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Perry Layland Correspondence - MMS 1638
Peregrine D. Layland served as a private with Company K of the 156th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Copy of transcription provided to Dan Masters by Joe Becker, Clemmons, North Carolina.
Peregrine "Perry" D. Layland enlisted as a Private in Co.K, 156th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on May 2, 1864 and was mustered in May 15, 1864 in Columbus, Ohio. His company spent its first months in service near Cincinnati before being moved to Cumberland, Maryland at the end of July 1864. On August 1st, it was involved in a fight near Folck's Mills, Maryland with Confederate cavalry under Gen. John McCausland following the burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. This letter contains a description of that fight which has the following notation in the Civil War Battlefield Guide, 2nd edition:
Folck's Mill, Maryland (MD008)
Allegany County, August 1, 1864
On July 29, five of CS General Early's cavalry brigades crossed the Potomac River into Maryland while CS General Breckenridge's two divisions wrecked the B & O railroad yard at Martinsburg. Early sent two cavalry brigades, 4,000 men under CS Generals McCausland and Johnson, to ransom or burn Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in retaliation for US General Hunter's raid on the Valley in June. The Confederates demanded $500,000 in cash or $100,000 in gold and when the town could not raise the money, they burned the center of town. They retreated toward Cumberland, Maryland to disrupt the B & O railroad pursued by US General Averell's cavalry.
US Brigadier General Benjamin F. Kelley, the commander of the garrison defending Cumberland, deployed his men on a hill three miles from the town near Folck's Mill. On August 1, McCausland's cavalry attacked, and Kelley repulsed them. When US General Averell's cavalry approached, the Confederates broke off the fight and recrossed the Potomac at Oldtown into West Virginia.
Estimated casualties: 30 US, 30 CS
Private Layland returned home unharmed and re-enlisted in Co.D, 193rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on February 8, 1865 and served through the rest of the war in the Shenandoah Valley. He mustered out August 4, 1865 at Winchester, Virginia. Below is a transcription of the letter, addressed to his sister Rebecca.
August the 2, 1864
Cumberland City, Maryland
Dear Sister Rebecca:
I received your letter today and was glad to hear from you. I hain't heard from you since Mat came back.
I began to think you wasn't going to write. Well I have seen what they call the elephant, we had a fight last Monday. I guess there wasn't anyone killed in our regt. as I know of but there may be. We have seen a little harder times than we had in Kentucky. There was two thousand rebbles. That is the report but there is so many reports that I can't tell shure how many there was and don't know how many there was of us. There was two regt. of us that I am sure of- and three pieces of artillery but we whiped they out. The fite commenced about three o'clock P.M. and lasted until 8 o'clock. The the rebs fell back and left in the night some time. But I can't give any account how large a loss was on the other side. I tell you what. The shells came pretty close to us for a while. Our company was close to our artilery and the rebs was throwing shells at them, trying to whip them out or spile there cannon.
I am about 500 miles from home. Our time will be out the 22 day of August. Our time didn't commence till the 10th day of May. That was the day we was sworn into service.
I couldn't make out the name that you said that I mite write to her. You said Fanny Dibble wanted you to make a party for me when I came home. You tell here that she has better make one, but don't tell I said so. She is begin to think good deal of me by the way she talks. Is there any one going with her now? I guess she ain't mad at me anymore. I wont be at home in time of the celebration.
What is the reason Mag Mesier don't write anymore? Tell Ira if he don't write soon and give an account of himself I will rais the hair on his head when I come home. Tell father that I want him to go to Neptune to Dr Hagers and get a pair of drawrs that I sent there in a box that he sent home if it got there.
I will send you the soldiers song in this letter. I have bin having a midling hard time since we came here. We didn't have any sleep for 4 nights of any account. It took us two days and nights to come here. We started from Cincinnati, the 27 of July and dident sleep any on the cars when we was comeing.
I have very good health ever since we came out. Well I must close for this time. My pen is very pore and have a very poor place to write and will do beter next time.
Perhaps I can give a better account of the battle nixt time.
When you write direct to Cincinnati-to follow the regt. we will them from there sooner that if you would direct them here. Perhaps we will be gon before you write. We cant tell how long we will stay here.
Good bye for this time
From your brother
Give my love
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