Letter from an unidentified Union soldier after Antietam.
Pleasant Valley, MD.,
Sunday, Oct. 19th, 1862,
…it does seem as though this fall & winter would finish the fighting and when that part of the work is done, it will not be a great way to the end of the war…
There is a vast army now in the field…it is said there must be 170 or 200,000 troops (men) but when we move I do not know…
it is said the plan laid is to make one grand and mighty sweep, taking the whole rebel force & planting them ‘away down South in Dixie,’ and I hope the majority of them beneath the clods of the valley. It is also reported that we should now be making our onward movement if circumstances allowed. By this I would mean that the streams are very low & the upper Potomac can be forded at almost any point for 200 miles, and in connection with the taking of Richmond, they want sufficient water in the James River to enable our Gun boats go up & help take the doomed City.
I do hope that our army will move before it is so muddy going that we can’t. We are all as ready now as we ever shall be as far as our own feelings are concerned and now I say strike the deadly blows. I want to see this infernal rebellion forever crushed. There is one thing I think is going to help to finish this war and that is the President’s Proclamation. May God speed the right and with this thought we will try to take courage.
letter composed in the aftermath of the Maryland Campaign, as McClellan stalled, refusing to move his troops across the Potomac in pursuit of Lee.