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 18, 2014

News on Brother George

Philip's letter of the 16th continued with news about his brother George who, as of a few days earlier, he believed had perished in battle.  He wrote in his diary that morning before writing to Roby:

"Monday 16
Arose Early feeling rather tired & sore ~ was relieved 9 oclock ~ glad to get back again. [.] Drew Rations[.] Our Regt was consolidated into 4 Companies ~ Co "E" & "D" from 2nd Company ~ Sergt Armstrong tents with the Orderly & I now [.] Prospect of our laying here for reinforcements [.] We need them bad ~ our Army is badly crippled [.] Wrote a letter to Roby ~ no mail received yet since we started on this campaign[.] Rain again tonight [.] Had an Inspection [.]"

After telling Roby in his letter that he felt this battle was worse than Gettysburg (or Gettysburgh as it was spelled then), he went on:

" We have to stand right up to it untill one side or the other is used up God only knows I have seen enough already [.] I think both Armies are badly crippled " (Over 31,000 were either killed, crippled or captured with the Union army suffering the most casualties--2,725 dead vs. the Confederate Army with 1,515).

"but I guess we have a little advantage [.] Sergt Armstrong is all right yet [.] I saw Darwin Ely a day or two ago ~ he is pretty safe in a battery[.] Brother George is not killed as I wrote before thank God [.]"

His relief is evident!

"He is only slightly wounded in the Head enough to take him back to the rear so I heard since the first report I got ~ I do not know when we shall bring on another Engagement maybe tomorrow & maybe not in a week but I hope the Decisive Battle will be fought & have it done[.] I have go sick of this fooling around fighting by detail for our Division has it all to do then ~ Our favorite General Sedgewick has been killed ~ Col Olcott was killed in our first heavy Battle [.] Maj Galfin (spelling questioned) was wounded in our famous charge on that Rifle Pit & then again in the next days fight & our Adjutant was killed so we have lost every thing all but 2 Captains [.] We have only about 120 men left if we do that [.] I hear it rumored that we will lie still a few days ~ I hope so for if we ever needed rest we do now[.] The Boys are all as poor a crows ~ We hear big news from the other Armies but they must be exaggerated some ~ we can only get a little idea of how things are going ~ you know more that I do in regard to that[.] I wish I was home with you now[.] Keep up good courage trust in God pray for me [.] I hope to come out all right yet ~ write me as often as you can [.] I hope we will come off victorious [.] Our Captains & Lieutenant are wounded ~ now good bye ~ Love to all Kiss the Baby one for you

                                                                          Yours with Love
                                                                          Phil R Woodcock"

Thankful to come out alive and most definitely worn out and saddened at the loss of life...

Come back tomorrow as the Battle of Spottsylvania winds 
down and his letter of the 19th!

Hope to see you then!

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