As with all soldiers, what is written has to be read with the knowledge that they can only tell you so much with words, Here are a few of Richard Clow’s first field comments after enlisting in the 56th Mass. Infantry. Enjoy, but read between the lines. It’s not all fun and games despite the light heartedness of the letters.
Feb. 5, 1865: Dear Sister, I am a soldier once more. I told Reina to write and tell you that I was in the engineer corps but it was before I enlisted and I changed my mind. I am in the 56th Regt. or to be sent to it. They tell me it was badly cut up and is now in front of Petersburg so Iexpect to have some fun at last….
Feb. 11, 1865: Dear Sister, We have a hard set of boys here, there is not a day but there is several fights in the barrack. Bounties are taken away from poor foolish countrymen by a lot of New York ruffs but nobody knows who does it….
Feb. 15, 1865: Dear Sister, I am feeling all right and want to get to where it rains bullets. It is the worst place here I ever got to. It rains all the time. The other night it was 20 below and a man froze to death at his post….
Feb. 23, 1865: Dear Sister, I got to the regiment at last and am as happy as I can be, but probably won’t say that for we expect a fight every hour. Last night we had orders to sleep with our harness on, guns by our side and with rounds of ammunition. Today the rebels are coming into out lines in large squads. They always do before a fight…
Want to read more of these letters? “Rough Enough is available in both hardback and electronic versions on Amazon. It can also be checked out to read. Special deals are available for Amazon Prime members! Enjoy!
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