1st Maine Cavalry
July 4, 1862
Joseph D. Eaton
4 pages, original Civil War Union letter written in period ink and war dated.
Weaverville Va. July 4th, 1862
The Fourth of July is nearly over and I have omitted the last of our amusements of celebration to write you a few lines to inform you of my health which was never better. I hope these lines will find you and all the rest enjoying the same blessings. Today we have been keeping up a form of celebration. At sunrise, we raised the Stars and Stripes and fired the National Salute. At nine, we were reviewed by the Commanding General preparatory to our march which takes place tomorrow morning. The rest of the day has been occupied by speeches, music and cheers for our Native State and friends at home. A foot race, bag race and game of greased pig are now taking place. Tonight we have a grand bonfire.
Now a word about war. The rebels are all gone from this vicinity. The whole Rebel force are confronting McClellan. His late movements have been successful if he can hold his position. The fighting has been desperate and our losses very heavy. Yet, if McClellan has held his position till now, Richmond will soon be ours. Halleck’s great western army are on their way to Richmond if not near there. The troops of James Island are on their way also. The forces of
McDowell, Banks, and the command of Fremont and Rickets [and] Sigel all now under the command of Pope are to act with McClellan. We leave here tomorrow. That’s all we know about our route but as far as I can learn, I think Gordonsville will pick us up soon. From there, we may advance toward Richmond. Our regiment is now no longer on the reserve but is considered the best of the volunteer cavalry. Give us a fair chance and we would give a good account of ourselves. Captain Cowan has returned to his company and we are sorry. We are better off without him as you will think if you saw him and he said he saw you on your way to convention.
How does the call for more troops suit the people of Wells I hope they will draft every third man in York County. I want to see some of the sicesh of old Wells out here. We have got so we could tame them down if we had them. I would not advise anyone to enlist who is doing well at home. It is not the finest thing to be a soldier that ever was. It is all good after one gets broke in but that takes five or six months and it ain’t everyone that can stand it that time.
I must now bid you good bye. I have not heard from any of you for some time and you won’t hear from me again till I hear from some of you. You need not worry about me if you don’t hear from me again for a month. Give my respects to all. I will now say good bye for this time.
Yours truly, J. D. Eaton
Write soon and tell me all that’s going on.