Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Jackie Martin.
Correspondence of the Gazette.
HEADQUARTERS 3rd Div. 2nd CORPS.
FRONT OF PETERSBURG, Va., June 23.
I have hitherto seen something of the fighting of this army, but had no correct conception of the REALITIES OF WAR until the present. I never imagined a campaign to be a large pic-nic, or its participators overburdened with pleasure and comforts during its continuance. I know its RESULTS to be sorrow, privation and destruction, but I had fixed a limit for exhaustion, and beyond which it seems incredible human nature could endure. Since the crossing of the Rapidan on the 5th of May, it has been a continuous battle without an intervening day of rest to the whole army, which has been kept in line of battle day after day, and night after night; now crawling on their bellies through dust, swamp or thicket into the very jaws of death, to drive the enemy from his strongholds or else marching miles to the right or left to flank or attack him. No time to eat, rest or sleep until the work is accomplished, which is to destroy the foe or die in the attempt. The terrible suspense incident to other battles which have usually terminated in a few hours or days has passed from the army, and the conflict of death is continued with that calm, steady persistence and stoic indifference to aught else, which eventually must bring a crowning success.
It was rumored in Washington, and doubtless the report reached you, that Gen. Mott has been relieved of his command, which is not so, but possibly originated from the fact that the 4th Division of this Corps was consolidated with the 3d (Gen. Birneys) during the Wilderness fighting, where both became so reduced as to render it advisable. Gen. Mott was then in command of the 4th the remains of the old 3d Corps. He is at present commanding the 3d, and has been on duty at the front every day since the crossing of the Rapidan. He is the only General our State now has in the field, and I trust will soon wear the two stars of a Major-General.
The death of Captain Woolsey of the 5th N. J., on the same day of his wife’s decease “was a sad coincidence.” He was picked off by a sharpshooter while standing in an open road talking with Lieut. Rosling. He was insensible until a few moments previous to his death,—which occurred on Sunday afternoon, shortly before the telegram was received announcing his wife’s death at 2 o’clock the same morning.
The First Excelsior Regiment, of what was known as Sickle’s brigade left here for home last night, their term of service having expired. The regiment is composed largely of Jerseymen from the upper part of the State, but having enlisted in and being credited to New York, they could not receive the bounty paid by our State. Capt. Martin’s battery, the 4th New York has left for home also. It was recruited in Rahway, but credited to New York also. It was second to no other similar organization in the army. Yours, &c.,
F. F. P.1
- “Correspondence of the Gazette.” Trenton NJ State Gazette. June 28, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩
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