Digital Collections @ St. Lawrence University

Mrs. Albert Sunderland: Respected Madam: In this general lull

Mrs. Albert Sunderland:  Respected Madam:  In this general lull
Mrs. Albert Sunderland:  Respected Madam:  In this general lull
Mrs. Albert Sunderland:  Respected Madam:  In this general lull
Mrs. Albert Sunderland:  Respected Madam:  In this general lull


P.A. Wells
P.A. Wells
Sunderland, Darwin
Note--Much of the last two pages of this letter is unreadable due to a tear in the letter.
Chattanooga, TN
Original letter: ink on paper, 4 p.


Hd Quarters Dept. of the Cumberland
Chattanooga, Tenn., Sept 27, 1863

Mrs. Albert Sunderland:
Respected Madam:

                                    In this general lull of operations following the terrible storm of last week I sit down to write you in reply to your most welcome letter of the 16th inst which arrived yesterday.  And first permit me to tender you my most sincere thanks for these kind, good, welcome words which assure me of the continued friendship of Mr. Sunderland and yourself.  Since the first, I have been proud of my acquaintance with your family and self, and treasured up many little acts of kindness received; but after the mad, foolish [frak] of a couple of years ago, I thought that your friendship, together with that of all the others, was lost to me; but to know now that I still retain the sympathy of yourself and husband is highly gratifying. 
I find Darwin’s letters describing his life in the Va. Army quite pleasing and interesting;-the more so, his being an old pupil and friend.  They are natural, also, written in an off-hand, easy style somewhat more regular and connected than his conversation; especially when he was very serious.  I really hope and trust the your prayers for his safety and welfare may be favorably by the God of Battles and he be returned to your family much stronger in heart and sense and duty than when he left it to battle for his country’s honor and unity.
Tell Mr. Sunderland that I sincerely regret that your letter found me so needful of friends just now.  During the fight on the 20th inst, some of our hospital tents, medical supplies and stoves were captured by the enemy and among the rest was a valise of mine containing among other things a new uniform worth perhaps $40,00 which left me nothing but the every day suit on my corpus.  The loss of the clothing, however, will not be so severely felt as the balance of the valise’s contents; the clothing will not amount to a months pay but the nicknax [knickknacks], (curiosities?) correspondence, etc., etc, cannot be replaced.  Hope the Rebs will enjoy the fun and really wish my name had been changed-but ‘twill be my turn next.  Mr. Sunderland will not have long to wait, however.
The telegraph has doubtless informed you of the terrible battle fought near this place just a week ago today.  On Saturday the 19th there was heavy fighting from 2pm until after dark resulting in a general and bloody repulse of the enemy from all fronts; besides the loss of ten guns and thirteen hundred (1300) prisoners.  Sunday morning, Sept. 20, came bright and glorious and both armies got up from the ground to renew the conflict.  At 9am the enemy, relying on his favorite movement, concentrated and massed his focus to crush our center.  Our artillery was massed also and occupied a splendid position on the hills and as the long, massed and splendid lines advanced under cover of their own artillery they were met by a combined and destructive fire of artillery and musketry from our extreme front.  Still they advanced in fine order but our men were getting the range and while we suffered comparatively little, the rebels fell in heaps.  Huge gaps were opened in their ranks at every discharge; they rallied, closed up and again advanced.  For nearly three hours the battle raged thus, the rebel officers making desperate efforts to hurl their massed thousands on us and break our center.  Officers and men fell in heaps, our artillery splendidly worked and maneuvered slaughtered them unmercifully.   The continuous roar of musketry almost drowned that of the artillery and was most destructive on the enemy.  At 12 N the enemy seeing he could not break our center retired, leaving his heaps of slain on our hands; and at 4pm again renewed the conflict by an attack on our right- more fierce and desperate, if possible, than was that of the morning.  From that time till 8pm the fighting was terrific.  The ground and adjacent heights were repeatedly lost and won and the enemy’s knowledge of the country gave him the advantage in this particular -----But an extended description would be tedious and you have doubtless seen it in this.  The Army of the Cumberland is now entrenched in the fine fortifications left by Bragg, and our position is such that the whole combined (Confederacy?) cannot dislodge us.  They had in this battle Longstreet and (Ewell?) [Sewell?]  from Va, with 30,000 troops.  They have terribly suffered in killed and wounded.  Our losses are roughly estimated at 7000 that of the rebles must be nearly double that number.  They are in position a few miles in front of us---we are waiting [unknown].  And before this reaches you another battle will have [unknown], and the final result more definitely [unknown].
Indeed I was not glad [unknown] is nearly filled, your letter did [unknown] least, and will give me much [unknown].
I am glad to hear of the good health of your family and would really like to help little Harry play his “_______”  You need be no longer “at a loss to determine”, etc. the ____ was what I most admired.  I don’t understand that “association of sweets” you speak of and “in fact” you must not “suppose” anything of the kind.  There is nothing escapes you married women were they not among my best friends I shouldn’t like them at all. [unknown] don’t suppose you’ll believe much [unknown] say on this matter so I shall [unknown] men ______ - and I don’t [unknown] member old association [unknown]
I trust my letter [unknown] and family will.  [Unknown] and family?  Well I [unknown] women whom I also [unknown]
Well I fear this [unknown] best wishes for the happieness of yourself and people and kind regards to Mr. Sunderland.  Believe me,
Truly and Respectfully,
P.A. Wells


Rights Management: 
Original materials may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (more information).
Date Original (Precise): 
September 27, 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: 
October 4, 2011