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LT: August 13, 1864 John Lobdill (117th New York)

Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and publishes letters written during the Civil War. Owner/editor Chris Wehner was kind enough to grant me written permission to publish a selection of letters from his site which focus on the Siege of Petersburg.  Look for letters to appear here during the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Petersburg and beyond. These letters may not be reused without the express written consent of Chris Wehner.  All rights reserved.

Head Quarters, 117 N[ew].Y[ork]. Volunteers

Mr. William Hevener,
Dear Sir,

With pleasure I now will endeavor to answer the welcome letter I received from you a short time since the Regt. has moved in front of Petersburg, and is now doing picket duty on the advance lines near Bermuda Hundred. The lines between our works and the Rebs are very close together here, but the pickets are quite friendly towards each other as they seldom if ever fire on each other. Yesterday one of our boys and a Johnnie met about half way between the lines and exchanged a New York paper for the Richmond Examiner although it is very strictly forbidden by the officers. The Johnnie said they would like to exchange oftener, but had to pay forty cents a paper and being some time since they were paid find hard work to raise the money. I suppose you have seen an account of the battle near Petersburg, and also the explosions of both the Rebel and our fort, so there is no use of my writing about it as it would be an old story.1 The weather is very warm here now. The day we marched there was fifty two died from the effects of the heat belonging to our Division in the forenoon, and I heard there was over two hundred who were sun struck or wilted during the day. We received some quite encouraging news from Rebel accounts this morning. The news came in that Fort Gaines had surrendered and Fort Powell was blown up. The Rebs blew up the fort so it would not fall into our possession. We haven’t heard much firing since we came here until this morning. There has been a pretty sharp cannonading down on James River between our gunboats and the Rebels, but I do not know what it amounts to.2 Chas. is well and I think he said he was going to write to you this morning. If you see any of our folks tell them I am well and so is James, but I will have to close this at once as I have just been called on duty. Please answer this soon and put in all the news. Give my best respects to your folks and all other friends & acquaintances.

Truly Yours,
John Lobdill3


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Lobdill is writing of the successful Union minee explosion at the Crater on July 30, 1864 and the failed Confederate attempt to do the same on the 18th Corps front on August 5, 1864.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: Lobdill here appears to be referring to the Action at Four-Mile Creek and Dutch Gap on August 13, 1864.
  3. Lobdill, John. “Head Quarters, 117 N.Y. Volunteers.” Letter to “Mr. William Hevener” 13 Aug. 1864. MS. Bermuda Hundred, Virginia. This letter appears here due to the express written consent of Chris Wehner, owner of SoldierStudies.org and may not be used without his permission.  All rights reserved.
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