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.
We are still quiet. Nothing is going on except the continual fighting of the skirmishers, which amount to little more than a waste of powder and lead, although a man gets killed or wounded occasionally. The Yankees are keeping very quiet since the thrashing they received recently at this place and in front of Richmond1. They will be apt to keep quiet now for some time — possibly for the remainder of the winter. We are having rain. It fell all night and continues to-day. Billie’s big coat came just in time for this cold spell of weather. He is as fat as a bear. The health of our troops is excellent and the spirit of the army is as fine as can be.
We shall know in a few days who is elected President of the United States. In my opinion Old Abraham will come in again, and I believe it would be best for us. McClellan might have the Union restored, if elected. I should prefer to remain at war for the rest of my life rather than to have any connection with the Yankees again.
You ask me to see Captain Pifer. I will do so if I happen to be near where he is again. He is now on the other (north) side of the James River with General Lee.
A man by the name of Simeon Werts is going home to-day on sick furlough for thirty days, and I shall send this letter to you by him. I shall also send my father some smoking tobacco, which We have been drawing monthly as part of our rations, and I shall send Dr. Clark some rolls of blistering ointment which we captured from the Yankees at Chancellorsville. I have more of it than I could use in two years. He has been very kind to you and I wish I had something more I could send him.
Our box of provisions from home still holds out, and if you will hurry up and come on, we may have some of it left when you arrive. I have just finished my breakfast, which consisted of hash, potatoes, biscuit, molasses and coffee. I do not mind the war as long as I can have plenty to eat and comfortable quarters. Your brother is very anxious for you to come out, and I believe you will enjoy it here this winter. It is most unfortunate that we have been able to see so little of each other during the four years of our married life.2
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Welch is talking about the twin battles fought during the Sixth Offensive, on October 27-27, 1864. The Battle of Boydton Plank Road was fought southwest of Petersburg and the Battle of Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road was fought southeast of Richmond. ↩
- Welch, Spencer G. “No title.” Letter to “?” 3 Nov. 1864. MS. Near Petersburg, Va. 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. ↩