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, February 25, 2015

It's a New 1865

"Last night we had a great time in our sleeping room..."

If you had the chance to read my previous post, you most likely saw the first part of Philip's letter to Roby of January 1, 1865.  He was still in the hospital at that time after being wounded back in September 1864.  He described the New Year's celebration of that day:

"Last night we had a great time in our sleeping room[,] I was down town attending the League Council (?) & came in about 8 oclock[.] There are 12 of us sleeping here and so we commenced making those that had gone to bed get up & then tore up our beds & scattered them about the Room & there we forbid anyone going to bed till after 12 oclock ~ Our sheets & Blankets were scattered bad & we had a pleasant time getting things together again & then we had a sit around the stove waiting till midnight struck then we would get to bed but had to get up again right away.  I have not had any answer to my letter telling you of my resolution to go to the front ~ You must not think hard of me for going I sincerely think it is best I should go ~ Nubern is back & has been several days & I ought to have been some time ago[.]  I think I shall send home my Diary today I have no further use for it ~ The last 3 months are pretty dull ~" (Sitting safe in the hospital healing up for three months...dull?)

"We shall have an Inspection today I guess as we had none yesterday[.]  I can imagine what a good time Georgie is having today that is if he got a present last night[.] I trust next New Years I can play Santa Claus with him ~ I suppose ~ you are having fine sleighing now & having Merry time &c &c[.]  It is the time of year for Donations & Mile Societys (sic)  &c ~~"

He sounds homesick again to me in that paragraph.  The letter continues later in the evening:

"9 oclock P.M.

I have been so busy in getting ready that it is now 20 minutes past 9 & a good deal of writing to do yet[.]  I have not got my Transportation though I have not been able to see Dr. Mintzer tonight[.]  I did not go to church as I was too busy ~ I have just been trying to eat a fiver of Bread & Butter & because the rest of the Boys had none thye have been trying to turn my stomach by calling to my mind old Rotten Meals &c &c but I have served too long in the army for that ~ "

The handwriting becomes very difficult to read at this point so I'll do my best...

"I have written (?) to [Chief or Corps Con....] tonight I have also sealed up my Diary to send[.] I shall have to send it without Stamp as I have but 3 or 4[,] Maybe I will put one on ~ It is quite cold tonight ~ I shall not be able to send my Photograph now but there are probably some Artists in the Army & I can then get one ~ I am sorry as I had such a pretty Frame for a large Picture[.]  My (??) I gave away to the Chief Carpenter I had set some Bone in & put a ring of German Silver around it[.]  If we had been paid off I should have sent a box of goods home but as it is I shall carry what Clothing I can to the Regt ~ I have Phil Van Hornes Shirts all safe & he can soon have them ~ This is a pretty long letter & I shall soon run out for something to write.  I am in such a hurry. I am thinking it will be hard to read ~ " (That is an understatement 150 years later!!) 

At this point, the letter turns to a beautiful tribute to Roby and his love for her.  I've decided to put that into a separate post, so please look for that paragraph there.  

Please come back to read the conclusion of Philip's New Year's Eve party of January 1st, 1865!

Hope to see you then!

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