Soldier writes from Petersburg as an artillery engagement ensues


Date Written

June 26, 1864

The following was written 159 years, 2 months, 28 days ago.
It was a Sunday.

Camp of the 12st N. Y. Vols.
Near Petersburg, Va.
June 26th 64

Dear Cousin Cynthia,

It is the Sabbath evening and a beautiful one it is and for to pass the time pleasantly I thought I would write a few lines to you once more. I have not received but one letter from you since the 1st of May and I have wrote three to you, perhaps you have not received them. I hope you will get this one all right and that you will answer it amediately. After a campaign of 50 days we have at last went into camp again. But now it is in line of Battle behind our fortifications. The Rebs are only about a mile distant and all we have in front is a light pickett line and they have a brush now and then. I think that unless the Rebs attacks us we will rest a few days before we have any more fighting.

While I am writing, I can hear the Boom of Artillery and roar of the musketry. Away to the right of our line, not more than two miles off and I know not but before and hour we may have work to do. We have to hold ourselves ready to fall in at a moments notice. The weather is very hot here about these days. I can truly say I never saw so warm weather in my life in York State as it has been here during the past week. There is quite a number of deaths by sunstrokes. It is also very hard work to get water enough for the army, we have not had any rain in about three weeks and most of the water places are dry.

As I was taking a stroll this eve about sundown thinking of home & friends and the Mercys of God, I heard the sound of voices singing that good old hymn, "When I can read my little clear, etc." I bent my steps to the spot and found a large number of soldiers seated on the ground praising God. The chaplain spoke some truth to us from the New Testament and when I returned I felt anew determined to press forward in this good cause. I saw by the papers a list of the drafted in Roseboom. I think the Allen family is lucky as last year. I only wish those who are drafted had to come of furnish a substitute. We want men, for our army is decreasing fast in this camp. Our Regt. Had 140 men & 6 officers left from 560 men & 28 officers which started with us the 4th of May.

I heard by letters I received from home that I was reported killed in the fight before Spottselvania Court House. I suppose you mourned for me as dead for a few days until you knew the truth. I feel very sorry wrong reports are sent to trouble the friends of soldiers. I think it is hard enough when it comes to the trying hour. I feel to thank God that he has sheltered my head through the storm of battle and I hope and pray I may yet be permitted to return to my native home when the cruel war is among the things of the past. Quite a number of the boys of our Co. who was wounded in the Wilderness are now at home on furloughs. My old tent mate has a leave of 50 days. He will not return until after the 4th of July. It is very late and I will close. Write soon and as ever I remain your affectionate Cousin.

John M. Lovejoy
121, N. Y.

Scans of Letter