DescriptionUnion Soldier's Letters (20) of Private George S. Youngs of Co, C, 126th New York Volunteers. A total of 20 letters written during the years 1862 through 1865 addressed to members of his immediate family, most with original transmittal cover. Youngs is a keen observer, and his letters include battle content as well as the precarious nature of a soldier's daily life.
Of note in the group is a five-page letter written in pencil dated February 10, 1864 describes the action at Morton's Ford, wounds sustained in battle, and resulting amputations: "...no more troops but the 3rd Division crossed the river at Morton's Ford. Tuesday's paper gave the credit of the prisoners taken to Gen. Caldwell's division (the 1st) assisted by another brigade of the 2nd Corps...the prisoners taken at Morton's Ford were taken by the 3rd Brigade...Hays' division did the work. Let their losses testify...Gen. Hays himself dismounted and forded the river saying, "come boys if I can ford it you can"...they scarcely needed the incentive for all were in excellent spirits. Captain [Robert S.] Seabury [MWIA Wilderness, Va., 5/5/64] adjutant General of our brigade...and Col. Baird, who was in command of the skirmish line, were the first officers to cross the river...Feagles was wounded...his leg was amputated above the knee day before yesterday. He made a considerable noise about it and Gen. Hays rode up and asked who was hurt. The lieutenant told him his name and the Gen. says 'come, come. simmer down now...there has been men wounded in this war besides you.' We could always tell where 'old Hays' was by the laughter he would excite by his original remarks. When the shell which exploded over our Co. burst. Col. Bull was sitting on his horse...near us...his horse jumped and reared. Gen. Hays rode by...looking at the Col., who is notorious for his plunk, he said 'Well Bull you did dodge that big one didn't you.' The Col. pleaded 'not guilty' and swore he would face as many bullets as Gen. Hays. They are both brave men and...always manage...'dutch courage'...which renders them perfectly reckless...before we started...whiskey rations were served to the troops and when we started for camp both officers and men were under the influence of commissary...a majority of the brigade were. Our Captain...was so much so that it was with great difficult he could promulgate. Some of the men would fall down in the mud and lay there perfectly contented. Gen. Hays rode by and was greeted with the most enthusiastic cheers...Henry Bellinger has died of his wounds. Lieutenant Shields of Gen. Hays' staff was badly wounded...he will recover...please consider my information in regard to the 'Commissary' business as strictly private...G. S. Youngs".
Condition: Condition varies, but is overall very good.
Partial transcription of the five-page letter written from Stevensburg, Virginia on February 10, 1864: ".no more troops but the 3rd Division crossed the river at Morton's Ford. Tuesday's paper gave the credit of the prisoners taken to Gen. Caldwell's division (the 1st) "assisted by another brigade of the 2nd Corps.the prisoners taken at Morton's Ford were taken by the 3rd Brigade.Hays' division did the work. Let their loses testify.Gen. Hays himself dismounted and forded the river saying, 'come boys if I can ford it you can'.they scarcely needed the incentive for all were in excellent spirits. Captain [Robert S.] Seabury [MWIA Wilderness, Va., May 5, 1864] adjutant General of our brigade.and Col. Baird, who was in command of the skirmish line, were the first officers to cross the river.Feagles was wounded.his leg was amputated above the knee day before yesterday. He made a considerable noise about it and Gen. Hays rode up and asked who was hurt. The lieutenant told him his name and the Gen. says 'come, come. simmer down now.there has been men wounded in this war besides you.' We could always tell where 'old Hays" was by the laughter he would excite by his original remarks. When the shell which exploded over our Co. burst. Col. Bull was sitting on his horse.near us.his horse jumped and reared. Gen. Hays rode by.looking at the Col., who is notorious for his plunk, he said "Well Bull you did dodge that big one didn't you.' The Col. pleaded 'not guilty' and swore he would face as many bullets as Gen. Hays. They are both brave men and.always manage.'dutch courage'.which renders them perfectly reckless.before we started.whiskey rations were served to the troops and when we started for camp both officers and men were under the influence of commissary.a majority of the brigade were. Our Captain.was so much so that it was with great difficult he could promulgate. Some of the men would fall down in the mud and lay there perfectly contented. Gen. Hays rode by and was greeted with the most enthusiastic cheers.Henry Bellinger has died of his wounds. Lieutenant Shields of Gen. Hays' staff was badly wounded.he will recover.please consider my information in regard to the 'Commissary' business as strictly private.G. S. Youngs". The original stamped transmittal cover is included. A bit light, else very good.
Partial transcription of a five-page letter written from Stevensburg, Virginia on March 16, 1864 describing the celebration of St. Patrick's Day hosted by the 69th Penn. Vols.: ".our chaplain is with us and has been all the time.we have had Divine service for the last three or four Sundays.[March 17th].I have just returned tom Celebration of Saint Patrick's Day which was.about a mile from here between Stevensburg and Culpeper C. H.there was a large number of spectators already assembled including a considerable number of ladies who were seated on a platform laid on the top of army wagons. The platform also accommodated the band which belongs to the first division.if not the best in the army. Gen. Owen always foremost in everything was not behind.was general director of the festivities. He also occupied a place on the platform as did several other officers.first.was a hurdle race, best two in three .the course is about a mile long and at intervals of several rods ditches were dugout two feet deep and eight or ten wide, besides these ditches there was two hurdles or barricades erected about four feet high. Three or four horses were entered.one of them fell and threw his rider over his head at the last ditch.fortunately he was not hurt. The next thing was climbing the guard pole. The pole was covered with soap and ten dollars placed on the top. Gen. Owen announced that the man who reached the top should have the ten dollars and all the soap that was left. After several vain attempts one was.successful and then the greased pig was brought on. The Gen. said that he must be caught by anecdote [tail].to entitle the catcher the reward which was the pig itself. The pig's tail was about an inch long and of course no one was able to catch him.after amusement enough.they allowed him to be caught by the leg and the victor [a man in the 116th Penn.] bore him off in triumph. After this a rabbit was brought in the ring but the poor thing never stirred from the spot where he was laid for the men pounced upon him so quick that they killed him. Instantly, a sack race, foot race, mule race, sparring match and a horse race followed each other in quick succession and terminated the festivities. [March 18].the Corps was ordered under arms this P. M.it was reported that the Rebs were crossing the river.I overheard Gen. Kilpatrick say (yesterday at the race) that Gen. Stuart was at Ely's ford in force. I had my picture taken today and enclose it. But you must not allow anyone in the Mill to see it.George S. Youngs." The original stamped transmittal cover is included.
Partial transcription of a four-page letter enclosing a page from his journal with content regarding General Frant's Overland Campaign: "2nd Corps Headquarters, Near Hanover Junction, Va., May 25, 1864.we are fully two miles from that place and in another County (Carolina). Our Corps and one division of the Ninth crossed the river here last eve.still in line of battle on the other side skirmishing. Both with artillery and musketry have been kept up all day. We have lain here all day and when stragglers have been brought in.details have been made.to take them to their division headquarters.[we] had nearly a hundred stragglers tied by the elbows back to back for half an hour. They were then released and taken to the division to which they belonged. Went up to an old fashioned house belonging to Thomas Chandler who seems to have been a very influential and well educated man. He was postmaster, magistrate and a manager of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. His brother, Rufus K. Chandler was a graduate of Yale College.the place had been well ransacked.the furniture was broken and scattered around the rooms. He had a library which had been well stocked with.Greek, Latin and English dictionaries and works of a similar nature.there was any quantity of letters heaped up o the floors.I picked up a number.and brought them over to my tent to read.some of them I found very interesting.there was young lady in the family named Bettie .she must have been amiable.the owner of the place left for Richmond on the advance of our army. He left some Nigs behind with instructions to go to Hanover, but they failed to profit by his kind advise and stayed. It seems hard to see such a place as his destroyed, but they have chosen their course and must abide by consequences.[Headquarters, 2nd Corps, near Hanover Junction, Va, May 26, 1864] .still lay on the north side of the river.skirmishing kept up all day.we had.considerable cannonading from four o'clock till dark. Had twenty men bucked and gaged for two or three hours.after dark two men were detailed to whip them. One turned them over and the other gave them twenty lashes each.some of them took it without a word, but the majority of them cried like school boys. Generals Meade and Burnside were visiting Gen. Hancock while I was on post. The troops are all being withdrawn to this side of the river.for the purpose of making another flank movement.[May 27th, 1864] .fell in and stacked arms.marched back to where we lay Monday night. The troops are all in line of battle on this side of the river. The skirmishers fell back to this side of the river.and burned the bridge. A feat the Rebels attempted when we drove them to the other side.our forces have torn up and destroyed the railroad.it was twelve.before the rear of the Corps got fairly in.then they dragged along slowly till two.[May 28th] .moved on a agin and reached headquarters at daybreak.moved out to the road and lay two hours.witting for the rear of the corps to come up.we came on the cause of all the slow motion. It was a very bad place in the road and two poor bridges.crossed the Pamunkey river.we reached Corps Headquarters very much fatigued.we picked up a couple of men this morning with a pretty good sized lamb which they had killed. Major Bull compelled one of them to carry both of their guns and the others to carry the lamb.they didn't think they should want any more mutton this summer. [Twelve miles from Richmond near the Chickahominy Swamp, May 30th, 1864] .skirmishing is going on out in front and a great battle is expected today.G. S. Youngs." The original stamped transmittal cover is included.
Partial transcript of a two-page letter with content about advancing on Cold Harbor: "Head Quarters 2nd Corps Three miles from Atley Station, Va., May 31-June 1, 1864. We were raised up at three o'clock.skirmishing and cannonading has been kept up all day. About fifty prisoners were brought in captured from their skirmish line.we have driven them over a mile today, but they obstinately contest every foot of ground.saw C. Finger who was slightly wounded in the hand. P. Bulger is also wounded in the ankle.borrowed some late Richmond papers of the prisoners, miserable papers and poor type, they claim a victory.to the date of publication. [June 1].the skirmishers are at work again and have been since daylight. The sixth Corps is moving back and will probably attempt to flank their right again as we have so often.about five o'clock Sergeant Bishop and six men were detailed to go out to the front to Colonel Sheldon's (Rebel) house where General Hancock had temporarily established his headquarters. The house was riddled with shot and shells and there was hardly a tree.that had escaped dismemberment by solid shot. General Hancock and staff were sitting in the yard in the shade of the trees. There was a battery on the right and one on the left of the house, but a few yards distant.thought they threw a shot at the Johnnies every two minutes no reply was made [by] them.we marched into the yard as soon as we arrived.the Gen. H. enquired if that was the Provo. Guard. Major Bull told limit was. The Gen. said he guessed he would not relieve the guard that was on and we might go back. The major said we might go outside the yard and stack arms and remain theater till dark.before we got half way there Gen. H. and his staff overtook us and of course got there sometime before we did. When we arrived there we found the guard all packed up and ready to move. Headquarters were being taken down and it was said that our Corps was to take the same road the 6th Corps took this morning.found the corps was already in motion. Stationed a sentinel to inform us when Birney's Division should pass, they having the rear of the Corps.our Corps has been.skirmishing all day but.they have [not] had any severe fight. The fighting on our left has been quite heavy.it is very warm and the roads are very dusty. Wm. Tyndall of Company A was killed today on the skirmish line." Unsigned, but complete; the original stamped transmittal cover is included.
Partial transcription of a four page letter: "Provost Guard Hdqrs., Second Corps near Petersburg, Va., Dec. 4, 1864. The Second has again changed its base.in the operation I have lost my pen and pen holder.the 9th Corps Hd. Qrs. have made a big thing by the exchange made with us. They moved down to the deserted House.and pitched their tents.[much on clearing the woods for a new camp and building their new winter quarters] .the position of our Corps is on the left flank, the line laying in shape of a horse shoe. There is no firing of any kind and.it was for that reason our Corps was put there as it has been under constant fire for a long time.our Thanksgiving dinner came all right as there was more than the officers could possibly use themselves.Geo. S. Youngs." The original stamped transmittal cover is included.
Partial transcription of a three-page letter: "Provost Guard Headquarters, Second Corps Before Petersburg, Va., Jan. 3, 1865 .a general review of the First Division by Gen. Humphreys has just been concluded and the troops are just returning to their quarters.I have not learned whether there are any more men to be hung next Friday.perhaps it will be omitted this week. The platform and 'drop' has been removed (as it is every Friday) for fear the soldiers will steal it, for the sake of the boards of which it is built. George Fussleman returned to the Regt. several days ago.he has the idea he will be sick again next spring.our chaplain is at the Regt or the hospital.I have not attended Divine [services] but once or twice since leaving Stevensburg.Geo. S. Youngs." The original transmittal cover is included.
Partial transcription of a three-and-a-half-page letter with content regarding the impending execution of three deserters from the 5th New Hampshire: "Provost Guard Headquarters, Second Corps Before Petersburg, Va., Jan. 9, 1865. all is quite along our lines with an occasional exception in the shape of a few shots on the picket line either at the Johnnies or at substitutes trying to desert. Desertions are becoming less frequent than they were a few weeks since. The rigid enforcement of the death penalty seems to have a most salutary effect.there are three more members of [the] 5th New Hampshire are to be hung on Friday next. There was a rumor.that General Hancock, finding it impossible to raise a new Corps, would soon resume command of the 'Old Second Corps.' I only hope it may prove true.you know the heart of a young man who has not had half an hours conversation with a white female in twenty eight months must be very tender and susceptible. You may question however whether it emanates from a soft head or a tender heart.Geo. S. Youngs." The original transmittal cover is included.
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