Title: George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 30 August 1864
Date: August 30, 1864
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), 130-131. 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.00361
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Gillian Price, and April Lambert
About 5 miles from
Petersburg Va near Weldon Rail
August 30th 18641
Your letter and Walts containing the pictures came all right, and yesterday I received another from Walt, saying that you had received the money.
We have moved 4 or 5 miles since I wrote you last. We came here on the 19th and expected to have a right smart fight, but so far, we have been very agreeably disapointed, as our Division has not been engaged to any extent. The first night we came here I was ordered (as I was in command of the Regt) to deploy the Regt. as skirmishers and advance through a peice of woods where the enemy had been in considerable force a few hours previous, I thought we were in for a fight sure, but upon advancing and taking the position, as ordered, we found the enemy had fell back, and next morning we advanced ½ a mile further, to this place and here we have remained since.
We have a splendid position here, and are very strongly entrenched, have plenty of shade, plenty to eat, plenty of good water, and are very comfortable.
I think we have got this Rail Road all right although the enemy may make another effort to drive us away, but I dont believe they will meet with any better success than they have in the three attempts they have made already, they have been pretty severely punished each time and may not think it worth while to try it again but if they are not satisfied let them keep on trying, we are prepared for them.
I am in command of the Regt. as Major Wright is away somewhere sick. I send you Maj. Wrights Official report. of the fight on the 30th of July,2
I am very glad to hear that Jeff is clear of the draft on the 5th of next month, although $400 seems like a pretty large sum to pay for a substitute.
Mother I hope you take things easy and dont worry and keep a bright look out for that little place in the country, When I get the New York papers I almost always look over the Farms for sale to see if there is anything offered that will suit us.
Walt has asked several times if Williams5 (who was with Fred McCready6) was captured when the ambulance train was attacted, Williams is here with his Company, he says when the guerillas ordered the train to halt, he jumped over the fence and escaped.
Kind regards to all
George W. Whitman
1. The Ninth Army was ordered to Weldon Railroad, three miles southwest of the original Union line in front of Petersburg, Virginia, on August 19, 1864, to reinforce General Warren's Fifth Army, which had gone there to capture the Weldon Railroad but had met resistance from Confederate forces under General A. P. Hill. [back]
5. In Whitman's "List of men who re-enlisted [in] the 51st N.Y. Veterans [in January, 1864] & what became of them," there is the entry: "Corp. Fredk C. Williams Died of wounds 30 Sept. '64" (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University). [back]