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13th New Hampshire Infantry

Item LTR-512
July 18, 1863 Henry H. Holt
Price: $245.00


8 pages original Civil War soldier's letter written in period ink and war dated.

Camp Bowers

July 18th 1863

Cousin Sara,

I received yours of June 21st some time since but have not had an opportunity to reply till the present time.

At the time of receiving yours, we were at White House Landing instead of our present camp which is about three miles from Portsmouth on the railroad to Suffolk in a pine grove and is the best camp ground we ever had with the exception that the water is not very good here.

We left here June 22nd, took a transport for Yorktown and landed there the same day, remained two or three days then took another transport and landed at White House where we remained till July 1st when we crossed the Pamunkey and started on the march for Hanover Court House. The road we took seemed to me to be rather circuitous. We halted the first night at King William Court house. The second at King William Mills. The third at a place called Taylor’s Farm and the fourth about one mile from the bridge which is near Hanover Court House. We were held as a reserve to do picket duty and several roads crossed near to that place while the rest of the division moved on and crossed the river.

The stillness of the night was broken now and then by the roar of cannon and the sound of musketry but neither continued long at a time we all expected that the next day would be a day of carnage to us but early on the morning of the 5th the sound of artillery wagons announced the return of the force that had crossed the river and by daylight the advance were passing our camp. We were all eager to hear what had taken place over the river. We learned that they found plenty of the enemy but did not make any attack on them. But sought to tear up rail road track, burn bridges, etc. How much they accomplished I do not know but I rather think not a great deal. They tried to burn the bridge at Hanover Junction but found the enemy too strong a force.

Our losses so far as I can learn were not very large. General Getty who was in command received an order form General Dix to return to White House as soon as possible. Otherwise we should probably have had a fight.

We returned to where we stopped the third night (about five miles), rested till five in the afternoon and then marched till one o’clock the next morning and that at no slow pace. We came back on a different road and stopped till daylight at Aylett Mills, having marched somewhere from twenty to twenty six miles.

Monday we marched to King William Court house striking the road we went up about one mile from the later place and halted a little after noon as it was raining too hard to proceed farther. Tuesday we returned to White House where we had expected to take transports but soon learned that we had got to march to Yorktown.

Wednesday. We started for Yorktown and arrived there Friday night. We then learned that we had got to march to Fort Monroe.

Saturday. We rested at Yorktown. Sunday morning. Started for Fort Monroe and was detailed to go with the wagon train and went to Hampton the same day. The regiment halted at Big Bethel and arrived at Hampton Monday, from which place we took transports for Portsmouth about sundown. Landed at the later place about ten and got back to old Camp Bowers about eleven o’clock.

It seemed much like getting home to get back to the old camp.

When we left camp we took our knapsacks but did not bring back many of them and probably $1500.00 would not pay for the clothing thrown away in this regiment alone.

We saw some very hard marching and some poor management in behalf of our brigade commanders. For instance, the order would be given to march at four o’clock the next morning. We would get ready and not get started till six or seven. I do not think Sergeant Hardy will get a furlough at present.

Lieutenant Wilson, Sergeant Wheeler, C. A. Ames and some others from the regiment are going home on business or expect to. Something about the draft I suppose.

It was with sorrow and indignation that we heard of the riot in New York and the attempted one in Boston. When our arms have met with so good success, when it looked as though the rebellion was about “played out” that northern traitors should thus encourage it renders them more detestable than those of the south. I hope there are none in New Hampshire that are bold enough to thus disgrace the state. W. H. H. Wilder who was taken sick soon after we first came to Suffolk and has since been home on a furlough and returned while we were gone is again sick and has gone to Hampton Hospital. I believe I am well and have been all the time we have been gone, but I must close. Thanks for kind wishes and my regards to you and your folks and all inquiring friends.

Henry H. H.

P.S. Please excuse poor writing and poorer spelling all other mistakes.