ÒOh, the dead and the cries of the wounded made me feel sick enough of war to never see any more of itÓ
Camp 2 miles from Fredericksburg
Tuesday, December 16th 1862
I will write more particulars some other time
My dear Clara,
Thank God I am alive and well after all the dangers I have recently went through and I sincerely hope and pray that these few lines will find you all enjoying good health at home. Today is the 6th day of the fight at Fredericksburg and oh my God it is horrible to see the sights that I have seen here but I hope it will make a better man of me. What I have seen for the past few days has made me look higher than Earth and I hope it will be the means of making my peace with God.
After the City was taken by cannon we commenced a fire of infantry on last Saturday and it lasted up until about an hour after dark. About an hour before dark our Brigade entered the City and we was immediately drawn up in line of battle behind the town where the shells and balls were whistling in all directions around, but happily for us it was after dark so we escaped for the night. We then laid down on the battle field for the night and oh, the dead and the cries of the wounded made me feel sick enough of war to never see any more of it. The wounded was passing through our lines all night under cover of darkness and the dead was lying in all directions around us. Dear Clara, I canÕt tell you all the horrors of a battle field so I will not try. It is something which I never hope to see again.
Sunday morning we left the field before daylight and we had hardly got clear before the Rebels commenced shelling us at a hard rate. One man got wounded in the leg of Co. [I?] Capt Grinley and that was all I believe from our Regt. Our Col. took us farther back in the town and we laid behind brick houses for safety. Dear Clara, we have laid under fire from the Rebels 3 days and the 146th has escaped pretty well. Last night at 8 or 9 oÕclock our Regt. again went out in front to dig entrenchments and about 4 oÕclock this morning we made a grand retreat. The whole army is back again on this side of the River and the enemy again has possession of the town.
Yesterday I heard the Rebels had given 16 hours to take our sick and wounded out of town and I suppose that is the reason of our retreat. I heard that Gen. Hooker had said that this is the 2nd Sebastipol and that it was awful to place men in front of such formidable works as the Rebels have got behind Fredericksburg. They say we have lost ten men for their one.
Dear Clara, the slaughter has been terrible and I thank God that we escaped as well as we did. We have left our dead lying on the field and in the City. I think it was a hasty retreat we made from the City. What they intend to do next, I for one canÕt tell. I suppose they will try and take it some other way and then it will be another hard battle. The Rebels have made rifle pits and fortifications for miles back and it almost impossible to take them.
Dear Clara, when you read this donÕt think that I am weak but you know that I always was tender hearted and I canÕt stand such scenes as I have just witnessed as I suppose a soldier had aught to. Remember my love to all my folks. Give my respects to all inquiring friends. Kiss those dear little ones of mine for me, and dearest Clara, if I am not spared to see them again, bring them up in love and truth and in the fear of God. Take good care of yourself for my sake and God bless you and yourn and all of you.
I remain, your loving husband,
P.S. There is not much fighting today as I can hear. They say we will be paid off as soon as this fight is over.
Dear Clara, tell Julia Tom is very sick with the diarrhea but I donÕt think he is dangerous.