Tag Archives: Wounded

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Sharpsburg, MD ~ September 21st, 1862: Details About the Dead

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This letter expands on Jamie’s previous account of the aftermath of Antietam, describing the way in which several of the soldiers died. He urges Katie once again to write to Mrs. Macarty to tell her that her husband has died, and to specifically mention that he was shot in the head and died instantly.

#12 Sharpsburg, MD - Sep 21st, 1862 Envelope #12 Sharpsburg, MD - Sep 21st, 1862 Page One #12 Sharpsburg, MD - Sep 21st, 1862 Page Two

 

            Sharpsburg md

Sunday morning Sep 21, 1862

 

To my Dear Loving wife,

as I have a few moments to write you a few lines I am well hope this to find you the same I received two letters from you last night at 8 oclock was glad to see them and hear from you I gess you can think so any how I do I wish could get another soon I should be so glad it is good to hear from you my dear and all at home. Corporal Harras that the rebels took a prisoner has been paroled and got back to us just now we was glad to see him back Horace money to him that was good thing for Horace when Horace was shot he gave Harris his money for he did not expect to get away alive then it is all right now. we exspect to march to for some place I but dont know where. Some say we are a going to Richmond I dont know as it is true. The 8 & 11 Co Reg are with us Eugene Comstalk in here he is well. Colon Kingsbury. J. H. Kingsberry was shot dead last Wednesday in the fight with us. Capt John Griswold was wounded that day has since died in our Co I. Capt Drake through hart, first Leu Horton through head. Ordley Sgt. Ovil Campbell shot in head & body 1 [Sgt.] Maccarty shot through head. Jason E Twiss in the brest. Steven Himes st in the brest. A Truesdell through brest.

Corporal Evians shot through body. James Grugan through body shot dead on the field. 8 of them, 20 others wounded, 3 taken prisoner one got back Corp Harras. he will take this letter to a postoffice some where on his route home he has been parolled by the rebels so he can go home he is [off] in a few minutes so I have got to hurrie up my caks[?] I should like to see you first rate but I cannot so I must not think about it I shall be glad when can Horace has got one broken leg the other is woundid badley to I gess he will get along in time if he has good care I had to leave him at hospitle yesterday morning I felt bad enough to part with him tell you but it cannot be helpt in war times we have to put up with many things. I mean to do my douty as near as posable god being my helper and strength I hope to see you some day when tell you better than I can write I cannot think of halv what I want to say but never mind I send thousands of good wishes, kisses to you Rosa. must close this nonsense for this time you must write Mrs. Macarty to tell her that he was shot through the head killed instantly he fought bravely died with a good hart I believe it to be true he and Twiss both died Christians I think. good by with lots of love to you my dear wife and all of my friends

kiss dolly for me give my love to all inquiring friends

 

James W P

Your loving husband write soon the same

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Time Table as Remembered by James

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This was presumably written not long after the previous letter detailing the aftermath of Antietam. Some of the place names were near impossible to read, so there was some guess work involved – in particular, “Pensaluary” and “Rafam.” Jamie admits that his spelling is bad, but there are some locations that are easy to recognize, such as New York, Baltimore, Washington, Annapolis, and Rockville.

#11 Timetable Page One #11 Timetable Page Two

 

            James W Peckham                                    time table

We left Hartford Aug 25th 1862 on board city Hartford down river. stopt Wethersfield. Middletown. Essex. Saybrook. Saybrookbar. 1 hour. Then up sound to New York. Stopt one hour and Breakfast on board Ferryboat to Elizabethport on the cars. East Pensaluary. To Rafam. To Brattalboro, to York, Pen. To Brooklin, Pen to Baltimore. To took dinner. To Raleigh house. To Annapolis junction. Washington City. Stopt one night. To long Bridge. To Fort Scot Vir. To Fairfax Sema. Vir. Lofed two weeks Started. To Washing camp one night. To Leesboro 3 days. To Rockville one night. To Brookville one night. To Lebanon Chourch do. to New Market do. to Frederick City do. to Middletown 4. Hours. To Boonsboto one hour. To Pottsville stoped one night. 17th We marched to Antietam into the Battle at daylight in morning fought all day until dark when we was marched into a corn field to chase on and take a Battery we took it but paid dearly for it we was cut all to pieces by Grape and canister shot them 2 Brigades of Rebels witch drove us back and they posesion of the cornfield where our dead and wounded lay so we could not get to them until next two days so our mounded had to lay on the ground from 5 oclock Wednesday till Friday at noon when we drove them off so we could get them you better believe I was glad to find Horace alive but he was bad off I tell you it was meeting between us tell you he was so glad to see me he shed tears so did I could not help it although I can stand most anything to see him was to mouch for me my feeling gave way we went from there to here that ends my diary for this time so good by I mean to keep a memberrandum of all of any amount if can as poor as it is if you can read it I shall be glad Excuse bad spelling for I am a bad scholar you know

Jamie says that the wounded had to lay on the ground where they fell from Wednesday evening until noon on Friday. That is a long time to be injured and stranded without food or water. Horace and the other wounded were left to fend for themselves in a cornfield while the other Union soldiers were driven back by the Confederate soldiers. Thankfully, Jamie and Horace were reunited after the battle, and although my grandmother told me according to family stories Horace really wasn’t the nicest of people, he was happy enough to see Jamie that he cried. Both of them did. Horace was actually one of the lucky ones, since he at least got away with his life. Jamie and Horace’s other tent mates were not so lucky.

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Fort Ellsworth, Virginia ~ Tuesday September 2, 1862: Within Earshot of the Battlefield

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Categories: Jamie & Katie, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here we find Jamie camped out with Uncle Horrace and their regiment 12 or 10 miles away from the battlefield. I’ll let you read the letter before I say anything else.

Fort Ellsworth - Sept 2nd, 1862 Envelope CROPPED

Fort Ellsworth - Sept 2nd, 1862 Page One Fort Ellsworth - Sept 2nd, 1862 Page Two

 

Fort Ellsworth Virginey 12 miles from Washington

Tuesday Sep 2 , 1862

Morning six o’clock pm

My dear wife                        it is just half past six.

Horrace & I are sitting on the ground beside a brush fire. Horrace is shivering with cold & wet. It rained all night and we all slept on the ground, the Reg and officers & all slept together. I went down into the bushes, [piled] up some brush, spread Horrace’s blanket on them then we lay down, put mine over us & went to sleep until morning. I feel first [rate?] we’d all got wet through to our skin, I expected to have the [rheumatism] but have not. We shall have our tents [today]. We marched from Washington yesterday, we [passed] a train of sick and wounded soldiers some with an arm, leg gone. 8 Oclock I have just been over to Fort Ward the first Lt. Ar. Is there 2 Comp E.L. Cor A.B. is in Fort Blinker about ½ miles from here. They say Robert is there. I am going over there after breakfast if I can to see him.

We are within 10 miles of the battlefield­ where they are [fighting], can hear every gun that is fired, it sounds nearby I tell you but we are ready for them, let them come. The pickets took 3 rebels [Cavalry] last night and brought them in to the fort [within] 50 rods of where I am writing, [goodbye] I am going over to see Robert.

20 min to 4 oclock am. I have been over to Fort Blinker and found Robert, [they’re] all well, he had a letter from Bub Brown last night the first he [knew] about my [enlistment] but he did not that I was so near him. I was glad to see him so was he to see me, he went back to camp with me and [stayed] a hour. He is not so fat as he was when he left home. He wrote home just before I got over there this morning, we are close together now so we can see each other every day if nothing happens.

He does not stand it as well as I do. I am well hope this will [reach] you the same. Tell Mary I will write to her next. Give my love to all. I don’t know as you can read this letter if you can’t I will write the next letter.

Lots of love to you

And good wishes

I was [sorry] that we did not stop to Lyme that night.

Wrote in a [hurry]

[Goodbye] wife.

Direct my letter to

Washington

Co. I. 16 Reg Ct [Val?]

Washington DC

{scrawled message on page 2}

I am in a hurry to get this in the mail wagon.

[Goodbye] O friends at home.


The conditions Jamie describes sound fairly miserable but were probably very typical for a camp that hadn’t even set up their tents yet. The image of Jamie and Uncle Horrace huddled together underneath his blanket on a makeshift bed made out of a pile of brush makes me smile. Sometimes when trying to transcribe these letters, I get really frustrated over his horrible spelling and find myself assuming that he wasn’t the brightest of men, but he clearly had a sense of humor and was very resourceful which are much more important indicators of intelligence, or at least of a more useful kind of intelligence than being book smart. If you threw me out into the woods to fend for myself against the elements, I’d probably end up dead within the first ten minutes because I’d trip over a tree branch and bust my head open on a rock.

Something else here that I found interesting is that Jamie isn’t keeping all of the disturbing stuff from Katie – he tells her that they passed a train full of sick and wounded, some of them missing arms and legs. He also tells her just how close he is to the battlefield, but assures her that they are ready should anything happen. I am happy that he didn’t keep these things from her for two reasons – 1) I wouldn’t have much to write about here if all he said was “yeah, we’re fine nothing too interesting going on don’t worry about it, and 2) it shows that he had enough respect for Katie to want to share the truth with her and to know that she could handle it.