Editor’s Note: This item is part of a collection of letters and diary entries from soldiers of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery written while the unit was at the Siege of Petersburg. Researcher and author Kathryn Lerch generously donated all of the items in this collection for use at The Siege of Petersburg Online.
Lieut. T. J. Dean Letter Aug. 10, 18641:
Aug 10th 1864
In the field near Petersburg V.A.
Dear Mother & Friends All
I take pen in hand to answer you[r] much welcome Letter of the third inst. I wrote you a letter as soon as we got back from the James River expidition & the Petersburg Bombardment and wrote all of the particulars with regard to our Company and Regt. we did not loos a man but was exposed to considerable fire. we was on the reserve but was not called on to go in but expected to every moment. all day we lay where we could see the whole of the Bombarding of Petersburg. never before did I see such a sight. the air was full of Iron & lead one perfect roar of Artillery & Muskettry. both sides wer engaged the bigest they [k]new how. only one Division of our Corps was in the fight. that was the third. I dont wish to witness another such a sight. no fire works that I ever saw could begin to cope in splender with the Bursting of shells in the air. But that dont tell the whole story. the earth with its thousands of dead & wounded told the horror of the occasion. we did not make much out of it. proved to be a failure caused to be by the neglect of some of the Generals in not manageing the troops propperly. An investigating committee is now in session to ferrit out the matter. Hancock is president. they appear to think that the fault is with Burnside. I could write all day on this subject but what would it avail you get all of this news in the papers. . . . Cook has not got here yet but expect him every day. I have not been mustered yet on his account of not being here. . . . From the Soldier Boy T. J. Dean dont let any see this letter for mercy sake. Excuse haste.
Lieut. T. J. Dean excerpt from Letter August 12, 18642:
. . . I was on pickett the other night where I could talk with the rebs we wer so close.