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, January 9, 2015

In Command

I'm back to March 1863 after a brief holiday diversion.  (Please see previous posts from Thanksgiving through the New Year).  The Union Army is still in winter quarters at White Oak Church and all is calm.  Philip wrote a four page letter to Roby that spanned two days, March 15th and 17th.  Here is the first half:

"Camp near White Oak Church
March 15th 1863

My Dearest Roby

I write this to inform you I received yours yesterday morning & was glad to hear that you was all well ~ I also received Aby's letter this morning and a map from you ~ It is not very cold today but it has been for 2 or 3 days outrageous cold & windy ~ I believe we have the funniest weather here in Virginia of any place on the face of the Earth[.]  One hour it will be so very pleasant & may be[,] the next it will storm & Rain & blow like everything ~" 

Then he get's to brag a little bit...

"I tell you Roby I am doing a big business here for a short time and I feel big enough ~ I am left in command of Co. E. 121st Regt & I have my hands full but I like it after all.  I tell you nothing sets a fellow up so much as having a good company left on his hands[.]  [I]t is just what I wanted this good while[,]  to get command of the company long enough to see how it would go ~ Everything goes now just as I say & I have full Authority.  This morning I had Inspection & my Company had as clean tents, Guns, clothes & faces as any in the Regt. The boys seemed to take pride in it too and they certainly did look clean ~ One thing made us look good yesterday we all drew New York State jackets & they looked Gay.  ( I remind readers that terms/words have changed through the years and that in 1863, he was mighty impressed with his new jacket, hence the word "gay".) They are the same nearly as that fatigue jacket of mine in the likeness. That is the way Uncle Sam pays off his troops by making them draw lots of clothing[.] I wish now you could see me I am dressed up gay..."

He seemed quite proud of himself that day and glad to be in command.  I remind you, in 1863, Philip was only 23 years of age.  

Please join me for the continuation of this letter of March 15/17th in my next post.

Hope to see you then!

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