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

Monday, June 30, 2014

The March North to Gettysburg

"I am almost home again..."

Hope you've had a restful weekend.  This week I'm fast-forwarding to the week building up to the Battle of Gettysburg which was fought 151 years ago, July 1-3, 1863. (There were numerous celebrations  commemorating it last year, I invite you to look them up).  

Philip was on the march northward on July 1, 1863 and stopped to write Roby:

"On the march northward July 1st 1863

My Dear Wife

Thinking you perhaps might like to hear what part of the United States I was in I write you though I don't know when I can send it ~ we are now only 4 miles from the Pennsylvania Line ~ 8 miles north of Westminster & 2 miles from Manchester which places you will find on the map so you see (I am almost home again)
Well now for a short account of our march -- We broke camp at Fairfax Va on Friday morning 4 o'clock June 26th 1863 and marched that day as rear  guard with or behind the baggage wagons in a north westerly direction & made 15 miles by 4 o'clock P.M. ~ we passed through Drainesville & encamped for the night 3 miles north ~ it was pretty muddy and very hard marching & you better believe we were tired ~ it showered a good deal during the day ~ we got a good many ripe Cherries that day ~ The next day we started at 1/2 past 5 A.M. & took it a little easier ~ got to the Potomac At Edwards Ferry ~ got there at 2 o'clock P.M. ~ stopped and made Coffee & had a good long rest ~ the Rebs were close behind us ~ that day we passed through a good section of country ~ the best part of Virginia ~ we Crossed over the River on Pontoons Bridges & put our feet on our own Soil again ~ you better believe we was glad to get into Maryland again ~ it was like home to us ~ we had got sick of Virginia ~ we encamped that night in a meadow and had a good soft Bed ~ The Sugar Loaf Mountain where we went last summer was in sight ~ we rested good that night be we was awfull hungry ~ The next morning we started 4 o'clock & passed through Poolsville and so on to the mountains & then struck the old Road that we traveled last Fall when we first came out ~ everything looked as natural as could be ~
we also passed through Barnesville and rested there 2 hours & made coffee ~ we then went on a piece but the Guerillas was following us up so close that we stopped and let all the teams & Artillery go ahead ~ we did not stop untill night ~ we encamped near a meadow where they was haying ~ we went in and got hay to lay on [.] I confiscated a lot of Tobacco here ~ it was in the Leaf & pretty green ~ we was pretty tired that night & I had to get up in the night to draw rations & I did not get much rest ~ we did not pitch tents and it rained a little ~ we found lots of nice ripe cherries ~ The next day the 29th we had the hardest march of any ~ we made 28 miles ~ it was a little rainy ~ we started at 1/2 past 4 and passed through Monrovia on the Baltimore & Ohio R.R. a very patriotic place [.] The inhabitants all seemed glad to see us & very kind ~ they gave all their eatables away & was sorry they had no more...."

Thank you people of Monrovia all those years ago for your kindness to Philip and the boys...

Tomorrow the rest of the letter and some poetry!

Hope to see you then!

No comments:

Post a Comment