Camp 51st N.YVV.
Near Petersburg Va December 12th 1864
Haveing a little leasure this evening I will improve it in writing You a few lines.
Since my return to the regiment we have been very buisy, and we still have a great deal to do in the way of Picket duty.
The next day after my return we received orders to be ready to move at a moments notice which we did about noon the Same day took our backward track to the front of Petersburg, near to the place where Captain Sims was killed, We can stand in our boomproofs and See the verry place where he fell.
At the present time there is a heavy fight going on on our left but for once the 51st have been left behind in Company with the 48th T.N. 36th Mass and 58th Mass all small regiments, to hold the lines in our front while the rest of our Division have gone to participate in the present engagement.
it is rumored that we have the South Side Rail Road now in Earnest. I hope it may be So, but as yet we have no Official report andonly have the news from men that Say they have been to the front they Say it is correct. Yet I don't write it for Shure as we have been fooled So many times with the Same news.
I have found Your Brothers large Trunk it was Stored at City Point. I had it fetched up and the Same is now in Charge of our Regimental Quarter Master and I will Send it home with the first Officer of my regiment that has the good luck to get a leave of absence. And if there dont a chance occur, Liet Schoonmaker will muster out of the Service on the 15th of January and I will Send it by hime. There is no news of importance with us that would itnerest you So I will close by Sending my best respects to Your Mother and Yourself likewise to all inquirng friends hopeing to hear from You Soon.
1st Lt. Comdr. Co.A 51st N.YVV
Write soon and let me know the news
The text presented here is derived from a digital image or microfilm reproduction of the original manuscript.
The manuscript of this letter, dated December 12, 1864, is held in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library.
1. William E. Babcock was a lieutenant in George Washington Whitman's Fifty-first Regiment, New York Volunteers. (Back)