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

Friday, May 30, 2014

September 9, 1862 ~ Army of Potomac

Before I post his next letter, I thought I'd start the day with a bit of explanation about his letters and my involvement in typing/sharing them.  You'll notice that sometimes punctuation is in brackets [].  This is because he really did not use punctuation and for easier reading, I have added some where it seems appropriate.  There are differences in the spelling of some words ie. "agoing or untill" which I've kept due to the historical accuracy factor.  He also tended to separate his sentences with a small squiggly mark which I've decided to type as a ~. I've tried to type all of his words in italics so you can determine the difference between my comments and his writings.  You'll also notice some usage of words or terms that today that people might find offensive.  Again, due to my desire to keep this strictly historically accurate, I'm typing his letters word-for-word. Obviously, certain things change throughout history and looking back on it with accuracy helps us to understand how far we've come.  And now, the letter of September 9, 1862:

This particular letter was written on blank diary pages dated January - February 1862.  He heads it with Army of Potomac Sept 9th [1862]

"My Dear Wife

You may think this is a funny way to send letters but it is the best I can do [.]  Last Sunday about 11 o'clock we received marching orders & leave Knapsack &c carry nothing but Blanket Haversack Canteen & two days Rations also Guns & 60 rounds of cartridges which betokened something besides a simple march ~ it looked like fighting but as yet we have not had any ~ but we had just passed a march that I did not think of when I enlisted ~ we have marched night & day ~ strong men have fallen down in the ranks [,] men who was stouter than I be ~ I have stood it untill to day [.] I was pretty sick of fever [.] I caught cold sleeping out in the open Air &c [.] The 1st Lieut ordered us in the rear to day but we are drawn up in line of Battle to day & we are resting a little & I begin to feel better ~ at noon to day we were resting about a 1/4 of a mile from here [.] I caved in but we were called out to fight [.] I stuck to it but no Enemy came after all.  There are over 100,000 troops near us ~ they stretch for miles ahead & behind us ~ the rebels are about a mile & one half from here retreating from us.  I just heard but I do not want you to be frightened & think we are agoing right into battle we may be fighting in 2 hours but I think not [.] I was admitted into the confidence of the commissioned officers yesterday & they say we will not unless in a great emergency although they talk to the Privates as if we was agoing right into action ~ we are now north of the point of Rocks where the Rebels crossed the Potomac but I shall have to leave this untill tomorrow to finish [.]"

His letter will be continued in tomorrow's post.  It's dated September 10th.  

A quick additional thing I wanted to add today.  I received a simple, but heartfelt message from my Uncle today.  He's a direct descendant of P.R. Woodcock.  It's his great-grandfather.  I thought I'd share it with you all: 

I'm glad that you are posting this truly priceless collection that my mother gave to your brother. I remember how very difficult it was to read them when I saw them many years ago. I hope at sometime you will include when your mother and grandmother returned the seal to Spotsylvania,Va that is part of this story.
Continue your good work.
Uncle Ted

Don't worry Uncle Ted, I will most definitely include the story of the Seal of Spotsylvania!

Come back tomorrow for September 10, 1862!

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