Letter from the Battle of Chancellorsville
May 4, 1863
The following was written 157 years, 2 months, 11 days ago.
It was a Monday.
In the field
May 4, 1863
I thought it would relieve your anxiety to hear from me. When I wrote to you last, we a little below Fredericksburg. We layed there about three days under fire of their Batterys but did not lose any men. The day before yesterday, they started us. We were then on the extrreme left then and marched us to the extreme right, a dis. Of 25 miles. It took us till 12 o ' clock at night before we got there. It was awful. You know we had eight days rations and our clothing and blankets to carry and it was as warm as it is at home in July. A great many fell out but I stood it. We crossed the river at a place called Kelley's Ford. It is up the Rhappahannock, most up to Rap- Station and marched back most to the Rappidan River. They sent five Co.s of our Reg't on picket and our Co. Was one of them. We went out and staid till 4 o' clock last night, when we came in and built breastworks most all night. So you may think how tired we are. There was an awful large battle fought yesterday about a mile down the river from us. They say we have lost 12,000. We took a great many prisoners. We have this place to hold if they do not come where we are we probably shall not have to fight any only our picket fighting. We are nearer Richmond than ever we were before. Tell John Chad. I saw his Regt. They are guarding the telegraph wires from their camp up the river. Tthey are stren a distance of 15 miles. The fifth Me. Battery was in our Div. About evry man was killed yesterday or taken prisoner. The highest officer left was a Corporal. I must close now and go to building entrenchments. It is quiet this morning only a little picket fighting.
J. H. Frain