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, September 17, 2014

Bolivar Heights

"I dreamed I was home & had such a good time Last night..."

(I'm sorry readers, I've been away from my posts for a bit.  I will generally be posting about once a week for the next few months.)

My great-great grandfather's letter of the 25th was one of practicality and home issues.  He noted in his diary on the 24th that "A Reconnaissance made found the Enemy in force. A heavy Skirmish. Drew Rations. Everything quiet again ~ got a Letter from Roby..."  

On the 25th, after writing again in his diary that there was heavy firing at Antietam Creek, there were "smart showers" and after having corn for Supper he settled down to write Roby:

(Letterhead has Eagle emblem with "E Pluribus Unum", 1st Sergt. P.R. Woodcock, Co E, 121st Regt, N.Y.S. Vols.)

"Bolivar Heights
Aug 25 1864

My Dear Wife

I received your most welcome Letter yesterday & now hasten to answer it while I have opportunity [.] I was glad to know that my Shirt was on the way as I have worn this one 4 weeks although I have washed it up often enough ~ We have had a Bridgade Inspection today also a good Shower ~ We lie in Camp yet near Harpers Ferry [.] The Johnnys are still in our front but I guess they do not want to get whipped bad enough to try us on here ~ our position is too good ~ " Good is GOOD! "I shall soon perhaps tonight be very busy as I have 4 months Clothing accounts to write for 2 companies also our Pay & Muster Rolls have been sent us to Complete ~ we shall be mustered the 31st for 2 months Pay ~ I am not in Debt any yet nor I dont believe I shall this month & I send you a little more money I hope ~ I did not have to buy so much Tobbacco ~ I shall draw $44.00 - $20.00 for July & $24.00 for August..."

If you wish to research the pay scale of each side further, here is a great link: Military Pay 

He continued with: "I have to Dress up a little better than I did but I shall be as economical as I can. I want you to buy you a Cloak if you think best. Do not take your Hop money. I will send you enough [.] I hope we will get paid as soon as the Pay Rolls return ~ I did not send George any money. I saw by the Papers that the Paymasters were agoing to pay off Grants Troops & then there was a long time we did not see a paper nor hear from the Army [.] I supposed untill I got this Letter that he was paid ~ He complains a good deal of his grub but he is better off where he is as the 76th has been in action[.] "

News of the Rebels is next: "I saw in yesterdays Paper they had captured a Rebel Flag on the Welden R Road[.] They are at Reams Station where we destroyed the Road when we were there [.]"

His letter of this date is long and was somewhat rambling:

" is very poor..."
"...hard tack are old & got Bugs & worms..."
"...dry me a lot of Corn this fall to send me..."
"...I think our companies will be separated before long..."
"...Skirmishing was severe but the Johnnys was there & our boys had to come back..."

And upfront news about what's going on there:

"Today there has been heavy Cannonading in the direction of Williamsport for a Short time [.] I should not be surprised if it was the Rebs trying to cross the Potomac into Maryland [.] The weather is some cooler than it has been & the nights are more comfortable ~ Every thing belonging to our Corps that was left to City Point has been sent up except our Batteries & I guess they will soon be here so it is clear that we will not go back but are assigned to the Middle Department [.] There is considerable Skirmishing in front this afternoon ~ perhaps the Rebs will try to scare us a little..."

After a little more rambling on about various family and friends..."Millie Kasler wanted to know....sent her Love to you....Myron home on furlough...Darb Ely has been promoted to Sergeant...Henry Cadwell cut his hand pretty bad...with a Hatchet....but nothing serious...."

He then takes a break until August 26th to continue the letter which I will include in my next post.

Please stick with me readers -- 
Upcoming September battles 
and Philip is wounded!

Hope to see you then!

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