Soldier writes home to his wife


Date Written

Sept. 25, 1862

Samuel Bernard Dick was 25 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Agnes Scott, was 24 when it was received.

Samuel Bernard Dick died 44 years, 7 months, 15 days after writing this.
It was written 161 years, 10 days ago.
It was a Thursday.

Camp near Sharpsburgh, Md.
Sep 25, 1862

My dear Ag,

I am just in receipt of your short letter of some days ago which quite astonished me as I had not heard a word from you for a long time with the exceptions of the short note you wrote after your return to Pittsburgh in which you promised to follow it with a long one which never came to hands.
I continued to write whenever we were where such a thing could be done, but until now elicited no reply which I think was keeping up my part better than you have done yours unless your letters may have miscarried. I suppose you are aware that for the last 5 weeks we have been marching & fighting all the time & having a terrible time generally in which time I have lost 22 men in killed & wounded. I rec'd nary a hurt myself. For 4 weeks we never received a mail nor heard a word from home & I had no chance to write any letters & now we are only resting ourselves after the late Battles to go on again. I suppose I am very tired of the life & wish to the Lord I was once more home or in Pittsburgh. I hear from home sometimes twice a week & then again not for weeks, so you can see what an uncertain kind of life it has been.

We have been in 4 great Battles in 4 weeks, namely 2 at Bull Run & the Battle of South Mountain & of Antietam, the last two of which, this Brigade led the advances & fought like devils. I have been in command of the Regiment for some days now & expect to be there permanently ere many days as I am recommended for the appointment to fill the vacancy made by Col. Jackson's Promotion. I have no idea of remaining in the service another winter (unless I am killed off before that) as my health is decidedly failing me and I am becoming an old man very fast & my hair is getting quite gray. I wish you had have remained in Meadville this summer as the girls seem to regret as much your leaving. Maybe you were jealous of Bzellsky as I hear he is very much smitten with Miss Susie Thorp. Poor man, he is so susceptible. Pearson I hear has finally got the war spirit & wanted to come out as an adjutant but failed to secure the position & so did not come and is waiting to be drafted.

I lost my pet boy in this last fight. His name was Grimes & his poor old mother lives opposite Thorps on the hill & he was her only support. He was shot dead at my side and I positively would rather have lost an arm than to have had him hurt. The late Battle ground was the most terrible sight I ever witnessed but I don't doubt that it will be described to you by some of the Pittsburgh militia who have all been down to see it. We are expecting to leave this morning for Harper's Ferry & where else the Lord only knows but one thing is certain, if there is to be a fight within 20 miles they will wait for us to begin it.

Let me hear from you soon & often as you have every facility for writing & should write at least once a week and if answers don't come immediately, it will only be because I have not paper nor opportunities to answer but will do so whenever possible.

Samuel B. Dick

I am getting so thin that I can hardly keep my ring on my finger.

Scans of Letter