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118th New York Infantry - Wounded at Petersburg

Item LTR-7246
April 22, 1863 James H. Estes
Price: $245.00


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

Near Suffolk, VA
April 22, 1863

Dear Sister,

I now seat myself to answer your kind letter. I am well and in the best of spirits. Hope this will find you the same.

We are now in front of the Rebels where we can see the smoke of the shells as they burst. We left our old camp at Washington at daylight on the morning of [the] 20th and went onboard of the Steamer Utica. At ten o’clock we started down the Potomac. We anchored near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The sea was very rough and the old boat would rock like a cradle, and the boys soon began to rush to the sides of the boat and heave up Jonah – myself with the rest. I was sick pretty much all day and it was about the meanest sickness I ever had. We were now in salt water and I took a jolly good wash in it.

We passed Fortress Monroe about four o’clock in the afternoon. It is a strong-looking place. We thought we were going to stop there and were some surprised when we passed by. We passed on towards Norfolk, by the mouth of James River. We see where the Cumberland was sunk. Next we turned up the Elizabeth River. Old Rebel works are to be seen all along the shore on both sides of the river. We see where the old Merrimac was blown up. There is a sign put up to show where it was sunk.

We got off from the boat at Norfolk and unslung our knapsacks at seven o’clock. We staid there till 12 o’clock, when we got aboard of some cars and started for Suffolk. They were platform cars with nothing at all on the sides to hang on to. We were packed on a s tight as possible. A slight jerk sideways would have thrown two hundred off. We arrived at Norfolk about half past one and stopped there till 9 o’clock this morning, when we marched out about a mile and stacked our arms and are taking our comfort, expecting to have to fight before long. We are in first rate spirits.

The gunboats and sharp shooters are playing upon the rebels some. Uncle S. did not come with us. He was left at one of the hospitals. I presume he will get his discharge.

I am glad that you get along so well with sickness. Hope you will not have any worse times. We are without any tents and don’t know how soon we shall get any. We are going to soldiering now in good earnest.

Tell Father and Mother not to worry about me. I shall write again in a few days. Alson came and saw us the day before we started. He had no money and I let him have two dollars and told him to send it home when he had it to spare. That leaves me with only two dollars. That will do me for a while. I hope Father will get the money and things all right which I sent home. Well Orphena, you will have to take up with a short letter this time, but I will write a long one by and by. My love to Father and Mother and all the rest. There is some mail going on and I must stop.

So Good-bye.
James H. Estes