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    A father and son at the Battle of Fredericksburg - a Union view: Letter by George G. Pilkington, 126th PA. Infantry.
    A 4 page letter in pencil headed, "Camp near Fredericksburg, Va. December 16th, 1862".... the next day after the battle. George G. Pilkington was a resident of Franklin County, Penn, and enlisted at the same time his father T. G. Pilkington did in the 126th Pa. George was a member of the Band and not on the front line in battle. His father was a Corporal in Company A and in this letter, being in an exposed position, was wounded. George describes this hard fought battle:

    "On Thursday (Dec 13th) morning early, we started for Fredericksburg and marched about 2 miles and encamped on a hill above the city and were eye witnesses of the destruction of that city which was destroyed by 21 heavy siege guns. I never heard such a noise in my life."

    "For 3 or 4 hours there was one storm of iron hail poured in that doomed city and that night we slept in the mud. The next day we moved about a mile further and stayed there all night and on Saturday morning we rose early but laid on the same place until near dinner."

    "Then we received orders to march. Well, we were then took double-quick time across the river under the fire of the Rebels. When we arrived in the street, they unstrung knapsacks and marched out to the field of Battle about half a mile from town and took a place in front of a Rebel Battery."

    "Our boys had to lay down in the mud, then came the order. Attention, fix bayonets, charge bayonets, forward double-quick time, march. Then came the cheers from our Brigade, and then came the shot and shell from the Rebel Battery..."

    "We lost 981 men killed, wounded and missing. This charge was mad."

    "Just about dark, I was busy leading the wounded into the hospitals. That night I stayed with Uncle John in the house with our knapsacks. In the morning Samuel Lyda came to the house and told me that Pap (His father T. G. Pilkington) was wounded and wanted to see me. This shook me, so I went down to the hospital and found him in there."

    "He is wounded in both hands and knee, but they are actually flesh wounds. So then I got some water and dressed his wounds over again. Then Uncle Tracy and I led him up to where we stayed and put him in a cot bed and made fire in the stove and stayed with him until Tuesday morning when we got news of our troops falling back."

    "Pap grew uneasy about it, and he wanted to cross the river, as all the wounded had been taken across the day before, so we started before daylight through the rain and mud and crossed the pontoon bridge just about an hour before the Rebels came into town."

    "We led him to the Rail Road Station, and I put dry stockings on his feet and started him for Washington. He was in good spirits when he got on the train. Mother, if I was you, I wouldn't try and get to see him. Uncle Tracy will be home as soon as he gets the signature to his discharge."

    "Poor George Brotherton and Simon Rowzer, two of the best young men in our Company, are among the killed and were left on the field unburied. Daniel Wolfe and John Floney are wounded. Henry Barnett and Christian Hoover are missing. Thomas French is shot through the ear. His wound is not bad."

    "Our brave Colonel (James G. Elder) fell wounded through the thigh. When the charge was made, he did not say "go on boys," but he said "come on boys.'"

    "The loss in our Regiment is 180 men. Company A lost 4 killed and 13 wounded. Company H and B are the only Companies that had killed. Phil told me that he would lead a different life after getting out of such a slaughter."

    "No more at present, but remain your son, George. My love to all."

    "PAP" as George called his dad died from his wounds in Washington, DC on January 15, 1863.

    Both letter and cover are in fine condition. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    6th Sunday
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