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1864 June 28: “Many are killed and wounded on both sides. It is rather rough here for new beginners.”

July 17, 2014

The following letter from George W. Davis of Farmington—now with the 7th Wisconsin Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia—was published in the July 17, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.  Many of the wounded listed here were wounded before the new recruits joined the regiment at Petersburg.  June 18, 1864, was the last day of the Second Battle of Petersburg, by the 28th, the Siege of Petersburg was under way, foreshadowing the trench warfare of World War I.

Our Army Correspondence.

PETERSBURG, June 28th ’64. }

S. S. FIFIELD, Jr.,—Dear Sir :—I arrived here with my squad of recruits on the 25th inst., all right.  Found the remnant of the old 7th regiment here, under fire, where they have been constantly engaged since the 18th,—on which day our brigade made a charge on the enemy’s works and got repulsed with heavy loss.  Our regiment went in with 170 men and came out with 120.

We are now lying behind our breastworks, holding our position,—under a heavy fire—without water, except we choose to go half a mile for it exposed to the enemy’s fire from the moment we leave the works.  There are more men killed and disabled at present in going for water, and carelessly exposing themselves, than from doing their duty in the trenches.  When a soldier raises his head above the breastworks, he is sure to have a bullet sent close to his ears, if not close enough to sting.—Thus many are killed and wounded on both sides.  It is rather rough here for new beginners.  I wish you could come here and spend a day or two, then you would have a better idea of a soldier’s life than you ever can by reading, or from the report of old soldiers.  I am not able to say that I am sorry I enlisted—do not know how I shall stand a charge—but there is something exciting all the time that keeps one from being down hearted.

I enclose you a list of the men who left Polk county with me, giving those wounded and sick, with the particulars as near as I can learn them.

Yours truly, GEO. W. DAVIS.

(The following is the list referred to above : )—ED.

Peter Francis, killed on field, May 5.
A. H. Connor, wounded severely.—Shot through thighs May 17, now in hospital.
E. Whitney, went to hospital before first battle—returned to regiment June 10,
was shot through leg June 18; now in hospital.
Richard Turnbull, detailed dressing wounds in hospital; never been in battle.
Orrin Weymouth, shot through leg while going for water; not dangerous, now in hospital.
Peter Delp— all right—on duty.
Michael McHugh,    do           do
John Rice,    do           do
Joseph Razor, killed on field.
Frank Shaw, died in hospital May 23d of wounds received in battle.
Charles Razor, wounded; in hospital.
John Singog,    do           do
John B. Le Prairie,    do           do
Gus Metwaos,    do           do
Thomas Hart,    do           do
John R. Day, sick in hospital.
John Moses,    do           do
George Samuel,    do           do
James Rice,    do           do
Joseph Cadott, sick but still on duty.
Alex Cadott, all right and on duty.
Charles Hart,    do           do
John Buck,    do           do
Joseph Morrow,    do           do

The 7th regiment is in the 1st brigade, 4th division, 5th Corps.   G. W. D.

1. Company F (all men who enlisted January 18, 1864):

  • Peter Francis, from Farmington, enlisted January 18, 1864; killed May 5, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • Andrew H. Connor, from Saint Croix Falls, enlisted January 18, 1864; wounded at Laurel Hill [part of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House].
  • Edwin E. Whitney, from Farmington, wounded at Petersburg.
  • Richard H. Turnbull, from Saint Croix Falls, discharged June 2, 1865, for disability.
  • Orrin Weymouth, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at Petersburg and died from his wounds July 25, 1864.
  • Peter Delp, from Saint Croix Falls, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Michael McHugh, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • John Rice, from the Town of Sterling, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.

2.  Company G (all men who enlisted in late February/early March of 1864):

  • Joseph Razor, from Osceola,* killed May 12, 1864, at Laurel Hill.
  • Frank Shaw, from Osceola,* wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, died May 25, 1864.
  • Charles Razor, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John Singog [Singgoy], from Burnett County, wounded at Jericho Ford [Battle of North Anna], died June 17, 1864.
  • John B. Le/La Prairie, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg.
  • Gus [George] Metwaos, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • Thomas Hart, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John R. Day, from Burnett County, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • John Moses, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.
  • George Samuel[s], from Burnett County, wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • James Rice, from Osceola,* no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Joseph Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Alexander Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Charles Hart, from Burnett County, will desert November 30, 1864.
  • John Buck, from Burnett County, will die April 8, 1865, from disease.
  • Joseph Morrow, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.

* Many of the men listed as being from Osceola were more likely from Burnett County and only enlisted in Osceola.

1864 July 16: The Sinking of the “Alabama” in the Battle of Cherbourg

July 16, 2014

Following is the summary of the week’s war-related news from the July 16, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

The Battle of Cherbourg, fought on June 19, 1864, in the English Channel off Cherbourg, France, resulted in the sinking of the famous Confederate raider CSS Alabama by the USS Kearsarge.

Following that item is news of Confederate General Jubal Early’s raid through the Shenandoah Valley and into Maryland in July, 1864, attempting to divert Union forces away from General Robert E. Lee’s army that was under siege at Petersburg, Virginia.

The News.

The following is a summary of the most important news received since our last issue :

— Hon. S. P. CHASE [Salmon P. Chase] has resigned the office of Secretary of the Treasury, and Hon. WM. P. FESSENDEN, of Maine, has succeeded him in the Cabinet.

— Congress adjourned sine die¹ at noon of Monday, the Fourth of July.  Before adjourning it passed a new Conscription bill.  Under this act, drafts may be made for one, two or three years ;  bounties of $100, $200, and $300 are to be awarded for one, 2 and 3 years’ service respectively.  Commutation is no more ;  but every one drafted may serve in person or by substitute, and fifty days’ notice must be given before enforcing the draft.  Each State is at liberty to obtain substitutes in the States in insurrection and have them credited on her quota.

— The pirate Alabama has been met by our gallant navy, and sent to “Davy Jones’ locker.”  The winning ship is the U. S. Sloop-of-war Kearsage [sic: Kearsarge].  The engagement took place on the coast of France, off Cherbourg.  SEMMES [Raphael Semmes], the pirate Captain, made his escape in an English yacht.

Destruction of the Alabama, from "Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War"²

Destruction of the Alabama, from “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War”²

— The rebels are making a serious raid into Maryland.  The despatches³ regarding the situation are principally made up of rumors.  It appears certain, however, that a large force of rebels have invaded the North, and that several severe engagements have taken place in the vicinity of Baltimore and Washington.  Telegraph and railroad communication between Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Baltimore and Washington, has been cut off, and the greatest excitement prevails in those cities.

In Philadelphia the wildest rumors prevail, and it is reported there that Washington has been captured.  No faith is placed in the rumor, and as the last quotations show a decline in gold in New York, it is undoubtedly a secesh lie.

There is no mistake, however, but what the rebels are doing great damage in Maryland, destroying large amounts of property, both public and private.  Our forces are not idle and we trust soon to hear of the utter defeat of the rebels.

Gen. SULLIVAN [Jeremiah C. Sullivan] has re-captured Martinsburg, Va., with 1,000 prisoners and a large amount of plunder.

Gen. SHERMAN [William T. Sherman] has driven the rebel army of JOHNSON [sic: Joseph E. Johnston] across the Chattahoochee river, taking 2,000 prisoners.

GRANT [Ulysses S. Grant] is still around Petersburg, with BEAUREGARD [P.G.T. Beauregard] and his army penned up.  He is playing Vicksburg over again, and will soon have him bag and baggage.

1.  A Latin phrase meaning that Congress, in this case, had adjourned without setting a time to reconvene.
2.  “Destruction of the Alabama,” from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68):426; available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866). This also appeared in the July 23, 1864, issue of Harper’s Weekly.
3.  This is probably a good time to repeat that the newspapers of this time used “dispatch” and “despatch” interchangeably, so we do not bother putting [sic] after the later.
4.  Martinsburg is now in West Virginia.  The The Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad Roundhouse and Station Complex were located there.

1864 July 9: News of Local Soldiers John Otis, John Goldsberry; Wisconsin Sick and Wounded at Vicksburg

July 15, 2014

Following are the smaller news items from the July 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

Finger002  We regret to learn that John Otis,¹ of Co. A, 12th Reg., son of Franklin Otis, Esq., died in hospital a short time ago.  No soldier ever entered the service with purer motives, and his death is a severe affliction to his aged parents.

Finger002  JOHN GOLDSBERRY, Co. F, 37th, has returned home on furlough, having been wounded before Petersburg, June 17th.  Johny made a quick trip to Dixie and back.

Finger002  Henry E. Sinyzer has been appointed 1st Lieut. Co. E, 6th Reg., vice Chas. P. Hyatt, promoted.  The Lieut. has fairly won the position.

Finger002  Fremont [John C. Frémont] is called the “Pathfinder,” but he evidently is off from the right path to the White House.

Finger002  There was a large Fremont Ratification meeting in New York a few days since.  The material for the meeting was borrowed from the Democrats.—Gen. McClellan [George B. McClellan], was cheered much more than Fremont.  It is unlucky fro Fremont that the mass of his supporters are to fill up the time until they have a nominee of their own.

Finger002  S. S. Fifield, of the Polk County Press, was in town this week.  We are glad to see him so well recovered from his recent severe illness.  [The reason we have not had articles from the Press.]

Finger002  An interesting letter from “BOB” EDEN, Capt. Co. B, 37th Reg., will be found on the inside of this paper.

Finger002  Two years ago the Copperhead press strongly opposed the $300 commutation as a measure to favor the rich and drag the poor into the army ;  and now that it is repealed, they are violent in denunciation of the repeal.  What will suit them?

DEATH OF CAPT. HUNTER.—Capt. J. W. Hunter,² of the Third Wisconsin, formerly of this place, who was wounded in one of the late battle in Georgia, has died of his wound.—Monroe Sentinel.

Sick and Wounded Soldiers at Vicksburg.

The following is a list of sick and wounded soldiers in hospital in Vicksburg, from June 14th to June 18th, furnished by Mrs. C. A. P. HARVEY, Wis. State agent :

John Baker, H, 33d regiment.
A. Antoine,³ F, 14th do
R. H. Douglass,4 E, 8th do
E. E. Pauline,5 L, 2d cavalry.
George Hewitt, E, do
G. Haydy, H, do
H. Belch, H, do
Henry Jung, H, do
H. L. Brooks,6 M, do
___ Kanouse,7 F, do
Orson Mills, C, do
James E. Cronk, M, do

1.  John A. Otis, from Trimbelle, died June 11, 1864, in Rome, Georgia, from “disease.”
2.  James W. Hunter, from Monroe, was captain of Company F of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry. He died June 8, 1864, at Chattanooga, from wounds received May 25.
3.  Abram Antoine, from Fort Howard, died June 11, 1864, in Vicksburg.
4.  Robert H. Douglass, from Salem, died June 8, 1864, in Vicksburg.
5.  Ernest Pauline, from Fountain City, died June 12, 1864, on the Hospital steamer H.W. Thomas.
6.  Perry L. Brooks, from Porter, died August 17, 1864, in Vicksburg.
7.  Thomas Kanouse, from Richland Center, was discharged with a disability on July 3, 1864.


1864 July 9: Casualties from the 36th Wisconsin Infantry at 2d Petersburg

July 14, 2014

The following list of casualties appeared in The Prescott Journal of July 9, 1864.  The casualties occurred at the Second Battle of Petersburg.

From the 36th Regiment—Official List of Casualties.

NEAR PETERSBURG, VA., June 19, 1864. }

Hon. James T. Lewis, Governor of Wisconsin :

SIR :  I have the honor to submit the following list of casualties in the 36th Wisconsin Volunteers in the charge of June 18th, near Petersburgh [sic], Va.

Lt. Col. John A. Savage was severely wounded in arm, shoulder and chin.

Major Harvey M. Brown was wounded in back and thigh, severely.

All wounded have been sent to Washington.

       .Very respectfully,
C. E. WARNER, Capt. Co. B,
  .Commanding 36th Wis. Vol.

List of Killed, Wounded and Missing of the 36th Wis. Vols., June 18th, 1864, in the Charge at Petersburg, Va.


Killed.—H. J. Hayden.
Wounded.—C. Avon, J. Burns, F. Dewey, B. C. Hollen, E. J. Long, E. Mead, W. Wright, J. Welch, J. A. Hill.


Wounded.—G. Atwood; Samuel Brink, foot amputated; J. T. Quimby, slightly.


Killed.—Corp’l. C. Cleaves, D. Cole, D. Douglas, A. Ingalls, P. G. Walker.
Wounded.—C. Frink; V. Griffin, severe; E. H. Amiden, do.; J. A. Cross, slight in head; H. Sacia, severe; C. Witliph, do. in hip; A. Steber, head; R. Balcomb, leg; J. Wilkinson, knee; H. Cane, slight; J. Baker, head; S. Van Wert, arm; H. Hudson, leg; W. E. Polley; J. Printz, leg.


Killed.—D. H. Carle, H. Dennis.
Wounded.—Sergt’s Geo. Gans and C. D. Cramer, severely; Corp’ls Geo. Raymor, W. Bell, slight; J. O. Herrick, severe; N. Adams, severe; J. Adams, G. E. Park, severe; W. W. Rodrick, do.; J. Otter, do.; F. Wenger, W. Markwell, E. Vanderbilt, slight.


Wounded.—J. Haley, head; W. S. Reed, arm; J. Jackson, thigh; N. Fossnight, back; A. Burbank, arm.


Wounded.—C. H. Cape, leg; W. Stringlor, leg; A. Eggabond, finger; M. McIntire, arm.


Wounded.—J. Christman, head; J. Moran, shoulder; T. D. Phillips, neck.


Wounded.—2d Lt. G. S. Norris, severely; Sergt. R. J. Passmore, Corp. C. P. Peck, Corp. W. H. Patten, Corp. L. E. Pease, W. S. Allen, J. Brennan, A. C. Chase, A. Dayton, T. Fisher, G. W. Hodgden, F. Jennings, J. Kohler, G. W. McDonald, E. B. Parish, S. Stanton, M. Vandusen.
Missing.—E. Stewart.


Killed.—Corp. B. F. Grant.
Wounded.—W. H. Bright; T. M. Brenton, wrist; F. Daugherty, thumb; E. Houghton, hip; A. Brenner, head; C. Andre, shoulder; F. M. Brant, mortally.


Killed.—H. Wright, L. Johnson, W. Butterfield.
Wounded.—1st Lt. E. A. Galloway, mortally; 2d Lt. Joseph Harris, breast, arm and chest; D. Bassett, Sergt. A. J. McCann, Sergt. J. R. Ellis, Corp. W. W. Chapel, Corp. E. L. Fidler, Corp. M. Bittler, I. D. Cooper, A. Carbon, C. Miller, C. H. Lurn, J. Colman, H. J. Hoyt, L. Koller, M. A. Shoffer.

1864 July 9: Increase in the Pay for Soldiers, Plus Terms of Service for Old Recruits

July 13, 2014

The following articles are from The Prescott Journal of July 9, 1864.

Increase of Soldier’s Pay.

Congress has passed and the President has signed the bill increasing the pay of soldiers.  It provides that from the 1st of May last, during the present rebellion, the pay of non-commissioned officers and privates in the army shall be as follows :  sergeant majors, $26 ;  quartermaster and commissary sergeants of cavalry, artillery and infantry, $20 ;  sergeants of ordnance, sappers and miners and pontooniers, $34 ;  corporals of ordnance, sappers and miners and pontooniers, $20 ;  privates of engineers and ordnance of the first class, $18 ;  and of the second class, $16 ;  corporals of cavalry, artillery and infantry, $18 ;  chief buglers of cavalry, $23 ;  buglers, $15 ;  farriers and blacksmiths of cavalry and artillery, $18 ; privates of cavalry, artillery and infantry, $16 ; principal musicians of artillery and infantry, $22 ;  leaders of brigade and regimental bands, $75 ;  musicians, $16 ;  hospital stewards of the first class, $32 ; hospital stewards of the second class, $25 ;  hospital stewards of the third class, $23.

All non-commissioned officers and privates in the regular army, serving under enlistments made prior to July 22, 1861, shall have the privilege of re-enlisting for a term of three years in their respective organizations until the 1st of August next, and all such non-commissioned officers and privates so re-enlisting shall be entitled to the bounties entitled in the joint resolution of Congress, approved January 18, 1864.

In all cases where the government shall furnish transportation and subsistence to discharged officers and soldiers from the place of their discharge to the place of their enrollment or original muster into the service, they shall not be entitled to travel, pay or commutation of subsistence.

RECRUITS IN OLD REGIMENTS AND BATTERIES.—GOV. MORTON [Oliver P. Morton], of Indiana, has addressed a memorial to Congress in relation to recruits enlisted into old regiments and batteries prior to 1863, with the understanding that they were only to serve for the unexpired terms of those organizations to which they were attached, and who are now held for the full term of three years.  The question has heretofore been submitted to the War Department, but relief could not be granted, owing to the form of enlistment.  The memorial sets forth the facts fully and prays Congress, as a matter of justice and good faith towards the soldiers, to take such action as will secure their discharge according to the original understanding.

We have recently received enquiries from persons who have enlisted in the service with the understanding that their time would expire with that of the organizations to which they belong, on this point.  We earnestly hope that the Government will act wisely and justly in this matter, and provide that the pledges made by enlisting officers to such volunteers shall be faithfully observed.

1864 July 9: The President at the Front

July 12, 2014

From the July 9, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The President at the Front—The Difficulties He Encountered—Where He Went and What He Saw.

Correspondence of the New York Herald.

On Tuesday, the 21st, about one o’clock, a long, gaunt, bony man, with a queer admixture of the comical and the doleful in his countenance, undertook to reach the General’s tent, by scrambling through a hedge row and coming in the back way alone.  He was stopped by one of the hostlers, and told to “keep out of here.”  The individual in black replied that he thought General Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] would allow him inside, and strode ahead.  “You’ll damned soon find out,” was yelled in reply.  On reaching the guard, he was stopped with, “No sanitary folks allowed inside.”  After some parleying, the intruder was compelled to give his name, and announced himself to be Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, desiring an interview with General Grant.  The guard saluted and allowed him to pass.  General Grant recognized him as he stepped under the large “fly” in front of his tent, rose and shook hands with him cordially, and then introduced him to such members of the staff as were present and unacquainted.  It was ascertained that the President had just arrived on the City of Baltimore, and was accompanied by his son, “Tad,” Assistant Secretary of the Navy Fox [Gustavus V. Fox], Mr. Chadwick, proprietor of Willard’s Hotel, and a marine guard.  The conversation soon took a wide free-and-easy range until dinner was announced.  The President was duly seated, ate much as other mortals, managed to wring in three favorite jokes during the meal, under the plea of illustrating the topics discussed, and kept every one on the qui vive for others until the party rose.

He was very naturally desirous of riding to the front, so at 4 o’clock, horses were brought up, the President mounted on Gen. Grant’s thoroughbred, Cincinnatus, the General on Egypt, “Tad” on the General’s black pony, Jeff. Davis, and, accompanied by a large proportion of the staff and escort, the party rode to the headquarters of General Wright [Horatio G. Wright], commanding the 6th corps, where Gen. Meade [George G. Meade] and staff met them.  The location commands as good a view of Petersburg as can yet be obtained from our lines.  Maps were brought out and examined, the position of the army explained, its future operations discussed, the steeples and spires of the city observed, as well as the dust and smoke would allow, national airs were played by the band, the enemy’s works on the opposite side of the Appomattox inspected, and after a stay of an hour and a half, the party started on its return to headquarters  On the way out, many persons recognized the President’s physiognomy.  The news soon spread, and on the return ride the roads were lined in many places with weather beaten veterans, anxious to catch a glimpse of Old Abe.  One cavalry private recognized him on the road.  Mr. Lincoln shook him by the hand like an old, familiar acquaintance, to the infinite admiration of the bystanders.

Perhaps the notable feature of the ride was the passing of a brigade of negro troops.  The troops were lounging by the roadside, but seemed to know by instinct who was approaching.  They came rushing, and almost, to the horses feet, by hundreds, yelling, shouting, “Hurrah for the Liberator !” and were perfectly wild with excitement and delight.  It was a spontaneous outburst of genuine love and affection for the man they look upon as their “deliver[er] from bondage,” and their wild huzzas were perfectly deafening.  The President uncovered as he rode through their ranks, and bowed on every hand to his sable admirers.  The cavalcade arrived at headquarters about nine o’clock, took tea and chatted a short time when the visitors departed to their state rooms on the steamboat.

At  seven o’clock in the morning of June 22d Major General Butler [Benjamin F. Butler] and his staff proceeded on board the Baltimore and exchanged congratulations with the Chief Magistrate, who was accompanied by Mr. Assistant Secretary Fox, Mr. Assistant Secretary Charles A. Dana, General Barnard,¹ “Little Tad,” and his playmate, named Perry.  The exceeding cordiality that marked the entire interview between the President and the Major General commanding was especially noticeable.  It was frank and zestful, and carried the conviction that the two eminent men were in entire concord upon all public and social issues.  All being on board, and everything being ready, the Baltimore steamed up the James river to the fleet, where Admiral Lee2 and party were taken on.  The party then proceeded up the river to the monitor Onondaga, near Crow’s Nest, where the vessel was boarded and carefully inspected.

The entire party then went ashore, and mounting horses made a grand tour of the fortifications, the troops throughout cheering the President and General Butler alternately.

All this being over, the party proceeded to General Butler’s marquee, where an elegant and substantial lunch was supplied, of which all partook most heartily after the forenoon fatigue.

Shortly after two o’clock in the afternoon the President signified his intention of immediately returning to Washington.  Proceeding aboard the Greyhound, attended by Gen. Butler and staff, he joined the Baltimore and left this scene, after an uncommonly pleasant, satisfactory and instructive visit.

1.  John Gross Barnard (1815-1882) graduated from West Point in 1833 and was a career officer in the U.S. Army. He served in engineering capacities during the Mexican-American War, and as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (1855-1856). During Civil War he served as Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac (1861-1862), Chief Engineer of the Department of Washington (1861-1864), and as Chief Engineer of the armies in the field (1864-1865) on General Grant’s staff. Barnard served in the honor guard for President Lincoln’s funeral in April 1865. He also was a distinguished scientist, co-founding the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; mathematician; historian and author, writing several scientific/engineering works and Civil War history papers.
2.  Samuel Phillips Lee (1812-1897)—son-in-law of Francis P. Blair, brother-in-law of Montgomery Blair, and third cousin of Robert E. Lee—was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. During the Civil War he commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (1862-1864) and then the Mississippi River Squadron (October 1864-end of the War).

1864 July 11: “Sherman is still winning [and] the army is steadily gaining ground on the rebels, we conclude Atlanta is almost in our grasp”

July 11, 2014

This letter from Edwin Levings, with Company A of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in Georgia, is written on stationery from the U. S. Christian Commission.  Ed asks his parents to send more stationery because he is soon out.  Ed made the most of this piece of stationery, writing all around the edges.  Instead our usual image of the first page of the letter, this time we show you the inside two pages so you can see the lengths he went to.  The original letter is in the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Levings letter 1864-07-11002

Chattahoochee River Ga., July 11th /’64

 Dear Parents,

                            I will improve the morning in writing to you.  We were glad to hear from again and to know that all are well at home.  Night before last eve received a Rural and Sentinel from you and had something to read once more.  Continue to send us from time to time such papers and you will furnish not us only, but others, the means of pleasant and profitable recreation.  You do not know what a strong desire there is in the army for reading matter.  A paper, book, or tract is eagerly siezed [sic] and read by many and I often wish the boys were better supplied with something to read.

We have been talking this morning about sending to you for some stationery.  I concluded it will pay so to do.  Note paper costs here 60 cts. per quire¹ as do envelopes 65 cts. per package.  It will be very high for some time yet.  We have about used up all we had, and unless we can get some more soon—as is a scarce article—we shall have to write on our cartridge paper.  Till When we get to Atlanta, we will try and get a supply; but when that will be I am unable to say.  The last sentence is awkward.  But to amend it is hardly worth any waste of paper, so let it go.  Will you send us by next mail, then, 1 quire note paper and 1 pkg. envelopes, and have it so arranged that it will not be charged letter postage.

We are both in good health yet, and so are the other boys.  The weather is pretty warm but not more so than up in Wis., I judge.  I suppose the farmers are busy now with preparations for harvest.

Sherman [William T. Sherman] is still winning.  The army  is steadily gaining ground on the rebels, we conclude Atlanta is almost in our grasp.  The rebels in our front fell back across the Chattahoochee night before last in out front to another line of intrenchment.  We were on picket.   Word came by a deserter of the movement and before daylight the boys started over to their lines.  The Capt. [Orrin T. Maxson] and 10 men, including Homer, were the first into the big fort.  As there were [sic] no order to go and as some of the other companies were firing at them, supposing them rebels.  I thought I would not be in a hurry.  I concluded I needed a little Sanitary and so picked a qt. of blackberries.  As soon as day we all went over.  One of the boys captured 3 rebels & their arms.  He found them asleep.  Our troops then came over & the skirmish line was pushed up to within 300 yards of the river where we could look right down on the Johnnies & see them plainly.  We hastily rolled up logs & piled up rails for shelter.  The rebs shooting at us lively from behind their works across the river, thinking to drive us away.  The boys would crawl up rolls rolling logs till they had enough & then Mr. Reb had to lie low.  Some of them we know bit the dust.  [paragraph break added]

John Crippen, who came to see Homer² several times when sick, was wounded near the shoulder blade while in the rifle pits.  The wound is not deep, nor serious, but will probably be sore.  No other casualty in the Co.  William Olison [sic],³ he’s formerly of our Co., was killed the other day while on the skirmish line, shot in the head.  The rebs have 2 or 3 strong lines of earth works near the river.  There is one fort in view.  The 16th & 22 Corps have crossed the river on our right.  [paragraph break added]

We got some of the Atlanta papers of of the 8th inst. — they are full of bragadocio [sic] & deceit.  They are whistling to keep their courage up.  I wish I had one to send you.  [paragraph break added]

Well, I think this campaign will not end with the capture of Atlanta but it may.  If Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] destroys Lee’s [Robert E. Lee] army then this campaign will wind up shortly.  The rebels rest their hopes mainly on Lee’s army.  Though they say Johnson [sic: Joseph E. Johnston] is a match for Sherman & will have him soon right where he wants him.  It will be the other way.  They report our army totally demoralized, that Johnson [sic] fell back to prevent us from getting away, that he is drawing us on & will destroy us before a while and the people believe it.  None of their calculations have come to pass & in their discouragement they are bracing themselves up with vaunting & lies awaiting some Divine interposition to favor their cause.  Poor fools.  [paragraph break added]

Write soon.  Yours &c,  Edwin

Making a quire

Making a quire

1.  A quire is four sheets of paper, or parchment, folded to form eight leaves.
2.  Edwin’s brother Homer Levings, also in Company A.
3.  Ole O. Oleson, from Prescott, transferred to Company G of the 12th Wisconsin. He was killed in action July 8, 1864, at the Battle of Nickajack Creek.


Edwin Levings letter of June 11, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of July 11, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls


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