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11th Michigan Infantry

Item LTR-8820
May 23, 1863 Holmes A. Pattison
Price: $285.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 2 pages, written in period ink.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

May 23rd 1863

Lieutenant A. P. Mead
111th Pennsylvania

Dear Brother,

Your favor of the 13th inst. was received a few days since. It found us both well and enjoying Army life hugely. We were glad to hear from you and that you had passed safely through the battle at Chancellorsville and made good your retreat to the place of starting.

The Army here felt pretty sore over your defeat at Chancellorsville. For we can regard it in no other light than that of defeat. There was nothing gained in the advance you made. You are no nearer Richmond now, nor is Richmond any nearer taken than when you began your movement on the 26th of April or began the fight on the 1st inst. on the other hand, you are the losers of 20,000 or more men killed, made hors de combat and prisoners and yet Richmond is still the rebel capital and stronghold. We are not disposed to find fault with General Hooker nor any man in any of the grades of military life engaged in that sanguinary and terrible conflict. We regard it as a misfortune that might happen to any man, but a misfortune for which there is no remedy. We are not much consoled here in the southwest, when we are told by General Halleck that Hooker had only about one third his force engaged. As that does not, as few as we can see from where we are, bring to life the clear unnecessarily sacrificed, nor restore the wounded to the country. Nor bring the Army into the fortifications of Richmond. The less that is seen about the moiety of the force engaged the better for all concerned.

We are now having some warm weather and dry and dusty. Our Army here are in good health and in fine spirits. Ready for any rebel demonstration that may be made. You know we are the Army that has never been whipped by a general that never was whipped and we put Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Perryville and Stone River down in our catalogue of hard-fought battles. Indeed, we have got so in the way of whipping the rebels that defeat would be much harder for us than for you, as we are not used to it.

I have not heard from Ed’s folks for more than a year. Though I have written them several times.

We hear from Lucy occasionally. They were all well when last heard from.

I too am sorry for Electa. For I guess Frank still is either a copperhead or a coward. And so far as I am concerned, I had rather she were the widow of a brave man who had died for his country, than to know that she was the wife of a coward or an enemy to his country.

We are making some inroads on the enemy and everything indicates a forward movement soon. We have sent all our men unfit for field service to convalescent camp and field hospital, stored all dress coats, overcoats and extra blankets and baggage at Nashville.

Hoping to hear that your large and splendid Army has obtained at least one victory. I’ll close up. Give my regards to Major and Lieutenant Boyle and all the Elk County boys and write soon too.

Yours truly,

H. A. Pattison