Letter from Freeman, Warren H.
|Soldier: Freeman, Warren H.
|Unit/Service Branch: 13th Infantry
|Home State: Massachusetts
|Date Written: Sunday, August 21st, 1864
|Location: In Camp on the Welden Railroad, Va.
|Correspondence Type: Letter
|Subjects: Battlefield, Combat Description, Commanders, Comrades, Eastern Theater, Enemy, Prisoner
DEAR FATHER, — Our corps, the Fifth, General Warren,
has had several severe engagements since I wrote last, for
the possession of this railroad, where we are now encamped.
The fighting began two or three days after my interview
with Colonel Pierson, mentioned in my last. The colonel is
supposed to be mortally wounded. The battle was very sharp
for some time along the whole line, and our regiment was in
the hottest of it and lost several officers and quite a number
of men; and we were obliged to fall. back. But a stand
was soon made and the enemy driven back. The line was
again advanced, temporary works built, and held through
The next day, the 19th, the enemy made a heavy attack
on our position and we had a severe battle, and our lines
were broken and the rebels came near doing a big thing ; they
almost got our whole corps, besides several batteries. We
were deployed out across an open field, the rebs got into
the field within 500 yards of where we were deployed, and
we were between two fires ; we had to bug the ground
mighty close to keep out of the way of the bullets. But the
Ninth Corps came up just in time and drove the enemy
back. The loss of our regiment in these two days was
eleven killed, thirty-two wounded, and 245 taken prisoners.
There are but two of the transferred men, besides myself,
that were in the fight, now left. Little Eddy Hays, whom
you knew, was killed ; he was from my company.
August 27. — The enemy made several attacks in force on
our position but we succeeded in driving them back in great
disorder. I think they will not attempt it again. I went
over part of the field where one of our brigades charged,
and within the space of less than an acre I counted twenty-
six dead rebels ; they were all killed by our shells. I saw
six of them that were apparently killed with one shot ; they
lay close together.
I think mother must be about sick of these tales of blood —
certainly I am ; but what can I do ? I say as little, and
endeavor to describe in the least revolting manner the horrible
scenes around me. I trust I may be spared the task
of speaking of or participating in any more such conflicts.
My tooth does not trouble me now ; it was a rotten one.
The doctor that undertook to extract it only succeeded in
crushing the top off. It was ulcerated, and I had to have
my gums lanced twice, but that did not hurt much ; one side
of my head was swollen some.
I still remain in the guard as sergeant, and expect to for
the present. I shall not sign the pay-roll, or anything of
that kind, as private, and if I have a mind to stand out I
cannot be reduced without cause, and that has got to be
proved. But then I do not care much about it any way.
I hare seen Captain Graham since last week's fighting :
he came out safe. I had a long conversation with him : he
said while he was in West Cambridge he called to see you :
was interested in viewing the relics Eugene and I have sent
home, etc. But I will close with kind regards to all the
loved ones at home.
From yonr affectionate son, WARREN
P. S. —
I forgot to mention that in the fight of the 21st
we captured 400 prisoners and three battle-flags.