Marching from Washington D.C. to first battle


Date Written

Sept. 14, 1862

Marshall P. Wood was 24 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Julia Hunt Wood, was 23 when it was received.

Marshall P. Wood died 49 years, 11 months, 17 days after writing this.
It was written 161 years, 2 months, 24 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Dear wife it is Sunday and I thought I would write a few more lines. We are in the same place a resting a little perhaps. We may stay here a few days but cannot tell. We are all pretty tired and are glad to rest a few days. Dear wife I have not received a letter from you since I was in the grove at Leesboro. We started on our march that very night that I received your letter and one from Mother and Urania and Jane. When I can see this I do not know perhaps some time this week. Dear one we had a pretty hard march out here it is some 80 or 90 miles and we marched all the time and it was pretty hard for we had so much to fetch.

We left our coats at Wash—and carried our knapsacks about 30 miles and then had them sent back to Wash. I was glad of that for it was dreadful hard to carry them. We took what we could in our haversacks and went on. I carried my vest in my blanket and when we made that charge on the enemy, Sunday, we was ordered to throw our blankets away and someone took my blanket and vest with the pockets all full and I lost that but that is not all. I have lost all the money I had. I expect someone stole it. I had ten dollars and it is all gone but I can get along a little while without any. I can send for some. Most all the boys lost some things but I believe I lost the most. I wrote to you to send me out some writing paper but I have got enough now. I suppose I have 5 or 6 letters on the way and I should like to see them. Dear one I think you had not better write but once a week for we are a good ways from Wash. and we do not get them very often. Dear wife you wanted to know what we have to eat. We have enough to eat. It is hard tack as we call it and beef, pork, rice, beans, sugar and all the green corn and apples we can get. There is a lot of hogs and pigs out here that run in the fields and roads and we have all of them we want. Oh, how I should like to set down and eat a meal of victuals with you. It would seem so good but that cannot be at present, but I hope it will not be long. We think here that we have got them pretty well cornered up but we can not tell. We has ten thousand reports and do not know what to believe. The boys are all well except Stratten. He is sick. Between here and Wash. he has not been well since we started from Concord.

Dear wife I guess if you look on the map of Md. you can find where we are now. It is not but 2 or 3 miles from Harper’s Ferry and not far from Sharpsburg. Where we shall go to next. We cannot tell for we do not any of us know until we get there and then we do not know where we are. I should like to write a letter to Mother and Father before this goes out and perhaps I shall. It is dreadful hard work to write for I have to get down on the ground and I cannot rite so any one can read it and my hands are all dirt, we have to lay in the fields where they have cut off wheat and it is all dirt and it gets my paper all dirty.

Dear Julia, the Capt. says our letters can go out tonight if they are ready in five minutes and so I shall close this up and send it. Good Bye.

From your husband,
M. P. Wood
P. S. You will have to pay the postage that is the life for the soldiers.

[Separate paper leaf and letter—date unknown]

Dear wife I want you to keep this note in the shade for I don’t want anyone to see it. Dear Julia I wish you should try and get me some money for I cannot get along without some. If you can get some any whare, I wish you would. I expect we shall get paid off before long by the middle of the next month, but I cannot wait so long. I have bargained for a watch that is worth twelve or fifteen dollars. If I could pay for it and if you can send me about ten dollars, I should like it. I guess you can borrow it from some whare. Perhaps you can get some of jane or Cap’t Howe and then when I get my pay there will be some at the Bank and Jaffrey and you can get it and pay them. Gen. Stearnes sent home and got a lot of money and most all the rest of the boys. I should like that watch very much but cannot get it if I cannot get the money. I have traded off my revolver for a watch today. I found it was no use to me and it was a heavy thing to carry around. I had to carry it in my knapsack and it was a great deal of work to keep it clean. It would rust like sixty and I thought I would get rid of it. I swapped it off for a watch that cost 18 dollars and a good card Reg. and hook. I swapped even, but the watch is not worth that out here nor was the revolver Simmonds said that he saw a fellow try to sell a revolver for 10 dollars just like mine and could not. I have to sell my letter paper and envelopes to get my money but I had just as lives sell some of it as not for I have got enough of it. I can get enough of it out here of the Sutlers and they do not ask any more than I do for it. I cannot get but one cent a sheet for it and the same for envelopes and when I get most out you can send me a sheet every time you write me. I wish you would send me a postage stamp every time you write me and I want you should write me twice a week if you can for we get the mail oftener than we could a little while ago. Charles Simonds says if you see his sister or his father, tell them that he is all right and is well and wants that they should write to him. Symonds tents with me. We have a good time. He has not got any money. Dear precious one, I do not think of much more to write this time. Only I want some money and I want to see you very much. I think there must be something afoot or this large army would not lay here doing nothing. We have been here a week tomorrow. But I think we shall have to move pretty soon some whare. There was a battle a short ways of here yesterday. I believe it was at Point of Rocks where it was. Do not know how it was. It is most time for the mail to go out and I must come to a close. If you can get that I wish you would send it out as quick as you can for he wants the money now. I told him I would send home and get it as soon as I could. If you cannot get any send me what you can if it is not more than one dollar, for I must have some. I could get along with about five dollars a month but most of the boys want about 20 dollars. The thing of it is the sutlers have everything to sell and they ask a pretty good price for it, but that makes no difference, they will have it. The most that I buy is a little cheese that goes the best with my vitals. They ask 25 cents a pound for cheese. It is time for the mail to go out and I must close.

Good buy from your husband,

M. P. Wood
From the one who loves you with all my heart

Ben was up to see me yesterday. He is well. I gave him a sheet of paper and envelope to write to his Mother. Thomas says that Joshua is at Baltimore. He says that they had one letter from him, but lately did not know whare he was but he says he wrote to the captain and he got it Saturday and he says he guesses that he will send it to him. Joshua is not very well Mon. is to get his discharge and I guess he will.

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