scented some of the small cakes on the top of the box. The loaf cakes were all right. They are very nice. I have just been eating a piece of fruit cake. It is fresh and nice.

I guess Ivory don’t like to be have his company broken up that way but they will do what they please with them. That is a pleasant place up there where he is in Maryland. I don’t understand what he means by those blockade runners without he means deserters smuggling goods across the river. I think that’s what he must mean.

I see by the papers that you have offered the colt for sale.

It must be pretty hot at Petersburg by our company letter by them getting sunstroke. It is cool and nice here. We have had a heavy rain storm for three days but it has cleared off pleasant today. I don’t know any news so I will close for the present.

From your son, — Andrew

Letter 52

McDougall Hospital
September 23, 1864

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same.

We had a general inspection here last Friday for men to the front and Invalid Corps and discharges, but they never got me. There was a new lot came here last night from the front—about three hundred. Most of them was sick with the diarrhea. They look bad. I think a great many of them will die—they are so weak that they can’t stand alone.

I received your papers last week and was pleased with them.

We have got a new surgeon in charge here now. He is a regular and a sharp one too. My time is getting so short now I don’t think that they will send me away although they may as they want men out there. I am in hopes they will let me stay here the rest of my time. My time is getting short now—it flies off fast now.

There is a sergeant belongs to the 22nd [Mass.] Regiment. His time is out in about a week. He was wounded the same day that I was. My descriptive list is here so if I am here when my time is out, it is all right. I don’t know of any news to write so I ill close. Accept this, — Andrew

Letter 53

Fort Schuyler, New York
October 6, 1864

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I see by the papers that our division has had some hard fighting. I am glad I was not there. I had a letter from Ive [Ivory] last week. He says he is getting fat. His captain says he is going to have them home in time to vote but I don’t believe he will.

They have got a big paper here. Tells when all of hte Massachusetts regiments time of service is out. It says the 32nd is out the 18th of December but if I am here, I shall. But if I stop here, I will get discharged from my Descriptive List which says my time is out the 2nd of December. But you see they have averaged the time of the companies so they can’t get home until the 18th of December. I hope I shall be here until my time is out but I can’t tell what day they may send me off.

There is going to be some tall fighting this month, I think, before election. Then they won’t do much after election. I don’t know when we shall get paid off. They owe me seven months now. I don’t know any news so I will close. Accept this, — Andrew

Letter 54

Forrt Schuyler, New York Harbor
October 12th 1864

Dear Mother,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I received your letter this morning and was pleased to hear that you were all well. As I haven’t heard from you for so long, I thought that you must be sick. I am here doing first rate. There is nothing the matter with me. I am on duty here. I have got charge of a Ward here. There is fifty beds in it and they are full now. We had a new lot come here Saturday night. Some of them are very bad with the diarrhea. I don’t think they will live long. There is three with their legs off. They are doing well.

I don’t have anything to do but to see that everything is kept in order and keep count of the clothing and see that the men have something to eat. I have got six men under me that does the work. I can get plenty to eat now and plenty of clothes to wear. I don’t wear any under clothes of my own. I am fat and feel first rate. There ain’t nothing that I want now. I don’t want you to worry about me for I have got a soft job now.

We have got two stoves in the ward. We keep them going night and day. We have got a real nice doctor in this ward. He told me that I would not go back again if he could help himself so there is no trouble.

We expect to get paid next week. My time is getting short—only fifty days more. That won’t be long slipping by. I don’t know of any news to write so I will close. Write soon. From, — Andrew

Letter 55

Fort Schuyler, New York Harbor
October 23, 1864

Dear Parents,

I improve this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope these few lines will find you all the same.

There is talk of transferring all Mass. men to their state so to give them a chance to vote in the coming election. I expect we shall be transferred to Readville Hospital, from there to get furloughs to go home and vote. The doctor took our names yesterday. I expect we shall start the first of the week but we can’t tell when we shall go, if we go at all.

I see by the New York papers today that the Army of the Potomac is going into winter quarters and Lincoln has called for three hundred thousand more men, the draft o commence the fifteenth of next month, but I don’t know whether it is true or not.

I haven’t heard from Ive [Ivory] very lately. I expect his time is near out. I don’t know any news to write so I must close. If we go, I will write as soon as we get there and if we don’t, I will write. So no more at present. From, — Andrew

Letter 56

U. S. Hospital, Readville, [Massachusetts]
October 26 [1864]

Dear Parents,

I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. I came here yesterday from New York. There is quite a lot of my company here. I saw Wingood & Parsons and quite a number of others here.

I thought when we got here we would have furloughs, but they don’t give any now. They may next month so I don’t know as I shall get home now but I am in hopes to vote in the election. I had a letter from Ive [Ivory] the other day. He expects to start for home the first of the month.

I don’t like it here as well as I did in New York. I wish I had stopped there now. The six regiments [of] one hundred day’s men are here. They expect to be mustered out tomorrow. I don’t know of any new to write so I will close.

Direct to U. S. Hospital, Readville, Mass. Ward 32.

1863: Jonathan W. Larabee to Lois King

I could not find an image of Jonathan but here is a CDV of Henry Carrier who served as a private in Co. F, 5th Vermont Infantry (Photo Sleuth)

The following bitter and heartrending letter was penned by Jonathan W. Larabee (1837-1914) about four weeks after the Battle of Fredericksburg to his aunt back home in Vermont. Jonathan was the son of Alexander Larabee and Sarah F. Williams of Addison county, Vermont. He was employed as a miller and farmer when he married Nellie Fogerty (1841-1909) sometime prior to his enlistment on 7 September 1861 as a private in Co. H, 5th Vermont Infantry. This Regiment was part of the Vermont Brigade, veterans of many battles and noted for its losses as well as for its heroism. In the Battle of Savage’s Station on 29 June 1862 (part of the Peninsular Campaign), the 5th Vermont lost 188 out of 400 troops in just one-half hour of fighting. Their most costly battle, in terms of overall losses, prior to when this letter was written, was Fredericksburg in mid-December 1862. This battle—in which Union casualties exceeded 12,000—was a humiliating defeat and further eroded the patriotic sensibilities and fighting spirit of the Union troops. In a letter written ten days after the Battle of Fredericksburg, one of Jonathan’s comrades in Co. H by the name of Robert Pratt captured the sentiments of the dispirited troops when he wrote, “Thousands after thousands of men being killed and made crippled for life —all for what? God only knows… This is not only what I think, but most every other soldier…A lot of them are deserting. Who knows who will be next.” 

Larrabee, responding to a letter from his aunt which may have disparaged his lack of patriotism, rales against the purpose and the carnage of “such an unjust and unholy” war, singling out emancipation as a cause not worth fighting for. He goes on to state that if he is not discharged, he will for sure desert to Canada, and that he doesn’t care what his Aunt or any other family member thinks, or, for that matter, whether he even lives or dies. We learn that his aunt has talked his wife Nell from sending him civilian clothes to make good his thoughts of desertion. There is also a statement of his “playing off” (feigning illness) to avoid caring out his duties as a soldier—particularly going into battle. This is a poignant story of an angry and alienated man who just doesn’t want to fight anymore and, in the process, seems to be about to turn his back on his fellow troops, his family, and his country. 

Despite their travail, neither Larabee nor Pratt deserted (though over a hundred others in the regiment did before the war ended). Larabee remained a member of Co. H and went on to fight many more battles as a Union soldier, being wounded on 19 September 1864 in the Battle of Opequan in Virginia. He was discharged as a veteran on 29 June 1865 after nearly 4 years of service. He lived many more years thereafter before dying in approximately 1890 in Rutland, VT.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Mrs. W. W. King, Orwell, Addison county, Vermont

Camp in the field
January 11, 1863

Aunt Lois—if I may once more call you so, I seat myself to answer your letter received today. It found me not well but so as to be around and hope this may find you enjoying yourself better than I am.

Now Lois, I am agoing to talk plain with you. I am agoing to tell you just as I think speak my mind on the subject to a letter and if you don’t like it, why it is all just as well. Not that I wish to hurt the feelings of you or any other friends—if I may so call them—but that I wish to have you understand that there is not the least bit of honor in this unjust war. And more than that, it is a disgrace to the soldier that will fight in such an unjust and unholy cause. And there is no more signs of its being settled than there was a year ago. The thing of it is just here—there are men cooped up in cities perfectly out of danger that are making money. They are doing well. They cry, “Push on!” Well, we do and lose fifteen or twenty thousand men. [When] a dispatch is sent to Washington of our loss, it is looked over with a critic’s eye and then what do they say? “Why what is that? Twenty thousand men? That is nothing out of six or eight hundred thousand men. Oh, that is nothing.”

I suppose you had rather I would be murdered and cut up into pieces than see me get out of it any way only honorable. You don’t have to suffer the pain. You are alright. Go it down there in Virginia and you might as well say we are doing well enough here in Vermont. But I will ask you one question, what are we fighting for? It is impossible for you to answer that question unless you say to free niggers? That is all. There is no Union freed by it—no country saved. But there is an enormous amount of lives lost. But [that] is [apparently] of no account. That is what they enlisted for—to be shot. But never mind the soldiers. Save them cursed niggers, let it cost what it may in blood or treasure.

But there is one thing very certain—that is that it will not cost me much blood unless they catch me for I am bound to never go with them again near enough to the enemy to get shot. I had as leave they would catch me too as not. I don’t know as I have much to live for more than a wife. The rest seem to take up against me—some in one way and some in another. But it is all well enough. I can take care of myself without depending on Vermont. There is just as good people in Canada as there is in Vermont and they get as good living there as they do in the United States.

Nell said Mr. Catlin said he thought the war would be settled in three months. He made a sad mistake. He meant three years or longer perhaps. You may think I am rather hard on you but if I should write my mind, you would think this a very pliable letter. I am a full-blood Democrat myself and that is a rare thing in Vermont and it is not only me but all of the blue coat soldiers as you may call them (for you can’t call them Union—no, far from that, and every day on the decline).

“This murdering men for the fun of the thing don’t set on my stomach at all. But don’t never say any more about a man gaining any honor here I this unholy and unjust cause for there is none to be gained.”

–Jonathan W. Larabee, Co. H, 5th Vermont Infantry, 11 January 1863

Now you may take this letter as you will for I mean every word of it and more too. If I can’t play off and get my discharge, I shall go to Canada or start for there at least for I never can endure this long. This murdering men for the fun of the thing don’t set on my stomach at all. But don’t never say any more about a man gaining any honor here in this unholy and unjust cause for there is none to be gained. I can see it here but you only get the hearsay of the thing which probably sounds very well to you up there but here is where you can see it one day after another. If a man is sick and can’t go and falls out of the ranks, he is cashiered, his pay stopped, sent to Harper’s Ferry to perform so many weeks hard labor with ball and chain.

Well, I must close. Give my love to all the friends. This from, — J. W. Larabee

You have talked Nell out of sending clothes and it’s all right but I believe I can raise money enough to buy a suit of clothes when I get to some little town where they keep them.

1862: James Sanks Brisbin to Mary Jane (Wagner) Brisbin

This letter was written by James Sanks Brisbin (1837-1892), the son of Ezra Dougherty and Margaret (Packer) Brisbin of Centre county, Pennsylvania.

James Sanks Brisbin (seated), later in the war (Heritage Auctions)

When the American Civil War began in 1861, Brisbin was a lawyer in practice. He enlisted in the Pennsylvania volunteer services that April as a private. On April 26, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the mounted 2nd U.S. Dragoons. In the First Battle of Bull Run, Brisbin received two wounds, one in his side and the other in an arm, and was praised by his superiors for his performance during the fight.

On August 3, 1861, Brisbin transferred to the 1st U.S. Cavalry (previously known as the 1st Dragoons until a reorganization of the army) but then was appointed a captain in the 6th U.S. Cavalry two days later. On June 9, 1862, while fighting near Beverly Ford, Virginia, he was again wounded when he fell off of his horse. Exactly one year later Brisbin was brevetted to the rank of major for his conduct at Beverly Ford. In 1863 he very briefly led the cavalry forces in the Federal Department of the Susquehanna, and was wounded in a leg during combat near Greenbrier, Virginia, on July 26.

Brisbin was promoted to colonel on March 1, 1864, and organized the 5th United States Colored Cavalry. He served as the acting head of cavalry on the staff of Brig. Gen. Albert L. Lee during the Red River Campaign, and was again wounded during the Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana on April 8, this time in the right foot. On December 12, 1864, Brisbin was brevetted to brigadier general in the Union Army, and seven days later was appointed a brevet lieutenant colonel in the regular army for his performance at Battle of Marion in Tennessee. In 1865, he was on recruiting duty in Kentucky, serving on the staff of Maj. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge. On March 13, Brisbin was brevetted to colonel in the regular army as well as brevetted major general in the Union Army, and on May 1 he was promoted to brigadier general. Brisbin was mustered out of the Union Army as a volunteer on January 15, 1866. [Wikipedia]

This letter was written just a few days before the Battle of Fredericksburg. The 6th US Cavalry had been encamped in the vicinity of the Rappahannock river since 24 November 1862. During the battle, the 6th sent a squadron across the Rappahannock on a pontoon bridge to reconnoiter the enemy positions but had to withdraw when they received enemy artillery fire, losing 2 men and eight horses. After making their report to Gen. Burnside, they were held in reserve near Falmouth where they remained several months. I have not learned whether Capt. Brisbin was with the squad that entered Fredericksburg or not. From this letter we learn that he had been placed under arrest on some unidentified charge though he or someone else tried to conceal that piece of information by attempting to cross out those words that I indicated with a strikethrough.


Camp 6th US Cavalry
Belle Plaine, Virginia
December 9th, 1862

My Dear Wife,

I wrote you this morning but as it is my duty to write you every day, I will write you again. Te sun came out today but the air was quite cold all day. The river is now frozen over but not hard enough to bear. If the river gets solid, I think we will either go over or the Rebs will come over. All the people of Falmouth and Fredericksburg are camped out. It must be pretty cold on the women & children.

I think the great battle of the war is at hand. All other battles will be as nothing when compared with it. They say we have four hundred thousand men here. I think not so many as that but we certainly have three hundred thousand and that is a good many men. The Rebels must have two hundred and fifty thousand so we will be able to get up quite a respectable fight. Half a million of men fighting will raise considerable smoke and dust and make quite a noise.

I am afraid they will keep me under arrest and if so I can’t fight. Men under arrest can’t fight. I suppose you would not care if there was a fight & they did keep me under arrest and keep me out of it, but I would not miss the next battle for anything. I would rather lose a leg. Our men are all anxious for a fight & confident they can whip the Rebels. The next battle will end the war, one way or the other. If we are defeated, I think the Confederacy will be acknowledged. But if we whip them, they will make peace. God grant the war may soon end.

I did not get any letters today and so am disappointed. I missed the mail this morning and had to send one of my men 5 miles with your letter to get it mailed. They say we will get a mail every day hereafter so you can now write and be certain I will get your letters.

We get plenty to eat. Have flannel [pancakes] cakes, ham, butter, sugar, coffee &c. Butter is a dollar a pound but we can trade coffee for butter. Coffee is $2 a pound but we can buy it at 26 cents. Salt is any price but we get it at a cent a pound. The people of Virginia will give anything they have for a little sugar, coffee, or salt. Madden’s brother has come. Madden still has a little diarrhea. Lt. Tupper and I are now living together. Tupper is a nice, quiet fellow. Lt. Madden’s brother is coming up.

I do hope you will try and be happy and patiently bear this separation. I can assure you it is a bitter pill to me but all things have an end and so will the war. You must never quarrel with me anymore when I come home again. Wy did you not get coal? Tell them to get you coal at once. If this coal matter is not attended to, I will take some very decided action about it that will surprise you all. I would give a month’s pay to be home tonight and sleep in your arms. You can’t send a box. I would never get it. Capt. Saunders has got a leave at last & gone to Kentucky.

Do not fret about me. I am all right. The Rebs can’t kill me—at least I am not uneasy. Who is to be—what do you call them? brideswoman to Sallie? I think Josh would make a good groomsman. Your Pap made a very good one when we were married. But I will close. It is getting warmer. How I would like to be at home and get some apples tonight.

Goodbye darling. Pray for your, — Jim

1862-65: Constantine Alexander Hege to his Family

I could not find an image of Hege but here is one of John Young Shitle of Co. I, 48th North Carolina Infantry. He was mortally wounded at Sharpsburg.

These letters were written by Constantine Alexander Hege (1843-1914), the son of Solomon Hege (1813-1875) and Catharine Guenther (1813-1874) of Davidson County, North Carolina. Constantine was raised as a Moravian and was naturally opposed to the war, but he was never the less obliged to enlist in the summer of 1862 in Co. H, 48th North Carolina Infantry. He served for 14 months during which time he was captured at the Battle of Bristoe Station on 14 October 1863 and was confined in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. While there he was visited by some North Carolina Moravians working in the capitol, and under their guidance, Hege decided to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. After his release, he went to Bethlehem, Pa., where he found employment in the iron works.

“In August 1865 Hege returned to North Carolina, but a few months later entered the Bryant & Stratton Commercial College in Philadelphia where, upon completing the course, he was employed by a mercantile firm. In the spring of 1867 he opened a small country store at Friedburg, N.C. A few years later he moved to Salem to start a small foundry. After acquiring a steam engine his business expanded, and in 1877 he obtained a patent for an improved set of works for circular sawmills. He then began manufacturing sawmills and wood-working machinery which he also invented. The sawmills produced at Hege’s Salem Iron Works were sold throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. The first sawmill in Alaska was one he gave to the Moravian mission there.

The Salem Iron Works were owned and operated by Constantine Hege, who began the business in 1867 from a small shed in Salem. By 1882 the business had grown and his engines, wood planers, saw mills, and woodworking machinery were in great demand. He erected this three-story building on Salt Street at a cost of $30,000. A group of boys sit on the hill in the foreground viewing the impressive industrial complex. [Digital Forsyth]

Hege was married in 1870 to Frances Mary Spaugh from an area near Salem, and they were the parents of Walter Julius, Ella Florence, and Rose Estelle. Following the death of his first wife, Hege married Martha Caroline Spaugh in 1895.” [William S. Powell, 1988]

Letter 1

Camp Holmes, Raleigh N. C.
August 8th, 1862

Dear Father, Mother, Sister and Brother

I now have the opportunity to drop a few lines to you stating that I am well at present—only I feel very weak. I hope that you are all in good health at home. We arrived at Raleigh this morning at half past 1 o’clock where we stayed until daylight. Then we marched to this place where we are now encamped. My tent mates are Hiram Everhart, Henry Chriesfezer, Christian Fishel, Hiram Painter, Thomas Cecil, Wesley Cecil and Costin Miller. It is supposed that we will go to Petersburg next Monday.

I enjoyed my ride tolerably well. I saw a great many things that interested me very much. I counted 14 engines at the company shops. I also saw the state house and many other fine buildings. We are now in Camp Holmes about 4 miles from Raleigh. We have good tents and a beautiful grove to camp in. There are also several wells of good water in the camp. We are guarded all round by stout looking guards with muskets well loaded.

I will now tell you what I think of camp life. I think it is a very hard life. We drawed 440 lbs. of flour for 4 days. We also drawed 3 skillets & 1 pot for about 20 men to prepare their victuals in. I do not like such fare nor I am not content at present. I feel very much downcast but I think that several of my tent mates are very nice men and I hope that I can after a while do better if I must stay in camp. So no more at present. Do not write until I write again or wait until you hear where we next move to.

Please remember me, and tell Elick and Evander that they shall be contented at home and not to wish to be a soldier. I still remain, dear father, your affectionate son until death.

Yours truly, — C. A. Hege, Camp Holmes, Raleigh, N. C.

Letter 2

Petersburg, Virginia
August 13th 1862

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of writing to you this afternoon stating that I am well at present, hoping that you enjoy the same good blessing. We arrived here at Petersburg today about noon and moved to the camp. There  is a battle expected here very soon. They are a throwing up breastworks here very rapidly. It is supposed that the fight will extend from Richmond to Petersburg.

It fell to my lot to go in Capt. [John H.] Michael’s company. I there saw very many of my acquaintances which I had not seen for several months which revived me somewhat but I am not satisfied here. I do not like to hear of going to face the cannons and the muskets. I would be very glad if you could hire a substitute in my place because I cannot stand such a life with any enjoyment at all. I went over to see the flying artillery. There were 12 cannons there, and for a person to see them, it would make the cold chills run over anyone, I think. Therefore, I want you to try to hire a substitute and if you do hire one, get a competent man to bring him to Captain [John H.] Michael’s company, 48th regiment, N. C. troops.

We drawed each of us a knapsack, coat, cap, 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of drawers and shirt. I sent my carpet sack and my pants, shirt and drawers and several other things. Wesley Cecil, and Christian Fishel and I have sent our sacks to A. C. Hege’s store in Lexington and we want you to go and bring them home and pay A. C. Hege the freight if there is any to be paid and sent them home and Wesley Cecil’s wife will pay you for his and also send Christian’s home also.

We left  Raleigh last Monday evening about 5 o’clock P. M. and came on as far as Weldon on Tuesday morning A. M. and staid there until Wednesday morning about 3 o’clock and arrived at Petersburg about 10 o’clock A.M. and remained there a few moments and then marched out to our camp about 3 miles east of Petersburg. We have very bad water here. It is said that the yankees are about 12 miles from here now. I saw about 300 Yankees from Salisbury on their way home at Weldon. I talked with several of them. They seemed to be as fine a set of men as are anywhere. I here send a few shells to Mary & Julius which I picked up on the field where we are encamped. There are a  great many shells about here of different sizes and forms. I ate my first camp supper this evening.

Aug. 14th. We arose up this morning and went out to drill for our first time. We have to drill 4 times a day—twice in the forenoon and twice in the afternoon. I want you to write to me as soon as you can whether you will hire a substitute or not, but if you hire one, try and get one over 50 or under 18. He must be a stout-looking man; I want to know very soon all about it. Samuel and Emry Davis got substitutes from Richmond.

So I must close my letter. Tell all my friends to write to me. Please write soon. Please excuse my bad hand writing and bad composition because I have to write by chance. I remain your dear son until death.

— C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to C. A. Hege, Petersburg, Va., in care of Capt. [John H.] Michael, 48th Regiment, N C. Troops

Letter 3

Petersburg, Virginia
Sunday morning, August 17th 1862

Dear friend,

I now have the opportunity of writing a few lines to you stating that I  am well at present and hope that you enjoy the same good blessing. We left  Raleigh last Monday evening about 5 o’clock and got as far as Weldon about two o’clock on Tuesday morning and staid there until Wednesday morning about 3 o’clock when we started again and arrived at Petersburg about 10 o’clock the same morning. We then marched to our camp which is 3 miles east of Petersburg. We were then divided off in different companies. I fell in Capt.  Michael’s company [H]. I there saw many of my acquaintances. But I do not like the camp life. I would a great deal rather be at home a working than to be here. We fare tolerably well but our water is bad. We have to drill 4 times a day and some of the company stand guard of a night.

There is a massive breastwork a being thrown up about 3 hundred yards  from our camp. It is said to extend 50 miles in length. Nearly all of Wake’s  Brigade were called out last night to go out on Picket guard about 6 miles east of this camp.

I have been thinking about old Friedberg a great many times this morning, I have been wishing that I was there again as I usually was on  Sunday morning. I will now tell you how Sunday is spent in camp. In the  morning we are waked by the sound of the drum, then the roll is called, and about eight o’clock we get our breakfast. I now hear some singing, some reading, some playing marbles, some walking to and for as if in a deep study, while there are some cursing and swearing, some working, and they have the closest inspection of arms on Sunday morning. I have better hopes of the people in camp then I expected. I find a great many devoted Christians in camp whose voices can be heard at night in prayer and songs of praise. There is prayer meetings held in the camp at night and also preaching on Sunday.

We now have a very bad chance for reading or anything of that like, but I have been a studying the bible some and a reading tracts and trying to pray, but I have not attended half to my duties as I should have done, but I am  agoing to try by the grace of God to live more of a Christian life.

We have not tents enough yet for all of our men but we expect some more soon and when we get divided off in tents, we can have a better chance for devotional exercises but the way we now are, the tents are crowded full and then some have to stay out.

If you get to see my father, tell him that I am well at present. I was at preaching today in the camp. Rev. Mr. Johnson, the Presbyterian preacher of Lexington preached. His text is found in second Timothy, Chap 2.2, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” He preached a very good sermon. He urged Christians to take heed and not to become backsliders but to be the more watchful and prayerful lest they be overcome by the wicked one. He also admonished sinners to repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ because they know not what moment death will overtake them.

So I must close. Please remember me in your prayers. I remain your friend and brother in Christ and if I never should meet you on earth, I hope and pray that I may meet you in heaven above where all is peace  and where there is no more sorrow nor sinning.

Yours truly, — Constantine A. Hege

Direct your letters to Petersburg, Va., Company H, care of Capt. Michaels, 48th Regiment N. C. Troops.

Please excuse my bad handwriting and bad composition.

Letter 4

Petersburg, Virginia
August 19th 1862

Dear Father,

I am not very well at present but I hope you are all well. I want you to try to hire a substitute for me if you possibly can. I would rather be at home and work like a negro than to be here in camp. We now have to leave here in a few minutes and we do not know where we will go to. Now you can guess how one feels in such a case. Try and get on until the last of this week if you can. You have no idea how one feels. Get Joseph Delap or somebody that understands how to manage and bring him on to Petersburg and there you can find out where we are.

Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 5

Richmond, Virginia
August 26th 1862

Dear Parents,

I now take the opportunity of writing a few lines to you stating that I am well at present and hope that you enjoy the same good blessing. I wrote  three letters home to you and have not received any answer yet. Therefore, I would like to know what is the reason that you do not write to me because I want to hear from home very bad. I would like to know whether you have any notion of hiring a substitute for me or not. I would be very glad if you would hire one, but do just as you think best. I will do just as you say. If you think it best for me to stay, I will be contented with my lot for I believe that Providence will carry me through safe. I am a little better satisfied than I was at first, but I have not learned to love the camp life.

One thing I like and that is that we  have preaching in camp every Sunday and prayer meeting once or twice a  week. I believe that there are a great many good Christians in camp.

We left the camp near Petersburg last Wednesday morning and marched about twenty-five miles to a camp about 3 miles east of Richmond. We left there on last Saturday morning and marched about a mile farther to another camp. But we now have marching orders again and we do not know where we will go to next. When we march we have to tote a large musket, bayonet, bayonet scabbard, cap box, cartridge box with about 30 or 40 cartridges, blanket and haversack full of provisions for to last 3 days. All the above named articles we have to tote when we are on a march. We had nothing but crackers and fat meat to eat from last Wednesday until Sunday morning. We then drew about a half a gill of molasses apiece.

So I must bring my letter to a close for we have to march soon. Please  write as soon as you possibly can for you know that I would like to hear from you all very much tell my friends and relations to write. If we never meet here on earth anymore, I hope and pray that we may meet in heaven.

Your affectionate son, C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., in care of Capt. Michael, 48th Regiment N. C. Troops. If we leave here, our letters will follow us. Therefore, direct them to the above-named address.

Letter 6

Gordonsville Virginia
August 30th 1862

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of writing to you stating that I am well at  present and hope that you enjoy the same good blessing. I received your letter of the 21st instant on last Tuesday evening. I was very glad to hear from you once [more] and you said that C. Spaugh and J. Miller were a coming to see us and I would be very glad if you would come along.

We left Richmond last Tuesday about noon and started for the cars for Gordonsville. We arrived there about midnight and stopped awhile and then came on about 20 miles further where we [have] taken up camp on a high hill near the Rapidan river and we are here yet. Yesterday afternoon the 15th Regiment came here and camped about 200 yards from where we are camped. I went to their camp and there I saw nearly all of my old acquaintances. I saw Daniel Wilson and talked with him and I was very glad to see them all. He is well. Ephraim Weasner is well. Solomon Tesh is very much worsted, but he keeps with the crowd. Henry Weaver is sick. George Tesh is sick and a good many more of my  acquaintances.

Tell Uncle Christian that I saw Theophilus and that he is well but I did not get to see Emanuel nor Augustus. Theophilus said that they got sick on the march and could not keep up and they have not caught up yet this morning and he knows not how they are, nor where they are. They left  their sick men here for to be taken to the hospital at Richmond while the  balance of the 15th Regiment went on another march and it is supposed that they are going to Stonewall Jackson.

I can tell you that it went hard with us to see our friends leave us so soon again because we were just enjoying the company of our friends. They have been marching for 3 days and had only 3 biscuits and a little meat to eat and they had a heavy luggage  to tote, and when they came here last night, they were very nigh all run down. And this morning they started again on another 3-day’s march. And how they will stand it, I do not know. They said that some fell down dead on the march and a great many are a getting so that they cannot go much further because they are run down. They said that they wanted me to write and to let their friends know where they are and how they are so then you can tell their friends that I saw them very near all and that they nearly all started on the  march this morning except the sick [ones]. But I do not know how long they will hold up.

So I must close my few improper lines, giving you my best wishes and  hoping to return home again. Please write as soon as you receive this letter, write a long and interesting  letter, and tell Mary to write me a long letter also and write all the news about home. I remain, dear father, your obedient and affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., in care of Capt. Michael, 48th Regiment N. C. Troops, Co. H.

Letter 7

Near Martinsburg, Virginia
Sunday, September 21, 1862

Dear Parents,

I now have the opportunity of sending you a few lines stating that I am  well at present with the exception of a very bad cold and several boils, but I hope that you all enjoy the blessing of good health. I wrote a letter to you yesterday but I did not know whether you received it or not and therefore I thought I would write today again because I can send it with Mr. Jackson Stafford and I also thought that you would like to hear from me.

I received a letter from you day before yesterday dated August 30th which I was very glad to receive and to hear from you. I wrote some about the battle [Battle of Sharpsburg] which I was in last Wednesday but I will tell you something in this letter also, and also something about our march.

We have been marching for about 20 days and sometimes we have [had] to march all night. We crossed the Potomac River four times and over into Maryland. The first time that we went over, we staid 2 or 3 days and came back safe. And then we went to Harpers Ferry and there we had a  very hard bombing last Monday, but we whipped the Yankees without any musket firing except from the pickets. We captured a great many wagons and cannons and taken about 800 prisoners. We then marched over into Maryland again on last Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning [17 September] about nine or ten o’clock, we were marched in the battlefield and we made a charge on one of the enemy’s batteries. But when we got [with]in about 75 or 100 yards of them, we were bound to retreat because they were too strong for us, and a great many of our men were killed and wounded. There were about twenty wounded in our  company. Jackson Koontz was killed. Augustus Bryant was mortally wounded and died. 1

I will not write about the horrors of the battlefield at present, but I hope that Providence will spare my life to return home again and then I can  tell you something about the war because I cannot write the hundreth part of the horrors of the battlefield.

You said that I should tell you if I heard from Daniel Wilson’s crowd. I saw some of the 15th [North Carolina] Regt. last Thursday and they said that nearly all of the 15 Regt. was killed, wounded, and taken prisoners last  Sunday [at Crampton’s Gap] and Daniel was in the crowd, but I do not know whether he got hurt or not—but I hope not. And you said that I should tell you who my tent mates are. We do not stay in tents. We have to lie out in the open air, rain or shine, and therefore we have no tent mates but I am with Mr. Pleasant Murphy very near all the time. I march and sleep with him. He is a very fine man and also a Christian. He lives near Thomasville. You said that I should tell you whether Cecil’s boys ran away or not. They run away when we were at Petersburg and Nifong’s boys and William Hill and Henry Mock and Alex Mock left when we were on the march near Leesburg.

I would be very glad if you could come to see us when we get back to Richmond. I will write to you as soon as we get there and then I would be glad if you could come to see us. We now are about a mile from Martinsburg, Virginia, but we will have to leave in the morning and I do not know where we will go to. I am tolerably well satisfied at present. We get nothing to east excepting fresh beef and slapjack cakes unless we buy it sand my money is a getting scarce.

So no more at present. Please write as soon as you get this and tell Mary to write also and I want you to write once every week whether I write or not because I have a bad chance to write.

Your affectionate son, — Constantine Alexander Hege

Just direct your letters to Richmond, Va., in care of Captain Michael, 48th Regt. N. C. Troops

1 The 48th North Carolina Regiment was commanded by Colonel Robert C. Hill. It brought around 400 men to the field and lost 50% casualties in fighting near the Dunker Church. According to the field marker for Manin’s Brigade: Manning’s Brigade reached Sharpsburg on the afternoon of September 16 and was held in reserve until daybreak of the 17th, when it took position opposite Snavely’s Ford on the Antietam, one and a half miles from town. Between 8 and 9 A.M., it moved to the left and supported McLaws in his attack on the enemy in the West Woods. Arriving on the rise of ground 300 yards west of this point, the 3d Arkansas and 27th North Carolina formed to hold the open space between the West Woods and the left of D.H. Hill’s Division east of this road. The remainder of the Brigade advanced on the right of Ransom’s Brigade to and beyond the road at the Dunkard Church, where it was repulsed. The 3d Arkansas and 27th North Carolina co-operated in expelling Greene’s Division from the woods about the church, after which they crossed the road and advanced through the fields to the east, but were repulsed and resumed their original position and were not again engaged.

In this vivid drawing by Frank Schell, curious Sharpsburg civilians watch as Union soldiers excavate mass graves on the Roulette Farm and quickly fill them with corpses. (Atwater Kent Collections/Bridgeman Images)

Letter 8

Winchester, Virginia
October 7, 1862

Dear Parents,

I now have the opportunity of writing a few lines to you stating that I am well at present and hope that you all enjoy the same good blessing. I  received your kind letter dated September the 11th last Saturday evening. It  gave me very much joy to hear from you and I also received 3 dollars in money which I was very glad to get because I began to need money because I have to pay very high for everything that I buy. I have to pay 10 cents a sheet for paper, therefore when you write, I want you to fold up a blank piece of paper large enough for me to answer your letter with.

I have now wrote 4  letters since the Battle [of Sharpsburg] and therefore I thought it not worth while to say anything in this about the battle. We are still resting about 4 or 5 miles north of Winchester, Virginia, but I call it very poor resting because we get such bad fare and the weather is a turning cold and we are so scarce in blankets that we can hardly make out. There have been a couple of right smart frosts here. I hope that we will soon move from here to Richmond. We are between 4 and 5 hundred miles from home and also very near directly north and so you may suppose that the weather is a getting colder.

When we get back to Richmond, or wherever we get stationed, I will then write to you what I want and I want you then to come to see us and bring them along with you. But I do not want you to come before I write that we are stationed and where we are stationed. Tell mother that I want her to make me another haversack and also another book sack out of strong cloth and make them a little larger then my others were because these are nearly wore out. I toted them on all this long march  and you know that they cannot last much longer. Send them with Pap when he comes.

There are very dull times now in camp but the soldiers are in hopes that it is for the better. It is a general enquiry through the camp, “What’s the news? whether good or bad, or whether it be for war or for peace. And it is thought that there will soon be peace and that we will soon get home. There has been but very little fighting a going on since the battle over in Maryland and I hope that the war will soon entirely close and that peace and prosperity may soon reign supreme.

I have been spending a part of my time when at leisure in reading the Bible and in writing letters for myself and for others. I have read the New Testament about nearly through and learned the 91st Psalm by heart since I have been out. I have not much news to write at this time except that I will tell you how things sell. Apples from 25 to 50 cents per doz,  peaches 25 per doz, honey $1.00 and $1.50 per lb, butter $1.00 per lb, bacon 75cents per lb, light bread $1.00 per loaf, and everything else in proportion.

I  want you to write whether you know where any of uncle Christian’s boys are, and also whether you hear anything from Daniel Wilson or not. There are none of them with the Regiment any more. And also write whether Solomon Tesh got home or not and any other of the neighbors.

You said you wanted to  know what I done with my medicine. I take several packs in my pockets and the rest I was obliged to leave in my knapsack which was left at  Richmond. We rest very bad at night and as to avoid exposure is a matter out of the question because we have to be out in the open air day and night, rain or shine, wet or day. But I do the best I can. I sometimes make me a shelter of brush and a bed of straw when I can get it and lie down to rest, trusting in Providence as to the issue. I have enjoyed tolerably good health so far and I hope and pray that Providence will spare my life and health through all this war and bring me safe home again.

A few words to Mary and Julius. I want you to save all the good peach and apples seeds that you can and get Pap to plant them for me in some rich spot of ground and I want you to dig my ground peas and grass nuts and send me a few of them when Pap comes to  see me. I want you to be obedient and smart children and to write to me as soon as you can and write a real long and interesting letter. Tell Elick and Sam to be smart because they know not how good they have got it. So no more at present. Please write as soon as you get this.

From your affectionate and obedient son, C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va. in care of Capt Michel 48th Regiment  N.C. Troops

Letter 9

October 17, 1862 
Winchester, Virginia

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of writing you a few lines stating that I am  well at present except a very bad cold, but I hope that you all enjoy the  blessing of good health. I received your letter last Thursday dated September 28th. I was very glad to hear from home. You cant imagine how glad it makes me [feel] to get a letter from home and therefore I want you to write once a week at least and as much oftener as you can. I have a very bad chance here to write to you because a letter cost so much here. Paper sells at 10 cents a sheet, envelopes 5 cents apiece and so a letter will cost 25 cents with the stamp. I would be very glad if you could send me a few dollars in a letter or else by hand if you can. I received a dollar in a letter some time ago which I soon answered.

We are still camped about 4 miles north of Winchester, Virginia, but it [is] thought by some of our officers that we will go back to N. C. before long and I hope that you will then come to see us and bring me some clothing and other things that I have wrote for. I do not want you to try to come to us before I write where are. We are stationed near the railroad. We have been a tearing up the Winchester & Harpers Ferry Railroad for about 12 miles. I had to help to take it up last Sunday. We are here in a very scarce part of the country both for food and water. We have to take our water nearly half a mile. Our rations are nothing but slapjack cakes and beef, and sometimes there is no salt for the broth nor beef and we can scarcely buy anything at all.

It seems to me like as if the head men of the war had any sympathy for human beings that they  would stop this war. It is thought that there is some prospect of peace before long and I hope and pray that the Almighty will interpose and stop this war. So no more at present. Please write and soon as you get this. I remain your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., in care of Capt Michael, 28th Regiment N. C. Troops.

October 17, 1862
Winchester, Virginia

Dear Mother:

I now have the opportunity of writing you a few lines. I received 2  letters from last week. The one was dated September 28th and the other September 6th. You do not know how glad I was to hear from you. You said that Augustus Staugh was dead and Emanuel was sick but you did not say any thing about Theophilus.

I can tell you I have learned a great lesson since I have been in  the army. I have learned to eat such as I can get. Dear mother, you do not know how much good it would do me to get to eat one breakfast prepared by you and to sleep on a soft bed one time more. But I hope and pray that the  Lord will spare my life and health and permit me to return home again to  enjoy the blessings of a comfortable house and home. I have not the time nor paper to write much at present but I hope to return home again before long  and then I can tell you more. Please write soon. With much love, from your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

October 17, 1862
Winchester, Virginia

Dear Sister & brother,

I received your letter last week and I was very glad to receive it but all I regretted was that you did not write more. I want you to be good and  obedient children to your Parents and be smart and help all you can and learn  your books. I want you to send me some grass nuts & ground peas when Pap comes to see me. Tell Sam I want him to be a good boy and be smart and to catch all the rabbits that he can. Tell Elick that I would be glad if I was at  home with him a plowing. Tell him to be a good boy and smart and I hope that  we will all be permitted to return home again before long. October 18th. I finish this, this morning. We have orders this morning to be ready to march at  day light, but I do not know where we will go to. So no more. Please write  soon. Your affectionate brother, — C. A. Hege

Received this the 25th October

Letter 10

Upperville, Virginia
Tuesday, 28 October 1862

Dear Parents,

I now have the opportunity of sending you a few lines stating that I am  well at present and hope that you enjoy the blessing of good health. I received  3 letters from home the 20th of this month—the one from you, one from mother, and the other from Mary. I was very glad to get them and to hear from you once more. I have not had the chance to answer them any sooner because we left Winchester last Wednesday morning and came on here across the Blue Ridge to Upperville where we have been several days. But it is thought that we  will soon go on to Culpeper Court house. I received a letter this morning from Theophilus Spaugh. He was at Culpepper Court house in the hospital the 15th of this month when he wrote his letter. He thought that he would soon go to his regiment.

There is a man sent home from each company this morning to get  clothing and blankets for the soldiers and if any acquaintances wish to send anything, they can do so. I would be very glad if you could come yourself and bring me the following articles but if you cannot come, send them with Lieutenant Smith when he comes. I want a blanket, hat, 1 pair shoes if you can get them, 1 vest, 1 pair stockings, 1 pair drawers, 1 pair gloves, 1 pair pants, a cravat for round the neck, a haversack, book sack, 2 large strong handkerchiefs, some cotton and woolen patches, a woolen shirt if you can and then I want a box of provisions: viz, onions, garlic, pies, sweet cakes, a little butter, and a little tin bucket of apples, peaches, sody, a small blank book, some No. 3  Perfect, a small coffee pot and some coffee, grassnuts, ground peas, chestnuts and some dried fruit of different kinds and any thing else that is  good. I want you to bring these yourself if you can and if you cannot then do  the best you can. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

I have no time to write much. Direct your letters as usual.

Letter 11

Culpeper Court House, Virginia
November 3, 1862

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of sending you a few lines stating that I am  well at present and hope that you enjoy the same good blessing. I have not had any letter from you for about two weeks. The last letters that I got from you I received the 20th of last month. Then I got 3 letters—one from you, one from mother and the other from Mary. We came here to Culpeper last evening awhile before sunset and we expect to go on to Richmond in a few  days. We have had some very bad weather since we left Winchester. Last night a week ago was a very windy, cold, and rainy night and it commenced hailing the next morning and we were all wet and cold. We were camped on the side of a mountain near Upperville, Virginia.

I sent a letter to you with Lieutenant Smith who is gone home after some clothing for us and there I mentioned what I want you to bring to me yourself if you can come, and if you cannot come, send them with him or some other person that is coming to the regiment. Tell mother to send me a pair of goulashes, some soap and a little sody if she can, and anything else that is good. When I wrote my other letter, I thought that perhaps we could draw sloes at Richmond, but I have heard since that we cannot and therefore I want you to have me a large strong and able pair of shoes made and have Rapers Michael to put irons on the heels and  send them as soon as you possibly can because my shoes are about wore out.

I would be very glad if you could come to see us. I think that you would not  begrudge your trip. I think that we will be at Richmond in a few days. When you come, come on to Richmond and there you can find out where the regiment is stationed. Tell mother and Mary that I cannot write to them at  present because the paper and ink is so scarce, postage so high, and I am very scarce in money but I want them to write to me the oftener. Send me some  postage stamps if you can, and also some money. We have not drawed any money yet. So I must close by giving you all my best wishes and respects.  From your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letter to Richmond Va, in care of Capt Michael, 48th Regiment N.C. Troops, Co. H.

Please write soon.

Letter 12

Madison Court House, Virginia
Saturday, 15th November 1862

Dear Parents,

I now have the opportunity of writing you a few [lines] stating that I am well at present and hope that you all enjoy the same good blessing. I received a letter from father last Sunday dated Nov. 2nd and I also received a letter from mother last Thursday dated October 26th. You said that you started 20 dollars in a letter to me the 20th of October, but I have not received it yet. But I hope that I will get it yet because I am in need of money. I think that it would be safer if you could send money by hand, than by mail, because we move so often that it is a hard matter for the letters to follow us. You need not to send my overcoat yet because I have a load to carry without it. I will write when I want it. We drawed 8 dollars of our money wages. I have been borrowing  several dollars and that takes all of my wages to pay my debts. We are obliged to buy something to eat if we want to live like human beings because it would  be hard living to eat nothing but light bread & beef.

I like the army life a great deal better than I did when I first came out, but I can tell you that it is a hard life anyway that you take it, but I can enjoy myself tolerably well by reading, writing and talking with my friends, and sometimes by walking about and viewing the mountains and all the surrounding country. But there is one thing that I do not like and that is the battles which are dreaded by all.

I got my knapsack the 7th day of this month but I lost all of my medicine, 1 pair pants, 1 pair drawers, and several other little articles. I would be very glad if you could  send me some No 6, some composition, and some other medicine as you think I need and also a box of ointment because I am pestered very much with boils.

We have had some very cold weather. We had a right smart snow the 7th  of this month, but it has been very pleasant weather the last week. We now are here at Madison Court House close to the Blue Ridge. We came here this day a week ago and we do not know how long we will stay here, but I think that we will go to Gordonsville in a few days.

Elijah Scott is dead, he died the 6th of this month near Culpeper about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and was buried about 5 miles on this side of Culpeper Court House. So I must close my  letter by giving you all my best wishes and respects and hopeing that you will  remember your son in your prayers.  Your son, — C. A. Hege

Please write as soon as you get this.

Dear sister and brother, I will send you a few lines to let you know that I received a very interesting  letter from you last Thursday dated Oct 25th which I was very glad to receive. You said that Daniel and Solomon Wilson were taken prisoner. I was very  glad to hear where Daniel was because I could not hear anything from him since the Maryland battle. I want you both to be good children, obey your parents, be smart and be thankful that you have a good warm house and home to stay in and comfortable bed to lie in the cold and rainy nights, while we here have to lie out in the open air with nothing but a blanket or two. We now  sometimes have some tents but not half enough for us all. Tell Elick and  Julius that I have a present to send to them as soon as any one comes to see us from that neighborhood.

From your affectionate brother, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters as usual.

Letter 13

Fredericksburg. Virginia
November 29, 1862

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of writing you a few lines stating that I am  well at present and hope these few lines may find you enjoying the same good blessing. I received a letter from you the 16th of this month dated October 20th containing 20 dollars in money, and I also received a letter from you last Thursday dated Nov 11th and 25 dollars in money which Lieutenant Smith brought. I hope that you will not think hard of me for not writing sooner because we have been on a march for 5 days and then after we got in camp, there was no chance to send a letter out of the camp unless by hand. And now I have an opportunity of sending one and therefore I thought that I would write. 

We are here about 5 miles south of Fredericksburg. We came here today a week ago and I do not know how long we will stay here. We had to march 4 days through the mud and water and rain. The 15th N. C. regiment joined our Brigade this morning, I was very glad to see them. I saw George Mock, Leander Mock, John Hartman, Alexander Weaver, Alexander Scott, George Tesh, Franklin Rominger, and a great many more of my acquaintances but Daniel Wilson was not with the regiment. They do not know where he is. If you know where he is, I would like if you would write. The boys are all well.

William Swain, Esq., was out here to see us last week and he said that Mrs. David Weasner left my box at Gordonsville and I am afraid that the pies will spoil before I get them. The clothing that was sent to the company was left at Richmond and I therefore think that we will go there before long. It is now reported through the camp that we are ordered to Weldon N. C. to take up winter quarters. Our fare is bad. We get nothing but bread and beef and we sometimes draw pickled pork and that very scant rations. We draw 1.25 lbs.  flour and 1.25 lbs. beef to the man for a days rations. Things sell very high here. Apples 1 dollar per dozen, pork 50 cents per lb, sugar 1 dollar per lb, and everything else in proportion so that we cannot afford to buy much. I am  very thankful to you for sending me some money so that I can buy me something to eat.

Tell Theophilus Spaugh to write to me when he is coming  back to his regiment. Tell him that his regiment is now in our brigade—namely (General  Cook’s brigade) and that we will be close together from this time on. Tell him that I was over to see the regiment this morning when it came in and talked with several of the boys and that they were well. I have not much news to write at  present. I would be very glad if you could send me some postage stamps because I cannot buy them here. So I must bring my letter to a close by giving you all my love and best respects and if I never meet you on earth anymore, I hope to meet you in heaven above where there will be no more parting nor pain.

Please write soon and write a long, long letter. Your letters are never half long enough.

From your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

I sent a cartridge box, cap box, gunlock, and several other little things that I brought from The Maryland battleground that I hope you will keep until I come home because I hope that Providence will spare my life to return home.

Tell Alexander Craver and Julius my brother to take each of them one of them caps. I sent them with William Swain, Esq.

Letter 14

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Monday afternoon, December 8, 1862 

Dear Father,

I now have the opportunity of writing you a few lines stating that I am  well at present and hope that these few lines may find you all enjoying the  same good blessing. I received a letter and some medicine last Friday which you sent with Charles Perriman. But I have not received my box of clothing yet. I have tried every way that I knowed how to get them but failed and I asked Capt. Michael what to do about it. He said that I would better write to you immediately and he said that you would better come out here yourself and bring me some more clothing, &c., and if I should get my box yet, you could then take some back if I had more than I needed. I need shoes & pants very bad because I am about barefooted and I lost 1 pair pants and therefore have but one pair left and they are nearly wore out.

And now I will tell you what I want you to bring to me; viz: my overcoat, 2 pair pants, 1 woolen overshirt, 1 cotton shirt, 1 pair of stout cotton drawers, 1 pr socks, 1 pr gloves, 1 large cravat, 1 hat and 1 pr shoes if you can get them because I need them very much. And I would be very glad if you could bring me some molasses or honey, some butter, some good old ham, a little salt, and some sweet cakes for Christmas and some ground peas, grassnuts, chestnuts &c. and anything else that is good that you think I need. I want you to bring them as soon as you possibly can because I need them very bad. Try and come before Christmas yet if you can come when Solomon Tesh comes, if you cannot come before. We are here about 5 miles south of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and if we leave  here we will go to Richmond. So I must close. Please write soon as you get this and write whether you will come or not.

I remain your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters as usual.

Letter 15

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Thursday morning, December 18, 1862

Dearly Beloved Parents,

I now once more have or take the opportunity of writing a few lines to  you to let you know how affairs are here. I am somewhat unwell at present. I was taken with a chill and then a pain in my side night before last, but I feel right smart better this morning. I think that it was just a bad cold which I taken because I have nothing but old pieces of shoes on my feet. My toes are naked and my clothing are a getting ragged. I have not got my box of clothing yet and I don’t know whether I ever will get them or not because the boxes are very often robbed at the depots. I wrote to you to bring me a box of clothing as soon as you possibly can and come with them yourself so that you can be certain that I will get them because I need them very much.

There has been a very hard battle fought here last Saturday and our  regiment was in the hardest of the fight. I did not have to go into the battle because I am so near barefooted. The Colonel gave orders that all the barefooted men should stay at the camp. I can tell you I was glad then that my shoes did not come because I would rather loose a hundred dollars than to go in a battle. There were a great many killed and wounded it is said that there were ten thousand Yankees killed during the battle. I do not know how many of our men were killed but I know that there were a great many  wounded. There were 19 men wounded and one killed in our company. The  human suffering, the loss of life, and above all, the loss of many a precious soul that is caused by war. Would to God that this war might close off this year and that we all could enjoy the blessing of a comfortable house and home one time more. I never knew how to value home until I came in the  army.

It is thought that we will go on to Richmond in a few days. Tell Mr. Rights that I would be very glad to get a letter from him. Tell uncle Christian  that I would like for some of them to write to me and I want you to write  oftener and do not wait for me to answer every one of your letters before you write I have not received any letter from you since Charles Perriman was out  here. We have a very bad chance to write out here because we have to drill twice a day in general and then we have dress parade in the evening so I must close by giving you all my best wishes and respects and if we never meet on earth, I hope to meet you in a better world above.

Your affectionate son — C. A. Hege

Please write us soon as you get this. Direct your letters as usual. I want you to come as soon as you can with my clothing.

Letter 16

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Sunday morning, December 21, 1862

Dear Father and Mother,

I this beautiful sabbath morning have the opportunity of writing you a  few lines to let you know that I have been sick a few days with the chills and fever and a pain in my side and headache, but I am better and think that I will in a few days be well again. I think it was just a bad cold which I taken from having bad clothes and from being nearly barefooted. But I hope that you all enjoy good health.

I received a letter from Mary last Friday night dated December 7th which I was very glad to receive but I was very sorry to hear that father had the typhoid fever. But I hope and pray that he may soon get well  again very soon. I heard that the small pox was about home. I am very sorry to hear that but I hope that the Almighty will stop it before it goes very far. But I don’t believe it. It is also said that it is in the 15th N. C. Regt., but I hope that it may not be spread among the soldiers any further.

I have not yet received my box of clothing, &c., and I am afraid never will  because I can’t hear anything about it anymore and I am afraid it is stole. I wrote in a letter some time ago for you to bring me another box of clothing and provisions and also to send my overcoat and I want you to bring them as soon as possible because I need them very much, but I am afraid that your health will hardly permit you to come and if you cannot come, send them with a man that you will be certain that he bring them to me and will leave them  again at some railroad station to be stole or lost. I want you also to send me some dysentery cordial, some blackberry cordial, and some more No. 6. So I must close by giving you all my best wishes and respects, and hope and pray that I may come home before long.

Your son, — C. A. Hege

Please write soon.

I have heard since I commenced this letter that the boxes have been broken open and the things stole and therefore I will write for some more things. I need a hat very much. I want some dried peach fruit, peach leather, a large piece of hard soap because I need that very much, blanket, a knife, fork and spoon. a strong sack that will hold about a bushel, haver & book sack &c., some spice, black pepper ground. Tell Julius & Mary to send me some chestnuts, grassnuts and ground peas and pies. I hope that you will not think hard of me for writing for more clothing &c. because I need them very much

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Sunday morning, December 21, 1862

Dear Sister and Brother,

It is with pleasure that I take my pen to answer your letter which I  received a few days ago, but it was with greater pleasure that I received and read your letter and it would still give me a great deal more pleasure if I could come home and go to preaching and more especially at Christmas and New Year. I have been thinking this morning of the many sabbaths which I spent at Friedberg, and as you said of the many times that you and I used to walk to  Friedberg. And I have also been thinking of the many times that we used to  get angry with each other and quarrel; that was very wrong of us and I hope that you and Julius do not do so now. I want you to be good and obedient  children and do what father and mother tells you to do.

There has been a very hard battle fought here at Fredericksburg, Virginia, the 13th of this month and our regiment was in the hardest of the battle. But I was not in the battle because I was too near barefooted and therefore I staid at the camp and kept out of the battle. There were a great many killed and wounded on both sides.

You wanted to know whether I received my money. I received 45 dollars. You also wanted to  know whether we will have to be out all winter. I cannot tell how about that. It is said that we will be taken to N. C. before long and there take up winter quarters. Tell Julius that I am glad to hear that he has caught a possum and 12 rabbits and tell him to catch all the rabbits and partridges that he can, and tell Sam that I have not forgot him yet and I hope to be back before long with him on the farm. So I must close. I hope you will all remember me in your prayers and pray that this war may soon stop and peace be made and that we  all may return home again. Your Brother — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters as usual.

Letter 17

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Christmas morning, Thursday, 25th December 1862

Dear Parents,

I take up my pen this beautiful Christmas morning in order to write you a few lines to inform you that I am well again and hope that when these  few lines come to hand that they may find you all enjoying good health. I  received a letter from you last evening dated December 15th which I was very much pleased to get to hear from home. But I am very sorry to hear that you and mother are sick. But I hope and pray that the good Lord will soon restore you to health again.

There is a great deal of sickness here in camp such as pneumonia, jaundice, and various other diseases. Alexander Weaver is a going to the hospital this morning. He has been sick for several days. I have not yet  got my box and I expect never will get it because I got Capt. Michael to go to Gordonsville and Hanover junction to search for my box, but he could not see nor hear anything of it, and therefore I expect it has been stole because it is a very common thing for boxes to be robbed about here. And therefore I think it is useless to depend upon getting that box any longer. I am very sorry that it  is lost but I can’t help it.

I got to stay out of the battle here at Fredericksburg, Virginia, by being barefooted and therefore I think that it was ordered by Providence that I should not get my box, because if I had a got my box of shoes and  clothing, I would to a have went in the battle. I would rather loose the box than to go in a battle.

Christmas has come once more and it is a very beautiful morning here.  But Oh! how changed the scene to what it was last Christmas. Here I am in the army today and today twelve months ago I was at home where I could enjoy the blessings of a comfortable house and home of parents and friends and of religious worship, but this Christmas I am surrounded by warriors, cannons, guns, and all kinds of unusual sounds and actions to which I never was  accustomed to. But I hope and pray that the good Lord in His tender mercy may soon bring this state of things to an end and restore peace and prosperity to our beloved country again, and turn the hearts of the rulers to peace forever instead of war.

Dear Father, I want you to bring me another box of clothing like the first and do not grieve because the other box was lost because it may have saved my life. I want you to try to bring it yourself and bring it as soon as you can. So no more at present. Please write soon as you get this letter and  write once or twice every week. Be assured, dear parents, that I remain your affectionate son until death, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters as usual.

Letter 18

Near Petersburg, Virginia
Sunday noon, January 11, 1863

Dearly beloved Parents,

I this beautiful sabbath day have the opportunity of writing to [you] once more to inform you that I am well at present and hope that you all enjoy  the same good blessing. I have not received any letter from you for a couple weeks and I thought that I would write to let you know that I received my box of clothing, apples, onions, shoes &c., which you sent with Mr. J. Rominger the last time. I was very glad to get them and I am very thankful to you, dear parents, for being so kind to me as to send them because I was very much in need of them. I have not heard anything of my first box you sent to me. I think it was stole.

We are now here about 3 miles northwest of Petersburg, Virginia. We left Fredericksburg yesterday a week a go and marched on by Hanover  Junction and through Richmond and came on here last Wednesday and it is thought that we will go on to Goldsboro or Wilmington in a few days. We have had some very bad weather here lately. We had a right smart snow last Friday and yesterday we had a cold, rainy day.

Solomon Tesh came to his regiment last Tuesday and he brought me a pair of pants, haversack, and book sack. Ephraim Weasmer has also returned from the hospital to his regiment. He is well. He is here in our tent now. Mock’s boys are well. Leander saw Henry Mock at Petersburg in the Hospital. He is nearly well except his old complaint and he thinks he will get a discharge.

We fare a little [better] in the way of eatables now than we did some time ago. We drawed for tomorrow cornmeal, pickled  pork, rice and sugar. It seems to me a little more like home since the 15 N. C. Regiment has come in our Brigade. I now can see some of my friends and acquaintances every day. I hope when we get to N. C. that you and Mr  Weasner will come to see us. You need not be afraid to come because you will not be interrupted and you need not be afraid to ride on the cars. Tell Theophilus Spaugh to write to me. Tell Mary and Julius to write to me. So I must close by giving you my best wishes and respects and hope that the time  may soon come when peace will reign supreme and when we can all once more enjoy the blessing of a comfortable house and home. I never knew what home was until I left home. Please write as soon as you get this.

Your affectionate son until death, — C.A. Hege

Direct your letter to Petersburg, Va., care of Capt. Michael, Co. H, 18th Reg. N. C.  Troops and the letter will follow the regiment if we move.

Letter 19

Near Petersburg, Virginia
Tuesday, 13 January 1863

Dearly beloved Parents,

I now have the opportunity of sending you a few lines to let you  know that I am well at present and hope that you all enjoy the same good  blessing. I received two letters yesterday from you—the one dated January 4th and the other December 31st. I was very glad to get them because I had not heard from you for some time. Mr. J. Rominger came to our camp last night. I received my pack of clothing last Friday night. I got all that you sent. I was very glad to get them because I was in need of them very much. Mr. Rominger said that he found my box which you had sent with him before he found it at Gordonsville. He sent it on to Raleigh, N. C., and is a going to send it home. I have as many clothing as I can carry at present, but I would be very glad if you would bring me a box of provisions before long. Your shoes that you sent me are rather small and they will hurt my feet when I have to march. I will wear my old ones out first and save your pair and if you come out I would be very glad if you would bring that pair that is in my box if they are larger.

We are still here about 3 miles northwest of Petersburg, Virginia, but it is thought that we will soon go to N. C. near Goldsboro. I have sent a small pack of nonsense to Julius which I have picked up. Tell him to save the screw drivers for me and the powder bullets and lead are for Father. I send you a Yankee ball which you can take in 3 pieces.

You wanted to know how we fare. I will tell you. We have hard times. We have no winter quarters to stay in and we have to shelter from the rain and cold the best way that we can. Some build themselves shelters with poles and cover with leaves and dirt; others stretch up blankets in the form of a tent, but the officers and the big men have tents and some have  stoves in them. I and my mess have a fly to stay under at present and we build a large fire before the fly and lie with our feet toward the fire and cover with our blankets and we then keep tolerably warm.

As to our rations, they are very scant. We draw a little over a pint of meal or flour to the man a day and about a pound of beef a day. We sometimes draw a little sugar, rice and  molasses and sometimes a little pickled pork or bacon but it is all very scant and a person is obliged to buy something more if he wants to have enough to  eat.

I drawed my $50 bounty money on Christmas day. I have also drawed  $30 monthly wages, but it goes very fast because everything sells so very  high and a body will buy before they will go with a hungry belly.

So I must  come to a close by saying please write as soon as you get this letter and write all the news and I want you all to write to me because I like to hear from you all. Write longer letters and more of them. Tell Julius I received his letter. Your affectionate son until death. Remember your son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Petersburg, Va., Co. H, 48th Reg. N. C. Troops

I here send all of my old letters home because I have no way to take care of them. I want you to save them all until I come home because I hope to get home before long. I also send my hymn book home because I just spoil it here.

Letter 20

Near Goldsboro, North Carolina
Saturday, 17 January 1863

Dear Parents,

I now have the opportunity of writing a few lines once more in N. C. to  inform you that I am well at present and tolerably well satisfied and I hope that you all enjoy good health. I feel more now like as if I was at home since I got here in N. C. than I did when I was in Virginia. We left Petersburg, Virginia, last Thursday afternoon and came on to Goldsboro last night and we then came out to a camp about 2 miles south of the town (Goldsboro). I can tell you, I am glad that we are away from the Mountainous Regions of Virginia and back again in the pleasant valleys & plains of N. C. and I hope that you and Mr.  Weasner & Uncle Christian and all of our old neighbors will now come to see us and bring us boxes of provisions, &c. You need not be afraid of the distance now because it is only 150 miles from here to Lexington. You can now take the train at Lexington and come on all the way here without changing cars. I want you to be sure and come to see us now and bring me a box of provisions  as soon as you can because we may leave here in a couple weeks. I want a  hat and a pair of socks, ink, &c., pint cup, tin plates, coffee pot, knife, fork, &  spoon, sody, shortened biscuits & several pounds of butter, pies, dried  peaches, &c. &c. and anything else that is good.

So I must close by saying write as soon as you get this and write when you will come. Your son, — C. A. Hege

Am too cold to write much. Direct your letters to Goldsboro, N. C., Co. H, 48th Reg. N. C. Troops

Letter 21

In camp near Weldon, North Carolina
May 19, 1863

Dear Pa,

I was taken with a very severe headache yesterday, had chills & fever last night, and feel quite unwell at the present time. I think I have a slight attack of the pneumonia. No ways dangerous so far. If I get worse, I will write in a few days.

Mr. Jordan Rominger spent last night with us. I was glad to see him. We are expecting to move back to Goldsboro in a day or so. Pa, do not feel uneasy about me on account of my sickness. Miss June Hege can tell you all about my case.

I remain your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 22

Goldsborough, North Carolina
Friday, 15th of May, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take up my pen to drop you a few lines to inform you where we are and how I am. I am right smart better. I am up but I feel very weak. I have a pain in my right side and I have not got much of an appetite to eat, but I hope that I will get over that in a few days and get well again.

We left Weldon yesterday afternoon about half past one o’clock and arrived at Goldsborough about 9 o’clock last night and then we went about a mile east of Goldsborough on the Kinston Railroad and taken up camp.

Henry Messer handed me a package of clothes consisting of 2 pair pants, 1 shirt, 1 pair drawers, and a vest, and also a letter which I was glad to get and I send some of my dirty winter clothes home because they are too heavy to carry. I sent 4 letters to you with Jane Hege and some of my old letters. Write whether you got them.

I would be glad to see you and some more of the neighbors to come out to see us now while we are so near home because I believe that we will not move very far from here soon. If you come, bring Julius along if it is not too much trouble because I would like to see him and I also believe that he would be very much pleased with his trip. Henry Messer said that he cot bring those eatables which you sent and therefore he left them at the Widow Mocks.

Oh dear Mother, I never knew that you was so kind o me until I left home. Do not trouble yourself so much in trying to send me provisions. I can make out tolerably well now by buying.

So I must close by saying write soon as you can. Remember me in your prayers and believe me as ever your affectionate son, — A. A. Hege

P. S. Goldsborough, N. C., Co. H, 48th Reg. N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 23

Kinston, North Carolina
Tuesday, 19th of May 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of dropping you a few lines to let you know that I am well again and I hope that these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of good health.

We left Goldsborough last Saturday and came on here to Kinston where we now are and I think that we will stay here near Kinston for a good while. The whole of our Brigade is here. We are only 26 miles from Goldsborough and if you or any of the neighbors want to come to see us, now is your time because it is only 189 miles from here to Lexington and because when we leave here, we know not where we will go.

We are in about 10 or 15 miles of the enemy here. Our pickets are sometimes attacked by them. I have heard that Gen. Leach is a making Union speeches. I should like to know whether it is so or not. I also want to know whether you have heard anything about them deserters.

Kinston is a beautiful little town somewhat like Thomasville, North Carolina. I have thought a great deal about home so very much and it almost seems to me that I am at home sometimes, but then I have to go to drilling &c. and I am here still.

Tell Mary and Julius to write all about affairs at home—whether they go to Sunday School yet or not, and how many little ducks, chickens and guineas you have and whether my service and grape stalks are a growing, and how Sam is a getting along, &c. &c.

So I must close by saying, write soon. Believe me, dear parents, as ever your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Goldsborough, N. C., Co. H, 48th Reg., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 24

Camp near Kinston, North Carolina
Saturday the 30th of May 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope that you all enjoy te same like blessing. I received a letter from Mother and Mary today dated May 24th and 25th which I was very glad to get to hear from you all, but I am sorry to hear that Julius is sick. But I hope he is well again by this time.

Our company has just returned from picket duty. We were on picket about 24 hours, but it is easy picketing where we were. I wrote you a letter a few days ago which I hope you will get today.

We had some rain yesterday. Corn crops look very nice around here but there was but little wheat sowed about here.

I have got acquainted with David Fry, Thomas Fry’s son, who is in Co. K in our regiment. He said that I should tell Fanny Brinkley to write to him if she is at our house yet. The 15th North Carolina is camped in about 1 mile of us now. We are camped 4 miles below Kinston where there are the most ticks that I ever saw. It is thought that we will have to go to Old Virginia before long, but I hope not. You said that Mr. Rights was talking of coming to see us. I wish he would come. I would be very glad to see you Father and Mr. Rights come out to see us.

We are only about 188 miles from Lexington now. Kinston is only 26 miles below Goldsborough. Mother, you wrote of coming out to see me. I would be very glad to see you but there is a very bad chance for women to stay here in camp. But I hope that the Almighty will preserve me alive, safe and well through all these troubles and soon bring this cruel war to a close and permit me soon in peace and safety to return home again to you, my dear parents, and brother and sister.

Remember me your son in your prayers. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Goldsborough, N. C., Co. H, 48th Regt., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

A few words to Mary. Dear sister, I with pleasure received your letter this morning dated May the 4th and it gave me a great deal of satisfaction to hear so much about home affairs, but I am very sorry that I can’t be at home and enjoy some of the good fruit which is ripening and also to take a ride with you in your buggy. But I believe that the Almighty will preserve my life and bring me home safe again. I would like to know why cousin Betty and Theophilus don’t write to me. I wrote to them last and have not received any answer. Tell Julius to write to me and not get out of practice of writing. From your affectionate brother, — C. A. Hege

Letter 25

Camp near Kinston, North Carolina
Wednesday, 3rd of June 1863

Dear Father,

I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope that you are all enjoying the same like blessing. I have received only two letters from home since we are here near Kinston and I am a getting anxious to know what is the matter that you do not write more.

We are still camped about 4 miles below Kinston. We are only about 185 miles from Lexington now. We are only 26 miles from Goldsborough and there is a good railroad all the way from Lexington to Kinston and it would not take you and Mr. Rights long to come to see us now. It only costs about $8 or $9 to come.

Our company has to go out on picket today. We have to drill very hard now again because we have commenced to drill the rifle drill. I am a getting tired of this miserable state of affairs. Oh, how I wish that I could be at home with you now to help now the grass and to swing my new cradle in the golden harvest and to enjoy some of those delicious fruits which I suppose are ripening. I think I would not be quite as lazy as I used to be.

We enjoyed the privilege of hearing several good sermons during the last few evenings. Our chaplain has gone home and I am afraid that he will not return again. It would give me a great deal of pleasure to be at Friedberg again as I used to and hear more of them excellent sermons.

I have to go on fatigue duty today to throw up breastworks. It seems as if our Brigade has to fortify Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The small pox is a breaking out again in Co. F in our regiment but the doctor has moved the camp out of the regiment. There is right smart of sickness now here in the regiment.

I wrote a letter to Mr. Rights a few days ago. I would like to know whether he received it or not. So I must close for this time. Write soon. Remember me, your son in your prayers. Believe me, dear parents, as ever your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 26

Kinston, North Carolina
June 4th 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope you all enjoy the same like blessing. It is with sorrow that I write these few lines to let you know our brigade has to start back to Virginia again today and it makes me feel very sorry to think that we have to Virginia. But I believe that everything shall work together for our good if we love the Lord Jesus.

We are ordered to Petersburg, Virginia, and when we get there I will write again. I hope you will not trouble yourself much but pray for this cruel war to close and for my protection from all danger that I may return home in safety again.

So I must close for this time by saying, remember your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your next letters to Petersburg, Va. because I think that in all probability we will be there in a few days. Direct to Petersburg, Va., Co. H, 48th Regt., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 27

Camp Lee near Richmond, Virginia 
Sunday the 7th of June 1863

Dear Parents,

I embrace the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you  know where we are and how I am. I am in very good health at present and I hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same like blessing.

We left  Kinston last Thursday and come on to Richmond this morning and then marched out to Camp Lee about 2 miles from town. I have not any idea how long we will stay here. It is thought by some that we will have to go to Fredericksburg again in a few days and others think that we will stay here around Richmond as reserves. But as for my part, I hope that everything will work for our good.

I wrote for you to come to see me when we were in North Carolina but now we are out here in Old Virginia again near Richmond, which is nearly 300 miles from home; and if you cannot come out to see us now, I would be very glad if you could send me a few cherries, apples, &c. If you have any notion of coming now, I would rather you would wait until we are settled down somewheres and then I will write because it is very uncertain now to find us as we are now moving about so much. It made me feel very sorry to leave North Carolina and to have to come back again to Old Virginia—the state that is so much dreaded by the soldiers.

As I was coming on here to Virginia, I saw so many beautiful fields of  wheat and corn which reminded me so much of home that I could hardly bear the idea of having to stay here in the army while you need me so much at  home. You can’t imagine how it makes me feel to see such nice farms and to see so many hundred of acres a lying idle, which plainly show the need of the men at home who have to be here in the army idling away their time in trying  to kill their fellow man. The wheat and corn crops look very good—what I  have seen, and there is a great deal of fruit on the trees.

So I must close for  this time by asking you all to write soon and remember your affectionate son in your prayers. Your son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 28

Hanover Junction, Virginia
June 11, 1863

Dear Parents, brother and sister,

I now take up my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am  well at present and hope that you all enjoy the same like blessing. I received a letter from father a few days ago dated May 29 and 30 which gave me a great  deal of pleasure to hear from home.

We left Richmond yesterday evening and came on here to Hanover Junction. It is said that we are to guard the railroad bridges around here to keep the Yankees from bothering them. It is reported that there was a fight near Culpeper a few days ago, but it is said that our men whipped the enemy. [See Battle of Brandy Station, 9 June 1863]

We drawed a new uniform suit at Richmond and they then gave orders  for each man to have only two suits of clothing to carry along, and Capt.  Heitman said that if we would pay the freight, he would box up our clothing and send them to Lexington in care of his father and I sent a small package of clothing in the box which I was not allowed to carry along. You can get the package on Tuesday by going to Lexington to Rev. Henry Heitman who has them in care. Your name is on [my] package.

The soldiers all seem to be somewhat  down cast since we have come back to Old Virginia. It seems as if we have again started in a regular campaign again, but I hope that the Lord will be with us, interpose in our behalf, and stop very soon this cruel war.

Dear Mother, I here send you a finger ring which I made yesterday. The  ring has the two letters of your name on the top. I hope that you will receive this ring as a remembrance of me. I would like very much to see you all again and I believe if we pray sincerely, that the Lord will answer our prayers and soon bring this war to a close and bring me home again alive, safe and well. It is said that there is a revival of religion throughout nearly all the entire Army of Tennessee and there also has been a revival at Fredericksburg. I believe that is a good step for the close of the war. So I must close by saying write soon and remember me in your prayers. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade.

Letter 29

Richmond, Virginia
Monday the 15th of June, 1863.

Dearly beloved parents,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope that these few lines may find you all well. I received 2 letters from you this morning dated June the 9th and 10th which gave me a  great deal of pleasure to hear from you, but it makes me feel very sorry that  mother went to the trouble of fixing such a nice trunk full of provision to bring to me and then get so badly disappointed. But I hope that you will not grieve yourself about me, because I trust in Providence and believe that all things will work together for our good.

Our rations are a getting some better than what they were. We now  draw a half lb. of bacon a day and flour and sugar and we can make out tolerably well at present, if it gets no worse. Send me some soap if you can.

Good News. Revivals of religion are commencing in our army. It is said that the Army of Tennessee has a very extensive revival and there has been a very interesting revival in the army around Fredericksburg. It is said that the 14th N. C. Regt. has been peculiarly blessed with a revival. I think that will be one step and a very good step to stop this war.

It is thought that we will go back to N. C. again before long. It is  reported that the Yankees have got Kinston. I would like very, very much to be at home now to help you with your work. So I must close for this time by  saying, write soon and remember your son until death, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 30

Seven Pines near Richmond, Virginia
June the 18th 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope you all enjoy the same like blessing. I have bought me a small pocket Bible in Richmond and therefore I will send my large Bible  home, also send[ing] two little books for Mary & Julius with their names in them. I also send my old letters, some tracts and a blank book which you will please keep for me, if I am permitted to return home. But you can read all the tracts. I send these things with [2]Lt. [David C.] Perrill who is going home on a 10-day’s furlough.

Mother, I also send you the 2d book of my memorandum. You can get the  books at any time at Mr Alexander Hege’s in Lexington. Your name is on the package of books. I send those 2 little books to Mary & Julius as a  remembrance of me.

I went over on the Richmond battleground today and there I saw where the dead was buried. They were just covered with a little dirt on the top of the ground and a great many of their bones were scratched out. I saw seven human skulls a lying in one little place and all such like horrid scenes. It is enough to make any one shudder to think of such scenes.

So I must close by saying, write soon and remember me in your prayers. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct you letter to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg., N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade.

Letter 31

Seven Pines near Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, June the 21st, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of dropping you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope that these few lines may find you well. I have not  had my letters from you for about a week and I am a getting very anxious to  hear from you. Mr Leifhamer of Lexington is here to day and I am a going to send this letter with him. I sent some clothing to Lexington a week or two ago to Henry Heitman’s and I also sent some books, &c. with Lt. Perrill day before yesterday. He is to leave the books at Mr. A. Hege’s in Lexington. I would be glad to know whether you got them or not. I would be glad if you would send  me a piece of hard soap and some onions, &c. with Lt. Perrill when he comes out again.

I have just returned from preaching. I do not know the man’s name who preached, but his text was in Luke 14, 18th verse. He preached a very good sermon. We had a very good rain here night before last.

I will here send Mary a ring which I made yesterday. I send it to her as a remembrance of me. I sent a ring to mother about a week ago. I would like to know whether she got it or not. So I must close by saying please write soon and remember me in your prayers. Your affectionate son, –C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., Co H, 48th Regt.  N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 32

Seven Pines, Richmond Va.
Thursday the 25th of June, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of  good health. I have not received any letter from you for over a week, but I  received one from Edward Mock a day or two ago.

We are still camped about 4 miles east of Richmond near the battleground. Our company was on picket yesterday and day before. We have had right smart of rain for the last week. It is raining now. Our rations are as usual only. We draw half lb. of meat per day to the man. We draw cornmeal still.

I often think of you all at home and wish that I could be there to help you all to work. It seems to look so very foolish for me to be here idling away their time and talents when they are so much needed at home. I here send a few little tricks with E. Fishel to Julius which were picked up on the battleground. The little vise I want him to take care of and keep it for me if Providence spares my life to return home again in peace and safety. I sent my Bible and some other things with Lt Perrill. I want to know if you received  them. I want you to please send me a piece of hard soap with Lt Perrel when he comes back. I want Mary and Julius to write to me often and not to forget how to write because their school has stopped.

So I must close for the present  by saying remember me in your prayers. Write soon and often. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Regt. N. C. T.,  Gen Cook’s Brigade.

This day twelve months ago, the memorable Seven Days fight before  Richmond commenced in about a mile from where we are now camped.

Letter 33

Camp near Richmond, Virginia
June the 30th, 1863

Dear Parents, brother and sister,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I  am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment  of good health. I received your very welcome letter today dated June  20 which I was very glad to get to hear from you and to hear you were all  well except mother and I hope she soon will get well again.

We are now camped about 4 miles north of Richmond near where the hard Richmond battle was fought about a year ago. We are now expecting an attack by the Yankees here every day. It is said that there are 20,000 Yankees [with]in about 12 or 14 miles of here.

We have had a great deal of rain for the last week. There is right smart of sickness in our regiment now. Our rations are a little better in the meat line. We draw half lb. of bacon a day to the man but we draw no flour, but altogether cornmeal now. We sometimes gather us a mess of polk leaves  and make a splendid mess of salad.

We have preaching every Sunday and  prayer meetings on Sunday and Wednesday nights if not prevented by unavoidable circumstances.

As to me going to General Cook and asking for a furlough, that I fear  would be of but little use at present. But I hope we will soon go back to N. C. again and then there might be a chance.

Dear parents, brother and sister, I  would like to see you very much, but it may be for my good to seperate us for a while. But I hope and pray that the good Lord in his own good time and pleasure will bring this cruel war to a close and bring me home in peace and safety, alive, safe and well. So I must close for this time by saying, please  write soon. Remember your affectionate son in your prayers. With much love  and affection from your son, — C. A. Hege

Direct letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg  N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brig

Letter 34

Camp near Richmond, Virginia
July 1st, 1863

Dear Father, Mother, sister and brother,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all likewise in good health. I received a letter from you yesterday dated June 20th and I also wrote an answer and sent it by mail to Midway. I wrote a letter about a week ago to you to send with E. Fishel, but his furlough did not come until this morning and he is in a hurry and I have not much time to write much now.

I here send you today’s paper so that you can read the speech of Hon. James W. Wall of New Jersey.

Mary and Julius, I want you to write as soon as you can. So I must close by saying write soon. Remember your son in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

Letter 35

Camp near Richmond Virginia
Monday, July the 5th, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of dropping you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same  like blessing. I have not had any letter from you since E. Fishel left us. I sent  a letter with him and some little notions in a tin box which were gathered off of the battleground around here.

Our company is on picket to day at McClellan’s Bridge which the Yankees built about a year ago across the Chickahominy River. Last Wednesday we marched down to the Chickahominy  River on the road to the White House [Landing] and then we crossed and went over to  where the enemy was and our men fired several pieces light artillery and  several rounds of small arms at the enemy which soon caused them to retreat. And we then followed them [with]in about 5 miles of the White House which (it is  said) is in reach of their gunboats which they retreated. We then came back on this side of the river and taken up camp for the night and the next morning  came on to our camp.

I received two pieces of soap which you sent with Lt. Perrill and I am  very much obliged to you for sending it because I need soap.

Our rations now are one and a half pint cornmeal, half lb. bacon, and a little rice and sugar for a day’s rations. We sometimes gather a mess of poalk for greens and sometimes gather blackberries and stew them. I have just been a taking a very good mess of huckleburries. I bought me a half dozen eggs yesterday for seventy-five cents. That was trading on Sunday, but a soldier is often obliged to buy on Sunday or suffer, but I don’t believe it is right.

I have learned to make a good breakfast of cornbread and fat meat and  am very glad to get that. Some of the boys are now a fixing them a  mess of frogs. I tasted them and I like them very well.

The 15th North Carolina Regiment was in a fight last Saturday at Hanover Junction (so  it is said) but I do not know if it is so or not. There is a very good season here in Virginia now. Corn is small but it is a growing very fast. I saw some very  nice watermelon vines yesterday.

I want Mary and Julius to write to me all about how my grape stalks are and Service trees and how many are growing  and whether their palm leaf stalks are growing or not and how their peach and apple nursery is doing, &c., &c., and all about my dear, dear old home, because  the recollections of home are sweet. What are Sam and Craver’s boys a doing?  It is seldom that I hear from them any at all.

So I must close for the present by saying please write oftener and remember your affectionate son in your prayers. Be assured dear parents I remain as ever your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond, Va., Co. H, 48th Regt. N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade

Letter 36

Camp near Taylorsville Station, Virginia
Friday the 10th of July, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of dropping you a few lines in answer to your  welcome letter which I received last Wednesday dated June 28th which gave me a great deal of pleasure to hear from you and to hear that you are still enjoying the blessing of good health. This leaves me in good health.

We are  now camped between two rivers about two and a half miles southeast of the Hanover Junction and about 21 miles from Richmond. We came here day before yesterday. The Yankees made a raid here last Saturday night, but they did little damage.

I saw in the papers that the men have to come out from 18 to 50  and I want to know if it is so or not. I think they had better leave the men that  are at home because there are enough out now a suffering for something  without bringing more out. It seems as if our men had better give it up and the sooner the better because I believe the Yankees will overpower us  after all.

Mr Elias Livengood is a going to start home today on a 12 days furlough and I would be very glad if you would send me some onions with him and some biscuits and some little nic nacs if he will bring them.

There is right smart of talk of our going back to N. Carolina again before long. I hope we will go back and I think then I ought to get a furlough. I would be very glad if Mary would make me another haversack and send it with Mr. Livengood. My old one is a getting worn out.

So I must close by saying please write soon and remember me in all your prayers and pray for me and for my deliverance from this war and bring  me home alive safe and well. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg. N. C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade.

Letter 37

Camp near Taylorsville, Virginia
July the 13th, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines stating that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of good health. I write about 2 letters to you every week whether I get any from you or not because I know that you are anxious to hear from me. I do not know whether all my letters get home or not. I would be very glad to get more letters from home.

We are still camped near Taylorsville Station which is about two and a half miles from Hanover Junction. We have been under marching orders for the last three or four days and it is thought that we will go to North Carolina because there has been several Yankee raids there about Goldsborough.

We have very wet weather here now. Corn is growing very fast. I saw some tassel a few days ago.

I am very glad to hear that David Haines has dug that race to draw the sand off of the bottom and I hope you can now get your meadow in better fix. I would like to have been at home and got after Sam with the cradle or grass scythe. I think I would have made him earned his mush. Tell Sam and Julius to make some peach lather for me.

Our chaplain is a going to leave us now. I am very sorry of that because we need a chaplain very much in this regiment. I was over at the 15th [North Carolina] regiment yesterday. It is camped about half a mile of us. Solomon Teshe is well. Ephraim Weisner is well and the rest of the boys from Davidson county, I believe are well as far as I know.

Mary & Julius—dear sister and brother,

I would like to see you very much. I expect that you have growed so that I would hardly know you now. I hope you will remember me as your brother and write to me often. I hope we will soon get to North Carolina and then I hope I can get a furlough to come home. I want you to write all about affairs at home—the dearest spot on earth. Home sweet home. How I long to get there to see the scenes of my childhood where I used to roam over the fields in the days of my youth, where Daniel Wilson and I enjoyed ourselves in many a pleasant ride to or from the fields to work. But Daniel is gone, I trust, to Heaven. I very often think of him and sometimes almost wish him back with me again, but cannot come to me. But I hope one day by the blessing of God to meet him in paradise.

It is very hard for one to live as he should here in the army, but by the help of the Almighty, I am determined to try to do my duty. I often feel very much distressed and troubled both in body and in mind but then I take my Bible and tracts and read and I again cheer up.

So I must close for the present, hoping that my next letter will be wrote in North Carolina. Remember me at the throne of grace. Yours with much love, — C. A. Hege

Letter 38

Camp near Taylorsville Station, Virginia
Monday, July the 20th 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of answering your kind and very welcome letter  which came to hand today dated July the 15th which gave me a great deal of  pleasure to hear from you and especially that you were all well. This leaves  me well and I hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of good  health, because health is desirable.

We are still camped near Taylorsville Station. We now for the last few days have had fair weather, but about a week ago we had very wet weather. There have a great many wounded soldiers passed by here on the cars from Lee’s army. It is said that Lee has come back on this side of the Potomac river again.

I was at preaching yesterday at Taylorsville church. Rev. Mr Howerten,  the chaplain of the 15 [North Carolina] Regiment, preached. We also had preaching in camp last  night. Our chaplain has left our regiment and so we are now without any chaplain. Yesterday while at preaching I thought of you and was wishing that I could be with you at dear old Friedberg Church. Tell Mary that I received her letter a few days ago and I was very glad to hear from her because it is very seldom that she writes and what is the matter with Julius? Has he forgot already how to write or what is the matter that he does not write to me? I hope I will have the pleasure of soon receiving a long letter from him.

There are very dull times in camp now. We get but little news. We are  still in hopes of going back to North Carolina before long. We have very warm weather at present. I saw Solomon Tesh and Ephraim Weisner yesterday. They were both well. Mr. Murphy has been somewhat [unwell] for the last few day, but he is better again and I hope he will soon get well again.

There were 12 men deserted from the 46th North Carolina Regiment last Friday night and it is said that 200 left Lee’s army. I would like to come home but not as a deserter. But I hope and pray that the time is not far distant when peace will be again restored to our country and we poor soldiers be again restored to our homes, families, and friends. So I must close for the present, by saying I hope to meet at home again if it is the Almighty’s will. But if not, I hope to meet you in Heaven above where parting will be no more. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Direct you letters to Richmond, Va.

Letter 39

Camp near Taylorsville, Virginia
Saturday, July the 25th 1863

Dear Brother and Sister,

I now take the pleasure of answering your very welcome letters which came to hand this morning dated July 19th & 20th which gave me a  great deal of pleasure to hear from you and especially to hear that you were all well and a getting along so well with the work. I hope you are smart and help all you can. I would like very much to be at home now and see you all and eat some of your good peaches and apples and watermelons and I believe if could get home now to stay, that I could be contented there better than I ever was before. I used to want to be everywhere else except home. But now I want to be at home and no where else.

We have very good meetings in our brigade now. There is a glorious revival of religion a going on in the 15 [North Carolina] Regiment. There has been preaching over in the 15th Reg. for the last 4 days and nights. There are about 12 mourners—some of whom have professed; namely, J. E. Rominger, Franklin Rominger, and James Shut of the Davidson [county] Boys have professed. I do not know how much longer the meetings will continue but I believe if we do not have to leave too soon, that there will be a general revival in our whole brigade. We have had interesting meeting in our regiment this last week also.

So I must close for the present by saying I hope and pray the Almighty  will soon cause this war to close and bring me home to live in peace and  safety again alive, safe and well. Your affectionate brother, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va. Please take Mr Nifong’s letter to him  as soon as you can.

Dear Parents,

I this morning received a package of eatables by the hand of Mr. Elias  Livengood. They were all good and I am very thankful to you for your  kindness in sending me such nice eatables and I hope the time will soon come when I can get home again to do something in return for your kindness to me. But as you often told me (and I now see it to be true), I never can repay you for your kindness to me.

I would be very glad if you and Samuel Nifong’s father would send us a box of provisions by Rev. T. L. Troy who is a coming by Lexington on the 12th day of August next and he will bring all the boxes for our brigade directed in his care. Please send me some more onions, garlic, hard soap, flour, a little piece of ham, eggs, dried berries, butter, molasses, potatoes,  coffee, pepper black, a pair of shoestrings, a pair suspenders, a bottle of No. 6., a  bottle dysentery cordial, cakes, biscuits and cheese. Don’t send anything that will spoil soon. Hoop the box and bore it full of air holes—give it plenty air. Take the box on the 11th to Lexington because on the 12th of August, Mr. Troy will come by and bring all the boxes for our Brig. Direct the box to me thus C. A. Hege, Co. H. 48 Reg.  N.C. Troops  Gen Cooks Brig.

Rev T. L. Troy charges $2.00 for all boxes to bring to us and therefore Samuel Nifong and I though we would better have our box together and it would only cost us $1.00 a piece. Your affectionate son until death. From — C. A. Hege

Letter 40

Camp near Taylorsville, Virginia
Monday, July the 27th 1863

Dear Parents,

I now embrace the present opportunity of writing you a few lines to inform you where we are and how I am. I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all likewise in the enjoyment of good health. I wrote a letter to you last Saturday in answer to the one which Mr. Livengood brought for me, but for fear that will not reach you in time, I thought I would write you another letter because I want you to send me a box by Rev. T. L. Troy. I received the eatables which you sent with Mr. Livengood last Saturday and I am very thankful to you for them. They were all good when I got them, but the buiscuits are now a beginning to mold on account of the damp weather. 

There is a great deal of sickness in our brigade now—nearly one-third of the 15th [North Carolina] Regiment is sick with the diarrhea and dysentery. Solomon Tesh is very bad off with the bloody flux. Hardly anything but blood passes from him. All three of Mock’s boys have got the diarrhea; but not so bad. Emanuel Spaugh is also somewhat unwell. Ephraim Weisner is well. Our regiment is also very sickly. There is more sickness now in our brigade than there has been since I came in the army. But I have been peculiarly favored by kind Providence in preserving my health.

The revival in the 15th Regiment is still going on. I was over there yesterday at preaching. There were seven mourners. There have been several professions since the meeting commenced. Jacob Rominger, Franklin Rominger, and James Shut professed of the Davidson [county] boys.

I wrote in the other letter what to send me in the box but for fear you  will not get the letter, I will write another. Rev T. L. Troy is comming by  Lexington depo on the 12 of August next and you must take the box to the  depo on the 11th of August. Samuel Nifong and I have thought it best for you and Mr Alexander Nifong to put our things in one box, because it will cost us only half as much as for each to have a separate box, as Mr Troy has $2.00  for each box. You and Mr. Nifong will please arrange the matter.

Please send me some hard soap, potatoes, flour, dried berries, butter,  molasses, coffee onions, garlic, black pepper, eggs especially, a piece of lean  meat, sweet cakes, a pair shoestrings and anything else you think best. So I  must decease [fir] it is a commencing to rain. Remember your son, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond, Va.

Letter 41

Fredericksburg Ruins

Fredericksburg, Virginia
Sunday, August 2d, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now once more this beautiful Sabbath afternoon take the pleasure of  writing to you as I know you are anxious to hear from me. I am well at  present and hope these few lines may find you all in the same state of health. I have not had any letter from you for about a week and I am a getting very  anxious to hear from you, because it cheers me up a great deal to get a letter from home.

“I went over a part of the town today and I never before saw such a shocking scene of houses shot to pieces as there is here. There is hardly a house through the whole of this town (Fredericksburg) that is not shot through several times by bomb shells or cannon balls. It is awful to see how the churches—the places of sacred worship—are torn to pieces by cannon balls. It seems as if man almost defies the Almighty.”

— Constantine A. Hege, Co. H, 48th North Carolina, 2 August 1863

We are now camped in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We came here yesterday from Taylorsville and this morning we were marched in[to] town and [have] taken up quarters in the unoccupied houses which the citizens left at the time of the Fredericksburg battle. I went over a part of the town today and I never before saw such a shocking scene of houses shot to pieces as there is here. There is hardly a house through the whole of this town (Fredericksburg) that is not shot through several times by bomb shells or cannon balls. It is awful to see how the churches—the places of sacred worship—are torn to pieces by cannon balls. It seems as if man almost defies the Almighty.

It is thought that the Yankees will soon again make another attack on this place but I hope they will not as long as we have to stay here. It is thought the Yankees will make another desperate effort for Richmond before long and I would not be much  surprised if they don’t take it the next time. We have heard that there have been some Yankee cavalry through Salem, North Carolina. Is it so?

We have very warm weather now and plenty of strong bacon and wormy crackers to eat. We have fared tolerably well since we have been in Virginia this time in the meat line. We draw half lb. of meat a day but it is very fat and strong so that it is hardly fit to eat.

I wrote to you in two letters last week for you and Samuel Nifong’s father to send us a box of eatables with Rev. T. L. Troy who is coming by  Lexington on the 12 of this month. Take the box to the depot on the 11th and  have plenty of air holes in the box. I would like very much to be at home now in fruit time and enjoy some of the rich fruits, melons, berries, &c., but so it is here I am still. But Providence has so ordered and I pray it may be for my eternal good. I am sometimes almost out of courage and sometimes almost tempted to desert but then I think that won’t do. Then I think of the providence of God and that He has said that all things shall work together for them that love the Lord Jesus and I trust. I do love him and pray that I may love him more. Lord help me. I am a beginning to see that there is no safety in trusting in any other power except that of the Almighty. I hope this war may soon close and pray that the Almighty may preserve my and your lives through all this war and bring me home to you again in peace and safety and permit us to meet on earth again. But if we meet on earth no more, I hope and pray we may all meet in heaven around the Redeemer’s throne. Remember your affectionate son in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

My. Murphy is my best friend in the army. He is a friend indeed and a devoted Christian soldier. He is well.

Ephraim Weisner is very sick with the diarrhea. Solomon Tesh is some better. E. J. Spaugh is well.

Letter 42

Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Friday afternoon August 7th 1863

Dear Parents,

It is with great pleasure that I this afternoon take the privilege of  answering your very welcome letter which came to hand day before yesterday which gave me a great deal of pleasure to hear from home again because I had no letter from you before for about a week and a half and I was a getting very anxious to hear from you. It always gives me a great deal of pleasure to hear that you are all well and doing well. I am well at present—only somewhat tired from washing my clothing—and I hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of the same good blessing. We have very warm weather here now.

I was on picket a few days ago down in Fredericksburg on the bank of  the Rappahannock River and [one] of our pickets saw some Yankees on the other side of the river. I don’t much believe the enemy will make any attack here, but I believe their intention now is for Richmond. It is said that Gen. Lee has fallen back on this side of the Rapidan River. I think he has got nearly enough of the Yankees. There is some talk of us going back to North Carolina again before long. I hope we will. Our rations are about as usual. We can make out by buying sometimes. We draw some beef now and cornmeal.

I have bought a quire of good paper which I want to send to you as soon as I can as I suppose paper is very scarce about home. Solomon Wilson  and William Mickel got to the regimen yesterday. There has been a great many deserted from our brigade for the last month. Tell Sam that I said I have not rode on horseback now for one year, and I expect I would be somewhat awkward to ride now. But I would like to come home and try to ride.

Dear mother, it is now twelve long months since I saw you last—twelve long months since I heard your kind voice speak that gentle old word, “goodbye” and O! the feelings that I then had I cannot express. But they are still sweet recollections to me. Twelve months since I last sat down to your well-furnished dinner table and behold, here I am still alive safe and well—a spared creature of God’s providence.

To you, my dear brother and sister, I will say remember your brother and pray for me and that I may be permitted to return home again alive, safe and well. You have no idea how I feel at this moment. It makes me cry  almost like a child to think of you all at home. I cannot help but weep as I  write this. I don’t know how to express my feelings now. Sam, I still remember you. I often think of your kindness to me when a child. I would like to see you and tell you what I have seen. You have a great deal better times now than I have. You have a good house and bed to sleep in and plenty to eat.

Dear Father, I have not forgotten but remember you with the warmest affections of dear parent to me and it is now nearly 5 months since I gave you farewell. Your kind letters from all of you seem to me almost as if you were speaking to me. I have wrote many a line to you for the last 12 months which I believe were received with more interest by you all than my idle talk was when I was at home. I know that I take a great deal more interest in your letters than I did in any of yor talk when I was at home, [even] if it was ever so interesting. I have seen a great deal in the last 12 months.

Letter 43

Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Sunday, August 16th 1863

Dear and most affectionate parents,

It is with pleasure that I take my pen to write to you stating that I am in very good health at present and I hope these few lines may find you all in the enjoyment of good health. I received one letter from Mary last Tuesday dated August 5th and I also received one from mother yesterday dated August 10th which gave me a great deal of pleasure to hear from home. I would have  wrote sooner, but I thought I would wait till I heard from my box. I have not got my box yet, but I am looking for it today or tomorrow.

We had a most excellent sermon preached to us today by a minister  belonging to the Georgia Brigade. His text was, “Let us not fight against God,”  Acts 23.9.

There was a meeting held yesterday by the officers of our regiment to see if the soldiers were willing for North Carolina to go back in the Union  again or not, but they would not let the privates have a fair showing. The  officers drawed off some resolutions and read them out for North Carolina never to go back in the U.S. again. They then took a sly kind of way to take a vote on it.  They would not explain it fully—only enough for the officers to understand it—and then voted on it by saying, “Aye, all that were in favor of fighting till we gain our Independence, and those in favor of going back to the old U. S. by saying no. There were but few aye’s and the men were afraid to say no for fear of being  punished. Now they will make out as if our whole regiment is willing to fight till we gain our independence, but it is not so. The privates are willing for peace on almost any terms.

The officers have been breaking open some of our letters and therefore  I would say be careful what you write to me. The soldiers are very much  discouraged under the present state of affairs. I believe there will be a great many run away before long if things do not change. The Yankee cavalry came down to the Rappahannock River here at Fredericksburg yesterday and fired on our  pickets, but I don’t believe they intend to fight here soon, if ever.

I have now been out here 12 long months and over and have never had an offer of a  furlough and I am a getting tired of staying here in this way and you need not  be surprised if you see several of us Davidson [county] boys come home some of these days. But do not write anything to me in my letters about running away unless sent by hand. Dear Parents, sister, & brother, I would like to see you very much and to eat some of your good melons, apples and peaches which I  know are wasting at home while we are here suffering for them. It is enough to put anyone out of courage to stay. So I must close for the present by saying, please answer soon as you casn and I hope to meet you all again on earth, but if not, I hope and pray we may all meet in Heaven above where the wicked cease from troubling and where the weary are at rest. Your affectionate son. – C. A. Hege.

Direct to Richmond Va.

Letter 44

Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
August 19th 1863

Kind and most affectionate Parents and sister and brother,

It is with pleasure that I embrace the present opportunity of writing a few lines to you stating that I am well at present and hope that these few lines may find you all enjoying the same like blessing.

On yesterday evening I received my rich box of provisions which you sent to me by Rev. T. L. Troy. When I opened my box, I found that all was perfectly nice except the light bread which was moldy and the pickles a little damaged. All the rest of the things were very nice and I received all that you said you sent and I also found $2 in Mary’s letter. You had my box packed just right and it was the soundest box that I saw opened. Samuel Nifong’s things were badly damaged on account of the fruit being mixed with the bread and cakes. In some of the boxes there were watermelons and they were all rotten. Kind parents, I cannot tell you how thankful I am to you for all your kindness to me in many ways. I never knew the feelings and love that parents have for their children until I had to leave you, my dear parents, and I hope and pray that the Almighty will reward you for your true kindness to me and that he will preserve my life, health, and strength through all this war, these troubles, trials and difficulties, and bring me home again very soon in peace and safety to enjoy myself with all, and to work on the old farm with Sam and Julius and others.

Solomon Tesh brought me my watch and some sweet cakes last Monday. I believe I shall send my watch home again as I have not much use for it here and I would rather have the watch than $40 confederate money. I can get forty dollars for my watch but I believe the watch is worth more  than the money at present.

Our regiment is on picket today in Fredericksburg but I did not go with them. Capt. Heitman told me to stay at camp and take care of our  company’s boxes. Our pickets and the Yankee pickets fired on each other last Saturday. It is again rumored through the camp that our brigade will soon go  back to North Carolina.

The health is tolerably good now in our brigade. The Davidson [county]  boys in the 15th [North Carolina] are in tolerably good health. Times seem to be very still as to military affairs at present. I have not much to write as we have not much news and I want you to have all the news about home in your letters. So I must close for the present by returning to you my sincere thanks for your kindness to me and I hope and pray we may soon meet again on earth, but if not, Oh may we meet in heaven. Remember your son in your prayers. — C. A. Hege

Tell Mary that she must not think hard of me for not writing to her instead of to you. It is all the same to me.

Letter 45

Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
Sunday, Aug 23d 1863

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure that I take the present opportunity of writing to you stating that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all  enjoying the same like blessing. I wrote a letter to you last Wednesday when I received my box stating that all my things in my box were sound except the bread that was moldy. Rev T. L. Troy is coming by Lexington again on the 16th of September next and will bring all the boxes there in his care. Solomon Wilson and I thought it best to send for you and his mother to fix us up a box together, if you please, as we have to pay $2 for each box, large or small, and therefore we thought it best to have a box sent together. Take it to the depot on the 15th of September next.

Mother I would be very glad if you would make me two checked colored shirts and two pair of strong colored drawers and do not send them to  me until I write for them. I am in hopes I will get to come home to wear them, but if not, I will write for them when I want them.

My box has come in a very  good time because I was a getting tired of cornbread and fat meat. We have very warm weather here now. The health is generally good now in our brigade. We have a great deal of picket duty to do here now. Our regiment has to go on picket two days in every eight days. We can see Yankees aplenty just on the other side of the river.

I have not much news to write at present. Father! there have been several of the boys who hired substitutes at the draft a getting out of  the war by civil laws and superior courts and I would be glad if you would  please inquire into the matter [as to] how and what they do to get out.

Have you  many melons, apples, peaches and fruits of all kinds or not? I imagine you have plenty and I would like very much to be there to eat some of them. Cousin Emanuel Spaugh and Ephraim Weisner are well again.

So I must close for the  present as we are looking for Mr. Rominger to come out in a day or two and I am going to send a letter by him. Please write sooner and oftener and remember your son in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

Direct your letters to Richmond Va., Co H. 48th Reg.  N.C. Troops, Gen. Cook’s Brigade.

Letter 46

Fredericksburg Va. on Picket
Thursday, August 27th 1863

Kind and most affectionate parents,

It is with pleasure that I take the privilege of answering your very welcome letter which I received today dated August 21st which was  received with much joy by me. It always revives my drooping spirit to get a  letter from home and especially to hear you are all well. I am well at present and hope these few lines may also find you all enjoying the blessing of good health.

Our regiment is on picket today in Fredericksburg on the river bank and the Yankees are on the other bank. We talk with the Yankees and today  we exchanged papers with them. They seem to be very friendly with each  other and Oh! that they would always remain friendly. I don’t think that there will be any fight here soon, if ever. We have had a couple very cool nights for the time a year. There is not much news in camp now as I know of.

My box has done me a great deal of good this time as we were stationed when I got it. I have eat nearly half of the ham up already it don’t seem to last long. Solomon Wilson and I thought that we would write to our  parents to please send us a box together next month as Rev T. L. Troy is  coming by Lexington on the 16th of September next and will bring all the  marked boxes in his care.

I would have liked to [have] been at Friedberg at meeting on the 13th of August. We have no chaplain in our regiment now and we do not have much preaching. It seems as if the ministers have forgot the soldiers or else think they have not need of hearing preaching or else they would certainly some of them come and preach for us. I believe there might be a great deal of good accomplished in our regiment if some competent minister would take the lead. The soldiers seem to be almost out of courage and a great many run away. Some people think that there will not be much more fighting, if any at all.

We have been looking for Mr Rominger to come out for a week or more but he has not yet come as I know of. Mary said she wished I was at home to go with her to meeting. I wish so too. We would take many a ride in the buggy and I hope the Almighty will  soon give us peace and bring me home again very soon alive, safe, and well in peace and safety to you, dear parents and brother and sister. What is Levi Fishel up to? is he in the army or not? I wrote in a letter a few days ago for Mother to make me two checked colored shirts and two pair strong colored drawers but do not send them till I write for them. So Mi must close for this time by asking you to remember your son in your prayers.

Your son, — C. A. Hege

Please send me a pocket handkerchief in our box.

Letter 47

Camp 48th Reg. N. C. Troops
Near Taylorsville Va.
September the 3d, 1863

Mr. T. S. Stoltz
Dear sir,

It is with great pleasure that I avail myself of the present  opportunity of answering your very welcome letter which came to hand this  morning dated August 28th which I was very glad to get to hear from you.

We are now camped near Taylorsville, Virginia. We came here last Saturday from Fredericksburg where we had a great deal of picket duty to do. It is  thought that we will go to North Carolina again before long.

I am in very good health at present and have been all the time since I have been out except colds and a slight attack of chill and fever, but I have been with the regiment all the time. We have had some very hard times since I have been in the army. I have witnessed many horrid scenes [and] have undergone many things which I hardly ever dreamed of before, but we have tolerably good times now.

We had some very interesting [religious] meetings in our brigade about a month ago. Our regiment is without a chaplain now, but I think we will have one in a few days. We had preaching in our regiment last night by a  Presbyterian minister who visited us. We’ve had very cool weather for the last week or two for the time a year.

“…do all you can for the good Old North State and the quicker she goes back in the Union, the quicker we will have peace. This is the opinion of the majority of the soldiers. [Even] if they are not allowed to speak boldly now, they can write it. But I believe they soon will see the Stars and Stripes a waving o’re Old North Carolina again.”

— Constantine A. Hege, Co. H 28th North Carolina, 3 Sept. 1863

There is not much news in camp now nor has not been for some time, but the opinion of the soldiers is that there will not be much more fighting, if any, and it seems as if the big officers are about willing to give up the chase. I say, Hurrah! Boys at home and do all you can for the good Old North State and the quicker she goes back in the Union, the quicker we will have peace. This is the opinion of the majority of the soldiers, [even] if they are not allowed to speak boldly now, they can write it. But I believe they soon will see the Stars and Stripes a waving o’re Old North Carolina again.

I suppose you have a lively time now about home among the young ladies. I would like very much to be with you and take a part in the fun. It is very seldom that we get to see any of the fair sex here and much less get to speak to them. But I hope the time is not far distant when we will all be permitted to return home to enjoy the pleasure of home and its comforts. Give me all the news about home and especially something how you are enjoying yourself among the young ladies.

So I must  close by saying please excuse my bad writing and improper composition. I suppose as you know the disadvantages of a soldier. Please write soon and  remember your sincere friend. Truly yours, — C. A. Hege

P. S. Give my love and respects to the young ladies.

Letter 48

Camp 48th Reg N. C. Troops Near Taylorsville, Va.
Monday, September 7th, 1863

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure that I take the privilege of answering your very  welcome letters which came to hand last Saturday and Sunday. One was dated August 31st and the other had no date and was signed J. A. H. but it was all right. I got it safe and understood the meaning of it. I am in very good health at present and hope these few lines may find you all likewise enjoying the blessing of good health.

I talked with the captain yesterday about getting a  furlough or permit but he said he could not give me one because there are several of the old volunteers who have not been at home yet. I will do all I can to get to come home if you are certain that I can get clear. I have drawed $50 bounty and about $126 [in] monthly wages and I have heard that makes a difference. Please be certain and find out. I think that we will get back to North Carolina again before long and you stated if we got to N. C. you would try and see what could be done. Be cautious [in] how you proceed so that they can’t get any hold on you. If we get to N. C., I will again try to get a pass or permit to go home and if they won’t then give me one, I think I and several  more will take a highlow. I do not want to desert, but I cannot bear quite to be treated like a brute. Some of the officers had 2 or 3 furloughs since I have been out and then when I asked for just a permit of seven days, they refused to let me have it. It is too bad.

I have bought me a pocket map of Virginia and I would be very glad if I could get a map of North Carolina. Please send me some of the resolutions adopted in some of the peace meeting of North Carolina. We are not  allowed to get the Raleigh Standard in our regiment. Our officers wont let us have the paper. The 21st North Carolina Regiment went through Richmond last Friday. It is said they are going to Tennessee.

I was at preaching yesterday at Taylorsville Church. Our regiment is still without a chaplain, but we will have one in a few days I think. We can hear of very interesting meetings both at home and in the  army and the opinion a great many is that if the church can be thoroughly  aroused from the lethargy in which she has fallen and will pray mightily to God, that we will soon have a permanent peace. I believe great good might be  accomplished in the army by the right kind of men.

E. Weisner, E. J. Spaugh, Solomon Tesh and Mocks’ boys are well. David Zimmerman tried for a permit but also failed. He is in my fix as he had  also hired a substitute. So I must close for the present by saying I hope to  meet you all on earth again, but if not, Oh may we meet in heaven.

Letter 49

Camp 48th Reg N. C. Troops
Near Taylorsville, Virginia
September the 14th 1863

Dear Parents,

It is with great pleasure that I take my pen to answer your very  welcome letter which came to hand today dated September the 8th which gave me a  great deal of pleasure to hear from you, but I am very sorry to hear that your health is failing so fast. But I hope the Almighty will restore you to health again very soon. I am in very good health at present and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same rich blessing.

As to getting a furlough  or permit to come home, there is no chance. I asked the captain about it and he said he could not give me one. I would like very much to come but it seems as if there is no chance and to desert—I do not want to do it. So I have determined to try to do the best I can, praying to God to guide, guard, and protect me as He sees best. And I believe He will in His own good time and pleasure, bring me home again alive, safe, and well.

We were privileged yesterday to hear three very good sermons preached—first sermon in Taylorsville church at 11 o’clock, second sermon at 3 o’clock at our brigade meeting ground, and at four o’clock there were 5 young men baptized in a little river near here by Rev. Mr. Howerton, chaplain of the  15th N. C. Regiment. Rev. Mr. Butler (German Reformed) from Davidson [county] who visited our regiment preached to us last night. There will be preaching tonight and every night this week (if Providence permits) at our brigade meeting ground, and I believe it will be the cause of a great revival if properly managed. You would be surprised to see what good attention and respect is paid during preaching. There is but little getting up and running off as is the case commonly at meetings at home. I am very much pleased with some of the movements of some of our officers in our regiment. There are a few of our officers who take the lead and have prayer meetings immediately after roll call. I have been  attending them and am very much gratified to see the officers take an active  part in religious matters.

As to coming to N. C., I don’t know how that will be, but we are still of the opinion that we will go back before long. Some of the soldiers believe that peace is already made. Others think it soon will be made and we are all desirous for peace and I believe we can soon look for better times as we can hear of glorious revivals in different sections of our country—both at home and in the army. I have no news to write at present—only I will say I sent a letter and a book and a pair of pants and some little  notions with Wm. Weaver who went home a few days ago. He is to leave them at Mr. William Weaver’s or at Alexander Hege’s in Lexington. Let me know when you get them. Please write soon and often and remember me as ever your affectionate son in your prayers.

Your son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 50

Camp 48th Regiment N. C. Troops
Near Taylorsville, Virginia
September the 17th, 1863

Dear Parents,

It is with pleasure this beautiful autum morning that I take my pen to  drop you a few lines to let you know where we are and how I am. I am in  very good health at present and hope by the blessing of the Almighty these few lines may find you all likewise well. I have not had any letter from you since last Monday and I thought I would write anyhow. I answered your letter  the same day I got it. I always try to answer my letters as soon as I can.

“Today is a memorable day to most of our regiment! On this day twelve months ago, and about this time in the day (11 o’clock A.M.), we were  in the Sharpsburg battle amid the roaring thunder of cannons and the clatter of musketry surrounded on every side by the screams of the dying and wounded soldiers while the shells, bullets, and balls were whizzing by us at a shocking  rate.”

— Constantine A. Hege, Co. H, 48th North Carolina, 17 Sept. 1863

Today is a memorable day to most of our regiment! On this day twelve months ago, and about this time in the day (11 o’clock A.M.), we were  in the Sharpsburg battle amid the roaring thunder of cannons and the clatter of musketry surrounded on every side by the screams of the dying and wounded soldiers while the shells, bullets, and balls were whizzing by us at a shocking  rate.

But O! how different the scene now is in our brigade. We now have a  glorious revival of religion in our brigade. It is delightful to behold the scene of our meeting which commenced last Sunday at the brigade stand by the chaplains of our brigade. It has been every night since Sunday and there are about 2000 soldiers every night. There were about 25 mourners last night and the whole congregation paid very good attention—superior to what I almost ever saw at  home. It is encouraging to see with what willingness the mourners come forward. The meeting is to continue all this week (if not disturbed) and I think  we will have meeting all day on next Saturday and Sunday. I believe we will  have a most interesting meeting, and oh! that God might pour out his holy spirit  upon all mankind and I verily then we would soon have peace, both of  country and of mind.

We have very nice weather now—only there are slight showers which  cause the ground to be very damp and uncomfortable for meeting out doors. There is not much news in camp now. We have been faring very well lately—as well as soldiers can expect. Our rations are changed. Sometimes we draw flour and bacon, some days cornmeal and beef or mutton other days, and sometimes some potatoes or something new.

David Zimerman got a furlough yesterday to go home 10 days. There has  been some fighting about Culpeper Court House a few days ago. We have heard that the  21st N. C. Regiment is at Salem, North Carolina. Is it so? Are there any revivals close about home? We can hear of many revivals both at home and in the army. I am very  much pleased with the religious movements and I believe it is the commencement of better times. Will there be any protracted meeting this fall? Is the Sunday school still kept up as usual? What are the times in general about home?

So I must close for the present by asking you to please write soon adn often and remember me in your prayers and i hope by the blessing of the Almighty that I will be permitted to return home again alive, safe and well in peace and safety.

Remember me your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 51

Gordonsville, Virginia
September 30th 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines in answer to your  very welcome letter which came to hand yesterday dated September 24th which gave me a great deal of pleasure to hear from you. I am in bad health now and have  been so for the 4 or 5 last days. I have something like the colic accompanied with the diarrhea, but I am getting better now.

I received my box day before yesterday which I was anxiously looking  for. I found two dollars in a letter in the box. The things were all good. The reason why we did not get our boxes sooner was because we were moving about so much. I am in a bad fix to enjoy my box this time because I cant eat  hardly anything but I get the colic.

Our [religious] meetings are still going on, but not as interesting as they were at Taylorsville.

I bought me a warm army overcoat for $20. I sold some of my flour and dried fruit as I was afraid I could not take care of it if we moved. There is  right smart talk of us taking a march again before long. It is said they are a  going to take all our tents from us except from the officers and if they do that, I will be strongly tempted to go where I can get a house to stay in (home). There are a great many men who will soon go home if they make that move.

There were three men whipped this morning for running away. They got 50 lashes apiece. John Crouch was one who was whipped. The men who are at home would better stay there because if they come back, they will be punished severely. J. E. Rominger is not at home. He is here. There is nothing of it of the  capitol at Richmond being burnt.

John Crouch told me a good deal about home and I am sometimes almost  ready to start home and I dont know but what I will before long if they take our tents away from us. Do not write anything at all to me about running away as Colonel Hill might find it out. So I must close for this time by saying please remember me in your prayers and pray for me to get home safe again. Your son, — C. A. Hege

I am in a hurry.

Letter 52

Camp 48th Reg N. C. Troops
Near Gordonsville, Virginia
October 3, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take the pleasure of writing to you to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying good health. I  wrote a letter to you a few days ago but for fear you won’t get it, I will mention again in this letter that I received my box last Monday and there was nothing at all spoilt in the box and I am very thankful to you for your kindness in sending me such a fine box. You did not need to send me so much flour and meat because we draw right smart flour and meat and you are perhaps robbing yourselves at home to try to send me something good to eat. I hope and pray the Almighty may reward you for your kindness. You are kind parents indeed and I can never repay you for your kindness. I did not have to  pay for bringing my box as Mr. Troy got me to collect the money in our regiment for the boxes he brought.

I and Cousin Emanuel J. Spaugh packed his trunk full of bottles, &c. and sent it by Rev T. L. Troy. He will deliver the trunk at Lexington on the 14th of this month as he goes to Salisbury and on the 15th of this month he will again come by Lexington and bring all the boxes for this brigade. The trunk is marked to Uncle Christian Spaugh and your pack in the trunk is marked in your name. You will find the trunk at Lexington Depot or at Mr. Alexander Hege’s store on the 14th of this month. I would be glad if you would please send me a pair of woolen pants, my  gloves, a winter vest, and two colored shirts if you have them in a small, light box by Rev T. L. Troy as he comes by Lexington on the 15th of this month. Take it to Lexington on the 14th and then you can get the trunk.

I would be glad if mother would get me a heavy cloth hat made as my hat is nearly wore out. My hat was of a very indifferent kind. We had a good  rain yesterday. Our meetings are still going on, but they are not quite as  interesting as they were at Taylorsville. Your [Raleigh] Standards that you sent to me in my box are well read over and over. The Christian Advocate (a religious paper  printed at Raleigh N.C.) is a regular visitor to our regiment. It is a good paper only it is somewhat too much of a secession principal. I want you to give me all the news about home and whether Mr. D. Zimmerman got clear or not, &c. Cousin  E. J. Spaugh, S. Tesh, E. Weisner and Mock’s boys are well. So I must close for this time by asking you to write soon and often and remember me as ever your affectionate son in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

Letter 53

Old Capitol Prison in Washington D. C.

Old Capitol Prison
Washington D. C.
October 31, 1863

Dear Parents,

I now take my pen to drop you a few lines stating that I am well at present and in good heart and hope you are all likewise. I have wrote you a couple of letter since I have been here but I don’t know whether you get them or not. I am still here in the above named prison, but I think that I will be released and set free in a week or so. I have got in with a pious young man who lives in Philadelphia, Pa., to help me to get is some business there to make a living. I want to try and get Rev. F. F. Hegen or Rev. Mr. Senamon to help me along also if I can. There are several of my acquaintance here with me who also are a going North. I think we will be provided for by Providence. I hope you will not trouble yourselves about me as I can assure you I have received very kind treatment so far. Do not believe false reports.

So I will put my trust in the Almighty and I hope you will pray for me. Remember your son in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

I am not allowed to write much or the letter won’t go.

Letter 54

Old Capitol Prison
Washington D. C.
December 18, 1863

Dear Parents,

I am here in the above named prison, a prisoner of war. I have been here now two months. I am well as usual and have received several letters from friends—namely from Rev. F. F. Hagen, and Rev. E. T. Senseman who are now living in Pennsylvania. There are several of the Davidson boys here with me. I’ve wrote several letters to you since I’ve been a prisoner but have not heard from them yet.

Please write as soon as you get this and direct your letter to Bethlehem, Northampton county, Pennsylvania, care of Rev. F. F. Hagen.

Remember me in your prayers, — C. A. Hege

Letter 55

Old Capitol Prison
Washington City D. C.
January 7th 1864

Dear Brother and Sister,

I will also drop you a few lines as I am very often thinking of you and wising to see you and as I am certain you would [be] glad [to] receive this,  which I hope you will soon. I cannot write much but I will tell you that I am  very comfortably situated as a prisoner and am where I can everyday see the beautiful structure of the Capitol of the U. S.

Julius, I hope you are a smart boy and I want you to take all of my tools and my books and make all the little tricks you wish to. I hope you will  be an industrious boy and study your books and grow up a wise and good man.

Mary, I hope you remember your brother, and as you have my [tin]type, you can see me though I am far way. I would like very much to have yours and Julius’s and Father’s and Mother’s types, if I could, they would be a  great deal of company to me. With this, I remain your affectionate brother until death, — C. A. H.

Letter 56

Old Capitol Prison
Washington D. C.
January 13th 1864

Dear Parents,

It was with great pleasure that I on yesterday received a letter from Rev. F. F. Hagen in which he stated that he received a letter from you requesting him to send me some money which he has done. He sent me $50 to buy clothing for my wants.

We have very cold weather now and snow plenty. My health is good with the exception of colds. I received a letter from Jonas L. Weisner some time ago. He was well and is now living in Hope, Indiana. Levi Stuart (son of Amos Stuart) came in here a few days ago a prisoner. He is well. Henry and James Wear came prisoners also who told me they saw you before they left North Carolina.

So no more at present. With many thanks for your kindness, I remain your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

P. S. Direct your letters to Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, care of Rev. F. F. Hagen

Mr. Hagen will forward the letters to me.

Letter 57

Old Capitol Prison
Washington City, D. C.
February 1st 1864

Dear Parents,

With much love for you all I drop you a few lines accompanied by a Christian Banner. I am in very good health and I think I will soon be released and then I expect to go to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to Rev. F. F. Hagen.

I received fifty dollars from Rev. F. F. Hagen about two weeks ago. He will furnish me with three hundred dollars as by your order. I am very thankful for your kindness in writing to Rev. Mr. Hagen to send me money as I was in need, but now I am very comfortably clothed and am doing well as a prisoner.

I often think of my dear old home and long to get there but here I am many miles from home. But it all has been so ordered by Providence and that for the best. I therefore take it patiently trusting in God to protect me from all harm and danger and to keep me safe, alive, and well, and I hope by his allwise providence to meet you all on earth again, but if not, God grant that we may all meet in Heaven above.

Remember me in your prayers. Truly yours, — C. A. Hege

Letter 58

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
March 19, 1864

Dear Parents,

I drop you a few lines in answer to your kind letter dated February 10th which I received on the 8th instant at Washington. I am well as usual.

I arrived at Bethlehem last Tuesday and went to Rev. F. F. Hagen’s house. I visited Rev. H. A. Shultz who was very much pleased to see me. He sends you his best love and respects. He is almost as a father to me. I find a great many Salem people here. I have found the warmest friends on all sides.

I am at work in a zinc work here in Bethlehem. I get $1.25 per day. Boards costs $3 per week. I am boarding with a Moravian family—all Germans—who treat me very kindly. Dear parents, you can’t imagine how glad it makes me feel to find such dear friends as I have found here.

Please remember me in your prayers. — C. A. Hege

Letter 59

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
April 1st 1864

Dear Parents,

I once more drop you a few lines to inform you where I am and how I am. I wrote you a letter on the 19th of March but have not had any answer from you since the one dated Feb 10th. I hope you get my letters.

I arrived here at Bethlehem on the 15th of March and went to Rev. F. F. Hagen’s house. He was very glad to see me and aided me in procuring a good place to board and to work. I am working at the Bethlehem Iron Works. My wages are $1.35 per day and my board costs $3.50 per week. I am now boarding with Mr. John Fimstick—a Moravian family—and they are very kind to me as I will soon tell you.

I have been sick for several days confined to bed, but I am now nearly well again, and hope will soon able to go to work again. While I was sick, Mr. and Mrs. Fimstick attended to me with the kindest care and Mother, you could not have nursed me better. I can’t tell you how I feel to find such kind people. I find many of the Old Salem people here who treat me with the greatest  kindness.

Rev. H. A. Schultz is almost as a father to me. He comes to see how I get along. He does a great deal for me, and Rev F. F. Hagen has gone a great  deal for me and is very much interested in my welfare. Rev. Mr. Clouder has done a great deal also in helping me along. So I must say, I like the people of Bethlehem better than any place that I have been at since I left home.

So I must close for this time by asking you to please remember me in your prayers and I hope we may all meet again on earth. But if not, I pray that  we may meet in Heaven. Your affectionate son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 60

Bethlehem Pennsylvania
May 18th 1865

Dear Parents,

Supposing you would be glad to hear from me and as I have a good  opportunity to write, I will send you a few lines and promising you another letter soon.

I am now in school in the Moravian College, aided by Br. Shultz, who  kindly offered to pay for my schooling & board until the way was opened so that you could pay him as you wrote in your letters. Dear father, I am sorry that I have to ask you to pay for my schooling, but I hope if it pleases kind Providence to spare my life to return home, to be soon able to render you some service and to yet be a joy, instead of a burden, to you all. I cannot  express my feelings of gratitude to you for your many kindness to me and especially when I think of my former days when I was so disobedient, and causing you more trouble and anxiety than I was worth as you often told me.

My reason for wishing to go to school here now are these. I feel my  ignorance more every day and I thought that if I waited until I came home, I would hardly go to school and to enter upon life as I was appeared to me very dull in the present age, as I had forgotten nearly all I had learned while at school; and several more reasons which I will explain when I see you.

I  suppose you can readily see by my letter that I am very much out of practice. I commenced going to school on the 26th of April and expect to go until the end of the session, which is in July, unless you wish me to come home before then. I love the North very much but not so well yet as the dear South, where I spent my youthful days in sports and where the rich fruit so plentifully abounds. I do not mean that I love secession or anything connected therein. But I love the county, the climate, and all the good loyal Union people—because there is my home and parents and brother and sister, whom I love so very much.

I hardly know what to write as Mr. James Fisher will tell you all  the news when he arrives in Salem and I will send a letter by him also. Hoping the time is not far distant when we will all be permitted to meet each other again in the dear family circle and embrace each other’s hands, as I  believe you will be glad to see the prodigal son return and will meet him with expanded arms to receive him once more. I often think of the Prodigal son and it appears to me that my case corresponds with his exactly.

So by bidding you all good night and hoping you will remember the  absent member of the family in your prayers. I remain your affectionate  son, — C. A. Hege

Letter 61

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
May 21st 1865

Dear folks at home,

You will please excuse my writing this letter on Sunday as Mr. J.  Fisher expects to start for Salem, N. C. tomorrow morning and I wish to send  this with him. I wrote two letters a few days ago to send by Felix Lernback who is also going to Salem.

I am at school in the Moravian College as I suppose you know already. I  commenced the 26th day of April and expect to continue there until August unless you are not willing. I have hardly got in the way of studying yet and as you see, my hand is not very well trained to the pen either. I am sorry to have  to ask you to pay for my schooling as I wish Mary and Julius to go to school several years yet, but as you so kindly desired me to go to school and by the advice of one of my best friends or almost a father to me in directing me aright and helping me in many ways (Rev H. A. Shultz) and who so kindly offered to pay my expenses so that I thought it would be wrong on my part to not accept so good an offer and as it was so much my desire also. So now I am at school and board with Rev. H. A. Brickenstein who married Bro. Shultze’s daughter, Susan, who often speaks of you, dear mother, and it was on your account that they kindly offered to board me while at school.

Rev. Mr. Brickenstein is one of the teachers in the College, and he seems to take especial interest in me as he often hears my private lessons and gives me any instruction at any time when I ask him. I have to pay $4 per week for board and the tuition and books will cost about $20 dollars for those three months and I will require some more clothing before the end of the session, which will cause my school bill, including board, tuition and clothing, &c., to be about $90 or $100. And then I have not yet paid Br. Hagen those $50 dollars received from him while at Washington.

Everything is very high and wages were comparatively small so that I could not make more then enough to pay my board and supply myself with plenty of warm clothing for the cold winter as I prized my health and comfort more than money. You will perhaps be surprised and may perhaps scold me for the way I have acted since I have  been away from home, but I generally did what I thought to be best & right, and I could have made more money if I had remained at the Rolling Mill but I thought that I could not stand the heat very much longer without injuring [myself] and as I often said, I prize health more than gold, so I thought best, by the advice of friends to try to get a better or at least a more healthy job of work, which I very soon did at the barrel factory as you already know, and I worked  there 8 months at $1.75 per day and frequently worked overtime and you would readily suppose I ought to have saved some money, but I had to buy so many things that I could hardly make my income meet my expenses during the winter. And so I had to pay $45 dollars for a summer suit which consisted of coat, vest & pants. You can imagine where my money went.

I have kept a diary ever since I left home and a memorandum of my expenses since I have been here so that I can easily see for what I spent my money. Mr. Fisher will tell you all about my circumstances better than I can write them. I must write faster so that I can finish this before Sunday as I have to attend as a teacher at 9:30 A. M. but not as competent teacher as I would like to be. I have about one dozen boys in my class whose ages range from 9 to 17 years of age. We have a small school house to keep the Sunday school in in West Bethlehem and there are about 100 scholars so we have only about one fourth room enough for the children to be seated comfortably. Mr. Eugene Shaffer, one of the students, is the superintendent and Theodore Rights and I and four of the other students are the male teachers and then there are about as many female teachers.

I attend preaching at 10:30 A.M. in the Moravian Church Bible Class at 1:30 P. M. kept by Br. Sepweinit for the benefit of the young men of town and at 7:30 P. M. at preaching again in the Moravian Church.

Edward G. Mock arrived here last Thursday. He was prisoner for nearly  16 months during which time he had the small pox and several other diseases at different times of which he has very fortunately recovered and has now more of a healthy appearance than ever. He is at work here in Bethlehem. I procured a good place for him to board at and helped him along as best I could. I will herein send you one of my photographs which I had taken in my  working style. I will send you a better one soon as I have more taken. Do you expect to furnish your new storehouse near Sheltons with goods? It is thought that the South will be full of Yankee merchants in a few years which will be a great help to the South. Slavery is what has kept the South down so long.

“How does Sam like his freedom? and what and how do the  Negroes do? Do they work for their old masters? I am glad that the curse of  slavery has at last been brought to a close….Old Jeff, that brave President of the Great Confederacy showed his bravery, dressing up in his wife’s dress and tried to carry the last remains of the C. S. A. in a band box—brave fellow. He is done issuing orders to hunt deserters and sentencing poor innocent men to be shot. He will now take his turn, and we’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree as go marching home. I would like to see his neck stretched.”

— C. A. Hege, 21 May 1865

Tell Cousin Nannie Hege and Prof. G. W. Hege to write to me unless they have disowned me as their cousin on the account of my coming North. I would be very glad to receive letters from any of my old friends, acquaintances, school mates. Was you robbed of any property or had any  horse stolen? How does Sam like his freedom? and what and how do the  Negroes do? Do they work for their old masters? I am glad that the curse of  slavery has at last been brought to a close.

Old Jeff, that brave President of the Great Confederacy showed his bravery, dressing up in his wife’s dress and tried to carry the last remains of the C. S. A. in a band box—brave fellow. He is done issuing orders to hunt deserters and sentencing poor innocent men to be shot. He will now take his turn, and we’ll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree as go marching home. I would like to see his neck stretched.

So I must close. Please excuse nonsense, haste, bad writing, &c., as I am in a hurry and have not time to look over the letter to correct errors, &c.

Don’t forget an erring son far away from home, but yet among friends. Yours with much love, — C. A. Hege

P. S. Please write a long, long letter in return.

Letter 62

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
June 17th 1865

Dear Folks at Home,

Your kind favor of the 1st inst. came duly to hand and after some delay, I now as I have a very good good chance to send this by some Salem brethren who are here now. My progress in my studies are not as good as I anticipated, but I do the best I can and try to understand what I do learn. The weather is so very warm that I do not feel so much for studying as I would like to. The thermometer stands at 96 degrees today.

I begin to like Bethlehem very well and if it were not for you, for the  love I have for you, I would not come South to live. But as you, my dear parents, and brother and sister, and some of my dear friends & relations are in the South, I will return again (if all goes well) the first part of next August. And if I do not then like to live in the South, I can come back North again if you are all willing for me to do so.

I believe it has been a great blessing to me to have to leave home as I [have] now learned many very important lessons and undergone some hardships. I have given a great deal of my attention to the different ways of farming and the various kinds of labor [with a] sawing machine, by which a small number of men can do a large amount of work. I have given a great deal of my time to machinery and in particular to those which I thought night be of benefit to our farmers at home, and I have come to the conclusion that by the aid of these, or similar machinery, our work could be rendered a great deal easier. Our buildings too differ a great deal from those in the North—more especially our houses.

I am glad to hear you have plenty of fruit and I think the people ought to dry a great, or all, if possible, as dried fruit sells very high up North, and if  you could get goods or else get some other man to get them for you, in your new house, and then sell those goods for fruit, that it would pay at least a hundred percent. Now if some man with good recommendations would come here to New York and make an agreement with some of these large, wholesale merchants to sell goods on commission, and buy up all the fruit he could get, and send it to those merchants, it would be a very profitable investment. Now is the time to strike, while the iron is hot, and if I had the means, or a good recommendation as some of those men in the South have, I could soon be in New York and see what could be done.

Theodore Rights is well and doing well. He has procured the agency to  sell a very interesting book with which he thinks he can make several hundred dollars. If I was not intending to return South so soon, I would also apply, for the agency of some books, maps, &c., with which there can be a  great deal of money made by an active agent.

I herein enclose a photograph of one of my best friends and I would like  to know what you think of him, and whether you would have any objections for him to come South and spend a few weeks with you, as he is anxious to see North Carolina and also to see how some of those awful secesh look, of whom he has heard so much since the war commenced. Mary & Julius, please tell me what you think of my friend and whether you wish him to come and spend a few weeks with you.

There are many pretty young ladies here in Bethlehem, some of whom I  have formed an acquaintance with, and especially one whose photograph I  would like to send to you. But as I have only one of her photographs at present, I must keep that, and will show it to you when I come home.

There is to be a most magnificent celebration on the 4th of July here  throughout the North. There will be grand fireworks and everything is to be  conducted on a grand scene in honor of the glorious victory which the Union Armies have achieved. I was very much pleased to hear of the good Union feeling at Salem—especially on the day when the Stars & Stripes were again over the almost desolate town. Salem is here rejoiced as one of the most loyal places in the South and if only those few secesh who were there had been hung five years ago, it would have been most glorious event.

Rev. H. A. Shultz sends you his warmest love and said that if you could  help his sister (Mrs. Solman) and Miss Baggie with provisions, &c., what they  needed, that would answer as well for to pay my board, &c, as if you were to send the money here to him. I wrote the probable amount of my expenses &c. to you in several letters, so it is not worth my while to write them again.

I have written to you in several letters to [let me] know how a man in my condition (any one who came North since the war) is received there among his old friends. I am anxious to know.

Edward Mock is well. I procured a place for him to have regular work on a farm as long as he desires and is to receive good wages. He intends to  remain North a year or so yet, and perhaps all the time as he seems to fall in love with some of the ladies whom probably may have a great influence over him in time to come. I wrote a letter to you some two weeks ago and sent it by mail. Did you get it?

Hoping to hear from you soon and that my friend and I intend, (if life and health permits) to come to N. C. about the 7th or 8th of August if we can,  as then it will be three years since I left home. With much love to you all and wishing you a long life and a happy one, I am your affectionate son, — Constantine Alexander Hege

A few words to Mary & Julius. Dear Brother & Sister,

Have you forgoten me! Or what is the reason that you do not write? I  have not had a letter from you in—well, I don’t know when. Well how are your Palm Leaf stalks a thriving? And those grape stalks, how are they doing? Julius, what kind of new inventions have you been making since I left home? Do you make good use of your tools? Hurrah! I say, and try and make all the inventions you can. And ask Papa to help you if you can’t get along yourself. How many lambs and how many ducks did you raise this year? I hope you will have a  good fat chicken for dinner when I come home so I have to had any chicken to eat for a long time. Can you ride Nellie? How many horses have you and what are their names? How is the meadow? Is it still so wet? Is the wheat good?  &c &c. I have a magic lantern to give you when I get home. What kind of a fix do you suppose it is? When I get home I will show you.

Mary I hope you are not a secesh (like a sister of a friend of mine who  wrote to her brother that she did not want to see him any more because he was a good Union) that you do not write to me. No, I do not think any such thing of you. I even would not believe such to be the case if you were to tell me so. So I hope you will write to your brother and give him all the news you can. Tell him what the young ladies there say of him for coming North and tell them if they will not love him, he can get a Yankee wife as they call them, but he would prefer a southern lady. I want you to go to school in the Academy at Salem N. C. as soon as you can, and when I get home I will do all  I can for you so that you can get a good education. Write soon and often and  give all the news and please don’t write less than a sheet full like this, each of  you. You know what to write. Anything about home will be interesting to me. Your Brother, — C. A. Hege

P. S. Please excuse all nonsense as I feel somewhat lively this evening. C. A. H.

Letter 63

No. 85 Market Street 
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 
June 29th 1865

My Dear Sister:

I must complain a little at you for not answering my letter sooner, but I  was very glad to get the answer, when it came at last. I am very sorry that you have to work so hard but I will be there soon and then I will try to make some different arrangements. I want you to go to school several years yet at Salem. You must plead with Father to send you to school because a good education is more valuable than gold.

You say the southern girls are marrying the Yankees. I am very sorry to hear that they think more of the Yankees than of their own people but be  that as it may, I am now also a Yankee and perhaps I may stand a better  chance to get a southern wife also. But we will reverse the the case. What would the southern girls say if I were to marry a Yankee lady? What would  you say?

There is a young lady here by the name of Miss Pearson to whom I pay frequent visits and whom I believe is a very nice lady and would be willing to trust herself to the care of such a Rebel as I am if I would but say so. But I have not said so yet, nor I don’t know as I will, as I would  prefer a southern lady. She is in but moderate circumstances in life—not rich. I will show you her photograph when I come home. So I will close. Write  soon. Excuse bad writing & all nonsense. Your brother, — Constantine A. Hege

A few words to Julius.

My Dear little brother.

Little Julius for as sick you was when I left home. How are you? and what are you doing? Why did you not write your letter yourself?

I think you have made a very good trade with your corn. Hurrah for you, I say. Make all the good and new inventions you can and when I come home, we will work together and then I know we will make. I want a good large watermelon when I come home and some good apples. I have not tasted any apples this year yet.

I showed your picture to my lady friend, yesterday and she thought you  was so very fat. I think so too. If I knew what day I would be at Lexington, I would tell you to meet me there. Your affectionate brother, — C. A. Hege

Letter 64

No. 85 Market Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
June 29th, 1865

My Kind and Dear Mother,

You can’t imagine how glad I was yesterday when I opened your letter to see that you wrote one of the letters. I always feel cheered up when I receive a good long letter from home.

I am very sorry that you have to work so hard but I hope to soon be  there and take a part of the work own myself. Your harvest comes very early. The wheat will not be fit to eat here until about the 4th of July. I was almost tempted to go out and work in the harvest a few days, but Mr. Brickenstein thought it would not pay me to leave school a few days as I would just fall back in my studies.

You seem to be down on the Yankees as you call them. You say they work on Sunday. That is nothing strange to me as I worked many Sundays in  the Rebel army while I was in the service of our brave President Jeff Davis who dressed up in women’s clothes—brave fellow was he!

I suppose you also call me a Yankee. If you do, all right. I consider that  more of an honor than a disgrace. I have taken a particular fancy to the Yankees (so called) and especially to the young ladies who seem to take  pleasure of being in company with a southern boy and they very seldom ever mention anything of my having been in the Rebel army which I would consider a disgrace.

“I suppose you also call me a Yankee. If you do, all right. I consider that  more of an honor than a disgrace. I have taken a particular fancy to the Yankees (so called) and especially to the young ladies who seem to take  pleasure of being in company with a southern boy and they very seldom ever mention anything of my having been in the Rebel army which I would consider a disgrace…I hope we shall a pleasant time on my return home after having been separated for three years. I believe it was for our good, and especially for mine, as I have learned many new ideas and also how to work. We people in the South do not work near as hard as the people here in the North.”

— Constantine A. Hege, 29 June 1865

I complied with your request to Mrs. Brickenstein and I suppose she  will write to you.

I want to try to get home about the 7th of August if I can, as it will then  be just three years since I left home and I hope you will have a good fat  chicken to make a large pot pie with for me when I come home because I  have not tasted chicken in six months (as well as I remember). The people here in town don’t believe in buying such dear chicken for dinner.

If I had the money, I would like to bring you all a nice present when I come. I hope we shall a pleasant time on my return home after having been separated for three years. I believe it was for our good, and especially for mine, as I have learned many new ideas and also how to work. We people in the South do not work near as hard as the people here in the North.

The families with whom I have boarded here, are very anxious to see you all—especially the first family with whom I boarded who are Germans. I tell them I intend to bring you all out here on a visit in a year or so. I know you will agree to come to see Bethlehem.

So I must close for the present hoping to see you all soon again. Write soon. Your son, — C. A. Hege

Journal of Capt. Samuel Holmes Doten, Co. E, 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Samuel Holmes Doten (Dave Morin Collection)

This journal was kept by Captain Samuel Holmes Doten (1812-1906) of the 29th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The diary opens on June 12th, 1862 during the Peninsular Campaign with a note: “At retreat from before Richmond, I lost all my baggage and with it my diary of army life up to this date—June 12.” The diary is pretty much continuous from that date onward until he was mustered out on May 30, 1864.

Doten’s handwriting is good, his observations keen and many. The diary includes battle descriptions and accounts of many skirmishes, crossing paths with many Union generals, detailed accounts of what befell men in his Company E and in other companies and regiments from Massachusetts’ south shore area including the town of Plymouth, Doten’s home town, and daily observations of weather, his surroundings, his duties and company assignments, and his health.

Doten first made his living as master of the packet ship “Atlanta” that plied the coastal waters between Plymouth and Boston. His seafaring experience reveals itself in the acute observations of the weather he notates in his diary—particularly the wind directions, and use of such nautical descriptions as “tempests” and “squalls” to record what ordinary soldiers might call storms and showers. He later got into the lumber business and followed it for many years before the Civil War erupted.

Doten was 48 years old when he enlisted in May 1861 in the 29th Massachusetts Infantry and commissioned captain of Co. E. He mustered out of the regiment on 30 May 1864.

There are several newspaper clippings that I have inserted in the journal at chronologically appropriate locations that add color and context beyond what Doten has recorded. The clippings are from hometown (Plymouth) newspapers that were transcribed from letters written by members of the regiment, particularly Co. E that was raised in Plymouth. I feel strongly that many of the anonymous letters should be attributed to Doten. These clippings were found in the book published by Donald A. Dewey, entitled, “Return of the Dead, Plymouth During the Civil War.”

See also—Diary of the 29th Massachusetts.

Officer’s Cap Insignia of Lt. John M Deane, 29th Massachusetts, Co. K

[Note: This diary is from the personal collection of Jim Doncaster and was transcribed & published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


Note: At retreat from before Richmond, I lost all my baggage and with it my diary of army life up to this date.

June 12 [1862]—Nothing of importance has occurred today. The left wing of the army made a successful advance and the right is endeavoring to cross the Chickahominy. We have had a still day though [ ] Delawa__ came here today.

Friday, June 13, 1862—We have had the usual alarms today. Regiment engaged in entrenchments. Nothing unusual has transpired.

“We are stopping within about 30 rods [@500 feet] of the rebel pickets. We have to stand in line of battle most all the time. We expect to have to go into action every minute. There has got to be a great battle fought at Richmond yet, I think…We have to sleep out doors most of the time. We have to turn out in the night and 4 times in the night. We have to eat hard bread and water most of the time. We don’t get much time to sleep now. I have got tired of such living, sleeping outdoors in the mud and rain. Our sharpshooters are picking off the rebel pickets. There is a large tree close by that we can get up in the top of it and we can see the rebels quite plain, but if the rebels see you, they shoot at you. I went up in the tree yesterday with a Lieutenant. We got fired at twice—both of the balls struck the tree.” — Pvt. George Peirce, Co. E, 29th Mass., 13 June 1862 (Source)

Saturday, June 14—We were on guard at the entrenchments last night at half past 2 a.m. Was called into line expecting an attack. At 10 a.m. was again called into line at a different point and stayed till 4 p.m. when we were ordered for guard at the outside picket.

Sunday, June 15.—At 4 o’clock p.m. my guard was attacked by one and one half regiments of Rebels during a heavy thunder shower. I had command of Co. E, 88th N. Y., and Co.’s E & C 29th Mass. My men fell back from the edge of the woods as the Rebels attempted to flank us. We lost two killed and three wounded. Chas. Klinhaus of my company was wounded. After about thirty minutes skirmishing we got back to our post and soon regularly relieved, tired and wet.

“Wounded. Co. E, 29th Mass. Reg., under command of Capt. S. H. Doten, of this town, was engaged in a skirmish with the rebels on the 15th, in which they came off victorious, and without loss. but one man private C. C. Klinhaus, was wounded; he had a narrow escape, the ball passing through his cartridge box and lodging in his side from whence it was extracted without making a dangerous wound. Nine dead rebels were found on the field after he fight.”

Monday, June 16th—We stood at the breast works till 7 o’clock this morning, wet & cold, with the ground covered with water and mud. The men were most used up. The Capt. that relieved us yesterday found eighteen dead Rebels in front of our lines. We have moved back our camp to good ground to rest the Regiment. Lieut. Collinwood was ordered back to the company yesterday by special order. Gen. McClellan was here today. The troops cheered him as he passed. He told us (it is said) that this was the last stopping place short of Richmond. My wounded man is doing well.

Tuesday, June 17—It has been beautiful weather today. We had quite a still time last night & today. My company has been to work on the Redoubts near the woods. There has been heavy firing towards the James River.

Wednesday, June 18th—Thirteen months since we left home and we are now before Richmond on the advance. We had a night of alarms last night. All quiet today. At 4 o’clock p.m. our skirmishers drew the fire of the Rebels and we were all called into line ready to advance.

Thursday, June 19th—The advance had quite a battle last night. The 16th Mass. lost 56 killed, wounded & missing. We have had no alarm today and hope to have none at night. It has been good weather. There has been quick firing on the right afternoon. Lieut. J[ohn] B. Collingwood has been placed under arrest.

A newspaper article dated 4 October 1862 states, “We are glad to learn Lt. J. B. Collingwood of the 29th Regt. has been ordered to join his regiment and informed that the proceedings instituted against him by Col. Peirce have been quashed as being trivial. This is a fitting commentary upon the proceedings of this Colonel.”

Friday, June 20th—My command was on fatigue today building trenches near the place where we was attacked Sunday. About 2 o’clock the Rebels began to shell the Right and Left Wings and sent a few of their compliments to us. No damage. All quiet. [Capt. William] Windsor returned last night.

Saturday, June 21st—Our pickets were driven in this p.m. & at four o’clock were again driven in by a large force and we had quite a battle on the left of our division. We had four wounded. Loss to Rebels not known. Took some prisoners. We gave them a good shelling. Weather good.

Sunday, June 22nd—The Rebels have kept unusually still today. Everything is quiet. We were turned out five times by alarms and fully expected to have a fight this morning. The alarms were occasioned by the Rebels burying their dead from last evening’s battle.

Monday, June 23rd—This a.m. we had good weather. At M [noon] we had a tempest and at that time was ordered out on picket duty at the place where we were attacked before. At two o’clock we were ordered to advance our pickets into the swamp. We advanced and soon found the Rebel picket and began a brisk skirmish which was kept up till night. No loss on our side. Weather squally.

Tuesday, June 24th—Last night at ten o’clock we had a severe tempest with heavy rain and very dark. This morning at daylight the Rebels opened fire upon us which we returned. At 7 o’clock the sun came out and warmed us up a little as we were very wet and cold. At Nine o’clock we were relieved and returned to camp.

Seven Days’ Battles

Wednesday, June 25th—We have had quite a battle today. A part of our Brigade and a part of Hooker’s & Casey’s division made an advance of some half mile. We met with heavy loss as well as the enemy. We lost many officers. Our batteries have been playing all this p.m. Two hundred men from our regiment are cutting down the forest day and night. Our regiment has been in line all day. Weather good.

Thursday, June 26th—Co. E is again ordered for picket duty. We have had near double picket duty to any other company in the regiment. Our guard is in the swamp where we have made an advance picket. At 4 o’clock a heavy firing of cannon & musketry was heard on the right and we suppose that Porter is trying to make an advance. This evening the bands were playing and troops cheering in all the camps but as we were swamped we could not find out its meaning.

Friday, June 27th—We heard early this morning that Porter was attack[ing] and that he was driving the Rebels and had taken Mechanicsville. This morning at 3:30 o’clock the cannonading began with musketry and kept up till afternoon. At five o’clock our Brigade was ordered at a moment’s warning to march for the battlefield five miles distance at double quick in fifty minutes and arrived just before dusk, formed line of battle, and was ordered to charge over a hollow to the hill beyond. As we filled into the hollow and were getting ready for the charge, a shell killed Lieut. [Thomas] Mayo, cutting the bayonet off J. F. Hall’s musket at the same time. We started up the hill and halted as it was too dark to charge. We were then ordered to “advance till we felt the enemy” which we did and soon felt them, our left drawing their fire. Halted & laid down but were soon ordered to silently retreat back to our old position. We were now at Gainesville near Gains’ Mills.

Saturday, June 28th—At two o’clock this morning we were ordered to cover the retreat of the army. We left the field—the last regiment that crossed the Chickahominy and arrived back at our camp at about five o’clock this morning. We have been quite still all day but are getting ready for a move in retreat and probably shall start tonight. All my sick and disabled are going with the doctor. Where we are going, I do not know but think James River. The Rebels are very still. I have not slept for 40 hours. We have got a few rations ready for a move and are all ready.

Sunday, June 29th—We started from camp at 9:30 o’clock last evening and marched as read guard to the division. We marched down the railroad to Savage Station and waited there till daylight. We again marched back about two miles for stragglers, deployed into a field and waited [—-ments]. Soon after we marched back below the Station near two miles. We were then ordered to march back again and report to Gen. Sumner. After reporting, he ordered us back again. We marched back two or three miles to where the troops were forming line of battle and there halted. The thermometer has stood at near 100 all day and not a breath of air to be felt. Quite a number have been sun struck today and quite a number of officers have been sun struck and given out. At 4 o’clock p.m., I had but about twenty men. At half past five p.m., we again started at the rear of the army. The Rebels attack us this p.m. and we are having a battle. At seven p.m. we were ordered onto the field as it was our division that was at it. Our Brigade went in strong and drove the Rebels hard. We took a few prisoners who say we fairly slaughtered the Rebels. At half past ten p.m. we again took up our line of march in the rear. It has rained hard this evening and made the roads very slippery and it is also very dark. We traveled to the White Oak Swamp Bridge. The bridge is over an extensive mud-hole. We crossed it at about two o’clock Monday morning and encamped on the side of a hill fairly used up, but about twenty of my company held out to get here. I had a slight sun stroke today but recovered in a short time. We have traveled all of twenty-five miles today.

Monday, June 30th—We were ordered into line at sunrise this morning and immediately the Brigade formed into line of battle at the Rebels were pressing in close. We eat what we could hastily from our haversacks which was nothing but hard bread and taking a drink of good water, the first we have had since we left, we fell into line and was after much marching placed in line of battle where we rested till noon. We had hard bread again dealt out to us here but no meat or coffee. At one o’clock we were surprised by a severe attack from a heavy battery that had been placed in position by the Rebels.

Col. Ebenezer Weaver Peirce

There was a stampede of mules about 100 of them being chained or rather harnessed into six mule teams and unhitched from the wagons and they stampeded among the regiments. Our regiment was immediately put in position to support the Batteries. We, not being in the right position at first, we were ordered by Gen. Richardson to march to the left, he executing this movement. Col. Peirce had his arm shot off, three men were killed, and a number wounded. We soon got our position and a perfect shower of shot and shell fell around us for near six hours. We laid as close to the ground as possible. In this battle we had eighty seven killed, wounded, and missing. At five o’clock p.m., the firing slackened and we had time to get some water and to bury the dead. Soon the Rebels began again and we again took our position till near seven o’clock.. At about three o’clock p.m., a heavy sharp firing was opened on the right where General ____ with a heavy force had been sent early in the day to protect our flank. At seven o’clock our regiment was called to go to the battlefield about two miles distant. We started at double quick and soon arrived at the field and was drawn up in line of battle for charging, but the cheering when they saw us enter on the field and the supposition that we were the whole Irish Brigade, served to check the Rebels and they soon ceased firing. It was quite dark and we stood in line till nine o’clock pm. and we were enticed to lay down on our arms. We tried to get water as we were very thirsty but it could not be found.

Our division had whipped the Rebels hard and they had given way before dark and our troops were driving them. Their loss must have been very heavy. Four of my men have been wounded today but none dangerously. at near twelve o’clock midnight we were ordered to fall in and march onward. Gen’ls. Sumner, Richardson, & Meagher showed themselves to be brave men today and they have the confidence of the troops. Gen’l Richardson is called “Fighting Dick.” He is cool, decided and energetic. As the mules had stampeded, we had to burn our pontoon bridges before leaving the first fighting ground. When the shot & shell was flying fastest. Gen’l. [Thomas F.] Meagher walked in front of the Brigade the whole length of the line to the batteries. As he passed our regiment when we were receiving the most attention from the Rebels, he remarked, “Hell boys, at this rate, you’ll soon want umbrellas here.”

Brian K. Burton’s book Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles makes reference to an account of a fascinating incident that occurred at White Oak Swamp Bridge on 30th June 1862, part of the Peninsula Campaign. The Irish Brigade were positioned here as part of the Union rearguard during the Federal retreat/change of base to the James River. Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was tasked with applying pressure to the Union positions at this location, and the fighting principally manifested itself in the form of an intense artillery duel. William Watt Hart Davis of the 104th Pennsylvania Regiment was also present as the shells began to fall, and he witnessed an extraordinary sight as the Irish Brigade endured the barrage:

An Irish camp woman, belonging to a New York regiment, made herself quite conspicuous during the action. She remained close to the side of her husband, and refused to retire to a place of security. She was full of pluck. Occasionally she would notice some fellow sneaking to the rear, when she would run after him, seize him by the nape of his neck and place him in the ranks again, calling him a “dirty, cowardly spalpeen,” and other choice epithets. The flying shells had no terrors for her. During the hottest of the cannonade, this courageous woman walked fearlessly about among the troops, encouraging them to stand up to their work. Her only weapon, offensive or defensive, was a large umbrella she carried under her arm. In one instance she shamed a commissioned officer into returning to his duty. She belonged to the Irish Brigade, and her stout person, full, red face and broad language betrayed her undoubted origin.”  [Source]

Tuesday, July 1, 1862—At one o’clock this morning our Brigade was called into line and ordered to take up their line of march for James River. We traveled about five miles and at sunrise fell again into line at what was called McClellan’s Headquarters, in about two hours after we were ordered out to support the batteries with some six or eight more regiments. We took a good smart shelling from Rebel batteries that we could not silence, receiving no damage. The batteries were ten withdrawn as well as ourselves and our regiment put on picket duty. At 4 o’clock p.m., Gen’l Meagher told us to kill six of the sheep in sight of us and also one bullock for our regiment. The sheep were dressed and divided among the men, fires built ready for cooking, but at that moment there was an alarm and we jumped to our arms and was immediately on the march. Lucky for us it proved a false alarm and we marched back and cooked our sheep. We had no salt but it was sweet and good as we had no meat for some time. The part of the bullock that fell to our share we immediately cut up into steaks and divided and put it away in our haversacks and luckily that we did as the rebels were pressing hard at the battle progressing on the right and for which we were held in reserve.

At five o’clock the time had come for us to march to “Malvern Hills” nearby and do our part of the days duty. We was soon on the field and a hard fought field it was. We were ordered to support the batteries. There was near fifty Parrott Rifle Guns in position. “Magruder,” the Rebel General charged three times on this battery but it was useless and we finally charged on them and drove them from the field. It is said that the Rebel army consisted of 40,000 men. Ours did not exceed 20,000. They lost very heavy as near three thousand lay dead in front of the guns. Our loss was quite large but the victory was ours decidedly. Near 100 guns continued to shell the woods for near one hour. It was a grand sight. [Charles E.] Merriam received a slight wound from a ball in his thigh.

Battle of Malvern Hill on 1 July 1862

Wednesday, July 2—This morning at one o’clock we were ordered to leave the battlefield and take up the line of march. By three o’clock the army was all on the march. Our Brigade bring up the rear as usual. At 4 a.m. it began to rain. Soon the roads were all mud and as we had now come up with our teams who had to take one side of the road while the batteries took the other, and three regiments passing side by side, it was a hard dirty mess. The regiment marched by the flank & by file through woods and fields never losing each other’s lead. We were soon covered with mud from head to foot & it rained very hard all the time. We marched sixteen miles to Harrison’s Landing where we encamped. We had but few tents and many of us had to lay out in the rain. Muddy and wet, wet all day and sleep wet all night with a cold chill wind is not the most agreeable way of resting from a hard days labor. We made shelters of our blankets as best we could and fixed for an uncomfortable night. We have suffered much for want of water on this march. Men have drank from puddles & pools of stagnant water and have suffered severely by so doing and many of these are sick and more will be. Although we have retreated from before Richmond and are sorely disappointed, yet we have confidence in our generals and especially in our Commander-in-Chief, General McClellan. This retreat has as we think been conducted with a masterful hand and a quick eye, and adds to, rather than takes from, his fame.

Capt. Josiah C. Fuller (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)

Thursday, July 3rd—We turned out soaking wet. It was a cold night and the most of us were so uncomfortable that we could not sleep. I have not slept any of consequence for a week and am most sick. Most of us are weak for want of proper food. At eleven o’clock a.m. we were called out as we were ed but before we got there, the troops engaged had taken the Battery engaged against us. We are now turned on the defensive and it will be dangerous to meddle with us. We changed to a new camp ground which is far better than the last. The 32nd Reg. Mass. Vol. arrived here today and was fully introduced to the sacred mud of Virginia. Some of the Plymouth boys came to see us. Saw Capt. J[osiah C.] Fuller [Co. C, 32nd Mass]. He was looking well. Some of our men who have straggled came in yesterday and today.

Friday, July 4th—This has been a very hot day. I went to the river and had a good wash. Took off my under clothes and pants and washed them and then sat and waited for them to dry. It did not seem much like the “Glorious Fourth.”

Saturday, July 5th—We were ordered to encamp in a piece of woods nearby. We laid out our new camp and soon removed ourselves to the new abode beneath the sheltering trees. It is better than the hot sun.

Sunday, July 6th—A very hot day. Everything goes on as usual. My men are getting over their fatigue a little, but many of them are sick.

Monday, July 7th—Still another hot day. We have kept as still as possible. At night we went to the James river about a mile distant to bathe. It was a real luxury.

Tuesday, July 8th—Hot again. We moved our camp further into the woods and have more shade though less air. We had dress parade this evening.

Wednesday, July 9th—Still hot. Everything seems to have settled down to the usual rounds. Went to the river and bathed.

Thursday, July 10th—We have shelter tents given out to us and have pitched them. Had them all struck this p.m. and ground well policed. Pitched my shelter tent in a good place and fixed it up quite comfortable. Had company today.

Friday July 11th—It rained hard all day and last night. No military movements today. Wrote home for chest or box.

Saturday, July 12th—Weather pleasant and good. The cavalry made a reconnoissance last night and brought back six prisoners.

Sunday, July 13th—Good weather. We went through inspection this a.m. and dress parade at p.m. I have drawn from the quartermaster shoes, shirts, and drawers and gave them out to the company.

Monday, July 14th—Was invited over to the 18th Reg. to dine with Capt. Collingwood & others. Had a good dinner—the first I have had since I left Fair Oaks. Spent the time quite pleasantly. We had Company & Battalion drills this morning. Weather hot. My men have all come except six and they are to be counted missing.

Tuesday, July 15th—The weather is very hot and sultry. Everything goes on as usual. It rained hard last night.

Wednesday, July 16th—I was sent with seventy-five men this morning to report to Gen’l. Richardson. He sent us to police the plain, bury old horses, &c. It was so hot that we could do but little and was sent back at noon.

Thursday, July 17th—we were again on police on the plain. It was a decidedly hot day.

Friday, July 18th—Just fourteen months since we left home. It rained hard all night and today. I have been quite unwell today with the piles.

Saturday, July 19th—We were mustered today. I made out our pay roll to muster by. We had a drill this morning but I was not able to attend. The weather has been quite cool.

Sunday, July 20th—Everything as usual with the usual Sunday inspection. Weather very hot.

Monday, July 21st—We had company drill this morning. The weather has been quite cool. I have been quite unwell today.

Tuesday, July 22nd—A stormy day and no drills.

Wednesday, July 23rd—It rained this p.m. I have been quite sick today. There is much sickness in the camp.

Thursday, July 24th—I went to the river and bathed today but it was too much for me and I have been quite sick with the neuralgy this afternoon. Cornelius Bradford came up from the Fortress Monroe to see me last night. He brought me some soft bread—the first I have had for a long time. He brought some cooking utensils that I sent down for. He went back today. It was quite hot. Drills as usual.

Friday, July 25th—This has been a very hot day. I have been quite sick today but went on dress parade for fear I should get lazy. It was rather too much but I stood it quite well. Saw William H. Johnston today.

Saturday, July 26th—Sick as usual and a bad head ache.

Sunday, July 27th—Inspection day. The company passed inspection and after that I dealt out pants to them.

Monday, July 28th—I am about the same as yesterday and suffer much with my head. The doctor pronounces my sickness Typhoid Fever.

Tuesday, July 29th—Sick as usual and have lost all appetite for food.

Wednesday, July 30th—Had a bad night last night and a sicker day than yesterday.

Thursday, July 31st—Felt a little better today and with assistance, went to the Brigade Surgeon to get twenty days leave of absence. “No go.” Just my luck. It has rained hard today.

Friday, August 1st—Have had quite a good day today but eat nothing of consequence. We were shelled from the other side of the river last night but it did but little damage.

Saturday, August 2nd—A bad day today. I find I grow weak very fast. The weather is good. 400 contrabands were sent over today escorted by a brigade of infantry to throw up breastworks on the other side of the river.

Sunday, August 3rd—I have been very sick today.

[No entries for a week]

Sunday, August 10th—I am better but weak. I have not been able to keep my journal for the past week. The regiment have gone out on picket guard without blankets or tents. I am very weak now. I took command of the camp by special request of Col. [Joseph H.] Barnes.

Monday, August 11th—Good weather. The Brigade has orders to get ready to move at 2 o’clock p.m.

Tuesday, August 12th—We have not started yet. All our knapsacks are on board transports as well as our tents. The regiment has been out on picket duty since Wednesday week.

Wednesday, august 13th—Nothing out of the usual routine of duty today. Weather warm.

Thursday, August 14th—Weather very hot and oppressive. I had all the sick in camp examined and those not excused I sent to the regiment. I think I am somewhat better today.

The Steamer S. R. Spaulding was used to transport sick and wounded soldiers in 1862

Friday, August 15th—The regiment came in from picket duty today. The sick are ordered to go to the hospital at one o’clock p.m. At two o’clock I was helped to the boat but had to walk near a mile in the hot sun. After a long delay, I was got on board a small steam tug and put on board the steamer, S. R. Spaulding. I was put in a good berth and had good attention shown me by kind female nurses. The arrangements on board the Spaulding for sick are good and they give attention to the sick. It did seem quite good to lay upon a bed again. We have some six hundred sick onboard.

Saturday, August 16th—We stopped at Fortress Monroe till about ten o’clock a.m. for orders and soon after sailed for New York with a cold head wind and strong breeze.

Sunday, August 17th—We have been at sea all day with a strong head wind. It is not very rough and the steamer moves along easily. I feel better than I have for some time. The sea air braces me up. The nurses are very kind and attentive. We expect to arrive by tewlve o’clock tonight.

Monday, August 18th—We arrived off New York at eleven o’clock last evening and anchored off Castle Garden. I got on deck and took my first view of the City. At ten o’clock a.m. two steamers came alongside and took us all on board. One steamer took those who were able to walk about to Fort Hamilton. The rest of the sick, myself included, were taken on board the other steamer and sent Newark, New Jersey. we sailed by Staten Island and sick as I was, I could not help getting up to the window and admiring the beautiful island and its fairy scenery. At 2 o’clock p.m. we arrived at our destination and landed into the hospital. I was much disappointed at not stopping at New York.

Tuesday, August 19th—I did not sleep much last night as it was the first time for near six months that I have slept without my clothes on. I took a little medicine last night and feel rather better today.

Wednesday, August 20th—Slept well last night and feel better today. Eat some fruit. Quarreled with the ward master about the food and had a row generally. Think I feel better for it.

Thursday, August 21st—Things go better with the promise of further improvements and change. I was most agreeably surprised with a visit from two of my New York cousins today—Deborah and Rebecca. Both came down to see me. I was very glad to see them as it is many years since I saw them before. I am very weak as yet but feel that I am gaining. I did not know Deborah at first and mistook her for “Kate.” I walked to the street with help and bought some fruit. Doctor [Henry B.] Wheelwright was here today and promised to do all he could to get the four officers here belonging to the Mass. 29th into Massachusetts “Doubtful.” The four officers belonging to the 29th are myself, Lieut. [William R.] Corlew, Lieut. [Freeman Augustus] Taber, & Lieut. [Henry S.] Braden.

Friday, August 22nd—We have a good hospital and good attendants. Doctor [John H.] Janeway, US Surgeon is at the head of it and the ladies of the city do all that they can to alleviate suffering. They are very kind. There is fourteen hundred at this hospital and the deaths are not over one per day on an average. I think myself better but little appetite, but it’s coming.

Saturday, August 23rd—Today I received a telegraph from Charley that they would break camp tomorrow. I have not been so well today.

Sunday, August 24th—The church bells sound good and I feel glad to hear them. Once more I am better than I was yesterday. I walked out a little way today.

Monday, August 25th—Better than yesterday. I walked to the depot and waited almost all day to see Charley. He did not come as I expected.

Tuesday, August 26th—Cousin Kate came to see me today and brought me oranges and lemons. I was very glad to see her. Lieut. Corlew and Taber started for home this afternoon to be back on Friday. Received telegraph from Charley that he would be here tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 27th 1862—Passed a restless night last night. At eight o’clock a.m. I got to the depot and waited till two o’clock p.m. at which time the cars came along with the 38th Mass. Regt. I saw Charley but had not time to talk with him. Saw other Plymouth boys. got back to the hospital most tired out.

Thursday, August 28th—I am not so well today as I had a bad night. This p.m. Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Miller took me into their carriage and took me round the City. I was much pleased and it did me good. Newark is a very pleasant place, well situated, but not so business like as I should expect being only seven miles from New York. still it is a fine, healthy place and people kind and friendly.

Friday, August 29th—We were told by the Surgeon that he could give us a permit to go home. I immediately telegraphed home to send nothing to me as I was about to “change station.”

Saturday, August 30th—I got my papers fixed at eleven o’clock a.m. and then took the cars for New York. Went to see my friends and dined & spent the afternoon with them. At five o’clock took the Fall River boat for home. Met Lucius Mott on board the boat and took supper with him on board.

Sunday, August 31st—We arrived at Fall River and took the cars for Middleborough and there took a private carriage for Plymouth where I arrived at ten o’clock a.m. I was glad to get there and they were all glad to see me.

There were no entries from 31 August 1862 until 24 October 1862 while Capt. Doten was at home recuperating from his illness. During his absence from the regiment, the 29th Mass—the only non-Irish regiment of the Irish Brigade—participated in the Battle of Antietam where they fought in line between the 63rd and 69th New York regiments in the assault on the Confederate positions in the Sunken Road. Their losses were somewhat less severe than the other regiments in the Brigade because they were somewhat sheltered by a slight dip in the ground at their position overlooking the road.

Not long after the battle, Mrs. Doten received a letter—obviously a scam—purporting to come from Capt. Doten in New York, asking for money which read:

New York
September 23, 1862

My Dear Wife,

I have just arrived here wounded in the arm from the battle. I shall not have to lose my arm but it will lay me up for some time. I am under the care of Dr. Cotton, and get him to write to you as I am unable to write. I shall be on to Plymouth in a day or two, as soon as I can get leave from Washington. Send me on by return mail $50 to pay some expenses. Don’t delay as I need it badly. Direct to me and put the envelope in another directed to Dr. Jesse B. Cotton, New York, then I shall get it safe. Expect me in a day or two. Don’t feel uneasy for my wound is not very bad. Don’t make it public until I get there. Love to all. Your affectionate husband, — Samuel H. Doten

On 6 September 1862, the local Plymouth paper published the following:
“Arrived Home. Although sorry to owe it to his illness, yet it afforded us great pleasure to take the hand of Capt. S. H. Doten last Sunday upon his arrival from the Hospital at Newark, N. J. Capt. Doten was taken ill soon after the battles of the Peninsular, and although sick and hardly able to leave his tent he stayed with his company until the evacuation of Harrison’s Landing, when, being unable to proceed with his company he was sent to Newark, from where he had leave to visit his family, and under home influence recruit his health. Although Capt. D looks thin and worn, he is impatient to be again in the field leading his brave comrades against the rebels, and will join them at the earliest possible moment.”

Monday, October 24th 1862—I left home again and started for the army at 9 o’clock a.m. this day. Arrived at Boston and dined with B. Hathaway at Mrs. Goddard’s. Left Boston in the 5:30 o’clock p.m. train for New York by the Fall River route and am now on board the Steamer Metropolis. It is a fine night and cool.

Samuel C. Wright, Co. E, 29th Massachusetts, won the Medal of Honor for bravery at Antietam when he volunteered to run ahead and take down a split rail fence blocking the Iron Brigade’s approach to the Sunken Road.

October 21st, Teuesday—Arrived safe at New York at 7 o’clock this morning. Went to see the Bradford’s and took dinner and supper with them. Saw Sam Merriam, Nickerson, Sampson, & others and took a ride up Broadway. It is a splendid sight and well worth the trouble. Put up for the night at the Courtland House and had a good night’s rest. Went to Newark in the course of the day. Saw Mrs. Nichols but did not see Mrs. Miller. Went to her house. Went back to the hospital and got my discharge and then back to New York [City].

Wednesday, October 22nd—Started this morning for Baltimore at 7 o’clock a.m. and passed through Trenton, New Jersey, and crossed the Delaware River near where Washington crossed in ’76. We passed through a beautiful country, very level and fertile. After crossing the river, we passed through the town of Bristol—a nice farming town—and across the New York canal, passed through Lyconia on the Delaware River. It is an old town to appearance but good farming. Passed through Kensington and arrived at Philadelphia at 10:30 o’clock. Took the horse cars, passed through Philadelphia, and again took cars for Baltimore. At 12 M [noon] crossed the Schuylkill river, passed through Chester—rather a rough looking place, the land apparently good for farming and grazing and appears to be well improved. Soon after left the state Pennsylvania and came to Wilmington, Delaware. It appears to be quite a business place but rather dirty. Took my dinner in a dining car, probably a Yankee invention, w going at the rate of twenty miles per hour. We soon left the little state of Delaware and passed through the towns of Winchester, Perryville, and Havre-de-Grace where the trains cross the Susquehanna River on a steam railroad ferry boat. The river here is near half mile wide. We crossed in about fifteen minutes and arrived at Baltimore at half past three p.m. nd put up at the Eutaw House. W. T. Davis came there in the evening from Washington. I was much gratified to meet Major Christensen there. He is aide to Gen. Wool.

Thursday, October 23rd—This morning took a walk around the city and was much pleased with the appearance. Went out to Camp Emory, saw Capt. C. C. Doten and others belonging to Plymouth. Saw Col. Ingraham, returned to the city, and dined with Capt. C. C. Doten. saw George Cobb and took supper at a restaurant. Saw Joseph P. Maury at the hospital at Camp Emory.

Friday, October 24th—Capt. C. C. Doten stopped with me at the Eutaw House last night. This morning at 8 o’clock a.m. started for Washington and arrived at 10 a.m. went to the hospitals to find my men. Could find but one—Sergt. P[eter] Winsor at the Finlay Hospital. Went to the Patent Office which is filled with sick and wounded. Saw the Post Office Building. The Post Office and Patent Office are splendid marble buildings. Went to the Capitol and into it. Saw all the paintings in the rotunda. They are splendid and beautiful. Went through the Capitol grounds and at night put up at Willard’s Hotel.

Saturday, October 25th—This morning went to the Washington and as it is on the banks of the Potomac River, I had a good view of both. saw Washington Heights so famous in this rebellion as also the residence of Gen. Lee which is on Arlington Heights. Saw the Long Bridge. From there went to the pay masters and got my pay. Went again to the Capitol and got permission to go to the top of the rotunda. It is a splendid sight and beautiful prospect from there. We could see regiments moving mid clouds of dust and the Potomac with all its windings was before us. Got my money ready and sent it home by Adams Express. Saw Lieut. [Abram A.] Oliver [Co. I] and [Thomas H.] Husband [Co. F] and Capt. [Charles] Brady all of the 29th. Saw the Treasury Buildings and went through the grounds. The building is splendid but the grounds are poorly laid out as is all that I have seen yet. It wants Yankee industry and Yankee enterprise and ingenuity as well as Yankee thrift to make Washington what it should be. It is now splendid, magnificent, dirty and squalid and is really neither southern or Yankee. The weather has been fine since I started from home. Got my valise that I checked through from New York.

Sunday, October 26th—It rains hard today. Went to Gen. Banks’ Headquarters and got a pass for Sergt. Winsor. After dinner saw Mr. Bates of New York and in the evening saw Maj. Gen. McDowell. It has rained hard all day.

Monday, October 27th—Went this morning and got a pass for self, Lieut. Collingwood, and Winsor for Harpers Ferry. Went to the White House and went into the reception room. It was splendid. Went to the Smithsonian Institute. Saw the equestrian statue of Gen. Jackson at the grounds of the White House. The curiosities at the Smithsonian Institute are well worthy of a long journey and carefree observation. At 3:30 o’clock p.m. took the cars for Harpers Ferry at a cost of four dollars. Passed through Bladensburg and other towns to the Relay House at the junction where we left the Baltimore Road and took the road for Harpers Ferry.

Tuesday, October 28th—We arrived at Harpers Ferry at 4 o’clock this morning having been delayed by the trains running over a cow. Took a walk round the place and a look at the destruction of public property. Harpers Ferry is surrounded by high mountainous heights. Louden, Maryland, and Bolivar, the last of which our regiment is encamped upon. Went to the regiment at 11 o’clock a.m. and saw the company who were very glad to see me as I was to see them. I found them in shelter tents and at night took up my quarters in camp.

Wednesday, October 29th—Had a cool night with heavy frost. Was busy all day answering letters that had been sent while I was absent, Made out a large lot of Descriptive Lists for men in hospitals, Began my muster notes and pay rolls. At 4 o’clock p.m. had orders to pack up for a march and at 6 p.m. started, bag and baggage. Crossed the Shenandoah River over the pontoon bridge and followed the Potomac River down on the Virginia side beneath Bolivar Heights. It was a rough and hard road, mostly cut out of the solid rocks which were two to three hundred feet high and almost perpendicular. The scenery was grand and beautiful and I did wish to have had daylight to have enjoyed it.

We marched to Pleasant Valley about four miles and at 8:30 p.m. encamped for the night. I stood the march as well as I expected but sweat much, not being very strong. The weather was cool. I reported for duty today and was again placed in command of my company. We sleep without tents on the ground.

Thursday, October 30th—At 4 o’clock this morning the call was beat and the regiment ordered to be ready at sunrise for marching. And just as the sun peeked over the hills, we were in line ready for the march. We have a large force with us and three or four light batteries and all of our train of wagons and a large number of cavalry. At 7:30 o’clock we started and at 10:30 o’clock halted in the valley. This division was then divided and marched on each side of the road in line of battle. The battery, cavalry & teams came up and we proceeded to pitch our tents. I went to work again on my pay rolls. The weather is very good. We are here advancing to protect this valley gap and it is said to be important.

Friday, October 31st—This morning was again busy on muster rolls. Was detailed as Officer of the Day. Got Lt. Collinwood to take my place. About 9 o’clock a.m., the regiment were ordered to fall in for picket duty. We were about two miles from camp and companies were ordered on different roads to reconnoiter. Nothing discovered of the enemy. We were mustered in by Col. [Ebenezer W.] Peirce while out on duty. At night, set picket guard at a piece of woods on the north side of the road, the 116th Pennsylvania Regiment being on the south side. I had the 9 o’clock to one with three companies under my charge. Weather pleasant but cool.

Saturday, November 1st—The relief guard fell in at daylight and stood to their guns till sunrise when they had liberty to get their breakfast and as they had nothing to eat, it was soon accomplished. Some of the men killed a small pig. I bought two chickens and had them cooked. At ten o’clock we were ordered to camp and to pack up and march immediately. At about 11:30 a.m. we started at the rear of our Brigade followed by all Hancock’s Division and five or six batteries and marched about six miles and stopped to rest. At half past 3 p.m. we again took up line of march and marched about six miles and encamped for the night. It was pleasant weather but I could hardly hold out. My feet and legs were so swollen, I could hardly step when we encamped.

Sunday, November 2nd—We were called into line this morning at daylight, broke ranks for breakfast and at 7:30 o’clock started. Marched a short distance and deployed into a field and formed line of battle. We marched in line over fields, fences, &c. near one mile till we were opposite Snicker’s Gap through the mountain. The batteries came into line and took their station. Gen. Hancock was round. He appears smart and active. At 11:30 a.m. our regiment were rested near a fence in front of the gap.

This p.m. Porter’s Corps came up and at night encamped with us. There is a very large army here and we expect to advance in the morning. There has been heavy cannonading to the south of us all day. The weather is light and good.

Monday, November 3rd—Last night was cold with showers and heavy wind squalls. Went over to the 18th Mass. as they were near us, Saw Capt. Collingwood and Drew. Went to the 32nd Mass. but Capt. Fuller & company were detailed for ammunition guard. At 11 o’clock a.m. took up line of march. Went over five miles and encamped on the best farm I have yet seen in Virginia. Our army travels in three lines by different roads. We are now on the road to Winchester. The weather is cold but pleasant. Legs pretty well done for.

Tuesday, November 4th—This morning at two o’clock we drew one days rations and divided it out. Our advance cavalry under Gen. Pleasanton with some five or six thousand cavalry and ten batteries started early this morning and Porter’s Corps followed soon after. We rested here till night and encamped.

Wednesday, November 5, 1862—This has been a good day. At 1:30 o’clock p.m. we were ordered to fall in and march. We went about seven miles and encamped on a rough hillside, the wind high and cold, looking much like a storm. We had a hard march over high hills and deep valleys and a very rough road. I finished my pay rolls this a.m.

Thursday, November 6, 1862—The wind changed to the northeast about midnight and was very cold with rain and the wind blowing a gale. We drew our days rations this morning and at 7 o’clock took up line of march and marched through Piedmont where the railroad passes through. We crossed one other railroad about one mile from the first and encamped for dinner. After dinner fixed our camp and at six o’clock I was detailed for picket guard and sent with 100 men under my command about two miles. It is very cold and having marched near ten miles, I can hardly step but don’t give up yet.

Example of Capt. S. H. Doten’s Journal

Friday, November 7th—It was a very cold night on guard. I laid down on the ground about half hour but gave it up, it was so cold. I walked my guard all night twelve hours and was chilled through. We were not allowed any fire on the pickets. At 10 o’clock it moderated and commenced snowing. Snow fell to the depth of three or four inches. It snowed nearly all day. Got a letter from home. Our tents got up with us tonight and I have pitched mine for the first time since we left the Ferry. It is reported here that the Rebels have taken possession of Snicker’s Gap.

Saturday, November 8th—At 4 o’clock this morning we were ordered to draw one day’s rations and be ready to start early. At even and a half o’clock we started and traveled about 12 miles and encamped at the edge of a wood. McClellan and Burnside passed us today and a very large train of wagons. Our batteries are placed near us to prevent surprise and are placed in good position. This looks rather squally. The weather looks threatening but it is not so cold and the snow is fast disappearing. No tents tonight.

Gen’ls. Burnside & McClellan ride past the troops on the march in November 1862.

Sunday, November 9th—It was a cold night and snowed. At 9 o’clock a.m. we had services and started on the march. We marched about eight miles to Warrington where we arrived at 2 o’clock p.m. This place is Burnside’s Headquarters at present. There is a great number of troops here. We have about one thousand head of cattle with us. At three o’clock p.m. we encamped for the night. Our tents came up and we pitched them. Saw Capt. Fuller of the 32nd Mass. as we came into town. The weather is fine but cool.

Monday, November 10th—This morning we were called into line at 6:15 o’clock as Gen. McClellan was to take a final leave of the army. At 9 o’clock the troops were all in line and soon after the General came past and was saluted by the soldiers. There was many wet eyes as the officers and soldiers think highly of him and felt bad to have him leave us. It has been a beautiful day. We cheered McClellan heartily as he passed. We expect to leave here tomorrow. Got my pay rolls read over today & got clear of them.

Tuesday. November 11th—This has been a good day and as it is warm, I have improved the day to get my writing and correspondence square.

Wednesday, November 12th—We have had a pleasant day. Went up to Warrenton and took a look at the town. It is an old place. Has six churches—two of them Methodist, two Presbyterian, one Episcopal. and one Catholic—three hotels, and quite a number of stores. The business of the place is principally farming. There is some manufactories of cloth ad some small manufactories of other business. There is many quite fine residences and before this war it was called quite a healthy place. The town stands mostly on an eminence overlooking the surrounding country. The place looks squalid and dirty. There is quite a large number of sick secesh prisoners here, mostly wounded in the last battle [Antietam] and as they left here in haste they could not take them away with them. I went over to the 18th Regt. and took supper with Capt. Drew and others. Saw Capt. Fuller at Warrenton. He looked well and hearty.

A sketch of Warrenton, Virginia, appearing in Harper’s Weekly, November 1862

A letter submitted to a hometown paper by an an anonymous contributor from the 29th Massachusetts wrote the following of Warrenton, mocking the village:

We expected before this time to have advanced still farther into the heart of Old Virginia and give the  rebels a second revised edition of what they received at Upperville a few days since, but delay seems to be the  order of the day whether McClellan or Burnside guides the arms of State or leads on to battle; when the rebels  get sufficient distance from us that there will be no danger in following them, we should probably follow in the  tracks, but at sufficient distance to secure safety.

Warrenton, near which we are encamped, is what would be called in Massachusetts, quite a village, but is  near dignified with the title of a city, it is situated on a high rising ground and like all else in Virginia, has the  look of ages past, when architecture was in its infancy, and deformity the ruling passion. Rural and modern  architecture would certainly blush at the huge stone or brick chimneys that are generally erected at both ends  of the houses on the outside, and at the abortive attempts at portico and piazza, which are as heavy with  lumber as a Dutchman’s eyes with slumber. We should as soon look for beauty in form and feature in the  wooden Gods of the Chinese mandarins, as to look for beauty or taste in architecture among the F. F. V’s, in  Virginia. Nature having formed the foundations, of the street (as it has but one principal street) of this city of a  composition almost adamantine, it has been kept in a decent state of preservation, but the sidewalks, that have  the appearance of once having been formed of brick have long since passed away and their material, in  imitation of human nature, returned to the dust from which they were first created. At the crossings and as  further evidence of its antiquity, are heavy stepping stones probably in imitation of the ancient druids, or in  fear that the time of which we often read might come, even here, of streets deluged in blood, at which time  those who were bootless could pass over and not wet their feet. Having some curiosity in knowing what could  possess human beings to locate themselves here, and railroad victims to make a branch railroad to this place,  and to understand what could support either, we asked a cadaverous looking specimen of humanity, that  looked for all the world as if a spirit had left its earthly home unbeknown to its shadow, and left that God forsaken: “What was the principal business of the place, from which increase could be desired for the support of man and beast?”

Thursday, November 13th—Slight showers last night. Weather moderate. We have had a pleasant day. We were called out to greet Gen. Burnside but as he did not appear, we saved our greetings for another time. Had an invoice of stockings, shoes & overcoats and issued them. The overcoat I took myself.

Friday, November 14th—We have beautiful weather and moderates. Drew two days rations this a.m. and this evening we were ordered to draw one more ration and be ready to start early tomorrow morning. Nothing unusual has occurred today. Got my outside coat fixed.

Saturday, November 15th—Started at 7:30 o’clock this a.m. and marched about ten miles to near Warrenton Junction. Crossed the railroad and encamped for the night at about 4 o’clock p.m.

“You see we are on the move again. we arrived here in Warrenton last Sunday, having made a longer stop here than at any other place since leaving Bolivar Heights. This morning, however, we are to move again,  report says towards Culpepper. The order came last evening to be ready for a move, and Chaplain Hempstead had the men got together, when he addressed them upon matters pertaining to the soul. It was a solemn time,  for the hour was an unusual one, and the Chaplain spoke with unwonted earnestness. I think the meeting will  not be forgotten soon by those who attended.

Since leaving Bolivar Heights, we have been blessed with pretty good weather, with the exception of one  day, when we had quite a snow storm. The nights are very cold and with nothing but our small shelter tents, it  seems as if we must freeze.

Capt. Doten and Lieut. Collingwood joined the company before leaving Bolivar Heights, much to the gratification of the boys, and this morning I noticed the shoulder straps on Lieut. (late Sergt.) Winsor, who has received a second Lieut’s. commission, and been appointed to our company, another cause for congratulation.

There is nothing of interest occurring with us now. We march day after day without seeing or hearing of a rebel, at least, since leaving Snicker’s. We eat our daily portion of raw salt pork and hard tack, and wait patiently for the “coming event,” for we are all king for a fight, Gen. McClellan is superseded by Gen. Burnside, and something must be done, and that quickly, or Burnside will be superseded, as an officer said the other day, it was nothing but say good bye to one General, and “how d’ye do” to another, in this Army of the Potomac.” — Letter by Pvt. Henry H. Robbins, Co. E, 29th Mass., dated 15 November 1862

Sunday, November 16th—Started at 7:30 o’clock this a.m., our Brigade in advance and our regiment in advance of the Brigade. As we were the advance, so we were the skirmishers for the day. We marched fourteen miles through the woods and fields. The army advances in three columns, one in the road and one on each side of it. We encamped at 4 o’clock p.m. tired and weary.

Monday, November 17th—Got our breakfast and started at 9 o’clock a.m. as rear guard for the teams. We marched to the road and waited till near twelve o’clock before the rear of the train came up when we fell in at 5 o’clock p.m. We encamped having marched about eight miles. There has been heavy cannonading in advance all day. We had quite a rain last night.

Tuesday, November 18th—We were ordered to fall in this morning at 6:30 o’clock. We got our breakfast and was ready. Marched to near Falmouth and encamped. Our troops appear to be in good spirits.

Wednesday, November 19th—We still remain at our camp. Troops have been passing us all day.

Thursday, November 20th—We had heavy showers last night and through the day. I went to Falmouth about one mile distant from our camp. it is an old town and looks like most of the towns in Virginia—about run out. I could not get anything to eat but a few potatoes and some corn cakes. Potatoes are four dollars per bushel and very poor. Potatoes were planted this spring but the Rebels pulled them up when they were about half grown. Consequently they are very scarce. We here get our first sight of the Rappahannock River. The bridges are all destroyed but the river at this place is fordable. I get quite a good view of Fredericksburg on the opposite side of the river. The burial ground of this town has like the place, gone to decay. Saw quite a number of the graves of our cavalry in this burial place. They fell in the battle near here in April last.

Friday, November 21st—We still hold our position as we were. Nothing new transpiring.

Saturday, November 22nd—At 11:30 o’clock this a.m. we were called for picket duty. Our regiment is posted on the banks of the river. We can see the Rebels opposite and they appear to have a large army. Set our pickets, Co. E being the reserve. I went to a house near the river by permission and stopped for the night as I am not well.

An anonymous member of Co. E, 29th Mass. Infantry wrote a hometown paper on 22 November 1862:

“There is now for duty in Co. E, 2 commissioned officers, 6 non-com officers, and 17 privates…Co. E, may be, and is, harder detailed than any other company in the regiment; but as to sick, it has less than the general average, but what is left of them the elements, fatigue, and hunger, seem to make no impression upon.”

Sunday, November 23rd—Slept in a house last night on the floor. At daylight we were ready as we expected the battle would open. Rode down the line of pickets with the Colonel. Saw plenty of Rebels on the opposite side of the river and their batteries. The people of Falmouth have most all left. They expect to be shelled today. Mr. Bryan * owns the house and farm [above Falmouth] where we stopped last night. It is a splendid farm. I took breakfast with him. At 1:30 o’clock p.m. we were relieved by the New York 7th Regiment—our old Newport News friends. When we got back to our camp we found it removed about three quarters of a mile to a piece of woods and in a good place.

* The Bryan house was located above Falmouth on the Rappahannock River. In his after action report of the Battle of Fredericksburg, Capt. Jacob Roemer, commanding Battery L, 2nd New York Artillery, wrote of planting his battery in the front yard of the Bryan house and in the peach orchard to the left of it. [Source]

Monday, November 24th— Had a cold night last night. Ice quarter inch thick this morning. I was ordered to lay out the camp and have it regulated. We were ordered to have a day’s ration cooked this evening and be ready to start early tomorrow morning. Everything apparent quiet along the line.

The following extract from a letter sent anonymously from the 29th Massachusetts to a hometown paper was written most likely by Capt. Doten:

We have been here since the 18th inst., doing nothing and living from hand to mouth, but provisions are  so scant with us that the hand often goes to the mouth empty, and when it will be so as to have it go full, it is  hard to predict. We have here at this time about one hundred and ten thousand troops, it being the Right  Grand Division of the Army of the Potomac, and in what it consists. The Army of the Potomac has been  divided into three Grand Divisions consisting of the second and ninth army corps, and of which the 29th Reg.  forms a part, is under the command of Maj. Gen. Sumner, The Center Grand Division, consisting of the third  and fifth army corps, is under the command of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. The Left Grand Division, consisting  of the first and sixth army corps, is under the command of Maj. Gen. W. H. Franklin; and the eleventh army  corps, with such others as may be hereafter joined to it, constitutes the reserve, and is under the command of  Maj. Gen. Sigel. The grand whole under the command of Gen. Burnside is supposed to be safely moving  towards Richmond. We of the Right Grand Division, have located ourselves at this place, nearly opposite  Fredericksburg, and have sent threatening notes to and received short answers from the rebels. We have told  them if they did not leave within sixteen hours, and did not stop sending goods, cloth, grain, &c., south to  Richmond on the railroad, we should certainly shell them. The Mayor of the city said it should be stopped,  perhaps he did stop it, but we could hear the cars on the steady run all the time, and at least four times sixteen  hours have passed, no shells have whistled through the air and still the cars keep running. We have been  correctly informed, as we believe, that when our advance arrived here, there was not over ten thousand rebel  troops near here or Fredericksburg, and that we could have easily passed over the Rappahannock and taken  possession of the City. Longstreet did not arrive at Fredericksburg till two days after we arrived here, and now  with the two Gen. Hill’s Divisions, they probably do not number less than ninety to one hundred thousand; yet  still we wait and threaten. Sunday, this regiment was on picket guard on the banks of the river, the rebel  pickets were within speaking distance. We could see the lights of their camp fires for miles away; see the  brigades of troops moving, and see them throwing up earthworks and entrenching themselves.

The rebel pickets are often bright and saucy. One of those punning rascals called out of one of our pickets:  “Say Yankee, do you intend to go to Richmond this time?”

“Well,” said the Secesh, “if you do, you’ll have to pass over a Longstreet, between two Hills, and over a  hard Stonewall, before you get there!”

Tuesday, November 25th—We have had a pleasant day and everything is quiet along the line. I took command of the regiment on dress parade this p.m. for the first time.

Wednesday, November 26th—I took command of the regiment today at review and inspection, also at dress parade. Made out well. We were reviewed by Gen. Sumner. Everything about as usual.

Thursday, November 27th—This is Massachusetts Thanksgiving Day and the officers of the regiment had a dinner together and it was quite good. Mr. Young, reporter of the Boston Herald dined with us. The weather was fine.

Friday, November 28th—Had the picket guard under my charge. My picket is to the rear of the army where it is said [Stonewall] Jackson is approaching. Had a pleasant guard. Good men and watchful.

Saturday, November 29th—Was relieved from guard at ten o’clock a.m. and returned to camp about three miles distant. Went to work and fixed up my tent, floored it over with small poles and made out my monthly reports.

Sunday, November 30th—Monthly inspection. Was inspected by Gen’ls. Meagher and Hancock. The latter informed us that we we were to be transferred to [Benjamin C.] Christ’s Brigade, [William W.] Burns’ Division, [Orlando B.] Wilcox’s Corps of the First Grand Division under command of General Sumner.

It’s interesting to observe that the transfer of the 29th Massachusetts out of the Irish Brigade may have actually been brought about by the offer of a green flag, emblematic of the Irish Brigade, for the 29th Mass. to carry into battle. Following a heated exchange between Gen. Meagher and Lt. Col. Barnes of the 29th Mass., each insulting the other, the banner was declined. One member of the 29th Mass. wrote a home town paper, “We are now clear of the Irish Brigade in which we have experienced many hardships and much suffering, both in camp and battlefield. We joined them without wish and we leave them without regret; glad to get in any position where reason sets enthroned with solid judgment, and where principle (not ambition) is the fountain of action.”

Monday, December 1st—This morning we were ordered to pack up for a change of camp. We marched about four miles and encamped. We are attached to Col. Christ’s Brigade. There is no general commanding this brigade. We had slight showers today.

Tuesday, December 2nd—All hands employed in fixing camp. Had drills at a.m. and p.m. Weather quite pleasant.

Wednesday, December 3rd—I was Brigade Officer of the Day and was introduced to Col. Christ. He appears to be a fine man. Our regiment was ordered to furnish 200 men for picket. Could muster but 184 on pickets at the river. Weather cold.

Thursday, December 4th—Had a very cold night last night. It froze hard and was very uncomfortable. Ice made half inch thick in my tent. The day has been quite comfirtable. The regiment came in from guard at 5 o’clock p.m.

Friday, December 5th—Had a heavy snowstorm today. Snow fell to the depth of about six inches. Made requisition for clothing, arms, &c.

Saturday, December 6th—Another very cold night. There was a total eclipse of the moon this morning. I saw it at about three o’clock. P[jilander] Freeman, T[homas P.] Mullen, O[rrin D.] Holmes, T[homas] Collingwood, and J[ohn] Shannon returned to the company today. It has been a very cold day.

Sunday, December 7th—A cold still day, from two to four inches of ice made. Had inspection and dress parade. H[orace] A. Jenks and John Washburn returned today.

The following undated letter was sent anonymously to a Plymouth hometown newspaper by a member of the 29th Mass. Infantry. My hunch is that it was written by Capt. Doten:

Nothing new, nothing especial, and all quiet along the line, must be our heading at this time. Secesh keeps remarkably quiet, and we as usual, keep remarkably still, and in such a cold snap as we are now experiencing,  we hardly see how it can be otherwise. Last Friday, snow fell to the depth of about six inches, since then it has  been severely cold, and how men stand such weather in their little shelter tents, with no fires, and with nothing  between themselves and the earth, but a rubber blanket, and nothing between themselves and the open air, but  their cotton tents and woolen blankets, God only knows, and we think he must be a little surprised to see so  many of them live through it; but be that as it may, they do live and move, and have a being, but as Sam Slick  says “it is a mighty hard chance” and “won’t stand practice.” Human nature can’t and won’t stand it, and  yankees have a large amount of human nature in their composition. We are often told of the soft and balmy air  of Southern climes; of gentle breezes; air filled with delicious fragrance; and land flowing with milk and honey.  We’ve listened to the song of “Way down South in the Dixie,” and a dozen other songs expressive of sunny  hours and heavenly bliss, south of the Potomac, and we’ve had eighteen months experience; we’ve Wintered  and Summered in Dixie, and experience tells us that as far as we have been, it is decidedly an unmitigated  humbug as far as Virginia is concerned. We hope we are not prejudiced against the mother of Presidents, as  Virginia is called, but we do sincerely thank God that, “our lives were cast in more pleasant places,” and that  the old Harlot is but a distant connections of ours, and we hope before we leave her disagreeable profile, to  reduce her to the lowest terms, and her system of slavery to a vulgar fraction.

Since we wrote you last, quite a number of absent ones from Co. E, have returned, and it seems quite  pleasant to have them again with us. Among them are Orderly Sergeant H. A. Jenks, John Washburn, James  Stillman, T. P. Mullen, Moses S. Barnes, Orrin D. Holmes, Corporal John Shannon, Philander Freeman and  Thomas Collingwood. These men have rejoined their company as soon as they were able or free from their  detail, but there are a few who are shirking round Hospitals, and Convalescent camps with no sickness or disease upon them accept the “SHELL FEVER,” and nothing to keep them from joining their company, except  the disinclination, and lazyness [sic]. In this category is not of course included such as are really sick, but only  those who are hanging about Convalescent camps praying for a discharge. Throughout the army there is a  great and growing tendency to hospital loafing, and many who are now all doubled up, and who appear older  than their grandfathers, walking with canes and crutches, would if a discharge were placed in their hands,  straighten up, throw cane and crutch away, and dance as merrily as a jackass in a field of thistles.

We see by the papers that the powers that govern us at Washington, have decided that there should be no  Winter quarters for the Army of the Potomac. If they will finish up the war through that means every officer and soldier will hold up both hands, and agree to suffer almost any privation to effect that purpose, and  although the cold is severe, rations short, and duty hard, we hear less grumbling at this time among the soldiers than we ever have known since we have been in the service, and all this is because the hope and belief of all is, that this is to be the last Winter of our discontent” and another summer will see them wending their way homeward to their own loved valleys, kindred and families, rejoicing that the war is at an end, our honor vindicated, our country united, and the glorious star spangled banner still floating over the land of the free and the home of the brave, so mote it be.”

Monday, December 8th—It was very cold last night but today the weather has changed and it is rather warmer. Had company drill today.

Tuesday, December 9th—Weather more moderate and everything about as usual.

Wednesday, December 10th—Weather still moderate. Had inspection and ordered to have three days rations cooked, sixty rounds of cartridges ready in our boxes, and be ready at a moment’s notice to fall in.

The Battle of Fredericksburg

Thursday, December 11th—We were ordered at one o’clock this morning to issue clothing to the men and at 8 o’clock we were in line ready to start. We waited till 4 o’clock p.m. and marched to the banks of the river when we were ordered back again. We pitched some of our tents. Everything had been got ready to leave this place for the other side of the river. At daylight this morning, our batteries opened and were replied to with spirit. We have 140 guns in position and shelled the woods and city. The city was soon on fire in several places and was burning. We laid three pontoon bridges over but with heavy loss and sent over a Brigade but it was then too dark to send more. The Rebels made some good shots at the bridge. Columbus Adams returned to the company today.

Friday, December 12th—Broke camp at about 8 o’clock this morning and took up line of march for the river at 10 o’clock. We crossed over the pontoon bridge at double quick and into the city and formed line of battle. The city is badly riddled with shot and shell. At 3 o’clock p.m. our batteries begun to shell over us and the enemy to reply. Troops have been crossing above and below all day. At 3:30 o’clock p.m. the Rebel batteries got good range of us and dropped their compliments among us. Lieut. Carpenter [Co. H] was wounded in the arm and many shells struck close to us. At sunset the shelling stopped. I found a Secesh flag—a small one. It was in a house that had been shelled. We held our position for the night and laid down on the ground beside our stacks.

At eight o’clock on the morning of the 12th, the Brigade was again ordered under arms, marched to the river, and crossed on a pontoon bridge. The enemy had previously been dislodged from the formidable works on the water-side of the town, and hence no opposition was made to the crossing of the Brigade. The regiment remained near the river all day, and, except a portion of the afternoon, was not under fire. The air was filled with a thick fog, and was intensely cold; without tents or any adequate covering, the men spent that long, cheerless, winter night on the banks of the river, half paralyzed with the cold, waiting for the day to break, which, as they supposed, was to usher in a terrible battle, and in which it then seemed probable they would take a conspicuous part. When the day came, the fog-cloud lifted, and the sun shed upon the waiting army its cheering beams of warm light. Soon after sunrise, the order came for the Brigade to form in line of battle, but it did not move till near nightfall. For the first time in its field life, the regiment was on the reserve line all day, but within full view of the battle, which raged and roared from sunrise till far into the night. When it was quite dark, the line was advanced into the outskirts of the town; the men not being permitted to enter the houses, remained in the streets. The battle had gone against us, and during the night some of the shattered regiments, which had been at the front all day, filed sadly through the streets on their way to the river, telling their story of disaster as they passed along. [Source]

Saturday, December 13th—We passed a chilly night. Got breakfast at 7 o’clock and at 9 o’clock formed in line of battle and marched down river. At 9:30 the rebels fired the first gun. It is a good day and pleasant but very smokey. The firing has been very heavy on the right and left flanks and at times the musketry has also been heavy. We are the centre division and stationed in front, close to the banks of the river. At 4 o’clock we were ordered to the left. The Brigade formed in line of battle on the battlefield just within reach of the rebel guns. We remained here ready for action but was not called in. J[ames] L. Pettis of my company was wounded by a rile shot.

It was by a mere accident that the regiment did not become actively engaged in the battle. On the afternoon of the 13th, the division of General Burns was ordered to support General Franklin’s corps; in moving towards Franklin’s position, 206it became somewhat exposed to the artillery fire of the enemy, and Lieutenant Carpenter of Company H (Twenty-ninth), was slightly, and James L. Pettis of Company E severely, wounded. The other regiments of the Brigade (Christ’s) suffered some loss, the Twenty-seventh New Jersey, which was next the Twenty-ninth in the line, losing seventeen killed and wounded.

Capt. William Henry Winsor, Co. F, 18th Mass.; He was wounded in the head at the battle of Fredericksburg on Dec. 13, 1862, the ball striking him on the left temporal bone and fracturing the skull for three inches towards the left ear, and leaving him partially deaf in the left ear. He was treated at a temporary hospital established in a house in Fredericksburg, before he was transferred to a Field Hospital on Dec. 17, and ultimately to the St. Dennis Hotel Hospital, Washington D.C. William was subsequently discharged on March 13, 1863 due disability caused by his wound.

Sunday, December 14th—We started last night at about twelve o’clock and went to the bridge to relieve the Brigade, then on guard. When we got there we found it already done by Gen. Sigel so we marched back to where we started from at daylight, position just to the right of the one near the river under the hill. At 7 o’clock we fired our first gun for the day and was quickly replied to. We soon after marched back to near the bridge and then stood all day in the mud. As the City Mayor’s house was nearby, I went into it. It is terribly shattered and torn to pieces. It was an elegant house and surrounded with beautiful grounds. after dinner I heard that some of the captains of the 18th Mass. Regt. were wounded. Went up to a house nearby that was used for a hospital and found Capts. [William H.] Winsor & Drew of Plymouth, both wounded quite severely. They told me that Capt. Collingwood of Plymouth was also wounded but I could not find him. At night our regiment took position on higher ground and aid down for the night.

Monday, December 15th—This morning the sunrise was bright and clear. We found that our troops on the other side of the river had not been idle through the night but had thrown up four batteries for large guns as we cannot make headway with small guns or light batteries against their entrenchments. It is said that we have 10-inch Columbiads in Battery. If so, we shall soon have music about us. Our plans of operation seem to be Hooker on the right, Franklin on the left, and Sumner in the center. Hooker and Franklin were engaged yesterday and suffered severely and apparently gained nothing. Sumner was also engaged and suffered some with a like result. we have lost from six to eight thousand in killed, wounded, and missing. We have stood to our arms all day ready for any emergency. At about eight o’clock this evening we were ordered to be ready to march and all orders to be given silently as possible. Soon all the troops were moving as they have been ever since dark over the pontoon bridge back to the old camps. All the afternoon the ambulances have been very busy carrying over the wounded. We have orders to bring up the rear and to take up the bridge over the creek three in number.

Tuesday, December 16th—We succeeded in taking up all the bridges and loading them into boats and as they were outside of our picket line and the pickets taken off, it was dangerous work but we accomplished it by two o’clock this morning and then took up our line of march over the river bridge and back to our old camp where we arrived at three o’clock this morning, tired and wet through with sweat. Thus ends our crossing of the Rappahannock. We did not expect to get much sleep and was not disappointed at at daylight this morning we had rain and having no tent up, we had to get wet. At about 9 o’clock a.m. it cleared away cold. We pitched our tent and tried to dry our clothes. [James L.] Pettis was carried to Washington. [Benjamin F.] Bates, when he found or rather thought we were going into battle, made good time over the bridge to Falmouth. Six batteries have been shelling the rebel’s batteries. What we are to do next is not yet revealed. quite a number of stragglers left over the other side were taken prisoners this morning. The bridges are all taken up and as far as that is concerned, all is about as it was before.

Late in the afternoon, after it was decided to recross the river, the regiment was directed to remain until the other troops of the corps had crossed, when it was to remove three small pontoon bridges that had been thrown across a canal or creek which ran between the Rappahannock and the enemy’s works, and then emptied its waters into the river. The Brigade commander, Colonel Christ, intimated that he considered the undertaking a hazardous one, and scarcely worth the risk. The corps commenced crossing shortly after dark, the regiment remaining in its position until all were fairly across, and then moved forward and a considerable distance to the left, and commenced at once the work assigned to them. A captain, with a sufficient number of men, was detailed for each bridge, and the work went on rapidly and noiselessly, the regiment mean-while remaining in line of battle, ready for any emergency. It was remarkable that a work of this nature could be done so quietly; but the men, as well as the officers, fully realized the necessity of stillness. Only once in the course of the labor was any noise made, and this was caused by the falling of a plank against one of the boats. Even this noise was not great; but it seemed to the anxious listeners like a peal of thunder, that was likely to be followed by the crash of the enemy’s muskets. Fortunately it did not arouse the enemy; but it called out a large bloodhound, with powerful voice, which came running down to the opposite shore of the creek, and commenced baying and howling, keeping up its savage cries till the work was ended, annoying the men greatly, as they suspected that the next yelp would be followed by the enemy’s charging yell. Finally, after what seemed an age, but which in reality was only a short time, the three bridges were all removed, without the loss of a single piece, and the boats successfully floated across the Rappahannock. If the enemy had moved forward,—and it is surprising that they did not,—the result would have been disastrous to the regiment, perhaps cost it its very existence; and had this result followed, the attempt would have been deemed an act of folly. As it was, the plan was successfully carried out, and the regiment was warmly congratulated.[Source]

Reenactors at Fredericksburg pontoon crossings (Pinhole-Civil War 150)

Wednesday, December 17th—It is a very cold morning. Had a good night’s rest last night. At 12 o’clock we were ordered for picket duty. Started after dinner. I had one half of the pickets & Lt. Col. Barnes the other half. Set the pickets above the railroad bridge on the river. They exchanged prisoners today. Saw a lot of secesh prisoners. They were a motley group and poorly clad but full of grit. Said they were tired of the war but could hold out as long as we could. I am acting Major of the regiment. It is very cold weather.

Thursday, December 18th—It has been a bitter cold night but as the sun gets up, it is a little warmer. Everything has been quiet through the night. A fatigue party went over to bury the dead. We were relieved by the 7th Connecticut at about six o’clock p.m. and got back to camp at about 7:30 p.m. Got supper and turned in for the night.

Friday, December 19th—It was quite pleasant this a.m. but after dinner the wind hauled to the N. N. E. and it grew cold fast. David Williams returned today.

The following comes from a letter sent anonymously to the a hometown newspaper by a member of the 29th Massachusetts, Co. E:

The long agony is over; the Rappahannock has been crossed, Fredericksburg taken, shelled, and nearly  destroyed, the river recrossed, and our troops at their old quarters this side the river. We have been much like  the pig, that run through the hollow log and came out the same side of the fence; but not so much surprised.  We have lost some ten or twelve thousand men in killed, wounded and missing; laid under the rebel guns four  days; fought two hard battles; seen hard work and hard times; crossed the river for a political necessity, and  recrossed it from military necessity, and are now, as far as the 29th Reg. Mass. Vols. is concerned, on guard at  the river, our Reg’t having one Lieutenant slightly wounded, eight privates taken prisoners, and quite a  number that were severely frightened. Co. E, had two who, when we fell in as was supposed for a night attack  on the batteries, made as good time over the Pontoon bridge to the opposite side of the river as was ever made  on the Cambridge race course. We should be willing to swap off their courage, for a small, yellow, bobtailed  pup, but for speed, with a decent scare behind them, we will bet on their heads against any foot-race in  existence and throw in the aforesaid pup gratis.
Most all of your readers have before this time had all the details of the crossing, the battles, and  recrossing, and the final result; and probably you will have a number of correspondents who will be happy to furnish full details of incidents, enough to cloy the most ravenous appetite for all that is horrible and  distressing, and fill the sensitive heart of humanity with the liveliest sympathies for the broken-hearted and  sorrowing, the light of whom household has gone out forever. As to ourselves, we are humbled in our feelings  and wounded in our pride, and we do not feel heart or inclination to write its incidents, or to speculate on its  probable results; and as we before said, we shall leave it to others and wish we could as easily take leave of it ourselves, and blot it out of thought and memory.

Beyond the incidents of the battle there is not much that is new or interesting. At our pickets there is now  going on an exchange of prisoners, and such a looking set as the secesh prisoners are, it would be hard to find  short of Falstaff’s Ragged Regiment. Many of them had pieces of carpet for blankets, straw hats, and some of  them were in their stocking feet; but they were cheerful and apparently satisfied and full of pluck; said “they  were ready to go to battle again and that we did just the best thing that we could do for ourselves, to step back  to this side of the river.”

Those men were most all from the good Union State of North Carolina, and they were the most thorough  secesh, I have yet seen; uncompromising and expressing the most thorough disgust and hatred of Yankees.  They all seem to be laboring under a wrong and strange impression as to the right and actual notions of the  North. They seem to think that subjugation and tyrannical government is the sum total of the war, and that  should the North gain the ascendancy, that the liberty of the South would be in an eternal eclipse, and  themselves in a worse bondage than we consider the slave at the South, and yet they tell us that they are  heartily tired of the war and wish it to an end. They tell us that they have as many plans to take Washington, as  we have to take Richmond, and that there prospect of success is full equal to ours. They laugh at our attempts  to take Richmond from this way; but have some fear as to our attempts to take it by the way of the James river.

The night we left Fredericksburg, the 29th Reg. was detailed to wait until the Army was across, and to take  up three pontoon bridges over the creek outside of the picket. It was done so noiselessly and quietly, that the  Commanding General gave us quite a compliment, and seemed much pleased at the result, as we were close to  the rebel pickets, and but little noise would betray us and bring a hornets nest about our ears. We did not cross the bridge ’til near three o’clock the next morning and the whole of this grand army had crossed between that hour and seven of the evening before. It was quick work, well planned and well executed. We think we never  read or heard of such skillful, and masterly retreats as are made by our Generals: McClellan on the Peninsula, Banks at Front Royal, Pope at Centreville, and Burnside at Fredericksburg, are movements that will stand in  history of what they accomplished and of the valor and efficiency of the Union army. In fact if masterly  retreats would finish this war, we feel that we have the men to do it and the leaders that seem to understand its  principles of action and have proved themselves fully capable to execute its peculiar movements, and wind up  all our troubles, trials and difficulties in military parlance, by inversion.

We have very cold weather here at this time, the river was nearly skimmed over this morning and the  ground frozen quite deep. It was so cold it was impossible to sleep in our shelter tents, and as we were on  picket we were obliged to keep wide awake and perfectly cool.

It looks quite probable that this army will soon go into winter quarters, perhaps not here, and we hope  before we write you again that we can speak and show of more decisive action that will differ for from what we  communicate to-day and be more pleasing as to its results.

Saturday, December 20th—The night has been very cold and the day the same. We had an inspection of men and teams which looks some like moving.

Sunday, December 21st—The regiment is on picket guard today. It is cold but clear. Our picket is below the railroad bridge on the Washington farm.

Monday, December 22nd—Nineteen months today since we were mustered into the service and it is also the anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. We were relieved from guard at about 9 o’clock this morning. The Rebels have been throwing up rifle pits through the night near the banks of the river. Our chaplain [Henry E. Hempstead of Watertown] died yesterday. He was a fine, worthy man and he is a great loss to the regiment. He was sent home today.

Tuesday, December 23rd—The weather is moderate and quite pleasant. We had a review of the Right Grand Division. We were reviewed and inspected by Gen. Sumner very closely which seems to indicate a move of some kind.

Wednesday, December 24th—The weather is still moderate. We had slight showers today.

Thursday, December 25th—Fine weather for a Merry Christmas. By special orders, there is no drill today and not any work. Everything is quiet and still. Received today from the quartermaster clothing, kettles, axe, &c.

Friday, December 26th—Went to work today and built a sod chimney to my tent and it works well. Weather good and pleasant.

Saturday, December 27th—The weather is fine today. Helped Lieut. [Peter] Winsor build a chimney to his tent.

Sunday, December 28th—Had company inspection this a.m. at 1:30 o’clock p.m. Were ordered out for division inspection and marched in review. The division was reviewed by Gen’ls. Burnside and Burns. Weather good.

Monday, December 29th—Nothing unusual today. The weather still holds mild and pleasant—a blessing for the soldiers.

Tuesday, December 30th—Col. Barnes is Officer of the Day and I am in command of the regiment. We are hard at work on our muster rolls. Weather pleasant, at night slight showers.

Wednesday, December 31st—Muster day & the last day of 1862. We were mustered by the Lieut. Colonel of the 46th New York. It is a cold, bleak, windy day. So ends the year.


Thursday, January 1st—A New Year and I hope a happy one to my country and myself. The weather is beautiful. It has been made a holiday for the army. Home thoughts and home feelings are thick around us as we think of loved ones at home “far away.”

Friday, January 2nd—Lieut. Augustus D. Ayling reported to me for duty today as 1st Lieutenant but to date of yesterday is yet left in command of Co. H. Weather pleasant & good.

Saturday, January 3rd—Weather still pleasant. Sent my payrolls in to the mustering officer and tried to finish up my 1862 correspondence. Big guns are speaking up river of us.

Sunday, January 4th—Quite pleasant. We are ordered out for review but the order was countermanded. Slight showers this p.m.

Monday, January 5th—Still another pleasant day. Lieut. [Peter] Winsor is in guard. “All quiet along the line.”

Tuesday, January 6th—It has rained all this afternoon. At 1 o’clock p.m. we were ordered out for review with the division. I am Brigade Officer of the Day. The division was reviewed by Gen. Burnside.

Wednesday, January 7th—The weather is quite cold. George T. Bradford returned to the company. He was taken prisoner June 29th. The weather grows cold again fast.

Thursday, January 8th—Samuel H. Harlow was discharged on the 6th inst. and left for home today. I am again Brigade Officer of the Day at the picket for the first time having been appointed Acting Major of the Regiment. The weather is very cold.

Friday, January 9th—Came off picket this morning. All was quiet on the river and I was quite successful for my first appearance as Major of the pickets.

Saturday, January 10th—It rained hard this p.m. and evening. It is very muddy. Nothing new or exciting today.

Sunday, January 11th—A cold morning and very muddy under foot. John F. Hall (discharge date January 9, 1863) started for home today. It rained this evening.

Monday, January 12th—Quite pleasant but very muddy. I took charge of dress parade. We have very hard and discouraging news by the papers. The loss of the Harriet Lane, &c.

Tuesday, January 13th—Everything is as usual. Nothing new or interesting. Weather good and clear. All quiet along the line.

Wednesday, January 14th—A pleasant day and warm. Drew from the quartermaster rubber blankets, dress coats, pants, &c. Took charge of dress parade.

Thursday, January 15th—It has been a blustering day and the wind of course was south. Still it was warm. I have been very busy with my government accounts all the week thus far. Heard today of the death of Thomas P. Mullen. He died January 9th at General Hospital, Washington. In his loss, I have lost a good soldier.

Friday, January 16th—It rained hard all night. This morning it cleared away very cold with heavy wind northwest. It looks this evening like snow. Got all my government returns ready and sent them to the department today. We are ordered to have three days rations cooked immediately and be ready to start early tomorrow morning. I am detailed as Brigade Officer of the pickets for tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17th—Went on picket this morning with 400 men. It was bitter cold. Got my pickets set near the river, found our men in communication with the Rebels by means of little boats that they went across the river on which they put a little coffee and the papers and the Rebs sent back tobacco & papers. Put a stop to it as other “information” might be sent as I think this army is about to make an important movement. We have had a very cold & clear day.

Since late December 1862, the Union and Rebel soldiers appear to have been trading coffee for tobacco between the picket posts on opposite sides of the Rappahannock River, One soldier wrote about it: “Some Yankee, desperately hungry for tobacco, invented [small boats] for trading with the Johnnies. They were hid away under the backs of the river for successive relays of pickets. We got out the boats. An old handkerchief answered for a sail. We loaded them with coffee, sugar, pork, and set the sail and watched them slowly creep to the other shore. And the Johnnies? To see them crowd the bank and push and scramble to be the first to seize the boats, going into the water and stretching out their long arms. Then, when they pulled the boats ashore, and stood in a group over the cargo, and to hear their exclamations, “Hurrah for hog.” “Say, that’s not roasted rye, but genuine coffee. Smell it, you’uns.” “And sugar, too!”” [Source] See also “Beyond the Ritual of Exchange.

Sunday, January 18th—Had a very cold, disagreeable night on picket and was relieved at ten o’clock this morning. Find we have marching orders. Suppose for tomorrow. Took command of the dress parade. Lieut. [Thomas H.] Adams [Co. B] to get his resignation forwarded.

Monday, January 19th—The weather has been quite cool and pleasant. We have been expecting orders to move all day.

Burnside’s Mud March

Tuesday, January 20th—Cold and disagreeable. Troops are moving and have been all day. We had Order No. 7 from Gen. Burnside read at dress parade saying that we were to meet the enemy once more and under more favorable circumstances and we were to strike a heavy blow for justice, our country, and the right “so mote it be.” It rains hard this evening and it is setting in for a N. E. storm. How unfortunate. It sometimes seems to me as if Providence was against us.

Wednesday, January 21st—It was a dreadful storm last night. It rained very hard and the wind was heavy. About sixty thousand troops have broke camp and were on the march. They must have suffered severely. It has stormed severely all day. We have been waiting anxiously for orders from headquarters. I fear much that this storm will thwart our plans and spoil the movement.

Thursday, January 22nd—It stormed very hard last night. This p.m. it has moderated but the weather is still thick and rainy. Our pontoon teams and batteries have got fixed in the mud and cannot reach their destination. The most determined efforts have been made to accomplish their mission. Some of the troops are returning to their old camps thoroughly drenched and cold. I fear we shall have to give up the expedition and it will result in a failure. Better luck next time.

Friday, January 23rd—The weather has moderated and the sun gave us a good look at its cheerful countenance bot Oh! how muddy. The 27th Regiment N. Jersey Volunteers left our Brigade tonight. I do not know their destination. Albert Robbins returned to camp today. The Rebels the other side of the river stick up boards chalken thus, “Burnside’s Army Stuck in the Mud!” and it is really so. The pontoon train could not get nigher than two miles of the river. It will be hard work to get back and all snug again as they was before.

Saturday, January 24th—The weather has been quite warm and pleasant today. I went over to the 21st Mass, to see Mr. Ball but found he had resigned and gone home. The regiment was about two miles from us. The batteries and troops are coming along back all the time. While traveling over to the 21st, saw a good-looking soldier laid out on the ground. He had just dropped there, probably wore out and heart disease.

Burnside’s Mud March, January 1863

The following was written on January 25, 1863 and submitted anonymously to the editor of a Plymouth newspaper for publication by a member of Co. E, 29th Massachusetts Infantry; I have a strong hunch it was written by Capt. Doten:

“It must certainly rejoice your republican hearts to learn from our own lips that we are yet here, safe. We  are in no danger from the enemy, for they, the impudent rascals, cannot get to us, and we the great and  glorious Army of the Potomac, are ingloriously stuck in the mud and cannot get at them; and what is worse  than all, the enemy know it, and no doubt are this day taking advantage of it and sending their troops to the  West and to North Carolina to reinforce their troops at those places. Knowing as they do that we cannot cross  or even get to the river, they can readily spare twenty-five or fifty thousand men for a short time and use them  beneficially in other localities.

It does seem to us sometimes as if we were not only fighting the rebels, but the elements. There has been hardly a move of much importance made, either by land or sea, but what have had to encounter severe weather, gales of wind at sea, and terrific storms on land, and always under the most disheartening circumstances. These storms ever making it necessary for us to delay action, which for good and practical results should be immediate, and for which purpose such action was intended.

A practical illustration of an elementary idea is now before us, and its results are this day more  disheartening to this army than the repulse at Fredericksburg. On Sunday, Jan. 18th, a movement of the army  was in progress, but for some probable good reason, was postponed till Tuesday, when at an early hour of the  day the sixth Army Corps, Gen. Smith, of Gen. Franklin’s Division, commenced moving from their position  below Falmouth up to the right, but still to the rear to prevent observation. About the same time, or rather  later, Hooker’s Centre Grand Division took up its line of march towards a place called “Bank’s Ford,” and they,  of course to prevent observation, marched some way back from the River. This was but the preliminary  movement of the whole army, the pontoon train having started in advance and some of the heavy batteries.  The weather, which through the day had been cold, blustering and disagreeable, at sun-down set in with rain  and heavy wind from the northeast, and a darkness that would make sunlight glisten through a bag full of  minks, and every one of them look like silver stars in a golden firmament, settled down, not only over and  around us, but its dark shades penetrated the hearts of the soldiers, and fears and doubts began to mingle with  the aspirations of patriotic thoughts and hopes of a bold strike for freedom and the right. Still the longest night  (except possibly the night of death,) must have an end; so with Tuesday night, and daylight of Wednesday  ushered in as disagreeable a day as one could wish for his most bitter enemy. But in our hearts were wishing  that the bright sun would shed its effulgent light and rosy beams this day on our enemies, feeling that we were  so near to them that we could not be left out in the cold, and if patience and perseverance were of any account,  we should soon make them take the wings of the morning and alight some miles nearer Richmond.

But in this, as in all things else, we were doomed to bitter disappointment. It did seem to us as if not only the windows of  heaven were open, but that the whole broad side had fallen out. The gale that through the night had been only singing, now commenced screaming. The rain that is so often described as falling in gentle showers upon the  thirsty earth: now seemed to have the idea that the earth had got on a blow and wanted the water in torrents  “to” (as sailors say) “cool her coppers.” But men and horses were not to give up at trifles till rifles get too big to  contend against. The Pontoon trains and batteries were again in motion, driving on through mud and mire to  get to the appointed place of crossing and to accomplish their part of this movement.

The army was soon in motion; Generals and men were in earnest and all seemed determined. Confidence  was not lacking, for we had all confidence in our Generals and felt satisfied that they would not move this army  again, unless, onward to what should to them, seem a sure and decided victory and success. They had laid  their plans deep and with caution. They had fully surveyed their ground and thoroughly. They had by  threatening the enemy at different points compelled him to scatter his forces over a distance of near twenty five miles, and then in that long distance had truly ascertained its weakest point and had rapidly concentrated  our army, reserving only enough to make a feint at different points, that they might not know where the blow  was to fall, and was now about to strike that blow sanguine and sure of success.

But for some reasons in the all wise Providence of God this was not to be; our star was not yet to shine  bright on the horizon, and the finger of Faith was yet to point upward and bid us wait. The rain through the  night had taken the frost from the ground and left it soft and yielding as youthful hearts in Hymen’s Market,  when it is getting to be about Saturday night with many of them.

After an advance of about three miles the wheels of the pontoon train would sink down to the hubs, and it  was utterly impossible for the teams to haul them out. Men worked and labored as only men can do. Mules  and horses did their utmost, but it was useless, it was beyond their power, and darkness closed the day of labor  and toil as cold, wet, and dreary as it had done the day previous. Another night of the pitiless storm drenched  the army, and another dark and gloomy night fell cheerless on the hearts of all. Thursday morning broke upon  us only to show us the utter helplessness of further effects and that the expedition for the time being must  come to an end, and the Army get back to their old quarters as best they could. This has partially been  accomplished and we shall soon be in regular trim again. A part of our Batteries and pontoon trains yet remain  fast in the mud, but as the weather has cleared and the sun is shining brightly we think it will soon dry up so that we can get all together again.

We believe that the plan of this movement was good—that its full success looked to its projectors certain,  and that every caution had been taken and chances carefully weighed that nothing should be lacking to make it  all that could be desired. It seems hard that after so much labor and exposure we should be so disappointed  and that the utmost superhuman efforts of this army should result in worse than a defeat; but so it is and the  morale of the Army, its discipline, and its effectiveness has had a severe shock from which it will be hard for it to recover.
To make the Army of the Potomac again effective it must change its ground. It can never be effective here.  In all the battles of the rebels, where we have been the attacking party, they have never given us battle at the  same place with the same Army. Men who have once been defeated on the battle field dread to try the same  field again, but lead them to some other locality, even if it is more difficult, and the old spirit again bursts forth  and the old confidence is restored. McClellan knew this when he took the defeated Army of Gen. Sherman up  to Arkansas Post and there gained a brilliant victory, and these same soldiers now return filled with fresh courage and flushed with victory and again attack Vicksburg, when before it would have been almost an  impossibility to have led them up to a second engagement at the same place.

Gen. Burnside has done all that could be reasonably asked of him. He has been ever active and ever on the alert; and has done all but control the elements that was beyond him; and no doubt this is a bitter disappointment to him and more so than to the country at large.”

Sunday, January 25th—There has been nothing unusual today. The ground begins to dry up again. It rained some last night but it has been a good day/ I took charge of the dress parade this evening. Adams & Albert Robbins went to the hospital today. [George H.] Partridge will soon be out. Received shirts and tents & issued them today.

Monday, January 26th—I am this day Office of the Picket Guard. The weather is quite good but threatening. The Rebels are throwing up rifle pits and redoubts for batteries. They are close to us—not over four hundred yards from our guard and in plain sight. I have five hundred men in my guard and a reserve of 27th New Jersey making about 800 men.

Tuesday, January 27th—Came off guard this morning about 11 o’clock. It began to storm this morning about two o’clock and quite cold and has rained all day. I have been very sick today with the neuralgy in my head and neck having got cold by being wet and laying out in the we last night.

Wednesday, January 28th, 1863—It stormed all night last night and today it snows and is cold. It is a very severe storm from the northeast and snows hard. Maj. [Charles] Chipman returned to camp today having been home to recruit his health.

Thursday, January 29, 1863—It was a terrible storm all night and this morning the snow is quite deep and drifted. It has been quite cold through the day.

Friday, January 30th—The weather has been quite warm but not enough to melt the snow much. Everything is about as usual.

Saturday, January 31st—Made my monthly returns. Sent in requisition for February. Got my January receipts of clothing &c. Had monthly inspection. Weather good but not very warm. The pay master arrives here tonight.

Sunday, February 1st 1863—We were paid off for two months by paymaster Stone today. It is mean and cruel in the government to hold the little pittance of the soldier back from his family. They owe all of the men now three months pay and some of them five and six months. The weather has been quite good till night when we had slight showers. There was a row as usual on pay day. It was between the 50th New York Vols. and the 29th Regiment. Guns were used but no serious injury was the result. Col. Dawes and Major Chipman was into the thickest of it and it was mainly to them credit is due that nothing serious occurred. I enclose two hundred dollars and sent by mail this day, as there is no other way, to send it, I do not like to risk it but see no other way.

Monday, February 2nd—This mo