Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lucius E. Bidwell Co. B, 14th Connecticut Infantry KIA at the Wilderness May 5 1864

Lucius E. Bidwell Co. B, 14th Connecticut Infantry KIA at the Wilderness May 5 1864
Battlefield of The Wilderness
In camp on North side of Rapidan, Feb. 7, 1864

My Dear Mother—

Our Heavenly Father has again saved your son Lucius safely through another battle and one of the worst kinds of a battle too. It was a night fight. Yesterday morning about 5 o’clock we were routed out of our beds with the orders to pack up and fall in. We took up our line of march for the River Rapidan at about nine o’clock in the morning and reached the river about an hour after. We crossed the Rapidan by fording it about noon. We had to ford it, it was up to our breasts and it was a very rapid stream, so much so that if we had accidentally slipped, we would have been carried down stream, and stood a very good chance of finding our graves at the bottom thereof. But as far as I know there was no accident of the kind happened, only now and then one would slip as he was crawling up the opposite bank, which was very steep, but no serious harm was done to my knowledge, but givng them a good dunking, and wetting their cartridges.

The water was very cold--it makes a fellow’s feet and legs ache, I tell you! But go it, we must follow our leader through fire and water. The regiment known as the Garbaldi’s Guards, a New York Regiment composed of Dutch, Irish, and Italians refused to wade because they said it was too deep. But General Hays, knowing of it, jumped from his horse without saying a word, and left his horse this side of the river and waded across to the other side, picking out good footing, and then waded back after his horse. They saw that he got over safe, so they finally plunged in, and arrived safely on the other side. I tell you what he is - a regular tiger! I suppose you have heard of him before. He is in command of our Division, and goes by the name of 'Fighting Ellick'. He rides along the line of skirmishers with his hat in his hand, cheering the men on, crying, 'Give them hell boys give them hell.’ He is an old tiger, he is most always a little tight when there is fighting going on and then he is in his glory.

He thinks the Old 14th is about right he is always pressing us up. He was with us in the thickest of the fight crying out 'give ‘em hell, 14th--Bully for you! Bully for you, go in, boys, go in 14th!’ and so on--the balls flying around his head like hailstones without flinching in the least. He is a regular dare devil!

We marched to a hollow facing the rebels breast works, and remained there until about 5 o’clock within rifle shot of their rifle-pits. They sent a few shells over to us, but most of them passed over harmless. But two or three took effect, killing three or four and wounding several. They had only fired several shots when it was ascertained that the Rebs had ...a solid line of battle advancing on us. We were ordered to advance. The bully 14th taking the load, and charged at the double quick time. They met us half way and poured an everlasting fire into us which caused us to waiver for a moment, and with a deafening yell we made a rush, pouring a volley of blue pills into them which they won't soon forget and put them to flight, and drove them to their rifle pits.

By this time it was dark as pitch, we could not see our foes until we met them face to face, some shot at one another and knocked each others brains out with the butt of the musket. We were fighting in squads most of the night, each man for himself. 

Continue reading the rest of Lucius Bidwell's letter at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

KIA: 1863 Letter from Alvin Brown of Ohio Infantry

KIA: 1863 Letter from Alvin Brown of Ohio Infantry

Removing wounded across Rappahannock River
after battle of Chancellorsville

Camp Brooks Station March the 15th, 1863

Dear Father--

I am well at present. I hope when these few lines reach you, they will find you the same.

I did not receive a letter from you for about three weeks. I wrote you a letter to you a good while ago. I was waiting for an answer from you, but I did not receive an answer yet today. So I thought I would write another letter to you. I hope there is nothing wrong that you don’t.

I had wrote in my other letter for a fine comb and some black thread. If you get this letter, send me them things, if you can. I have not much to write this time. I must tell you one thing yet and that is, we expect to have a hard battle at Fredericksburg before long. I received a letter from George about three weeks ago. I could [not] answer his because I could not get any postage stamps. Nothing more at present.

Answer soon. Alvin Brown 

Alvin M. Brown of the 107th Ohio Infantry. The letter is undated and is not addressed. Alvin M. Brown was killed in action at Chancellorsville in May, 1863.

Read the Brown brothers letters:
Alvin 1862 | Alvin 15 March 1863 | George 29 March 1863 | George Oct 16 1863 | George 28 Jan. 1864

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

1863 Letter Sergeant Neil A. Baker Company F, 50th North Carolina

1863 Letter Sergeant Neil A. Baker Company F, 50th North Carolina
Civil War Soldier, N.C. Regiment
Camp Near Goldsboro, North Carolina—February 1863

Dear Jane—

Having a good opportunity of sending you a few lines by N. T. Watson, I embrace it. This leaves me in my usual health, hop[ing] this will reach you and the babies enjoying the same blessing. Mr. Watson goes home on furlough for 14 days also Jack Thomas and Sgt. John Godfrey. Again I am acting Quartermaster Sgt. Vice [for] Wm J. Kelley [who has] gone home upon furlough for 14 days.

Again, I am acting Quartermaster Sergeant,“Vice”. William J. Kelley [has] gone home upon furlough for 14 days. John B. McFarland got an indefinite detail (for not stated time) to work in Goldsboro upon Guns for Government and I am pretty certain that he will get a furlough too, to go after his tools. One man for every twenty-five gets furloughs, but you see, Sgt. Kelly or J. B. McFarland furloughs has nothing to do with the furloughs of those of the Company.

We have a good many visitors, Rob, David Thomas and wives and mother. Absolum Kelly and Getty Cox came today. John Buchanan and daughter and Jasper Thomas’s wife came last evening and some others that came before.

We have good news! In today’s paper, our little Navy pitched into the blockading vessels at Charleston, South Carolina and cleared the Ranch—raised or opened the blockade without any loss on our side. I still have very flattering hopes that we will soon have peace again in our land. I have a very strong opinion that in a few days, the number of furloughs will be increased for because if they are not, you see one for every 25 men, it would take nearly or quite all the year for all to get home at that rate. If there is no threatening movement of the enemy soon, I am confident that the number will be increased. I want to go in this or the first of next month if possible.

Nothing more worth your attention.

…Yours truly, Neill A. Baker 


The letter is addressed to Mrs. Sarah J. Baker of Chatham County, North Carolina. There is an additional notation on the envelope which states, Favor of N. R. Bryan care A.A. Harrington. Neil Baker mustered into Company “F”, 50th North Carolina on May 27, 1862. Sergeant Baker was the only one of his Regiment wounded on December 9, 1864 during the siege of Savannah, Georgia. Poor Baker only lived a few short days. He died of his wounds on December 16, 1864. Baker also had service in “G” Co., 17th Mississippi Infantry. He was promoted to Sgt. On or about January 15, 1863.

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