Michigan War Studies Review
Reviews, surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies.
2012-009
7 February 2013
Digital archive by William B. Boardman, Madison Heights, MI
"Pretty Well Worn Out"—The Journey of a Civil War Soldier:
A Digital Archive of the Letters of William Hamilton

Descriptors: Volume 2012, 19th Century, US Civil War

Introduction

In the past generation or so, many Civil War historians have turned their attention from traditional battle narratives and political histories to cultural and social facets of the war. Individuals, previously lost in the "undistinguishable mass of 'The People,'"[1] are increasingly recognized for the important role they played. Although, from North to South and coast to coast, the war touched all of America's thirty-one million inhabitants, both free and slave, the military side of things was the central point from which all else radiated, and at its heart was the common soldier.

The lives of common soldiers were often overshadowed by the deeds and words of their superiors. Postwar memorials routinely list officers, but rarely enlisted men, unless they died in battle. Many regiments were raised at the county level and comprised men of similar origins, often neighbors or relatives. Despite this apparent homogeneity, the man, of course, came to the war with their own distinct background, strengths, and failings. Regardless of shared regimental experiences, their personal reactions to the incidents and ordeals of a soldier's life varied widely. Some were heroes, others deserted. Most were typical citizen soldiers who simply did their duty so they could go home. But the hard hand of war transformed them all in unexpected ways.

On 3 September 1862, William Hamilton, a thirty-eight-year-old Harrisburg lawyer, enlisted in the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteers. He was old by soldiering standards and his profession should have enabled him to avoid military service or at least improve his rank. Nevertheless, he joined as a private and served with distinction until May 1864, when his regiment was disbanded and he transferred to the 191st Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers for continued service in the Army of the Potomac (see archive items 134–35).

The 2nd Pennsylvania had been formed in 1861 and called to the Washington area in late July to bolster the Union army in the aftermath of the First Battle of Bull Run. It was nearly destroyed during its first week around Washington, not by Confederate forces, but by internal problems and the system of mustering Union forces. Its men, reluctant to serve outside Pennsylvania to begin with, could not even draw army rations because they belonged to a state unit not yet mustered into federal service. Only four hundred of his unit's original thousand men remained to be (at last) sworn into federal service two weeks after leaving Harrisburg. The rest returned home to join other units on more favorable terms and just deserted altogether.

William Hamilton's brother John served in another Pennsylvania regiment around Washington and his letters home exemplify the rock-bottom morale and ragtag state of the Army of the Potomac at the time. Rather than asking about home and family as he did later in the war, John complains heartily, especially about drill, poor weather, and lack of pay. A volunteer caught up in the heady patriotic fervor of the war's early days, he quickly got more than he had bargained for and recognized the gap between expectations and reality that soldiers faced during the Civil War (see items 1, 3).

All three Hamilton brothers eventually saw military service, but William's appears to have been the longest and hardest. His letters reveal his transformation from a typical raw civilian volunteer into a seasoned veteran. By the time he joined his regiment in 1862, it had already seen action in the Peninsula campaign and taken very heavy casualties at Mechanicsville and Gaines' Mill—nearly forty were killed and fifty wounded or taken prisoner. Hamilton was atypical in joining his regiment as a replacement, since standard Union practice was to create new units rather than replace casualties. He reached the regiment sometime during the Antietam campaign, but missed its engagements, being detained, to his disappointment, as an adjutant's clerk for a week or two owing to his legal training. When finally released from desk duty, he wrote that he was excited to be rejoining his regiment (item 10).

The adjustment to army life was difficult for William as it was for many others. Like his brother John, he complains in his first letters home about predictable irritants like poor quality clothing; the men's boots were "not fitting right." At the same time, he was proud of his unit's growing proficiency at drill and the excellence of its officers. He was so motivated that he studied a drill manual during his off hours. Perhaps most surprisingly, given the paucity and vileness of army rations, Private Hamilton was quite content with the food. Unlike other companies, his own always had plenty of good food. He noted that he had never eaten so well and even managed to gain fifteen pounds. All told, Hamilton successfully adjusted to army life. But he was a more mature soldier than most, better educated, and fortunate to belong to a veteran unit with more than a year's field service (item 3).

Over the next three years, Hamilton adjusted well to camp life and campaigning.[2] He writes frequently about the mail service, politics, and pay, which was always in arrears, sometimes as much as five months—a problem that plagued his regiment throughout the war.

Correspondence was so important to Hamilton that even in battle he had ink in his pocket, pens in his cartridge box, and paper in his knapsack. Since he so enjoyed sending and receiving letters, the erratic mail service was a serious matter. But most of the time he received regular mail, some letters even reaching him within three days. The only serious interruptions occurred in the middle of heavy campaigning, such as at The Wilderness. Even then, his mail was barely two weeks late. Nevertheless, Hamilton thought that "post office affairs are managed in a rather primitive character" and worried about mail tampering. He believed his letters, both sent and received, were searched for valuables by "scoundrels." When he had money to send home, he divided it into several parcels.

Besides the typical money and mail concerns, soldiers in Hamilton's regiment took a great interest in politics. Letters and newspapers from home kept the troops abreast of state and local political developments, spurred sharp debates, and prompted firm opinions about government representatives. Elections feature prominently in Hamilton's letters. Though he does not mention national elections per se, he wrote in November 1864 that several regiments had been sent home to vote (item 155).

As an adjunct to free political debate, the men also liberally praised or damned their officers—at least around the campfire. The more seasoned the troops, the more critical their judgments. Gen. Joseph (Joe) Hooker came in for especially harsh criticism from the Pennsylvania troops. His report after the battle of Mechanicsville cast the Pennsylvanians in a negative light, ensuring that he was ever after "most heartily hated by the whole Reserve Corps." On 21 June 1863, a week before Gettysburg, Hamilton wrote that "'Fighting Joe' is completely in the dark as to the whereabouts of Lee's army" (item 67). This was the voice of a veteran, not some green recruit.

The surest sign of Hamilton's veteran status was his ability to differentiate the regular, somewhat boring, rhythm of troop movements designed to outmaneuver the enemy from those that presaged imminent action. Without tempting fate by explicitly stating that he felt a battle was looming, he would write his brothers that he was well, that his regiment had drawn individual rations and disengaged from the supply wagons. His brothers, being soldiers too, knew the signs only too well. In this indirect manner, William accurately forecast most of the major engagements he took part in: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Cold Harbor, Five Forks, and Appomattox Court House. Only at Fredericksburg, his first major engagement, did he fail to foresee the coming carnage, but at that point he had been in the army scarcely four months (items 20–21).

What motivated men to join the colors? Abolition, vengeance, patriotism, preservation of the Union, bounties, community pressure, and eventually the draft are obvious reasons frequently cited in the scholarship, but the soldiers themselves sometimes expressed very different motives. Thirty years later, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., an abolitionist, insisted on a deeply held belief "on both sides that a man ought to take part in the war unless some conscientious scruple or strong practical reason made it impossible." Although a man of no mean background, Holmes served in the line as a junior infantry officer in many Eastern campaigns, sustaining several wounds. He denied that community pressure obliged men to enlist, seeing instead a world where "it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived."[3] Personal honor, perhaps born of the romanticism he saw in war, compelled Holmes and men of his social class to serve.

Why common soldiers like William Hamilton decided to serve is harder to discern. His letters do not directly address the issue of motivation. Was he attracted by a sense of adventure or the romanticism of war that some clearly felt? Recall Hamilton's excitement early on at being reunited with his regiment after his duty as a clerk. He often comments on the landscapes he moved through. In November 1862, he wrote that the area along the Rappahannock River was beautiful, but "sadly needs cultivation … looking dilapidated" (item 14). Had he enlisted to protect hearth and home? This was clearly a concern for him during the Gettysburg campaign. When he got word that his mother's home near Harrisburg was in Lee's path, he wrote expressing apprehension over her safety. The war was no longer an adventure, but a real danger to self, friends, and family.

Army life made all soldiers part of a fraternity, especially those who had seen combat, which was the experience that separated them from everyone else. "[T]he generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience .… [I]n our youth our hearts were touched with fire." Those who had not faced shot and shell were somehow lesser men. "The soldiers who were doing their best to kill one another felt less of personal hostility, I am very certain, than some who were not imperilled by their mutual endeavors."[4]

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. eloquently described the emotions of soldiers in battle, where "common sense … assail[ed] them in times of stress" when faced with seeming impossibilities. Fear was everywhere. Time and again the men conquered that fear in the face of certain death. Visiting sites like Burnside's Bridge at Antietam, Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, or the perfect killing field of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, one wonders what could induce men to stare death down. Holmes called it "faith … that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief."[5] Besides faith, there was, too, simple courage or a sense of personal honor—the same honor that led Holmes himself to enlist.

Hamilton expresses a personal reaction to only two battles. The first was Fredericksburg (December 1862), his baptism of fire. He took part in the attack on the Confederate right flank and his regiment made the Union assault's deepest penetration until counterattacks pushed it back to its starting point. He scribbled a short, barely legible note the next day to say that he would "write fully [of the battle] if my life is spared." His fatalism here was the result of an asymmetrical bloodletting often seen as the Union precursor to Pickett's Charge. Indeed, Union forces at Gettysburg chanted "Fredericksburg" after they shattered the Confederate charge. The second instance occurred on 5 July 1863 at Gettysburg when Hamilton again wrote another hasty note to say he was "safe so far but for how long there is no telling" (item 78).[6] As at Fredericksburg, he expresses a certain pessimism about the future. As fate would have it, he spent nearly two more years engaged in the hard campaigning and bloody battles that took the Army of the Potomac to the lines at Petersburg.

On 15 March 1865, Hamilton hinted at an impending battle when he wrote his brother Boyd that his company had just drawn twelve days of food and sent away all excess baggage. He and the rest of V Corps engaged the Confederates at Lewis's Farm on 29 March, at White Oak Road on 31 March, and most decisively at Five Forks on 1 April. Over the next week, they harried the Army of Northern Virginia's retreat from Five Forks to Appomattox Station. On the morning of 9 April, Hamilton's regiment deployed for battle along with the rest of V Corps before Appomattox Court House. Fighting broke out at dawn, but Hamilton was able to pause long enough to write that he was "pretty well worn out, sleeping an hour or two at a time and never resting" (item 180). News of Lee's surrender reached them as his brigade was preparing to assault a Confederate position. William Hamilton's war was over. The stark contrast between the exuberance of his 1862 letters and the weariness evident in the 1865 letters is moving testimony of his transformation from a raw but eager recruit into a veteran of three years' hard campaigning ready to go home at last.[7]

Technical Note:

The William Hamilton Papers comprise approximately 220 documents in two bound volumes. Each document is hinged and attached to blank pages. The front of each page is stamped with a number in black ink (usually the lower left corner). All images in the digital archive were made with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W170 camera in the Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress. No flash was used—standard fluorescent room lighting only. Original images are in jpeg format. All images are 1920 x 1080 (72dpi, 24-bit RGB) and have been processed with Photoshop CS5. Some have been lightly sharpened. All are true color; there has been no color or contrast correction.

The Archive

1861: Items 1–3

Abbreviations:

BH: [Adam] Boyd Hamilton, William's brother
JH: John Hamilton, William's brother
LC: Library of Congress

August

Item 1 (4 pp.): JH to BH, 30 Aug 1861, Washington. LC nos. 75–76.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He has been getting along well since leaving Harrisburg. They are encamped on a hill north of Washington. He can see all over the city and a little of the Potomac. There has been rain about every other day. He has been studying every day since he left. Thomas Frow [?] was offered an adjutancy but refused it. John does not know why. He is not up to date on news as they do not have access to newspapers. They were sworn into the army on 27 August. He expected to be paid prior to the swearing in but was not. Men are unhappy, since as they have no money and no idea when they will get some. He wants Boyd to make his apologies to cousin Louisa for not going to see her as he had no time. In a PS, he asks that family and friends write him at: Washington, 1st Regt Penna. Cavalry, Company A, care of Capn. T.H. Robison.

November

Item 2 (1 p., address on verso): James A. Beaver to JH, 30 Nov 1861, Fortress Monroe, VA. LC no. 77.

page 1 page 2

He received John's letter of the 26th and is enclosing a letter addressed to John in Jasper County, Texas, with the twenty-five cents to pay Rebel postage. He took it to General Wood's headquarters and was told it would be sent down by the next flag of truce. The postage was ten cents and he is enclosing the change. He is awaiting transportation to go farther south. Boats intended to carry four regiments can really carry only one. He expects that his regiment will be the one transported. The weather is nice. He spent the previous night in his shirtsleeves without a fire.

December

Item 3 (4 pp.): JH to BH, 21 Dec 1861, Camp Pierpont, VA. LC nos. 78–79.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He is well and has been getting fatter since leaving Harrisburg. He gained fifteen pounds in two months. He was in a skirmish but did not feel very excited during it. There was another fight the previous day. Gen. [Edward O.C.] Ord's brigade, 1st rifle regiment, one battery of Cambell's artillery and four companies of his regiment were involved. About five thousand Rebels—four regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and one battery were involved. Rebels lost sixty killed and many wounded. The Union lost thirty killed and he does not know how many wounded. He understands the tactics and thinks he could pass an examination but he sees no chance of getting one any time soon. If he could get a lieutenancy at the end of three years, he could resign. He wants Boyd to give his opinion of whether he would be able to get a position.

1862: Items 4–24

Abbreviations:

BH: [Adam] Boyd Hamilton, William's brother
JH: John Hamilton, William's brother
LC: Library of Congress
RH: Rosanna Hamilton, William's mother
WH: William Hamilton
NB: "Allen" is likely Thomas Allen Hamilton, William's brother

Item 4: LC separator page: "Letters of 1862—Army of Potomac." LC no. 80.

page 1

February

Item 5 (4 pp.): JH to BH, 7 Feb 1862, Camp Pierpoint, VA. LC nos. 81–82.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

Still in the same place as three months ago, getting tired of inactivity. It is impossible to move the army due to poor road conditions. The mud is so deep that wagons can only take half loads and they are having trouble getting supplied. There was a rumor they were to go south but it was untrue. They were paid about two weeks ago. Nothing has been going on except the Battle of Dranesville. He was not involved but heard the cannon. His company was on picket at the time. He likes soldiering and the hardships are not as bad as he anticipated. There is a man recruiting for the regular army; he is thinking of enlisting but wants Boyd's advice first. He believes there is more of a chance for a man to distinguish himself in the regular army than in the volunteers.

Item 6 (3 pp.): JH to cousin […?], 18 Feb 1862, Camp Pierpoint, VA. LC nos. 83–84.

page 1 page 2 page 3

Responding to cousin's request to explain his situation more fully: He is the 4th Sergeant in Captain Robison's company of cavalry. He has had the position since the company was accepted. He likes the service and would not go home even if offered the chance. If war were to break out between the United States and Great Britain he would not hesitate to enlist. He had heard that a soldier's life was too hard and the food too coarse, but he does not agree. He has been in one skirmish where two men were killed and three wounded. The enemy fired from behind an ambuscade but they surrounded them, killed four and took two prisoners. He has gone on almost every scout generally in the area of Dranesville and Hunter's Mill. The previous day he heard of the capture of Fort Donnelson with about ten thousand men. It appears the traitor [Confederate Gen. John Buchanan] Floyd escaped with about five thousand men. He has heard that Savannah was captured. In a PS, gives his address as Company A, 1st Regt of PA Reserve Cavalry, Washington, DC, c/o Col. [George Dashiell] Bayard.

August

Item 7 (2 pp.): T.A. Hamilton to RH, 15 Aug 1862, [Harrisburg, PA?]. LC no. 85.

page 1 page 2

He woke up Will to go to Bellefonte. Will has enlisted in the 116th Regiment for three years. When Will first told him of the enlistment, he feared his captain was "of his own stamp," but he appears to be a gentleman. He spoke to the captain of Will's good and bad qualities, but the captain had already been informed by the major who was a longtime acquaintance of Will's. He believes that this will be good for Will. He mentions that, of the four brothers, two are exempt from service due to age and he will probably be exempt for infirmity. He believes it is better that Will enlisted rather than wait for the draft. Will had been wavering about whether he would go to Bellefonte. T.A. is sorry Will got a leave of absence, because the sooner he gets into camp the better. Elizabeth wants to know what to do with the plums in the garden. She received twenty dollars from the Major and it cured her of an attack of cholera morbus.

October

Item 8 (digitized image illegible): […], 13 Oct 1862, Camp Pierpoint, VA. LC nos. 86–87.

Item 9 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 21 Oct 1862, near Sharpsburg, MD. LC nos. 88–89.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He wrote to her a week ago from the same place, but how long they will remain there is unknown. Writing is difficult because the felon [suppurative inflammation] on his finger is not well. He can do no duty except draw rations, cook, and eat. The doctor thinks it is healing well and he will not lose any part of the finger. His bowels are troubling him. The same is true for the rest of the men. Dr. Coleman believes the trouble is due to the poor shelter. The tents are open at both ends. They have had several rains. The days are warm enough to go without a coat. Mornings and evenings are comfortable. Camp is about a hundred yards from the Potomac. Heavy dews wet a double army blanket clear through. He wants her to send him a jacket. He has a couple in his closet at home. If he had known the General's man was going to Harrisburg he would have sent for his razor. Letters go to and from Washington by way of Hagerstown. All stores have to be hauled to camp over the Smith Mountains. He supposes if there were severe weather they would starve since the country is cleared of things to eat. When he arrived in camp, there were oaks and locust trees—now they are all cut down and burned. He has seen many old friends and acquaintances from home in his regiment. The men of his company have been kind to him, but all they talk about are war matters. He has the Philadelphia paper. He is astonished that Bill [William Henry] Miller is going to Congress. The company next to his has "the old silver guard." They had eighty men a month ago and now have thirty, almost all sick. The others were discharged due to disability. One man who knows Allen has been visiting him so much he is sick of him. A man was drummed out of the service for cowardice; he had been in every fight from Dranesville to Antietam. His captain was usually in the hospital during battles. The soldier had the sympathy of the men in all regiments and they collected $117 for him. Lewis intends to walk to Harrisburg to see Elizabeth when he gets paid for his last four months. He will be fined one month's pay if he does, but declares it cheaper than taking a month to try to get a furlough and then get denied. Many have done the same since Antietam and nearly all of them have come back. He asks if she received his letter. He forgot to ask for a towel and pin cushion. He wants postage stamps. Rumors say there will be a siege.

Item 10 (4 pp.): WH to his sister, 23 Oct 1862, near Sharpsburg, MD. LC nos. 90-90A.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He is back with the regiment after having been in Alexandria for nearly a month. He would have stayed there until the war was over but he got tired of clerking from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. of the next day for forty cents a day. He was clerking for a Captain Rogers from Rhode Island. He has been with the regiment for two weeks. The felon on his finger is still not healed and he may lose the nail. He still can do no duty except eating and drinking. He is enjoying the soldier's life. He has many acquaintances from home and cannot take a walk without running into someone he knows. Several of his acquaintances are officers. While in Alexandria he saw McAllister's brother, whose regiment was guarding the camp William was in. The men appeared to be either boys or elderly men. Almost every day they have marching orders read and countermanded. They have five days rations. Since Antietam, almost every man from Dauphin, Adams, York, and Lancaster has gone home and returned. Lewis plans to as soon as he has been paid. He is willing to give a month's pay of thirteen dollars as a fine. They are owed four months' pay. He likes his tent mates Morgan and Thompson, because they are peaceable and honest. He believes the army is a good place to make thieves of men, because they do not get what the law allows and are determined to get it even if they need to steal. He has had a letter from their mother and newspapers from Boyd. They get the Philadelphia papers. The correspondents write things that never happened. Of 15,000 men 2,500 are sick. His address is 2nd Pennsylvania Reserve Vol. Corps, Co. D, Care of Capt. Ellis, Washington, DC.

Item 11 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 29 Oct 1862, near Berlin, MD. LC nos. 91–92.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He is about a half mile from Berlin, Maryland, on the Potomac below Harper's Ferry. They moved on Sunday, marched eight miles and crossed the mountains in the pouring rain. Mud was about six inches deep and like brick clay. They passed about a dozen brick yards, so he supposes the mud was brick clay. All his clothes were soaked and he slept in them. It was very cold on Monday. He now has dry clothes with a change in his knapsack. He had a fever for about two and a half hours, but rested in a barn until it was gone. He has many aches and pains. He asks Boyd tell mother he wants two dark shirts, three pairs of long cotton stockings, boots with a low, wide heel, razor, brush, shaving soap, towel, and dark silk handkerchiefs. He has escaped lice so far. They have a Negro man to carry water and do washing. They pay him fifty cents a month for water and five cents per piece for washing. He likes William because he pays promptly. William intends to spend ten dollars a month when he gets paid. He is owed two months' pay. The army fears desertion, if the men are paid. From camp, he can see all the paraphernalia of war. He traded a pound of salt pork for fresh meat and apple dumplings. Letters take about a week to reach home. He thanks Boyd for his enclosures, which enabled him to get some fresh bread and some tea. They are issued hard crackers and coffee. He should be getting molasses and vinegar twice a week, but they have to purchase these from the commissary. He is satisfied with the election results. He asks Boyd to get his almanacs out of the agricultural office and to have the boys write him.

November

Item 12 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 2 Nov 1862, Hamilton's Store, VA. LC nos. 93–94.

page 1 page 2 page 3

He advises her to be patient if she does not hear from him regularly. They moved from their old location at 6:30 a.m. They can hear the big guns now. They are about twenty-five miles from Berlin, Maryland, in Loudon County, near the Leesburg and Winchester Turnpike. It is uncertain if they will stay or move. Ink is scarce. He does not want her to send anything more until he gets settled, as he has enough to carry. He has had colic and fainting for a few days but is better now. He will write her weekly, if he can. She would be shocked to hear how unconcerned the men talk about fighting. The country is pretty, with plenty of water and rich soil. The houses appear well built, but the barns are awful. He has had to ford about twenty streams, crossing only one bridge. He is wearing the smallest size army shoes and could put on three pairs of socks and still have room. It is possible in that area to dispose of shoes and clothing for US notes. He was glad to get her newspapers. He has been dreaming of home. He tells her not to worry that he will start drinking again. He will be two months sober the next day.

Item 13 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 8 Nov 1862, Warrenton, VA. LC no. 95.

page 1 page 2

He is writing with a pencil for lack of ink. They are camped about two miles south of Warrenton. How long they will remain is unknown. They depend on the North for supplies and are waiting for them now. They marched for thirteen miles skirmishing and scouting to get to their present location. He did his first scouting and did not find it easy in the woods, carrying his knapsack and haversack with sixty rounds of ammunition on his back. He was able to keep up, which was more than he expected to do. They passed Middleburg with drums and flags. It was very quiet with no one at the doors or windows. He had coffee for dinner the previous night and coffee and roasted corn for breakfast. They sent a party out to buy a sheep or hog. Their crackers and coffee arrived, but no meat. It has been cold and snowy. He is well except for irregular bowels. He will write Sis and then will be out of paper until the sutler comes.

Item 14 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 15 Nov 1862, near the Rappahannock. LC no. 96.

page 1 page 2

He has had a letter from him and Sis but wonders why mother does not write. They are in an out-of-the-way spot about twelve miles south of Warrenton and three miles from a ford and railroad station. He could hear the train whistle while on picket. They need to walk a mile and back for water. He could easily drink two to three quarts of coffee a day and still want more. The country is pretty but dilapidated. The election has had a good effect on the army and they think the Democrats will end the fighting. They believe [Gen. George B.] McClellan's removal has settled the matter. McClellan was a favorite with the men. He thanks Boyd for his enclosures, as they allow him to get paper from the sutler. He has had no pay for over four months and may not get any for the next two months. On a march, they get no beans, potatoes, or onions. If he has a few cents, he can get them on the road or from Negroes. He gets tired of salt pork (sometimes fresh beef) and crackers with no vegetables. Asks if Boyd sends Danny to school. He wants [his nephews, Boyd's sons] Howard and Hugh to write. Mentions having a man in his company who cannot read or write. He has not touched liquor since 3 September but could get it if he wanted it. This was one of his reasons for joining the army, as well as breaking old associations. He never did much swearing and in the army the habit is mostly one of young soldiers and officers.

Item 15 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 15 Nov 1862, south of Warrenton, VA. LC no. 97.

page 1 page 2

He has no idea why they are where they are. The only thing around is a Negro village and graveyard. He has been on picket duty for the past forty-eight hours. He does not know where they will go next. He will write when he can. He had a letter from Sis but none from her (his mother). He mentions Sis being ill with a headache. He wants Allen to keep a lookout for his box because he (William) may end up in Fredericksburg and can find it there. He can carry as much as most men and usually finds ready customers for any surplus provisions he has. From now on, he will only share with his tent mates, Morris Cope and Benjamin Robinson, who are respectable and good to him. They sleep with an oilcloth under them and three blankets each. Having to carry their tent fixings makes their load heavier. They may be sent down the Rappahannock. General McClellan left last Monday. He had the confidence of the men, which no other general in the field had. On Tuesday all commissioned officers except two resigned. The Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware troops do not want a Yankee for their general. He has not seen Lewis since leaving Sharpsburg. He is always in the advance with Lewis two or three days behind. He wishes for a sutler, because he wants pepper badly. He asks her to send some cayenne pepper. Asks after the dog Echo.

Item 16 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 22 Nov 1862, Brookes Station, VA. LC nos. 98–99.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

They are across the [Rappahannock] river from Fredericksburg about nine miles away with no idea where they will go next. They are now commanded by Gen. Bill [William B.] Franklin. He has a letter from her that took only four days to reach him. The march there was awful. It was raining when they started and then so warm an overcoat was uncomfortable. Then it was cold with rain and sleet when they arrived. The supplies were delayed and provisions became short. He was detailed to build a corduroy road and spent ten hours in the rain working. There is mud up to the mules' bellies. On Saturday, they were moved again and had no chance to eat till the next morning. He has learned to husband his rations, while other men do not, overeating one day and then going hungry. They passed through the Wilderness, which he thinks is appropriately named. He is getting stronger. He has changed shoes with [his tent mate] Cope and so his feet are better. He is surprised that sleeping in wet clothes under wet blankets has not given him a cold. He has not gotten her package of newspapers but has gotten Boyd's.

Item 17 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 28 Nov 1862, Brookes Station, VA. LC nos. 100–101.

page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4

He received Boyd's letter. He would prefer to get the Union or Telegraph papers. All the men in his company can read and write. He passes his papers around to them. It appears they will stay in the area for a while, because the corps, brigade, and division supply officers are all there and train cars come constantly bringing food and clothing. Their position allows them to move quickly by road or water if needed. They were on picket for twenty-four hours. It was so cold no one could sleep. Then he had twenty-four hours of guard duty. Yesterday was general inspection, which he did not have to participate in, because he was just coming off guard duty. Since it was Thanksgiving, he devoted his time to the fire and eating. His bowels are well. He asks Boyd to send some magazines. He intends to get a pass to see Bill [Gen. William B.] Franklin who is the commander and an old school friend. The pepper has arrived.

Item 18 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 30 Nov 1862, Brookes Station, VA. LC no. 102.

page 1 page 2

He received her letter as well as letters from Sis and Boyd. He was glad to receive the reading material Boyd sent. He received her Presbyterian papers. Was glad to hear Mrs. [Elizabeth] Lewis had heard from Lewis and hopes her health is better. He expects when she next hears from Lewis there will be money enclosed, as the paymaster has arrived. The men should all be paid over the next couple of days, which he expects will cause a big commotion. The majority of the men have had no money for five months. The previous night twenty-five men deserted and William thinks many more will do the same. Most men are willing to give up a month's pay to get home for a few days. He believes a battle at Fredericksburg is approaching and expects it will be primarily an artillery battle, since the armies will be separated by the river and many natural barriers. No one expects to get into a fight anywhere but around Richmond. It is cold and he wishes he had his box with the extra shirts and socks. His health is good, but he needs more warm clothes. If he stays there any length of time, he will have her send the box.

December

Item 19 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 6/9 Dec 1862, Brookes Station, VA. LC no. 103.

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He received her letter. Weather has been rainy and muddy. Rain the previous day turned into snow. They had orders to march at 6:00 a.m. He was up at 2:00 a.m. and watched a total eclipse of the moon. Their marching orders were countermanded and the regiment was ordered to picket duty. Snow is four inches deep and makes the roads terrible. Everywhere there is mud, snow and slush. It is unknown where or when they will move. The river is swollen. Lewis has been to see him once or twice and complained that the rations were inadequate. He (William) states that ten crackers a day is not enough bread for him, so it cannot possibly be enough for Lewis. He gave Lewis some tobacco and lent him some money to get more. [Continuing on 9 December]: they moved about twelve miles the previous day to within three miles of Falmouth.

Item 20 (2 pp.): WH to his sister, 10 Dec 1862, near Falmouth, VA. LC no. 105.

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He received her letter. He wrote letters to her on 28 November and 2 December and does not know why she has not received them. She has not received three of his letters. The weather is cold with snow on the ground. He requests a pair of knit gloves to go over his kid gloves. That would be a good Christmas gift for him. He has orders to be ready to move at any time, but he does not know where. They are within three or four miles of Fredericksburg on the opposite side of the [Rappahannock] river. He does not plan to write long letters until he knows they will arrive. He is in good health.

Item 21 (1 p.): WH to BH, 15 Dec 1862, Fredericksburg, VA. LC no. 106.

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There is a lull in the battle [of Fredericksburg]. He is unhurt, as is Lewis. Rebels have a total of 2,500 men killed, wounded, and missing. The fighting continued until about 4:00 p.m. Saturday [13 Dec]. His regiment was first in the battle and has lost almost a quarter of its men. He will write more fully, if he survives.

Item 22 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 18 Dec 1862, a camp on the Rappahannock River. LC nos. 107–8.

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He received her letter. The battle is over. Burnside has fallen back. The previous night was the first in a week that he had a tent or blanket over him. They crossed the river on Friday. That night they supported the Bucktails [13th Pennsylvania Reserves] as pickets and were within a hundred yard of the Rebels. The next day they went into the fight. The 121st and 142nd regiments lost a total of 2,140 killed and wounded and 351 missing. His company had three men wounded. William believes that if his division had been properly supported they would still be on the other side of the river. He gives details of battle. They were in the fight on Saturday [13 Dec] for six hours and slept on a hilltop exposed to enemy fire. [Continuing on 20 Dec]: he was in the middle of his letter and they were ordered to pack up and move. They are near supplies, near the river, and near Aquia Landing [VA]. The Potomac Creek is within a couple of miles. They are out of danger. The feeling of the men is that, had [Gen. George] McClellan been in charge, they would not have retreated. For thirty-six hours they were at Lee's mercy. He could have shelled them but did not. His (William's) regiment had 180 men in the fight and took over three hundred prisoners. He is currently in the surgeon's tent working on his books. His health is good.

Item 23 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 24 Dec 1862, Belle Plain, VA. LC nos. 109–110.

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He received his letter. He will not write of the battle, because Boyd will be able to read about it in the daily paper. The men believe that, had McClellan been in command, the fight would either not have happened or they would have been successful. The papers are giving [Gen. Ambrose] Burnside credit for a safe retreat, but William believes the credit should go to Gen. [Robert E.] Lee for not shelling them. He details the retreat. There was a hospital within thirty yards of him and he saw thirteen men buried. He saw hogs eating amputated body parts. In the time it took to dig a grave for one man, three more had died. All the regiments but his are putting up winter quarters and he feels by the time his does, there will not be enough wood. He was going to write about his feelings on going into battle, but he cannot. During the battle, [Alfred, Lord] Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" [1854] was running through his head. He quotes some of the poem. He is still detailed at the surgeon's tent and will get orderly sergeant pay of twenty-one dollars per month. His duties include making blisters, powders, and pills, keeping the prescription book, keeping the daily record of sickness, and keeping the morning report. He has to walk four miles each way to deliver the morning report. He requests a Union paper so he can have some gossip from home. Wishes them a happy Christmas and hopes to be home for the next one.

Item 24 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 28 Dec 1862, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 111–12.

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He has received a letter from her and one from Sis. Christmas was dull for him, but he supposes she had a lively time. He is glad they received his letters. He had to write them amid the noise of the wounded and dying. He was laughed at for writing, because, at the time, there was no apparent opportunity to send them. He was able to send his, while those who had not written when he did had to wait thirty-six hours for the next chance to send theirs. He keeps his ink in his pocket, his pens in his cartridge box pocket, and paper in his knapsack so he is always prepared to write. When the sutlers come, the men try to get food, while he tries to get paper and envelopes. It has not been terribly cold. He asks about Tom Jordan, Dr. Debbitt [?] and Aunt Kitty. He will not write again about what he saw during the battle, but she can read his letter to Boyd if she wants. He told a story of a captain who wanted out of the fight but was "ashamed to skulk." The captain pretended to stumble, said he was wounded in the knee, and called for a stretcher. The shells were falling all around and he told the stretcher bearers to hurry up, which they did not. He jumped off the stretcher and ran away. They did not see him again till they crossed back over the Rappahannock. He requests she tell Elizabeth that he saw Lewis, who is well and has his winter quarters built except for waiting on the stove. He has not received the cap Sis sent. He will be glad to get the mittens. He does not know if they are going into winter quarters. He has received the papers. He is the envy of the men, because he gets something almost every mail. There are many packages at Aquia Landing and his box may be there. He was able to use her dollar to buy rice, sugar, and tobacco as well as pay for three pieces of clothing to be washed. He likes working for the doctor, because it gets him out of drill, guard duty, and picket. He wants the boys to write and requests postage stamps.

1863: Items 25–125

Abbreviations:

AH: Alex[ander] Hamilton, William's brother
BH: [Adam] Boyd Hamilton, William's brother
HH1: Howard Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
HH2: Hugh Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
JH: John Hamilton, William's brother
KH: Catharine "Kate" Naudain Hamilton, Boyd's wife, William's sister-in-law
LC: Library of Congress
RH: Rosanna Hamilton, William's mother
WH: William Hamilton
NB: "Allen" is likely Thomas Allen Hamilton, William's brother

Item 25: LC separator page: "Letters of 1863—Army of Potomac." LC no. 113.

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January

Item 26 (3 pp.): WH to BH, 3 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 114–15.

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He has received her letter. He does not believe they can stay all winter, because they would be short of fuel. If the river is blocked due to ice, they would be at the mercy of the enemy. The division is in an uproar because Generals [John F.] Reynolds and [William B.] Franklin have sent a request to Washington that the reserves be allowed to do garrison duty in order to rest and be replaced with a full division of twelve to thirteen thousand men. Bad press reports have made the men careless about going into another fight. He advises Boyd to read [Sen. Charles] Sumner's testimony to the Senate Committee to find out the truth. The men lack confidence in the orders from Washington and their commanders. It is about time they were relieved. He wants Boyd to tell him who the officers to the Legislature are. His health is good. They rarely get vegetables. They had potatoes once and the men got sick from eating them. He buys potatoes and onions when he can. He has no stamps and cannot get them.

Item 27 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 6 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 116–17.

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He wishes her a happy new year. He would have written on Sunday [4 Jan] but was prevented by other duties. He was sent to Falmouth [VA] for hospital stores and any boxes for the regiment. There was nothing for him, but it was late when he returned. He has had nothing from her since before Christmas. At Falmouth, he could see the entrenchments, rifle pits, and camp of the Rebels. They are under orders to be ready to march at any time, but they may stay for months. The newspapers say how eager the men are for another fight, but that is false. New Year's was quiet for him. He has apple dumplings with molasses and rice cakes. He would have made a suet pudding, but could get no dried fruit. The problem is that there is no variety in diet. It is beginning to rain and, if it lasts long, the roads will be terrible.

Item 28 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 13 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC no. 118.

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He received letters from home after a long wait. His daily routine does not really vary—eat, sick call, eat, and then not much to do for the rest of the day. By 4:30 p.m., it is too dark to do much of anything but sit by the fire until bed. The conversation is not very interesting—possibilities of going home, upcoming battles, newspapers, officers. For the Fredericksburg fight, the regiment only had five commissioned officers—two captains, two lieutenants, one colonel. He requests mother tell Tilly that he often thinks of her, even though he does not write of her in his letters. He changes regularly every Monday, so he can have his clothes washed. He has so far escaped the lice.

Item 29 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 15 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 119–20.

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He read in the paper that the Democratic caucus has nominated [Charles R.] Buckalew for US Senator. He discusses politics. The government has broken its contract with the men. Many men have not been paid for four months and some other regiments not for up to ten months. The men cannot get what they need, because the sutlers will not sell for anything but cash. He was paid in December for one month. He is now due two and a half months' pay. The men are grumbling. He bought a shirt, two handkerchiefs, and a pair of stockings. He lent Lewis seven dollars. He is doing what he can to stay out of the regimental hospitals.

Item 30 (3 pp.): WH to HH2, 15 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 121–22.

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Thanks him for his letter and newspapers, but says there is no need for him to spend money to send Philadelphia papers, because he can get them there. There is nothing to see but camps of soldiers. In a ten-mile radius, there are about 100,000 men. Daily drill of often twenty thousand men that is interesting to watch. There are thousands of cavalry, artillery, and infantry in all kinds of uniforms, reminding him of the Coat of Many Colors. Asks about skating and his and Howard's studies. Advises him to get all the knowledge he can while at school, before he has to face life's realities.

Item 31 (3 pp., 2nd and 3rd blank): WH to RH, 20 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 123–24.

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They are ordered to move at noon; when he knows where, he will write. Weather is cold with threat of snow.

Item 32 (2 pp.): HH1 to WH, 23 Jan 1863, Headquarters Nazareth Hall Cadets [Nazareth, PA]. LC no. 125.

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He received William's letter. He wants to know if he ever sees illustrated papers in camp and what they cost. He has little chance to skate, since he has to walk six miles to do so. He would like to be with William, but cannot. He received his weekly [Harrisburg] "Patriot & Union." It had a prediction about the end of the world coming August 1863 and the business news of Cincinnati. He wants William to write about the Battle of Fredericksburg in his next letter.

Item 33 (1 p.): WH to RH, 25 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC no. 126.

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Received Allen's letter and one from Hugh and a paper. He is sorry to hear she was ill and hopes she is well now. They moved toward Fredericksburg, then back. Got stuck in the mud and it was all they could do to return. Supposes they will stay put for six weeks. One day's rain makes so much mud it is difficult to move man or trains. Not yet recovered from the march and will write more fully later.

Item 34 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 27 Jan 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 127–28.

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[Notation on the top of the letter:] "On the 20th the Army moved Jan 1863." He is glad to have received a letter from her and glad she is feeling better. He started letters to Boyd and his sister, but got so sad he had to stop. The Army moved the week before. He describes the weather and march—first day foggy, then and rain for two days. They marched eight miles on the first day and four miles the second, but had to stop due to rain and impassible roads. He details the effect of the mud on man and animal. In some places, it is up to a mule's belly. It is not uncommon to see twenty horses hitched to a cannon usually pulled by four and all stuck fast. No provisions could be transported by any means. On the fourth day, they were marched back. It is amusing to look back from the hill and see men and horses floundering in the mud. It took three days to get back. It is a blessing to be turned back, because there were thirty-two cannon at their intended crossing point on the Rappahannock and they would have been exterminated. He describes a board the Rebels had placed at the crossing—"Burnsides stuck in the mud of the Sacred Soil." They could see the sign clearly. He describes the hut he built in camp. He hopes Tom Stus [?] was not one of the mutineers in the Anderson Troop [of Pennsylvania Cavalry at Murfreesboro, TN]. He requests she tell Allen he hopes L. de Carlton is successful in what he is attempting. He received the newspapers and also mitts from his sister. They are better than government issue. He has not yet recovered from the march, which affected his bowels, but he is recovering.

Item 35 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 31 Jab 1863, White Oak Church, VA. LC nos. 129–30.

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He received Boyd's letter, but cannot write due to weather. Snow and drizzle for four days. Snow fourteen inches deep has halted all movements, even by [Gen. Joseph] Hooker, who is much hated by the Reserve corps for his report of the Mechanicsville fight. The reserve corps saved the day. They feel insulted. He believes Hooker intends to send them to the District of Columbia. This may make him a little more popular with the men. Going to DC and nearer civilization would be fine. There is much talk of [Generals Edwin V.] Sumner, [Ambrose] Burnside, and [William] Franklin being put out of the way. Lincoln is quickly converting the men to good Democrats. He expects to leave for Washington next Thursday. He has not been paid and does not expects to be paid until mid-March or early April. They have paid other regiments up to November during the past week. Lewis sent Elizabeth forty dollars and kept twelve. He owed William seven dollars, but he did not take it all, because Lewis owed other people. He received Hugh's letter. He forwarded the note Hugh included for a Captain of the 153rd. He is still having bowel trouble.

February

Item 36 (1 p.): WH to RH, 10 Feb 1863, Alexandria, VA. LC no. 131.

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He arrived Sunday evening just outside Alexandria. They will probably not stay long and will likely go on to Washington. He saw Lewis, who is well. He will write more fully when they are settled and have tents up. He had to throw his ink away and write with pencil.

Item 37 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 20 Feb 1863, near Fairfax Court House, VA. LC nos. 133–34.

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He received her letter and is glad her health is better. They are now seventeen miles from Alexandria and twelve miles from Washington and more cut off than ever. Mail comes every three to four days. At other places, he had mail and newspapers each day. There are no papers now except what is sent from home. Heavy rain on Wednesday for thirty-six hours, following twenty hours of snow to a depth of fourteen inches. The weather is sunny and windy; the previous day was foggy. He hopes blankets, overcoats, and tent will dry by night. They are camped in thick oak woods with plenty of water. They have fish and plenty to eat, but the ground is very muddy. Mud is all clay and sticks to everything. They started their march at 4:00 p.m. and by 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. had covered only three miles due to mud. The mud was over their shoe tops the whole way and up to his middle in some places. About 2:00 a.m., they boarded a steam ferry to Alexandria, where they stayed five days; they were then brought to camp on platform cars. By then they were out of rations. They were ordered to picket duty for seven days and told rations would be sent. They refused and were arrested. He tells her not to worry. He writes his sister regularly and discusses family relationships and Mary Hamilton. If she wants to see Capt. Tom Trow [?] or Cpl. John Hamilton, she will need a note from a surgeon stating they are in a hospital; she will have to travel to Fredericksburg. He had a chill and fever, but is better now.

Item 38 (6 pp.): WH to BH, 25 Feb 1863, on picket. LC nos. 135–37.

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He received his letter and their mother's. He was released from arrest the previous Friday and ordered to be ready to march the next morning; arrived at Union Mills [VA] about 5:00 p.m. After most of the regiment had pitched tents, they were ordered to strike tents and go on picket duty. They are along Bull Run [River, VA] about eight miles away. The march of nineteen miles is longest march he has done. The last five miles were up and down hills and across runs and ravines. Stragglers suffer, because it snowed about a foot on Sunday. On Monday, men who were left behind were coming in all day. They had been up two days and a night because they were lost. Rations arrived, but they had to march two miles with haversacks, since wagons could not get to them. They have to stay put seven days and maybe another seven. There is mail daily but no papers. He received the [Harrisburg] Patriot [& Union], which was then read by all the men and sent to another company. His sister sent the NY Observer and mother sent the Presbyterian. There will probably be no pay until mid-March or April. He read the governor's address and was surprised by it. Boyd was proposed for mayor, but William advises against it, as the family holds enough city offices. He received a letter from their sister that was in the mail twenty-one days. His regiment is to be placed on guard at the chair bridge near Washington. He does not regret refusing duty, because it resulted in the men getting food, clothing, and shoes. One of his bunk mates was nearly barefoot. During his arrest, William sent a letter to the governor and Judge Kelly MC that he requested be sent on to Gen. [Samuel P.] Heintzleman [sic; read Heintzelman]. [Col. William] McCandless was called to Washington. He (William) got the statements to Washington by passing them through various regiments. He has written defenses for a couple deserters—one got a fine and one got off. He describes the country they are in—Bull Run Creek and rolling hills and meadows. They are living on rations, because the farmers have nothing to sell, and game, while plentiful, is hard to shoot with a Minie ball. He has enclosed a letter from Howard.

Item 39 (2 pp.): Thomas G. Sample to WH, 26 Feb 1863, Falmouth, VA. LC no. 138.

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Sample's regiment is snowed in and has been for the last five days. He has been paid off and is sending money to his mother. She will visit William and settle accounts. He thanks him for his kindness and the loan.

Item 40 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 28 Feb 1863, on picket. LC nos. 139–40.

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They have been within a hundred yards of the boundary of the Military Department of Washington for eight days. They are on the Bull Run River four miles from the Occoquan River. A few Rebel cavalry are near them, but the men hold that kind of soldier in contempt. The brigade is separated with no regiment near another. A Vermont general is in command of five Vermont regiments nearby. A man appeared at his headquarters and wanted to trade eggs for sugar and coffee. The general feared a Rebel raid and doubled the picket. The general was afraid his new troops would not behave. He called on the 1st Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves and they refused to do duty so he called out the Keystone Artillery and ordered them to fire on the men, which they refused to do. He had the 1st Regiment disarmed; this pleased them because they then had nothing to do but eat and sleep. William thinks they are doing picket duty because the men in the area are panicky draftees and not to be trusted. They are well dressed and strut around, but that is all they know how to do. He would be happy to stay there if the mails were regular and they could get some luxuries. He sent two dollars with two soldiers going to a station to get tobacco. His tent is fixed up with six inches of spruce boughs and logs all around. Snow and rain all week. He wants Boyd to tell him who was elected Prison Keeper and who took his (William's) place on the City Democratic Executive Committee. He thinks the orderlies at headquarters are stealing the newspapers.

March

Item 41 (3 pp.): WH to his sister, 8 Mar 1863, on picket. LC nos. 141–42.

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He does not know why she is not getting his letters. He has written three times and believes the fault is with the Post Office. He has been at this post for sixteen days and will tomorrow head toward camp at Fairfax Court House [VA]. They have not been bothered by any Rebels and he does not think any are near. They have had rain, snow, and very little sunshine. Since 24 Feb, it has rained pretty much every night. Each man has one hour duty in every twenty-four. He alternates duty with another man. He has heard nothing of Lewis since he left Alexandria. They have no chaplain. There is only one in the brigade and he is said to be the "greatest scamp" in it. The Observer comes regularly. He requests Post Office stamps.

Item 42 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 8 Mar 1863, on picket. LC nos. 143–44.

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He received her letter and several papers. He was beginning to worry, since as he had not heard from anyone except sister for two weeks. He felt he did the right thing regarding the arrest and still does. They have been sixteen days on picket, longer than the officers have the right to keep them without relief. They are being relieved by the 6th and are heading back to Fairfax Court House [VA]. They are satisfied with their situation except for mail and provisions. In the past sixteen days, they have had fresh beef only twice. He is covered with small boils, which are very itchy. Most of the men are in the same condition. He is pleased Boyd declined to run for mayor, as the office offers no honor or profit. Rumor is that their Captain has been dismissed and no one will regret it. Nothing to do but their one hour of duty; no sign of Rebels. The weather has been rain and little sun. He shares duty every other night with another man, so he serves two hours instead of one and then has a good night's sleep the next night. His health and bowels are well. He hopes her health is good. He wants her to tell Elizabeth that he and Lewis are far apart now.

Item 43 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 17 Mar 1863, Fairfax Court House, VA. LC nos. 145–46.

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He received her letter when he came off picket. He is thankful her health is good. The brigade is all camped in the town. It appears the troops are falling back from Centreville and nearer to Washington. He mentions the taking of Gen. [Edwin Henry] Stoughton [by confederates on 8 March] has probably scared the generals. He was so tired when he came off picket that he slept twelve hours straight. He has a bad cold, which he attributes to getting his feet soaked while on picket. His shoes leak badly. He wants to know if Allen received anything for the loss of the box. He thinks he will send for some boots and other necessities when he gets paid. He received a helmet from sister. He gave his other nightcap to Robinson. She should not worry about his being warm, because he has enough clothing. They have rifle pits all around and he does not expect another raid. If the infantry had been where it is now and General Stoughton had been with his brigade instead of dancing attendance on citizens, he would not be a prisoner. The man in command is named Sinclair—from Pennsylvania, Colonel of the 6th Reserve regiment, West Point graduate. He is strict and not always concerned with his dignity. The men are glad to have him. He was wounded at Fredericksburg or he would have been in command long ago. He mentions a meeting at DeWitt church he read about and warns that there are villains in all areas. He has a letter from Hugh, which he will send her.

Item 44 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 25 Mar 1863, Fairfax Court House, VA. LC nos. 147–48.

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It has been ten days since he has received a letter from anyone in the family. He wonders what could be wrong with the mail. He received a paper from Hugh two days ago. He is very busy with picket duty and camp guard. Picket duty is every other day and is not pleasant due to the weather. It has rained almost every day or night the whole month. The previous night, all were called out in the rain at 11:00 p.m. to repel a raid. He stood post for three hours and was soaked. No one saw any sign of the enemy. He wants to hear about the election.

Item 45 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 30 Mar 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 149–50.

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He has been trying to write for more than a week, but the duty his regiment and the Bucktails [13th Pennsylvania Reserves] have been involved in prevented him. They moved from the front to the rear. Rumor is that the brigade commander has been appointed Military Governor of Alexandria, that the 2nd brigade is going to Frederick, MD, and the 3rd (which is Lewis's) to Washington. He would prefer to go to Fredericksburg. The previous Saturday [28 March] they moved from Fairfax Court House in the pouring rain. He has had no chance to get dry clothes. He broke down Saturday due to the march and rain but is better now. He has a letter from Allen with election results and was pleased by them. Hugh and Howard have both written and sent papers. Troops are being moved to the front almost daily. Most have only a few months left to serve. He believes a large force will need to be kept in area of Bull Run, Culpepper, and Warrenton. He wrote to John Small for some documents. The paymaster has not been there and there is no telling when he will come. He needs boots; he can draw shoes, but they fit badly. He will send for what he needs when he is paid. He requests an almanac.

April

Item 46 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 3 Apr 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 151–52.

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He received her letter and his sister's. He has not yet received the box his sister sent. The quartermaster has gone to Alexandria to get the boxes in the Express Office. He believes the box is there; there may be two boxes, one having been previously lost. He is in great need of boots. They are camped near the railroad to Alexandria about seventeen miles away. He has picket duty every other twenty-four hours and when in camp, drills, etc. He outlines daily duty: reveille at sunrise, roll call, fatigue, cleaning at 9:15 a.m., guard mustering a half hour later, drill at 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., drill from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. parade, sundown roll call, 9:00 p.m. roll call, 9:30 p.m. lights out. He and two bunk mates have a tent to themselves and are comfortable. He is disappointed that she forgot to send tobacco. He can get sugar cheaper there than she can send. He will be grateful for the butter and homemade bread. They get soft bread daily from government bakeries in Alexandria. He had gotten so used to crackers that he did not like the soft bread at first. He wants Boyd to tell John Small [?] that the documents arrived safely. He has recovered from the problem he wrote BH about on 30 March. The brigade surgeon found him a warm place in a house.

Item 47 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 11 Apr 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 153–54.

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He received a letter from Boyd and newspapers but no letter from her. His box has not arrived but Capt. Ellis has sent someone after it. Ellis thinks it is with a box from his own mother. Ellis says that even if the butter is a few weeks old, it will still be better than what they can get at the sutler's. They pay fifty cents a pound for butter. His tent mates have plenty of bread—fifteen loaves on hand and they have given six loaves away. He wants the food in the box even if it is old. They have a few potatoes but no onions. Coffee is forty cents a pound. The weather has been spring like. It has been discovered that he "writes a good hand." He tried a muster roll yesterday and Capt. Ellis complimented him on the job. Today and tomorrow he will have the rolls of the regiment to revise and correct; this will get him out of fatigue duty, which he hates. If sister visits her, she (his mother) should let him know and he will try to get to Washington to see her on her way. Furloughs are beginning to be granted. He believes men with families should get them first. He thanks Boyd for the mustard, but he did not send the almanac.

Item 48 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 16 Apr 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 155–56.

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He received his letter. Boyd believes William's regiment will be filled, but William disagrees. He thinks that each regiment in the corps will be absorbed in to a battalion of five companies. He thinks the field and line officers will be mustered out of service. No commissions have been issued, and the regiment is short of officers. This brigade of two thousand is doing the duty of five thousand, having just relieved a brigade from Vermont composed of five regiments, each nine hundred strong. Capt. Ellis wanted to detail him as clerk, but the company only has twenty-two men for duty. He said he would agree if the company grew to fifty men. Being a clerk would relieve him of picket duty, fatigue duty, guard duty, and daily drills. The duty will gain him the good will of the officers and keep the good will of the privates. He is well liked by the men. They will not let him carry wood or anything like that. None of the officers have to do anything like that. The box arrived. The bread was moldy, but he cut the mold off and ate it. The pies he had to throw away, but the butter was good. The potatoes, onions, and cakes were appreciated, as was the toothbrush. No pay yet, so her ten dollars was appreciated, as he was down to his last five cents.

Item 49 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 20 Apr 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 157–58.

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The mails are coming regularly now. Her letter mailed on the fifteenth arrived on the seventeenth. Mail goes out daily but in every other day. Everything in the box reminded him of home and causes him to dream more of home. He hopes Lewis gets a furlough. They are so far apart now that he never hears of or from him. He got off guard duty at 9:00 a.m. and has till 5:00 p.m. to himself. He had to stand guard for two hours from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. but was required to be at the guard house. The land is desolate—no plowed land or fences to be seen, no cattle except three strays that wander around camp. He requests postage stamps.

Item 50 (2 pp.): BH to his sister, 23 Apr 1863, Harrisburg, PA. LC no. 159.

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His is sending her William's last letter. He requests that she ask McAllister to discover how to help William, when he decides to "get rid of the knapsack." The political element is getting "rabid." He is puzzled about how to approach A.G.C. to help William. He feels confident that William has been sober for several months. Perhaps if they help him, William may become a better man. This is the first indication Boyd has had that William is interested in the world around him. He requests that she send William's letter back. Their mother's health is improving some. His house, yard, and porches are almost done. Oats and barley are up, but he cannot plow for corn due to rain.

Item 51 (4 pp.): Margaret McAlister (William and Boyd's sister) to BH, 27 Apr 1863, Bellefonte, PA. LC nos. 160–61.

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She received his letter but misunderstood it at first and thought he and William wanted William to be discharged. She wondered what Boyd would give him to do to keep him away from drinking that would be better than being in the army. McAllister explained it to her. He promised to help in any way he could to get William a promotion. She will be glad for him to have an office and less drudgery, but he must promise to not touch or taste liquor. If Will behaves, McAllister will help however he can. He is currently busy at court and will be for four weeks—probably longer, as Supreme Court comes immediately after Clinton County. She has received a letter from William and he seems happy. She would like to see Boyd's house since the improvements. She has been busy cleaning and gardening, which she is bad at and does not like. The Governor and Daniel Dougherty are to visit and speak on Wednesday. The radical Democrats are to have a rally. She hopes to visit in three weeks.

Item 52 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 27 Apr 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 162–63.

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He has had no letter or news from home for over a week. He had a letter from his sister. He is doing nothing but routine camp duties. Saturday at dress parade, they had an order read from Gen. [Samuel P.] Heintzleman [sic; read Heintzelman] informing them that the division known as Pennsylvania Reserves was temporarily broken up. He had been expecting the order for some time. Lewis' regiment is in Washington. The 3rd and 8th are guards for the trains between Alexandria and Washington. The road has been torn up and rebuilt by both armies so often over the past two years that no sign of the original remains. He has been enjoying fresh shad and herring for the past week. Both are brought to camp daily. Shad is sold for twenty to forty cents per and herring twenty-five cents for two. If the soldiers had the money due them, the man selling the fish could make a lot of money. He wants her to thank Ellie for the gift she sent. Nice weather for the past few days. Three days prior, they had hard driving northeast rain and wind. He does not think the regiment will be sent to the front but rather to Annapolis or elsewhere in Maryland. His health is good.

May

Item 53 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 4 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 164–65.

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No letter from her in more than a week, but he has had newspapers and a letter from his sister. He mentions his sister's attempt to make a garden. The weather pattern has been a warm day or two and then a cold rain. Nothing going on except daily camp duties. If not for the newspapers, they would know nothing about the war movements. They knew nothing about [Gen. Joseph] Hooker's movements until it [news?] came from New York, although trains carrying provisions had been going back and forth. The day before a train of thirty to forty Rebel wounded arrived from Warrenton about twenty-eight miles away. They were taken to the hospital at Fairfax Court House. They belonged to [then Maj. John S.] Moseby's [sic, read Mosby's] Cavalry, wore no uniforms and looked mostly like farmers. He wants Allen to tell him what happened to Jim Gowan since he was dismissed as Lt. Col. of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry. They are nearby and he knows several of their officers. He wonders how they ever got commissioned. No pay yet—six months now due.

Item 54 (3 pp.): WH to BH, 8 May, 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 166–67.

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He has had no letter from him for some time. Newspapers came safely. He received letter yesterday from Mother. He worried about having no letter from him or their mother, but he is all right now. He has confirmed to their sister that he had a desire for promotion and is grateful for McAllister's help. He doesn't really want to leave his company or regiment, because he likes to be with people he knows. His opinion of the appointments made by the War Department of Provost Marshalls is that they are broken down hacks and not disabled officers. [Gen. Joseph] Hooker is moving. They get the New York and Philadelphia papers and [John Weiss] Forney's Washington Chronicle, which is full of rumors because they do not pay for correspondents or telegraphic news. He wishes he could get the New York Times daily. Rain for past four days. He hopes Allen has not had the same weather or he will not get much brickmaking done. He expects there will be a large demand for bricks. He is still writing for the Captain and orderly. It gives him insight into military matters that most officers do not have and he feels it will help him down the line. He is going the next day to picket duty for twenty-four hours. Hugh has been sending him installments of a story he is writing. Howard does not write him but sometimes sends pictorials.

Item 55 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 11 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC no. 168.

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The weather has cleared and is becoming warm. It is very damp and uncomfortable when it rains, and he is grateful for clear, dry days. Still no furlough for Lewis because his regiment is shorthanded for guard duty. He wants to see Dr. Hershey [?] and talk with him. He would be able to take the "wind out of his sails" about military matters, because he has seen more of war than the doctor did in the War of 1812. [Gen. Joseph] Hooker was not successful at Fredericksburg. He (William) thought he should have put off his address to his troops until he had been successful. He thinks it is a shame that Pennsylvanians are being blamed for the recent disasters. He is sorry that Col. [James Addams] Beaver is wounded. His regiment was cut up more seriously than the others.

Item 56 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 13 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 169–70.

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He received his letter, which took a long time coming. A statement by Franklin was well received by the men. Most of the men admire [Gen. George B.] McClellan and hardly any admire [Gen. Joseph] Hooker. They will not forget that they were blamed for running away in one of the Peninsular fights and that Hooker praised the 16th Massachusetts regiment, who really did the running and were only stopped when the Pennsylvania reserves made them. He reports Hooker was not successful and hopes he will be. The Ohio military men got more than they bargained for when they tried to arrest [former congressman Clement Laird] Vallandigham. He is more clever that the officers and did well at court. He wants Boyd to keep his eyes open on the subject of promotion. There should be an opening in William's company soon. A man named Smith was made a 2nd Lieutenant, but will not be mustered, because he was injured at the last Bull Run and will not be able to do service again. William will write to their sister about the promotion in a few days. He goes to picket today. He is due six months' pay. He thinks the paymaster will be E.J. Ball, whom he will ask for his cooperation in the promotion. He has had a couple letters from Gen. [William Buel] Franklin. His health is good and his duty is not hard but "irksome" and he prefers it to "tramping about with a knapsack."

Item 57 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 18 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 171–72.

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No letter from her for several days. He was going to write his sister at her house, but was delayed by other matters. Since she is visiting her (their mother), there is no need to write. He wants to know if anyone was arrested for burning their barn. He is glad he was not in the last movement against the Rebels at Fredericksburg, because he would have been shot or left behind. From letters from men who were there to their brothers in his regiment, he knows the retreat was not made in good order like Burnside's, but was disorderly with every man out for himself. He supposes the nine-month men made the town lively. He supposes the returning men, especially the Zouaves, who never got farther from home than Washington, are very warlike in their conversation and that those who saw no fighting have more to say than those who were twice in the crossing of the Rappahannock. He hopes the conscription laws will be enforced. Their tents have been fixed up with cedar branches to make shade. He spent all day Saturday putting trees in front of the officers' quarters. He would like to stay put, because he does not like marching around the Virginia countryside with a fifty- to sixty-pound load. There has been a week of warm days and cool nights with heavy dew. He would like to go to Washington to have a change.

Item 58 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 23 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 173–74.

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The weather is hot and dry during the day and nights are so cool he needs two blankets. The heat wears on the men, but it is better than marching in it. He received a lot of newspapers in the mail from her, Boyd, and Mary McAllister. [Nephew] Howard Boyd Hamilton has sent him a Harpers Weekly. Howard has decided this is how he will sign his name from now on. William says that if he could, he would have laid all the family names on one boy. They have a run of clean water nearby and have fixed up a place to bathe whenever they want. They get soft bread and fresh meat three days out of five. The meat will not keep due to the heat and needs to be cooked immediately. He tries to cook steak for dinner and salt the meat to keep for breakfast. They do not get vegetables. He has had some duck. They have been gathering and eating pokeweed, which he declares as good as asparagus. He would like some cooked salad and new onions but cannot get them. They get old potatoes, but they are hardly fit to eat. He can get fresh fish every day. There are countless rumors around camp, but they are so silly he will not write them. No sign of the paymaster. He wants her to tell his sister that the dollar she sent went to a man who came off picket to find out his wife was dead and buried in Philadelphia. All the men who had any money gave it to him so he could go to Washington. Among twenty-six men, they could only raise $2.75. Any money sent him should be U.S.

Item 59 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 28 May 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 175–76.

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It is unlikely they will move soon. The more he thinks about it, the more he agrees with Boyd that they will not move until the division is filled up with conscripts. Should that be true, he does not believe they will move until September. By that time, the hot weather will be over and the new men will be well drilled. He believes conscripts should be glad to get into old regiments, because there will not be as much drilling. He never had ten minutes drilling until he got to that camp. His bunk mates were very helpful showing him all the necessary movements and on picket how to handle the gun. They are supposed to drill for two and a half hours each day, but usually drill for a half hour and find a shady spot and loaf around for the other two hours. He hopes before they go in the field again to have a different position. He is still writing for Capt. Ellis and is doing a good job. He has not seen Col. [William] McCandless very much. He believes the colonel has aspirations for State Senator and eventually Congress. Several captains are trying to become major. Ellis is not the governor's whiskey inspector. William supposes the boys are home now and wonders if they have improved. Hugh has been writing, but Howard only sends Harpers Weekly, which he and the men appreciate.

June

Item 60 (3 pp.), WH to RH, 2 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 177–78.

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He received her letter and is glad to hear she is visiting his sister at Bellefonte. He was a little disappointed sister did not come to Washington to see him. Her letter with the stamps has not arrived. He believes they will not stay put much longer. Second and 3rd brigades have been marched from Alexandria and Washington, but to where he cannot find out. Gen. [Samuel Wylie] Crawford has command. William explains why he had written [Gen. William B.] Franklin: when his company refused to do duty, his colonel took thirteen dollars pay, which he had no right to do without a Court Martial or a Court of Inquiry. He could do nothing, being a private, so he wrote to the general and the money was not taken. The result is that William is ok with the men but not with the colonel. They were paid for six months today, equaling seventy-eight dollars. He will send fifty dollars to Boyd to keep for him. Paymaster was Gideon J. Ball, whom he knew, and they had a long talk of home. Ball thinks Franklin or [Samuel P.] Heinztleman [sic, read Heintzelman] will be Democratic candidate for governor. Ball offered to help William with promotion if needed. Ball thinks when they move it will be to the Kanawha Valley near White Sulphur Springs in order to be able to repel any raid into Pennsylvania.

Items 61a, 61b (4 pp.): BH and Kate [KM?] to RH [a double letter], 4 Jun 1863, Harrisburg, PA. LC nos. 179–80.

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[From BH] Enclosed is a letter from Will[iam]. If she agrees with him and his sister that his name should be mentioned for promotion, he wants her to get McAllister to recommend him to the governor. Boyd will get others to do the same. He wants her to write Will and have him ask his captain for a character reference. He (Boyd) will get [Gen.] W.B. Franklin to back them. Alex has informed Boyd of the contents of her letter. Alex promised to take Kate and son to the panorama of Jerusalem. Boyd wanted to go but has a bad cold: hoarseness, sore throat, chest congestion. He believes he will be well in a few days with careful nursing and flaxseed tea. He gives her the county election results. His crops look good but the cool weather is not good. Corn, oats, and barley are all short. Temperature is about sixty.

[From Kate] She mentions Boyd's cold and that she is nursing him with a good fire, gargle, and flaxseed tea. The weather is cool. Her head is a little better. She has not found a cook yet and may have to advertise. Lydia has returned to Dover last week and expects to be back in a few weeks. Alex was there on Wednesday. Elizabeth has a cold. She has had a letter from Hugh and he is well and looking forward to coming home. She hopes RH has a good visit in Bellefonte.

Item 62 (3 pp.): Allen to RH, 5 Jun 1863, no location indicated. LC nos. 181–82.

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He has not written, because Boyd said he had written twice and sent William's letter and he felt that was reading enough for her for one week. Will seems to be more anxious for promotion in each letter. Boyd seemed puzzled about what Will wanted, but it seemed clear to him (Allen) that Will wanted a lieutenancy either a 1st or 2nd. He thinks he can get some friends to help. He feels Will is better qualified for the job than some who have the positions and has been conducting himself well as a soldier and as a man. He and Alex have been busy making and counting bricks. Allen has had no luck in getting a good brick-maker to fill his place. It rained on Sunday but cleared on Monday. It was very cold the day before, close to frost. He comments on the cemetery election and mentions the sudden deaths of three local men. Elizabeth encloses an oleander in the letter. He believes good relations will soon be re-established between her and Mrs. Sharp.

Item 63 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 8 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 183–84.

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He has been waiting for a letter from him or Allen since Mother left home. He has not had a chance to send his fifty dollars to Boyd. His pay was given all in tens, which would make a letter bulky, if he were to send it by mail and he does not trust it would arrive. The mail is sent in an open canvas bag with no one with it but a boy. He knows at least one occasion when the mail was lost. He describes trouble he caused in headquarters over pay issues. Rumors are rampant: one is that [Gen. Joseph] Hooker has crossed again. William believes this may be true, because when he was on guard the day before over a hundred prisoners who were taken on the other side of the river went through to Washington. [Gen. John F.] Reynolds's Corps and another were sent to Warrenton [VA] to guard the camps of the cavalry at Fairfax Court House. The cavalry was sent somewhere with batteries. He notes that [John Weiss] Forney wrote in the [Washington] Chronicle that he tried to get an order from the War Department to set the price of newspapers to five cents, instead of ten. Soldiers would not buy the Chronicle when any other paper was available and would never pay more than five cents. He received his papers and his sister's letter. The weather is cool. He wore two flannel shirts, a double knit wool jacket, and regulation blouse and, at night, his overcoat. He will send the fifty dollars by Adams Express with his bunk mate Cope, who is going to Washington. Cope will send Boyd the receipt, so he can make the deposit. His health is good. He has had a letter from Hugh, who said he and Howard would be home soon.

Item 64 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 9 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 185–86.

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He received her letter but no word from home. Last week a man named Long came to visit and say goodbye. He is going to Harrisburg to work for Allen in the brickyard. He has a government teamster. Ball, the paymaster, thinks Gen. [William B.] Franklin or Gen. [Samuel P.] Heintzleman [sic, read Heintzelman] would be the next governor but he (William) thinks it will be Glymer. Rumor is that the government does not intend to fill the reserves with conscripts or to consolidate the regiments but to send recruiting officers to the state again. He describes the troop movements that he wrote about to Boyd in his June 8 letter. Visited Capt. Thad Freeland of the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry, who was under arrest with a half dozen other officers. They had been out nine days, wanted something fresh, offered to buy poultry, were refused, so took what they wanted and were arrested. He believes the Army treats Rebel civilians and "citizens of African descent" better than soldiers. He thanks his sister for the dollar but thinks he should be all right until next pay. He wants postage stamps.

NB: Item 75 (below), out of order in the LC collection, belongs here.

Item 65 (3 pp.): KH to her sister-in-law, Margaret McAllister (née Hamilton), 18 Jun 1863, Harrisburg, PA. LC nos. 187–88.

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She received her letter; thanks her for her offer of hospitality but does not think it will be needed. Danny was sick and unable to travel. She's not sure if it was whooping cough or catarrh. She has not seen McAllister yet. Heavy thunder and hail the previous night, also the constant arrival of troops, who made their way to the Hill as Gen. [Darius Nash] Couch has his headquarters in the Capitol. She anticipates there are several thousand by now. About two thousand men under [Confederate] Gen. [Albert Gallatin] Jenkins are on Gen. [Alexander Kelly] McClure's farm [in Chambersburg, PA] but did not bother his family. Boyd thought they would soon leave for Virginia and later learned they had in fact have left. The new cook has arrived and will do well, although he is not as good as the previous one.

Item 66 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 18 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 189–90.

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He could not write earlier, because he has been so busy that, once relieved, all he could do was go to bed. The cause was that [Gen. Joseph] Hooker's whole army is moving. On Monday, the whole artillery passed, then infantry. The guard had to be double. The army had made forced marches to that point. Many died from exhaustion. Roads were dusty, because there was no rain for four weeks. Rain the previous night, which settled the dust and cooled things off. Hooker's headquarters was within five hundred yards of their camp for forty-eight hours. He does not know where they are going, but would not be surprised if a great battle was within twenty to thirty miles. BH had written and said there was a raid in Harrisburg and, by the time William got the letter, the Rebels were in the state. The feeling is that the Rebel force was not large. He is too tired to write more, but will in a day or two. His health is good.

Item 67 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 21 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 191–92.

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They have been busy with [Gen. Joseph] Hooker's army passing through toward Centreville and Leesburg. Hooker's headquarters is said to be at Leesburg. He believes Hooker has no idea where Lee is. He heard cannon within ten or twenty miles. There is a division at Wolf Run Shoals, another at Union Mills, and a corps at Bull Run. The remainder of the Army of the Potomac is stationed from Fairfax Station to Leesburg and beyond. Each corps has been provided with five batteries. The rest of the artillery is manned so it can be moved anywhere at any time. The reserve artillery is made up of forty batteries and 240 pieces. He does not think his position will be attacked. The officers are nervous but not the men. Capt. Ellis will give him a recommendation for his promotion and he (William) hopes to be able to send the documents soon. The Harrisburg correspondence in the New York Herald was a pack of lies. He wants the Union or Telegraph, in order to read statements made by Simon. He discusses several possible candidates in the upcoming election. It has rained for a couple days. The men who had passes were worn out and some two hundred died during the march of sunstroke and exhaustion, even though they traveled light. His health is good.

Item 68 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 24 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 193–94.

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He received a letter from his sister. He is glad her health is improving and that she (his mother) is with his sister during the current "mess." He does not believe there is serious danger near Harrisburg. He hopes the government will enforce the conscription law and be done with calling out six- and nine-month men. Just when the men become useful, their time is up. He confirms that what Mrs. Burnsides told her about the army is true: drunkenness is rare and the men are not as profane as they are said to be. Cards are played, but rarely for money. Time hangs heavy, men run out of reading material, and it is too hot to play ball, so they play cards. Since he has been there, he has read [Walter Scott's] Old Mortality, [The Trial of] Effie Deans [a play by Dion Boucicault, based on Scott's Heart of Midlothian], [Charles James Lever's] Charles O'Mally [sic, read O'Malley], and The Professor by Charlotte Bronte; the latter, published the previous year, he enjoyed very much, but it is too somber for most people. Sunstroke took a heavy toll on [Gen. Joseph] Hooker's army. A brigade of eleven hundred lost forty-five men, the 6th corps of twelve thousand lost about two hundred. He has marching orders with seven days rations (three in the knapsack and four in the wagons). Marching orders just mean they could go at any time. They could still stay put for several weeks. He is sending the recommendations to Boyd today. His health is good. His weight is 138 pounds.

Item 69 (2 pp.): Capt. Richard Ellis and Lt. Col. Thomas Cameron to Gov. A[ndrew]. G[regg]. Curtin, 24 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC no. 195.

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Application is made for Private William Hamilton, Company D, 2nd Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves and they endorse it. They state that William has obeyed all orders with alacrity and has the ability and willingness to perform all duties. His character is good and he has the mind and education enough to fill any position.

Item 70 (3 pp., the last blank): WH to BH, 24 Jun 1863, Fairfax Station, VA. LC nos. 196–97.

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He writes now because he is under marching orders and has no idea where he may be in a few days. There has been fighting nearby for four or five days. At 3:00 p.m., he has to go on picket duty for twenty-four hours. He does not think they will move yet. Many Rebels have been captured in the last few days and sent to Washington. They look healthy and strong but very dirty. He judges them to be twenty-five to thirty-five years old; none appear to be as young as men in his regiment. He is sending the original recommendations and will send copies later. His health is good.

Item 71 (4 pp.): BH to RH, 26 Jun 1863, Harrisburg, PA. LC nos. 198–99.

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The population has been stirred up for past few days. Soldiers have taken over his woods, torn up his fences and wheat, and taken all the lumber he had been saving. Horses have turned into his twelve-acre field of grass. He has received no satisfaction or promise of compensation. Neighbors are in a similar situation. It is difficult for him to get around, because he has a large boil on his leg and hopes the boys will be home soon to help him. The "nigs" are the only ones who appear to be taking things easy. His left for Canada the night before. He does not intend to leave like many people have and feels his example soothes the fears in the neighborhood. As near as he can tell, the 650 that threatened Carlisle have retreated south, while the garrison there went north. [Confederate Gen. Richard Stoddert] Ewell was at Chambersburg and Gettysburg the day before with forty thousand men. [Confederate Gen. James] Longstreet is at Fredericksburg with [Gen. Robert E.] Lee pursuing a set of concentrating roads meeting at Westminster [PA]. Anyone who looks at a map could see what Lee is attempting and, unless [Gen. Henry Wager] Halleck and [Gen. Joseph] Hooker demonstrate more brains than previously, he will capture Lincoln and his War Secretary. If they could catch Mulroy, Boyd could forgive a lot, because his drunkenness has cost Pennsylvania dearly. Enclosed is a letter from William that he would like returned. Thanks to his sister for her offer of refuge.

Item 72 (2 pp.): BH to RH, 30 Jun 1863, no location indicated. LC nos. 200–201.

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He believes the Rebels are retreating up the [Shenandoah] Valley and will front the Union about Emmitsburg [MD]. They are over the most serious danger but the people of Columbia are in the middle of it. Removal of [Gen. Joseph] Hooker is a relief; he hopes [Gen. George B.] McClellan will be recalled. Reports say H[ooker] was always drunk. Young men in the 1st and 2nd wards were mustered and marched south in two days. Soldiers stole his new mown grass and cut up his fence posts. He lodged a formal complaint. The family is well but he still has the boil. Many people have left, which he feels is ludicrous. The boys would write, but their heads are too filled with gossip to sit down to do anything as quiet as writing.

Items 73a, 73b (3 pp.): BH and Kate [KH] to RH [a double letter], 30 Jun 1863, no location indicated. LC nos. 202-3.

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[From Boyd] They are safe. The Rebels have moved above Carlisle [PA] with part of the Union forces after them. The Rebels left with six hundred wagons full. The railroad at York [PA] was blown up. There is no doubt that Lee is leaving the Susquehanna Valley for the Potomac Valley. Allen is a quartermaster. Alexander, Jim McCormack, Levi, and Bill A. are all privates. If Boyd and Hugh had the use of their legs, they would have mustered in, too. There are probably twenty-five thousand men there. His only problem is the plundering of his farm. With the exception of his leg, he is well. The family is well.

[From Kate] They are relieved the Rebels appear to be retreating. Boyd was so brave that he kept them from feeling the panic that others did. The news from York [PA] scared her and she felt like packing up, but hopes it will not be necessary now. Beside his troubles due to the farm, Boyd has a large boil on his thigh. Hugh has a sore toe. Howard helps at the farm, so he cannot be spared for the army or she expects both sons would be at the entrenchment.

July

Item 74 (4 pp.): BH to RH, 1 Jul 1863, no location indicated. LC nos. 204-5.

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He encloses the last letter from William, who had sent him some money to invest, but the sum was too small so he credited it to him with interest. If William withdraws it, Boyd does not feel responsible for interest. The money can be used for the new uniform, William he will need if he gets the commission. He advised William to get the recommendation of his Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel. The town is full of officers, but no soldiers. Rebel cavalry is said to be above Williamsport, MD, Boyd does not think much will come of it. He discusses the arrest of the Reverend Doctor Lacscok [?] and his treatment. There was much debate about it and it caused a scene at Boyd's house. Allen's eyes are inflamed.

Item 75 (2 pp.): BH to unknown, n.d. [15 Jun 1863?], no location indicated. LC no. 206. NB: appears to be out of order in the LC collection.

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There is news is that the Rebels have pushed Union forces from Winchester [VA] to Williamsport [MD]. The town is in a commotion.

Item 76 (1 p.): BH to RH, 2 Jul 1863, no location indicated. LC no. 207.

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The town was surrendered. About 11:00 p.m. on 1 July, the town was being shelled. Barracks were burning; Major Henderson's farm buildings were burning. The townspeople suppose there will be a battle somewhere between Carlisle [PA] and Gettysburg [PA]. Herman and Alex are in the militia at Simpson's Ford. He (Boyd) has a boil and is laid up.

Item 77 (3 pp.): AH to RH, 5 Jul 1863, no location indicated. LC nos. 208-9.

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He came home from camp at Chambers Fording. He was waiting for Rebels with the 1st City Guards, but they did not come and he does not believe they will. He has heard cannon for two days. The river has risen a couple feet. Farmers fled across the river and quartered at Rudolph Kelker's barn. They are starting to return home. He is thankful she was somewhere safe. Cousin Herman would like to stay thirty to sixty days in camp and is content. He (Alex) wishes camp would break up the next day and wants to go home. He will return to camp tomorrow. The duty is not bad, but living on bread, ham, beef soup, and coffee, and sleeping in his clothes on a blanket in a barn or tent is not as nice as being home.

Item 78 (1 p.): WH to BH, 5 Jul 1863, near Gettysburg. LC no. 210.

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He does not know his mother's whereabouts. He asks Boyd to send along his [William's] letter [item 79] to her. He is safe so far, but the fighting is not over. The Union is winning so far.

Item 79 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 5 Jul 1863, near Gettysburg. LC no. 211.

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He left Fairfax [VA] ten days ago. Since 25 June, he has marched 143 miles. The brigade is commanded by Gen. [Samuel Wylie] Crawford and has been in action forty-three consecutive hours. The reserve division saved the army. Losses have been heavy, but he does not know the totals. None were killed in his company but seven of twenty-two new men were wounded. The Rebels are on the move and he supposes they will follow. He is sending this letter to Harrisburg as he does not know her location.

Item 80 (1 p.): BH to RH, 9 Jul 1863, Harrisburg, PA. LC no. 213.

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He is sending some letters to her. Allen informed him that he and Alexander were well. He hopes the soldiers will leave on Saturday so they can work on Monday. He is grateful that William is not injured. He thinks William's abilities and presence at [battles of] Fredericksburg and Gettysburg will get him a promotion. He hopes that WW will aid in getting William a promotion. He will do what he can on his end. He has saved two loads of hay. Rain for a week.

Item 81 (3 pp., the last blank): WH to BH, 11 Jul 1863, near Antietam [Creek], MD. LC nos. 214–15.

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He has been on the go for sixteen days. He marched over twenty-three miles. They have been lying in in lines of battle all day. He believes there will be a battle the next day. They are two and a half miles from St. James College [MD] and nine miles from Hagerstown [MD} and four miles from Antietam. He promises to write more when they get into camp. During sixteen days marching, they have had fourteen of rain. He has gone to bed soaked, slept in mud, and woken up soaked. His health is good. He requests a New York newspaper with a full account of the campaign. He asks Boyd to tell Elizabeth that Lewis is all right and his brigade has had no fighting.

Item 82 (4 pp., p. 3 blank, p. 4 date only): WH to RH, 11 Jul 1863, near Antietam [Creek], MD. LC nos. 216–17.

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They are lying in battle lines near Funkstown, MD, having marched over 230 miles in fifteen days. Three successive days of fighting and plenty of skirmishing. He suspects there will be a battle the next day. He will write more fully when they get into camp. He has been continually wet. Rumor is that two of their mails have been captured.

Item 83 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 19 Jul 1863, Purcellville, MD. LC nos. 218-219.

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He got to camp at noon after moving for twenty-five days. It rained all but two days. No dry clothes but his health is still good. In eight days, he marched 168 miles and went into the Gettysburg fight after being on foot from 5:00 a.m. one day to 2:30 a.m. the next. The day of the fight, they still had seven miles to march. After Gettysburg, they marched after [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee for thirty-one miles in one day and had skirmishes until 6:00 p.m. They would have destroyed the Rebels, if the order had been given. They are holding the mountain gap and blocking Lee's way to the Rappahannock. Almost all the wounded in their part of the ground at Gettysburg were hit in the head, arms, and feet or legs due to the rockiness of the ground. The 1st brigade of the reserves was up front for forty-three hours without relief. The local farmers did not treat them well. A soldier offered two dollars for a loaf of fresh bread and was refused, even though the farm women had plenty. He lost his overcoat and had to throw away his blanket. He has no extra clothes. He wants Boyd to send him ten dollars in greenbacks or Postal [Currency].

Item 84 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 21 Jul 1863, Upperville, VA. LC nos. 220-221.

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He thanks Boyd for the dollar and requests more money. His rations are not regular or sufficient. He is exhausted and has worked harder in the last four weeks than in the past two years. He does not expect any hard fighting for two months. His division of reserves is to be filled to fifteen thousand. They will have to be fully drilled, which is why he does not expect any fighting. He desires a promotion and is clerking in the Adjutant's office when they camp. He feels it will help him when he gets commissioned. He is keeping his plans quiet to avoid jealousy. He inquires about Boyd's harvest. He describes the details of the march and complains that neither in Maryland nor Pennsylvania were guards placed on private property, but they were in Virginia. He asks about politics and requests newspapers.

Item 85 (1 p.): A.B. Longaker to BH, 23 Jul 1863, Dept. of the Susquehanna. LC no. 221A.

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He description his military service. He is unlikely to return home in time to resume duties with the State [of Pennsylvania] Agricultural Society. He asks Boyd to step in and take his place, offering the use of his office.

Item 86 (2 pp., the second blank): WH to RH, 27 Jul 1863, Fayetteville, VA. LC nos. 222–223.

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They have been through the Manassas [VA] Gap and back and are twelve miles beyond Warrenton [VA]. He supposes they will go to Fredericksburg [VA]. They have been on half rations for five days. The weather is hot. No mail for over a week.

Item 87 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 31 Jul 1863, in camp. LC nos. 224–225.

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He has had letters from her and Boyd. He is worn out, but his health is good. No shade and little water. The men are not well behaved toward civilians—destroying property at will. He received the scraps of paper and will write [Gen. William B.] Franklin as Boyd suggests. He wants some steel pens to fit a holder he has. He thinks [Hugh?] McAllister can help him with his commission. He does not have a high opinion of officers—they are ignorant and do not care for the men as long as they themselves are well fed. He was defrauded of five days of full rations. The only company that gets their full due is commanded by an innkeeper. He does not feel he is settled into his true work. He has done all kinds of work—hospital steward, orderly, sergeant, adjutant. He reports on the food: salt pork, crackers, coffee, sugar. He get no beans or rice but has beef every other day. He weighs just over a hundred pounds. Weighed 136½ on 25 June.

August

Item 88 (2 pp.): E. Stahle [?] to BH, 3 Aug 1863, Mummasburg [PA]. LC no. 226.

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The writer's note of one hundred dollars came due June 6 at the Bank of Gettysburg, but, as the bank was closed, he got no notice. He got through Gettysburg safely with his family and the loss of property of about a thousand dollars. Some lost all. They were surrounded by enemy camps, then battle, and now hospitals with at least twelve thousand wounded. They are living on bread and water. Those in the path of the "Union" army fared worse. He details the loss of property, crops, and livestock that he and others have suffered. Gettysburg has decided the war. The invasion of the North was a failure and the South must now give up.

Item 89 (1 p.): WH to RH, 7 Aug 1863, no location indicated. LC no. 227.

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He has moved to Rappahannock Station. The 1st Army Corps is across the river and he supposes they will cross soon. The march was hot and his clothes are soaked. He is drying his shirt and drawers, so is currently wearing no pants.

Item 90 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 7 Aug 1863, in camp, VA. LC nos. 228–229.

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They have been marching almost every day since the 1st and are still not more than a half mile from where they started. When they camped on the 1st, they were ordered to put up an evergreen arbor, worked six hours on it, enjoyed it for half an hour before they were ordered to strike tents and move on. He will never help make another. All but four men of the company are building bridges and roads and on guard duty every day. He has had soft bread three of five days. He does not need any more money, because he was paid to July 15. He wants paper and envelopes. The previous Sunday, he was able to have a bath and put on clean clothes. He has not had either for three weeks. He wants to hear something about his commission.

Item 91 (2 pp.): JH to his cousin, 11 Aug 1863, in camp with the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Cavalry. LC no. 230.

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He wonders why his many letters have not been answered. He was in the Battle of Gettysburg and many skirmishes and is unharmed. They have had many losses. The cavalry has had much fighting and picket duty since Gen. [Alfred] Pleasanton fought at Kelly's Ford [VA]. He declares that cavalry is underappreciated and never gets a rest. His division is camped on the south side of the Rappahannock on the road from Sulphur Springs [VA] to Culpeper Court House [VA]. They charge enemy lines twice a week. Rebel deserters report poor morale. They desert in squads of four or five. The army is waiting for conscripts to fill up the ranks. Men have been marched hard and are exhausted. The day before a lieutenant and fifteen men attacked the Rebel pickets to within a hundred yards of their camp, were chased by two cavalry regiments, cut off from their river ford, dashed down the road, and came out at Kelly's Ford about ten miles away. They lost a couple men and a few horses. He requests William Alrick's address.

Item 92 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 11 Aug 1863, near Rappahannock Station, VA. LC no. 231.

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There had been machine or repair shops where they are, but now nothing but bare walls and chimneys. No fences and very little wood to burn. A pretty place but has no shade, so they are making their own. Part of the 1st Army Corps and cavalry is across the river, but the rest is on his side about twelve miles up and down. During last ten days, a railroad bridge has been built over the river. He does not expect either army to do much, because of the heat. Most of the drafted men are going to other units. He is not in favor of conscripting men. He is upset that some of his letters to his sister have been read by others. He has been clerking for the adjutant, which he thinks will help him advance.

Item 93 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 14 Aug 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC nos. 232–33.

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He has had a letter from Allen. He hopes she is having good time visiting with Mrs. Lewis, Aunt Kitty, Sister, and Sadie. The weather is very hot. By 8:00 p.m., the dampness begins to fade and by midnight it is not comfortable unless under blankets. They have covers over their tents. There was a strong thunderstorm that morning, but he was able to stay dry. Officers of Pennsylvania reserve division are intent on presenting Gen. [George Gordon] Meade with a sword. He wants McAllister to mention him to the governor when they are in Harrisburg. He (William) is doing the clerking in the adjutant's office. The sergeant major was wounded at Gettysburg. If the regiment is filled to a thousand men, he expects the job to be permanent, if he does a good job. He has nothing to carry and no guard or picket duty. The work suits him and, if he keeps the job, he will have to mess with the adjutant and quartermaster, which will cost him more than messing in the company, because they will have to pay a cook and share the costs equally. He has sent Lewis some money to pay his clothing account. He (William) does not think the account is accurate, because he has more and better clothes than Lewis and the government owes him ten dollars. The trouble is that Lewis has officers who can fight but not much more. He warns her not to tell Elizabeth. He speaks of the draft and believes that few men will have the three hundred dollars to pay a substitute. He says he heard [his brother] John was at headquarters in his regiment. He got within fifty yards of him at Gettysburg.

Item 94 (1 p.): WH to BH, 16 Aug 1873, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC no. 234.

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They have marching orders and expect to be heading toward Washington. He asks him to tell their mother, so she will not worry if she does not hear from him regularly.

Item 95 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 21 Aug 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC nos. 235–36.

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They were ready to head for Washington, but discovered all the excitement was caused by two drunk cavalry officers, who are now under arrest. Weather is hot. Dews are very heavy in Virginia. Mornings and evenings are cool enough for a coat, but during the day the less clothes the better. Most of the men go around in a hat, drawers, and a shirt. No mail from home for a week. Two regiments of infantry and some cavalry are on the side of the Rappahannock toward Culpepper [sic, read Culpeper] [VA]. He does not expect much fighting due to the weather. Troops are being shipped out on transports, but he does not know where. Conscripts have arrived with armed guards to keep them from running away. Constant desertion is having a bad effect on the others. He wonders how the people will survive the winter, as there are few crops. When they move camps, people flock in to get cast off items. He hopes for mail and newspapers.

Item 96 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 25 Aug 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC nos. 237–38.

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Rebel deserters are coming in daily in large numbers—over three hundred on Sunday [23 Aug]. Almost all are from South Carolina. Exceptions are men working in Georgia and Louisiana mostly as railroad men and machinists. New soldiers are more destructive than the old. Rumor is that the governor has prevented their regiment from being filled with draftees and wants recruits. The generals consider his regiment to be the best but very "copperheaded." Very few men are not Democrats. He does not believe he is getting as many newspapers as before. He wants the Union newspaper. No letters from home except one from sister on the nineteenth and Allen's. Weather is cool. He has no pictorials from Hugh and never hears from Howard. He is very homesick. Work is going well, but he has to be on hand at all times. He wants a black slouch hat sent and gives details of the hat he wants.

Item 97 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 28 Aug 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC no. 239.

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He has had letters from her and Boyd and several newspapers and wonders why they took so long. On Wednesday, all the men in the division and army corps were lined up to see five deserters shot. The order was countermanded, because one was a Jew and one a Catholic, and they did not have a rabbi or priest, so they had to be sent for. The men approve of the executions, which will take place the next day. Today the officers will present Gen. [George Gordon] Meade with a sword. There will be good food brought from Philadelphia and New York—potatoes, beets, pickled cabbage, beef. The Governor [Andrew Gregg Curtin] and Judge Woodward are expected to visit, but not because they care for the men; they come only for political purposes. He (William) had an attack of cholera, but believes a good rest will get him well. He has the monthly reports to do, but expects them to be done by evening.

September

Item 98 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 4 Sep 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC nos. 240–41.

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The hat he requested has arrived safely and he is glad to have it. He never wears the regulation cap except on parade or inspection. Colonel Woodward was made a major in the Invalid Corps. Major McDonough is now in command. The trouble in the regiment is that the officers are jealous of each other. The presentation to Gen. [George Gordon] Meade went well, but Gen. [Samuel Wylie] Crawford turned it into a political event. The Pennsylvania soldiers were not allowed to meet with the governor and were driven away by the provost guard. There is a rumor of the reserves being taken to Pennsylvania to recruit. The officers in line for promotion are afraid to speak their minds. He has been eating canned mutton and reassures her he is not starving. Their strength is about seventy thousand spaced over about two miles. He has received Allen's newspapers.

Item 99 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 7 Sep 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC no. 241A.

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Newspapers come about two days after they are issued. The men had no part in the [Gen. George Gordon] Meade presentation and did not want any. Meade is not popular with the division. A sword presented to Gen. [John Fulton] Reynolds's sister, which was done privately. It cost fourteen hundred dollars and the money was raised from the enlisted men in the 1st Virginia, 5th and 8th regiments. He discusses the unfairness of presenting Meade's sword publicly and making it a political event vs. presenting Reynolds's to his family in Philadelphia by one sergeant traveling at his own expense. At Meade's event, no Democrat would offer a toast. The governor did not visit any camps. Rumors say they will be taken to the state for political reasons, but it will do the governor no good, as the men are bitter. He warns Boyd not to say anything about what he writes about politics. Colonel Woodward left to command the Invalid Corps, but wants William to keep him advised of what is happening with him; he will help William if he can. Col. [William] McCandless has command of the regiment. He does not know or care where [Gen. Samuel Wylie] Crawford is—none of the men would care if he were dead.

Item 100 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 11 Sep 1863, Rappahannock Station, VA. LC nos. 242–43.

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He has not gotten his weekly letter from home. The Union newspaper comes daily. He read the names of many men who were exempt from the draft due to illness who he always thought were healthy. They have had no recruits and rumor says they will get none. Lieutenant Colonel Woodward has gone to the Invalid Corps. Several people want to become major. William believes Captain Byrnes should get it, but Captain Ellis will probably get it, because he has political and social connections with the governor. If Ellis gets it, there will be a captaincy available and 1st lieutenant Cavaran [?] should get it. The orderly will want to be promoted to lieutenant but is unfit for it or the job he has. There will be a new regiment formed in Philadelphia, just to give the governor patronage for political purposes. He is still clerking and supposes will keep the job until the Sergeant Major, who was wounded in Gettysburg, returns from Philadelphia, where he is recovering.

Item 101 (1 p.): WH to RH, 17 Sep 1863, in camp. LC no. 244.

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They moved the previous day to Culpepper [sic, read Culpeper] Court House and today reached their current position about seven miles beyond Culpepper and five or six miles from the Rapidan River. Rebels are on the other side, but their strength is not known. He does not expect a fight soon. He has received a letter from Boyd.

Item 102 (1 p.): WH to BH, 19 Sep 1863, near Mitchell's Station, VA. LC no. 245.

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He is still in the same spot as when he wrote on 17 September. He is very busy and unable to write a long letter. He was paid and encloses twenty dollars. He does not expect a fight at this time. The adjutant is sick, the major is under arrest, and he (William) is doing his best to run things. Heavy rain with prospect of more.

Item 103 (1 p.): WH to RH, 21 Sep 1863, Mitchell's Station, VA. LC no. 246.

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He has dated the letter twice, because he was interrupted. All six corps of the Army of the Potomac are on the same side of the Rappahannock. The country reminds him of home and is not desolated like other places he has been, but he expects it will become that way if the army stays for very much longer. There are no fences and the cornfields are stripped. He only saw two houses occupied by anyone other than soldiers. He only saw two females and no children. The Rebs had left only twenty-four hours earlier. The enemy is less than four or five miles in the front of them, but the Rapidan River is between them. The weather is cool and clear. Lewis is well and cheerful.

Item 104 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 26 Sep 1863, near Mitchell's Station, VA. LC nos. 247–48.

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He has received a letter from Boyd and one from her. They have eight days rations of bread, sugar, coffee, salt, and other small items in their packs ready to go when ordered to do so. He does not know if the move will be to the front or back. All supplies have to be sent by railroad from Alexandria. The railroads have many bridges, which are easily destroyed. The line is stretched as long as possible. He thinks they will move backward. [Gen. George Gordon] Meade cannot cross the Rapidan until his forces are stronger. He mentions war and political news he has read in the paper. Rumor is that the governor will try to get the reserves home to vote. William does not believe it and does not think the governor would be successful anyway, because the army cannot stand to lose any men at that time. Camp is dull. The weather changed yesterday to cool. Three blankets at night and an overcoat during the day make him comfortable. He is healthy and the food is plentiful. He had an attack of the bowels, but it only lasted one night and part of the next day, perhaps from a cold settling in the bowels; he is fine now. The food is plentiful, but not of great variety. He sent to Washington for a ham and a couple dozen eggs. He requests that Allen have a pair of boots made by Fust and gives their particulars. He will write later with instructions on where and when to send them. He would also like a black silk pocket handkerchief.

October

Item 105 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 1 Oct 1863, Mitchell's Station, VA. LC no. 249.

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He does not expect any movement, since the eight-day rations order has been countermanded. There is an order authorizing anyone who wants a transfer from the regiment to any Pennsylvania battery to do so. He believes so many will go that it will end his regiment and the Bucktails [13th Pennsylvania Reserves]. The Regiment is so small that no new officers can be made until it is filled. He believes the Army of the Potomac will be broken up. Any advance he gets must be in another regiment. He believes Woodward will win the election.

Item 106 (2 pp., second blank): WH to RH, 3 Oct 1863, Mitchell's Station, VA. LC nos. 250–51.

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He provides directions to send his boots to: William Goucher, Care of Smith Brothers, 3rd St and Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. He also requests four pairs of cotton socks, a dark silk pocket handkerchief, and a half dozen rows of pins. He tells her to have Boyd give her the money to pay for what he wants.

Item 107 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 4 Oct 1863, near Mitchell's Station, VA. LC nos. 252–53.

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A couple soldiers were shot while on duty; one was killed, the other wounded. A Rebel officer was shot and seven Rebels captured. He mentions several people from home he read about in the paper. He requests she send the boots, handkerchief, note paper, and a good knife and fork. He asks that she pay the express to Washington and send him a duplicate receipt that he can give to Goucher. He believes in a week to ten days they will be closer to home. If the elections were not so close, they would be moving toward the rear, but a backward movement would have a bad effect on the election. He thinks they will enter winter quarters soon. Heavy rain on Friday interrupted communications with Washington, but all is well now. The mud is terrible. He describes the previous day's dinner—pot pie with fresh beef, potatoes, onions, and dough made with butter. He had too much, which gave him nightmares. He got a ham, three dozen eggs, five pounds of butter, and half a bushel of sweet potatoes. He and his bunk mates will eat well for a week. No word on his promotion. His pay is too small for the amount of work he has. He describes all the work that clerking requires.

Item 108 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 16 Oct 1863, near Fairfax Court House, VA. LC nos. 254–55.

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He is safe. Describes the battle [of Bristoe Station, 14 Oct] that he was involved in. They arrived in their current position at half past three on 15 October. The fighting has been severe. The Regiment had two or three wounded, none killed. He expects more fighting and does not feel the army is strong enough. Hard rain all night and still raining. The handkerchiefs came safely. He has been wet for three days from rain and fording creeks. He cannot change, because his clothing is in the wagons. No mail for five days.

Item 109 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 18 Oct 1863, near Fairfax Court House, VA. LC nos. 256–57.

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He details the march he wrote about in his 16 Oct letter. When they were about two miles away from Manassas Junction, the men lay down to rest, read, and eat. He went to sleep and was awoken by cannon. It was very confused. Arms had been stacked and the men had their accoutrements off. Shot and shells rained down not more than eight hundred yards away. They got away—five men were killed and nine wounded. Two men are missing. They tried to flank the Rebels but could not find them. On the sixteenth, there was heavy rain and they marched back to Bull Run and on the seventeenth to Centreville [VA]. The rest of the army pushed the Rebels back to the Rappahannock and saved their trains from capture. He expects much marching but not much fighting. Knapsacks are well filled with eight days rations and blankets. He marvels at how much fatigue a man can endure and how adept they become at dodging shot and shell and determining what kind it was. Spherical shot is the worst. If the retreat had been two or three hours later, the Rebels would have been able to cut his corps off. No mail for seven days. He has been busy from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with reports. He has not had a change or shave for thirteen days. He wants newspapers.

Item 110 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 22 Oct 1863, near Buckland, VA. LC no. 258.

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They left Fairfax on Monday and marched to Bull Run, trying to engage [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee in battle, but he would not engage them. They are camped on the Second Bull Run battlefield with Rebels four miles away. They are camped in a graveyard; bodies were buried there only eighteen inches deep the year before. Earth has sunk or eroded from being marched over, and bones and partially decayed clothes are sticking out of the ground. Old shot and shells are all around. He supposes the campaign is over for the fall and that they will soon get into permanent camp. [Gen. George Gordon] Meade intends to keep the Alexandria and Grange Railroad and the Hampshire and Lincoln Railroad open. Meade's base will be at Centreville [VA]. If sister is with her, she can read his letter. He has no time to write, because he is tired from marching and then was busy with his work. He wishes to go to a new regiment and supposes several will be created in response to the President's recent proclamation.

Item 111 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 24 Oct 1863, near Buckland, VA. LC nos. 259–60.

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He has received his sister's letter, Boyd's letter, and a package with a shirt. Things are quiet, but he does not expect it to last. [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee has stopped rapid advances by tearing up railroads, burning cross ties, blowing up culverts, destroying water tanks, and filling in excavations. Until they make repairs, the army has no way to get food supplies. When it rains, the roads are terrible so they cannot use wagons. He has heard from Sis and Boyd that he has been sent a commission, but he does not think anything will come of it, because his regiment has too many officers. He has a letter on file from the Commissary of Musters for the Corps stating that no more musters will be made of 2nd lieutenants. He wants to go to another regiment, because he is too familiar with the men and his chances of promotion would be better if he were less familiar. Lewis is well. He is grateful to the governor and [his brother-in-law, Hugh?] McAllister for what they have done for him.

Item 112 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 31 Oct 1863, near Warrenton Junction, VA. LC no. 261.

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He has had no letter from her in weeks and, since he was told her health was improving, he is disappointed. He has had letters from Boyd and Hugh. He has been marching a lot very quickly. They were mustered for two months pay. Steady rain all day. He does not expect a fight soon. Nothing in the area is of use to either army. He has not heard from sister in over a week. He wrote to McAllister stating his case for promotion. He does not think it will happen in his present regiment. Major McDonough was commissioned and mustered as lieutenant colonel, Captain Ellis as a major. Hugh wants a shot or shell from Bull Run; he cannot send either, because one is very heavy to send and the other too dangerous. He wonders why neither she nor Boyd send him the newspapers and wants to know if she sent the things he wanted.

November

Item 113 (2 pp., the second blank): WH to RH, 4 Nov 1863, near Warrenton Junction, VA. LC nos. 261A–262.

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Rumors abound that they will be moving. They were asked how many would re-enlist if they were sent to where the regiment was raised to spend the winter; 166 said yes. Other regiments had more. Gen. [Samuel Wylie] Crawford and the governor think they can make it happen. His box is at Washington, but it may have to stay there for a while. He is afraid that the crackers may mold and cause other things to mold as happened last spring. No word on his commission.

Item 114 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 9 Nov 1863, near Spencerville, VA. LC nos. 263–64.

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On Saturday [7 Nov], they marched around until 6:00 p.m., then settled in for the night. Severe fighting all afternoon, but their division was not in it. Their pickets were in the fight, but not injured. On Sunday, they moved down and spent the night at a site occupied the night before by Rebels. They are packed and ready to move and are in [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee's front and rear.

Item 115 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 11 Nov 1863, near Peoria Mills, VA. LC nos. 265–66.

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He received letter from his sister, who wanted to know if he was one of the men who agreed to re-enlist. He was, but only if the government holds up their end of the bargain. He is living in a hut not quite finished by the Rebels. They had intended to make the area their winter quarters, but were driven off. They left behind papers, letters, and stamps. He does not believe they will stay long, since it is too far from their supply base at Washington and takes too many men to guard and keep the roads open. No word of his promotion. He describes the promotion of a man named Benson of Company H whose case was like William's. He is tired of writing about the promotion issue. Description of the food he has—breakfast of coffee, cream, sugar, tender loins, fried onions, and sweet potatoes; dinner of bean soup with potatoes, onion, and mace. There was a story in the newspaper of the treatment of prisoners at Richmond. Now all the men are afraid of being made prisoners, which has resulted in there no longer being stragglers or fallers out. He believes they will fight all the harder to prevent being captured. His health is good; he has no more aches and pains and his bowels are better.

Item 116 (1 p.): WH to RH, 15 Nov 1863, near Peoria Mills, VA. LC no. 267.

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There is a battle at the front ten miles away. He believes the guns are flying artillery belonging to the cavalry. If they have to move, it will because [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee has turned upon [Gen. George Gordon] Meade because Meade was not ready to go forward, since the railroad to the Rappahannock was not completed. A reporter named Peters has promised to bring his box from Washington. Lewis is well. He (William) expects to be paid in a day or two. Heavy rain the previous night but clear now.

Item 117 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 19 Nov 1863, near Paoli Mills, VA. LC nos. 268–69.

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He received her letter and is reassured that her health is better. He did not end up moving as he thought they would. The weather is good for army movements, but he believes [Gen. George Gordon] Meade will not be ready to move. He is beginning to like Meade, because he is cautious in everything. He hopes Allen made it to Gettysburg. He expects there will be plenty of speeches and talk but nothing that will end the war. He did not re-enlist, but may, if the government holds to its previous agreement. He wrote McAllister about the promotion and will write Boyd. He mentions several stories he has read in the newspapers. He spoke with an officer of the Signal Corps at Meade's headquarters and learned there was no talk of moving. He was paid the day before, but does not intend to send any money home unless they go into winter quarters. He does not want to have less than ten or twenty dollars while they are still moving. Tobacco is the most expensive and he has paid up to $2.50 for a plug less than a pound. He has to have it, or he will be sick. He believes the hard knocks have done him good and he is in better health than a year ago.

Item 118 (1 p.): WH to RH, 22 Nov 1863, near Mountain Run, VA. LC no. 270.

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They are waiting for orders to move. It rained the previous day, but is clear today. He dreads crossing the Rapidan River. There is lots of talk of going to Pennsylvania for the winter, but he does not believe it will happen. He was sick for two days, but is better now. He had a touch of cholera morbus with severe diarrhea.

Item 119 (1 p.): WH to RH, 24 Nov 1863, near Paoli Mills, VA. LC no. 271.

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They advanced about six miles that day in hard rain. They got stuck in the rain, so they moved back to an old camp. He saw sixteen horses hitched to a twelve-pound cannon and they could barely move it. Rain likely to continue.

December

Item 120 (1 p.): WH to RH, 4 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC no. 271A.

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He received her letter. He asks that she tell Elizabeth that Lewis is about eight miles away on the railroad, guarding it as he (William) is. He saw Lewis two weeks ago and he was well. Lewis has owed him $4 for three months but he does not want mother to tell Elizabeth. He is still clerking and expects to continue as long as the regiment is together and he isn't promoted.

Item 121 (1 p.): WH to RH, 7 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC no. 272.

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He received her letter. He is well, as is the regiment. He is healthy but freezing. He will write a longer letter later.

Item 122 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 8 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 273–74.

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He has had more hardship in the last two days than in the last fifteen months. On 26 Nov, he was called at 1:00 a.m. to do all the packing, because the adjutant was sick. He was late putting the things on the wagons and had to catch up to the regiment. He describes the march. The cavalry was in a battle and his division was moved forward—one brigade to the left and one to the right. His brigade was in an open field and hit by shells, grapeshot, and canisters. His regiment was lucky not to be destroyed. Ellis was hit but not hurt and a private was wounded. The next day his corps changed positions and got lost for nine hours. Part of the time they were surrounded by [Confederate Gen. Robert E.] Lee without their or Lee's knowledge. He gives details of the battle. He is very cold and has a lot of work. The country is aptly named "the wilderness," because it is hilly with undergrowth of small pines and cedars.

Item 123 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 17 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC no. 275.

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He received Boyd's letter. He is busy with work and so neglected to write. He received a letter from the governor and is satisfied with it. He is concerned that he will not be promoted by May. His regiment will cease to exist on 25 May and, if he is not commissioned and mustered by then, he could be transferred to a bad situation. He is grateful to be receiving the Union [newspaper] regularly. He mentions news of several people from home. They have many Negro camp followers and he is usually able to get a bath—paying them $0.25 to $0.50. During the last campaign, he had no ability to wash or get clean clothes for eleven days. They are guarding the railroad.

Item 124 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 21 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC no. 276.

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He is well. It took a week after the march to thaw out. Boyd sent some ginger and he made tea. He mentions several people from home. Sister sent a nightcap that suits him well. He still does not have his box. He hopes her bunion is better. Lewis is eight miles from him. He heard that Lewis's regiment had re-enlisted and was returning to the state in a few days, but does not know if it is true. No one in his (William's) regiment will re-enlist. The last march convinced them not to. No one now has had two consecutive nights in bed. Soldiers with money can live well in camp, because things are available to be bought. He has had turkey once, chicken once, and rabbit several times. Fresh butter can be bought daily. He got a roasted and stuffed turkey for $1.50, a pair of chickens for $1.00, potatoes for $0.10 a bushel, eggs $0.50 a dozen, butter $0.50 a pound, milk $0.15 cents a quart, and dried fruit pies $0.20 each, but the crust is like shoe leather. The money spent in the last two weeks for food was the best he ever spent, because it helped him recover from the last march. The weather is bitter cold but no snow.

Item 125 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 25 Dec 1863, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 277–78.

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He wishes her a happy Christmas. The weather is cold and dreary. He had a good dinner in his hut—roast chicken, stewed onions, mashed potatoes, bread, butter, and coffee. He went out in response to an invitation and had bag pudding. He received a letter from her and wonders why she has not received his. He has a comfortable hut with a canvas roof with three bunk mates, who are clever and kind. He received a letter from Hugh and will write him when he has time. He is sorry to hear Boyd is not well. The sutler arrived and brought his boots, shirt, and other things. The boots fit. Her letter and the box brought him joy. The job of clerk suits him well, although it is a lot of work for thirteen dollars a month. He will try to send Lewis a paper.

1864: Items 126–163

Abbreviations:

AH: Alex[ander] Hamilton, William's brother
BH: [Adam] Boyd Hamilton, William's brother
HH1: Howard Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
HH2: Hugh Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
JH: John Hamilton, William's brother
KH: Catharine "Kate" Naudain Hamilton, Boyd's wife, William's sister-in-law
LC: Library of Congress
RH: Rosanna Hamilton, William's mother
WH: William Hamilton
NB: "Allen" is likely Thomas Allen Hamilton, William's brother

Item 126: LC separator page: "Letters of 1864—Army of Potomac." LC no. 279.

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January

Item 127 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 1 Jan 1864, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 280–81.

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He wishes her a happy new year. The weather is rainy. He believes there will be no fighting for three to four months due to rain. The adjutant is absent until the sixth. It is quicker to do the work himself than wait for the adjutant to do it. He thanks her for the mustard she sent. He received a letter from his sister on 30 December. The mails are irregular and better the farther he gets from Washington. He has a newspaper for Lewis, but does not know when he can get it to him. He could have sold his gold-edged writing paper to the officers who are involved in love affairs. She does not have to forward his letter to his sister, because he writes the same to each of them.

Item 128 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 5 Jan 1864, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 281A–82.

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His company is mostly made up of mean who have followed the water all their lives, fishing and dragging for oysters. He has not sent Lewis his paper yet. He could be home if he were able to re-enlists, but a recent order prevents it. If he had a commission as 1st lieutenant, he could be mustered and get a furlough. He resigns himself to be patient. He asks her to have Boyd send the school report, general report, adjutant general, and series report. He does not want to be uninformed about matters at home. No one in his regiment wants to be informed about state matters and when they do, he is their "encyclopedia." The mails are irregular. There is snow that may turn to rain.

Item 129 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 12 Jan 1864, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 283–84.

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He has a letter from his sister. He tried to get a two-day furlough but was disappointed. He is resigned to wait patiently to go home. He would like to get the town paper to get more information about an incident in Cornveils [Councils?] with General Rosenfort [?]. His health is good.

Item 130 (1 p.): WH to RH, 16 Jan 1863, no location indicated. LC no. 285.

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He received a letter from his sister. Nothing new to report about getting home. He does not know whether he will get home.

Item 131 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 18 Jan 1864, Bristoe Station, VA. LC nos. 286–87.

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He mentions a Lieutenant Justus, who is going to Philadelphia and then to Harrisburg. He asks Boyd to be of assistance to him if possible. He and Justus are friends. Justus has a claim against the state. Justus will be the adjutant of his regiment in a couple of days. He (William) tried again to get furlough but was denied. He does not see any hope of being mustered an officer until the regiment is filled up. Everything in the army has to be "just so," but he is used to it now. He mentions news of several people at home. He thanks Boyd for the documents and hopes his health is better.

May

Item 132 (2 pp., the third blank): "W.W., Bill" to AH, 4 May 1864, Washington. LC no. 288.

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He showed Alex's letter to William, who promised to go to the front that morning. He was not allowed to, but he promised to go the next morning. If Alex sees Garratt [?], he will give him all the information.

Item 133 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to AH, 4 May 1864, Washington. LC nos. 289–90.

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He tried to get to the front but there were no trains available. The Provost Marshall informed him that it was useless to send more men forward, because it would be impossible to find their regiments. He stayed in York two days being sick. He is suffering from diarrhea. He has the option of staying put or going to the convalescent camp at Alexandria. He will stay put, because the convalescent camp is dirty and lousy. The mail is stopped and there is no news. Rumors say there is brisk skirmishing going on. He asks Alex to send his mail to the St. Charles, because, if he can get a train, he will leave the address with "Bill Bill." He asks him to send ten dollars to pay his expected board bill. He promises to repay.

June

Item 134 (1 p.): WH to BH, 1 Jun 1864, no location indicated. LC no. 291.

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He speculates what regiment he may be in. Colonel McDonough is coming to Harrisburg and will call on Boyd. The Colonel will be willing to help him get the promotion. He regrets he took a furlough, because he would now be in a better position to get promoted. He has friends who will help him get a better position, if he does not get a commission.

Item 135 (1 p.): WH to BH, 18 Jun 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC no. 292.

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He received the papers from Boyd. They are very close to the Rebels. He had two days of hard fighting and hard marching for the last week. He is at brigade headquarters. His new address is 3rd Brigade HQ, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps.

Item 136 (1 p.): WH to RH, 22 Jun 1864, before Petersburg, VA. LC no. 293.

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He has had no mail. He hears muskets and cannon twenty-four hours a day. His regiment has had heavy losses in non-commissioned officers, but not many privates.

Item 137 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 23 Jun 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 294–95.

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There has been marching and countermarching by night and day interspersed with fighting. Their losses are heavy. He asks for a Union newspaper. He is clerking at brigade headquarters. The firing has been constant since the 10th. His brigade has been reorganized and some "odd material" made into officers. Some officers were reduced in rank and then commissioned—for cowardice, military ignorance, and general ignorance. The days are warm, the nights cool, and no rain for twenty-two days. The roads are dusty and dry. The area is very sandy and the only crop is corn. He does not feel this area is as pretty as the area by Bowling Green [VA].

Item 138 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 28 Jun 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 296–97.

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They are in rifle pits near the enemy. They are not doing much except watching each other. The Black troops have not done any fighting, but are used for digging entrenchments and so on. The weather has been very hot for four to five days. The dust is as fine as ashes and no sign of a track is left after they pass. He requests that a newspaper be sent every day and will pay the subscription from his next pay. There are rumors of yellow fever in the hospitals. He does not doubt it, due to the constant fighting and no chance to wash. He can see unburied horses and mules, cow dung, and half buried men for miles. The stench is awful and there is no water fit to drink. He asks for Howard to send six photographs that he can give to army friends. He has hives and feels that the heat brings them on.

July

NB: Item 163 (below), out of order in the LC collection, belongs here.

Item 139 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 2 Jul 1864, Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 298–99.

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The heat is terrible. There has been no rain for over four weeks. Water is scarce and the woods are pine and not cool. There has been a little fighting at night on the line held by [Gen. Benjamin Franklin] Butler and [Gen. Ambrose] Burnside. This is because there are Negroes in the command. He will inquire about Johnson, but he does not know his company and has to ask in the dark. He has much marching to do, but nothing to carry. He wants Boyd to hurry up with what he asked him to do.

Item 140 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 10 Jul 1864, in front of Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 300–301.

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He has had no mail and wants someone to send him a paper, either the [Harrisburg] Patriot or the [Harrisburg] Telegraph. He does not want the papers from New York or Philadelphia, because they are not well written. There was some fighting the previous night—several men were killed and others lost limbs. Some horses were killed. Their headquarters are out of reach of gunshots, but are near the Rebel redoubt of eighteen guns. They are building a fort so they can mount cannon. The weather is warm with no rain for five weeks. The dust is almost unbearable. He was issued pickled onions, cucumber with cabbage, potatoes, and turnips. Many of the fresh vegetables had to be thrown away and are unfit to eat. String beans had to be thrown away. There is a lot of sickness. Pickles have helped to prevent scurvy. He gets fresh bread twice a week. He has no assistant for now, but expects help the next day.

Item 141 (4 pp.): WH to BH, 13 Jul 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 301A-B.

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He wants news of a raid. He has read about it in the [Philadelphia] Inquirer and Chronicle, but finds their accounts confusing. He wants Boyd to subscribe to the [Harrisburg] Patriot. He will not have the money for a while. They did not get their rolls as soon as they should have because of careless officers. He does not think much of the men who have been commissioned. The governor said too many men were proposed for commissions from the Bucktails and the 6th. He discusses several men proposed for promotion. He gives details of the camp. He will not have to follow the army so closely, now that he is at headquarters.

Item 142 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 16 Jul 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 302–3.

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They are nearly in the same position they have been in for a month. Their troops have cut down the large oak trees near the country house they are camped by. They have also cut down the peach and apple orchards. Has had no news of a Rebel raid. He requests that Boyd send him a [Harrisburg] Patriot. His health is good except for a large "eruption" on his body that comes for five or six days, disappears, and then comes back. It is very itchy. He attributes it to the food.

Item 143 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 24 Jul 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 304–5.

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The weather is hot, but he has lots of good, cool water where he is. The headquarters was relocated and is now in the yard of W. Jones and is occupied by him and his family. All the slaves have left. Mr. Jones is rich but "wants for everything," because both armies have taken from him. His son is a Union prisoner. There was heavy fighting within a half mile on Thursday. Cannon and infantry shooting all night with no effect. The stockings arrived and he needed them badly. He thanks her for the newspapers. Many Rebel deserters come into the camp. They are well dressed and healthy looking. He talked to a deserter from Tennessee who has not seen his family for more than three years. They had a little rain. There are many flies, which are a nuisance. He wants at least three more pictures.

Item 144 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 31 Jul 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 306–7.

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The mail situation has improved. His skin condition continues to be a problem. Most of the soldiers have the same problem. He keeps as clean as possible, changing not less than once a week. He may have some lice and fleas. Their office is in a schoolhouse. It was in a tent, but they got drowned out. They have had some rain. He wishes the war would end, but he will probably re-enlist for another three years. He was offered the job of adjutant of the 2nd regiment (191st Pennsylvania Volunteers) with a rank of 1st Lieutenant, which he accepted. He will get a raise and outrank the other lieutenants. He expects to receive his commission in a week to ten days. Yesterday they attacked the Rebels and blew up their forts and took their first line of rifle pits. No shot or shell came closer than a quarter-mile of their headquarters.

August

Item 145 (2 pp.): WH to BH, 1864, 3 Aug 1864, before Petersburg, VA. LC no. 308.

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There has been a lot of firing to their right, but not where they are. He restates the details of the move and battle described in his 16 July letter to their mother. The Union lost two-to-one killed and wounded. The Rebels lost a lot of artillery. Negroes were killed by hundreds. He will send a Richmond Examiner, if he can get one. He retells the details of his promotion as in his 31 July letter to their mother.

Item 146 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 7 Aug 1864, before Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 309–10.

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The weather is hot but no rain. The town was alarmed when Chambersburg [PA] was burned [on 30 July], but things have calmed. There is a subscription going around the Pennsylvania regiment to help the burned-out townspeople. It is unfair to ask soldiers to help those who stayed at home. He wants a letter from her to see if the story is true, because he does not trust the newspapers. He mentions that the draft must be stirring up people at home. He mentions some people at home he has had news about. There is a belief in the army that the war will "end itself" in the fall or winter no matter who is elected President. It is quiet where he is and is expected to stay that way. He is not much of a fruit eater, but longs for something fresh. He is down to one shirt that sister made him and would like a new pair of shirts.

Item 147 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 15 Aug 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 311–12.

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His group has been sent to the rear as reserves in the place of the 2nd Corps. It requires constant moving back and forth to support weak areas. The 2nd Corps is on the other side of the James and has suffered a "reverse." He expects there will be no news of it in the papers. He had an attack of bilious colic. They have had rain and lightning. He mentions a man named Peacock—a 2nd Lieutenant in the Bucktails who lacks brains and will never be promoted.

Item 148 (1 p.): WH to RH, 21 Aug 1864, before Petersburg, VA. LC no. 313.

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The brigade was captured on Friday. About 150 men escaped. He was not with headquarters at the time. He does not know where he will end up. It has been raining. He is wet all the time.

Item 149 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 29 Aug 1864, Yellow House near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 314–15.

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He is glad she did not break any bones when she had her accident. He has recovered from his attacks. He tells her to read Tom Chester's correspondence to get accurate war news. He is with a division of well-disciplined Negro troops. They do not roam over the countryside, because they are afraid. There was a guard placed at the outbuildings where they are stationed, but the black troops paid no attention and began to destroy things. White officers did not order them to stop, but began to beat them with clubs. The only way to get them to obey is to beat them as when they were slaves. Black troops march in better order than whites and do not fall out of line because they are afraid of capture. He visited John. John will be a "free man" on Sept 6. Lewis is a fool if he re-enlists, because he has already served his three years and cannot be touched. Colonel Fergle's regiment is now Colonel McCoy's. He asks her to send some peaches. There has been heavy rain lately with wind and lightning. No news of the captured men from his regiment or of his adjutancy.

September

Item 150 (1 p.): WH to RH, 4 Sep 1864, near the Yellow House, VA. LC no. 316.

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He comments on her health. Colonel Braves [?] should have remained at home. He is now clerking at the headquarters of 1st Brigade, 3rd Division. He health is good, but he is very thin. No news to report.

Item 151 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 7 Sep 1864, HQ, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division. LC nos. 317–18.

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He is at headquarters and Colonel McCoy is in command. The Colonel is well known to Boyd and himself. He is clerking for Lieutenant Burger [?]the Brigade Inspector. There are two other clerks and they have a cook. The men and clerks are from Maine and Massachusetts and he finds them to be clever. This is the first time he has been with troops from another state and finds it strange. He notes units in his brigade. They are building a railroad around the county for supply purposes. They are strongly fortified. It rains almost daily. He has prospects of going to Washington. Gen. [Samuel Wylie] Crawford is considering sending him to make copies of papers that will be needed when the remaining men are consolidated into two regiments. No papers were given by the officers going home and until the status of the men is determined no discharges can happen. Some of the men have six to ten months' pay due them. The work should take at least four weeks. He will have the opportunity to visit home for a weekend, if he is sent. Many officers have applied to go, but Crawford said he should be the one to do it. He has never spoken to Crawford and does not like him (none of the men do). His application for promotion was returned, because his regiment was not listed. The application was resent.

October

Item 152 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 19 Oct 1864, near Petersburg, VA. LC nos. 319–20.

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The weather is cool. Pieces of the tooth that was bothering him came out. He details the prices of food items. He is out of pins and wants her to send some. For the first time since 6 June, his regiment is moving toward the right of the line. They are back on the Weldon railroad near the Yellow or Six Mile House, where the men were captured on 19 August. Lieutenant Colonel Whitman arrived at his regiment. The colonel is Bill Seangouh. John Riley is the hostler. Joe Stut was moved from Richmond to Bell Island. He wants Allen or Boyd to send electoral tickets. He asks that his razor be sent. The weather is pleasant during the day but cold at night.

Item 153 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 26 Oct 1864, camp near Yellow House [VA]. LC nos. 321–22.

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He has received two flannel shirts from his sister. He is now wearing two shirts for the winter. The days are cool and nights are cold. There has been no raid for awhile. The roads are good, but the dust is bad. There are forts all around them. The line is about twelve and a half miles long. From there to City Parish, there must be no less than twenty forts mounting eight to twelve guns each. The railroad is being extended three miles to the left of his position. They keep no clothing on hand, but get it from City Parish. They had a review of the brigade. The Colonel made many mistakes during the review. There is no fighting or soldiers to be heard within three miles. The men are thinking of winter quarters, but no word has come of where. He wants Allen to send a Union newspaper.

November

Item 154 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 1 Nov 1864, near Warren Station, VA. LC nos. 323–24.

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He sent his ticket and Robert Atkin's to Allen. He wants the stumps of his teeth removed, but he does not think they are strong enough to pull. Pieces come out almost every day. William Bell was brought before an examining board, charged with inefficiency, and dismissed. He requests that she send the regiment, company, and corps information of a man named Sharp, so he can find him. Howard will likely lose his toe. He asks her to tell Allen that Democratic tickets are scarce and in demand and most Democrats are sending their ballots back home. The last move of the army was 27–28 October, under immediate supervision of [Gen. Ulysses S.] Grant and was a failure. His corps was not engaged, but the 2nd corps was beaten badly. The army was withdrawn to its old position. The opinion of the men is that it was a mistake and only done for political reasons. Colonel Grimshaw came to see him and said that he had heard Boyd was a "copperhead." He (William) asked for a definition of the term, which he did not get, and replied that if Boyd was a "copperhead," then he was one too, since they were nearly alike in political matters. Major Munson of the 21oth Pennsylvania Volunteers is under arrest and they intend to get rid of him. He requests a paper with the election results.

Item 155 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 7 Nov 1864, camp near Warren Station, VA. LC no. 325.

page 1 page 2

The tickets were distributed and he still has some left. Howard could learn the printing business better in Harrisburg than Pittsburg. Colonel Sergeant is now commanding the brigade. Colonel Grimshaw and the 3rd and 4th Delaware Regiments have been sent home to vote (about four thousand men). He requests a newspaper. The 3rd division of the 2nd corps has moved, but no one knows where. He has not seen Sharp yet, but supposes he is in a hospital at City Parrish. His brigade has six regiments and the 210th makes up more than half of a regiment. Camp Austin Hospital has a bad reputation among the soldiers, but he would not like to be in any of them. The 95th New York voted 397 for [Horatio] Seymour and [Gen. George B.] McClellan and 27 for Lincoln. There has been rain and nearly snow for a week. The roads are bad and muddy. The nights are cold and the days warm. Ague and fever are prevalent.

Item 156 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 11 Nov 1864, near Yellow House, VA. LC nos. 326–27.

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He agrees with Allen that they are beaten. He does not see an end coming soon. Boyd and Allen will go to sister as soon as brick season is over. Col. [James Adam] Beaver has been made a brigadier. He will go to see Sharp next Sunday. They are having winter weather.

Item 157 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 20 Nov 1864, near the Yellow House, VA. LC nos. 328–29.

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He is glad to hear she is well enough to write for herself now (Allen was writing for her). He discusses a possible love affair between two people from home. He wants to know where Howard will live when he is in Pittsburg [sic]. He suggests two people he might live with. Howard may have enough learning to be a lithographer, but more would not hurt. He expects to be an adjutant in a week to ten days. The holdup is that they already have an adjutant, but he has been captured. The only way he can be made an adjutant is if the current one has his place vacated. If he gets the promotion, he will have an opportunity to go home for ten to twenty days. The men have built log huts. He does not think the campaign is over for the winter. Citizens have been coming to their winter quarters. He saw one of Lewis's friends from Company D, 12th regiment named Donahue. He re-enlisted and got $800 local bounty and $1400 government. The weather is rainy and has prevented him from visiting Sharp. He heard that Major Dodge, Colonel Clements, Billy Kline, D. Charlton, and Charles Rawes were arrested, but he does not know what for. He wants to know if she has sent his razor. He wants a dozen pearl shirt buttons.

Item 158 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 27 Nov 1864, near Warren Station, VA. LC nos. 330–31.

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It has rain for the past five days, with a little snow. Thanksgiving has come and gone. The newspapers made a fuss about the food they got, but it was exaggerated. His share was two apples. The chickens and turkeys were only enough for about one-fifth of the men, but were unfit to eat and were thrown away. People send things with good intentions, but not much gets to the men after the Provost Marshalls, Commissaries, and assistants go through the boxes. He saw many turkeys and chickens missing legs, wings, or breast meat. He was sent a turkey Sunday and enjoyed it. He has not been able to see Sharp yet. He is still waiting for his promotion. He has nine months left to serve.

December

Item 159 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 4 Dec 1864, near Warren Station, VA. LC nos. 331A–32.

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Colonel McAllister and his brigade passed by last week. The time for winter quarters is near: stables are being built and lumber issued to cover huts. It is unlikely they will move, since they have been there since 1 August. Near them are the 200th, 205th, 207th, 208th, 209th, 210th, and 211th Pennsylvania regiments. The Negro soldiers were taken away from his end of the line. He requests a Beans Almanac for 1865.

Item 160 (2 pp., the second blank): WH to RH, 15 Dec 1864, camp near Warren Station, VA. LC nos. 333–34.

page 1 page 2

His corps was on an expedition to Belfield within fourteen miles of Weldon. The march was very cold and without a halt for six days. He does not feel well and will write a longer letter later.

Item 161 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 18 Dec 1864, near Gunley House, VA. LC nos. 335–36.

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They have marched around a lot. They are within a mile of Warren Station with orders to pack up winter quarters and be ready to move for several days at any time. His corps is in reserve and may have to move wherever needed. The Weldon Railroad is destroyed to Belfield. Colonel Grimshaw resigned a few days before the raid and is gone. He advises her not to feel old as she is only seventy-eight. He wants to know if Howard is recovered and gone to Pittsburg [sic]. He has not been paid. Some of the 6th corps were paid for two months when they were due six to eight. No word on his promotion. He could be at division or corps headquarters, but he does not want to go, because clerks there are not respected and have no rights. He met a cousin of Kate's named Murphy of Company A, 3rd Delaware. His service ended yesterday, but his commander wanted to keep him two weeks longer. He went to William for advice. He wishes to be home for Christmas, but is resigned to not be. He wants to know if his razor was sent. Asks her to have the boots he has at home fixed.

Item 162 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 28 Dec 1864, Gunley House, VA. LC no. 337.

page 1 page 2

He explains to her that at the quartermaster's department each brigade is allowed a quartermaster with a citizen clerk at $75 per month and a wagon master at $60 per month. At division there is a quartermaster with a citizen clerk at $100 per month and a citizen wagon master at $75 per month. At corps there is a quartermaster with a citizen clerk at $150 per month and a citizen wagon master at $100 per month. Clerks are not numerous at that place. He has eight months to go and wanted to learn "the expenses of Uncle Sam" so he could get one of the above jobs when his time is up. He has been refused promotion. He is at division and plans on learning the expense job. He believes this will help him get a job when the war is over. He intends to learn the wagon master job too.

Item 163 (1 p.): WH to BH, 2 Jul 1864. LC no. 337A. NB: appears to be out of order in the LC collection.

page 1

Fifth Corps, Third Division "Victory" letter envelope addressed to A. Boyd Hamilton, Esq., Harrisburg, Penna. From William Hamilton, H'd Quarters 3rd Brigade 3rd Division 5th Army Corps, Washington.

1865: Items 164–182

Abbreviations:

AH: Alex[ander] Hamilton, William's brother
BH: [Adam] Boyd Hamilton, William's brother
HH1: Howard Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
HH2: Hugh Hamilton, Boyd's son, William's nephew
JH: John Hamilton, William's brother
KH: Catharine "Kate" Naudain Hamilton, Boyd's wife, William's sister-in-law
LC: Library of Congress
RH: Rosanna Hamilton, William's mother
WH: William Hamilton
NB: "Allen" is likely Thomas Allen Hamilton, William's brother

Item 164: LC separator page: "Letters of 1865—Army of Potomac." LC no. 338.

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January

Item 165 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 3 Jan 1865, Gunley House, VA. LC no. 339.

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He has received no letters or newspapers. There is a problem at the quartermaster that may result in his return to the regiment. New Year's passed as any other day. They will have a New Year's dinner tomorrow, as they have a preserved turkey and oysters. The army is quiet now and a week or more passes without hearing cannon or gunfire. They are in winter quarters. He describes the hut he is living in. Gen. [Gouverneur Kemble] Warren went home for twenty days as did many officers. Gives address as Co B, 191st P.V., 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Corps.

Item 166 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 8 Jan 1865, Gunley House, VA. LC no. 340.

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He worries that her spitting blood may have worsened. Howard is in Pittsburg [sic]. He says he cares little about being an officer, but would like to end his soldiering as an officer and believes he will. There is sickness in the camps. Typhus fever is the most prevalent. In the 210th, they are dying by scores. He has not been sick. He wants her to tell Allen he saw Bob Atkins, who is well; also that Erastus Witt of the 205th Pennsylvania Volunteers has been dishonorably discharged, because he believes the folks at home will be told he resigned. He (William) is still with Captain Hoskins. He mentions seeing a graveyard with a headstone that appeared unusual to him: "David Baugh Finney, Born in to the World 1791, Married 1820, Born of the Spirit 1835, Died 1856."

Item 167 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 17 Jan 1865, camp near Gunley House, VA. LC nos. 341–41A.

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He was going to write on Sunday [15 January] but could not because Captain Hoskins wanted to go on a leave of absence and there was a lot of writing to do so that all would go smoothly while he was away. He is out of his brigade and with the 1st. He expects not to have to move as long as [Gen. Romeyn Beck] Ayres is in command. He describes the house he is living in and thanks her for the almanac, which are rare in the army. He believes he did the right thing in writing about how Witt left the army. Bill Delbritt has promised to take him along when he goes home to get married.

Item 168 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 23 Jan 1865, camp near Gunley House, VA. LC nos. 342–43.

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He has not received the box his sister sent, but expects it every day. He will have a man go to City Parish and look for it. It is not very cold but rainy and the roads are impassable. A lot of men are going home on furlough. They have been in winter quarters since the fall of Fort Fisher. Men from Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, and Delaware get fifteen days furlough and those from other states get twenty. That allows men from Pennsylvania two and a half days' travel each way and ten at home. He himself cannot go, because the other clerk working with him is going. If he gets a furlough, it will not be until March. He wants to go to Savannah with Captain Hoskins, who was transferred there, but it is out of the question. John Small sent him some documents and he asks her to have Boyd thank him. He has had a letter from one of their officers taken prisoner last August. There are forty-three of them at Danville, VA, and they are all well with no deaths. The officer sees no chance of an exchange.

Item 169 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 30 Jan 1865, near Gunley House, VA. LC nos. 344–45.

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His sister's box arrived, but not in good condition with only a portion of what she sent. The box she used was unsuitable due to the careless handling of anything sent to the army. Any box sent in the future should be bound with iron or wooden straps. What did get through was good. The Potomac and Chesapeake Bay are closed and mail must come from Annapolis. There have been no newspapers since Tuesday [24 January], so he appreciates the one Boyd sent. He does not think he will get home any time soon, unless Bill Delbritt's wedding is soon. He has no faith in Bill's promise to bring him along.

February

Item 170 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 6 Feb 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC nos. 346–47.

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The corps is absent on a movement that no one seems to have knowledge about. They left yesterday and guards were left at the camp. The men traveled light with five days rations. The only news is that they had a small fight and are beyond Hatchers Run. They are now on the way to the Southside Railroad. He expects word to come to move and does not like the idea of leaving his comfortable quarters. The citizen clerk is on furlough and he (Wiliam) now has an enlisted man as an assistant. He mentions several people at home who have died. Boyd is now president of the Agricultural Society. He wants Boyd to put off the planned exhibition until September, so he can be home. If the war lasts much longer, he intends to come back as a citizen clerk after his enlistment is up and will secure the job before he leaves.

Item 171 (2 pp.): WH to KH, 13 Feb 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC no. 348.

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He has had no letter or newspapers from her in ten days. He hopes she had a good visit with their mother. Troops are four to five miles away. Conditions are terribly hard on the men with fighting, hard rain, hail, and cold. They had been in comfortable huts for the past two months but then marched without tents or knapsacks for seventy hours. He expects to move in a day or two.

Item 172 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 13 Feb 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC nos. 349–50.

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Most of the men have six months or more pay due. Troops are about four miles away. Their lines extend toward the Southside Railroad. The supply railroad is now extended to the Cummings house. He expects to move in a day or two. The weather is bitter cold. One or two men in his regiment were killed and some wounded. Troops were sent north to enforce the draft. The draftees are not worth much.

Item 173 (3 pp., the third blank): WH to RH, 20 Feb 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC nos. 351–52.

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They moved the wagon train and office yesterday four miles closer to the front. The new place is better than the old or just as good, because his whole office was transported. He had to sleep on the ground for two days until it was ready. He asks about her health. They are looking for the officers and men who were captured in August. They are at Salisbury, North Carolina, and Danville, Virginia, and will be exchanged on the 1st. He hopes for a speedy return and feels it would have happened faster if the military had handled it instead of Washington. He wants Allen to send the proxies for the election.

Item 174 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 28 Feb 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC nos. 353–54.

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He mentions his sister's visit to her as well as sister's health. The oak trees are ready to leaf. He mentions people from home whose deaths he read about in the paper. He went yesterday to find out if there was a chance of his regiment being paid, but there was not. He was given an army bed sack and sleeps with it filled with clean hay. He wants to see Boyd's sons. There are many chapel tents operating with well attended nightly meetings.

March

Item 175 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 11 Mar 1865, HQ, 1st Brig., 2nd Div., 5th Army Corps. LC no. 355.

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He has not had a letter from her in two weeks. There is nothing happening and it is very dull. He received a lot of election tickets from John Small, but does not think it necessary to vote. They have had heavy rain. He read in the paper that, at home, the ice in the river blockaded things and wants to know if there was damage. None of the exchanged men or officers have arrived and are expected any day.

Item 176 (3 pp.): WH to RH, 15 Mar 1865, near Humphrey's Station, VA. LC nos. 356–57.

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The Army of the Potomac has marching orders with twelve days forage and subsistence—five days' worth in the haversack and the rest in wagons. He does not know where they are going. Sutlers were ordered to leave and excess baggage has been sent to City Parrish. He does not like to leave his comfortable quarters. Women are scarce in the area and he would rather see even a homely one from home than any other. He supposes that many men are enlisting. He reassures her that he is well situated. He is familiar with the quartermaster's job. It is not easy to have over a hundred mules and horses, wagons, etc., and keep track of everything. His February returns have over two hundred separate things and everything has to be accounted for every month. He wants Allen to send the paper with the election results.

Item 177 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 20 Mar 1865, camp near Humphrey's Station, VA. LC no. 358.

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Although they have made preparations to move, they have not done so. They believe they are being held ready to help Gen. [William Tecumseh] Sherman if needed. From what he reads in the newspapers, Sherman is traveling the country at will and not doing much fighting. The weather is warm and signs of spring are around. Few houses are standing, fences and woods are gone.

Item 178 (2 pp.): WH to RH, 27 Mar 1865, camp near Humphrey's Station, VA. LC no. 359.

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They are still in the same place, but with wagons hitched, baggage packed, and orders to move any minute. There was a big fight on Saturday from within a mile of his location to City Parrish, about four miles away. They were marched around as support but did not get into the battle. Losses on both sides were small. The one-year Pennsylvania regiments commanded by Gen. [George Lucas] Hartsuff of Morristown bore the brunt of the battle and did very well. He notes river height and remembers the flood of 1844.

April

Item 179 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 2 April 1865, camp near the Vaughn House, VA. LC nos. 360–61.

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On 29 March, he was woken up and ordered to pack. He followed the troops at 6:00 a.m. They left two hours earlier so silently that no one knew they were gone. He gives details of the march and notes that the roads were two or three feet deep with mud. He saw blankets and clothing discarded along four miles of road and a half-mile wide. The fighting has been hard. He is camped near the field hospital and can see arms and legs from where he is. His corps went to support [Gen. Philip Henry] Sheridan, who was being beaten by Gen. [Bushrod Rust] Johnson. His regiment is six miles away, on the Southside Railroad. He does not yet know who has been injured or killed, so he cannot answer her question about a man named Shultz. He has a cold and sore throat.

Item 180 (1 p.): WH to RH, 9 April 1865, near Farmville, VA. LC no. 361A.

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He is with the army train. The troops are twenty miles ahead. There has been no mail or newspapers for ten days. He is over his cold but very tired, only getting one or two hours' sleep at times.

Item 181 (4 pp.): WH to RH, 20 April 1865, Nottaway Court House, VA. LC nos. 362–63.

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May

They arrived on Friday about noon. He describes the area he is camping in. The corps is along the railroad from Burkesville Junction to within five miles of Petersburg. The 6th corps with cavalry moved toward Danville, North Carolina. [Letter continued on 25 April.] He is over his cold. They were low on food but now have plenty. He writes of the murder of President Lincoln. He never felt he was a good man, but was honest, unlike [Andrew] Johnson. Rumors also said that [Gen. U.S.] Grant and [Vice President] Johnson had been shot. He believes he will make it out of the war without injury. He is indifferent to being promoted, but believes it will happen. The 137th Pennsylvania Volunteers are being consolidated with his and no promotions can happen until that is done. He is busy catching up on the work he got behind on during the campaign.

Item 182 (2 pp., the second blank): WH to RH, 7 May 1865, Manchester, VA. LC no. 364–65.

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They have started for Alexandria by way of Fredericksburg. It will take at least twelve days. They will be cut off from communication during that time, so she should not worry if she does not hear from him.

John Hamilton Obituary

[1] Gerald F. Linderman, Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War (NY: Free Press, 1987) 312, quoting Robert Stiles, an artilleryman in Robert E. Lee's army.

[2] His comments about army life square neatly with the vignettes in John D. Billings, Hard Tack and Coffee (Boston: George M. Smith, 1887).

[3] Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Speeches (Boston: Little, Brown, 1896) 1–3.

[4] Linderman (note 1 above). Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in an address delivered on Memorial Day 1884: Richard A. Posner, ed., The Essential Holmes: Selections From the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (Chicago: U Chicago Pr, 1992) 80.

[5] Holmes (note 3 above) 59–60.

[6] The letters written during the Battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Appomattox Court House lack his usual quality of penmanship. Written in haste or poor conditions that did not allow for neatness or easy legibility, they are essentially scribbled notes of a few lines rather than the lengthy missives common in the collection.

[7] A number of people kindly offered their expertise and encouragement as I created the archive. I am most grateful to Prof. Steven Ramold for setting the project in motion during a graduate course at Eastern Michigan University; to Prof. Gerald Linderman for his insightful comments and for refocusing my thinking on the subject of experience and memory; to Chris Holoka for his technical assistance; and to the Editor for seeing the final product through to completion.

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