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, December 31, 2014

Dear Roby, It's Christmas...

"My Dearest Wife....tomorrow is Christmas..."

I decided to look through Philip's letters that were written around Christmas time.  There was no letter written in 1862 around that time but if you go to my post of July 22 of this year, you will see his last letter of that year.  It's titled "Zip & Whistle on the Battlefield".  I did find one written on Christmas Eve the following year, 1863 and a diary entry on Christmas Day. 

He wrote in his diary on Friday, December 25, 1863:

"Christmas today.  Very cold but pleasant[.]  Had Hard Tack for Breakfast ~ Got up a lot of wood[.]  Commenced making me a Chair[,] Drew soft bread &c ~ Had some Ale issued out to us for Merry Christmas but not much of it[,]  made out Clothing Requisition again also a return of Ordinance Stores"

His letter the day previous was filled with disappointment:

"Camp of 121st NYS Vols.
Near Brandy Station
Dec 24th 1863

My Dearest Wife

Although I have no letter from you to answer yet I will write ~ I am well, although badly dissapointed (sic) ~ They have ceased giving furloughs again[.]  they are played out for the present so there goes all my expectations[.]  I had anticipated a great time but it is all knocked in the head ~ It is pretty hard but it cant be helped ~ I do not know the reasons of the sudden stoppage but I think it is because it has a tendency to stop Re-enlistments or it is because so many Regts that are enlisting over again are agoing home and it would weaken the Army ~ but I dont see why they should be afraid of that..."

He actually complained on and on in this letter--so much so that I will skip some of it but the sentiments were:

"...I am sure if Lee should attack us we could whip him on fair ground..."
"...I hope & think it very probably that they will soon give furloughs again..."
"...I should have been home about the 10th or 12th of January had this order not come..."
" can imagine how dissapointed I was..."
"...I shall have to be content but it seems pretty rough..."

I could feel his disappointment and almost despair that he was trying to cover for his wife.  The letter goes to practical things after that, mostly about her making him a new shirt and ordering new boots.  (I'll detail that letter later.) 

I want to close with his final paragraph in the letter...

"...Tomorrow is Christmas ~ know I wish I was with you.  We shall buy a pie for tomorrow. The Drum Corps has got a lot baked up for 40 cts.  Kiss the Baby for me, one for you, good bye

Yours truly and affectionately

P R Woodcock"

Merry Christmas and A Most Happy New Year from myself and the letters of Philip R. Woodcock to his wife Roby.

Please look for my New Year's Post next...

Hope to see you then!

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