Editor’s Note: George Gove of the 5th New Hampshire wrote a series of letters from the Siege of Petersburg in 1864 to his sister. These letters were placed online in 2012 as: “Parsons Family Papers, Milne Special collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire, N.H.” Gove’s descendant Doug Parsons worked diligently to make these letters available for The Siege of Petersburg Online and we thank him greatly for his effort. The transcriptions of the letters collected on this page are copyrighted by the Milne Special collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the University of New Hampshire. All rights reserved.
July 9, 18641
Camp near, Petersburg, Va.
Saturday July 9, 64
I will write a few lines to you & Mother again today hoping thus in time that I may be rewarded by lots of letters from home. The mail comes in regularly now every morning & day after day I rec. this answer to my enquierie “No, no letter for you.” Now I have written 2 or 3 times a week to someone at home & think I ought to be rewarded by at least one in two weeks.
We are in our old camp yet, & are having a very dull time of it; nothing to relieve the monotony except pickets once a week & that if possible is duller than in camp. We have no
picket firing along our front at all although in front of the 5th Corps just on our right they are in plain sight & within speaking distances of each other. In the 9th Corps further on our right they are firing all the time & shelling. A new battery has opened but a third distance on our right has kept up a slow but regular fire. I expect they will be dropping some shells about us before long but they could see us & will not be likely to do much damage if they do.
Yesterday I went with a detail from our Division to work on a fort just in view of the 5th Corp. Went out before light, worked on the fort till dark, then carried timber from the woods into the fort till 10 o’clock. This could not be done in the day time as we had to pass quite a distance in full view
& range of the rebel batteries. They had a fort just in front of us & could have easily prevented us from working if they had known where we were. We have brakes placed along in front to screen us from their view. I think they suspected us however for they opened in the P.M.& fired about 20 shells. A few of them bursting inside our fort, the rest going over & on our side. 2 officers were wounded & 1 horse killed. The fort will be finished by tomorrow & our heavy guns mounted in it. It is a large square work & will be quite formidable. I think several of these forts are being built along the line. Our C. Books came today & [—-?] we go to work on our musket rolls. This will keep me very busy for two days. Besides I have Description Lists of all our sick & wounded
dead & final statements of all our killed to make. Also this monthly & quarterly returns of Camp & garrison equipage & ordnance, plenty of work for at least a week.
We have not been paid yet and shall not be at present although we have been [—-?] due. I dont doubt but it is a good [—-?] measure but the men feel distatesfull to go so long without pay. The more so as all the Generals with their staff officers have lately been paid.
The Army never was so well fed before. They get vegetables often. There has been no rain yet the roads are fearfully dusty. I hope you won’t think by what I write in my last that I am discouraged not a hint of it. I mean that you must not expect us to Captain Richmond and the rebel army by fighting. I don’t think that Richmond can be taken by fighting alone. We have them more where we can offer to wait a while. I don’t believe Lee can [—-?] himself long when he is & as he cannot drive us away or frighten us away by raids into [—–?] he will retreat.into N.C & finally fine the last ditch with the remnants of Johnson’s Army somewhere in the South. It seems that the Alabama has gone down at last what a pity that Semmes[?] escaped[?].
There are 4 or 5 bands within a short distance of us. They play every morning and evening. The [—-?] are filled [—-?] only it is a melody where they all play at the same time. I sent you a letter of Gen Burlows respecting this Div in the fight of June 22
[editors note: The following is continued from the back page]
My health continues excellent. I will write again as soon as I get through my business matters. Johnson is well & [—?] is well. What do you call his little girl have a pretty name for it. Tell me all about her. Tell Mother to write me. If you are not able to than Dr. must
- Parsons Family Papers, Milne Special collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire, N.H. The transcription of the letter on this page is copyrighted by the Milne Special collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the University of New Hampshire. All rights reserved. ↩