The letters and diaries of Lieutenant Philip R. Woodcock
121st Regiment, New York State Infantry
"Upton's Regulars"
September 4, 1862-November 9, 1865

Saturday, May 24, 2014


"O you that stay north do not know the miseries and horrors of war..."

On September 17th, 1862, Philip R. Woodcock put his paper against his knee, his cartridge box not being close enough, and wrote to his beloved wife Roby that day.  He wrote of the horror of the Civil War playing out before him.  He wrote during some of the most intense battles and gave dramatic, first-hand accounts of the war waging around him.  As enemy fire from the Rebels landed near him during the intense battle of Antietam from September 16-18th in 1862 he wrote: 

 "...a short time ago a ball struck the ground about 20 Rods from me & one about 30 or 40.  I tell you they tear up things some(.)" 

He later went on to describe the aftermath of the battle written from Berkittsville, MD on September 17th: 

"O what sights I see there -- I counted 96 dead rebels and a few Federals but I did see them all not near -- our men were buried immediately but we had the pleasure of sleeping side of dead Confederates 2 nights & being in the Company 3 days -- the most of the boys stripped the bodies of Badges Buttons & Stripes of the uniform to send home but I suppose you do not want any very bad so I did not do so myself -- but to see bodies lying in every possible shape dead and staring at you, some shot in the head, some in the limbs & bodies but all of them [but all of them]"  repeated twice in the letter for emphasis, "looking horrible was a sight that at first made me sick of war."  "It was a terrible battle--"

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