Near the Weldon Railroad
August 22, 1864
[Written by Ansel L. White to his mother]
We recrossed the James [River] night before last and came to this point in rear of the 5th Corps ready to support them if necessary. We have the Weldon Road in our possession and Gen. [Ulysses S.] Grant intends to hold it. The 5th Corps had quite a fight before we reached here. They repulsed the Rebs with great slaughter. I presume our move across the James was only intended to draw the Rebs attention that way while the 5th Corps took the r.[ail] road which was done after a pretty severe fight. Our loss was quite heavy. Our brigade lost in the charge about two hundred & fifty. I presume you have seen accounts of it in the paper. Col. Marcy of the 20th Mass. was in command. Our Corps is under arms ready to follow the 5th as soon as they become engaged. Gen. [G.K.] Warren has just sent word that the enemy had left his front. I think he will find a plenty of them before he proceeds. Maj. Patten of the 20th Mass., a particular friend of mine was shot in the leg and had it amputated. I am afraid he will not live. Our brigade is commanded by Lt. Col. Rugg of the 59th N.Y. He will be relieved in a day or two. I think Col. Hudson will take command. It is fight, fight, fight, the same over & over every day.
Remember me to all,
Ansel L. White, was a 27 year old resident of Belfast, Maine, when he enlisted on Aug. 25, 1862, as a sergeant, and was mustered into Co. D, 19th Maine Infantry. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, Nov. 10, 1862, and Captain, Oct. 31, 1864. He was mustered out of service on May 31, 1865.
The 19th Maine Infantry was one of the hardest fighting units in the Army of the Potomac. Their battle honors include Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Bristoe Station, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Deep Bottom, Reams’ Station, and Hatcher’s Run. At Gettysburg, the regiment went into the battle with 440 officers and men. When the fighting was over they had lost 12 officers and 220 men!