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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Still Raining, Still Muddy 1863

" I thought yesterday I knew something near what mud was but I did not untill last night"

Philip's regiment was still stuck in position on the 23rd of January and he wrote of their predicament.  (Note when reading this--he uses parenthesis instead of quotation marks for his quote):

"Friday 23rd 1863

We have orders yesterday to go & help move a battery back from the River Bank & had to strike tents & leave but had not gone far when the order was countermanded & we came back into Camp & had small Whiskey Rations dealt out to us ~ but O what a time I had last night about 10 oclock getting our regular Rations to us [,] the wagons could not get within 2 miles of us & I had to detail 10 men to go with me after them ~ I thought yesterday I knew something near what mud was but I did not untill last night[.]
In some places in the Road it was over 2 ft deep & on one of the Supply wagons was hitched 8 pair of mules & they could not stir the Empty wagon.  I wish some of the Northerners who continually cry (On to Richmond & carry on a Winters Campaign~) was here & see us why for miles back of us the Road is chuck full of Artillery wagons, Pontoon Wagons & Bridges Baggage Trains & Supply trains all stuck so tight it dont seem if they ever could get out ~ one thing makes us feel easier we have our Haversacks full again[.] they issued to me 2 days Rations but our Company is so small now I made 3 days of it we was scared last night about eating[,] most of our boys had not got a mouthfull to eat & no prospect of any[.] They will have to move us out of this for they cant possibly supply us here but I have said enough about mud"....

So Burnside was unable to get the Army through and therefore, he was relieved of his command after this incident. (Please see yesterday's post for a link to the historical research.)

"Our Company has suffered a good deal from desertions &c The morning we started Bob Grisman (or Crisman?) & Isaac Whipple & 2 others left us with some others out the Regiment[.] On the March both days 5 or 6 deserted & (illegible) fell out & played up sick & Lame & some fell out from necessity when we got here we only stacked 25 Guns & now we have only about 30 men who carry Guns which makes us a pretty small company ~ The rest of the Companys have lost some in the same way[.] Since writing the above I guess we hear orders to go back to our old camp for a lot of men has been detailed to go back & guard it untill we reach it so we shall have good times & stay a spell again[.] Those men have gone I dont know when we shall start but probably tomorrow[.] I hope so mud or no mud[.]"

And he finishes the letter with:

"So Burnsides plans are spoiled for the present[.]  It does not rain now nor did not last night but it has not cleared up yet ~ but I must close[,] my health continues good yet write me as soon as you get this ~ I hope this will be settled soon & I will get home all safe & sound there is no prospect of pay yet but maybe it will come if we be still[,] I hope so for we all need it they supply us with tobbacco but good bye[,] Send me some paper to write on[.]

Yours &c
P R Woodcock"

I've been trying to figure out what the "&c"  means in his letters and I think it must mean "etc."  (Definition: And so forth).  It makes the most sense.  I cannot find anything about it online, so if you know, send me a message! This letter also contained two small pages written on extra diary paper and dated Wednesday, Jan. 24th:

"Before sealing this I will put in that we are all well to day tho night last night was very tedious[.]  The winds blew & snow fell & Drifted  we had this morning 4 or 5 inches of snow but it has gone off a good deal to day it will freeze tonight though I guess we drawed potatoes & Onions today & I had Beefsteak & onions & Boiled potatoes & gravy which was nice I tell you[.] Nubern Armstrong got his box yesterday all safe & right[.] Durb Ely has not got his yet ~ I have occasionally a taste from some of the Boxes that came tonight ~ I am agoing to have
some Ham from one of our Boys & a little dried fruit from another which I trade sugar &c for[.] Cuppernall & I cut down a very large Hickory Tree to day & have got a very large wood pile before out tent ~ one tree lasts us 3 or 4 days only we have good fires[.] But good bye write soon[.]


P R Woodcock"

So there you have it~ Burnside's Mud March of 1863!

Please join me next week to continue Philip's journey!

Hope to see you then!

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