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Battle of Fredericksburg Letter

Written on:June 10, 2010
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Henry Frank Babcock, Company I, of the 122nd New York Infantry, to his parents, written during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Letter reads,

On the Field of Battle,
Sunday, Dec 14/62

Dear Parents,
I take this chance to answer your kind favors of which I received yesterday. Our mail was brought to us on the field as we lay flat on the ground supporting a battery. I received the mittens and paper. I have not space nor time to speak of the Portrait of McClellan contained there in, but I think that if the editor was in my place yesterday he would shut up on war matters. The shells and bullets just flew around our heads. A man in company C next to ours (I) had his knapsack torn from his back by a 32 lb shell. Several in our Regt. were wounded, our Hiram Cole in our company and my file closer was wounded in the leg. One poor fellow just a head of us had his head torn off close to his shoulders by a ball. The fighting has been going on for three days and they are at it now. This being the fourth day. The greybacks are in the woods a great advantage but we will fix them. You can bet it makes a fellow feel “loose’ when those shells burst over our heads and the pieces sing around his head like so many bees. But I must close this now. And when we get through this fight if I come out safe I will write again. Excuse all mistakes. For I write in haste. From your ever afct son, Frank.

Private Hiram Cole was mustered into “I” Co. NY 122nd Infantry on 8/16/1862. He was later killed on June 1, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor.

A “file closer” is a commissioned or noncommissioned officer posted in the rear of a line, or on the flank of a column of soldiers, to rectify mistakes and insure steadiness and promptness in the ranks.

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2 Comments add one

  1. 122ndOnondagas says:

    Chris – this letter was written by my great-great grandfather on my mother’s side. Can you tell me where you found this? Once upon a time my family actually had the original letters but they went missing and we always wondered where they ended up. Thanks for posting this – I’m so glad I found it.

  2. Chris says:

    This was found on the Internet, we don’t have the physical letter. Your post is exactly why we preserve (digitize) these relics here on the site as one they are sold to who knows who, well, who knows… :)
    Chris

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