1864: Unidentified Soldier to Parents

Map of Warrenton Junction in October 1863

This letter was written by an unidentified soldier named Joseph who described offloading supplies at Warrenton Junction, Virginia. The year of the letter is not given but was mostly certainly 1864. Arguments for this date include:

  • As enlistment terms expired, the ranks were being replenished with conscripts.
  • Warrenton Junction was a useful supply base for Grant’s forces during the Overland Campaign which had been launched a couple of months before this letter was written.
  • Meade’s lack of aggressiveness in pursuing Lee after the Battle of the Wilderness resulted in Grant taking over greater control of the campaign, leading to rumors that Meade wanted to be relieved of command.

We learn from the letter that the author is among a small squad of soldiers on detached duty away from their regiment. We can also infer that the author was from Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut. While the 17th Connecticut was organized in Bridgeport in August 1862, there were a number of other Connecticut regiments that drew recruits from Fairfield County earlier in the war.


Camp at Warrenton Junction, Va.
July 26 [1864]

Dear Father & Mother,

I now take the pleasure of writing you a few lines to inform you how I am getting along. We are now encamped along the Warrenton and Alexandria Railroad at the junction about 40 miles from Alexandria where we are taking in supplies. Which way we will move from here, it is difficult to tell. It is reported that Lee is marching into Pennsylvania again and, if that is so, we will be very apt to follow him. But the yarn is not credited much in camp and there is another yarn going the rounds that Meade has asked to be relieved but one can’t believe one quarter of the rumors that is afloat in the army.

I wrote a letter to sister Susan 4 or 5 days ago in answer to the one she wrote me last. I believe all the old regiment is to be filled up with conscripts and there is talk of sending all the different companies and squads back to the regiments that is on detached duty and if that is the case, we will be very apt to join our regiment again. But we shall see in the course of a couple of weeks or so. I must close and go after rations.

All the boys from Bridgeport are well. Hoping these few lines may find you all well as they leave me at present.

I remain your affectionate son, — Joseph

Write soon.

P. S. Let me know whether Pat is discharged or not.

I picked this paper up off the field.


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