96th PA Infantry soldier (Richards) writes of Fredericksburg, December 15, 1862

HQ, 27th Brig., 1st Div., on battlefield 12/15/62

“Our brigade crossed the river on Thursday afternoon towards dark, but for some reason or another we were ordered back, and again we crossed on Friday morning, the first brigade and first division. We advanced steadily after our skirmishers, until we reached the old Richmond road about 2 o’clock in which neighborhood where we have remained up till this time. We have been shelled severely before we got here, and the rebs on the hills before us shell us whenever they take a notion to keep it up very lively when they commence- but the Richmond road is pretty deep, andforms a natural rifle pit so that all the men have to do is lie on the back next the rebel fortifications and shot and shell pass over our heads, just over to be sure but a miss is as good as a mile, and we have only had one man killed by their artillery. Up to this time we have lost in our brigade three killed and six wounded – all belonging to the 121st New York Vols., on picket by rebel in picket duty.” None lost for the 96th. Sumner is on the right & Hooker on the left. “Has been desperate fighting both on our right and left, but our division has only had one skirmish. We have not attack the rebs, and they have only attacked us that once when we drove them back. We have been entirely without tents since we crossed the river even the men cannot put up their shelter tents, but men & officers, generals & privates alike have nothing but the sky to cover them day or night.” Is writing this on his knee, found this paper by looking around, hardest fighting done on Saturday (12/13). Sunday was quiet with little artillery & no musketry except by pickets etc.

This letter was for sale as of June 2018 in this catalog:

Click to access CWnl99.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s