Letter from Cruikshank, Robert

Soldier: Cruikshank, Robert
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 123rd Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Tuesday, May 12th, 1863
Location: Camp near Stafford Court House, VA
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Battlefield, Camp Life, Daily Life, Eastern Theater, Family, Suffering, Wife/Girlfriend

Dear Wife,-

I have received tonight your very dear letter of the 8th inst. and it does my heart good at such time as this to hear from you and Ella and to have you say that you have made up your mind not to worry about me. You are getting very sensible. And why should we worry? If we have any confidence in God's protecting care, we will not fear what man can do unto us if we put our whole trust in Him. When I was in danger I prayed to God and He delivered me out of the hand of the enemy, and has brought me to a safe place.

In your letter you say that Mrs. McDougall said that the Colonel told her that I would not go into a fight on account of not being mustered into the United States service. It is very true that I was under no obligation to go as I hold my discharge as a private soldier and have not been mustered in as a Lieutenant. I hold only a Commission in the State of New York and in the state alone can I be made to take up arms. No one has any authority over me here. Captain Crary and Lieutenant Culver both advised me not to go into the battle. I told them I should go. I considered it my duty to go. It was my duty to go with those men who went out into the service with me and I should look after them. The men of the Regiment knew nothing of my not being mustered in but I would have been thought a coward by all of them. I went into the service because I thought it my duty, and it was no time to shirk it then when danger came. It was at a time when my services were most needed. I do not and I think I never shall regret taking part in the Battle of Chancellorsville. I can hold up my head and look anybody in the face. No one can point his finger at me and say or even think, "Coward." I would rather have lost a limb than not have taken part in the battle. I know of three officers who did not and now their men do not respect them. and what would people at home have said?

I do not know where brother Will is. I have not heard from him since Dr. Kennedy removed the ball. I hope he is doing well. If you know where he is write me all about him. I miss him so much, also the other fifteen men.

We have done but little fatigue duty since our return. I have been working on the reports of the Company and of the loss in the battle. Our Company had three men killed, eleven wounded and two missing,- we suppose taken prisoners.

Write often to,

Your affectionate husband,

R. Cruikshank