Letter – Robert Ardry, 2 June 1864


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Letter written by Sergeant Robert G. Ardry of Company B, 111th IL Volunteer Infantry, to his father from near the battlefront in Georgia. Ardry writes of the campaign to Dallas, GA and describes the organization of the line of battle, which extended over ten miles. The Union forces built breastworks covered with brush to conceal them from charging troops. The Confederates suffered heavy losses. Ardry also writes of another engagement while his regiment was on the skirmish line. Despite feeling exhausted from several straight days of heavy fighting, Ardry writes that “things are going very well for us now.”

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Near line of battle Georgia June 2d 1864

Dear Father

I will now pencil you a few lines that you may know that I am still well although we have been in some hot places during the last week We left Kingston on the 23rd and marched again on the right flank, keeping 5 to 10 miles west of the RR till the afternoon of the 26th, when we came up to the Rebs in force at a town called Dallas, 10 miles west of Marietta. The line of battle was then formed that night 15th Army Corps (Logan) on the extreme right; 16th (Dodge) next on our left 4th (Stanton), next 20th (Hooker), next and Schofield on the RR. This line of battle was over 10 miles long and fighting has been going on every day since some place on the line. Our brigade had

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a very hot place till yesterday morning on the night of the 26th We built miles of breastworks and the next morning found us in three lines of battle The 111th had the front line; heavy skirmishing all day Co. C was on this skirmish line and had two men killed and two wounded The skirmishers are advanced 200 yards in front of the lines and lie behind logs and trees and shoot at the Reb skirmishers If an advance is being made the skirmishers give the alarm Well, at 4 o’clock P.M. the Rebs made a charge on our lines The center of the attack was on the 83rd Indiana joining us on the right Our works was built after night and we covered the clay over with brush and they did not know that we had anything of the kind They came up bravely and when within 75 yards and our skirmishers all in the word fire was given Our line for ¼ of a mile was

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one sheet of fire. This broke their lines, but they rallied and on they came waving their flag, but we just more than shot them down Their flag fell several times They got it within 15 steps of our trenches when they fled They carried off many of their wounded, especially officers, but many wounded and killed fell into our hands They had all sorts of wounds One man had his leg shot clean off with a cannon ball I thought the roar of artillery and musketry at Resaca was bad enough but it was nothing to this. We had all advantages The 111th did not lose a man The 83rd Ind. lost 3 in the charge They also charged our lines about one mile to our left at the same time but were repulsed Reb loss is estimated at three thousand At dark of the 30th it came Co. B’s time to go on

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skirmish line for the next 24 hours The night was pretty quiet but with day shooting commenced We were within 300 yards of their breastworks We had holes dug behind logs and trees and lay in them with our guns cocked and fingers on triggers And the moment they showed themselves we sent three or four shots at them At dark we were relieved None of us got hurt On the 1st of June there was several heavy attacks on the lines The 15th Army Corps relieved Hooker and he moved still farther to the left We are now lying back as reserve, another brigade being in the front Our brigade was in the front five days at Dallas and we were pretty well wore out sometimes up all night The Rebs made 7 charges after night one night mostly on Dodge This night we did not sleep any but I must stop Things are going very well for us now But it is thought by some that the fight will last sometime It is 25 or 30 miles to Atlanta. One of the McConnell boys the youngest was killed a few days ago Our reg. so far here has lost 5 killed 8 or 9 wounded Lieut. Col. Black being among the later His is a flesh wound in the leg We get plenty of rations The most of the boys are well I do not know when I will get a chance to mail this but will the first chance Write soon So good By one and all.

                                             R G Ardry

Robert Ardry was born in Muskingum, OH. He enlisted in Lively Grove, IL, as a sergeant on August 13, 1862 in Co. B of the 111th Illinois Volunteer Infantry at the age of 27. He was captured at the Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864. After being held at Andersonville Prison, GA, he was paroled on September 27, 1864. Following the war he lived in Oakdale, IL, and died May 30, 1922.

Letter – Charles Wilkins, 2 February 1863


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Letter of Lieutenant Charles Wilkins of the 1st U.S. Infantry to his girlfriend Sarah while in a camp near Corinth, Mississippi. Wilkins writes that his battalion has been ordered to Vicksburg. He expresses anxiety at not hearing from Sarah for some time, and the fact that his letters do not seem to be reaching her. He has a handmade gift he plans on giving Sarah. He is disappointed in the new orders to go to Vicksburg, as he was hoping to visit friends and family rather than fight. Wilkins expects to see his two brothers. One of them is with General Nathaniel Banks, while the other is with General Ulysses S. Grant. He closes with the hope of seeing Sarah soon.

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Corinth, Miss.

                                  February 2nd  1862 [1863]

Dear Sarah,

  As I am to once more see active service will write a few lines. Our battalion of the 1st Infantry is ordered to Vicksburg via Memphis. We shall leave our large guns hare and take some more on our arrival at the scene of action. Am pleased that it is so, for we shall have a much easier time than if we were acting as infantry. Cannot imagine why my letters do not reach you. Have written you twice before this, since I received a paper from you. You can hardly tell how anxious I am in not hearing from you. It seems a long time since I received your last.

We are now packing up, shall get our things loaded on the cars tonight. Expect I shall have to leave my trunk at Memphis, but shall take writing materials with me. Shall also keep my letters received

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from you in my pocket. Have burned all others, but could not do so with yours. I have a match safe whittled from clay stone taken from Battery Williams, which I shall pack in my trunk for you, if you would like it. It is a rough affair at best, but it came from the battery that saved the town with the assistance of the 1st Infty. On the 4th Oct. [Battle of Corinth]. We have a very small command, only 112 men for duty all told. Think the 1st is thought something of, as Genl. Dodge, the commandant of the post, told Major Maloney that he would rather have had all the other troops ordered off if he could have remained. I wrote you sometime ago that I thought we should be ordered north to recruit. Was a little mistaken in my calculations. Was quite disappointed when the order came, for I had made up my mind that I should soon see you, but now the scene is changed. Instead of visiting my friends and those I love, I go to fight my enemies, for those that are enemies to the Union are my enemies. If we should be so fortunate as to capture Vicksburg, I expect to meet my two brothers in the service. One is in Gen. Banks’

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expedition, the other is already with Gen. Grant. But I am also looking forward to another meeting. Can you guess with whom? Hope I shall be able to tell you before long without having recourse to pen and paper. I must now close, as I have a good deal to do in getting my company ready to move. Hoping to hear from you soon.                        

I remain truly, your own


Charles Wilkins originally enlisted in Company B of the 2nd NH Infantry on June 1, 1861. He served as a private until wounded at the 1st Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He remained on wounded leave at Hennikee, NH until January, 1862, when he was appointed 2nd lieutenant, 1st U.S. Infantry, to date from Feb. 19, 1862. On May 25, 1863 Lt. Wilkins was wounded at Vicksburg, MS and died of his wounds on June 20, 1863. He was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious service in action at Vicksburg, June 20,1863.