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Letter to Eliza Johnson, 1862 December 18

Letter to Eliza Johnson, 1862 December 18
Letter to Eliza Johnson, 1862 December 18
Letter regards the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.


  • 1862 December 18


From the Series: 20 items


Thursday morning
My Dear Wife
Porter and Bradford have not arrived yet--but unless I write today you will not hear from me until next week. This may reach you on Saturday and even [now] I must write very hastily. The loss of the abolitionists in the last battle near Fredericksburg was greater than we at first supposed. They are again on the other side of the River. I spent yesterday afternoon in going over a portion of the battle field near or adjoining the City. On the portion of the field I visited there were at least 500 dead. Under a flag of truce they were burying their dead but doing it in a very careless manner. Unless they worked last night they cannot get through before sometime today. After going through Fredericksburg and seeing the results of their vandalism I felt no sympathy for their justly merited fate. Scattered books, broken [----], furniture of all kinds and every description carried into the streets and broken to pieces. Our own loss is narrowed down to less than 400 killed and less than a thousand wounded, while the loss of the enemy cannot be less than 2000 killed and from 10 to 20 thousand wounded and missing. All who have visited the ground concur in the opinion that the dead are thicker upon the ground than any [field] they have seen. One could have walked for 400 yds upon the dead. This was close up to the houses reaching back 400 yds to a stone wall. Burnsides is considered a fool for making the attack, as from his camp he could see our position and defenses. Our army could have withstood an attack by 400 thousand men. Our victory was complete. I have not yet seen any Yankee account of the battle. There was some conversation on yesterday between our men and the men detailed to bury the dead. They all agreed that their defeat was a terrible one. A physician told Judge G. that he thought this [------] would certainly satisfy the North. We lost [260] as prisoners who were exchanged on yesterday. We have besides about 1000 prisoners who will be paroled but you will get the news from the papers before this reaches you. All is quiet this morning. Write to me and let me know how you are getting along. Write at least twice a week as in that way probably one of the letters might reach me. Give my love to the children and believe me truly yours,
PS. The 25th and 31st were not engaged. I have not seen Philander he is 12 miles distant.

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450