Letter written by Private Daniel C. Dodge of Company D, 26th MI Infantry, near City Point, VA. Dodge is writing from the hospital, and feels fine though he hates to see his fellow soldiers with amputated limbs. Dodge believes the war is nearly finished, as Robert E. Lee has surrendered. He hopes to return home soon, as he does not wish to remain in the hospital nor return to war. Dodge describes the fine weather conditions, and how the cheerful land is marred by the graves of thousands of soldiers. He also writes of a speech made by Lincoln in which the President asked God to bless the living soldiers.
Vir.[ginia] April the 4 1865
Sitty Point Well how Do you all Do this fine after noon I hope you air all Well as for me I am fealing first rate to Day though I hate to Se So many of our Boys with their hands and legs cut of But it looks as though it was Pla[y]ed out for old Lee has Sir rendered his hole amry he was not so mutch of a Copperhead Be what he would give up when he was used up So he Could fight no longer So I think the war will Stop Soon I think I Shal Be home Bfore the 4 of July But how mutch
Soon ner I Cant tel And the Soon ner the Better But I may have to Stay longer than I think But five mont[h]s will Soon
Pas a way I think I Shal not Stay hear mutch longer for I Dont like it mutch hear But I Dont know But I Shal have to go to my regt to get a way from hear I Dont
mean to go to work hear if I can help it for if I Do I Shal have to Stay hear But it is Pleasant hear to Day I went out this morning Before sun rise
and looked around and I could se the cherry trees in Blossom this looked cheaful But look in an other Direction and you can se the graves of four teen thousand of our Boys laid lo By the Cirsed Rebs and Copperheads But they to have Ben heaped in Piles to Be rememBered as infamos Devels that air not fit to liv or to Dy and they will Be rememBerD with Contempt while
time inDures and all [???] uphold them god Bless the wounded SolDierS and the union old abe came and staed through the hole fight I saw him going
in to the field after they had taken Petersburg he made a speach to the Boys But he Could not Bring to life the noBle Boys that fel on the field But he cold [called] on god to Bless the liveing
April the 4
well I will stop and send my love to all the friend hopeing to se you all agane Before long it seams a g[r]ate while since I have herd from home and i cant tel you whare to Direct yet may Be I can when I right agane good By for this time Daniel Dodge
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Dont fret a Bout the Bruss [Bruise?] for I am all right
Daniel C. Dodge was from Pine River, MI. He enlisted at age 18 on August 2, 1862 as a private in Company D of the 26th MI Infantry. He mustered in September 15, 1862 for a 3 year term. Dodge was wounded on April 7 at Farmville, VA leading to his discharge in Philadelphia, PA on June 24, 1865. Dodge was not well educated, his spelling mostly phonetic. Though he dates this letter to April 4, 1865 he most likely means the 14th, considering he references Lee’s surrender on April 12.
Letter written by Lieutenant Warren L. Scott of Battery H, 1st NY Light Artillery, to his mother, from a camp near Petersburg, VA. He describes the movements of his regiment, and mentions crossing the James River. The battery are near Confederate earthworks, and sharpshooters on both sides are constantly firing. He mentions having a uniform made, and how he may get a chance to go to Washington and travel on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Scott describes the “trails and hardships” endured by the army. He is unsure of the physical loss caused by the war, and recounts the many dead and wounded he has seen being transported on ambulances and baggage wagons. He writes that he can only pray to God that he will escape the war with his health.
Hd Qrs. Battery “H” 1st N.Y. Arty.
Camp near Petersburgh VA
June 19 1864
This morning I received a very welcome letter from you, dated June 9th teeming as usual with good advice that a christian mother knows how to give.
At present our army is investing the city of Petersburgh, directly south of Richmond – Since last I wrote you our army has been almost constantly on the move – For the third time since I have been in the army I have been within the vicinity of Baltimore Cross Roads. once more upon the banks of the James – crossed upon a pontoon bridge over 2200 feet in length-
To-day the battery is in position within 400 yards of the rebel earthworks. Sharpshooters upon both sides are continually firing at each other – Since yesterday morning we have had eight or ten horses shot down – One man had his right arm blown off by the premature discharge of the piece. Another his thumb while serving the vent at the same time – No one seriously injured by the enemy.
Col. Wainwright had a close call yesterday – a shot went between his legs, as he was walking along. viewing the rebel works –
The work is so close and hot that a person is very careful how he exposes his head or body – above the redoubt –
How Mat should understand that I was on my way to Washington, from the time of my letter I don’t see – that I was making efforts to pass is true, but I had not sufficient papers and it is for that that I am now waiting. When i go I can not tell. I hope soon. I am at present with the battery but expect every day to receive orders to join temporarily some battery in this brigade and do duly until my papers come around.
Nothing has been told me respecting the uniform that Louis was to have made for me – Suppose I should be sent through by the Baltimore & Ohio R.R. how could I get them Tell Louis to study out the rout I should be about to take and see if they could be expressed in case I telegraph you as soon as I get in Washington-
Dear Mother you can not conceive the trials hardships, suffering &c now that our army is
enduring. One thing about it we expect no respet [respite] until this army of Lee’s is routed or Richmond taken – If Richmond falls within two months I shall be very glad but if it holds out for a year, when it does fall I shall be equally rejoiced. For my part I have no hopes of the city being taken this year.
We receive very little news. That Lincoln is nominated I have heard but not read – What has been the estimate thus far of our loss. In every town where we halt for a short time all building are made hospitals of – The stores are cleaned and the counters and floors covered with the wounded – If a church, it is made the depot of hundreds of the suffering – Only those who witness it can form any idea of the suffering – Trains of ambulances and baggage wagons miles & miles long loaded with the wounded – All along the roads are seen the graves of the fallen braves – sadly attesting the innumerable throng who have ceased their warfare – God grant my life be spared in perfect health and body, and that I be restored to you again. If ever we needed the prayers of friends at home it is now.
We need to pray for ourselves
My love to Judge S’s family and other friends.
God have us in his holy keeping until we meet again –
Yours with love
Direct as usual to “H” Battery and I shall get your letters wherever I am
Warren L. Scott was born in 1838 in Lewis, NY and worked as a teacher. He enlisted at age 23 on September 28, 1861 in Lowville, NY and mustered in as a corporal on October, 12. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of Company I on May 2, 1864. He re-enlisted with Company H in Culpeper, VA on December 31, 1864 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He mustered out June 23, 1865 and returned to Lowville where he worked as a postmaster. He died February 12, 1901.
Letter written by Corporal Emmet Irwin of Company C, 2nd NY State Militia (82nd NY Volunteer Infantry) to his sister, from a camp near Falmouth, VA. In this letter, Irwin condemns General Burnside, and fumes about the events at Fredericksburg. His regiment has just received marching orders. He believes they will be moving towards Washington. Irwin writes of the loss of Island No. 10, New Madrid, and the capture of the Aerial. He writes disparagingly of their commanders, his impressions of them were not helped by the outcome at Fredericksburg. He claims that the newspapers tell only lies about the spirits of the soldiers. He is determined not to see any more “blood and carnage” unless forced.
Camp near Fal Vir
I thought I would write you a few lines and tell you not to send the box I sent for if it is not already sent. We have received marching orders to be ready in 4 hours with 3 days rations in haversack, 5 in wagons, and 10 days meat on the hoof. I received a letter from Philip the other day. He is at Acquia Creek, Assistant Superintendent for unloading provisions. I have not see James since Christmas. We received the gloves.
I think when we move it will be towards Washington. Excuse bad writing as it is written in a hurry.
I received a letter from Nathaniel yesterday. He and his family are well. The namesake of mine, he says, I may be proud of. He begins to walk and talk. As I was to[o] late for the mail this morning, I did not put it in the bag. We have just received the news of the loss of Island No. 10, New Madrid, and the capture of the Aerial. This and the prospects now before us makes most of the men feel very disheartened. I have allowed some ideas to settle in my noodle though the incapacity of our numerous commanders
that I would have banished at the first thought two months ago. And the Fredericksburg disaster has in no way lessened these ideas. I feel as if I had gone through all these hardships and danger, witnessed scenes to[o] direful for the pen to tell, and all for what – naught! And the papers tell such notorious yarns, such as the army in the best of spirits and anxious to be again led against the enemy’s of their country, and other to[o] numerous to mention. Gen. Sumner is right when he says there is to[o] much croaking and want of confidence. At the present time we have in the field without the least doubt two [soldiers] to their one, and yet they keep us at bay at every point. I have seen all the blood and carnage I
ever hope to see. In short, I am determined not see much more unless forced to it. If our commanders felt as I feel, I think they would take a hold with more energy. They act to me as if they were satisfied they have a good position; nothing to do, big salary, and live like kings, and the longer it lasts the better for me. The weather at present looks like snow. We have had very warm [weather] for the last two weeks. Three of us have built a log house, and pass our time very comfortably in it. So much so we are loath to leave it. Please send me a package of envelopes and a quire of commercial note, as I am entirely out, and cannot get any here. It can be sent by mail. Enclose also some postage stamps. I will try write
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again the first opportunity. With this I close, remaining with much love, Your brother, Emmet
Give my love to all inquiring friends
Evening still finds us in camp, but every prospect of moving the morrow. It is now raining, and this also bids fair for continuing, which will make very hard traveling. The weather has been extremely favorable for winter campaigning; the roads being as yet quite hard. It was almost impossible for a man to get around last year at this time. Nathaniel’s wife thinks I must be pretty good pluck to get in all the engagements. She says if she was in my place, she would be sick once in a while, at about the time there was to be a fight. I don’t know
than about it would be a good plan, particular if I thought we were to be led in another Fredericksburg affair. For my part, I don’t see where Gen. Lee’s eyes could have been there, as they had us in a much worse place than we had them at Antietam, as they had their picked position at both places. The best idea that I can give you of their position at Fredericksburg is that of a range of hills, semi-circle in shape, and the city in the hollow and center. Here our troops laid in the streets so thick that it would be more of an accident if there was not some killed or wounded
at every shot of the enemy’s. Upon the crest of the hills is where their earthworks were thrown. The regt. was never before in such a hot place. For 2 o’clock until 12 P.M. the regt. laid in a ravine, death staring us square in the face. For at the head of the ravine they had a gun, from which every shot would strike in our ranks. That you imagine the pluck that a person must have. I will tell you the effect of a single shot. It struck in the company on our right killed 4, wounded 6, & killed 1 in the 34th N.Y.V., and wounded 3. The gun that these shots came from we could see very plainly, and it is only due to our artillery
that there were no more of us killed. The shots from our cannon drove the enemy from their gun. I think the correspondent of the N.Y. paper that says the troops have unbounded confidence in Gen.Burnside better not let himself known if he does not want some very unpleasant epithets applied which are now saved for the commanding general. But I have already written more than I intended, and will close hoping that I may meet with the same success as heretofore written, the move be backwards or forwards.
Remembrance to all
From Your Affec
Emmet M. Irwin, aged 19, enlisted in Company C, of the 2nd NY State Militia (82nd NY Volunteer Infantry) on May 21, 1861. He was promoted to corporal in 1862, then assigned to Co. C of the 12th Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps due to disability in 1863. He was discharged from the V.R.C. on May 23, 1864, at the expiration of his three year’s enlistment. He participated in the following battles: 1st Bull Run, Edward’s Ferry, Yorktown, West Point, Fair Oaks, Seven Day’s battles, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.
Letter written by 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Ocker of Company F, 6th MD Infantry, US, to his cousin, from the camp of the 6th MD Regiment in Brandy Station, VA. Ocker writes the townspeople have a crippling fear of an invasion by Robert E. Lee. He voted for the “Old State” to “no longer be classed with the slave states.” The “copperheads” were not pleased with the outcome. Ocker describes how Unionists manipulated the secessionists into not voting. He has enclosed a photographs of Generals George Meade and Ulysses S. Grant with his letter.
Camp 6th Md. Regt.
Culpeper County, Va
April 26th/ 64
Jason I . Cover
Supposing you are at all times glad to hear from friends as myself, I thought of sending you a few lines this morning. I have been blessed with another privilege of a short visit home. I found them all enjoying reasonable health. Alfred Troxell’s health has not been very good for the last winter, but is getting better now. Aunt is well as usual, & all of uncle’s folks to.
The only fatal disease at present in the neighborhood is the fear of Old Robert [E. Lee]. They appear
think of nothing else by day or night. I think I can say they had him crossing [the Potomac River] a dozen times the short time I was there. For a soldier to say that is the place for to fight & whip them, causes an aching in the[ir] heads directly. I was home in time to vote for a convention, & the Old State can now no longer be classed with the slave states. Jace, it was a soldier’s harvest to stand at the polls & see the copperheads bite their lips before they could take “horrible oath” as they term it. There were some 30 of us at the polls.
The drum has just called for companies to go out for target firing. I must stop until noon.
Target practice is over, & will resume my seat to finish. Every man that favors secesh
has challenged the oath, & then a long list of questions was asked, and if he could not answer satisfactorily, ‘you can’t vote.’ In the morning they thought of running their hard cases in early, but the first man left with a flea in his ear. It was amusing to see some of the old codgers sneak off without trying to vote. Best of all, neither of their candidates got their vote. But don’t understand that they had not full privileges. They was just as sure of their vote as I or anyone else, if they would comply with the Governor’s order. I wrote Josiah; say to him to answer my letter if he pleased. I have never got a scratch of pen from him since have been in the service.
Enclosed you will find a photograph of Genl. Meade. This I can recommend as a true picture. Meade just as he is. Also, Genl. U. S. Grant.
As for Grant’s, I have not yet had a good look at it, but think it is a good picture. If this weather lasts long, we will have to soon move out of [winter] quarters & commence to the tug of war again.
My health has been quite good. During the winter I have not had a cold yet, and I feel ready for coming events. If I can march to Richmond, as the boys say, at a right shoulder shift, I can take hardships as light as the next.
I must close. My love to Aunt, & wife, in fact, to all.
Hoping to hear from you soon, I am, as ever, your cousin.
Lieut. Thos. Ocker
6th Md. Regt.
2d Brig. 3d Divis.
6th A. Corps
Army of Potomac
Thomas Ocker was born in 1837 and lived in Westminster, MD. He enlisted in Company C, MD 6th Infantry on August 18, 1862. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on May 1, 1863; and to 1st Lieutenant on November 17, 1864; then to Captain on January 23, 1865. He died at City Point, VA on May 4, 1865 at the age of 27.
Letter by Private Isaac Miller of Company E, 93rd OH Volunteer Infantry, to his sister, from Chattanooga, TN. Miller mentions that the Confederate troops are still out in front, though they haven’t shot from LookoutMountain in two days and are losing many soldiers to desertion. He thinks that the Confederates will soon give up, and that the war will end if General George Meade defeats Robert E. Lee and takes Richmond. He predicts that if the Confederates remove some of their forces to reinforce Lee, they will get a “good drubbing” at Chattanooga.
Chattanooga Saturday November the 21, 1863
I sit down this morning to answer your letter of the 7[th] which I received some time ago & I had to write to Dad about some money at the time and I thought it was nice [?] to write to both at once. This leaves me well, and hope it will find you all the same. It has rained all night, and is still raining, and it is getting very muddy. We have had very nice weather for some time. It has not been very cold down here yet, and I hope it won’t [be] soon. The Rebels are still out in front. They have not shot from Lookout for two days. I don’t know what they are about, but I think they are
taking their guns off of it. They might as well, for they can’t do much harm with them, and their men still deserting them. I saw the pickets that came past our camp this morning – had one, and if they come in all around the whole line like they do in front of us they will soon lose their army. Three or four mornings ago it was awful foggy, and they say that there was five hundred came it all together. Their pickets could not see them, and they could get through. They have a hard time to get through. They don’t put any of them on picket that they think will desert. I see by the papers that France has come down on them and took some gunboats from them. I think that they will soon begin to see that they can’t do anything, and will give up.
I don’t care how soon, for my part. I think that again [come] spring, they will be about started out, and if Meade whips Lee and takes Richmond, it will end the war. And if they take any of their men away from here to reinforce Lee they will get a good drubbing here, and maybe they will anyhow. Sherman is here from Vicksburg with a good force, and Hooker. I think we are able to fight them well. I will close. You write soon and give me all the news, and I will try and answer them. I guess the money has not come yet. It may be some time yet before Doc gets it. It was reported that Capt. Allen lost all he took. I did not like to risk him with much.
Isaac Miller, enlisted on August 5, 1862, aged 20, as a private in Co. E, 93rd Ohio Vol. Infantry. He was mustered out of the army June 8, 1865 at Nashville, Tenn.