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LT: June 19, 1864 Philip W. Pringle

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 19, 18641

Near Petersburg, VA.


Mary Pringle

Dear Wife,   I received your welcome letter yesterday. Was glad to hear from you that you are well. I am well and in the front of Petersburg, Va. We was in another battle yesterday. We lost 18 men in wounded and 4 killed in our regt. It was a hard battle. We can see Petersburg plain. We have been fighting for 3 or 4 days. We had a hard march. We traveled day and night and got no sleep for 36 hours at a time. We crossed the James River on pontoons below City Point. There will be some hard fighting to do yet. Oh but the bullets flew thick. I do not know how we did escape as we did. They fell all around me. One was shot in the neck and fell on me and made me all bloody.

Mary, I got your other letter. Was truly grieve to hear of the death of brother Martin but glad to hear he died so happy.  I got a letter from David. He told me all about it. I seen some of the 55 Regt. and William George is wounded and Nicholas Cameron was killed in the same charge that I was in the 3 of this month. He was wounded in both legs and died in the hospital. There was a great many killed on both sides. Mary, I have been in some very hard battles but thank God for his goodness to me. We are close to the Rebs. We are lying in our rifle pits. We drove the Rebs our of 3 or 4 forts and rifle pits. There are about 300,000 men in this army. I think we will be able to beat the Rebs at this place and cut all their supplies off and then we will fortify and then they must come out of their strongholds or give up.

This is Sunday but it does not seem like it. The cannons are roaring and rifle balls are flying so fast and I have to hug the ground very close to keep the balls from hitting me. Mary, live in hopes we will meet again if the Lord is willing although  it seems impossible sometimes for any to escape. But if I fall do not mourn for me. Try to lead a Christian life and all will be right. There is no use of fretting so much. Put your trust in God. He is able to help all who will put their trust in Him. I will write as often as I can but I can not get much time. It may be that we will have some rest before long and then I will write to some of the friends. Give my love to all my friends. Write soon.  No more but remain yours as ever.  P. W. Pringle.


102 Regt. P.V.

Co. E. First Brigade

2nd division

6th Corps.


  1. 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.
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