JUNE 1864 UNION SOLDIER LETTER—HENRY F. PRINDLE, Co. “B”, 5th CONNECTICUT INFANTRY; WRITTEN WHILE LYING IN LINE OF BATTLE DURING ATLANTA CAMPAIGN

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Dated “In line of battle (near) Marietta Georgia, 10 O’clock A.M. June 24th 1864.” Addressed to “Dear sister Margarett.” 4 pp. in clear pencil on lined paper, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks, else VG, and entirely legible.

Henry F. Prindle was a residence of Simsburg, CT, who enlisted and mustered as a private in Co. “B”, 5th Connecticut Infantry, 7/5/1861. He was transferred to Co. “G”, 20th Connecticut Regt., 1/11/1864, and transferred back to Co. “B”, 5th Connecticut, 3/26/1864. He was mustered out at the conclusion of his 3 year enlistment, 7/22/1864.

Prindle’s regiment, the 5th CT. was mustered in July 1861. In 1862 it served in the Dept. of the Shenandoah and with Gen. Popes Army of VA., participating the Valley Campaign against Stonewall Jackson’s forces, engaged at the Battles of Cedar Mountain and Second Bull Run. After which it was attached to the 12th Army Corps with which it was engaged in the 1863 Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg [in action on Culp’s Hill, July 2-3, 1863]. After which it transferred to the Western theater, joining Sherman’s Army for the Atlanta Campaign and its March to the Sea and through the Carolinas, and being present at the Battle of Bentonville and at Gen. Johnston’s confederate surrender. During service the unit lost 110 men killed and mortally wounded and 83 men by disease for a total of 193.

In this letter, written while laying in line of battle, Henry Prindle gives his sister an fine first hand summary of regimental action during the first two months of the Atlanta Campaign. His mood is cheerily matter of fact, probably due the fact that his enlistment is soon to expire and that he’ll heading home in three weeks.

Text:

“Dear sister Margaret…You will have to excuse me for not writing before but we have fighting and marching and working so much lately that I haven’t had time to do anything the kind but as we are laying behind our breastworks to day I thought I would try and write you but I don’t know as I shall have to time to finish it for we are liable to be attacked at any time. Our skirmishers are just a few rods in advance of us and are popping away at the Reb skirmishers.

We have had a pretty rough time of it for the past two months. Some part of this army have been fighting every day since May 2nd. I have had the luck to have several lively turns with the “Johnny’s” since that time. We had it pretty warm for two days at the battle of Resaca, May 14th & 15th. Then again on the 19th we had quite a fight at Cassville where Fighting Joe by his bold movements actually scared them out of their entrenchments. Then again on the 25th our Division was engaged very heavy in front of Dallas. Here our Division were the only principal ones engaged on our side. We had Hood’s whole Corps some 20,000 men against us but we just sailed right in in big charge and drove them nearly two miles into their fortifications where they had their Artillery mased and opened on us with grape and cannister shot and shell. I tell you it come thick and fast for nearly 5 hours but they could not stir us an inch. We held our ground till we were relieved through the morning by fresh troops. The loss in our division was something 1500 killed and wounded.

It come to my turn to go out skirmishing about twice a week. I was out last day before yesterday. We advanced our lines about two miles. We skirmishers had very warm work from that time till dark. About 4 pm the Johney’s charged our lines. We skirmishers held them for as long as we could when we fell back some ¾ of a mile to where our lines was formed . The Johney’s advanced in three lines upon us and attempted break our line but were driven back with awfull slaughter. We played the same game on them here that they did on us at Dallas. We had 26 pieces of Artillery massed upon the road that opened on them with Graped and cannister besides several Batteries in other positions which fairly mowed them down by hundreds. I had a very narrow escape from being taken prisoner this day but so far I am alright and as usual in first rate health much better than I could reasonably expect under the circumstances.

I received a letter from mother and one from Mary the other day…Mother said she had written you that I was well at that time. If the rebs attempt to break our lines here now they will have a lovely time of it for we have got very good breastworks now which we did not have the other day. Our Regt. has lost over 100 in killed and wounded since this campaign began. Co. B has had two killed 8 wounded and 2 or 3 missing. It is a great wonder to me that we were not all killed before this. We are under fire so much every day nearly that we have got used to it and don’t mind it all. I was in the skirmish line about three weeks ago for over 30 hours before I was relieved , firing away continually at the rebels skirmishers. They kept the balls whistling around my head pretty good. Pretty lively work most of the time.

We are pretty well on the right of our line of battle and from here it is about 2 ½ miles from Marietta. We are nearly sought of Marietta and our line here at this point faces about east . If nothing happens to prevent it we old me expect to start for home in 15 or 20 days. From now. I would like to be at your house at dinner to day instead of the one I shall have—Hard Bread and Coffee. I think I could perish a good meal very easily just if I could get it. My love to all. Goodbye. From Brother Henry.”

Superb letter with excellent action content. Solid 5th Connecticut and Atlanta Campaign collectible.  In protective sleeve. [JP] [ph:L]

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