Letter written by Assistant Surgeon Jesse W. Brock of the 66th OH Infantry, to his siblings, from a camp near Washington Court House in Rappahannock County, VA. He describes the apprehension before facing Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. He is unsure of how long they will remain in their current camp, though he expects a battle soon. Jackson is in Gordonsville and Brock expects his regiment will have to meet him before long. He expects that the impending battle will decide the fate of George B. McClellan’s army. Brock expresses the need for more men, and hopes that they will volunteer rather than be drafted. He also writes that the army has lost its “novelty,” and that he has made it “a business now.”
Camp Near Washington Court House
Rappahannock Co., Va.
August 4, 1862
Dear Brother & Sister
I don’t know whether I wrote you the last letter or not. Perhaps not as I am always indebted to everybody in some manner – therefore [I] always feel safe in writing. I am in good health; never had better health in my life. I received a letter from Jim Packer giving me the general news of Flushing & vicinity. I am always glad to hear from any old home, as I am interested in that direction. I wish you all would write more frequent as I am so situated that I can always
write when I would wish to. We are in camp; have been since the 1st instant. don’t know how long we may remain here; not so long I presume as we are expecting a battle near this point soon. [Stonewall] Jackson is at Gordonsville with a large force. We will have to meet him & with what success future history alone will tell. We were encamped at Alexandria for about 3 weeks were ordered to Sperrysville, 6 miles from here. We are under Pope’s command. He has 134 regiments in the field. Formerly we were with the 3rd brigade, Gen. Tyler commanding. Yesterday we were ordered to report at Washington for the purpose of organizing another brigade. We are under the command of Gen. Geary, formerly
Governor of Kansas. We didn’t like the change much, knowing that Tyler was a fighting man. I hope we may find the same kind of a man in Gen. Geary. The weather is very hot here; almost insufferable. But we have to stand it. We are anxious to have the present battle decided as it in a manner decides the fate of McClellan’s army. There is an uneasy sensation manifested in our troops concerning McClellan’s army. We need your 300,000 men immediately hope you will send them along, and that without drafting. I presume you will hate to part with your sons. But recollect others have sacrificed & you will become compelled to do the same. Let your
young men pitch in & show their grit. Nothing like it when you once get used to it. The thing has lost its novelty to me. I make it a business now. My mate leaves me the 15th of this month; don’t know whether he will return or not. If possible I want you to meet me at Waightstown sometime in October. Perhaps I am too fast, but I shall try & come home for a few days. Don’t allow yourselves to be drafted, but show your hand & volunteer. This rebellion must be put down. I would like to hear from you soon. Tell me all about your affairs. How is George & that sweet little child. Tell him to send me her photograph. My love to your family & all my relatives & tell friends write soon.
Your brother J.W. Brock
-Page 1, Crosswritten-
Asst. Surgeon 66th Regt. O.V.I.
Gen. Geary’s Brigade,
Jesse W. Brock was mustered in as assistant surgeon on November 5, 1861. He was promoted to surgeon September 13, 1862, and was mustered out July 15, 1865. At Cedar Mountain, VA, August 9, 1862 the 66th OH lost 10 enlisted men killed, 4 officers and 77 enlisted men wounded, and 3 men captured, a total of 94 casualties from a an effective strength of about 250.