June 19, 1863

Portland

My dear Frank

I suppose that if the Capitol is threatened  and the Govt. request your regiment  to remain for a short time, they will not refuse to do so. If, as the papers tell us, other Regts. when time is out, are volunteering, and still others are mustering from all quarters to the rescue, it would not look well for any to leave at such a crisis, and wish to see you, I could not wish that your Regiment, and [illegible] should be an exception. [...]

With entire love, Your father

William Pitt Fessenden to his son, Francis Fessenden [Fessenden Collection]

June 18, 1863

23Thursday.  I omitted to record above that a flag of truce was sent in yesterday, asking leave to bring off the dead & wounded that were left in the field Sunday.  The Ambulance Corps was engaged in it all the afternoon.  The number  brought out is set by them at from 120 to 240.  None of them appear to have counted them—only two were found alive.  The rebs. came out & assisted in collecting the bodies.  God grant that we may not be called into another Sabbath fight.  When will our Generals learn to observe God’s day?  Col. P. said this morning that no regiment of our Brigade volunteered last night.  Very quiet about camp all day.  Wrote a letter to Pamelia this P.M. giving a short account of our two scenes of peril, the night’s skirmish in the brush, & last Sunday’s battle.  Carried the letter out to the Col.’s quarters & it is going to the landing tomorrow.  A mail leaves N. Orleans June 21st, & I hope my letters will get there in season for it.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

June 17, 1863

Dear Lizzie,

It strikes me we might be a little more sisterly in the way of corresponding and yet I know it takes a good deal of time to write letters and you especially have very little to spare with your little family and your letters to Otis. For my own part, I don’t know but it is as much laziness as anything else that keeps me from writing for I have been intending to send you my love and congratulations ever since the deal little baby came. But you have them now and will you please kiss the little fellow for his Auntie. I  want very much to see him. I wish it wasn’t such a journey between Augusta and Farmington – and such an almost impossible journey with little children. I do wish you could come up and bring all four of them this summer. Is it quite out of the question? I should so love to have you. [...]

Mary Ellen Patten [Ella] to her sister-in-law Elizabeth Ann Waite [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

June 15, 1863

Monday.  Thus was passed the most terrible Sabbath of my life.  The dead & wounded lay everywhere, & the stretchers were carrying them all day.  I can form no estimate of the loss, but it must have been very large, several hundred.  Sergeant Allen of Co. “E” was instantly killed on the charge, & several in other companies wounded, but God in mercy spared all my company, for which I desire to render him the highest gratitude of which my heart is capable.  We can account for every man except F. Holbrook, who has not yet come in, but I think he is safe, as he fell out before we reached the most dangerous spot.  Have not paper to record a tenth part of the incidents of the day, but they will live in my memory while I live.  God forbid that we should be called to such another day’s experience.  I think by this time that the hope of carrying the place by a charge is abandoned—at any rate till more suitable place[] for it can be found.  Our Reg’t. behaved well through the day, & Col. Jerrard was as fearless as a man could be, exposing himself continually—no man could have done better.  No officer of the Reg’t. faltered for a moment, or or[!] showed the least disposition to shirk his duty.  Holbrook reached camp about noon unharmed.  Haskell has been sent to Baton Rouge with other wounded.  He is not very badly hurt, I think.  Col. J. was notified this P.M. that he is “under arrest”—supposed to be for disobeying an order to charge over the breastworks yesterday P.M.  Had he made the charge at the time & place, & led it himself, (as he certainly would) I presume every man of us would at this time have been either dead or a prisoner.  Old[!] Regiments had tried it in the morning, & failed, & every one of our Reg’t. officers & men feels that the Col. was right, and not one doubts his courage.  The officers held a meeting, & chose a committee of three (Capts. Case, Bolton & Gilman) to assure Col. J. of the approval of his officers of his course yesterday, & that they will sustain him.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

June 14, 1863

18Sunday.  We then moved by the new road that had been dug by the sappers & miners, the bullets whistling round us all the way.  Were ordered to fix bayonets & charge upon the breastworks—had ravines & ridges to cross all full of brush & timber—almost impossible to crawl up—but after a hard scramble got to the place where the charge was to commence, but by this time four or five Reg’ts. Had got mixed up, & there was so much confusion that it was impossible to form a line (the 22nd was less confused than the other Reg’ts.).  Moved farther to the left to get more out of the way of the sharp-shooters, & got as good a cover as we could.  Here we lay till the middle of the afternoon, the sun beating down terribly, & the bullets constantly whistling over & among us.  While lying here, Corp. A. Haskell was struck in the breast by a bullet, making a flesh would.  Sent him out to the Hospital.  (Boker had been hit previously by a buckshot.). Ivis, Allen also had a slight wound made in a toe.  These were all of Company “H” that were struck, though several escaped as by a miracle.  In [the] middle of [the] P.M. companies “h” & “E” took position in ravines where they were better sheltered, & we lay till about 9 o’clock, when we were ordered back to camp.  The Reg’t. formed out near the bridge on the main road, & moved into camp.  Lay down, & slept soundly till morning.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

June 13, 1863

16Saturday.  Had baked beans for breakfast which were much relished by us all.  One of Co. “A” came in this morning, & reports that the nine other missing men of their Co. are all alive & near the enemy’s breastworks, but have had nothing to eat since yesterday morning.  He is going to try to get back to them with some provisions.  A small mail came in just after breakfast, containing three letters from home (from Father, mother, & Pamelia, all dated May 25th).  I thank our heavenly Father that he has preserved the lives & health of all the loved ones at home, & give them all things needful for their comfort & happiness.  May he grant that we may all meet again on the shores of time.  All but one of Co. “A”’s men have just got in safely.  Came out this morning in command of the picket guard.  Sharp musketry firing all the forenoon.   About need the cannon & mortars began to work, & the sounds indicate that the batteries are busy on a considerable portion of the line.  Whether the general bombardment has begun, I cannot yet determine (1 o’clock).  Continue reading

June 12, 1863

Camp at Ellis’ Ford Va.

My Dear Brother:

After having received my letter (No 20) that was written in such a fright you may think that there was some cause for fear of the Rebel bullets and or to allay any such I will write you this evening. Here have we this learned of all the moves that have taken place at Fredericksburg, Bealeton, Kelly’s Ford so that it will be of no interest for us to repeat them… [...]

Holman Melcher to brother, Nathaniel Melcher [Holman Melcher Papers]

June 11, 1863

13Thursday.  We then returned to our old company ground, & got breakfast, Co. “E” came in with the reserve, but Co.’s “A” & “B” were left behind.  “A” is still (1 o’clock) absent.  Co. “B” has got in this forenoon, & report that they went into the enemy’s works during the rain, where they lost two men killed, who were left there, & two wounded that were brought in.  Lt. Anson is thought to be a prisoner, as he was not known to recross the intrenchments.  There is much anxiety about Co. “A”, but they are supposed to be in the timber, where they will have to stay till dark.  Lt. J. had a ball pass through the sleeve of his blouse.  My prayers for the preservation of my Co. have been richly answered.  May we all be grateful to our heavenly Father.  The 8th Vt. Regt. is said to have suffered severely, & the 90th N.Y. also lost a few men.  Continue reading