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, July 28, 2014

A New Year

It seems a strange thing to be entering the New Year in this blog in July and yet, 6 months into the year seems as appropriate a time as any.  Welcome to January 1863 in Philip's war journey.  He started his new diary with an entry on January 1.  When looking at the copies I have of it, please also take a look at the pages with the postage rates of the time!  It's pretty neat.

True to form, Philip's day was anything but ordinary.  Here's his diary entry of Thursday, January 1, 1863:

"On Picket near the Rappahannack at Fredericksburg[h] we had a good time [,] Helped to pass a Negro Slave & family through the lines [,] he was very grateful to us [.] rather cold to day ~ the Presidents Proclamation takes effect   good thing"

You can see here also Friday's entry and Saturday:

"very Cold we build big fires on Picket & have brush Shanties (?) had an alarm down to the River & had to double quick it down there but found it all humbug sent back a little ways & built small fires & stood untill day light like to have froze..."

Can you read his handwriting?

"On Picket yet but was relieved 10 oclock very cold marched back to Camp found every thing all right fix up our tent"

As I mentioned at the beginning of this project, he generally did not use punctuation.  I entered it during the transcription of his letters for easier reading.

His first letter to Roby of that year was written on the 10th and has proven to be a challenge for me to read as his ink bled through the paper.  He would write front and back on the pages and the words would appear through on each side.

Here's the beginning of his letter from the 10th:

"Camp near White Oak Church
Jan 10 1863

My Dear Wife

I received your [letter] some days ago & also one from Sarah last night & was very glad to hear that you was with[.] I tell you nothing gives me more pleasure than to hear that you are all well [.] I do not know whether you will get this as [illegible] there for Sarah wrote that you was out in Warren [.] I am glad that you have at last got there for I think that you have been a good while making that visit [.] We are all well here to day 7 trying to make ourselves comfortable as possible it has at last commenced raining & rains pretty hard out & it looks as if it would rain the rest of the winter
but it may not rain more than a day or two if it should rain long we should be neck deep in the mud & such mud as we have here you never see if you could see a Virginia Road after a days rain you would never want to see Southern Soil again" 

You can see my challenge in deciphering his letters and the back/front ink!

Please join me tomorrow for the continuation of this letter!

Hope to see you then!

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