Thursday, January 3, 2013

1862 December 22 Head Quarters U. S. Engineers Falmouth Virginia

                                 Head quarters U.S. Engineers
                                                Falmouth Virginia
                                                    Dec 22 1862

Friend Dennett  [William S. Dennett]

                                    I received your interesting
letter yesterday and was pleased to hear from you
I had almost immagined you had left the service
as it has been so long a time since I heard from
you.  I am well and through kind Providence
I have enjoyed good health ever since you left, with
the exception of a few days than my sickness was
not dangerous.  I will give you a short detail of our
proceedings since you left, and of the changes
that have taken place in our company lately.
Of our doings on the Peninsulia[sic] I will remain
silent supposing that you have through others heard
all of that old news.  First, those that have gone
to their long  homes.  Taylor, Smith and Black died
while we were at "Harrisons Landing".  The two for-
mer dead at Philadelphia, the latter at Annapolis
Julian Day died and was burried at Warrenton Va
Daniel H. Miller (lately made corporal) died
at our present place of encampment Falmouth
Two others belonging to the company that had la-

[page 2]
tely joined us and strangers to you have also gone
to their last resting place.  Second, Those that
were taken prisinors" at "Savage Station" on our
skeedaddle from the "Chickahominy River" Le Goss
and Page of our Co with eighteen others of the Batt
Le Goss is at Camp Parole Annapolis Md with page.
Third Defunct Chaps.  Neil Cleark & Merrill
ran away from us when we were ordered to join
Sikes'es Brigade at the battle of "Antietam".  Our
Battalion supported the fifth regular battery on
the left of Sikes'es brigade at that memorable
(if it can be called such) time.  Bot C & M are
keeping a liquor store at "Toronto Canada"  I rece-
ived a letter from them some time since. Now
for our work.  After the battle of "Antietam" we
left for "Harpers Ferry" were we built two bri-
dges one at the old place were our last were, and
one across the "Shanandoah River".  We remained
there for some weeks (I will not be particular
in giving dates) when an order was issued
by the Secretary of war that all who wished to
leave the Volunteers could do so and join the regulars
Many took the advantage and in three days our
battalion was raised from about two hundred
two near six.  You would not know the old camp
now.  We got a good many fine fellows and of course

[page 3]
many D. Asses.  Than we were ordered to build
another bridge so the army could pass over into Vir-
ginia.  This was built at "Berlin" M.d about five
miles below "Harpers Ferry" on the Potomac.  After
finishing we left it in charge of two Comps of the
50 N.Y.V. Corps and moved on with the Army.
Nothing of note happened untill a few days ago when
another order came for us to throw two long bridges ac
cross the "Rappahannock River" for our troops & attack
the Rebels.  This was the most trying job we ever
had yet.  There was the rebel pickets within spe-
aking distance and we had to do the work in front
of them.  It must be done, and at it we went.
We worked all night on loading our boats from the
waggons and at daylight we commenced throwing
across the bridge (I tell you This there was some
queer feelings amongst the boys I judge from my
self. All went on well enough (as the pickets
left the bank as soon as they see what we were up
to.)  Untill about eight oclock and our bridge
was about half way across, when down came the
rebel sharpshoooters and opened fire upon us.  There
we were without our arms and no chance to
retaliate.  the balls flew fast and thick about
us striking the bridge and boats near us and some
passing so close as to cut the clothes of some of the

[page 4]
boys but strange to say only three of our [batt?]
was hit I was Chess carrion and was just lay
ing down my plank I guess I did not stop to see
if it was placed right or not. Some thing close to
think about.  I jumped into one of the boats
and kept close I tell you.  Our batteries opened
upon them with shot and shell which soon made
them leave us.  At our work we went again and
had succeeded in laying the last boat in its place
when down they came again  Hell bent (queer
expression) this time the men were not so
lucky two of our men was so frightened they
run into the rebels hands and were taken p-
risinors the fifteenth N Y lost four or five and
the fiftieth N.Y. engrs lost one out of every ten
and had one Capt killed and two wounded
Lieut Cross of our Camp saved himself by jumping
over board and the rest of us got behind what
ever we could.  However in spite of them we
finished our work and our troops commen-
ced pouring over.  The rest you know as no
doubt you have heard of the whole sail slaughter
of our troop at the last battle.  Our troops had
to abandon the opposite side of the river after
the battle and there was an other job for us
to take the bridges up again.  After all of

[page 5]
our troops had recrossed we went to work
this was about two oclock on Tuesday morning
we commenced taking up our bridge and by day
light we had nearly finished, but we were not
quite quick enough the enemy had seen our troops
had left the battle field and had recrossed the
river.  The rebels opened fire upon us with shot
and shell but in spite of the we loaded our
boats and bridge upon the waggons and handed
if off.  It was amusing to see the straglers
next morning after our folks abandoned the field
comeing down by the river and we had to fetch
them across in boats.  Where our next work will
be "God" only knows I do not think our Generals
know.  What advantage was gained by our troops going
over there.  None only we made a fool of ourselves
and left a chance for the rebels to laugh at us.
I so not know as I have any more news to write
to you  We have not got any more Corporals made
since you left that is Only Miller and he is dead.
Flood and Hedstrom are acting. Sargent Haskelt
is made Orderly Sargent and Corp Turner is Sargent
Maher and Clark are the only old Corporals we
have We have now forty five Artificers and the

[page 6]
Company is filled to the number o[f] 113 men
There is plenty of room for Corporals and
Sargents yet I do not know who they will be
but I expect there will be a number before long.
Ayre has got his discharge and gone home
William H Fernald has left for Washington with
Ed Welsh they expect their discharge.  Sargent
Jordan is dead he died soon after he got his dis
charge.  Sargent Wheeler is promoted to first
Lieutenant in Cavelry regulars.  And Sargent
Ayers is promoted first Lieutenant in 19 infintry
regulars gone to Cincinatta.  Corporal Smith of
Comp C is 2 Lieutenant in Ball. also Private
Hofman Lieut in one of the Mass regiments.
I will close hopeing soon to heare from you
I wish you a Merry Christmas & happy
new year from
                      Your friend and well wisher
                              T[haddeus] K. P[endleton]

[page 7]
Sargent Haskelt & Turner Artificer
Ryder, Hartshorn, Leavitt, with all of
rest of the boys wish to be remembered
to you

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.