Letter – Christopher Gregory, 2 August 1863


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Letter written by Private Christopher C. Gregory of Company B, 38th VA Infantry of Brigadier General Lewis A. “Lo” Armistead’s Brigade, to Mr. Jason C. Swanson, from a camp near Culpeper Court House, VA. The letter describes the aftermath of Pickett’s Charge. Gregory writes they had a difficult time in Pennsylvania, experiencing foul weather and that they are currently being pursued by Union forces. He feels that the Confederate troops will never fight well again. Gregory thinks that their next destination will be Fredericksburg, VA. He briefly mentions women and marriage prospects, then continues to write about the heavy casualties suffered by the 38th VA. Gregory seems to be suffering from depression; he does not wish to have any company and writes that his “life is not much satisfaction.”

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August the 22 1863

Camp Near Culpeper, C.H. Va

Mr. Jas. C. Swanson Dear Sir

with plesur this Sunday morning to write you a few lines to in form you I am well. I hope theas may finde you injoying the same greate blesing as for news, I have now that is good we had a very Hard Time in pensylvania We hade so mouch bade wether it rained evry night and evry day but the beste crops I ever saw I never be fore saw surch crops of whete I wish we cold of stade thar. the ballance of this war but we have not gote trups [troops] or [???] the Yankees ar folliwing ous on the was very hevvy fyring laste night on the other side of the cothous [Court House?] I do not bleve our trups will ever fight Good again the[y] are to[o] dull I bleve Every Soulder thinks we are whipe [whipped]

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I am fearfull we ar whipe the yankees in pensylvania do not hartley [hardly] no [know] this war as [is] goin on bacon worth 12 c per pond [pound] whiskey 50 per gallon oats 25 to 35 per bushel corn per bushel 40 c evry thing lo and plenty of younge men. Substutes $300.00 and the niceste farms I ever saw but the parte of pensylvania we wente thrue [???] we pass & will for a longe time to com we birnt finces [burnt fences] our boys stold chickens & evry thing else I stole nothing but one old ruster [rooster] we march all night & all day I lifted one old ruster offor the ruste the yankees was all a round us all of the time it was verry [dangerous?] for a fellow to travel bout thar I wente to a old house & the[re] was 8 men in it up stars changing their dressing I reported it to a [???] who was closte by he put some gards over them I did not know whever the[y] was Yankees or not the yankees dide not [???] but one fire at my head one took a far shoute [shot] at my head he was in the mountains the was too

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withe one the [???] & one we have bin [told?] to leve hear for 3 or 4 days but have not gon yet I think we will leve hear soon I think we will go towards Fedricksburge I bleve if do go thar I will marry so[me] of them refigeses [refugees] the was marring all of the time when we was thar befor I have quite talking to the Girls I hartley ever lock at one I am seeing the dullis [dullest] times now I have ever have see[n] [since] the begin of the war for all of my company who I like ar cut down & ar no mor on this Erth. So I do not fele [feel] wright now with my company I cold once go to my company & talk with James [Burgess?] & pass off lonsome hourers & now my life is not mouch Sendes Jackson to me now I am onley living to see truble I now Hope this war will clos soon for I am wo[re] out with all things. I can not in joy my selfe mouch I am living a dull life hard life & I bleve this war will hold on a longe time yet. I met withe bill Gilberte when we started to merland [Maryland] he was in Culpeper then I stade with him one night

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He sed He was in hopes when we met again pece [peace] wold [would] be hear but he was kill in a few days after well [cook?] I mus[t] clos my badley writon letter I hope to hear form [from] you soon

Form C.C. Gregory To Ja C Swanson

Mr Jas. C. Swanson


Pittsylvania Cty


Christopher Columbus Gregory was born on February 17, 1837 in Pittsylvania, VA to Richard and Elizabeth Gregory. He was one of 10 children and joined the 38th VA Infantry with his brothers John, Nathan, and Richard. His brother Wilson was also in the Confederacy, perhaps the 18th VA Infantry. Christopher was the only one of his brothers to survive the war. After the war he became a blacksmith, married Mary Shough, and had at least 6 children. He died March 24, 1908.

Letter – Lewis Bodine, 23 April 1864


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Letter written by 1st Lieutenant Lewis Bodine of Company A, 149th PA Infantry “Bucktails,” to Helen Sofield, from a camp near Culpeper, VA. Bodine writes that he has procrastinated too long in writing to Mrs. Sofield. General Ulysses S. Grant is secretive about his plans, so the army is unsure of what will happen next. Bodine inquires about Mrs. Sofield’s planned trip to Gettysburg, as he would like to accompany her. He expresses his condolences on the death of Mrs. Sofield’s husband, Alfred Sofield, who was killed in action at Gettysburg.

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Camp near Culpeper, Va

April 23d 1864

My Dear Friend                      

     I have been allowing myself to procrastinate quite too long, but trust you will forgive me & I will do better hereafter. It is not because I do not love to hear from you, but only another of my lazy habits which I am sorry to say I abound in. We are having some very fine weather. The roads are becoming quite good & the army getting uneasy about what is to be done. But, thanks to General Grant, he does not let his plans become public, so that none of us can ever surmise what is to be done, but all wonder at our being

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permitted to lie here so long, but patiently await the result. Fish still continues to float about Washington & I think will till he emerges into a citizenship [he received a disability discharge 4-24-1864], which he would like if not permitted to splash about the city. He is in reality a band-box ‘soger’ of the first cut, & I think should be carefully laid away in cotton or snugly packed in brand[y] or he will spoil. Col. Stone has sent up a recommend for his discharge, which I hope he will get, & very soon, as none wish to see him back. I had to laugh at the idea of Calkins being made A.A.G. He has quite all he can attend to where he is. You spoke of making a visit to Gettysburg this

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summer or fall. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be privileged to accompany you, & perhaps kind Providence will deem it proper for me to do so. If you put it off till fall, who knows? You speak of your deep sorrows. I wish I could shoulder a part of them, ‘tis best for every heart to know its own bitterness. But dear friend if I can aid you in any way let me ask you to name it & I will gladly do it. Do it not only for your sake, but for one who I learned to love & respect as a dear brother. Let me be a brother to you as I was to him, I will feel that I am honored. I am really

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glad that you have placed confidence in me, & I hope never to betray it by words, deeds, or actions. I know now that you will not distrust me, & hope you will feel free to ask for any aid I may be able to render you. I have thought many times I would offer you assistance in your business, then thought I, she would not thank me for it, but I will now offer to do it & if you think best to accept of it no one shall know from me that you have had it. I suppose you have heard long ere this of Col. Dwight’s exit from the army, & what pleases me more, is that Major Irvin last night

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received his commission as lt. col., & Capt. Glenn as major. You likely have seen the disposition which has been made of the 1st A[rmy] C[orps]. We are now 3d Brig. 4th Div, 5th Corps & wear a red badge instead of a blue. Stone commands brig, & Wadsworth the div, Warren the corps. I cannot think of more to interest you with, so will bid you a kind good night. Love to the boys, & write as soon as you receive this.

                 Believe, as ever your




Alfred J. Sofield was a clerk/justice of the peace in Wellsboro, PA when he enrolled as a Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company A of the 149th PA Volunteer Infantry. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed along Chambersburg Pike north of the McPherson Farm. His unit under artillery fire from the Confederate batteries on Herr Ridge, and was struck by a round, which killed him as well as Private Edwin D. Dimmick and Corporal Nathan H. Wilcox.

Letter – Clark Edwards, 20 May 1863


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Letter written by Colonel Clark S. Edwards of the 5th Maine Infantry, to his wife. Edwards laments about the transfer of General William T. H. Brooks. There is trouble in the regiments, and Edwards fears that more men may leave. He mentions that the Confederates will likely let his regiment stay in their current location. Edwards says he intends to return home in June, but cannot be certain. He briefly mentions the casualties suffered at the battle at Chancellorsville.

The letter continues on May 21st. His division was reviewed by General John Sedgwick, and Edwards hopes the General will stay as he is discouraged by the loss of so many good commanders. He particularly feels that a great injustice was done when General McClellan was removed, and that the battles at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville would have had better outcomes if McClellan was still in charge.

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Wednesday Evening

May 20th 1863

My Dear Wife

     Yours of May 14th arrived tonight. I was very glad to hear from you and that you were all well. I have just come in from Gen. Brooks’ headquarters. He leaves in the morning for Washington. But where he goes from there I know not. He is taken from this division. He resigned soon after our last fight, but they would not accept of his papers – some trouble but I cannot tell what. He is a very fine officer and we meet with a great loss. All of the field officers of our brigade were there, or nearly all. While we were there, the field officers of the Jersey Brigade came, also the band. It was quite a gathering, I can assure you. I am afraid that there will be more leaving, as there is some trouble at the bottom. But I dare not say what I think about the matter. We have had three cases on trial today. One was cleared, the other two convicted. I am getting to be quite a judge, but I will let that slide and answer your letter. One thing I like to have forgotten – that is the Vermont Brigade, the one Brooks commanded before he commanded us, presented him with a silver set of eight pieces; cost not less than a thousand dollars.

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On each piece is the general’s name and opposite of his name on the other side is one of the battles he led the brigade in. I did not look to see if there were any two pieces alike – that is the names of the battles. I think you would like to be Mrs. Brooks as far as the silver set is in the matter. You say in yours that Jas. Brown is almost crazy. I do not wonder at it, as it is quite different from what it would be for anyone to be taken away after a sickness at home. You speak of Monroe Stevens, but I think I wrote you in my letter of yesterday of him. You say you are in suspense about us crossing the river. I think I wrote you in one of mine soon after we got back to camp my opinion about crossing again. If the Rebels will let us remain where we are, it will be quite as well, as I think they will do. You look back and see my letters & you will see that I always guess about right. You speak of snow now in Maine – what are you made of? Why I noticed the apples are as large as potato balls here. I should think you would go out South & live. I am afraid your garden will get weedy if you wait for me to go home and take care of it. You say you will look for me about June. Well, I mean now to go home then, but still everything is uncertain in this war. You say our corps had the worst of it. Yes, we lost nearly one half of all the loss & still

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there is some fault found with us for not doing more. I say now as I said in one of mine to you a few days ago, it is a great wonder we were not all taken prisoner. You asked if the ham has arrived as yet. No, but it will come sometime, so I do not care. I am sorry you should feel so about me. I sent word to Charles to write you, as he was on this side of the river at the time the fight was in progress.

     Thursday afternoon, [May 21, 1863] It is hotter than that place we hear so much told of. We have just come in off a review. Our division was reviewed by Genl. Sedgwick. The gen. is looking finely. I hope they will not take him from us as they have Genl. Brooks. We have been quite unfortunate in losing our commanders. I sometimes get almost discouraged in this matter. This changing of commanders is dangerous business. I think the country must see that they made an awful blunder when they removed Little McC. Where is there a man who can say he thinks that there has been as much accomplished now as would have been had Little McC been in command. I do not wish to complain, but I feel that great injustice was done McC, and that thousands and tens of thousands of widows & orphan children have and will be made by that great blunder. What has

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been gained since McC left us? At Fredericksburg, first, our loss was more than ten thousand, and at this fight [Chancellorsville] it will reach full fifteen more. Twenty-five thousand lives lost to gratify a few offenses to McClellan. Where is there a man that will say that the army at the time that McC left it was not in better condition, better spirits, and in fact better in anything than now? I would not have you understand me that we have had twenty-five thousand killed outright, but that number taken from our army by being killed, wounded, and prisoners. I believe that if McC had kept the command of the army that he would have given them battle at Waterloo or Culpepper, and that we would have been victorious. He was to have given them fight in there three days from the time they relieved him of his command. He would then taken them on equal ground. His army had been victorious in their late fight in Maryland [Antietam],and I have no doubt but he would have routed the whole of Lee’s army. But how has it been since? Why we fought them twice in their fortifications and been repulsed in both battles. Anyone can see that we would have been much better off to have fought up near the Orange & Alexandria R.R. than here. Our army has not been increased since McC left it, but has lost more than twenty-five thousand. Now would it not have been better to have fought the Rebels where McC proposed to? – on equal ground with our army one third larger than it is now. Any man of common sense will say yes. It is experience dearly bought. Love to all.


Clark Swett Edwards, was born March 26, 1824 in Otisfield Maine. On June 24, 1862 at the age of 37 he enrolled as captain of Company I, 5th ME Infantry, in Bethel, ME. He was promoted to major on July 1, 1862, following the severe losses of the 5th ME at Gaines Mill. Edwards was promoted to lieutenant colonel on Sept. 24, 1862, and colonel January 8, 1863. He was mustered out of the service on July 27, 1864, at the expiration of the regiment’s three years of service. Edwards was brevetted brigadier general on March 13, 1865 for war service. He died in Bethel, ME on May 5, 1903. Many of his letters have survived, and a large grouping are in the Peace Collection at Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas.