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.
U.S. Sanitary Commission
Jan. 20, 18651
Near Petersburg, V.A.
I received your letter yesterday. I am very sorry to hear that Sadie is sick and I am afraid that I will never see her again for there are so many die of that disease. As soon as they begin to swell in there bowels there is no cure for them. I hear that there are a great many die this winter of the same sickness. Mary I am well and hope that these few lines will find you all well and in good spirits. I think the war is over or nearly so. I think I will be home in about 5 months. There are a great many Rebs coming into our lines daily. They all say that they cannot stand it much longer.
I heard some of the head men saying the war would not last 6 months more. I was expecting to get pay this week but the Pay master did not come up yet. But we are looking for him every day. Mary take good care of the little girl.
The news is good from the Southwest and other places. I am glad to hear that Daniel is home safe. Tell him to write to me.
Yours as ever,
- 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. ↩