Saturday, December 22, 2012

1862 December 22 Belle Plain, Va.

Camp opposite Fredericksburg
Dec 22nd 1862
Dear Sister Helen,
I have just received
your letter of 18th but had been looking
for it for a day or two, we have our
mails regular now but for the week that
we were fighting all mails were stopped
both ways and perhaps that is the –
reason that Mrs Catlin & Pratt have not
heard from William and Aaron for
they say that they have written most
every week. they are both well with
the exception of colds which most all
the boys have got and which can’t be
helped as they have nothing but shelter
tents to protect them from the cold,

the weather is pretty cold now but we
have had no snow yet. Every thing
is quiet in Camp and I guess we shall
go into winter quarters some where
soon as wood is getting very scarce
and there is very little water here – will
probably move back towards Aquia –
Creek into the woods and build log
huts and mud chembleys.[sic] I have very
comfortable quarters. I sleep in the
Col’s tent where we have a nice fire
and don’t have any thing to do all
day long but sit around and do
some little errand once in a while
Irish John cuts all the wood brings
all the water and blacks the boots
of the crowd The Staff Officers have
a “Mess” and I eat at the 2nd table
and we have very good feed but
all along on the march down here
and while in and about Fredericksburg
until now I had nothing to eat except

raw salt pork and hard tack, so that
my stomach got so sensitive that
I could keep it down no longer
but we fare very well now.
I wonder what is going
to become of this country.. the rebels
seem to be whipping us all around,
Seward and our Generals are resigning
and things look rather bilious to me
but we will hope for the best but
the boys are rather blue and dis-
couraged and all “want to go home”
hope Congress will fix the thing up
in some way before spring..
Mr Ives arrived here day before
yesterday – had a good deal of trouble
in getting further than Washington
but finally got a pass he brought my
boots safely but it must have been
a sore job for him to carry so much
hide so far.. they are rather large every
way but will answer very well if I

have my health and strength to carry
them around am very thankful to
get them for they are a scarce article
down here.. D.Hilaller [?] is going to
Washington to night to get some things
for the Regt and will get my boxes
but they would have reached here pretty
soon any way as there is an Express to –
Aquia and our wagons go there most
every day – my Thanksgiving dinner will
be in nice condition I guess but the other
things will be all right I guess..
John Ives said that there were some other
things on the rode for me – what are they?
and when did you send them? William
Pratt was here yesterday in camp he looks
quite well but limps some yet..
The boys are all well I believe except
Eugene he is sick in the hospital has
got the lung fever I am very anxious
about him as there are so few con-

[The last part of this letter is written on the top margin on page one.]
-veniences here for the
sick, he is pretty sick
but I hope he will be
better soon..
“Things is quiet”
here don’t expect
more fighting soon
am in no hurry for
I shall write
home often now
and shall expect
letters frequently
Tell Chas to write
and also to send
some papers
Your loving brother

James Howard,  15th Connecticut Infantry

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS  12668

1862 December 22 near Nashville

[from the diary of Captain William F. Hunter, Co. B., 97th Ohio]

Dec. 22nd, ’62.
Clear & warm.
Taylor, who was last       
night notified of the
acceptance of his re-
signation, started,
this morning, home.

2nd Lt. George K. Taylor, Co. B.

transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards

MSS 10547-bm

1862 December 22 Fort Tillinghast

        Fort Tillinghast  Decr 22d/62
                                    2 oclk PM
Dear Wife,
                    We have had quite a little
excitement for the last day or two,  One
other company of our regiment has
been ordered to Harpers Ferry, to do
garrison duty, We expected it would
be Company M, that would be sent there,
but Company m is still at Tillinghast
and Company B has gone to Harpers
Ferry, they went this afternoon,  they
did'nt want to go, as they were fixed
up in good, comfortable, winter quarters,
five or six of the men had there wives
with them at Fort Craig, Col Wright told
them they had better leave their wives
at Fort Craig, and not take them along
with them now, and in a week or so
send for them after they got settled at
Harpers Ferry, They took his advice,  Some
of our company wanted to go,others did
not, For my own part, I did not care

[page 2]
much whether we went or not, We
are very comfortably situated here,
and have got things fixed up in very good
shape, if we had gone, it would have
been something to have changed the
monotony of every day life of the soldier
doing garrison duty,  We had quite a camp
yarn here last week, I was that the
rebel Gen lee, said he was coming here
to drive us off of his estate, (the Arlington
Place) I dont know that I ever told you
that Fort Tillinghast is on the estate
of Gen lee, and not more than three
or four hundred rods from his residence
the Arlington House, it is beatifully situated
not far from the Potomac river, and
overlooks, Washington, Georgetown, and the
surrounding country, I think he was
a devilish fool to join the rebel army,
and leave such a beautifull place,
I guess he will be smart, however, when he
drives us off.  I guess he wont try not quite yet.

[page 3]
                                     Mon eve 6 o'clk
   I have just received the box, all
in good order, The boots I am very much
pleased with, they are just what I wanted,
they are a little long for my foot, but that is
a very good fault here, I could'nt have suited
myself better, had I picked them out myself.
I am, tell your father, very much obliged
(to say the least) to him for the trouble
and labour that he has been at, in procuring
them for me, I will endeavour to repay
him at some future time, The Doughnuts
were very nice and acceptable,  The Pears
were very nice, and quite a treat, The Pepper
and Ginger was very acceptable, just what
I want, we cant get any that is good here,
in short every thing in the box, was very acc-
eptable, I also received by mail, a letter dated
Dec 1q4th, it is the one, that tells me of
Diasy's sickness  Tell Ernie that I am
very glad that he was a good the day you
wrote to me,and that I hope he will always
be good,m then I shall always love him, tell
him, that when I come home,I shall ask him

[page 4]
if he has been a good boy, and if he has, I
will love him a "whole heartfull"
You ask me if there is any probability of this
new commotion disturbing us, I answer, No
We shall never be sent away from these fort-
ifications, again, at least we all think so and
it is the general opinion, all around.
I strongly suspect that you gave your letter of
the 14th Dec. to Wm to mail for you, and that he
kept it in his pocket a number of days, as the
envelope was stamped, Boston Decr 19th it contained 3 stamps
Please let me know how much the boots cost,
also let me know if you received my last
letter, marked Soldier's Letter, there are
a great many letters sent in that way, I thought
I would try one, as I had no stamps.
They say we are to be paid off the day after
tomorrow--I dont believe it yet, I must
say one more word about the boots, Everybody
that sees them,says, "them's the best boots I've
seen out here yet," thanks to your Father,
Some of our boys went out to-day and killed two
Possums, I have bot the skins streched on a board
to dry, they are very pretty, and will do to trim some-
thing for Ernie, they are about the size of a very
large cat, the color is a sort of grey and white
I will send them home when I have a chance,
Take good care of yourself dear wife and
ever believe me yours in love

Robert P. Mansfield, Co. M., 1st Massachusetts. Heavy Artillery

MSS 1242

1862 December 22 [Morris?] Mount on the Rappahannock

                                      [Morris?] Mount  on the
                            Rappahannock Dec 22nd 1862

Dear Aunt
          Your letter by the hands of Mr Dorrier reached
me yesterday  I am truly sorry to hear of Sallies illness
and hope she may soon recover,  I have been so
closely confined for the past month  I have not
been able to see any of my acquaintances in this
neighbourhood consequently have not seen
John L and have only heard from him
through the papers. I believe he is quite well.
I am still, with my two pieces, vapouring along
the Banks of this the crookedest of streams, (as
I have been for the last month) seeking some
villainous Gun Boat to devour, I am now
on the farm of Mr Cpoulter, who is in the Army
having taken his family off.  I am now occu-
pying his dwelling and have very comfor
table quarters, but I doubt whether it will
d me any good as I may move at any
moment, and have to fall back to my old
Tent.  Every thing is perfectly quiet in this
neighbourhood. No Boats, No Yanks, we occa
sionally get sight of a Picket, which is the
only thing to disturb the quiet of the scene.
On the opposite bank of the river, Mr Burnside
I think like all of his predecessors, has run
his race, and will now retire to private life
to curse the rebels & ruminate on the  roughness
of the road non his march on to Richmond
We are making every preparation to give
his successor a most hostile reception if
he should again attempt the crossing of

[page 2]
the Rappahannock, entrenching and fortifying
the hills from Fredericksburg to Port Royall
a distance of about 15 miles.
   You have had through the papers full
particulars of the fight I can give you
nothing much as they are source through which
I get most  most[sic] of my information.  One of
their Pickets crossed the river the other day
to have a little social chat with some
of our boys, he acknowledged it to be the
most thorough defeat of the War.  After
exchanging some Sugar & Coffee for Tobacco
he returned to his post on the opposite
side of the river.  I wrote you a short
note by Archer the other day, hope he has
reached home safely, tell him to be certain
to him himself and hurry back as
I am much in want of his services.
  I regret I cannot be able to spend a few
days with you this Christmas.  I expect to have
a very dull time of it here, as I can see no
prospect for a [spree?] as yet, I cannot tell when
I will be in a place where I can get the box
you desire to send. Can only thank you for your
kind intentions & imagine myself I have
everything you desire to have as set down
to my  Beef & bread  I wrote Miss W. a letter
by A. Tell her I am still improving, but do not
expect to marry before spring. Mr Dorrier gave
me full particulars of Miss Jennies marriage &
trip to Richmond.  Will write to her although
she did not write me as she promised
Love to all  Yours most truly  Dick

Charles Richard Phelps of the Beauregard Rifles

MSS 2920

1862 December 22 across from Fredericksburg

[from the diary of the Rev. Francis E. Butler, chaplain of the 25th New Jersey]

Mon. 22 – little warmer – In hos. & writing letters for sick, &c. Powell
died of gun shot in side. Sd. 60 – 13 in G. Mortars have arrived. Pickets
ordered 5 days rations. [-] Eng – Margesin Co. E died of pneumonia –
buried Powell.

Butler may have been referring to the 12-inch Model 1861 seacoast mortar.  So heavy they had to be transported by train, they were generally used in coastal fortifications though a famous one nicknamed "The dictator" was employed in the siege of Petersburg, in 1864

[transcribed by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12935

1862 December 22 Norfolk, Va.

[from the message book of Lt. Thomas S. Seabury, 3rd New York Infantry]

Dec. 22

To 2222

Lt. Strong will be
absent a day or two longer
; Green will take charge.

       (Signed) 22

1862 December 22-24 across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg

[from the diay of John Ward of the 102nd Pennsylvania]

Dec 22d Monday
moringin Whe
are Still in camp
and a verey fine

Dec Tuesday 23d
at the camp
Camp this was
a verey Beaffall [beautiful] Day
the sun was verey
warm and Plasant

Dec 24 Wensday
Still im Camp
all right this

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12913

1862 December 22-23 [Clarke County, Va.]

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]

Tuesday, December 22nd--The gentlemen left today.  It is reported 150 cavalry are in Winchester.

Wednesday, December 23rd--Yankee infantry entered Winchester today, it is said.  White with his cavalry has captured a large portion of Milroy's train and several hundred prisoners.

MSS 9759

1862 December 22-24 Campbell County, Va.

[from the diary of George W. Dabney, a clerk of Campbell County]

       22d Monday
Clear & cold  20"  38"
W. Wd off, wrote little Lizzie
getting rails & wood.

        23d Tuesday
Clear & cool  36" 48"
Clothes finished & gloves
Wd & neph to Hughes &c

       24  Wedn.
Clear & pleasant  50"
to Ro Johnsons--
Lias to town with cart
covered turnips

MSS 3315

1862 December 22 Chapel Hill, N.C.

[from the diary of Eliza Oswald Hill, refugee from Wilmington, N.C.]

Monday  have been busy all day making pantelets for Eliza---the weather
has moderated--No mail again--The Post Master says there has been
none for 4 days-Sarah has sent a Hack to meet her mother at
the Coalfields depot & bring her home on Wednesday--

MSS 6960

Thursday, December 20, 2012

1862 December 21 3rd Brigade Headquarters

Hd Qurs 3d Brigade
    Dec 21st (Sunday) 1862
My own darling Jennie
Last night, to day, and to night we are ex-
periencing the coldest weather of the season and
our men and officers are suffering no little.  So
far as I am concerned my tent & stove enable me
to keep comfortable.  George & I sleep together and
Cupid fixed himself down by the stove and when
I get cold I call him up to make a fire for me.
Notwithstanding the fight and the terable [sic] whiping [sic]
we gave the Yankeys the campaign still continues
and as yet we see no signs of Winter Quarters
For instance – I have a picket of 50 men on the road
between me & the river and this evening I sent
two regiments and my battery to picket at
a point six miles below this place, thus keeping
half of the brigade on duty.  This thing cant last
very long  no set of men under the sun can stand
it, and we had better cross the river & give battle
to the enimy [sic] on their own ground than try
to keep up this sort of work.  I am in perfect
ignorance as to the movements of the enimy [sic] &
Genl Lees purpose in relation to them.  You see
the papers which is the only source from which
we get information and hence you know all
that I can tell you.  I gather from the papers that

[page 2]
the Yankey army is very much demoralized and
from what the prisoners say I believe they will
never again make as good a fight as the last
one & that was a poor one indeed.  And I hope
that the Lincoln Government will be so much dis
jointed by their last & repeated defeats that
eventually it will give up the contest, but I have
been so often disappointed in my hopes that
now I have a mind prepared for any sort of
contingencies except defeat.  Having all the facts
before you to the same extent that I have I must
leave you to work out for yourself a theory for
peace.  When I see the comments of the Northern
press on the result of our last battle I can better
form an opinion.  The last letter I received from
you was through Bob Ewing dated 13” inst eight
days ago and am very anxious to hear again.  I
am fearful that the children may get the scarlet
fever – try my darling and write to me as often as
you can so as to relieve my mind of its anxiety
about you.  Your letter giving me an account of
Lizzie entertaining the soldiers was handed to me on
the battle field and I stood up and read it in
full view of the Yankey lines while the flag of truce
was in the field and thus in the midst of hostilities
which were removed by the time I was done reading
it.  my mind was carried back to our sweet little
home in the Valley and its dear inmates – for
whom I was there fighting.  It was a pleasant little

[page 3]
episode in the savage scenes of the day and
was a momentary & pleasant relief from the anx-
iety of mind which I felt & had felt during the day.
I had a singular position – a strong one in which
my men were well protected but in which my of-
ficers and especially myself & staff were greatly
exposed.  I came near loosing my horse in 20 min-
utes after I came on the field a Minnie ball passing
under him & striking a tree – but thank be to God
who giveth the victory, our enimy [sic] was too much
dispirited & confused by the defeat of the day be-
fore to renew the fight again.  I would like to have
seen Lizzie doing the honors of the house and as for
Jim I suppose he was a big man generally.  I am
greatly pleased that your friends do not forget you
I always feel better after I get a letter saying that
you have had so many visitors especially if they
are of persons who I know are agreeable to you.
I know that you are always fond of company
of the right sort and in my absence it is a real
relief to you.  In one of your letters you said that
some of the good people of HBurg were in some
commotion over the idea that I was a Brig Genl
You may say to them that I am only a Colnl &
not likely to be anything else.  I have not asked
to be made a Brigadier nor do I intend to.  I
dont want to be ambitious of military honors and
pray to God that I may not become so.  I am only
desirous to fully discharge my duty, whether it be

[page 4]
as commander of a regiment or brigade and if I
succeed in doing this it will be because I have
been by a Higher Power blessed with the wisdom
courage & prudence to do so.  I am therefore the
neither a subject for the envy or notice of the wicked
nor yet the a subject for the praise of the good.  If
my conduct can always command the approval
of my own conscience, which it really does not
always do, I am certain my wife will approve
and I hope my Maker will approve and
I shall be or at least ought to be satisfied
Though I am perfectly free to confess I am
not insensable [sic] to the worlds applause and can
only say I will try not to look for it, and not
to be disappointed if I fail to receive it.
 If I could see this war ended, our armies dis-
banded & sent home to their families & I myself
restored to my family & the pleasures of domestic
life I would ask for and receive desire no higher honors
and Oh! how often after each day of my life
do I put the question “when will this strife cease”?
“when will we have peace”?  I am sick of scenes
of bloodshed carnage & death.  Just think of
15000 living human bodies being mutilated in
a single day of 7000 men women & children &
the population of an entire city – being driven
from their homes in midwinter and sent
out among a people themselves have
scarcely enough to eat, and then of a town being

[letter abruptly ends.]

“Hd Qurs”, heading – Head Quarters.

“My own darling Jennie”, salutation – Warren’s wife Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson Magruder Warren.

“George”, line 5 – Jennie’s brother – George S. Magruder, Private, Company C, 13th VA Infantry.  At the time of the letter he was temporarily assigned as Colonel Warren’s orderly.

“Cupid”, line 6 – A servant or slave of the Magruder or Warren family, he was currently working for Warren.

“the brigade”, line 15 – As noted in the heading of the letter, Warren was in temporary command of the 3rd Brigade, Taliaferro’s Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, which consisted of the 47th & 48th Alabama Infantry regiments, and the 10th, 23rd, & 37th VA Infantry regiments.

“Bob Ewing”, page 2, line 16 – Robert B. Ewan, 1st Corporal, Company B, 10th VA Infantry.

“the children”, page 2, line 18 – Warren had three at the time: seven year old Lizzie, six year old James M., and ten month old Virginia ‘Jennie’ Watson.

“Lizzie”, page 2, line 22; page 3, line 13 – Warren’s seven year old daughter.

“the Valley”, page 2, line 28 – Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

“Jim”, page 3, line 14 – Warren’s six year old son James M.

“HBurg”, page 2, line 22 – Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia.

“Brig Genl”, page 3, line 23 – Brigadier General.

“Colnl”, page 3, line 24 – Colonel.

Even though the last page of this letter is currently missing, it was written by Edward Tiffin Harrison Warren, Colonel, 10th VA Infantry.

[transcript by John P. Mann, IV]

MSS 7786-g

1862 December 21 Head Quarters, Divn

                                        Head Quarters, Divn
                                             Dec 21, 62
    Yr. kind note I have just recd & beg you to accept
my thanks--In my report I had approximated to give
statement of  casualties.- Be assured, Dear Sir I shall
remember with lively satisfaction the gallant bravery of
yourself & command during the short time I had the hon-
or to have you under my orders.
                              Very respy. & truly
                                    Yr. Mo. Ob St
                                        R. Ransom jr

MSS 4098

1862 December 21 Caroline County, Va.

Camp near Port Royal
Caroline Co., Dec 21 '62

My Dear Sister,
Your lit-
tle note of the 29th ult. made
its appearance  here about a week since
and it is unnecessary for me
to say that its reception gave
me unusual delight for it
was the first one that I re
ceived and I can assure you that
I prized it.  It was so long
before a letter came to hand
that I began to think you
were going to retaliate for
the treatment you received at
my hands last winter.
You can't imagine my dis
appointment when mail after
mail arrived and no tidings

[page 2]
were received from my dear lit-
tle sister.  I think I wrote a-
bout nine letters before I rece'd
a single answer.  You must
excuse me for writing today
but Jno. Sayers is going to
send his boy Dave home to
morrow & I tho't it would be
a better opportunity than to risk
it by mail. Our Brigade did
get engaged in the late bat-
tle as you have no doubt
heard; that is we did not get
to fire, we were fired upon
however & had a number of
men wounded.  We were order-
ed on the battle field about 12 o'-
clock on Saturday during the
heat of the battle.  Lieut. Col.
Gardner was wounded while
taking the Reg. on the field.
The command then devolved
upon Major Terry, who

[page 3]
as usual acquited himself with
great credit.  On Sunday we
moved down to the Railroad
& laid in a ditch all day--
that was my birthday &
I expected to celebrate it by
doing some hard fighting.
The Yankees were not more
 than five hundred yards
from us & would fire at
us whenever we showed our
heads above the Railroad track.
Your letter was rece'd just
after returning from that place
& you may imagine my feel-
ings upon received it.
We had only one man wound-
ed in our company, little Tom
Chatwell was wounded in the
foot whilst out skirmishing.
I suppose you have seen an
account of the battles in the
papers therefore I shall give

[page 4]
no further details.  Mitchell
has had a requisition made
on the Reg. for the purpose
of having me detailed, but I
haven't much hopes of having
it put thro'.  Therefore I wish
you to tell Pa that I want
him to let me have Charles
if he can possibly spare him
if I succeed in getting off
it will not be much trouble
to take him back with me.
I also stand very much in
need of an oven, lid & skillet.
I suppose they can be procured
at some furnace, if not, please
send them from home if you
can possibly spare them.
If he sends Charles tell him
to bring an ax with him as
there none to had down
here.  I am very sorry to hear
of the depression of Cousin Fannie's

[cross hatched on page 1]
spirits, can't imagine the cause. Oh Nan I rece'd one of
the sweetest little letters from Cousin Titia the other day
that was ever my good fortune to rece'd--she was so
long answering it that I tho't mine to her was another
ill fated epistle  I heard yesterday that part of the
Army of the North West was on its way to Richmond.
I was glad to hear that Trigg's Reg. had been
sent from Wytheville--hope they will send his
Rangers off also.  I'm writing in a great hurry
so please excuse this letter.  I will write again
in a few days.  Your affectionate Bro. J.
My best love to all

James Graham Tate, Co. A. 4th Virginia

MSS 9232-n

1862 December 21 Port Royal, Va.

[from the diary of Frank C. Fitzhugh of Cutshaw's Battery]

                                  Sunday 21
Uncle Albert Dade came
to see us.  remained but a
few minutes.

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 4448

1862 December 21 Camp near Fredricksburg

Camp near Fredericksburg
   Sunday Afternoon
       Dec 21st 1862-
        Dear Phebe
           It is the lords
Lords day and all active
opperations are suspended
the immense armies are
still and from the two
sides of the Rappahanock they
can look each other in the
face  On the right bank
you can see the ruins of a
once beautiful citty, all
torn with shot and shell
the inhabitants driven out
on to the plains and into
the woods: the guilty and the
innocent all in one mass
Under a flag of truce both
parties  are burying the dead
and removeing the wounded
to more comfortable

[page 2]
quarters.  We sent 2800 to
Washington last night and
yet there are many more
The loss on both sides is
fearful but to me the
worst of all was the
bombardment of the citty
We did not arrive in time
to witness it but the effects
of it are but too plainly
visible.  There are but few
buildings either public
or private: but what are
riddled with shot: The
streets are ploughed up
by the explosions of the
shell and altogether the
scene is to horrible for
me to give you any thing
like an addequate dis
cription: Of prospects I
cannot tell you much
The reserve was sent

[page 3]
for and we marched
with great speed to assist
Burnside, but it does not
appear that we were need
ed here after all and I
hear it rumored that we
shall not remain here
long: I cannot write any
more now.  I have got
the papers also the writing
paper & envelopes: I am in
want of some few things
and as it is so uncertain
whether I should get
them if you sent them
I think you had better
send me the money and
I will get them here.
We have not been paid
one cent since we left
Lynfield and when they
will pay us is more than
I know, I should like

[page 4]
to have $3. or 4 you can
send it 1 at a time in a letter
and if it is lost it will not
be a great deal send U S
bills yours with love
It is dreadful cold

Josiah Perry,  Co. K, 33rd Massachusetts

MSS 2215

1862 December 21 across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg

[from the diary of Samuel S. Johnson, of the 1st Massachusetts Independent Light Battery]

                                Dec 21st

     Unlike the two preceeding ones, these two
past weeks have been remarkably active, and
eventful, until the 10th however, every thing was
very quiet;  on that day, we received the orders
to march to attack G. Early on the morning
of the 11th, we left our encampment at Belle
Plain.  Oh, wasn’t it cold! (The rebs having refused
to comply with Gen Burnside’s summons to
surrender, the city of  F. to our forces.) over one
hundred peices of artillery opened simultaneously
on the ill fated city, and from day light
until dark a most furious bombardment was
kept up.  Arrived at the banks of the
Rappahannock river, at three P. M. where
we encamped for the night, after making
a vain attempt to cross the river.  Early
the next morning we were again turned out,

hitched up, and at 7. A. M we crossed the
river at Franklin’s crossing on a pontoon bridge,
and went into position about 2000 yds in front
of the rebel lines.  The day has been very misty,
about three P. M, the mist began to disappear raise left.
At this time, the 1st N. J. Brigade was moving
through the battery in column by division,
closed in mass: the rebs seeing this movement,
opened on us, a heavy and rapid fire from
their artillery;  to this fire the 1st N. J. and 1st
N. Y. batteries replied vigorously, and until dark
a severe cannonading was kept up, all along
our lines, our guns being short range, we retired.
Early the next morning all our batteries right
and left opened, and to our fire the rebs replied
vigorously: until 11. A. M a most terrible action
ensued; we were repulsed at every point, at
this time both sides, as if by mutual consent
ceased fireing, and until two P. M. all was
very quiet.  At 12. M. we were sent to take the
position occupied by an Ohio battery during
the forenoon, but who were unable to stand
their ground.  Shortly after going into position,
a reb battery came into position exactly
opposite to us, upon which we trailled our
guns, and opened a very rapid and heavy
fire, and which was so accurate that the
rebs did not return a single shot.  we
entirely demolished this battery.  Our battery

opening when it did proved a signal for our entire
line, and from two P. M. until four a [word lined through] terrible
fight ensued, the cannonading was perfectly
deafening,  at four the rebs opened on us a cross
fire from a 20 pdr. gun, their first shot striking
one of our limber wheels, breaking it in pieces,
cutting off a serg’ts leg, and seriously wounding one
other man in the arm.  Night coming on, the
conflict ceased, and found our army severely
whipped;  we were repulsed in every undertaking,
especially on the right was our loss severe;
on the left we were more successful, and but
for the treachery of Gen Frankling, a most
decisive victory was gained would have been
gained.  The next two days we lay in position,
but nothing of a serious nature took place.
On the night of the 15th Burnside having
called a council of war. who deemed it unad-
visable to attack the rebs again; we  re crossed
the river and returned to our respective camps.
Our loss has been from eight to twelve
thousand.  With one or two exception’s, the
weather has been mild and pleasant.

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 8493

1862 December 21 Norfolk, Va.

[from the message book of Lt. Thomas S. Seabury, 3rd New York Infantry]

Dec. 21st
  To Capt. Liebenan
     A lighter is here with
     30 sacks salt passed by
     Capt. Judson-shall I
     let her pass
          (Signed) Col. W

Dec. 21st
  To Capt. Liebenan
     The Dolly is
     here shall I let her pass?
          (Signed) Col. W

Dec. 21st
  To Col Wardrop
     Keep the salt &
     keep the Dollie.
               (Signed) Genl. Viele

MSS 10781

1862 December 21 across Rappahannock from Fredericksburg

[from the diary of the Rev. Francis E. Butler, chaplain of the 25th New Jersey]

Sun. 21 – bright & cold.  Visited hos.  Distributed tracts & books.  Held
service in P. M.  Dr. Blundel here –

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12935

1862 December 21 Belle Plain, Va.

[from the diary of John Ward of the 102nd Pennsylvania]

Dec 21st Sunday
all quite along
the lines this

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12913

1862 December 21 Nashville, Tenn.

[from the diary of Captain William F. Hunter, Co. B., 97th Ohio]

     Dec. 21st, ’62.
Today rode over
to the 51st Ohio, & saw Sam. Worthing-
ton; his father re-signed last Sept.,
at Bowling Green,
Ky. Ordered to have 3-
day’s rations cooked & in
haversacks, & be ready to
march at a moments

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 10547-bm

1862 December 21 farm near Savannah, Ohio

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, former musician and private in the 23rd Ohio]

Sunday, Dec. 21, 1862

Went to church
Sarah Caldwell home
Saw H. L. C[?]
Called at [D?] Hayses
few moments also
at McLeaths as
I came past
Cloudy Cold

MSS 10317

1862 December 21 [Clarke County, Va.]

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]

December 21  Today about two o'clock Mr. Howard and Mr. Clarke drove up, fleeing from the Yankees whom they heard were at Strasburg, Milroy's forces.

MSS 9759

1862 December 21 "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.

[from the diary of Mary S. Boydon of "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.]

Monday 22nd  Very busy in the morning fixing up a
box to send to Hanson by a young man who is going
to camp.  We barely got it done by the time to start
to Cobham--After a rapid drive, just succeeded
in getting the box on board the cars--Fanny came
home today-much fatigued & nearly sick having
been up a great deal last night-she was
affected even to tears by the news of J. L. sickness
We still see no reason to fear any evil result of it--

Tuesday & Wednesday  Very busy getting ready for

MSS 4208

1862 December 21 Chapel Hill, N.C.

[from the diary of Eliza Oswald Hill, refugee from Wilmington, N.C.]

Sunday  It has been severely cold to day--But the Church was as full
as ever--No letters to day as no Hack came from Durham last
night so we are all disappointed.  I have written Tom a long letter
tho' I have not heard of or from him since the battle of Fredericksburg.
But no news is said to be good news.

MSS 6960

1862 December 21 Staunton, Va.

[from the diary of Joseph Addison Waddell, civilian employee of the Quartermaster Dept.]

Sunday night, December 21, 1862

Va went to Legh's this afternoon, and I am alone. — Legh came in to church this morning, and seemed to be in great trouble — Bell was sick and very much depressed, Lucy sick, Mrs. Hill broken down +c +c. Mr. Baker preached a thanksgiving sermon to-night on the battle of Fredericksburg. Very cold again yesterday and to-day — milder to-night.

[transcript by the Valley of the Shadow project]

MSS 38-258

1862 Dec 21 Lynchburg, Va.

[from the diary of William M. Blackford, former diplomat of Lynchburg, Va., with five sons in the Confederate Army]

Sunday 21  A very beautiful morning
Thermometer at 21 at 8 oclock.  The self
registering thermometer stood at 19 °
which is the degree marked this day  fort
night--Mrs B able to go to church
[?] at qr past 3.  Betty &
Mrs Williams called in the evening &
sat till dark.  Rather an uncomfortable
day--Read a little.

MSS 4763 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1862 December 20 near Fredericksburg

Pine-woods near Fredericksburg,
Saturday, Dec 20, 1862

My darling wife,
Your letters of the
13th and 16th were received last evening, the
ninth since our separation  In the meantime I
have found some compensation for the lack of letters
in your journal.  It awakened in me lively emo-
tions of gratitude to God whose goodness and wis
dom are so signally displayed in guiding you
amid disappointments and fears to a happy issue.
Our own experience confirms the precious promise
of his word, and should teach us to be strong in
faith. "Truly goodness and mercy shall follow us all
the days of our lives,and we will dwell in the
house of the Lord forever."  I was highly gratified
too at the evidences of your true and refreshing
affection for me.  But I was becoming daily more
eager to get a letter from you, and my delight
yesterday was great in receiving not only news
of you health, but such sweet and rich disclo-
sures of you love to me, just what the best of
wives ought to send to her devoted husband, that

[page 2]
I could not suppress a feeling of shame a the re-
collection of my own meagre letters.  But if my corre
spondence ever seems cold to you, be assured that
my heart is not.  The full details of your daily
life are also very pleasing to me.  They place you
with such distinctness before me, and enable me
to understand how you feel and act more exactly
and completely than I could from any  general state
ments.  I must thank you too for the kind letters
of your mother and the newspaper extracts touching
some of my former companions in prison.  You
must have before this time received at least the
letter which I sent you by you cousins Ned and
Andrew Huston, and I trust two others.  Hereafter
we may expect a regular mail; and you must re-
member that I will be solicitous to hear from you
more frequently while the small-pox prevails in you
neighborhood.  I am now surrounded by soldiers
who came up by companies to be vaccinated.  Will
it not be well for you to be vaccinated again, if
the former times did not take hold?
                                                        The enemy
still remains in force across the river's.  Yesterday and

[page 3]
and[sic] the previous night our regiment were on pick
et, and much pleasant conversation was carried on
between them and the Yankees, the Rappahannock
alone separating them, thy confessed that they were
badly whipped, estimating their loss between twelve and
eighteen thousand, and offered to swap Burnside
for a good corporal. They say that if it were up
to the privates, the war would cease. Two of our
regiments crossed to them in a boat, and some of them
visited us.  They gave our soldiers coffee liberally, and
ours would have given them tobacco, but unluckily
the officers interfered to prevent the free intercourse.
Good-humored wit abounds in the army.  I ran
the fire of their jests the day of my arrival as I
staggered along under the burden of my big bundle
of bed-clothes.  "What brigade do you carry baggage for?"
is a specimen of their remarks.  On the famous Satur-
day, as a rifled shell flew by us with its peculiar
flutter, I was stuck by the comment near to me, "There
goes a fellow with a ruffled shirt!"  I have not been
able thus far to hold religious services in the comp[an]y
and if to -morrow shall resemble to-day in bitter
coldness, no sermon can be preached with profit.

[page 4]
The testaments were gladly taken; but there are
probably one hundred and fifty still needed.  I wish
you to enquire every few weeks of bros. Bidgood and
Bennett whether they have any; and if so, buy 100
at once.  I have lent out your Blind Bartimaeus, and
hope it will do good.  I have never told you
of my difficulties the morning of our parting.  Jacob
and I had a tough job with our baggage.  When I
stepped into the office for a ticket, the train moved
off,  I rushed after it, and got my chattels and my
self on one of the crowded platforms, and there re-
mained until 11 o'clock.  At first, the condensed and
confined vapor from the engine fell on us in fine snow
or frost; and as I held to the iron railing, my hands
would have suffered but for my wife's considerate
kindness in  knitting me those gloves.  They have since
been a comfort to me.   I am now surround
ed by your cousins. The Hustons in this regiment;
Dr. Williams assigned to the 24th, regiment in
this brigade; Dr. Estis and bros. in other brigades of
this division.  I hope you saw bro. and sister
Judkins.  So soon as I hear from you concerning
your interview with them, I will write him a letter of

[page 5]
congratulations and fraternal wishes for their mutual
happiness.   You ask me, darling, whether I
desired you to be really happy, or only to seem cheer
ful, in my absence.  I certainly feel great pleas
ure in knowing that you miss me, and yearn
after me, with such wife-like devotion, I would
not have it otherwise.  I too feel a deep need
of your presence, and of the soothing caresses and words
of love by which you can charm away sadness and
pain.  but can you not be happy consistently with
those [trying?] ?  Yes, my precious Ella, you must
and will be in reality cheerful, and as you
have been bravely in appearance, when the first
pangs of separation are past, and you learn to
adapt yourself to the new condition. How pleas-
ing to anticipate the halcyon days of peace, when
duty will not divide us, but call us to labor and en
joy together.  God can send us that time right early.
Perhaps the late disaster to the enemy will materially
help to this result.  Surely he no longer thinks if
the once boasted superiority of his forces in physique
and morale, and even the later trust in his
overwhelming numbers is is proved vain by accumulating

evidences.  You and I may contribute to wrest this
terrific war by our prayers. "The fervent effectual
prayer of one righteous man will availeth much. "
There is power in prayer; but our faith is feeble
Yet if it be of the size of a mustard-seed, it
can work wonders. What need we have of the
disciples' prayer: "Increase our faith."
  I will suggest a plan for our bible-readings
the new year--at least, a part of it, and the
rest can be formed as the months advance.
As you have read nearly through the historical
portion of the Old Testament, let us begin with the
prophetic.  Read Isaiah and Jeremiah, inclu-
ding the Lamentations; and at the same time
       rather all the evangelists in order, which will answer in time
Matthew and Mark ^ two chapters in each Testa
ment daily, or three in the Old however we come
to one with less than eighteen verses.  We will
then turn back to the five books of Moses and the
book of Joshua, reading daily about six chapters, be-
cause their narratives can be read with interest
and profit more rapidly than other books.  Who
could object to the whole story of Joseph at a single
sitting.  Sometimes we will go over even more chap-

[page 7]
ters, viz. those which contain genealogies and descrip
tions of the tabernacle. In connection with those
books, we will read the epistles to the Romans
                  which contain so may allusions to them
and Hebrews. ^ I will hereafter appoint the rest
of the course.  Aiming to furnish variety and to
mingle the less and the more strictly spiritual and

devotional parts of the Scriptures, i propose that
after finishing the new Testament, we substitute
for it the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and
Song of Solomon.  By this method we can complete
the holy book in the year, and I think with new
interest and instruction.  Tell me what you think
of it.  Please examine some commentary on Luke
1.17: "To turn the hearts of the parents to the children,"
and let me know in brief what its meaning is
explained to be.
   My darling, I must close for the present.  Monday
morning I will try to add a few lines before the mail
carrier starts.  I will think much of you to-morrow.
But why say this, when every day and every night
you are constantly in my mind?  With what tender-
ness, what joy, what devotiveness, what fervor of
prayer, words can not express.  Your love is sweet

[page 8]
to my heart.  And though I am wholly ignorant
when I will see you again, yet I am always looking
forward to the time with the intensest delight
God keep you, my beloved, and restore us to teach others
embrace in health and happiness at an early day.
  I must ask you to send my love to your mother
and all her sister's family.  Especially write to Mrs.
Estis that I have not forgotten her request to
pray for them and especially for her soldier boys.
I pray not only for their physical safety, but
for the salvation of their souls.

       Good-bye, my love, my life, Ella darling.
                   Your husband,
                       J. C. Granberry.

Monday morning.  Your sweet letter of Wednesday and Friday
received last evening.  Sunday our brother to Saturday--too cold
for out door worship. The piercing cold and copious, acrid smoke
would scarcely allow me to enjoy the Bible and French.  You make no refer
ence to Ned and Arthur Houston.  Ned expected to e in R. Thursday night
and Friday--promised to call on you and bear my letter.  Andrew
was threatened with pneumonia, and went with him.  Probably they took
the cars, instead of the packet.  [Mike?] Clarke arrived last night with
boxes for some of the regs.  We will feast.  They invite me to join them in
a Christmas egg-nog.  What says my wife?  A happy Christmas to my darling,
and to Blanche and Bettie, and Annie, and the little ones--to the "old
folks at home" also. Am grateful to Blanche for watching over you, and
leading you out on walks and visits.  A heart-full of love is the only Christmas
gift you husband can send his dear wife. I am very well

1862 December 20 Norfolk, Va.

[from the message book of Lt. Thomas S. Seabury, 3rd New York]

Dec. 20th
To Lt. Col. Nixon
What vessel went
through the Canal last;
and by whose authority?
   (Signed) Genl. Viele

Dec. 20th
 To Genl. Viele
A yawl boat- by
authority of Capt. Seely;
no larger vessel has
passed since Monday.
   (Signed) Lt. Col. Nixon

MSS 10781

1862 December 20 East New York

                           East New York
                             Dec. 20th, 1862
Dear Parents
                 How different this
Sabbath evening seems from
what a New England Sabbath
used to seem to me--the
rumbling of the cars, the calling
of the guard &c makes it  hard
for me to realize that it is
the Sabbath.
  Last Sunday evening
heard Beecher. his text was in
acts 26 chap. 29th verse. I tell
you it was grand.  I wanted
to hear him again this evening
but could not go in to the city
very well-Have to content myself
with reading my Bible, Meditation
& prayer.  I fear I do not pray enough
one in such a place as this

[page 2]
should pray all of the time.
I am thankful that I love
to pray, and to think of God's
goodness & mercy to me.
Neither of the Surgeons are
professors of religion, and our
Chaplin do'nt amount to
pea soup  he is a Universalist
Manson was taken sick when
we first came he resigned and
went home.  Dr. R. L. Harlow is
Surgeon now Dr's A. J. Libby
& J. a. Morton assts.
  Dr. Libby is sick and will
probably resign and return
home as soon as he is able
he is from Canaan
Dr. Thomas our Hosp. Steward
has been appointed asst.
Surgeon in the 21st Regt.
and your humble Servt. is
Hosp. Steward.

[page 3]
Capt. Deering, Capt. Brown,
Capt. Vaughan & two or three
other Capts. & five or six Lieuts.
have been placed under arrest
for signing a petition
requesting the Col. to resign
I dont know which will
come out ahead. should'nt wonder
however if Deering was sent
Saw Cyrus & [Berny?] to day
they are well.
I have been stopping in
a tent for the past two weeks
like it very well.
It has been very cold
here for the past few days
Have plenty of blankets
& sleep warm.
  There is some talk of
our leaving here pretty soon
I dont think we shall go

[page 4]
before a fortnight-
I received a bundle of
chronicles last evening, dated
Dec 4th
     Your affectionate Son
              C. P. Morrill

MSS 11031

1862 December 20 Leavitt

Camp Near Fredericksburgh Va Dec 20th 1862

Dear Mother  -- I received your most welcome letter of the 14th to day
informing me of your & all the rest of the Folks Health & you cannont tell how
much A letter from Home is prized by A soldier without you see them when
they get them I am well & enjoying good health the Regiment was across the river
but not in the fight but was under the Enemys Fire four days & when the Fighting
was over on left & right, I do not know how it was that this division was taken from
the Corps & put in the Centre where there was A big swamp & I suppose that is the
reason that the Center did not Fight any, I will close these few lines by saying I
hope that this will find you all well, From you Son Joseph Leavitt
P.S.  The Paymaster is here & is paying the twenty sixth New York but there is A
report that he is only to pay two Regiments n the Brigade but I hope he will pay off
the whole Brigade & if he does I shall not forget to send Father some & I want him to
understand what I send him is given with A good will or else I should not send it

Letters of Joseph Leavitt of the 5th Maine and his brother George of the 5th New York were copied in a ledger book after the war by their father as a remembrance of his sons both of whom were killed in the war, George at 2nd Bull Run and Joseph at Spotsylvania

MSS 66

1862 December 20 across the Rappahannock

[from the diary of the Rev. Francis E. Butler, chaplain of the 25th New Jersey]

Sat. Dec. 20 – Very cold night.  Slept very cold.  Pity poor fellows
in shelter tents – bright cold day – Army quiet – Most of wounded
sent to Washington.  Have some very bad here.

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12935

1862 December 20 Belle Plain

[from the diary of John Ward of the 102nd Pennsylvania]

Dec 20th Satarday

Whe Remane in
camp to Day

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]


1862 December 20 near Nashville

[from the diary of Captain William F. Hunter, Co. B., 97th Ohio]

   Dec. 20th, ’62.
Fair & warm.
Brigade drill this
P.M. Quite a com-
motion caused by
heavy cannonading
in front, about 7 P.M.;
reg’t. ordered into
line of battle, but
soon sent to quarters.
Said to be a salute in
honor  Gen’l. Smith’s
marriage; afterward
heard that it was
the enemy firing on
Van Cleves pickets, -  

& still again, that it
was one of our for-
aging expeditions
defending themselves
from an attack of reb-
el cavalry.

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 10547-bm

1862 December 20 farm outside Savannah, Ohio

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, former musician and private of the 23rd Ohio]

Saturday, Dec. 20, 1862

Left on the morning 
train Saw some ladies
on board from Pitsburgh
were delayed some by
a car off the tracks
Got to Clev- about
11 o clock had dinner
at the Johnson House
Bought [?] of [?]
also set of silver
Forks pair of mockasins
Came out on the afternoon
freight  Met some ladies
of Lagrange
Got to New London
about 7 oclock  hired a
hack for two Dollars to
take me to Sav[annah] where
I arrived about 9 Saw [?]
Walked home
Cold cloudy

MSS 10317

1862 December 20 [Clarke County?]. Va.

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]

Saturday, December 20--God has this day rescued us from a fearful loss.  while
seated at dinner a man rode up and told us the house was on fire.  We ran out and
the dining room end was blazing.  At first I thought there could not possibly be any
hope of saving the house, but God's merciful kindness and the kindly aid of servants
and kind friends saved us with the loss of one end of the roof.  Princess Alice of
England married Prince Louis of Hesse

MSS 9759

1862 December 19-21 Campbell County, Va.

[from the diary of George W. Dabney, a clerk of Campbell County, VA.]

19th Friday
Clear, cold  Th. 26. 54.
Wt to bros place
Lias frm town with Sugar 28 lb
dyes, blue mass do-
Small Pox in town-
getting rail Timber
Bob severe cold

[in margin]
Lucy moved to new house

20 Sat
Clear & cold  Th 16. 32.
dying coat at Dollys
wt home with nephew

21 Sunday
Clear & cold  Th 14. 32.
Wm. Wiatt down-all night
note frm little Lizzie Langhorne
to Christmas there & see tree

MSS 3315

1862 December 20 "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.

[from the diary of Mary S. Boydon of "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.]

Saturday 20th  A beautiful day, such as Raleigh was
wishing for. He set off for Richmond in fine spirits
May God's blessing go with him! He has much to
be thankful for, but his heart seems little touched
with the feeling.  May God still have mercy on him!
-Dr Douglas called to day.  There is no doubt
that J. L. has typhoid but we hope slightly--The
Dr seemed to think he was doing well

MSS 4208

1862 December 21 Chapel Hill, N.C.

[from the diary of Eliza Oswald Hill, refugee from Wilmington, N.C.]

Saturday 21st [sic] I have been doing up things for Eliza--While she has
been running about the Village getting her dress & bonnet altered
Little William is quite unwell again--& the great panic which
was caused yesterday by the report of small pox at Mr Wm
Davis' has subsided by hearing it was by the physicians decided to be
chicken pox.

MSS 6960

1862 December 20 Lynchburg, Va.

[from the diary of William M. Blackford, former diplomat of Lynchburg, Va., with five sons in the Confederate Army]

Saturday 20.  Weather much colder
Board to day established another director
ship but did not make an election
Holcombe spoken of but I have no
confidence in his habits--He is not
likely to improve--should prefer Alfred
Miller to any one I know--but he is
in the army, and some of the Directors
object to having two brothers on the
Board--Recd a good deal of money
for the Fredg. sufferers--Published in
the morning's papers Goggin's letter-Some
think he is looking to the next Governor
ship and that would like to be a
candidate--Sent another check to Howi
son of $500 making 1750$ in all.
Shall raise 2500 before I am done
No news except that the enemy
has retired so far from the Rappahannock
that their camp fires are not seen from
our lines--only a small force is left
now Fredg & Port Royal--this looks
as if they were bound for Washington
  Went at night to see Mrs. C. Garland
-She has improved since I saw her last.
Jack Slaughter, who has just come
from Arkansas called while there.
His accounts of Arkansas & Mississippi

are gloomy.  Returning found [Revd?]
Richd Davis at my house, just from
his Regt at Harrisonburg. He is go
ing to Flat Creek

MSS 4763 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1862 December 19 Camp near Port Royal Va

Camp near Port Royal Va
Decr 19th 1862

Dear Mother
Your letter was received yes-
terday, and was gladly perused, assuring
me as it did of your well being, and
continued interest in our welfare.
Though the weather of late has
been very severe, we have not sur-
fered as much as you would sup-
pose.  Even though we  have not
our tents with us we can quick
ly erect a brush shelter, which
with a big log fire before it, keeps
us comfortable.
Our Regt was not actively en-
gaged in the late battle, as we
were at the time picqueting below
Fredbg.  The day after the fight
James & myself rode up to the battle
field of the day before.  We had
gained a great victory over our
enimies--one which I hope will
be instrumental indirectly in
bringing about an early peace.
A gentleman just from Genl

[page 2]
Stuart's Hdqrs told me yesterday
that the enimy's loss was there
estimated at from 15000 to 17000.
  Only day before yesterday
I heard a Yankee halloo accross
the river to one of our picquets
"You rebels gave us [goos?] at
Fredericksburg, but we have taken
'Fort Darling' and will yet
eat our Christmas dinner
in Rd--Deluded fools.
For the last week I have
felt uncommonly cheerful
in regard to peace--more
as, in fact, than I have felt
since the war.  God grant
that my presentiment may
be realized!
  this morning I took off the
clothes I put on in R. & put
on those Aunt Judy wash-
ed for me.  I took a glorious

[page 3]
wash in warm water.
I thank you for offering
to make me flannel drawers
I do not need any more
garments now.
  Dic Alford got a letter I
wrote him in regard to "Old Tom
and some honey?  I [wrote?] an
  I commenced a letter to
Brother George the other
day, but was interrupted be
for 'twas finished. In the
Cavalry service, I do not
have the same opportunity
to write I had before. Yet
all things considered it is
an infinitely preferable
branch of service.  I saw
Gen. Jackson Tuesday-He is
much changed since I first [saw]

[page 4]
him at Winchester.
Tell Mary I am now wearing
her shirt front.  It is very
I am gong to be vaccinated
today, as SmallPox is very
prevalent thro this coun-
Please write often and
long. so we are sure
to get your letters direct
ly now.
I am as ever
                           Your devoted Son
Charles Elisha Taylor, 1842-1915, Co. F., 10th Virginia Cavalry,  later a Baptist minister and eventually president of Wake Forest.

MSS 3091

1862 December 19 Grace Church Caroline Co Va

Grace Church  Caroline Co Va
                       Dec 19th 1862

My dear Sarah [Nicholas Randolph]

                   I wrote to mother
about ten days ago giving her
an account of my trip into King
George & asking her to write to
Charles Mason to tell him that
the family at Alto was well &
none of their negroes had been
taken. They had only lost about 60
bls of flour & about 400 bus of corn
I suppose you know almost as
much about the fight at Frederick-
-burg as we do from the papers
It came off so quietly that about
four fifths of the army thought
it was just about to commence
when it was all over.  I was all
along the lines on yesterday & saw
the field of battle from one end
to the other.  There has been no
bloodier field in the war
The disproportion between their loss
and ours is greater than I could
have imagined.  I saw 1490 dead
bodies lying in one lot that
did not seem to contain more
than four acres.  According to
the most authentic official reports
they left 3400 dead on the field
after having occupied it for two
days after the fight.  Their dead

[page 2]
outnumbered our killed, wounded,
& missing by four hundred
The whole battle field was the most
dramatic & imposing tableau I have
ever witnessed.  The whole spectacle seem
-ed gotten up for our special
amusement.  The low-grounds of the
Rap-k below F.burg spreads out into
a plain of some miles in width bounded
by a range of low wooded hills which terminate
on the lower side in the Massapomax
low grounds & on the upper in a series
of rather high & abrupt bluffs-
                   & above the town
next to the river.  At one point
in this line of hills a wooded marsh
projects far into the plain.  Below the
Massaponax the hills again come down
to the river & the low grounds are on
the other side of the river which above
the hills on the Stafford side come
boldly down to the river.  Imagine now
this long line wooded hills peopled
with men who have inducement, physical
or mental, to fight desperately, every
little promontory bristling with artillery
the whole line of the rail way which
runs at the foot of the hills & every
hedge-row & ditch gleaming with bayonets
& you have what what[sic] must have
been the impressions of the Yankees
of our position.  Again, stand with men
upon one of the same little promontories
& look out upon the Yankee lines

[page 3]
& see what we saw. Far upon the left
the smoke from the smouldering ruins of
the town & Longstreets campfires seem
to blend togather[sic], while in front and almost
as far as the eye can reach to the right &
left you see the blue coated Yankee
lines extended; well armed, well equipt
& seemingly assured of success  Behind them
the hills seem crowded with artillery
which can hurl its missiles to the very
foot of the hills upon which we stand
The word is given to advance.  How gallantly
they come come on Not a sound is heard
from our side except the sharp cracking
of our skirmishers as they fall back
slowly before the over whelming advance
The air seems alive with the whistling
shot & shell which the enemy seem send
as precursor to their infantry charge
Suddenly a battery of thirty guns from
just where we are standing open upon
the column of attack They falter & reel
& stagger, they rally & break but & rally
again but it is no use flesh & blood
can't stand it.  They retire routed & confused
At that moment an officer gallops
wildly up to Gen Jackson, & exclaims
in almost breathless haste "General, the"
"the enemy have broken through Archers"
left & Gen Gregg says he must have
help or he & Archer will both loose
their positions"  the Gen. turned as quietly
round & order Early's Div. up to support

[page 4]
the centre as if nothing extraordinary had
happened.  Yet every body said after wards that
this was the turning point of the day
In about an hour the footing which the
enemy had gained in the wood was recovered
from them by Trimble & Thomas & they
pursued far into the plain. This was
all I saw of the fight.  From our relative
positions, we could do nothing but beat
back their attacks & this we did to our
entire satisfaction.  I send this letter by
our John who is to bring my  horse back
if John has bought him. Tell him I
will send the money for him at Xmas
I want to get my coat & pants.  I wish
you would send them down by him
                             Yours Truly
                                   M L Randolph

Meriwether Lewis Randolph, 1837-1871, a great grandson of Thomas Jefferson

MSS 8937

1862 December 19 camp near Fredericksburg

[from transcripts made at a later date]

                                                 Camp Near Fredericksburg
                                                 December 19th  1862
Dear Pa
I deem it proper to write you that I have passed safely through
the danger of another battle.  The 45h Ala. Regiment was not generally
engaged losing in killed and wounded less than 20 men and these mostly
from the bursting of shells.  Two in our company were slightly wounded
but returned to duty in a few days after the engagement.  No one from
our town was hurt, tho, as usual, Summefield had her full quota present.
General Hood's division, to which we belong, occupied the centre which,
on this battlefield, is by far the strongest position.  Desperate efforts
were made to penetrate our lines on the right and left but the enemy
was everywhere repulsed and on Monday night acknowledge a defeat by
recrossing the river leaving behind him a large number of small arms,
about 100,00 rounds or cartridges and a battlefield strewn with his un-
buried dead.  The city of Fredericksburg will never recover from the
effects of this bombardment, as it was an old town of not much commer-
cial importance and I should judge from its looks rather on the decline
any how.  A good part of it is bomd and burnt and there is hardly a house
left which is not riddled by balls or fragments of shells.  There was a
false report this morning that they were recrossing the river and every-
thing was put in readiness to receive them.  I am well.  The rest ditto.
With the best wishes for you and yours.
  I received letter from Maggie this morning dated Nov. 23rd.  I  have
heard from my boy John.  He went north, where perhaps he is now travel-
ling for his health.
 I remain your affectionly son,
                                                   T. Vaughan

Paul Turner Vaughan,  4th Alabama

MSS 5586

1862 December 19 Port Royal

[from the diary of Frank C. Fitzhugh, Cutshaw's Battery]

                                  Friday 19
Went on picket   passed P. Royal
and turned to the right about a
mile where we took up
camp.  Oscar came over to
see me just as we were

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 4448

1862 December 19 Near Port Royal

                Near Port Royall Dec 19th 1862
Dear Aunt  [Mrs. Mary Jane Lee]
                    This will be  handed you by Archer
who visit home to spend the Christmas and get on a
general bust-I send my Boots Pants &c by him
please have them taken care of-I suppose you
ere this had full particulars of the fight
I did not get in part of our Co was under
fire for two days, but did not open.  I am very
glad to see such favourable mentions made
of John L. & his Co Our boys had a other
talk with the Yankees Picket to day, they
admit a great defeat and say their
loss is near 20,000  I do not think there
will be any fighting near for some
time No Yankes nor Gun Boats visi
=ble they have all skedaddled

[page 2]
I wish to have Archie for the next year
& send him home for that purpose
I am in very comfortable quarters now gut
expect to move to some other point tomorrow
I suppose further down the river
     Will write again a day or two
more fully, have just finished a long
letter to Miss W. who has been scolding me
for not writing.  Must have peace in the
family.  Yours received by Nunalle
for which I am obliged I am now
writing by the light of a stick & Archer
leaves before daybreak so please excuse
writing  Love to all
                                 Yours truly

Charles Richard Phelps, Beauregard Rifles

MSS 2920

1862 December 19 U.S. Steamer Currituck

                       U. S. Steamer Currituck
                          Navy Yard Washington
                                        Dec 19th 1862
     There is deserted from this vessel the
followering men John H Campbell Capt
of Hold left the ship  on the night of 16th
H. M. Beibe Lands left on the night of the 16th
John McCue Lands left the ship without
leave on the night of the 17th, Victory Perry
Seaman left the vessel without leave on the
night of the 17th  Short of our compliment
fourteen men
                    Very Respectfully
                     Your Obt Servant
                         T. J. Linnekin
                       Acting Master Comdg
                         U.S.S. Currituck

 Andrew A. Harwood
    Potomac Flotilla
       Navy Yard Washington

1862 December 19 Fort Tillinghast

[letter of Robert Mansfield, begun on the 17th, continues]

                           Friday eve Dec 19th
I have been waiting all this time for

[page 3]
a letter from you, I have not
received any from you, since yours
of Dec 7th.  this afternoon I have
received yours of Dec 17th containing
the Bill for my box. I have not
been expecting to have it for some
time to come, it wont come amiss
however,  There is not real need of
sending the bill, for the box You
could Keep the bill, and if there
was any trouble, I could send
for it. It took me quite by surprise
when I read that Ada Augusta
was better, by not receiving your
last letter, I did'nt know that
she had been sick, I am glad
now that I did'nt know of it
before, I shall probably get the box
to-morrow (Saturday) night, if I do
I will write Sunday,  Mrs Chandler
and Mrs Pecker, have left camp for

[page 4]
Washington, today they start for
home on Monday next, One of
my mess has just come in with
the news that Secratary [sic] Seward
and Burnside, have resigned,
if such is the case, I think there
will be a great commotion some
where, I am not going to put my
postage stamp on this letter
for the good reason that I have
not got one, so I dont know
whether you will get it or not
I dont think of anything more to
write tonight, only to repeat, Please
send me some Stamps, and give
my love to all of our friends, Kiss
our darlings again for me, and
ever believe me the same in
love for you my dear and much
loved wife, through distance and time.
Robert P. Mansfield, Co. M., 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

MSS 1242

1862 December 19 camp opposite Fredericksburg

                   Camp opposite Fredericksburg
                                                      Dec 19th [1862]
My Dear Father
                          Having a little
spare time this morning I will spend
it in writing home although there is
nothing especial to communicate or
write about   every thing is quiet now
on the Rappahannock, except now
and then a gun is fired – I heard
2 this morning but the Union troops
are being drawn away from this point
and I don’t believe there will be
another attempt made at present
to carry the works     The rebels are
throwing up earth works and strength-
-ening themselves all the time and

occupy the city and some fears are
expressed that they will try to cross
and bag us here but we have very
heavy guns in position this side
and could easily drive them out
again so that I am not afraid
of their coming this side – but I
don’t believe that we can ever
drive them out of their position
back of the city.  they have rifle
pits and batteries for 5 miles back
of the City and very heavy guns planted
all along.  We have had very pleasant
weather all along with no rain or
snow except once when on the
march down here and the weather
is not cold except at night when
water freezes   I suppose you are
having a good sleighing cold
winter weather in Meriden   how
does the furnace work this winter
can you manage to keep warm,

     I am getting along first rate
with the Col, but he has had
a pretty hard time of it since
we left Fairfax for he was
hurt only 3 days before we
marched  and with all his injuries
and rheumatism he could but
just keep along with his Regiment
he rode down here in an ambulance,
(myself with him) but he could not
follow the troops from here on wheels,
and he is unable to sit on a horse,
so that he had to foot it all the
way but he was with the Regt. all
the time and stuck by them till the
last and I stuck by him all the
time and stay with him through
all that dreadful fire from the rebels
Saturday when his Orderly left him
and went around behind the hill
the Col. said that I was a “brick”,
and that I could stand fire

     But our loss here in this battle
is awful.  I guess it is the worst
fight yet   Our killed & wounded is
reported at 13 000 & the rebels say
theirs is 2500.  2 Companies of our Regt.
went over to the battle field yester-
day to help bury the dead and they
buried 400 and say that they had
all been stripped to the skin by the
rebels and not a thing left on them
      Oh it is awful to think of the loss
of life and limbs   the hospitals are
all full of wounded and I have
seen heaps of arms – legs & feet that
had been taken off and thrown out
side.   I am thankful that I was
permitted to come out all safe and
am glad I was in the battle but I
don’t want to go through another one
and hope I shall live to reach home
in time then I will tell you all

[The following part of this letter continues in the margin on page one.]
about it.  I got a letter
from you day before yestur-
day also one from cousin
Hattie that Lieut. Merriam
had carried in his
pocket 2 weeks.
     Tell Chal. that he
must write to me.
I should not believe
I had such a brother
if I had not left
one when I came away
About that pipe and
the habit of smoking
don’t fear that I am
coming back a confermed [sic]
drunkard.. but I do
enjoy a smoke once in
a while when I feel “blue”
and tired and I hope
shan’t lose those [-]
altogether but guess I shall get them soon..
     Your obed. Son – Jim

[The following was added in the top margin on page four.]
     Tell send me one of his latest Photographs.
     Lieut. Merriam received a pair of boots by mail  don’t know the expense,
               Yours, Jim
     Will write Geo soon!

James Howard, 15th Connecticut

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12668

1862 December 19 near Fredericksburg, Va.

       5th N.J.V.  Near Fredericksburg Va
                         Friday Dec 19th 1862
To my wife & children.   I pen a few lines
Saying that your letter of the 14th has come
to hand, and as usual, I am pleased to
hear from you.  And am glad to hear
of the children enjoying good health
Yet am Sorry to hear of your ill health
for my part.  I am very well for an
Old Man. My phisical health is good
I expect that you, with many others are
desirous to hear from the Seat of War.
and anxious to hear from the late
Battle of Fredericksburg.  Well I will
tell you, as near the truth as I can
tell for a fact.  On thursday morning
December the 11th at about 5 Oclock in
the morning, while lying in my bed
I heard Cannonadeing and Soon followed
heavy Volleys of Musketry in our front
which was from our troops and those
of the Rebels.  While Our people were
throwing Pontoon Bridges across the

[page 2]
Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg
And after nine different attempts our
people Succeeded in getting a Bridge
across the River but with heavy Loss
but finally Kept on until they got
Seven of these Pontoon Bridges
across the River when Our troops
Crossed Over and drove the Rebels
Into their Forts and Rifle pits.  Where
and when the Slaughter began
the fight Lasted all day, and was
very heavy, and on the following
Saturday, the fight was again
resumed, with great havoc on our
Side. Our forces held the Rebels
but Could Not drive them further
Sunday Everything was quiet except
Some Slight Cannonading and Some
Picket fireing.  When Each Army
would Meet upon the Battle field
and on friendly terms, gather the
dead and wounded, and in fact
got so friendly as to converse, and

[page 3]
trade News Papers, and Tobacco
and Coffee. As our troops had
plenty of Coffee and the Rebels had
plenty of Tobacco.  So you See it was
very handy.  Our Soldiers were
talking with the Rebel Soldiers, and
they both Said that if the war was
Left to them they could Soon Settle it
without fireing a gun.  And So I
believer It would be done quicker
Our Loss is Estimated from 10 to
15000 while the Rebels are Said to
be only about 10 to 1500. So you see
we got the worst of it.  Our troops
have all come back to this Side
Of the River and Reinforcements
are daily Coming.  Another fight
will Soon come off.  Our Regiment
was Not in this Last fight, and I
was not with the Regiment.  I was
with the Wagon train and Kept
about 2 miles from the fight in
a Safe Position.

[page 4]
I have no gun. Neither do I want
any. as I dont admire gunnings
We have not Received our Pay yet
and Look Every day when we want
be Paid.  I must t hank you for
the Paper Envelope and Stamps
if we had Money we Could not buy
anything here as there is nothing to
Sell  Some of the New Jersey
Regiments was in the fight and
Saw the Elephant.  I should not
wonder.  I am looking for the 12th
Regt to come this way.  We must
have some 200,000 troops here
now.  I would Like to be  home
to help at Hog Killing, but So
it is.. My chances are doubtful
the Regiment is now out of camp while
I am writing. please remember
me Kindly to Christian and family
With My Love and well wishes
to You and the Children
And hope Ever to remain your
truly affectionate Husband
       James T. Odem

Sgt. James T. Odem, Co. F., 5th New Jersey

MSS 7093-m

1862 December 19 Falmouth, Va.

Falmouth near Fredericksburg
                Dec. 19, 1862
                   Dear Phebe
                    I take this
opportunity to drop you
a line although I do
not know as it will
get to you owning tot he
confused state of affairs
There has been a great
battle which resulted
in the capture of the
citty not however until
it was nearly destroyed
the rebels fell back to
a position 3 miles back to
of the citty where another
battle took place after
fighting all day our troops
finding the positions too
strong fell back on the
citty and there the thing

[page 2]
stands at present the
reserve was sent for
and we are here n full
force what is coming
next is more than I can
tell but we shall know
in a few days I cannot
write any more now

Josiah Perry, Co. K, 33rd Massachusetts

MSS 2215

1862 December 19 across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg

[from the diary of the Rev. Francis E. Butler, Chaplain of the 25th New Jersey]

Fri. Dec.19 - Buried abt. 230 yesterday they sd.  heard two heavy guns
on left this morg – letter fr. Mr. H[ornblower].  Wrote letters &c    our returns
show 8 killed – 50 wounded – 18 missg. = 85. Wrote to friends of the
killed, etc.

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12935

1862 December 19 Camp near Belle Plain

[from the diary of John Ward of the 102nd Pennsylvania]

Dec 19th Friday
camp neres
Ball Planes

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 12913

1862 December 19 near Nashville

[from the diary of Captain William F. Hunter, Co. B., 975h Ohio]

 Dec. 19th, ’62.
Weather fair & warm.
Knee better. Brigade
drill this P.M.
[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

 MSS 10547-bm

1862 December 19 Canonsburg, Pa.

[from the diary of James Dinsmore Templeton, former musician and private in the 23rd OHio]

This morning
called at Dr Horns &
Hamiltons & McClarys
Left -We [?] by
Lanes Hack about 10 Oclock
had two lady passengers
Crossed the river to
late to get a train
hence had to remain
until evening
Miss Blackstone came
over & I went with
her as far as Stubensville
Went to the Hotel left
my bagage there went
to the Dinsmores  Saw
Ella Dinsmore & [Lulie?] Hayes
Left on the 8 Oclock train
Lay over night at
Wellsville Cloudy Cold

MSS 10317

1862 December 19 [Clarke County, Va.?]

[from the diary of Matthella Page Harrison as transcribed at a later date]

Friday, December 19th--Today I returned from a delightful trip to Richmond, accom-
panied by Fez and Kate Conrad.  Found my darlings well and trust I am thankful for
it.  Last Thursday commenced the bloody struggle at Fredericksburg.  God has again
given us the victory over them.  We went to the battlefield at Wiers Cave.

MSS 9759

1862 December 19 "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.

[from the diary of Mary S. Boydon of "Hopedale," Albemarle County, Va.]

Friday 19th  Father had a talk with Raleigh about
the letter--R. said that he found when he got
into the woods that he had lost the letter
& went back to get it--when he found it the
stamps were off the outside, & he tried to
open it to put on the stamps that were inside, but he
found he could not do it without tearing
the letter (as he did) so he tore the whole
up-not being brave enough afterwards to tell father
the why he tried to open it--Father  said he
gave him a lesson he would never forget
Precious boy,God grant it! He never seems
so precious to me as today--We were alone
for some time, & he showed me more affection
than ever before--I had no idea how very
dearly I love him, spite of his faults--It
is a strange feeling too, for somehow I seem
to have less confidence in him than any of the
rest of the family have--But when he is with
me I feel happy spite of the great anxiety I
feel for him--I think God will hear my
prayers on his account--I had  no opportunity
to speak with him to day--O God, strengthen me,
I beseech thee!  John Lewis is better today-we
hope he will have only a slight attack of the
fever, as it must be-May it be blessed to
him! Letter from Fanny, saying  she will
come home on Monday next-Father went
to Charlottesville today--

MSS 4208

1862 December 19 Chapel Hill, N.C.

[from the diary of Eliza Oswald Hill, refugee from Wilmington, N.C.]

Friday the good news has reached us that the Battle of Fredericks
-burg has been fought & won, a letter written on the 16th P M
Tonight those of our victorious troops that escaped unharmed
from Battle bullet & disease, rest quietly & confidently on their well
earned Laurels.  Whilst nearby, if not quite all of our wounded are
in comfortable quarters in Hospitals in Richmond--Many a
brave spirit sealed his devotion to our cause by the sacrifice of
his life on this glorious but fatal field--Fredericksburg is a
gain in our possession the Yankees having evacuated it
Their departure giving unmistakeable evidence of panic & haste
About the tow was found large numbers of Guns-Knapsacks, haver
sacks, crackers, salt, pork, & at least one hundred thousand rounds of
good cartridges-They also left behind them in & about the town at
the very least, some six hundred of their dead-& 20 of their wounded
were left behind--Intelligent Citizens of Fredericksburg say that the
Yankees admit a great defeat & loss during the whole engagement
Beginning at the passage of the river & ending with Saturdays great
fight of 15000--It is also said on reliable authority that the Yankee
officers were anxious to renew the fight on Sunday but that the
men were demoralized & could not be gotten up to the mark--Some of the
prisoners confirm the report that bayonets & Sharp shooters were
used in forcing up the men to the terrible work on Saturday &
they further say they were threatened with the fire of their own Bat
-teries should they falter-& Whiskey rations were freely supplied the
Yankees previous to going into battle.  But all this was to no purpose.
The wanton destruction to preparatory in town can neither be imagined
or described--All that was edible has been devoured by the hungry
Yankees.  Whilst clothing has been stolen from every house Negroes
cattle & every thing carried off--Furniture broken up and burnt--

MSS 6960