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.