Saturday morning 13th
(September 13, 1862, continuation of previous letter from yesterday's post):
"At last our forces have engaged the Enemy ~ about 3 or 4 miles from here our advance is fighting ~ we are under orders to march ~ now in a little while heavy firing is heard but it sounds like shelling ~ I think they are shelling woods or entrenchments & doing a little something but made orders to march [.]
1/2 past 5 Saturday eve 13 Sept
We have encamped again & I think till morning ~we have been trying to find the enemy ever since morning but every night when we stop for the night they tell us that we are within 2 or 3 miles of the Enemy ~ we can get up & march 10 or 15 miles & encamp & be the same distance from the rebels & we can hear the firing ahead of us [.] I think it is funny but we are stuck way behind & about the Last of the Division & we extend along the road for miles ~ we have marched to day about 10 miles & done it very easy ~ it does not worry us much now to travel -- The Captain has added to my duties ~ that of drawing & dealing out rations to the men [.] I tell a Sergeant has not much time to spare ~ it keeps me running &c & drilling & doing every thing [.] I have command [of] 32 men ~ one good thing ~ they all obey my orders & will do any thing for me I believe if I should be wounded in battle 40 out of the company would all let fighting go & take care of me so I have some friends here ~ you need not send me many Envelopes [.] I guess I don't know but I can get them but send me 2 or 3 Postage Stamps ~ we cannot get them here [.] I was very lucky in getting these [.] We are now about 15 miles from Harpers Ferry (A minor battle in W. VA) about 6 - [miles] from Frederick City & 3 from Jefferson 5 or 6 from Monocacy & Buckeystown & are drawn up in line of battle with orders not to leave but stay in our places ~ we are held as a reserve [.] They are fighting a few miles from us ~ we hear heavy Cannons & mortars & have for hours [.] I think that we shall go to Harpers Ferry ~ we do not know [.] I do not think we shall be called out to fight yet ~ we do know a good many think that we have old (old, as in experienced) troops enough to whip them out ~ now write to me ~I do not know when I can send this letter to you but it is written [.] I may not have another opportunity to write so that you will get it but you must write every 3 days ~ now good bye & take good care of the baby ~ how I would like to see you both [.]
Direct Sergeant P.R. Woodcock
Co E 121 Regt NYSV &c
Kiss baby for me Send me your & his likeness if you can"
And almost as an afterthought or a P.S., he writes down the side of the page this:
"I have just cooked me a nice little dish of rice & it was good ~ we make our own Coffee Peach Sauce Apples &c&c & if I can cook [illegible word] P.R.W."
Visit again tomorrow for his letter of the 14th on the Field of Battle