Letter – Godfrey Rider, Jr., 8 June 1864


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Letter written by Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Rider, Jr., of the 33rd MA Infantry, to his former commanding officer, Brigadier General Adin B. Underwood, from the woods near Marietta, GA. Rider describes a charge on a Confederate fort [Battle of Resaca], as well as the fighting that occurred near another stronghold [Battle of New Hope Church]. He describes the losses his unit suffered and comments on the strategies of Generals Sherman and Johnston. He mentions the number of muskets now in the regiment, and hopes to recruit more soldiers when the current campaign ends. He writes about the current state of several army officers, and mentions several who are vying for promotions.

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20″ Coprs.

33″ Regt. Mass Vol Inft

In the Woods between

Ackwood & Marietta

June 8″ 1864

My Dear Genl, your letter of the 18′ ult reached me yesterday, for which I thank you, and glad to hear you are so well situated. We left the Valley the 2″ day of May, and have skirmished until the 15 when we charged a Rebel fort, drove them from intrenched hills, lost that day 86, including Lieut Bumpus killed. Lieut Parker died 2 hours after taken from the field. Lieut Williams bad flesh wound in the left arm. May 25 formed line in short range of another strong hold, lost 56, and 5 prisoners Lieut Capt Turner slight wound in the rist, in various battles our loss has been about 160 to date – Our fighting has mostly been in the woods with deep ravines in front. I never saw such natural strong positions. Sherman seems to work carefuly, but Johnson is shrewd, often before we know it we are in front of a mare’s nest. But the country grows less mountainous, and once in a while can see daylight. We start tomorrow, supposing that the Rebels have gone across the River, We now number 163 muskets. After this Campaign I shall try to get home to fill up, unless it is to last all summer. My throat continues very weak, and no voice, but the Major

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can do all the ordering. and has been great help to me. Col Wood commands the Brigade, about the same as he did his Regt. but with more dignity and a big staff. I think he is too partial to his Regt, the have lost less and done less than any of us. Col Gamby and his major were killed May 15. Capt Powers is senior, but Col Wood ordered him relieved and is to be examined. Wood will get fitts when leisure time comes –

Genl Steinwehr was ordered to a Brigade in the 14 Corps but went home on “sick leave,” Schurtz I hear is in charge at Nashville.You know he asked for investigation of Hookers charges. Wood, Jones of the 154 & Bushbeck were the board. Wood & Jones sustained the report. Bushbeck opposed it. Bushbecks time is out and gone home. Wood is anxious for a Star & Faulkner for the Eagle, but probably neither will get it. The 20″ Connecticut & 26 Wisconsin have joined us Col Long has been away sick 2 months, how lucky he is – the 2″ Mass I see often but as Coggswell is at home you will doubtless see him. The 12″ Corps so far have not done so well as the 11″.

I am sorry that my throat is so bad, but dont let my wife & parents get hold of it, my Bro of Chicago came to see me in April – Prospects are good for success, but hard work, “Carry me back to old Virginia” Butterfield commands our Division, Excuse this, I will write you as often as I can, and hope to see you in July or August

Your Obt Servt

G. Rider Jr. Lt Col Comdg

33 Mass

Godfrey Rider, Jr. enrolled as a captain on July 31, 1862 in the 33d MA Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel April 3, 1863 and resigned September 17, 1864.

Letter – William Garner, 30 March 1863


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Letter written by Sergeant William A. Garner of Company G, 10th TN Infantry, U.S.A., to Mr. James W. Waldren and family, from Camp Spear in Nashville, TN. Garner, a Union soldier, is writing to friends and updating them on general war news as well as news from his hometown of Pulaski, TN. He offers to find out whether the 21st OH was involved in the battle at Stones River. The Confederates conscripted everyone who was obligated to military service, and all the prisoners at Fort Donelson who took an oath were forced back into the Confederate army. He writes that Captain Julian was killed near Columbia, TN while skirmishing with Confederate troops. Louis Kirk, a captain in the Confederate army, was killed near Franklin. Garner mentions that no African American troops, or “recruits of color,” have been raised in Tennessee, but he hopes that will change.

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Camp Spear, Nashville, Tenn

March the 30th 1863

Mr. James W. Waldren & Famalie [Family]

My Dear Friends

     It is with a degree of the most delightful pleasure that I avail myself of the present opportunity to drop you a few lines in return for the affectionate letter that I have just received from you bearing date of the 22[nd] of this inst. Indeed, it affords me much pleasure to receive intelligence from a friend or friends that has ever been ready and willing to give me help in time of need. I am very glad to learn that you are all well, and prouder to learn that Mrs. Waldren is in very good health. I can just state in return that my health is very good, and a great deal better than when you last saw it. The boys are all well, and as fat as pigs. Capt. Gillespie is in front. His lady is in the city as yet. I do not know whether or not the 21[st] Ohio was in the battle at Stones River. I will try to learn by the next letter. I held a conversation with Mr. Rankin of Pulaski a few days ago, and he had just seen his lady a short time before, who still resides in Pulaski. And she had given him the following statements.

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1. The Rebs have conscripted all persons that were obligated to military duty. J. R. Childers was selling sole leather at $1.50 per lb. George McGrew had bought out the town principally, and was doing a big business. All of those Fort Donelson  prisoners had taken the oath had been forced back into the Rebel army. I could learn nothing of Mr. Pillow. Mrs. Ranking will be here in a few days, and then I will write you more. I know no more now. Capt. Julian was killed near Columbia, Tenn, while skirmishing with the Rebs on the 19th, and he was a brave man. Louis Kirk was killed near Franklin in a battle that was fought there. He was a captain in the Confederate Army. There are no recruits of color being raised in this state as yet, though I hope that there will be. It a very dark hour in this department now. Our Tenn. boys are the very boys that can whip the Rebs. We expect to get our pay tomorrow, if we are not disappointed as we have been before. There is 4 months’ due us. My babe departed this life on the 7[th] of this inst. I will close by saying to you write soon and give all of the news.

                        William A. Garner

William A. Garner, of Pulaski, TN enlisted as a sergeant in Co. G, 10th Tenn. Infantry (U.S.A.) ca. April 1, 1863. This regiment served as garrison troops at Nashville, then later guarded the line of railroads at Bridgeport, AL On March 8, 1864 Garner joined Co. I, 2nd TN Mounted Infantry (U.S.A.) as its captain. He enrolled for one year, and was mustered out June 17, 1865.

Letter – Charles Wilkins, 16 January 1863


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Letter written by Lieutenant Charles Wilkins of the 1st U.S. Infantry to his girlfriend Sarah while in a camp near Corinth, Mississippi. Wilkins mentions a Union defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia. He remarks on the cold weather and snow. Wilkins aims to be in New Hampshire within three months. He describes a planned foraging trip for the next morning. The latter part of the letter is dated January 21st, after Wilkins returned from foraging.

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Corinth, Miss.

                                 January 16th 1863

Dear Sarah,

    Being once more in communication with the States, I take this opportunity to write you a few lines. I received three papers from you Jan. 4th. Can assure you they were very gratefully received, as we had not seen a paper since Dec. 16th. I am almost discouraged at times at our want of success of our army in Virginia. Our loss at Fredericksburg must have been very great. I learned through my brother at Winchester that Lt. Jas. Sanborn of the 11th N.H. Vols. left the field with two wounded and was not seen until the next day. Think he had better have been shot, if he had not the courage to stand up to the work should have

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supposed he would have had too much pride to run. What kind of a story will he tell on his return home. Suppose you are having nice sleighing. We have almost snow enough for sleighing but have not the sleigh. The weather is very cold. I had to keep up a fire all night to keep warm. We feel the cold much more when we have it, from the fact that the changes are very sudden.

I think it is a settled thing that we are to go north to recruit, probably to St. Louis Arsenal. Should like to be sent East on the recruiting service. And then; well I will not anticipate, for fear I should be disappointed. But we shall know soon, perhaps in a month. It will take at least three months to fill up our regiment. I have made up my mind that I shall be in New Hampshire

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in less than three months. I am going out with a foraging party in the morning; to be gone two or three days. I shall go from twenty to twenty-five miles. The traveling is very bad on account of recent rains. Our foraging parties are sometimes attacked, but I think there is no danger of being attacked by them, on account of the traveling. Think I will not finish this until I return.

January 21st. I returned with my train of forage night before last. I had 42 wagons and sixty men to guard them. I did not know that I was to have the command of the train until just as I was ready to start, when the post Q.M. said, Lieut. Wilkins, you will take command of the train. I started at ten o’clock on Saturday morning on the Purdy, Tenn.

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road, went about twenty miles. The first day took forage enough from a planter to feed night and morning. Started at light the next morning went to [???] got thirteen loads; then went about six miles east – to Snake Creek – where I filled the balance of my teams with corn & hay. I got 12 geese & six chickens for the officer’s mess at the same place. I then thought I would find a better road to go back, and started on the Monterey road, and camped within half a mile of that place on Sunday night. I was then fifteen miles from camp. I woke up the next morning at five, had the mules fed and harnessed, about this time it began to rain. My waiter brought me a piece of chicken, some bread, and a cup of coffee for my breakfast. It rained all day on Monday, and when I got in was about as wet as a “drowned rat.” got a little cold sleeping on the ground. The major was well pleased with my success, so were all the officers

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Received a paper from you last night. In it you say you have not heard from me for five weeks. I think I have sent you three letters and this is the fourth since Dec. 20th. I met with an accident last night. The mail arrived late, and I went out to see what I was to get, and ran against a tree, cutting my forehead and chin. This morning I found I could see out of one eye; the other is “closed for repairs.” Hope to be all right in a few days. Think in future will let the orderly fetch me my mail matter. I have been setting in my tent all day, and what do you suppose has been the drift of my thoughts[?] Will tell you in my next letter.

                             I remain very truly yours,


N.B. you will probably get another letter from me soon


Charles Wilkins was born in Henniker, New Hampshire to James and Sarah Wilkins. He originally enlisted in Company B of the 2nd NH Infantry on June 1, 1861 at the age of 25. 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.