LT: July 31, 1864 Clement E. Warner (36th Wisconsin)

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Elizabeth M. Warner Editor’s Note: This letter to Sabra is undated, but was probably written during this time period. Clement Warner had taught in the Sunday School in Windsor and had a strong attachment to the children. The third and fourth paragraphs match the hand written copy on the opposite page.

[July (31?), 1864]

Sabra – Enclosed you will find a few lines to the Sabbath School children. If you think best you or Chandler may read it to the school. I have a Negro man named Sandy. He is a good cook and I shall keep him if I can. We are in our old camp, have had a hard tramp but feel quite rested.1

Image of Ninth Corps attack at the Crater, 8/27/64 Frank Leslie's Illustrated.

Clement Warner and his 36th Wisconsin, part of the Second Corps, did not participate in the bloody and spectacular Battle of the Crater. (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper)

I expect to hear Mr. Delementy [sp.?] Chaplain of the N[ew] J[ersey] R[e]g[iment]. preach today. He is bro of John Delementy, but he is at City Point. George [probably George Weeks] went to the City Point Hospital before we started on the last raid.2he last raid” could imply the movement which resulted in the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, June 21-24, 1864, which would probably date this letter to early July 1864.  Alternatively, “the last raid” refers to the movement which resulted in the First Battle of Deep Bottom, July 27-29, 1864.  In the latter case, this letter would have had to have been written at some point between July 29 and July 31. Warner’s comments in the next paragraph below seem to imply the latter idea. Check out my comments below for more.] He was not very sick and will return soon I presume. We have heard from Capt. Burwell and Maj. Russell and 12 other men of our regiment taken prisoner June 1st. I am very curious to hear from more of them we lost that day.3 I expect my clothes up tomorrow for know my best suit has been a [Gabardine?] all summer. My single breasted coat will not be just the thing. I think some of getting a double breasted roundabout for fatigue.

Where does father pasture the sheep in the marsh. How are they doing this summer. Our Division [2/II/AotP] took no part in the fight yesterday for which we have every reason to feel thankful. The loss was fearful on both sides.4 We took 3 lines and the enemy took 2 lines. I understand Grant said he is perfectly satisfied with the days work You can believe about one-half you hear about our successes and about twice what you read about our reverses.5

I want you to write how you all get along at home. Is father’s health good & how do you all feel about my being in the army. We are getting along well in the Reg. I think there is less whiskey drunk than there was at one time. I have written to Jeff I saw Frank McCormack the other day. he showed me a very kind and affectionate letter from Almira written to him. He was in command of a Negro Company. do you hear from Remick often. Write often.

Your bro C[lement]. E[dson]. Warner6

The book from which this letter was taken, The Letters of Colonel Clement Edson Warner, while serving in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, 1864-1865, has been generously shared and allowed to appear on this site in full by copyright holders David Warner and his siblings, whose aunt wrote the book. Click here to read it in full! Click here to see a short biography of Colonel Warner as well as the home page for his letters during the Siege of Petersburg.

 

Letters from and to Clement Warner During the Siege of Petersburg

(Note: Individual letters will appear below as they are posted at The Siege of Petersburg Online.)

 

 

 

Source/Notes:

  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Going by Warner’s June 23, 1864 letter, “our old camp” would imply the 36th Wisconsin was about 2 miles south of Petersburg and stationed along the Jerusalem Plank Road, near where the Second Corps met with disaster on June 22, 1864.
  2. SOPO editor’s Note: I love teasing out potential dates from little clues such as this one.  “[T
  3. SOPO Editor’s Note: Burwell, Russell and the others were captured at the Battle of Cold Harbor, in the opening action on June 1, two days before the famous failed Union attack.
  4. SOPO Editor’s Note: NOW we are getting somewhere.  The only fight in all of July 1864 at Petersburg where the losses were “fearful” on both sides is the July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater.  If Warner is referring to the July 30, 1864 Battle of the Crater here, and I strongly believe he is, then this letter was definitively written on July 31, 1864.  If you take the clue that he and the rest of Second Corps had just been on a “raid”, a major battle has just happened the day before this letter was written in July 1864, and the Second Corps was not involved in the battle, this is the only realistic conclusion to which one can come.
  5. SOPO Editor’s Note: It is always interesting to read about the rumors following a major battle and try to reconcile them with what you have read about said battle.  In this case, it seems Warner’s later comments are more accurate than the rumors he heard. Grant, Meade and the rest of the Union Army leadership knew by mid-day July 30, 1864 that the Crater had been not only a loss but potentially a disaster. They were not then and never were remotely satisfied with the day’s work.  Grant wrote to Major General Henry W. Halleck in Washington on August 1, 1864, “It was the saddest affair I have witnessed in this war. Such opportunity for carrying fortifications I have never seen and do not expect again to have.”
  6. Warner, C. E. & Warner, E. M. (2004). The Letters of Colonel Clement Edson Warner, while serving in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, 1864-1865 (1328584824 974986850 E. M. Warner, Ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Elizabeth M. Warner, p. 23

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