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, September 26, 2014


"...the ambulance carried me to Division Hospital ~ 
it was rough & dark ~
 suffered a good deal..."

My great-great grandfather was wounded on the 22nd of September, 1864 after two years in the war.  He survived, but was in the hospital for about 4 months. He wrote to Roby prior to his injury saying he was:

"...alive, safe, well and feeling good thank God & have the opportunity to write you again ~"

(I will detail this letter at a later date). On the 23rd, he wrote again, this time not so well and from the 1st Division 6th Corps Hospital near Strasburg, VA.
Here is that letter:

"1st Div 6th Corps Hospital
Near Strasburg
Sept 23 1864

My Dear Wife

I write this to quiet any apprehensions you may have in regard to my safety ~ We had another severe battle last night [.] I was wounded about 6 oclock with a piece of Shell in the right Breast or on the corner where the Ribs join about 1/2 an Inch from the Pit of my Stomach [.] It was a very severe contusion & has hurt me internally some & I think 2 Ribs fractured but I shall be all right in a few days again [.] I had a heavy plug of Tobbacco my Album & Diary in my pockets & they saved me a very serious wound if not my Life [.]  You better believe it knocked me some ~ I never was so doubled up in my Life ~ I felt at first as if a 20 pounder had gone through me ~ The piece of Shell was about 2 inches square & would weigh 1/2 a pound.  I have it now ~ it smashed a button & tore my coat & then stuck there ~ I was very lucky in being got off [.] There was a stretcher close by & they carried me off right away to an Ambulance [.] I then had a hard time of it [.] The road was rough & it was so dark and the Hospital was about 4 miles it almost Killed me was bruised so [.]  To day I am pretty sore but I can help myself a little [.] I just took a short walk [.] "

Pretty strong to be walking around the very next day with broken ribs, a punctured lung (which he didn't know until later, I've been told by family members about it) and numerous bruises.

"We are to be sent to Winchester as soon as the wagons get back which have gone out to the front to issue Rations [.] I dread that long Ride ~ it is 18 miles & we have to ride in the Government wagons as our Ambulances have gone on with the Army but the Road is good & may be we shall get along very well [.] If I get sent to Washington I shall get home but they have established a large Hospital at Winchester and I may not go any further than there ~ I shall write you again as soon as we get regulated [.]  Phil Van Horne & the other boys were very kind to me [.] Phil stuck to me till he saw me in the Ambulance ~ Our Forces were again victorious & drove the Enemy out of their best position [.] Gen Sheridan ought to have his pocket full of Stars [.] He is doing bully in this valley [.] Our Army I hear is still in pursuit [.] It was an awfull fight however but our Loss was very slight [.] We took 16 pieces Artillery & host of prisoners [.] We had started them before I was hit ~ We were in a dense woods and it was a rough position but the Rebs did not stand as well as I thought they would [.]  We have not much to Eat here ~ the Hospital moved on this morning & only left 2 men & Tents till the wagons got back but we will get good care in Winchester I guess ~ I saw a mans leg taken off a few moments ago [.] I am glad it was not mine [.] I think I wrote you a long letter for a wounded man but I feel pretty easy ~ I cannot lie down only on my back & then it hurts me agood deal [.] Dont worry any for me [.] I shall get all right in a few days [.] Trust in God[.] I did not think I would get hit so soon after writing you yesterday thus showing how little we know what awaits [.] Let us feel thankful that it is not worse ~ Do not write till I know where I shall be [.] Love me as ever ~ a Kiss for Baby [.] Love to all [.]

Yours with Love

Phil R Woodcock"

Tough, tough man.  Watches a leg being taken off, prepares for a long, rough ride to the larger hospital and tells his wife that "I shall get all right in a few days..."  I'm am always amazed at this strength from humans.

Please join me for my next post!

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