The letters and diaries of Lieutenant Philip R. Woodcock
121st Regiment, New York State Infantry
"Upton's Regulars"
September 4, 1862-November 9, 1865

Monday, February 9, 2015

Keeping Track

I thought I'd start today with a military record of Philip that my grandmother (Roby Woodcock Abercrombie) wrote in 1972.  It's a great record of his career and it has certainly helped me in keeping track of the dates & battles.  After that, there is a small excerpt from his first letter of 1865 with more to follow in the upcoming Countdown to Surrender!

The Military Record of Philip R. Woodcock
b. 1840 - d. 1913
Enlisted as Private July 23, 1862, Springfield, N.Y.
August 1862- Promoted to Corporal at Camp Schuylor Mohawk, NY
February 22, 1865 - Promoted and commissioned 1st Lieutenant 
(Transferred to command of Co. "I", same regiment.)
June 25, 1865 - Received Honorable Discharge by General Order of War Department.

List of Highlights of Engagements:

  • Sept. 16-17, 1862 ~Antietam, Maryland
  • December 1862 ~ Fredericksburg, VA
  • May 3, 1863 ~ St. Marye's Heights & Salem Church, VA
  • July 2-3, 1863 ~ Gettysburg, PA
  • November 7, 1863 ~ Rappahannock Station, VA
  • November 28, 1863 ~ Mine Run, VA (Orange County)
  • May 5 & 6, 1864 ~ Wilderness, VA (Orange County)
  • May 10-12, 1864 ~ Spottsylvania, VA
  • June 1, 1864 ~ Cold Harbor, VA
  • July 1, 1864 ~ Petersburg, VA
  • August 21, 1864 ~ Charlestown VA (Shenandoah Valley)
  • September 19, 1864 ~ Winchester, VA
  • September 22, 1864 ~ Fisher's Hill VA (wounded - 4 months inactive)
  • February 4, 1865 ~ Petersburg, VA
  • February 6, 1865 ~ Battle Hatch's Run, VA
  • April 2-3, 1865 ~ Petersburg, VA
  • April 9, 1865 ~ Present at Surrender at Appomattox
(Also in 14 minor engagements and skirmishes)


As the war wound down in 1865, my great-great grandfather wrote 41 letters home to Roby (at least, that's what we have from that shoebox of letters!)  He wrote on January 1, 1865 from York, PA a long four page, legal sized paper, letter to her.  He ruminates on this being his last New Year's in the Army:

"York Pa Jan 1st/65

My Dear Wife

According to promise I write you again today I dont know but you will receive both of these at one time but I dont care[.]  I saw Dr Mintzer today & he said I coud go to my Regiment tomorrow morning so I will soon bid good bye in Little York Hospital where I have been bumming long enough..." (Please see my post from Oct. 3rd to detail his injuries.  He was in the hospital for approximately 3-4 months.) "It is New Years day & I would a good deal rather spend it with you than here[.]  We had a Stew for Dinner but nothing extra ~ This will be the last New Years I probably shall spend in the Army.  I hope so at any rate but know (sic) one but God can tell how or where we will be next New Years.  I hope we shall have a happy & pleasant one & be reunited again never to be seperated (sic) on earth.  The weather is cool with a little sleighing (not sure if that is the correct word.  It would seem to mean in context "sleeting".) I had no pass & could not go to church today but I shall go to night if nothing serious happens ~ The Doctor did not hardly fancy letting me go but when I made my statement he gave his consent readily ~ They had strange doing here in the street last night[.]  It sounded like 4th of July ~ Everybody was shooting & firing off revolvers to shoot the old year out ~ a practice which is in vogue here to a great extent, it sounded like skirmishing ~ I am agoing to write to Capt Cronkite today to let him know I soon shall be there ~ I hope I shall get that commission imediatly (sic)[.]"

I'll stop there for today.  Come back for the continuation of his New Year and see how the wounded men celebrated in the Sleeping Room!

Hope to see you then!

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