Battle of Gettysburg: Letter written by Union Lieut. Richa...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionBattle of Gettysburg: Letter written by Union Lieut. Richard Crockett of the 19th Maine, July 8th, 1863...."I am alive after one of the hardest and most bloody battles of the year....".
This two-page letter in pencil is written to a friend Samuel Jordan in Brunswick, Maine. This was Crockett's home town and also the home of Joshua Chamberlain. Ink-addressed envelope is included. Reads in part:
"We went on to the Battlefield Thursday, July 2nd and never left it till the 6th. I had nothing to eat for 2 days. Excitement kept me alive."
"Since the Battle I have been quite unwell but managed to keep up with the Army. We are now about 10 miles from the Battlefield going towards Frederick City, Md. The other Corps is chasing Gen. Lee up. Samuel, we give the Rebels hail Columbia. This time their loss was awful. They left all their dead and wounded on the field for us to take care of."
"I never want to see another such a Battle. After the Battle was over, we had to work half of the night clearing the dead bodies away, so we could pitch our tents to keep us from the rain which was coming down in torrents at that time."
"Now the Rebs were in full retreat towards the River Potomac. I hope they will rue the day they ever started for this part of the country. They got a good sound whipping at Gettysburg and will probably get another very soon. Gen. Meade is after them."
"The 19th Maine is small now. Co. K went into the fight with 41 guns and come out with only 8, lost 33 killed and wounded. 2nd Lieut. wounded."
"I had two balls put through my hat and one through my pants, but yet I am alive and should be well if I had plenty to eat, but I have not but must be contented."
"We have only 8 men present for duty in our Company. I don't want to come home till this cursed rebellion is put down. I think it is near at its end. I hope so at any rate."
Crockett concludes the letter by saying, "I send my love to all of you and hope to live to come home and see you all. Kids, pray for me." As a P. S., Crockett writes: "I send you an old letter I found in a dead Rebel's pockets on the Battlefield. Also $5.00 note a Rebel soldier gave me to send his mother in Richmond. He was wounded and is probably dead by this time." He then adds "Rebel postage stamp also." Attached to the letter is a five-cents Confederate Jeff Davis stamp. The $5.00 note is also present and found folded in the envelope as was a small Rebel note that mentions "whiskey we have but little and want that for the sick." "Would be much obliged to you for some more tobacco." "You cannot take Port Hudson, and old Joe give Grant one of the worst whipping that ever man got the other day, and will be behind you next."
Obviously old Joe is referring to Confederate General Joe Johnson. A strange little note but something Crockett thought would be a curiosity coming from a Rebel.
For display purposes we have copied a CDV of Richard Crockett and an original Tipton photograph of the 19th Maine Infantry 2nd Corps Monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.
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