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 29, 2014

The Box

"...they fight better than we do..."

Philip wrote beloved Roby on February 9th, 1863 again.  He sent it postage due, as you see to the left.  His letter is filled with everything from food being cooked to desertion to promotions.  Read on to continue his journey with me:

"Camp near White Oak Church Feb 9th 1863

My Dear Wife
                             I received yours February and was indeed very glad to hear from you again & to hear that you & little Georgie was well ~ I got a letter from Martha this morning ~ she feels very bad about Bill ~ I hope she wont if he comes home have something to do with him ~ I should hate to have the name of deserter ~"

(Deserters were common, but frowned upon and punished if captured.)

"I wrote to Roselle this morning ~ The weather is nice and warm just like a pleasant May morning up north [,] the mud around our tents & in our streets is fast drying up We have built a nice fire place & chimney in our
tent & it goes good too[.] We drew for Rations[,] Potatoes Onions & Soft Bread so you see we are living bully ~ the Medical Director has issued orders that we shall have Potatoes 3 times Onions twice a week & all the Soft Bread they could get ~ they have got a nice Bakery most done for us I think that we shall get Bread 2 times a week Then that Butter that you sent me will come in play ~ bye (sic) the way I expect that Box to night[.] I hope the Land it will come for I am very anxious to get it ~ I was rather glad you forgot the Dried Apples for I have some & we draw them occasionally & I would rather the Box would be filled with something else a little better..." (He really, really wants this box of provisions!) " did not write me what you sent in it & how much it cost[.] I have just had a dinner of Indian Cake again ~ I have sent a lot of Coffee off for Meal & Milk whether I will get it or not I dont know but I hope so[.]" 

"There is not much news in the Camp now except it is rumored that our Corps is ordered to report to Fortress Monroe there to be shipped South but I dont believe it ~ 2 Army Corps the 9th & 11th are agoing I believe George is in the 11th though I am not sure[,] I hope not though without we go too ~ I have not heard
from him in 3 or 4 days so I cannot tell whether he goes or not ~ If we have to go I should like to come home first ~ I have made application for a furlough but it is doubtfull whether I can get one or not there are so many ahead of me it will only cost 12 dollars instead of 26 as I wrote before[,] I shall come if I can get one for I think if I wait for this war to close before I come I'll have to wait a spell dont you think so [?] does it look to you as if this thing would close in a few months [?] I hope something will turn up that will stop it it never in my opinion can be settled by fighting for they fight better than we do..."

Interesting "compliment" or observation really from a Union Soldier. Tomorrow, I'll complete this letter.  

Also, approximately 150 years ago on August 23rd, 1864 Philip was fighting in the Battle of Charlestown.  He wrote to Roby of the aftermath.  Here's a brief snippet:

"The Johnnys tried hard to drive us further but we remembered the Orders of the General and a division of Cavalry was sent us to protect our right & so we fought them all day long ~ we lost 2 men Killed & 6 wounded - one man wounded only in Co E and we were in an exposed position all day[.] The Lord took care of me as I once more escaped through all without a scratch[.]"

Hope to see you tomorrow!

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