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128th Pennsylvania Infantry

Item LTR-6963
January 27, 1863 Joseph W. Richards
Price: $245.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Camp Near Stafford Court House, VA
January 27th 1863

Dear Father,

Yesterday, our Regiment was paid off for two months up to October 31, 1862. They are still indebted to us for 3 months up to January 31st. the amount we received was $26.00. out of which I owed to our mess $5.00 for good living. $1.00 I will keep for seed and the other $20.00 I want you to keep for me till I come home. I don’t want it invested in any way unless you place it in the savings bank in my name. because I want a little spending when I get home. I heard the paymaster say he would pay us again very soon. So, I will have more to send home. I received your good long letter last evening for which I am very much obliged to you. I am sure it did me good for I had begun to think all this maneuvering and fighting was for nothing. I hope it will soon cease but not till the rebs give in. if they do raise n****r regiments, they will only keep them in the southern forts and bring all our soldiers up to the front to fight. And I don’t see how it is going to save the lives of white men by keeping them in the forts. I would not care if they would bring them to the front. Though I don’t believe they would fight one bit. For they are naturally very cowardly and superstitious. I am sorry to hear things are in such a state at home. I hope that Pennsylvania at least will remain true to her allegiance. Don’t you? Now and then we receive newspapers which give us but very little information as to things at home. I have heard of the goings on of The Herald and World. Some here in camp are in for peace no matter how its obtained. They are so very tired of the war and the service that they would do most anything to get home. They are generally the 3-year men. Their regiments are small and there is a talk of consolidating them and destroying their hard-earned name. I know that our regiment was in but one fight but it has seen some hard service marching exposed to all sorts of weather. Without the least bit of shelter and I should not like to see it consolidated with any other regiment. No matter how good their names might be. We earned ours and would like to keep what little we have. It may accidently grow somewhat in the 3 months we have yet to stay. For my part, I think, it would be much better to draft these old regiments full again so that none will lose their names. The weather here is bad foggy and damp all the time. By good luck, we have a first-rate log hut to live in. there is not telling how long we will stay here. Probably not more than a week longer at the farthest. It all depends on the weather. I saw the Herald of last week and it says that Burnside is stuck in the mud. If that’s the case, I don’t think he will get out very soon for the rainy weather is just setting in now and in a few weeks, it will be impossible to move at all. I don’t see why they left it till this winter anyhow. They had plenty of chance last fall and in the early part of the winter to get farther down toward Richmond. If they are to do anything now, it must be done in a hurry. I have not heard one word from Ema since she returned to school. If she has written, the letter must have been miscarried or lost. If it is, it will be the first one I have lost since I have been out. George McFarlan returned to the regiment a day or two ago. He has been home since the 17th of September, nearly 5 months. Give my love to all inquiring friends. Also, to Mary, Ed and Lou and yourself and believe me your very

Affectionate Son,

Joe Richards
Company A, 128th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers
Washington, DC

General Siegel has his headquarters over at the Court House and you never saw such a crowd of Dutch Jew Officers as there is about here. I have not seen him yet but expect I shall very soon. You recollect our German Doctor talking about Siegel bringing a Captain under him at one time. He is the biggest liar in the regiment. The other day he said he would be afraid to let Siegel see him because he was only an assistant surgeon. Yet the fellow never knew Siegel I don’t believe. He called me aside yesterday and asked me if I would not be his clerk if we got into a battle. I told him I would not. That if we got into a battle, I wanted to be with my company, as I was not in the last battle. All he said was you want to be initiated, do you. What he means by being his clerk is to hold fellows’ hands and legs while he cuts them off (I don’t see it).

Write soon please.


Please call at Schmuckers for my money. It will get there in a day or two.