Editor’s Note: This article was provided by John Hennessy and transcribed by Brett Schulte.
Letter from the Eleventh (Havelock) New York Battery.
Eleventh New York Battery,
Second Corps, First Division,
Near Petersburg, Va., June 25.
DEAR BROTHER—You have no idea what harrassing marches and fatigue we have undergone, and what few facilities have been afforded us for mail privileges. From the 4th of May up to the present time, the army has been marching and fighting almost every day. We have, on the whole, been very successful; but it has been at an immense outlay of life, limb, and horseflesh.
I will not attempt to give you a history of Army movements; the newspapers have kept you pretty well posted thereon. Our Battery is attached to a corps which has been the advance of the army, for most of the time, and we have been into about every fight that has come along. Every considerable battle lasts now from three days to a week, and artillery is more freely used than ever before.
The rebellion dies very hard, and we can only extinguish it by using up LEE’S army and resources; for resistance, Gen. LEE seems disposed to contest every foot of ground from here to Richmond, but as we shall, in a few days have command of the rail roads leading to the Rebel Capitol, we may starve him into submission. God grant that it may be so. Unusual good fortune has attended us all through the campaign. We have had but one killed and six wounded.
G. T. Vandenburgh, of Guilderland, was killed at Coal Harbor by a Minnie ball, which entered the brain through the temple. He died instantly. He was a brave and faithful soldier, an excellent scholar, and a devoted Christian. His loss is deeply felt by us all.
Sergeant Charles Kelley, of Albany, was wounded at the same place in the head. He will recover. Sergeant Groesbeck, of Albany, was badly bruised on left leg, by a canister ball, which disables him from walking; not seriously. Corporal William Van Gaasbeek*, of Albany, was shot through the shoulder. His arm was amputated close to the shoulder. John Metcalf, from Ohio, was shot through the neck with a Minnie ball; will probably recover. Wm. H. Loag, of Albany, received a scalp wound of the head, very painful, but not probably dangerous. Edward Willard, of Albany, was wounded slightly in the side, at Coal Harbor, by the same Minnie ball which killed Vandenburg. His wound is not considered dangerous.
The Seventh New York Artillery have been roughly handled since they came over here. They have lost more than half their number, and some three or four hundred of them are prisoners of war in Richmond.
* Since died of his wounds, at David’s Island, near New York.1
- “Letter from the Eleventh (Havelock) New York Battery.” Albany Evening Journal. June 28, 1864, p. 2 col. 4 ↩