His first letter to Roby was written from Fort Lincoln, September 4, 1862. He wrote the letter on stationary etched with a print of battle with the following caption:
Desperate Bayonet Charge at Battle of Winchester, March 23, led by Gen Tyler
"My Dearest Wife
After a long time I sit down to write to you and let you [know] our whereabouts ~ We left Camp Schuyler last Saturday noon & went to Albany & we had Supper provided for us ~ Father & Mother Pierce & Fannie & Janice & Eddie came down to see me, I telegraphed to them from Herkimer [.] They brought me a nice large Cake afterwards which came good.
About 9 o'clock we took the boat for New York. We ran aground 2 or three times going down. We reached NY 9 o'clock the next morning & encamped at City Park barracks. The living was very poor..."
Philip went on to tell about seeing some of the city: (Waters Fitch & Bryston & Hoagland & c.) arriving in Philadelphia at "6 o'clock P.M." and losing his cap and buying a new one on the the way. They traveled on very dark & dangerous roads, going slowly ~ "I stood Sergeant of the Guard all night & I liked to froze on the outside of the Cars. We got to Baltimore about 11 am. We got fed there about 4 o'clock pm. We started then for Washington at 10pm & felt our way all night about 4 miles an hour."
"We found obstructions on the track &c ~ We got a miserable breakfast in Washington ~ we marched through the streets & about the Capitol & then started where we are stationed now at Fort Lincoln ~ there is part of another Reft stationed here besides a company of Artillery who are practicing with Cannon [.] Our Fort mounts 13 Columbiads [.] 1 Large 8 in Mortar & one Rifled Cannon all loaded for action for they have expected an attack here ~ our Guns have not all been distributed & Last night about 2 0'clock 2 Companies were called out and arms given them ~ it looked pretty scary ~ we expected an attack all night ~ our pickets shot into a band of 20 Guerillas but I believe no one was killed ~ there is a rebel next about 4 miles from here which as kept up the Flag lately but I believe it is down now ~ the Companies that were here before us wanted to go and sack the town but were not strong enough force. I offered to go with them & take 25 men out of our Company ~ there was 75 volunteered to go with me"
Come back again tomorrow for more of his letter!