Our Canteens, Blankets, etc Were Shot to Pieces~ June 1864~20th to 22nd

Our Canteens, Blankets, &C Were Shot to Pieces ~ A Confederate soldier

Virginia and Georgia are awash in blood as bitter fighting grows worse. Many more slaves follow the columns of Union soldiers. Whitman, unable to take any more hospital work, heads for home to recuperate.


June 20– Monday– near White House Landing, Virginia– “We have seen but one newspaper for the last fifteen days & don’t know very much about what is going on in the outside world. A great many Negroes joined us in our last march willing to endure privations for the sake of liberty. All kinds came along old men & boys, Old women & children of all sizes from the infant at the breast to grown up boys & girls. . . . I am thankful to be able to say that my health continues good, though we have seen a good deal hard service. We hope to get a few days rest as our horses are nearly worn out. While I think of it please send me a sheet of paper & envelope in your next letter until we get in camp, as this one came in very good play. . . . am sitting in a field my horse saddled up not knowing what minute the bugle will sound ‘to horse.’ Ask them [the children] to excuse Pa this time as he does not forget them but still has the same love & care that he always had for them. Still praying that God will bless & take care of mother & them. Ask them to continue to pray that God will bless Pa & Mother & make them good children, receiving them into his kingdom. The order is to move so I must close. Assuring you my dear wife of the continuance of my love for you & asking your prayers at the throne of grace.” ~ Letter from Union soldier Samuel M. Potter to his wife Cynthia.

June 20– Monday– near Kennesaw, Georgia– “To give you some idea of how steady and close was the fire, our flag that floated from our parapet had thirty-one holes through it. The flagstaff, no much larger than my thumb, was hit seven times. The trees behind us were riddled with balls. On one little sapling, I counted about eight balls on the body. The face of the [artillery] pieces, upper part of axles and wheels have hundreds of marks made by balls shot through the embrasures of the works, while our canteens, blankets, &c just in rear of the portholes were shot to pieces . . . . The artillery fire was bad, as the Yankee batteries could not seem me or the smoke of my guns, as the rain poured down all day. Our loss along the line was light, about fifty captured and one hundred killed and wounded. About night I received orders to get away as quickly and quietly as possible, and I am certain I never obeyed any thing with more cheerfulness and alacrity.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his father.


June 20– Monday– near Marietta, Georgia– “Yesterday the rain was perfectly furious, and we marched and skirmished all day. We are now in position west of Marietta facing east. I lost one man and had five wounded yesterday; one of my captains got a bullet through his haversack. We did not get into camp until eleven o’clock last night, and it seemed as if we might remain quiet to-day.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.

June 20– Monday– near Marietta, Georgia– “The Yanks are a-shelling us. The bombs have been whistling over my head all this morning, but no one hurt as I know of. General Johnston has withdrawn his line a few miles, but he was obliged to do so. I think they will drive us clear through the Confederacy in a few more months, and I don’t care how soon if they intend to now. My dear Frances, I am going to give you a few sketches of my ideas about our present condition. I have here of late been studying about our affairs. We were wrong at the beginning of the war. We are wrong to rebel against a civil government as we did. It is wrong and before I received your letter yesterday I had come to the conclusion to go North. The army is leaving every day and night more or less going over and giving up. My honest opinion is that we will be subjugated and that before long and those that gets out of it the sooner the better for them. But now I am going [to] hang on, for I will never forsake you, no, never. My humble prayer is that I may live to get through this struggle safe and return to my home.” ~ Letter from a Confederate soldier to his sweetheart.

June 20– Monday– Cassville, Georgia; Noonday Church, Georgia; Noyes’ Creek, Georgia; Powder Springs, Georgia; Lattimer’s Mills, Georgia; White House, Virginia; Buford’s Gap, Virginia; Lewisburg, Arkansas; Cassville, Missouri; White’s Station, Tennessee– Skirmishes, fire-fights, operations, and armed encounters.

June 21– Tuesday– Randolph, New York– Birth of Martha Van Rensselaer, the second daughter of Henry and Arvilla Owen Rensselaer. She will become an educator, home economist, editor, director of the Home Conservation Division of the U S Food Administration (1917– 1919) and serve with the American Relief Commission in Belgium (1923). [Dies May 26, 1932.]

Martha Van Rensselaer

Martha Van Rensselaer

June 21– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– “I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its constitutional action thereon, the articles of agreement and convention made and concluded at the city of Washington on the 15th instant between the United States and the Delaware Indians of Kansas, referred to in the accompanying communication of the present date from the Secretary of the Interior.” ~ Message from President Lincoln

June 21– Tuesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I wrote you a few days ago fully, which I hope you have received, in this I explained all of our matters fully. I have been hoping for some time that you would be able to get up & at least see me if not to stay entirely. I want so much to see & remain with you all and hope soon to be able to do so (I do think that this war must soon end, & we then can live in peace). I am not doing so much now in business the Rail Road being destroyed for several miles distant but soon expect to have it in running order. I have not any thing of importance now to write the war news seems to be going alright As to our business you have become so accustomed to managing that you can do it better than I can advise you. . . . I have chanced to get a few green backs which I send you. Use them as you desire. You had better not hold it long. If [you] have not use for the money now, try & turn it around into coin or good Maryland money and hold it until you need it.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

June 21– Tuesday– Richmond, Virginia– “I do not know where our Brigade is now. I left in near Malvern Hill, and have not heard from it since. I am anxious to get back to the boys, but must wait till I get stronger. I take no medicine now. I am on the diet list yet, and fare much better than if I had to go to the table. I walk about and read and pass off the time the best I can. I went to the City Cemetery yesterday evening. It is worth a visit. It is right on the banks of the James River, and is a beautiful scene. Among the notable characters that are buried there are the remains of President James Monroe. I am anxious to hear from you all especially my boy.” ~ Letter from Confederate soldier Marion Hill Fitzpatrick to his wife Amanda.

June 21– Tuesday– Cobb County, Georgia– “We were started under arms about five P.M. yesterday, to go out in support of our 1st Division on a reconnaissance to our right. It rained hard. We formed right outside of our breastworks and there halted and waited until after dark and then went back to camp. It is still raining to-day. Since the first of June, we have had just three days that it did not rain; every brook is a river and the roads are terrible– if we did not have the railroad, we would have to go back or starve.” ~ Letter from Union officer Fredrick C. Winkler to his wife.


June 21– Tuesday– Dooly County, Georgia– “My motto is to fight on, fight ever rather than submit to Yankee rule and oppression. A great many refugees are coming in here from the upper portion of the state. I don’t think the Yankees will ever want to come down this far, if so, we are fortunately situated, are we not? We have been having a great deal of rain for the past two weeks which has almost destroyed the whole wheat crop through this section. Pa says not one in fifty will be able to save seed. We have been more fortunate than a good many as our best wheat was saved before the rain set in. The corn crop will not be near so good. The water courses are very high. Pa says there is much uneasiness among the people in reference to the prospect of provisions for the next year.” ~ Letter from Maggie Cone to her fiancé Alva Benjamin Spencer, who is fighting in Virginia.

June 22– Wednesday– Staunton, Virginia– “I am still improving in health & hope soon to be well. I am still running the hotel but there is little or nothing doing here so dull that I have almost concluded to shut up. We have a few boarders which business of course won’t pay. . . . I want so much to see you. This is a hard way of living but we are not alone in this as there is plenty here in the same fix– E J Lee & Chas Lee just left here this morning trying to get to Clark to see or hear from their families. Been refugeeing & not in service. . . . I hope this state of affairs will not last much longer & that we can all live in peace & happiness.” ~ Letter from John Quincy Nadenbousch to his wife Hester.

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman

June 22– Wednesday– Washington, D.C.– Walt Whitman, feeling tired and sick, leaves the city to return to Brooklyn, New York, for some rest and recovery.

June 22– Wednesday– Bottetourt Springs, Virginia– “I avail myself of the opportunity, tho’ very tired & wanting rest. I have not yet heard directly from you, but generally from the neighborhood & suppose you got along like the rest of the community & may thank God that it is no worse. I cannot come to lament the loss of my excellent friend & neighbor Harvey Bear, one of the most unobtrusively good men I have ever known. I do most sincerely condole with his afflicted family – I saw poor James & he could only speak of it with the tears welling to his eyes. . . . we are all in camp today in the vicinity of Botetourt Springs resting & getting up on our rations & washing. My shirt is if anything a shade darker than the ground – have not had any clean clothes in 10 days, but William is washing now & I hope to be clean once more – our wagons are up with us this morning for the first time since we left Charlottesville – we have been getting along the best we could & the people have been very kind to us although they have suffered so terribly from the Yankees.” ~ Letter from Confederate officer Jedediah Hotchkiss to his wife Sara.

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