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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Four Feet Deep and 12 To A Grave

Two days after battle, Philip continues his letter:

                                                           Sept 19th 1862

"A nice morning this morning ~ we are having nice cool weather but it rains once in a while & we have nothing to Shelter us with but our blankets & they get wet & it takes a long time to dry them [.] I got pretty wet yesterday ~ I washed my Shirt & myself all over ~ it took about all day to dry it ~ in the mean while I went without one[.] I visited all the hospitals too ~ over 200 men lay here wounded ~ some without Legs some without Arms ~ I laid in an Ice house last night & laid dry ~ some of the Company got awful wet that laid out doors [.] Lieut. Van Horne 1st Sergeant & myself have our headquarters in the Ice house ~ it is about 15 feet under ground & is some damp & musty but it is better than outdoors when we have the Equinoxal Storms come in ~you must think of your Soldier husband who is out in it all without a shelter unless we still hold possession of the Ice house ~ I wish you could see me writing ~ sometimes on my knee sometimes on the ground but most of the time on the Cartridge box ~ The firing has just commenced again ~ the rumors are so conflicting that we do not know much of the results ~ only that we are driving them but our loss is fearful ~ yesterday one Regt in our brigade came out with only 40 men but the Rebel loss is immense ~ they lay on the field 4 ft deep ~"

Four feet deep? Yes...

"that is something you don't see in the papers but we see it here ~ those that I buried or (rather my prisoners buried) I put in 12 in one Grave only 2 1/2 ft deep [.] I laid them 2 deep with every thing on ~ but I will have to drill some of our Company again to day so I will have to stop ~ The firing is very heavy that we hear now & very rapid but I have a chance to send this letter now so I will stop [.] I am perfectly well & doing well ~ there are several more things I would like to write but I have not the time ~ be easy on my account ~ we are out of danger now I believe & it was very providential that we were sent here for we should be in the fight if not & probably badly cut up & all the Regt have suffered severely but I think to day will end the battle [.]

Well good bye & take care of yourself & baby ~ give my love to all & send a kiss[.]

                                                                           Yours with much Love
                                                                           P.R. Woodcock"

Tomorrow--March to Williamsport, September 21st, 1862.  

Hope to see you then!

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