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Samuel McClain Papers: Transcripts - MS 640
Camp Parole, Md.
July 5, 1864
I'll drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well & hope this will find you the same. We are under marching orders. We ware ordered to hold ourselves in readiness to march at a moments notice. We are all ready to march. We have packed up. We don't know whare we will have to go to yet. We are in the 8 Army Corps & Generl Lew Walis. We may go to Martinsburg in this state. Thare was 1500 wounded soldiers come here last night.
I will send this to you this morning. When you next write to me, ad the word Folow the Reg. If we move from this place I'll write to you as soon as I can and give Po office adress. This order may be countermanded & we may get to stay heare yet. I can't tell. We are trying to send a lot of clothes home. If we do, we will send it to Lasky. My bundle will have my name on it. I'll write soon again. Good by for this time.
L.A. McClain and children
Camp Parole, Md.
July 5, 1864
We are orderd to hold our selvs in readiness to march at a minits warning. I will finish this when we start. I don't know whare we will be ordered to yet. I put this in the postoffice when we start off.
I am well. The boys are packing up now. We are not go for a day or to. I'll write as soon as we stop again. I'll mail this on the road some place. I think we will go to Harpers Fary.
No.24 Camp Parole
July 6th, 1864
We are in camp yet, waiting further orders. All well this morning. I am gard drumer today. Thare was about eleven hundred runaway soldiers came in to this camp last night from Harpers Fery. They got scaird and run here. We have them under gard here. We will send them to the front today under gard.
I was wayed today, my wate is 168 lbs. I have gained 8 lbs since I came to Dixie.
We left Camp Parole this morning at 2 o'clock. We arived near Harpers Fary at 12 o'clock. We are in battle line at this time awaiting the attact. The Rebs have not made thare appearance yet.
I write this on my drum. We expect to lay on our arms tonight. I'll send this the first chance I get. I think the Rebs will not fight. I'll write soon again. When you write, ad the word Folow the Reg. Good by.
S. McClain to L.A. McClain.
4 o'clock. We can hear the battle. We can see them fighting at Harpers Fary. Our men are driving the Rebs. We are 4 miles of the battlefield. If they come here we will give them the best we have in the shop. We are stationed in a small fort on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad near Harpers Fary. I will stop writing ontil morning.
We started after Jonny Rebs at midnight. We marched 14 miles before daylight. I am writing this while we are in battle line. I guess the Rebs are gon. We can't see them. We are at Fredricktown now. We are all well. I write this on my knee. I'll send this in the office today if I can. You need not be scaird. We will be all right. I think I'll write as soon as I can again. We left J. Kerr at the camp.
Write direct to Camp Parole, Folow the Reg.
Samuel McClain to L.A. McClain
Ten o'clock. We are yet in line of battle. We are drawed up in a corn field. We are near Fredrickstown in Maryland. I think the Rebs are on the retreat now. I will send this as soon as I can, for I expect you are ancious to hear from me.
3 o'clock. We ware in battle line all day ontil 3 o'clock. Than we ware ordered to fall back. The Rebs was afraid to give us battle. We could see them all the time. We are going after them now. I don't know as we will catch them or not. I am writing a little every chance I can get. I'll mail this as soon as I can. The communication is cut of now. We can't send a letter. Good by tonight.
We marched to [Monocacy] Junction, got thare midnight. We lay on our arms all night. We are atacted this morning. The battle is going on while I am writing this. The shells are flying all round us. Its a very severe ingagment.
2 o'clock. The battle is raging furcly.
4 o'clock. The Rebs are driving our men, oh my God we have to retreat. We are striking for Baltimore. Our men are giting cut all to pieces. The artilry have left. I must go. Every man must save themselvs. We h ve 45 miles to retreat. The Rebs are folowing us, throwing shells.
We have arived in Baltimore, or a part of us. We have retreated 45 miles. We marched all night & ontil 2 o'clock the next day. We have had a hard march. My feet are all raw. Thare are a grat many of our men missing yet. Some are wounded and som are taken prisners and some mising. We are expecting som more in every moment. Our Capt. McKee is slitly wounded in the thigh. Wm. Barton is wounded in the leg. They are in Baltimore Hospitle. We have had a hard time. We don't know whare we will be orderd to go yet. I will write as soon again as I can. You must excuse this short letter. The boys are still coming in. Fin Barton is all right. I am well, all but soar feet. My feet are all raw.
Thare are non of our boys killed, but som are taken prisner. You bet I had to git to save my bacon. I saw the battle. I was in full all the time. I the elephant tail. The Rebs had four to our one. The battle was fought at Monoply [Monocacy] Junction. We had to throw all our bagage away & guns. I stuck to my drum and grub. We got no sleep for three nights. I will write ontil we have to start, than I'll put this in the office. Just as soon as we get to our destination I'll write again and give the particulars.
to L.A. McClain
I have not had a letter from home for sometime & can't get one for sum time yet.
Letter No.25 I wrote you yesterday
July 12, 1868 [ie. 1864]
I seat myself to let you know my wharebouts & wellfare. I am well. We are in a small Fort near Baltimore. Our company numbers 42 men all told. The rest of the company are missing yet. Some are taken prisners & some are wounded & some will come in yet. We ware in a hard battle. Our men ware cut up bad. We marched about 75 miles & fought one battle inside of 3 days. Our men are badly used up. My feet are very sore. We can't hardly walk. We have not got a comisind officer left in the three companys of the 144 that was engaged in the fight. Our Capton is wounded & in the hospitle at Camp Parole. Our 2 lieutenants are among the mising. Wm. Barton is slitly wounded in the leg. He is with the Capton. Yougene Bassett is amissing yet, but he may come in yet.
We have hard times now. We have nothing to eat for several days, but hard tack\r & raw pork, but we can eat that fine if we can get plenty of it. We are now preparing now for another fight. We are mountain some havey guns today. I hardly think the Rebs will atact us here. We are well fortyfied here. It will take a big fource to whip us in this place.
Gingery Boys are all here & sound, the Vanhorn Boys are mising yet. Geo. Kimberlin is mising. The boys that are taken prisner are paroled, but the officers are retained. Our colonel is here. He will so something for us if he can, for we are not fit to go into another battle for we are all worn out. I saw the battle all day. I was detailed to cary back the wounded. Browns Boys are all here. I will send letter of tonight. I expect I have letters in Camp Parole, but can't tell whare we will have to go yet. When you write, direct to Camp Parole and I'll send thare for them. I am ancious to hear from home. I hope I can soon. Write soon to me.
I'll write as soon as we get stationed again. Don't fret. I will take care of No. one. S.M.
Relay House, Md.
July 13, 1864
I again endever to drop you a few lines to let you know that we have moved again. We came to our Regt. this morning, whare we expect to stay. We expect to see Jonny Rebs here before long. If they come there we will give them a warm reception. We are 10 miles from Baltimore near Ft. Dix.
We are orderd to prepair for to march in one minits warning. Don't know whare we are going to. Isaac Vanhorn came in today. The boys are still coming in. Thare are 20 men gon yet out of our Co. We left our napsacks at Camp Parole & the rest of our things we had to leave on our retreat, so we have nothing but the close on our backs. At night we just lay down like a dog on the ground. We are giting use to it. We can stand it fine.
I am glad our time is coming to a close, for our men can't do much more. 14th we arived in Washington at 4 o'clock and incamped for the night in sight of the White House. 15th we marched threw Washington & also threw Georgetown. We are after the Rebs. We have a hard march. We have only a few of our company with us. Some have not come in yet, some have give out & some are sick. I expect we will have another fight. May the Lord protect us from the dedly misils of war & permit us to return home to our loved ones who are wating our return. I am writing while we are resting on our march. It is a hard way to wright, but I am ancious to let you no whare I am. I can't get a letter from you, for we don't stop long enought to get them. I hain't had a letter for 10 days. I am very ancious to hear from you. When you write, direct to Relay House near Baltimore, Md. Company B, 144 Regt. O.N.G. in care of Capt. Black, Folow the Regt.
We belong to Co. B now as we have no Capton in our co. I'll write ontil I get a chance to send this.
July 20, 1864
We have bin laying in this valley for two days, a garding the train, wating ontil the army crosses the river. I was out on peaket last night with the boys. We just lay down on the ground at night to sleep without anything under us. We lost all of our tents & blankets, so we have to do without. We can do very well as long as the weather keeps dry. We have splendid dry weather on this march.
Fin & me had a good dinner today. We had fresh pork & hard tack. Some of the boys killed a hog. It was going to bite them and they had to kill it.
11 o'clock at night we ware orderd to pull stakes & start back for Washington. We marched all night without resting. It is very hard on the boys, for we all have sore feet. My feet are so sore I hardly know which one to limp on. I guess I'll limp on both.
This is the third letter that I have wrote since I left Camp Parole. I have wrote to you every opurtunity. When you write to me, direct to Camp Parole, Annapolis, Md., Co.I, 144 Regt., Folow the Regt. We may to to Camp Parole or Baltimore again. I think they will not send us to the front again. We are to go in to Washington today. Don't fret, for I will take good care of my self as possible. I will close by asking you to excuse mistakes. Write soon. Yours til death.
Saml McClain to L.A. McClain & children
Noon. We have stoped for dinner. We are the rear gard for the army today. We will get to Washington tonight or in the morning if the Rebs do not cut us off before we cross the Potomac River. As soon as I get to Washington I will mail this.
All well this morning. 20 miles to Washington. Our Regt. in advance today. We marched ontil 11 o'clock last night & slept ontil 3 o'clock & then resumed our march. We crossed the Potomac River 6 miles from Washington at 4 o'clock p.m. Incamped 5 miles from the city. I expect we will go to the city in the morning. If so, I'll send this to you to let you know that I am well & my wife is well.
I have very sore feet. I can't tell whare we will have to go to from here. We have bin marching for 17 days and nights with the exceptions of a few hours at a time. Some nights we had to march all night & all day to. We ware fired into by the gorillers one night. We had one man wounded. We are safe now, for we are inside of the fortifications. I hope we will be sent home on the seventh of August. I have seen the elephant's tail, I have.
All well. I just received seven letters from you. They came to Washington and we got them this morning. I tell you I was glad to hear from home. They are all old letters, but I was glad to read them. The latest one was dated July the 11. I was glad to hear of your good health.
[Cover: Lucinda, read this to your self if you please and oblige. S.M.]
Letter no. 32
Aug. 7, 1864
Camp in battle line, 4 miles from Harpers Fary. All well this eavening. I just finished a letter & sent it to you. I'll comence this & finish it when I can.
We ware orderd to move this morning at 5 o'clock. The line of battle is 12 miles long. We have seventy five thousand men with us. I guess the Rebs will show fight this time.
Eavening. We are laying in camp yet, building castels in the air. The boys all gather around Fins & my tent to talk. I am trying to brake the boys of swaring. They have all most quit and I am glad of it, for I am tired of hearing so much of it.
We are giting so used to laying in battle line we don't mind it. We have our fun, as usual.
All quite on the Potomac this morning & all well. We are laying in camp near Hall Town, Virginia, 4 miles west of Harpers Fary, Timothy Valley. 20 thousand cavelry come in to camp today. This army is under General Sherdons comand.
This is the day that we ware to start home, but I can't see it. May tent is rite in front of the Generals headquarters. You bet I watch him clost to see if he is making any preperations for us to go home. Can't see any yet. We have only 9 days to serve yet. Our company has to go out on peaket tonight. I guess I'll go out with them tonight.
Eavening. I just received 2 letter from you baring date July 19th & 25th. Believe me, I was glad to hear from home & to hear of your good health & good success on the farm. Our Lieuten. Colonel came to us today. He brot the letters to us. Will & Wils Brown is with us. They are well. Isaac Vanhorn just herd of the death of his little babe. He takes it very hard. I pity him. He says if he had only got to seen it he would have bin satysfied.
The Rebs are retreating is the news tonight. I think we will start home in a day or two.
All well. Quite a stir in camp this morning. The troops are all on the move, but our brigaid & we are in camp yet. I hope we will get to move toward home. We sent a pertition to the General to releave us. I don't know if he will or not.
If we have to go on to the front again I'll mail this to you if I can. I got your photograph in a letter. It looks well. I would rather see you if I could, but I'll have to look at the picture a while yet. I look at your likeness very often & also at Annies & Willies. I have caryed them along with me this far & I will cary them as long as I can. It is allmost imposible for me to keep them dry, for I have to cary them in my pocket and I sweat so much. I think more of those pictures than I do of my money.
Fin & me is all alone tonight. The boys have all gone out one peacket. We are giting very dirty & ragit. I hope we will soon det whare we can get some close & get to wash and clean up a little, for we have got more graybacks than greenbacks. We have not had our pants of for 36 days & nights & that is anought to breed graybacks. We have a grayback hunt every day & we always catch a good alownce of gram, but the fur is not worth much in Dixie, so we don't make much out of our game. The meat we can't eat nor sell. I'll not finish this ontil morning. Good night.
Good morning, Aug. 11. All well. Fin & me are keeping house. He have just eat breakfirst. I got breakfirst this morning & I let my wife sleep. We had coffee & hard tack. I have washed my shirt & socks this morning. I give them a cold water rench, for I dispise nastnas you know.
It is rhumord this morning that we are to report to General Lew Walis in Baltimore tomorow. I hope it is so. If the report is true we may expect to be on our road home soon. I'll mail this letter today if I get a chance & write again soon & let you know the news. You must excuse poor writing & spelling, for I have to write on my knee & thare is all kinds of noys going on to bother me, so I have to do the best I can under the sircumstance & you must try and read them if you can & if you can't, just wait ontil I come home & I'll tell you all the news.
I remain yours truly for ever & ever.
Samuel McClain to L.A. McClain & children.
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