Letter from Cruikshank, Robert

Soldier: Cruikshank, Robert
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 123rd Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Sunday, May 31st, 1863
Location: Camp near Stafford Court House, VA
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Daily Life, Eastern Theater, Family, Religion, Slavery, Wife/Girlfriend

Dear Wife,-

This is a lovely Sabbath morning. The air is cool and

fresh and reminds me of the mornings in my far away Northern home, and I feel that I would like to take a stroll with you and Ella through the fields and into the woods. In memory I see the skipping of lambs, the joyous singing of birds I hear in every tree bush and shrub, young plants I see bursting forth into bloom, and meadows are covered with their carpeting of green and orchards are one beautiful sheet of blossoms.

I walked out the other morning across the open lands (I cannot call them fields as there are no fences here) into the woods. I thought I would enjoy myself alone a while in a stroll. The air was refreshing and as I walked along my thoughts were not with me, but far away where everything on this earth is dear to me and I was lonely and sad, although everything in nature appeared to try to make all joyous and happy. The leaves of the trees were fresh with new life and sparkling with the morning dew; the flowers of many kinds sent forth their several fragrances; the birds of a hundred species sent forth their twittering notes; all happy but man and why was not he?

The sin of slavery has brought sorrow and desolation throughout our land. For this cause I am far away from home and friends. For this cause so many of our wounded men are in hospitals on beds with pain, and sickness. For this cause many of our brave men have suffered death, and as I returned to Camp I prayed to God to speed the time when slavery would be no more known in our land and our country would be at peace once more.

In your letter you ask how I spend my Sabbaths since Mr. Gordon went home. We have had five since he left us. The first Sabbath of the month, which was the 3rd, I was fighting at Chancellorsville; the 10th I had to work at the reports of the Company giving the loss of men in the battle; the 17th and 24th I had to myself. Today, the 31st, I have so far been writing to you and I will this afternoon visit the 12th Corps Hospital to see the wounded and sick of the Regiment. I hope to find them improving.

With love to you and Ella I am ever,

Your affectionate husband,

R. Cruikshank.