OCTOBER 1861 UNION SOLDIER LETTER — PVT. SAMUEL B. WALKINGTON, JR, Co. “I”, 2nd NEW JERSEY [GETTYSBURG REGIMENT]

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Item Code: 2021-116

Dated “Camp at Seminary / Fairfax County, Va. / Oct. 14 1861. 4 pp. in ink on unlined paper w/colored patriotic vignette in upper left corner. Else VG and entirely legible.

Samuel B. Walkington was enlisted and mustered as a private in Co. “I”, 2nd New Jersey Infantry, 5/30/1861. He was promoted to Corporal 10 /01/1862 and to 1st Sergeant, 6/1/63. He is also listed as a POW (date and place not stated (paroled). Discharged at Trenton, NJ, 2/28/1865.

The 2nd New Jersey Infantry was mustered in July 1861. After serving in the Defenses of Washington, it was engaged in McClellan’s 1862 Peninsula Campaign and was engaged in most the major campaigns and battles of the Army of the Potomac, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and were attached to Sheridan’s forces in the 1864 Shenandoah Campaign before reverting the Siege of Petersburg and being present at Appomattox. During service the unit lost 96 killed and mortally wounded and 69 by disease for a total of 165.

In this letter Private Walkington report on a foraging patrol, as follows:

“We started eight o’clock expecting to be gone only about six or seven hours. The forage which we were to get was on the hill which the rebels were that we fired the shells from our fort the other day, and about which I wrote you.

The whole Brigade moved along to protect the teamsters while loading the hay and grain. The enemy must have seen the move, for their advanced lines were taken in all around but how far back they have gone I cannot say…there was a party of their cavalry within a few hundred yards of us (there was six of us scouting) they fired some shots at one of our cavalry men on the road while we were in the house getting something to eat but none of the shots took effect…

I said we started out only expecting to be gone six of seven hours, but when night came we had not got half of the forage away so we had to lay out all night. The next day the rest of it was carted away, several hundred four horse loads of hay and grain in all. After this we were sent farther out and remained two nights more, in all three night and four days. We have just got back an hour ago, so you can see I have took the first opportunity to answer your letter…

Solid early-war camp letter from a private of the 2nd New Jersey. In protective sleeve.    [JP] [ph:L]

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