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January 31, 2014

Letter from Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota to his mother about a photograph he sent home, the weather, and turnover among the regiment’s officers – January 31, 1864

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 5:01 pm

Camp 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry
Jan 31st /64
Dear Mother
Your letter of the 10th of this month duly arrived, but I did not answer it for I had been sending you memorials of the Company and also a letter with the Photograph of Rev. Chaplain Conwell, which I hope has got through safe for he was very kind to the wounded at Gettysburg – and he has always done his duty in evry engagement that I have had a chance to notice, which I can tell you that cannot be said of evrey Chaplain in the Army[.] this and a good many other things makes me have the desire to keep the Chaplain’s photograph. […]
The weather has been so warm here for the last few days that we have been obliged to get in the shade of our tents to keep cold anough to feel comfertable. I should not have been much surprised if we had received orders to strike tents and be on the move, only that after the Burnside scrape last winter[*] it would have been foolish to move when every day it might set in and rain for a week; today it had been raining some and I am glad for the Generals are so ambitious they will attemp any thing sooner than have the people at home [hear] enemies and very often get sadly defeated. Colonel Colvill has been dismissed the service because he was unable to join his Regiment on account of wounds received at Gettysburg – we have one of the meanest Lieut Colonels[**] that ever set foot onVirginia soil and by [releasing]colvill as incompitant he has accomplished what will promote him and injure Colonel Colvill’s reputation. Evrey man in the Regiment dispise this Lieut Colonel, but Colonel Colvill they respect for his many good qualities.

*“the Burnside scrape last winter” Goddard refers to is the “Mud March,” a failed attempt at a winter offensive led by Major General Ambrose Burnside in January 1863. See the January 25, 1863 entry from Matthew Marvin’s diary, where he mentions Burnside, the anticipated movement of the army, and the unending rain.

**Goddard is likely referring to Lieutenant Colonel Charles P Adams, second in command of the Regiment. Adams was wounded multiple times at Gettysburg but returned to the regiment on December 12, 1863. He was reportedly not well liked by some of the men.

Citation: January 31, 1864, Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1863-1929. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]

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