Digital Collections @ St. Lawrence University

Home; I now take my pen in hand and seat myself

Home;  I now take my pen in hand and seat myself
Home;  I now take my pen in hand and seat myself
Home;  I now take my pen in hand and seat myself
Home;  I now take my pen in hand and seat myself


Sunderland, Darwin
Sunderland, Darwin
Maryland Hights, MD
Original letter: ink on paper, 4 p.


Camp 106th regt.

Maryland Higths [Heights]

June 23rd 1863
I now tak[e] my pen in hand and seat myself for the purpose of continuing my account of the proceeding of the last great battle.  If I recollect correctly[,] I left off where we started on our retreat Sunday night.  Well we made our way as fast as possible to the banks of the Potomac at Shepardstown where we forded the river about 12 at night, it being 11 miles from Martinsburg.  At the time we crossed the river about one half of our regiment was straggling behind.   I kept with the regiment up to the crossing.   I then fell out being tired and lame.   I went about a mile down the river after crossing and then lay down by the side of the road for the rest of the night where I laid and slept until sunrise.  I then got up and proceeded on my way.   I soon came up with another squad that were stopped to guard the battery until a boat could be sent up from the ferry to get the cannon.   This was in the neighborhood of the Antietam fight.   I took my breakfast at Antietam.   The battle was about two miles from the mill which is called the Antietam mill.   It is a large flouring mill built of stone and is on Antietam creek.  After I got my breakfast I in company with a fellow soldier took the most direct route to the ferry where we arrived about 5oclock P.M.   The regiment being there about 2 hours before us.  We then lay quiet enough until Wednesday morning when we were called up (that is our company and company K) about an hour before day and we sent up to the highest point of the higthes [heights] to support the artillery there and we had to chop down timber all that day and everything was preparing for a battle.  We came down from the hgthes [heights] about 6oclock and there soon came on a heavy thunderstorm which lasted about two hours.  It cleared off and was very warm.  On Thursday there was a line of battle established and a line of rifle pits thrown up about one mile long.   Nothing unusual transpiring until night when there was another very heavy shower which finely [finally] dwindled away [to] a good steady rain and it rained almost steadily for 20 hours at least.  Between 9 & 10 o’clock that night our pickets gave an alarm accidently which put our camp in an uproar.   Every man was called out in line of battle and ordered into the rifle pits where we sttod [stood] all night in the rain.   Began to be somewhat cold before morning and it was the hardest night the 106 ever saw soldiering.   And the next morning I was detailed to work on the fert [fort] where we worked all day throwing up fertifycations [fortifications].  Our clothes were all wet through and through and in this condition we lay down to get a little rest and the next morning we were called out at three in the morning to be ready for any emergency so the rebs could not surprise us in the morning, for you must know that the rebs camp is in sight of [us] and we are expecting a morning attack some of these fine mornings.   Saturday morning the rebels camp is reported to be in sight. In fact I saw a that has just been up on the higthes [heights] where they have a glass that they can see at a distance with and he says that he saw the camp of the rebs about six miles distance and that if the rebs do not get away before morning they will be helped away.   We are still engaged in chopping down the woods around here (and many a fine cherry tree has been cut down too).   I cut cherry trees down that was 16 inches through on the stump and there was 3 or 4 bushels of cherries on them about one half ripe.   (This is the season for cherries here) Sunday morning the rebs camp is moved up the river about three miles.   They are jest across the river from Shepardstown.   Everything continues about the in camp[.] we are still throwing up rifle pits and building fertifycation [fortifications].   someing the rebs still continue to move off.   They have been into Penn. capturing horses and cattle and have them yarded at Hagerstown, so says report and are engaged in building a pontoon bridge to take their plunder across.   I think there will be a stop put to this before long.   I think they will get themselves into a trap before they get back to Fredericksburg.  I do not think there will be an attack made on this place now.   I think we shall have to go out and fight them in the open field yet and put them in mind of Antietam again.   I think that if you do not hear of a battle you may make up your mind to hear of one about the fourth of July between that and the tenth.  Tuesday afternoon June 23rd 1863.   We have just been I battalion drill to show the soldiers at this place where drilling first sprung from.   I think we are now capable of beeting [beating] anything in the survise drilling.  Our regiment is getting small.   I think we have only 500 men fit for duty now and you know that we started 1010 men from old Camp Wheeler.  Our troops that were at Winchester were pretty badly cut to pieces.   One regiment that went in to the fight 800 strong came out with 19 men and one Major and the 87 only had about 140 men left.   I suppose we lost upwards of 4 thousand there.   Those that did escape had to cut their way out for the rebs had them entirely serrounded [surrounded], it is reported today that the rebs have crossed in to Maryland 40,000 strong.   Put it down at half that number at [and] then you have a large force.  I think their forces can better be put down at that.  I believe that they have about 75 thousand now in all in Maryland and our colonel told us tonight that if we were attact [attacked] at this place it would be in about within 4 days.  And he said he thought that they would yet make an attack on this place for they are moving their train this way, for one of our boys was up looking through the glass and he say[s] their baggage train about 5 miles long moving into Maryland.   I must close for tonight.   I am well you must not write to me yet for I cannot get your letters.


Rights Management: 
Original materials may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (more information).
Date Original (Precise): 
June 23, 1863


Digitization Specifications: 
Scanned at 600ppi on Epson 1000XL scanner as 48-bit RGB uncompressed TIFF images. Images resized to 960 pixels wide, 150 dpi, and saved as JPEG (level 10) in Photoshop CS5 with Unsharp Mask of 60:1.
Date Digital: 
September 27, 2011