October 21, 1863

Camp near New Baltimore, Va.

My Dear Brother: –

As we are laying still today, I thought that I would take up the time in write you a brief description of our movements since we came across the Rappahannock R.

I believe my last was commended at Culpeper and finished at Beverly For; well the next morning after I wrote that letter, we struck tents, and moved about a mile down the river and waited about 3 hours when we crossed the river and formed a line of battle and about the same time our cavalry began a skirmish with the reb. cavl. and we over where we could see all that was going on they had it quiet hard for some time, both sides using artillery pretty freely.

At last we could see the reb. lines fall back, one man at a time until the whole line had withdrawn to a little hill and then they skedaddled in earnest, then we advanced in line of farther about 2 miles over one the roughest hardest pieces of ground that could be found in Va, for where it was nit bushes and woods it was all grown up to blackberry bushes; and it was as hard to march over that five miles as it would have been to march 15 miles on a smooth road; after marching this distance we finished for the night. […]

From your affectionate brother,


Elisha Coan to his brother [Elisha Coan Collection]

August 6, 1863

Aug. 6th.  Well the mail came in last night & nothing from you, so I will finish this & send it out by the morning mail.  We are going to draw soft bread today, which will be a very acceptable change.  We have got one of the best company grounds that I ever saw, espetially [sic] the Collor [sic] Guard & Head Quarters; it is right on a little knoll with second growth of hard pine, just thin enough to make it a cool & shady place.  It is almost too good a place, & we are in hot water all of the time for fear that we shall hear that old bugle sound the call to strike tents.

There is a detail of 100 men from the regt now doing guard & fatigue duty on the Orange & Alexandria R.R.  It is the same with all of the regt in this brigade.

And now, Brother, I wish to make a proposition; hereafter I am going to write to you  regularly once a fortnight.  I want you to do the same by me.  I will not write any more now.  You see what a blunder I made on the 2nd page, it is something I never [have] done before; and you must excuse it because it was your Brother E. C.

Elisha Coan to his brother [Elisha Coan Collection]

August 5, 1863

Camp 20th Me, near Pa

My Dear Brother:

I have waited long enough for a letter from you, I am going to write myself: – we moved from camp near [Warren] day before yesterday and here we are in camp to remain until the first of September to recruit up and wait for “Conscripts;” there has I commissioner officers if men gone from each regt in this corp; and we shall expect that soon.

There is not much going on now of interest; it is very hot weather now, and a thundershower everyday; if you would like cool and shady place, it is almost too good a place and we are in hot water all of the time for fear that we shall hear that old bugle sound the call to “strike tents.” […]

Elisha Coan to his brother [Elisha Coan Collection]

July 3, 1863

Camp 20th Me. near Warrenton Pa.

My dear friends at Home—

Again have I recd a kind letter from home of the date [illeg. paragraph]

We are leaving quite [illeg. word] now, but I expect that we shall move again [illeg. phrase].  It is cloudy today [illeg. passage].  … Corps lost so many horses.  The army had to stop & rest a while [illeg. phrase] up its horses if nothing more & besides the men were getting raggedy everything needed rest, sweet rest.  [illeg. passage]  on the field of battle; I do not know but what you will think it is strange there can be a glimmer of peace[?] amidst such scenes but there nevertheless is; as only after a day of conflict & excitement as we lay ourselves down on the ground, with perhaps a stone for a pillow, & when all is still, & we look up to Heaven & thank our Heavenly Father that our lives have been spared; this then that a feeling of peace steals over us … when we are in camp for a few days … a neighboring Band strikes up in strains of sweet music, first some National Air, then some lively tune, & again some soft melodious strains, ‘tis then that a feeling of peace steals over us … when the Cannon is booming, in the fierceness of battle we can look for peace, for peace can only come to our beni[gh]ted country through these, & these alone. Continue reading