Marching towards Battle of Gettysburg from soldier who dies a POW Andersonville
June 21, 1863
The following was written 156 years, 4 months, 22 days ago.
It was a Sunday.
Sunday June 21, 1863
Camp Near White Gum Springs
Father and Mother,
I wrote a letter to you on the 19th but before I had a chance to seal it up and give it to the Mail Boy the drum beat to fall in so I did not have a chance to send it. We fell in and marched from Centreville to where we are at present. the distance was 10 miles. it begun to rain after we had got about half way here and continued to rain all night and as we did not get here till about ten o' clock at night it was rather rough on the boys. I and Billy Spencer went and slept in a barn a short distance from where we stoped so we had very comfortable quarters for the night.
The next morning it stoped raining and we put up a tent and was all right. our regiment and one other in the Brigade come with the wagon train to guard that for we are in a country where the scamps are likely to pitch out of the woods on to a train and burn it at any time. the train was 5 miles long and this is only the train that belongs to our corps. our corps at the present are on the reserve but we know not how soon we may be ordered ahead but there is considerable forse ahead of us.
We have heard cannonading most all day in the direction of Leesburg and I think there has been a fight in that neighborhood today. I do not think we shall stay here long for we don't stay more then 48 hours in a place now days.
We got our mail this afternoon the first one we have had since we have been on this march. it brought 4 letters for me 2 from you and one from Aunt Martha and one from Uncle Miron so I heard from you all at once. I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you was well and I hope this will find you still the same.
I am well at present I am as tuff as I ever was in my life I weighed 150 with my cartridge box on. I would weigh about 146 with nothing on that is about my old weight. you wrote that John Betts was home I am glad of it and I hope that he will have a good visit.
I would like to come home and see you but it is useless to think of such a thing at present. tell Trumy that I was very glad to have him write and he must write again. I wish you would write to me wether you got that letter that I spoke about that stuff that Matilda told or not for I want to know. now it is getting so dark that I can't see to write any more so I will bring this to a close and once more bid you good bye hopeing some day to meet you all. write often as you can for I want to hear from you now good night. this from your son.
Eseck S Wilber
Direct the same as you have
Since I finished my letter last night we have heard that the Colonel of the 4th New York Cavalry was killed in a fight near here. We have not heard any particulars in regard to the fireing heard in the direction of Leesburg yesterday. No more this time.
E S Wilber
*Some punctuation added, particularly periods, to facilitate reading.