Editor’s Note: I would like to thank Chris Peck, the great grandson of Elias Peck, for granting me written permission to publish his ancestor’s letter. This letter is owned by Chris Peck and may not be reproduced without his written permission. All rights reserved.
This page contains letters of Elias Sherwood Peck, a member of the 10th Connecticut who participated in the Siege of Petersburg. Elias’ great grandson Chris Peck transcribed these letters from the originals.
Biography of Elias Sherwood Peck
by Chris Peck
Elias Sherwood Peck (1842 – 1920) was a lifelong resident of Greenwich Connecticut, and a descendant of one of the town’s earliest and foremost families.
Elias enlisted as a private on August 14th 1862 when he was 20 years old. Elias begins his letters in September, when he left Greenwich for Fort Trumbull in New London where the Connecticut Volunteers were stationed. On October 18 1862, the company removed to New Bern, North Carolina. The Union Army had seized the town in March 1862, and by the time Company I arrived, it was the base for military operations in the Carolinas. Elias’ first battle on December 14th was at Kinston, North Carolina, about 40 miles inland from New Bern. The 10th Connecticut suffered the most casualties of any battle they fought during their four years of service.
By January 1863, his Company moved to Port Royal, South Carolina, another coastal stronghold of the Union Army. After removing to several islands along the coast on the way to Charleston, Elias was on Morris Island in the Charleston harbor in July, in firing range from Forts Wagner, Sumter and Moutrie. He mentions in his letters that building fortifications in the mud and sand was exhausting and extremely heavy work. There was no water except “some muddy stuff that we could get around in some holes. Sixty percent of the regiment was on the sick list. During the winter and early spring of 1863-1864, the 10th Connecticut was garrisoned at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida; where there was little to do there, but Elias and his comrades apparently enjoyed the respite.
In May of 1864, the 10th Connecticut traveled to Virginia and were assigned to the 10th Army Corps, Army of the James under the command of General Butler. Between May 6, 1864 and April 9, 1865, the 10th Connecticut suffered 332 total casualties with the highest amount of casualties occurring on April 2, 1865 at Fort Gregg and on Darbytown Road on October 12-13, 1864.
On January 31 1865, still near Richmond, Elias who was just promoted to Corporal, was detailed to Jones Landing on the James River to unload vessels. He was no longer at the front and was relatively safe from harm. During his final weeks of service, he returned to Richmond, where he was mustered out on June 15 1865, two months short of his three years of service.
Elias Peck’s war experience included 25 recognized battles in North and South Carolina, Florida and Virginia. He suffered no major wounds, and aside from a few short ailments and mishaps, remained in good health throughout his nearly three years of service.
Letters of Elias S. Peck:
(Note: Individual entries will appear below as they are posted at the Siege of Petersburg Online.)