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    "...our danger became imminent, and all the horrors of a battle field were displayed..."

    Union Captain Andrew T. Goodman Archive comprised of over fifty letters spanning the years 1861 through 1865, the bulk of which date from the year 1863. Written mostly to his wife, his letters contain detailed accounts of everyday life in a Union camp, including playing baseball, and the condition of the state of Virginia during the latter half of the war as well as accounts of the Battles of Fredericksburg and Mine Run.

    Andrew T. Goodman enlisted as a captain in the 119th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, known as the "Gray Reserves," in August 1862. Early in the war, the 119th was posted around Washington, D.C. guarding the Federal Arsenal. Writing home to his wife on September 14, 1862, Capt. Goodman describes the state of the camp: "The smell...is one of the most unpleasant features. The woolen blankets and overcoats smell, the plates smell, your clothes smell, and everything about has a greasy feel." The food is meager, consisting of "...Pork hash, Beef and onions, Coffee and dry bread." With no other important news, he relates a typical day in camp: "...awakened...at 5 ½ o'clock in the morning. Then comes Roll Call at 6, breakfast at 6 ½ drill at 7. Guard mounting at 9. reporting to the Colonel immediately after, then camp duties until 12, then dinner, then drill & other duties until 6 in the Evening, then Roll Call again, then [illegible], at 9 roll call, at 9 ½ taps, at which all lights but our own are put out, and then bed. Such is the daily programme."

    By November, the regiment was in the field as a member of the Army of the Potomac and he writes home that they have finally left Washington and are "...marching for Richmond..." They participated in the Battle of Fredericksburg and, on December 12, 1862, he wrote home to his wife giving his account of the battle: "I presume you have been somewhat worried about me since the battle of Saturday, and would like to have some information regarding the part of the 119th in it...the Colonel having...called his Captains together and informed them that the Regiment would in all probability participate that day in one of the bloodiest battles on record...We had not many miles to march, and before the column had marched far, we heard the fire of heavy guns in front...About 9 we reached the Bank of the Rappahannock, and were drawn up in several lines of battle...We here found the heavy firing was from our own batteries, shelling Fredericksburg and protecting the Engineers who were laying a pontoon bridge across the River...We remained in this Valley all day in the mud, the shells from our batteries passing over our heads, the Rebels not deigning to answer us...we recd orders to cross the River [the next morning]...our Division was the first over, and...our Brigade was ordered to the front...The Wisconsin 5 attempted to cross the Road in our front, and were driven back by a shower of bullets from the Rebs. The bullets flew over us thick and fast, and the sensation was anything but pleasant... Thousands after thousands crossed the River...until we thought we had more than enough to overwhelm the Rebs, but Alas! it seemed not." On Saturday, he reports that they "...fell back and formed the 2nd line of battle...our danger became imminent, and all the horrors of a battle field were displayed. We were on our back ...the shells bursting over, around and among us. I cannot describe all to you I would like, but I shall never forget that scene."

    On April 12, he wrote home regarding a significant event: a review by President Lincoln. "The review by the President on Thursday last was a grand affair...His Excellency looks care worn, has become quite gray, and I doubt not would much rather not be subjected to all the troubles he has had to encounter. Mrs. L. was with him and his little boy."

    Goodman was wounded in the leg (though his correspondence does not indicate when or where) and he was sent to Philadelphia. After recovering somewhat, he was transferred to the Invalid Corps in Washington. By June 25, 1863, he had returned to his regiment, just in time to participate in the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station and, later that year, at the Battle of Mine Run. The fighting at Mine Run began on November 27, beginning with heavy skirmishing. By that afternoon, Goodman's brigade was "...ordered to advance at a double quick...and were subjected to a pretty heavy shelling whilst running." Upon arrival, they provided protection for two batteries, however, "We now learned that we had got into the action entirely without orders." The following day, they drove "...the Rebs slowly...until noon, when we had then driven across Mine Run...The mist clearing away, we could perceive a line of entrenchments in front of us as far...as we could see...it was decided these intrenchments [sic] should be stormed...To General [John] Sedgwick...was given the centre, where we were placed...At noon [the following day] was told, the grand attack was to be made at 4 P.M...Our Brigade was not to be of the storming party having done enough at Rappahannock Station. We were to support Batteries...However, the sun set and no attack was made." At 8 a.m. the following morning, the Union guns opened on the Rebel positions, but, as they were dug in too well, the attack "...was finally given up altogether." The Army of the Potomac fell back and settled into winter quarters at Brandy Station.

    The 119th was active throughout the Eastern Theater and participated in many of the major engagements including Gettysburg, the Wilderness, the Siege of Petersburg, and were present at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House (though no letters exist in this archive with accounts of those battles mentioned). In April 1865, Goodman was transferred to the Field & Staff of the 215th Pennsylvania Infantry with the rank of major and left the service on July 31, 1865.


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