Letter from Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota to his mother listing battles he’s been in and clearing up misunderstandings – February 20, 1863
Camp Near Falmouth Va
February 20th 1863
I received your kind letter of the 3rd and 6th of Feb this morning. You desired me to give you list of battles I have been in, they are as follows. The first engagement was the battle of Fair Oaks on the 31st May and 1st of June[.] The battle in the Peach Orchard[,] Savage Station[,] and White Oaks Swamp June 29th to 29th June 30th.
This ends the Peninsula campaign. Then we came to Md and fought the battle of Antietam[.] from thence we came here and fought the battle of Fredricksburg Sept 17th and December 13[.] These are the battles I have been in but not all the skirmish[.] I have been in the following skirmish opposite Edwards Ferry[,] York Town[,] Berryville[,] West Point[,] Malverin Hill under artilry fire 4 hours and then coming from the 2nd battle of Bull Run[.] on our retreat to Washington we formed a V across the road and repelled the Rebble Cavalry that was following up the rear of our army. There is a good many little places that I do not remember and if I get home before I forget them I will most likely tell you them[.] I have been evry whare the Regt has been excepting 1st Bull Run and I came near killing myself trying to get there so I do not think I am to blame for not getting there. Mother[,] “If you have been led to believe by my betters that I am very anxious to get home before the Rebellion is crushed[,] or that in the hasty letters I have written you, that I thought the soldier’s life a hard one, it is something I never intended to do. I acknowledge we do have some hard times, and that if we would give way to the impulses of a moment, a fellow would feel as if he could work for any boddy but uncle Sam[,] But when we get in camp and have time to get a cup of warm coffee and a slice of corn beef – or more commonly called “salt horse” – he feels as if he might stand it a very little while longer[.] Tell Uncle James that nothing would pleas me better than to hear that old Langdon had been ducked by the citizans of Winona[.] if Co. K wer only there he would not only get plucked but he might some fine day have the pleasure of rideing on the soft sid of a rough rail.
Mother I can assure you I never intended to hint in any of my letters that your letters are tedious, but on the contrary it gives me great pleasure to read them and nothing I like better than long ones. I am such a poor hand to write news or any thing interesting that I thought such long ones might not interest you[.] There are at the present in our Regt about 400 men fit for a march and in our Company we draw rations for 39 men and generly 1 or 2 of these are on the sick report.
Give my best respects to all of my friends and love to Brother Orren
Goodby Chas. E. Goddard
See whole letter: 1863-02-20_Smith_combined
Citation: February 20, 1863, Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1853-1862. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]