WAR-TIME LETTER FROM LT. JOSEPH W. ALLEN, CO. M WRITTEN TO HIS FATHER AT THE ONSET OF GRANT’S WILDERNESS CAMPAIGN IN 1864
WEBSMITH NOTE: LETTER REVEALS HIS SENTIMENTS REGARDING THE REGIMENT NOT BEING READY FOR CAMPAIGN/BATTLE WITH SO MANY NEW RECRUITS. ALLEN WAS THE BROTHER-IN-LAW OF CAPTAIN JAMES LITTLE MCFEETERS, CO. M, GREAT GRANDFATHER OF NANCY KORB WHO CONTRIBUTES THIS LETTER TO THE 100TH PENN WEBSITE.
Camp 100th Regt. Pa Vet. Vols
Near Alexandria Va
April 26th 1864
Having the opportunity this afternoon I embrace it to address you a few lines to let you know of our movements for the past few days and also to request you to attend to some business that is somewhat to my advantage to have attended to.
I expect you will be surprised upon learning that we have left Annapolis so soon. But I expect with all the news will be but little less surprising to you than it was to us.
We got orders on the evening of the 22nd to be in readiness to march next morning. We hardly knew what to think about it for we was in no condition to start upon a campaign nor are we yet. Our recruits are not fully equipped nor are they acquainted with their duties sufficient at this early day to render them of much account yet we arrived here last evening after three pretty hard days of marching. The weather was very warm which made marching rather disagreeable. Especially when a person has a heavy load to carry. Our recruits started out with knapsack packed to their utmost capacity but soon found that to get along it would be necessary to dispense with everything but what they could not possibly do without. So the consequence was the roadside for many miles was strewn with coats, blankets, pants, shirts and every article of clothing and many time the whole knapsack was thrown aside and left men preferring to lose everything rather than be left laying behind.
Yesterday we came through Washington City and was reviewed by President Lincoln, General Burnside, with many more of the distinguished men of the city. The corps numbered not far from forty thousand men. They made quite a grand display. It appeared that everybody was in the sidewalks and many times as we would pass crowds they would cheer our “old battle-scarred banner” and showed in many ways their respect for the men that was defending their countries honor.
Well to the business I spoke about. I want you to attend to the lifting of a bounty of one-hundred dollars from the borough of Elizabeth. As it appears that they have accredited me to that place and the citizens are paying the above sum to veterans credited there. Lieut. Dougherty has come on and tells me that the person authorized to pay out this bounty will do so to any person I authorize with an order from me. So I will enclose said order in this and you can try it. It will not be much trouble even if you are not successful in getting it. I think it worth a trick anyhow. If you get it you can retain the sum of twenty-five ($25.00) dollars of it to pay for your trouble and give mother the balance. By attending to the above you will certainly oblige me very much.
From your son
P.S. Lieut. D tells me that the proper person to present this note to is Samuel VanKirk of Elizabeth.
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