Letter written by Henry Welch, corporal in the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his uncle and aunt from Camp on the Rappahannock Shore, Virginia, August 2, 1863

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Letter written by Henry Welch, corporal in the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company K, to his uncle and aunt from Camp on the Rappahannock Shore, Virginia, August 2, 1863: a machine readable transcription


WASHINGTOND. C. (District of Columbia) (Washington, District of Columbia)
AUG 5 1863

Mr Franklin Tanner (Tanner, Franklin)
South Granville
Washington Co
NY (New York) (South Granville, New York) (Washington County, New York)

PAGE IMAGECamp on the Rappahannock
(Rappahannock River) Shore August 2nd 1863 My Dear Uncle (Tanner, Franklin) and Aunt (Tanner, Franklin (Mrs., Polly C.)) (Tanner, Polly C. (Mrs. Franklin Tanner)) !

I have
an hour or two of leisure time
and I improve it by writing
to you! I am in good health!
Horace (Horace) is well and so is Francis (Francis)
we are in pretty good spirits
and are enjoying ourselves
as well as can be expected
that is we are makeing (making) the
best of our situation! we
have got so that we
take things that turn up
very cool, wether (whether) we are going
into a skirmish with the
rebs or going out to capture
some doomed pig its all
the same to us! we crossed
the Rappahannock (Rappahannock River) yesterday

PAGE IMAGE and we are now lying near
Kelly's foard (Ford) (Kelly's Ford, Virginia) ! I do not know
how long we are to stay here
but I think we shall move
again in a day or so! we
expected yesterday that today
would find us in another
battle for we could hear
the roar of musketry and
artilery (artillery) all the afternoon
but this morning we hear
nothing of it so I suppose
we have won another small
battle! I received a letter
from you yesterday, I am glad
to hear that you and the
rest of my old friends
are all well! I see that we
are not going to get many
men on this draft it appears
that somebody has got it into
their head's that we are
going to fight down this
PAGE IMAGE rebellion with money instead
of men. but I hardly think
the plan will work men
we must have as well as
money! I am in hopes that
we will not need a great
many I think myself that
the rebel's are petty (pretty) well
played out! Aunt Polly (Tanner, Franklin (Mrs., Polly C.)) (Tanner, Polly C. (Mrs. Franklin Tanner))
you wanted I should write
about those deserters that
were shot, and who they were!
there was three of them, two
belonged to the 46..th reg't..P..a.. (Pennsylvania)46th Regiment, Pennsylvania
and one belonged to the..13th..N..J.. (New Jersey)13the New Jersey Regiment (13th Regiment, New Jersey)
there was 4 men out of each
reg't in our Brigade obliged
to go and shoot them! one
man had to go from our Co.
none of us would go so the
Captain said we must
cast lots to see who should
go, he took all of our name's
PAGE IMAGE and put them in a had and
then drew out a name. I was
afraid that my name would
be drawn but it was not,
Craude Osborne (Osborne, Craude) was the
one drawn and he had to
go and shoot a fellow
soldier! the three graves
were dug the distance
between was 20 feet the
coffins were placed to each
grave then our Brigade
was marched up where
we had a full view of the
graves next the deserters
were brought to their
diferent (different) coffin's then
blindfolded they then
sat down on their coffins
24 men were then marched
in front of them eight
men was stationed three
rods in front of each deserter
PAGE IMAGE then came the order to take
aim the men brought thier
muskets slowly to the shoulder
and took deadly aim then
came the word fire every
gun was discharged and those
three misguided men were no
more! we were all marched
past the bodies in two ranks
they were a bloody sight
to behold! I never want to
see such a sight again it seemed
to (too) much like murder!
I received that paper you sent
me which contained an account
of Col: Norten (Norten (Colonel)) 's death I am
very much obliged to you
for sending it! tell mother
that I have just received
a letter from her and I will
answer it tomorrow if we
PAGE IMAGE do not move! we are having
very hot weather down here now
day's! well Uncle Franklin (Tanner, Franklin)
I suppose this letter will find you
pretty well along with your harvesting
I can well remember the time
when you were harvesting one year
ago it seems a short time yet
I hope the two coming years
will be full as short! there
has been a good many change's
since we were up there harvesting
together, when I think who
formed our company at Salem (Salem)
and then think of the many
absent names from our roll
it seems that nearly half of
us are gone! death is rapidly thining (thinning)
our ranks and we often think
who's turn will it be next, but
it matters not if we are only
prepared, I hope alway's to be
found ready to go when
PAGE IMAGE my master call's me! we
have many temptations
here to resist and many evil's
to shun, I hope that I may
alway's have a will and mind
to resist and shun them
all! there is a great many
young men ruined in this
army that had good principles
when they come here, but
here they are left wholly
to themselves they are
away from the influence
of a christian mother and
the advice of a kind
Father no one to speak a kind
or an encourageing (encouraging) word to them
soon they form bad company
bad habits and are fast on
the road to ruin! I have not time
to write any more this time! please write
soon excuse all mistakes!

your Nephew Henry Welch (Welch, Henry)
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