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115th New York Infantry - Execution of Deserters

Item LTR-7656
April 26, 1864 Dallas F. Paul
Price: $425.00


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

Gloucester Point
Yorktown, Virginia

April 26th 1864

Dear Brother!

I again take this opportunity of letting you know where I am. We are at the above-named place. I wrote to you just as we were starting from Pulaski. We were just one week in the way from the time we left there until we arrived here. We stopped at Hilton Head one day and night while we were changing steamers and while we were there, I witnessed a sight that I never want to see again. There were two soldiers shot for desertion. They belonged to the 6th Connecticut Volunteers. The prisoners were in an open wagon to the place of execution sitting on their coffins and they talked with each other all the way out there. All the troops at the place were formed in a square and the prisoners walked around until they came to their own company when they sat them down on their coffins. And a detail of 24 men of their own company shot them and they died without a struggle. They had deserted four times and they deserved the fate.

We are now only just across the river from where we were 15 months ago. There is about 30,000 troops here now and more a coming. They intend to have 100,000 here before we move. We left Pulaski the night of the 14th inst. And all the troops from there and from Jackson will have come here, except the colored troops, which are left to garrison the forts. I suppose the reason of their leaving that place was because it was not of much importance to us.

I believe that General Burnside is going to command this Corps. We expect to move towards the rebel capital soon as two weeks or less. We are leaving all our clothes behind that we don’t want to carry on the march. We have packed them up and sent them to Norfolk. We are going to draw shelter tents to carry ourselves on the march. So as we have a tent to sleep under when we are on the march.

They are transferring men from the Army to the Navy that have been in the Navy 2 years before. There was 42 that went out of our regiment this morning and they were all substitutes except three. I almost wished I had been in the Navy as they have only to serve their enlistment.
Hoping to hear from you soon.

I remain your kind and affectionate Brother,

Dallas F. Paul
Company G
115th Regiment
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
10th Army Corps
Yorktown, Virginia

Give my respects to all the folks and keep a good deal to yourself and write soon.