Letter by John W Pitridge, U.S. Army Co. H. 5th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry.
Camp Near Bell Plain Va
January 18th 1863
Tis with much pleasure that I write to let you no that I am well as common but don’t know how long I shall be though for we are going to move tomorrow with 3 days rations in our sacks to parts unknown to us . But we think we have go to go acrossed the river but hope not for it is Death to a good many who go over there and it may be me and it may not be but God knows and no one else so I trust all to him……
Dear parents Tis with much pleasher that I right to let you no that I am well as common but don’t know how long I shal be tho for we are gointo moave tomorrow with 3 days rations in our sacks to parts unnon to us . But we think we have goto go acrost the river but hope not for it is Death to a good meny hoo go over ther and it may be me and it may not be but God Noes and no on elso so I trust all to him…… (more)… John W pitridge To his father & Mother Brother Sister Be Shure and right often to me for it may be som time bfore I can right very soon to you again. John Naylor is well & James B McGibbon is well to. All the boys are well as common but haito moave for they no the effect. Good By for this time. Right Soon John W Pitridge Good By My for this time.
Source: eBay, June 2007
At the time he wrote this letter he had just seen action at Fredericksburg Va. – Dec. 13, 1862.
John W. Pitridge resided in Brandon, Vermont and enlisted in the U.S. Army Co. H. 5th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry on September 4th, 1861. He was mustered into the service for 3 years on September 16th, 1861. On September 18 he and Company H camped on Meridian Hill, then crossed Chain Bridge into Virginia to join other Vermont regiments at Camp Advance. From there he participated in the following battles:
Lee’s Mills Va. – April 16, 1862
Williamsburg Va. – May 5, 1862
Golding’s Farm Va. – June 26, 1862
Savage’s Station Va. – June 29, 1862
Antietam Md. – Sept 17, 1862
Fredericksburg Va. – Dec. 13, 1862
Gettysburg Pa. – July 3, 1863
Funkstown Md. – July 10, 1863
Wilderness Va. – May 5-10, 1864
Spottsylvania Va. – May 10-18, 1864
Cold Harbor, Va. – June 1-12, 1864
Petersburg Va. – June 18, 1864
Opequan, Va. – Sept. 13, 1864
Fisher’s Hill, Va. – Sept 21-22, 1864
Cedar Creek, Va. – Oct. 19, 1864
Petersburg Va. – March 25, 27
April 2, 1865 John Pitridge was wounded near the heart during battle at Savage’s Station on June 29th 1862. He was then captured , shortly thereafter exchanged, and honorably discharged on June 29, 1865.
The Fifth regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry was composed of companies organized at the following towns, the men composing them being enlisted from these and adjoining towns: Company A, St. Alban; B, Middlebury: C, Swanton: D, Hyde Park; E, Manchester; F, Cornwall; G, Rutland; H, Brandon; I, Detachments from Burlington, Poultney and Tinmouth; and K, Richmond. The regiment was mustered into the U.S. Service for 3 years at St. Albans VT 9/16/1861 and in a few days went to Washington and camped on Meridian Hill then crossed into Virginia and joined other Vermont regiments at Camp Advance, when the Old Vermont Brigade was organized. The regiment spent most of the fall and winter of 1861-1862 at Camp Griffin, near Langley, Va., going to fortress Monroe in the Spring of 1862 and taking part in the Peninsula campaign. At Savage’s Station, June 29, 1862 it suffered the greatest loss, killed and wounded, of any Vermont regiment in any one engagement. In this battle, with not over 400 muskets, it lost 188 officers and men in half and hour. The total killed and wounded the Fifth regiment suffered in battle during the 4 years of service was 685.The deaths from disease and accidents in rebel prisons and from other causes were 1 officer and 124 men. The Fifth was one of the 45 Infantry Regiments, out of all the Regiments of the Union Armies, that lost over 200 men, killed or mortally wounded in battle during the War of the Rebellion. It bore an honorable and active part in the battles of Lee’s Mills, Williamsburg, Golding’s Farm, Savage’s Station, White Oak Swamp, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg Dec. ’62, May ’63 and June 1863. Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Funkstown, Rappahannock Station, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Jericho Ford, Cold Harbor, Petersburg June ’64, Fort Stevens, Charlestown, Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek, Petersburg March 25 and April 2 1865, Sailor’s Creek, and other skirmishes and reconnoissances.