Soldier describes role in the battle of Fredericksburg; later KIA Spotsylvania
Dec. 28, 1862
Elmer Bragg was 19 years old when this was written.
Elmer Bragg died 1 year, 7 months, 23 days after writing it.
It was written 156 years, 20 days ago.
It was a Sunday.
PS We were paid up to the 1 of Nov,
a few days since. Did Father receive $10.00, the allotment of-one month? If not-I would like to know of it. EB
Near Fredericksburg Va.
Sun. afternoon Dec. 28 /62
My dear Mother,
Having been very busy lately, I have found but little time for my correspondence, but will appropriate a few moments this afternoon to that purpose. Night-before last I received a letter from the Dr. & two papers from home. The Dr. spoke of no letters having been received from me since the last battle & expressed some anxiety in regard to my welfare. I sent one letter to him & one to Father just after the engagement giving some particulars and informing them of my safety. I am at a loss to tell why they were not received unless they were delayed at Washington as our letters often are. Mails reach us from home a great deal sooner than our mail reaches you.
As you have read better accounts of the great battle than I can give you, I will attempt no description. Two Meriden boys are on the list of the wounded, viz. Barber and Bugbee--Both at Washington, improving. This was the most fearful battle that has yet been fought, far exceeding Antietam. The rebels had the strongest position in the world in their entrenchments back of the city. Again and again efforts were made to charge upon them, but out poor fellow fell like rain.
As we left the bloody field at night and laid down to get a few moments sleep on the damp streets of the city I could not drive away the thought that many a Mother's heart--in New Hampshire was soon to be pained at the reception of dreadful news, as 8 New Hampshire Regiments took part in the battle.
A kind providence has seen fit to spare me, and I have passed through all safe and sound. I endured all the fatigue, and performed all the duties that devolved upon me from the time of crossing till we recrossed the river, although I returned to camp pretty well worn out. A few days served to recruit me up and I now feel as fresh as ever.
We are encamped on our old campground and things look now as before. We have just returned from Falmouth, where we have been on picket for twenty four hours. The weather now is quite mild, the traveling is excellent, the roads are as dusty as in July. Our Regiment is now dwindling down quite fast. We now number but about 320 men fit for duty out of the 900 & over which we had 4 months ago.
We haven't heard from Holliday for a long time, and don't know where he is. Cap't Babbit has been promoted to Lieut. Col. & has now the command of our Reg. The box from Meriden has not reached us yet. We are afraid that we shall never see it, as there is no means of conveyance of freight of this kind from Washington. We have lately drawn new supplies of clothing from the Government and are now quite comfortable. Please write soon and inform me whether Father & the Dr. have received their letters yet. Robinson & Rulsifer send regards to all. Can you send me a few noches for cough by mail?
Your affectionate son,