“When we came to the bridge they was tearing them up”
Camp on Potomac Creek 4miles from Fredericksburg
Thursday, December 18th 1862
We are all well and in a safe place for the present and I hope these few lines will find you and all the rest of you at home enjoying good health. Sometimes when I look back to what I have recently passed through it seems very much like a dream. I don’t believe that I shall ever forget it or get it out of my mind. Our Regt they say was the last one out of the City and so of course they must of covered the Retreat. I think if the Boys had known of it at [the] time there would have been a great deal of excitement amongst them.
We laid in Fredericksburg long where we heard and seen so much without participating in it that our Col was heard to say he would not lead them in the field for anything. They was so excited he was afraid he could not command them. I think if we could of been led in the fight when we first came on the field Saturday night we would of made a good fight. We formed a line of battle on the field after dark and every man expected to go in. Our guns was loaded and [capped] and every man stood ready. We was the next Brigade to go in the fight but by the time we got in line of battle the firing ceased for the night and we laid on the battle field all night and was withdrawn under cover of our batteries and darkness before daylight Sunday morning. The Rebs then got sight of us in the City and they commenced shelling and we fell back in the town behind the brick houses. Only one man was wounded in our regt but there was good many hurt in other Regiments by the bursting of shells. Some was killed and never knew what hurt them.
We laid all day Sunday and Monday nights expecting to go in the field every moment until about 8 o’clock Monday night when we [were] ordered out in the field again to dig entrenchments. Every man spoke in whispers and every one tried to keep still as possible. We worked in front until most morning without being disturbed, when every man was ordered to fall in and make a still and hasty retreat. We got out of the City in good order about daylight and that is about the last of the fight in Fredericksburg that I know of.
I for one, Dear Clara, with some others which brought up the rear guard, was about the last that left the City. We lost our Regt and we did not know that we were retreating and we was running all over the City after our Regt, so when we came to the bridge they was tearing them up. I saw when I left the town a great many soldiers yet in town which had straggled from their Regts and we have heard since that the Rebs has taken about a thousand prisoners in the City.
Dear Clara, I could write to you all and write something new for you all the time, but I haven’t got the time or room now so I will have to close for the present. Tell Julia that Tom is most well again. Give my love to all my folks and all inquiring friends. Kiss those dear little lambs of mine and let me know if Willie don’t walk yet and if he is fat as ever. The little fellow, how I do wish I could only see you all once more. I will pray night and day that God may spare our lives and be able to meet once more.
So goodbye Dearest Clara & children for the present. God protect you all. From your husband,
Fletch got a letter from home last night and he wishes me to say that he is well and safe and hopes they all are. He has got a new overcoat which he found in the street and he is going to send it home. It is a splendid one. I will send you a secesh letter which I found in this letter. It is worth something because it is from the Rebs.