Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Fred B. McReady to Walt Whitman, 29 April 1863

Date: April 29, 1863

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00227

Source: Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Janel Cayer, Joshua Ware, and Nicole Gray

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Camp 51st N Y Vols
Winchester KY
April 29th 63

Friend Walt

I answered your letter koughnsiquenlighly1 you owe me one, unless you think that sending a fellow some note paper would be sufficient answer. I had several thoughs then, one was that I made such a poor fish at it, that you wanted me to try over again and see if I could not do better and then I thought that you had had some milk in your coffee which had been so strong that you imagined you had said something. there is something I am certain of and that is, a peice of blank paper is not half as interseting as one with writing on it. I would have stood on my dig some time longer if George had not brought some religious remarks to bear, something about "doing good for evil" and when a fellowed pluged you in the snoot instead of hitting back give him another try at the other side, I thought I would take note paper as it would not take so many words to fill up

Feby 9th Struck camp. took the cars to acqua creek went aboard Schooner Mary E Hudson was taken in tow in company of two other schooners by the tug boat Louisiana and arrived at Fortress Monroe on the night of Feby 10th & anchored.

Feb 11th Landed at Newport News & encamped

" 19 Received the common wedge tents

" 23. Had a new U.S. flag and two guidons presented to us by the City of New York through Col Sheppard for as the inscription on the staff said "valor on the field," it was given in place of our old City flag which we had sent home it being too much riddled to carry.

Feb 25. (th A.C. Received by Gels Dix & Smith

March 5th Played a match game of Ball with Hawkin Zouaves in which they were victorious Score HZ, 34 runs 51st NYV, 33 runs.

Mch 9th Farmer & I received a furlough for 10 days went home and spread ourselves

Mch 14th Reg moved into the barracks

" 18th Grand ball given in honor of the Battle of Newbern, NC, on board of steamboat City of Hudson the officers of the Brigade

Mch 24 Played return match with the Hawkins, we were beat again. Score HZ 21 runs 51st 10 runs.

Mch 26, Left Newport News & went on board steamboat John Brooks. 2 Compys went to guard the baggage on board the propeller John Rice.

Mch 27. Arrived in Baltimore landed and proceeded to the depoh N @ RR left about midnight

Mch 28th Had coffee at the Mifflin (Cap Sims who was in command telegraphed for it) also at Altoona.

Mch 29th Arrived at Pittsburg about 9 am had dinner in the Town Hall, gave the ladies 3 cheers changed cars to Pittsburg Ft. Wayne & Chicago RR had coffee at Cusline, arrived at Columbus on Mch 30th had coffee, rush after passing Loveleand Private A J Norris Compny H fell from the platform of a car. three cars passed over him cutting him in two (his body was brough up by the passenger train and buried in Cincinnati) arrived in Cincinnati at dark had supper at the Market—Ham. Beef. pigs feet. eggs pie. bread butter cheese apples coffee &c

Mch 31st Crossed the Ohio on the ferry boat about 1 am to Covington Ky, slept in the cars, left about 4 A.M. in the cars, arrived at Paris in the morning of April 1st pitched tents we were told we would stay and protect the place, but the officers of the 29th Mass had no notion of being relieved they got up a petition which they got some of the citizens to sign asking Burnside to send our Regiment away as we were devils & he was just green enough to do it

April 3rd Left about 8 A.M. marched towards Mount Sterling, had skirmishes deploued out on each side of the road ahead of the Brigade arrived at Mount Sterling about 6 P.M. (23 miles) and bivouacked. April 4th changed camp to the other side and about 1 1/2 miles from town,

Apl 9 A scouting party was sent out about 10 P.M. to capture some rebs who it was said stopped at some houses just outside of our pickets, we went, we saw, and we came back, tried but no wiswer, if there were any rebs we could not find them

Apl 13th Routed out about 11 P.M. told to get ready to get in light marching order

Apl 14th Left about 2 A.M. 21st Mass was with us mached to Sharpsburg (12 miles) arrived about 6 am surrounded the place, captured some citizens, some took the oath (not the one OCK speaks of) others did not, so when we left at 4 PM we took them and some horses with us, arrived in camp about 9 P.M. Apl 15th The prionsers (7 in number) and the horses proved themselves to be Union so they left, so the only thing we made for our trouble was sore feet, and a breakfast

Apl 1th Struck tents about 4 A.M. marched to Winchester (15 miles) arrived at 2 PM marched through and about 2 miles to the other side encamped (the 21st Mass was left to protect Mt Sterling.)

Apl 18th was paid for the months of Nov, Dec Jan & Feb

" 30. Mustered for pay. Received by Genl Sturgis in the afternoon, then marched through the town

George says he well but very buisy (doing nothing) lends his spies. Daniel Jenkins sends his. George will write soon if not sooner.

"Vive Vale"
Fred B McReady

Frank Butler, Same Pooley, sends their respects.

The chicken (Col Le Gendre) Cap Sims & Adj McKee have gone to Lexington to recruit refugees from Tenns & Kys but up to date have got none and I think they will be able to return to camp in the same condish. Write often while Hooker is getting and how he gets, George says you might write every day if not oftener in fact write Fred


1. The word "koughnsiquenlighly" is Fred B. McReady's phonetic attempt at spelling the word "consequently." [back]


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