Letter written by Henry Welch, corporal in the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his father, mother, sisters, and brother from Camp near Harpers Ferry, Virginia, November 16, 1862

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Letter written by Henry Welch, corporal in the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Luther Welch, sisters, and brother from Camp near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, November 16, 1862: a machine readable transcription


?ON? [postmark unclear]
NOV 18 [no year]

D?E 3

Mr Luther Welch (Welch, Luther)
North Hebron
Washington, Co
N.Y. (New York) (North Hebron, Washington County, New York)

PAGE IMAGECamp near Harpers Ferry
Verginia (Virginia) (Harpers Ferry, West Virginia)   Nov 16.1862 Dear Father (Welch, Luther) .. Mother (Welch, Luther (Mrs., Phebe)) ..Sisters..and

Not being on duty today
I am going to pass away the time
writeing (writing) to you. I am well as ever
I was and getting tough and
I think its about time we all began
to toughen after passing through
what we have for the last few
weeks there has hardly
been a day in three weeks but
what we have been on picket
we have now and then a little
fun when we are out such
as capturing a little fresh
meat and I've filled my
canteen more than once with
milk I dont calculate to steal
much neither do I mean to starve

PAGE IMAGE Well Father (Welch, Luther) I think I will give you a short
history of the tramp we took the
last time we were on picket we
were out about 2 miles from
our camp there was six men
detailed out of each company
myself David (David) and Barnard (Barnard) and
Horace Tooley (Tooley, Horace) and a couple of
others were sent out of our company
us four were at one post
one would stand and watch
two hours and then another would
take his place my turn to
watch came from ten to twelve
I had been on my post about
about 20 minutes when I saw a
dark object about eight rods of (off)
it was so dark that I could hardly
make out whether it was anything
or not but I thought at first it
was a man I drawd (drew) up my gun
to halt him when thinking that
it might be a tall stump
PAGE IMAGE or something of the kind and if
I halted it the boys would
laugh at me for halting a
stump so I thought that I would
watch it awhile I kept an eye
on it about half an hour
but it did not stir so I went to
walking to keep warm the moon
came up prtty (pretty) soon and then
there was no man stump or
anything else to be seen I dont
know whether it was anybody or
not but I was very shure (sure) that
I could see something its well
for what ever it was that I
dident (didn't) see it moveing (moving) off. it
might have come across a fall [awfull?] if
I had well the relief come out
and I went back where the other
two were to sleep a few hours
well I had a pretty good sleep
and did not wake up until
morning we cooked some
PAGE IMAGE meat and eat our breakfast
and then sat around the
fire talking and reading
some old news papers that
we had picked up on the
ground near by at about nine
o'clock we saw two horseman
coming up the road they
come to a house about 80 rods
from us and stayed around
there quite awhile it was
so smokey that we could
not see them very plain
we thought they were rebels
spying about our pickets
Dowd (Dowd) spoke and says
Welch (Welch) I think we had
better go and see what
all this means we took our
guns and started out
that way we got out far
enough so we could see them
and they turned out to be
a couple ladies riding out
PAGE IMAGE we walked down the road they
saw us coming and they started
off down the road we walked
on for half a mile and sat
down on the bank side of the
road they rode down the road
thare (their) horses on the run we
sat there awhile and went
of (off) across the lots toward a
house to get something to eat
but not geting (getting) anything we
went back to our post we
had just got to our post
when we saw three rebel
cavelry (cavalry) men coming over
the hill where we had been
sitting just then a company
came to release us and they
took our post and we were
free to go back to camp but
we watched the rebels they
PAGE IMAGE come up within one hundred
rods of us I would have given all I
have got for a horse apeice (a piece) for
us to have used one hour they
would have huried (hurried) up a little
faster I think well they rode
toward the house where we
had just been and from
there to a house over the
hill out of sight. we began
to pick up our things to go
back to camp and was just
starting when our Major
who had come out with us
come runing (running) up with out
any horse and said he
wanted ten men that dident (didn't)
care where they went
and were not afraidt to go
anywhere we jumped up
and he said that he was eating
dinner and the rebs rode
up they were the same ones
PAGE IMAGE we had seen they rode up
one jumped off and untied
his horse another fired at
him the ball going through
a girls dress and drawing
blood on her side they
rode off with his horse sadle (saddle)
and over coat he then come
where the pickets were. well we
started off after them double
quick we went on double quick
a mile and a half and surounded (surrounded)
the house of an old secesh (secess(ionist))
but found nothing he said
that he had two sons in the
rebel army and that there had been
900 cavalry at his house that week
we took one of his horses and told
him if he was a union man he would
get pay for it he said God knows
that there is no union about me
we started for the camp. four of
us David (David) Barnard (Barnard) and Tooley (Tooley)
PAGE IMAGE went off to a house and were
bound to have some dinner
before we marched to camp
we went into a house the woman
was scared most to death she
thought we were rebs she said
that the rebs had searched a
house only a few rods from
there that day she said
that they had on our
uniform and that was what
made her think we were rebs
she got us some cornbread
and milk and she would not
let us lay down our guns
long enough to eat she said
the woods were full of rebels
she sent her children
behind the house for fear
the rebels would fire on
us and hit them and told
them to keep watch and
tell us if they were a comg (coming)
that was the first time I ever
eat at a table holding my gun
PAGE IMAGE we eat all the corn bread we wanted
and sat and talked awhile the
woman said that the rebels
had been there two hours
before but we did not hurry
any for nothing would have
suited us better than to have
had them fired on us it was
a large log house and we
could have whiped (whipped) four times
our number we never would
have surrendered you can
depend on that for we were
a squad that never gives
up to a secesh (secess(ionist)) we started
out and got to camp just
dark the horse that we took
wa'sent (wasn't) near as good as the
Majors was. he lost a nice
saddle besides. but I think
we will make it up soon
PAGE IMAGE that is the first horse
the 123 has lost and I think
it wouldent (wouldn't) have lost that
if Dowd (Dowd) and I had stayed
in the road where we were
about half an hour longer
we would have steped (stepped)
behind the rail fence there
and when they come up we
would have wiped (whipped) them
out I think that the ladies
we saw riding out rode down
and told them that we
were coming down the road
and they started out to take
us prisoners I think they
would have failed if we had
been there. yesterday we
marched six miles over to
Maryland Hights (Heights) (Maryland Heights, near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia) to work
on a fort there they are
mounting cannon all
around here today there
PAGE IMAGE was three hundred more
went over they have been
drawing up guns with ropes
all day today they came back
to night they say that the
troops on Bolivar Hights (Heights) (Bolivar Heights, Virginia)
were drawn up in line of
battle all the afternoon its
reported that Stonewall
Jackson (Jackson, Stonewall (General)) is but eleven miles
from here and approching (approaching)
all the time our Brigade
quartermaster is moveing (moving)
his stores back out of the
way and I think something
is going to be done at last
Burnside (Burnside, Ambrose Everett (General)) has superseded
Mclelen (McClellan, George Brinton (General)) and now were going
to have war in earnest for
my part I am glad of it
for I have seen enough of
this playing war if we're
going to have war I say let it

PAGE IMAGE be war and the sooner the
better for my part I want
to follow Burnside (Burnside, Ambrose Everett (General)) into
Richmond (Richmond, Virginia) between this
and New years and I think
if they will let us go we
can do it but I must close
I received letters from
Sarah (Sarah) and Susan (Susan) last
night but I have wrote so
long a letter to you that I
have not time to answer
them and dont know when
I shall have for I have got
to go on picket tomorrow
give my love to them the
next tim (time) you see them
dont send me any box
untill (until) I sent for it for
they come through yet as
they should give my respect
to all the folks up thre (there)
I send my love to you
and all of the family write
some of you as soon as you
get this

From your son Henry (Welch, Henry)
Part: of 13