1863: “The 2nd Maine Started For Home This Morning”

Camp near Falmouth, Va.

May 18, 1863

Dear Sister,

I received your letter from Bangor last night. I am sorry that you have been worrying about my going into battle, for I did not go as near as I wanted to, but I was where I could see some of it. We came in from picket yesterday. One of the Regts of our Brigade – the 17th N.Y. – went home this morning. We marched to the depot to see them off. Continue reading

1862: “We Had No Christmas”

[Christmas Day was not even] a holiday, much less a Christmas. No, we had no Christmas, merely the 25th of December come and gone. No chimes of gladness at the recurring anniversary of the advent of the Prince of Peace – no outward recognition of the fact that anything was commemorated by the day – only incessant work of the army which brought in the regular routine of the day – a pause of only two hours with a better dinner than usual – a glance of surprise to see our table garnished with oysters & turkey – a hearty meal, a great joke & Christmas was gone, and we in camp watching the Yankees, and only anxious as to the duration of the war. Continue reading

1862: Harper’s Images Of Fredericksburg

I decided to feature something a little different today. As usual in this series, I’m sharing a historical source, but today it’s a visual source instead of a quote.

The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11-15, 1862) was – like all major battles during the conflict – reported in the newspapers. In the North, Harper’s Weekly famously published engravings of battles, leaders, and military life. (For more details about Fredericksburg, please view last week’s post here.)

Here are a few of the newspaper engravings that accompanied the news of the Fredericksburg’s battle: Continue reading

1862: “Poor Fredericksburg!”

November 23.

Poor Fredericksburg! The enemy on the Stafford side of the river in force; their cannon planted on the hills. Day before yesterday they demanded the surrender of the town, which was declined by General Lee. They then threatened to shell it, at nine o’clock this morning, but it is now night and it has not been done. It is hourly expected, however, and women and children are being hurried off, leaving every thing behind, except what they can get off in bundles, boxes, etc. There is no transportation for heavy articles. The Vandals threw a shell at a train of cars filled with women and children. It burst very near them, but they were providentially protected. A battle is daily expected. In the mean time the sufferings of the wandering women and children are very great. Continue reading