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, October 27, 2017

Love from the Trenches

" is but a simple tribute to one I love..."

When I started this journey with my blog, I had the intention of uncovering not only the history of this time but the emotions.  Many of Philip's letters revealed not only his longing for home and family but of his deep love for Roby.  I titled this series "My Dearest Roby" simply because she was that to him and so much more.  

This next group of letters express that undying love and it starts with an official "Soldiers' Memento" at the top of which Philip has written:

"Gen Joseph E. Hookers"....Army for the Union, Sixth Corps, first Division" 

(for more information on Major General Hooker )

Check in again to read the letter next time....

Preparing to March

"...I don't know when our point of attack will be..."

I'm back and on to the second half of Philip's letter of April 14th.  He continued his letter at 7pm...prepping for battle:

"7 oclock P M Apr 14 ~1863

I have dealt out 8 days rations which makes the boys grumble a good deal for they used to think that 8 days were killing them off but we have to put 5 days in our knapsacks that is what made us throw away our clothing but I boxed mine up and shall leave it in the street with some others and maybe they will take care off it but it is getting late and I have some other letters to write(.)  I will have to close I dont know when our point of attack will be but one days march will bring us right in the midst of the Rebs unless we go up to Culpper  Culpepper and Gordonsville then (?)

it will be 3 early (could say "only") days(.)  (O)ur Cavalry went yesterday and some troops have moved tonight ~ I shall try and write you again before we come into action but if I should not, you be prepared for anything because before next Saturday might a good many of us will be sleeping one last sleep in Virginia ~ but through the mercy of God I hope to come through safe(.)  I know I had not ought to write to you of what may be but I cant help it(.)  I wish just as I feel but I must close(.) I will write again the first opportunity ~ May God bless you write soon my Dear Roby if I fall meet me where we shall be eternally happy(.)  Pray for me(.)  Kiss Georgie for me once more my darling wife(.)  Good bye  God bless you

Yours Ever True husband  P R Woodcock

Philip's heartfelt words at the end of the letter haunt me from the past: 

"I know I had not ought to write to you of what may be...."

"If I fall, meet me where we shall be eternally happy..."

"Good bye.  God Bless You."

Philip did make it home...but it was a long two years later...

Until next time ~  thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I'm Back and it's 1863 again!

"I of course was glad to hear from you again..."

I'm finally back at it!  I'm sorry it's been a long break between entries but I'm giving the project a go again~ hope you're still with me!

We pick up in the spring of 1863 at Philip's camp near White Oak Church.  He has just received a letter from Roby and is responding to her on April 14th.  It's his usual 4 page letter with a post script written upside-down.  Enjoy!

"Camp near White Oak Church
Apr 14th 1863

My Dearest Wife

I received your kind and welcome letter 2 or 3 days ago and I of course was glad to hear from you again ~ We are all well as usual and feeling good(,) the weather is splendid and been for some days it has been like summer ~
Well Roby at last we have got marching orders(.) We start tomorrow morning with but as little clothing as we can possibly get along with and 8 days Rations and 60 rounds ammunition which makes us all shudder but after all we cant say we are sorry to go we have laid still long enough but one day will bring us into a fight and it will be no small affair either(.)  I never saw such tremendous preperations (sic) before(.)  Old Hooker if we drive them will not give them the first chance he is bound to show no mercy he will fight in earnest --- There is no particular news to write ~ George and Wm Parsons was over to see me again (a word is scratched out here, but is illegible) Saturday and had a good time(.)  I was a agoing (sic) over there to day but it has been stopped he is well I heard from him yesterday though he dreads the march ~ but we hope this will be the Last Campaign and that it will close the war but God only knows ~ "

Of course, that was not the last campaign for the war had only begun in earnest at that point.  Little did Philip know he had two long years ahead of him...

"I wrote to Willie Fitch again this morning I got one from him a day or two ago ~ We all have to wear a badge on our caps to distinguish our caps from another so if we get killed or wounded they can take us to our own hospital(.)  Our Corps the 6th is a blood red cross(,) the 1st Corps is a red circle the size of a penny(.)

I shall not be home now
untill after the fight if I live through it(.)  I have been very busy all morning getting ready I have made a pocket in my jacket to carry my Bible in which I carry yours and Georgies Likeness so if I get wounded and I lose my Knapsack I have yours likenesses with me~~

I have throwed away about 25 dollars worth of clothing this morning but maybe I shall get it again but I must close this I have a good deal to do yet..."

Prepping for battle yet again after a long, boring winter...

The letter continues at 7 o'clock his time but that will have to wait for my next post!

Keep checking and I promise to get back up to speed with the writing!

Until next time....