Letter from Freeman, Warren H.

Soldier: Freeman, Warren H.
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 13th Infantry
Home State: Massachusetts
Date Written: Monday, August 1st, 1864
Location: In Camp Near Petersburg, Va.
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Battlefield, Combat Description, Commanders, Eastern Theater, Enemy, Warfare
 

DEAE FATHER, Yours of the 23d ult. is received. I
thank you for writing a full account of the reception home
of the Old Thirteenth, and sending two papers that give all
particulars of the occasion. Well, they fully deserve all the
honors that the public may bestow upon them. I had hoped
to have been among them, and might have been, but then I
should have forfeited a reputation that I have paid dearly
for, and should have regretted after the excitement of the
moment was over. I am really glad that, as you and
mother failed to meet me on the arrival of the regiment in
Boston, you had the pleasure of meeting and taking by
the hand some of the brave boys that I have tented and
fought with for years. And mother actually took in 'her
hands what was left of the dear old flag that was torn to
pieces in the Wilderness ; no doubt she mentally blessed it
and its brave defenders.

July 30th, at daybreak, the battle of the " Crater," as
some call it, came off. A rebel fort was blown up, it having
been previously mined, and the garrison, with the guns, etc.,
blown a hundred feet into the air. It was in front of
Burnside's Corps. Soon after the explosion Burnside sent
a division of troops forward ; they passed the ruins and made
an attack on the next line of rifle-pits, but were only par-
tially successful ; they were finally driven back from all
they had gained with great loss. I was up yesterday to see
the ruins ; all that remained of the fort was a misshapen
heap of earth. Our dead and wounded were lying round
quite thick. Yesterday the rebels refused a flag of truce, but
to-day our men are removing the wounded and burying the
dead. It is said there were about 300 rebels in the fort,
most of whom were killed. The Fifty-ninth Regiment was
engaged ; they were commanded by Colonel Gould, formerly
a major in our regiment. I was up to see them yesterday.
They have lost heavily in this campaign. There were
less than 100 men present. Colonel Gould was mortally
wounded.

My time is out sure on the last day of November ; my
enlistment dates from December first, and I have drawn pay
from that time. Four months from yesterday quite a
long time to look ahead ; but I have got to be quite contented
here. The duty does not seem so hard as I become
more familiar with it.

Three rebel deserters came in last night, and we sent
them to the corps head-quarters this morning. But I must
draw to a close, for it is very hot and sultry, and the flies do
bite. Please give my love to all inquiring friends.
From your affectionate son, WARREN.
P. S.
You say there were over 200 men in the regiment
when they came home. J presume there were ; but there
were less than eighty men left of those that went through
the Wilderness fighting ; the rest had been detailed for
various purposes, and joined the regiment after they left the
front ; some came from hospitals, etc.

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