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, August 13, 2014

Feeling A Little Homesick

"I wish I was there this morning..."

Philip continued a letter that he started on the 27th of January the next day.

 He was decidedly feeling a bit homesick from the tone of the letter:

"Jan 28th 1863

We are having a very uncomfortable time [,] it snows like fury [,] it turned a little colder last night & the rain has turned to snow but it melts about as fast as it comes but I tell you it makes a fellow think of a dry house & a comfortable stove [,] I think when we get home we will appreciate all such blessing ~ at least I think I will ~ I wish I was there this morning ~ I'll bet I never come to war again[.]"

Cold and snowy, far from home, in a tent.

"I received 2 papers from you I guess they were 2 or 3 days ago[.]  I ought to get a letter this morning [.] I tell you I am glad we have all got back to our old camps how we would have suffered if we had crossed the river [.]" (Burnside's failed "Mud March") "Enclosed you will find a little Whisker Comb that I
got in my Portfolio at Camp Schuyler at Mohawk which I have no use for here [,] you can let father use it but you must save it for me should I ever be home as I think a great deal of it."

His letter then turns a little to the business of war: "One of our deserters that used to work to Lyman Olnses (spelling might be incorrect) with George came back last night ~ he could not get across the Potomac though most of the rest of them did ~ he ran away from the 76th once ~ I suppose it will fall to my job to punish him ~ the other day I had my hands full of such business ~ I had to tie one man up to a tree in a painfull manner for disobeying orders & had to arrest & confirm 2 fellons (sic) for fighting &c..."

Interestingly, before starting today, I looked in his "work" diary for his Jan. 28th entry and it reads: "John B. Smith Co E 121st Regt NYS sent as private honor guard from Camp near White Plains & we marched off without his being notified probably taken by Mosby's Cavalry"

After telling Roby he must close his letter to write one for "Parson & Cuppernall" he finishes it with talk of food and a great longing for the things of home:

"I wish it would stop storming ~
I cooked some beans yesterday but my appetite is not very good, one thing is very singular here ~ a fellows appetite is peculiar ~ sometimes he cant get enough to eat & then again he cant eat army Provisions ~ now I have a nice Sirloin Steak laid away that you would all jump at & which I would like to trade with you for a slice of Bread or Buckwheat Cake. I tell you I am hankering for some thing good from home & when that Box comes I will get it..."

And finally his tender thoughts:

"in 3 or 4 days little Georgie will be a year old ~ how I would like to see him ~ he must be quite a large boy ~ I am afraid I shall forget how he looks & he wont know me ~ you must not let him forget his father [.] Now write to me immediately & let me know how you get along & take good care of your health &c tell all the folks to write, give my love to all ~ write when you send the Box & if you anything more than I wrote for & how much it weighed ~ write soon & have Sarah write & dont wait for me to answer every letter ~ dont be so particular ~ Kiss the Baby for me & take good care of yourselves but good bye write soon

Yours affectionately 
P R Woodcock"


And 150 years ago on August 13, 1864, he " Got breakfast & waited orders ~ packed up & started at 8 oclock ~ waded a branch of the River ~ moved out on Stauton Pike ~ found the Rebs at Strasburg in good position ~ went into woods ~ laid there all day ~ every thing with us quiet..."

Come back tomorrow for Philip's last letter of January 1863!

Hope to see you then!

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