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, June 1, 2015

Keeping My Promise

Back in January, I left 1863 to jump ahead to Philip's letters of 1865 in the hopes of timing it out with the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War...well that didn't work out!  I have decided to go back to where I left off and that was the winter of 1863 in White Oak Church.  The Union troops had settled into their winter camp there and Philip wrote to Roby of his daily activities and the like.  I posted his first letter in the month of March on my January 29th blog entry.  He wrote 5 more letters in that month, each 4 pages long. [Note to readers: I have decided to add punctuation where it seems natural.  Previously I denoted it with a bracket.  That slowed me down considerably, so I have decided to add my own.  Generally, he did not use any punctuation but did start new sentences with a capital letter.

Today I type his letter of March 18th, 1863:

"Camp near White Oak Church
Sunday March 18th 1863

My Dearest Roby

Although I do not hear from you yet I thought I would write you & send you my likeness. They are melainotypes. I had them taken day before yesterday. I had the fun of tramping through the mud about 12 inches deep 2 miles to get them taken. They are considered very good pictures especially the one with the gun that is the most natural. I have the full dress uniform on with equipments and standing at Parade Rest ~ a very easy posture ~ I might have been a little more military had I stood at Shouldered Arms but I thought this would answer (?) The back ground is very pretty and natural except the fences ~ those are played out in this section of country. Those two round tents in front are Artillery & Cavalry tents those little ones farther back are the kind I make my home in though look rather large in the Picture. My Sergeants stripes on my coat sleeve you can but just see they are faded out bad, they denote active service --"

(I'm not sure if this picture still exists as we have so few of them in our possession but after reading this, I am going to check with family for them. 
 The picture I use for this blog seems to be of him at the time of enlistment.)

His letter goes on to describe the weather: "rained all night & this morning but it has cleared up fine but the wind blows a perfect hurricane..."

And he tells of small pox exposure from a young black boy just in from Washington whose "father died with it & now he has got it after exposing us all to it. I hope it wont spread any farther ~ My vaccination does not work. The stuff was not good. I guess I am agoing to try it again as soon as they get some more but the whole Regt may have it before that..." but he reassures Roby that "we are all well here..."

Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of this letter ~ what he eats for dinner, troop updates and a possible deployment to Texas!

Hope to see you then!

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