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2nd Battalion Georgia Infantry - Wounded at Gettysburg

Item CON-8664
March 16, 1862 Howard McCutchen
Price: $650.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages, written in period ink.

Georgia Barracks
Norfolk, Virginia

March 16th 1862

Dear Brother,

The excitement in regard to our great naval victory in Hampton Roads has in a great measure died out. And everyone is on the lookout for the coming of the Virginia again. It is not known when she will go out again. But she will be ready in a few days. Her iron snout was broken off. Her smoke stack shot all to pieces. Several bars of iron knocked off and a leak sprung. They are putting on a steel snout now and other ways improving her. I think she intends to carry grappling irons with her and try to capture the Ericsson Battery. I hope they will be able to capture it. For if we do get it, we can take Fortress Monroe. If they cannot capture it, I think they will try to pierce her ironsides with her steel snout and sink her. We will soon have four gun boats ready and I think they will accompany her on the next trip. Three of them are built by the Government and the fourth by private individuals. One of them is to be covered like the Virginia and to carry four guns. She will not draw more than seven feet of water and will be able to go down the canal to the coast of North Carolina.

I think our government ought to work very fast in building ironclad boats. For we have showed the Yankees how to whip us. And in the course of three or four months, they will have a great many more than we have. There is a report here that the Yankees have again whipped our forces at Newbern, North Carolina. They shelled the town without any warning and fired into two or three boats filled with women and children. We had 7,000 and they 25,000. Our men made several gallant charges but were outflanked. Other reports say they rank like turkeys. I don’t believe the North Carolinians can fight or they don’t want to. This report is all again contradicted this evening, but I think it is true. We heard yesterday that Price gained the advantage of the fight in Arkansas. That he captured 13,000 prisoners and 20,000 stand of arms.

Another vessel has arrived in Charleston with 40,000 stand of arms and other military stores. Captain Semmes of the Privateer Sumpter has been arrested at Gibraltar by the American Commissioner. There is great talk in camp about going home. The payrolls have been ordered to be made out up to the 1st April. Some think we will be discharged then. But I think we will stay until our time is out, the 20th of April.

I was to see Blind Tom one night last week. He is the greatest wonder alive. He was born in Muskogee County, Georgia, is 11 years old and the best musician alive. He has not a bit of sense. Knows nothing about the principles of music but can play anything on the piano you ask for, if he has ever heard it. If he hears a new tune, no matter how difficult, he can play it over without missing a note and never forget it. He can sit down to a piano without any composer and the composer may play a tune never played before and Blind Tom will play a correct bass and then change places and play the air correctly. He repeated a speech of Douglass delivered in Lynchburg word for word. He played Yankee Doodle with one hand, Feathers Horn pipe with the other and sang Dixie all at the same time. He is certainly the greatest wonder alive. But has not a spark of sense.

I am well. My gums, tongue and the roof of my mouth is very sore and have been so for several days. I believe it is something like scurvy and caused by eating so much salt beef.

Give my love to all.

Your affectionate brother,

Howard McCutchen