Frank Wicks, the creator of the Civil War play Soldier, Come Home, based on his ancestors’ letters to each other during the Civil War, has graciously allowed me to reproduce some of those letters here at the Siege of Petersburg Online. Frank’s great-grandparents were Philip W. and Mary Pringle, and their letters to each other while Philip was a soldier in the 102nd Pennsylvania form the basis of his play. Some of Philip’s letters written during 1864 and 1865 were penned while he was present at the Siege of Petersburg, though as a member of the Union 6th Corps he was away for a few months in the Shenandoah Valley. The letters which appear below mostly pertain to the Siege of Petersburg as observed by a 6th Corps Pennsylvania soldier. All of these letters are the property of Frank Wicks and may not be reproduced without his express written consent.
June 18, 1864 (Saturday)
The weather fair and we are taking our breakfast and are ready to go front. We are in the front line of battle. There were some 3 or 4 of our boys killed. We made a charge and drove the Rebs some. We dug some pits with our hands and bayonets to shelter us from the Rebs bullets. We are in sight of Petersburg. Our men can throw shells into the town. It is getting dark. There was 18 wounded and 4 killed.
June 19, 1864 (Sunday)
The weather pleasant. We are in our rifle pits and we built one today to shelter us from the Rebs balls. There was 2 of Co. H. killed. While we was digging the pit one killed and one wounded. the firing is going the same as the other day. The balls are flying thick and the troops are marching from point to point. I received one letter from home yesterday evening. In the evening about dark, Brady, one of the drafted men of our old company was killed on the spot.
- Soldier, Come Home – by Frank W. Wicks A play based on family civil war letters. 2010-2012. 2 August 2012 <http://civilwarplay.com/>. These letters are used with the permission of Frank Wicks, and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the owner. All rights reserved. ↩