This letter was written by Benjamin Franklin Loar (1842-1863), Co. A, 140th Pennsylvania Infantry. He enlisted on 4 September 1862 and died in Philadelphia on 1 August 1863 of wounds received fighting in The Wheatfield at the Battle of Gettysburg on 2 July 1863.
Benjamin was the son of Balser Loar (1817-18xx) and Elizabeth Bennett (1818-18xx) of Washington County, Pennsylvania. He wrote the letter to his Aunt Susannah (“Susan”) Bennett (1824-1913).
John Bennett, presumably a cousin of B. F. Loar, also served in Co. A, 140th Pennsylvania. He enlisted in September 1862 and mustered out with the company in May 1865.
Camp near Falmouth [Virginia]
May 18, 1863
Well sister, I take pen in hand to let you know that I am well and I hope these few lines may find you well. I received the letter that you wrote on the eighth and I was glad to hear from you.
We have nice weather out here but the corn planting has played out for the men that lives out here. They have gone to help the rebs but they said that they would rather a lost eighteen thousand men than to lost Old [Stonewall] Jackson and if the reports is true, he is dead. They was one was taken prisoner and he has been paroled said that he heard Jackson’s funeral preach[ed] in Fredericksburg but the rebs don’t halloo over to our boys and ask where Little Mac is. I guess they think that Old Hooker was their match and I hope he will be for I want it settled for it is getting too tired and hot for me to soldier. But I think that I can stand it as long as I can but the sooner it is ended, why that will be the ___icker.
You must excuse me for not writing more for it is very warm. Well I must close. Write as soon as you can. So no more. — B. F. Loar
Camp near Falmouth
May 18, 1863
Well Sister, I take my pen in hand to let you know how I am getting along. I am well and I hope these few lines may find you well. I got the letter that you sent in Ben’s letter and got sixteen postage stamps and they come very handy, but I had a few of them that you sent to me before.
The weather has been very warm since we got back over the river but it has been very nice weather only it has been very warm. But we have to move our tents every day. I will [have] to close till after we get done [with] drill. We have to drill twice a day.
I take my pen in hand to finish these few lines that I have commenced. It is a nice evening. It is just roll call and answer to our names. Here is a song about the Seven Day Fight before Richmond ¹ and one about the hard tacks, but you must find a tune for them. But they is a nice tune to go to the Seven Day Fight but I don’t know what it is. But I have heard it sung down on picket.
Well, I must close for it is about bed time. I will have some more wrote in the morning if I have time but I must close for tonight so no more. Write as soon as you can.
— John Bennett
To Susan Bennet
Camp near Falmouth
Tuesday Morning, May 19, 1863
Well Aunt, I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines this morning. I am well and all the rest of the boys are well and I hope these few lines will find you well. This is a nice morning. The sun rose nice and clear this morning. We moved our camp about a mile from where we laid all winter. The brigade now is all together. They said the reason they moved our camp was for the good of our health but my health has not been so good as it was when we was in the old camp. But I think it is on the account of the water for the water is not very good.
John has just drawed some beef for dinner and we will have a roudy old dinner today. The two Johns is cutting it up so they can salt it down and I told the boys that we had better let the brag cook & fry it but I don’t hardly think he will cook it for he won’t get the chance. Well, I must come to a close. Please write soon as you can. So no more at present. — B. F. Loar
to his Aunt Susan Bennett
¹ H. De Marsan, Publisher, of Songs, ballads, Joy books, &c. No. 54 Chatham Street, N. Y.
“Seven Days Fight Before Richmond”
Away down in Old Virginia, many months ago,
McClellan made a movement, and he made it very slow;
The Rebel Generals found it out, and pitched into our rear;
They caught the very devil: for, they found old Kearney there.
Again, at Savage Station, we met the Rebel foe;
That Gen. Sumner whipped them there, the list of killed will show;
Then, Fighting Josey Hooker, he came up with his train;
He met them on the third day, and whipped them over again,
The Rebels they still followed us, their numbers two to one;
But Little Mac, he let them see that Yankees would not run;
For, every place they attacked us, we dearly made them pay;
And, when the shades of night fell around, we coolly walked away,
Again they tried to surround us, and attack us in the rear;
But every place they showed themselves, they found the Yankees there;
Mac thought that he would stop the fun and bring it to an end;
The only way to do it was to send for Kearney’s men.
When we heard that Mac had sent for us, with joy our hearts did fill,
And we were quickly ready on the top of Malvern-Hill;
The Rebels, they advanced on us, but we were not dismayed;
They might as well have met the devil, as Birney and his Brigade,
The Rebels they commenced the fight by throwing shot and shell,
That was a game they soon found out that Kearney’s men could them excel
We fought them from the morning dawn until the setting sun;
Among the killed and wounded, why! they had three to one.
The 38th and 4th Maine were early on the ground;
The 3d Maine and the 40th soon showed themselves around;
Then came the 57th, we all done our work quite well,
As many a wounded Rebel form experience can tell.
When we came to James River, the boys began to cheer,
When they saw the little Monitor as up river she did steer;
The Rebel Gen. Lee got scared, and unto his men did say:
Here comes a Yankee Earthquake, we had better get away.
Now, all you Politicians, a word I have for you:
Just let Our Little Mac alone; for, he is tried and true;
And you have found out lately that he’s our only hope;
For, twice he saved the Capitol, likewise McDowell &Pope.
Now, I think I will finish and bring this to an end,
With three cheers for Little Mac. he’s every soldier’s friend.
I would like all Agitators and Politicians to understand:
If one can save the Union. why! Little Mac’s the man.