Title: George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 17 August 1862
Date: August 17, 1862
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from George Washington Whitman, Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman, ed. Jerome M. Loving (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975), 60-61. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00324
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Eric Conrad, Gillian Price, and April Lambert
Near Cedar Mountains Va
Sunday August 17th 18621
We have made another move, and are now stoping about 6 miles from Culpepper Court House, and near where the late fight took place between Banks & Jackson.2
We left Frederickburg about 8 Oclock in the evening of August 12th and marched until 4 Oclock next morning when we stoped and had 3 or 4 hours sleep, and started on again. we marched about 38 miles altogether but as we had a baggage train of about 30 wagons [we?] could not get along very fast. when we arived here the fight was over and old Stonewall had skedadled back in the mountains, pretty badly licked too, as near as I can find out.3 This is as handsome a country as I ever saw, we find plenty of forage in the shape of Beef, Chickens, eggs, potatoes, and the way the cattle and sheep have suffered since we have been here is a caution to secesh farmers, some of our boys go to a house where there is a sheep dog, take the dog and make him catch as many sheep as they want, and bring them in and cook them, and you may be sure the yankees get some tall cussing from the farmers. The weather here is splendid, the days are no hotter than in Brooklyn and the last three or four nights have been plenty cool enough, We brought no tents with us and I am so used to sleepi[ng?]out on the ground that I don't know as I could sleep in a house at all. I can sleep out in the rain and not get the least cold or feel any worse for it, so Mother you must know that I am pretty toughf and hearty There is a large number of Troops about here and we shall probaly move on in the course of a day or two the troops all seem to be in the best of health & spirits.
The 14th are somewhere about here but we change about so often its hard work to keep track of any one.4
It is quite a long while since I have heard from any of you, but I expect letters for us to have to go a long way before they find us. I sent you 40$5 by Express which I supose you received. I write this sitting on the ground, under a thundering great big oak tree that shades about an acre of ground. Mother I think after the war is over we will buy our little farm down here at the foot of these mountains, and retire from active service.
It is now about time for dress parade so I must knock off and get ready I dont believe I shall have a chance to write you very often as there will be no way of getting to the post office but I will write as often as there is a chance to send letters which may be oftener than I supose as I know nothing about where we shall go
Direct my letters to Cullpepper Court House
Much Love to all
G. W. Whitman
1. In the first part of this letter, Whitman speaks of the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia (sometimes called the Battle of Cedar Run). On August 9, 1862, Jackson, with superior numbers, struck the forces of General Banks, inflicting heavy Union casualties. [back]
2. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks (1816–1894) and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (1824–1863). [back]
3. This statement is more than likely an attempt by George to raise the spirits of his mother, who was evidently becoming discouraged over the progress of the war (see George Washington Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman from July 21, 1862). [back]
4. The Fourteenth New York State Militia was officially designated (December 7, 1861) as the Eighty-Fourth Regiment of Infantry from New York. [back]
5. The page is torn here; the figure could be $140. [back]