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May 11, 2012

Letter from Private Charles Goddard to his mother describing land mines set by retreating Confederate soldiers – May 11, 1862

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Letter from Private Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota Regiment to his mother, Catherine Smith, from West Point, Virginia, describing land mines set by retreating Confederate soldiers.  Goddard claimed to be eighteen years old upon volunteering to serve with the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  In fact, he was fifteen years old.

“(Virginia) West Point or [too] miles above on the Pamunkey River May 11th / 62
Dear Mother[,] through the kindness of Corporal Stebbins [Samuel E. Stebbins, 1st Minnesota, Company K] I received your kind letter and other things.  I suppose you know why we did not fight at York town and why we have come here before this time so it is useless for me to tell you only that we were through the fortifications. they were very strong I do not see why they did not stand[.] The rebbles planted percushion shells all over the parapit and enterances to the magazine and fort[,] killing several of General Dana’s men[.] I saw a lot of them and would of steped In one but for an officer warning me of them[.] when looking for them I could see them[;] they are 64 pound shell coverd all up in the ground but the top or cap when tramped on explodes and tares evry thing around it[.]
I was on a detail party going back to help the waggons on[.] We have had our pay some time but I could not find any chance to spend what I have saved for you[.] I hate to send it in a letter for I am afraid it won’t go safe but I can find no other way to send it so I will have to[.] please find inclosed $15.00[.] I would like [you,] as soon as you get this, to write me a line writght off so I will know.
Tell Cousin Hellen I am very much obliged to her for that peace of sausage and Brother Orrin for that lead pencil[.] I am writing with it now[.]
My respects to all of my friends and love to you and Brother C E Goddard”


Citation:  May 11, 1862 Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1853-1862. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society.

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