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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Glorious Reunion

The Battle of Antietam behind them and the next large battle for him nearly two months in the future, Philip has the opportunity to re-group and find his older brother George.  His next letter was written on September 21st, 1862 near Williamsport, MD:

                                                 "Field near Williamsport Sunday 5 o'clock A.M. Sept 21st

My dearest Wife

I write to you under circumstances that are extremely difficult this morning ~ in the first place I am very tired ~ we have just finished a forced march of 13 miles made since 1/2 past 12 last night & one other thing ~ my lead pencil is very short & I have nothing but my memorandum book to write on but before I go any further I need to tell you what a glorious day I had yesterday [.] I came across George & Bruce & Jim Casler & all the Springfield boys in the 76th except those that you know are dead & wounded & then I got two letters from home ~ but now about Geo [.] Ever since we have left Washington I have diligently sought the 76th but not a word could I hear of it untill yesterday morning [.] I heard they were encamped about 3/4 mile from us [.] I tell you didn't I run though it was the first time in my life that I ever left camp without permission sent [,] for I had a right to as an officer [,] but then I never stopped to ask ~ about 40 of the Company started to follow but I had to send them all but 3 or 4 back ~ we then took a double quick all the way there & soon found them but I fell you it was a joyous meeting for me to find them all alive & well seemed almost a miracle to me [.] I know what they had passed through [.] I found that they had been reduced to 8 for a company & they escaped without a scratch [.] I tell you they have seen rough times -- They have marched 250 days or more without a cent of money & only one [illegible word] & no time to wash & I know that was tougher than we had for we had one chance to wash in two weeks"

Two weeks?!...

"I found the boys in the first rate Spirits [.] I stayed about 1 1/2 hour & then I went back [.] I go there just in time to see the company & Reft all in line for fatigue duty ~ we were ordered to fall in & march to the great battle field & collect all arms & ammunition &c but we did not find much ~ we see about 200 dead bodies of both parties that had not been buried yet ~ when we got back George & Bruce as there ~ they stayed about 2 hours [.] I had a good visit with them ~ I gave them some paper & Envelopes as they had none & we opportunities to get it ~ They was all through the fights from Sunday night untill Wednesday near us -- I want you to have father tell Mark Way that he was mistaken in regard to Georges pluck about the time he Enlisted ~ Mark told me that George would not go ~ that he wasn't plucky enough ~ now there is not a man in the 76th that fought better than he did & not a man was complimented higher & done better service [.] I suppose he fought like a Tiger and braved every thing ~ I do not believe he will be killed in battle though it is hard telling ~ he showed me a bullet hole in his coat & men were shot all around him[.] I hope that our division will stay close to his..."

Brothers reunited after many months apart.  Philip's pride in his older brother's accomplishments are brimming over when he described George as fighting "like a Tiger". Small, but I'm sure, welcome diversions from the horrors of battle.  Tomorrow, the continuation of his letter and some additional roll books.  See you then!

Report of Enlisted Absent in duties and sick in Hospital

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