Brigade Headquarters MD
June 14th 1863
Dear Friend Jacob,
I am happy to acknowledge the receipt of your kind and interesting letter of the 3rd Inst. which was duly recd. and carefully perused, and while it was a source of comfort to me it also brought me tidings which I had not heard before heard, for while I was thinking that Amasa Gilbert was engaged in defending his country's honor, it seems he is at home in the peaceful little village of Sheldon enjoying himself. Well all right if he can content himself there while his country needs his help. T[h]here he ought to be for he probably will do more good there than any where else.
I am glad dear friend to hear that you and your friends are enjoying the rich blessings of health without which all other riches is but a poor comfort. You say Sheldon is a dull place now. I think it must be somewhat so. Is your little military organization kept up yet, that has added some considerable to the life of Sheldon, and although it perhaps seemed boys play to some, I have not the slightest doubt that it inspired others with patriotic zeal and caused them to take up arms and array themselves under the Stars and Stripes for the defense of that glorious flag.
I am glad that your Father has torn down them old barns they did not look very well there so near such a house. You say you think ye will have a good hay crop this year
I hope so but that is more than they can say for this place. Everything started beautifully this last spring but for the last 5 weeks we have not had rain enough to lay the dust, and a scorching sun pouring his heat continually on the crops. It has so dryed up the ground here that the grass wheat and corn seem burning up and deserters from the rebel army say they are in a great fret off South about the crops. Corn here is not over 4 inches high. Wheat begun to head out about 4 weeks ago but for the last two weeks it seems to be on a stand still. I have seen new hay come into camp but I have not seen any grass or clover that our farmers at the North would think worth cutting.
Fruit is going to be plenty I think. Apples are larger than a pigeons eggs, peaches are as large as marbles &c. &c. but it is awful warm. I stand the heat better than I expected, but I think should you see me now you would not know me. My face is so brown, but my health is good thank God and I feel just as well as I have done 20 years ago.
We had a little rebel raid over here on the night of the 10th instance. You most likely have seen an account of it on the papers, but it is incorrect in some parts. They crossed near Seneca where we lay last fall, and where Co. II of the 6th Mich. Calvary 75 strong were alone doing picket duty, the rebels came over 250 in number and the fight commenced. They fought like tigers on both sides. When after a while our men retreated to this place (a distance of 8 miles) but not without leaving their orderly sergeant and 3 others dead and 17 taken prisoner. The rebels left one Capt. One Lieut. and 3 men dead on the field and they took one Capt. and 2 men that were dead with them. How many they had wounded we do not know. There were 2 of ours wounded one slightly in the finger. The other I fear mortally. I send you a little bit of the Captain's shirt so that you can see what fine cloth some of the rebel officers wear now.
I will not finish this until tomorrow for I am expecting to be called out to fight this very night, but to return to my story when the retreating soldiers came here.
About 5 oclock in the morning I had just got through calling the roll and had set the men to work some at one thing and some at another when the alarm came that the rebels were upon us whereupon I ordered the men to fall in and in less than 3 minutes the company were all in line ready for a fight we were then allowed to fall out and get something to ate when we werefell in again and marched off about ½ mile where we were drawn up in line of battle. The battery soon came up to support us and so did two companys of cavalry that are here. We remained there until after 10 O.C. A.M. expecting the rebs but they did not come near us, for as quick as the fight was over they put for the other side of the Potomac very quick. Good night.
Dear Sir. Yesterday we heard that Stewart was coming this way with 12,000 cavalry to make a raid through Maryland and PA and last night we were ordered to have our acoutriments where we could lay our hands on them at any moment and I had been informed that at sundown 400 of them started out from Leesburgh and I cantered down to the edge of the river opposite to Edwards Ferry where part of our Rgt is under command of Major Chandler and about 5 miles from here, so we expected to have to go out last night, but guess they thought it best not to undertake to come across. At all events they did not.
Will you please write to me occasionally when you have time, I wish I could have you out here with me for a couple of weeks, but I cannot. How is Charley? I suppose he has grown quite large by this time. My kind regards to your father and mother and Charley, Mr. and Mrs. Hapgood and Anna, Charles Duren and any others you whom you please. How is your grandmother and old Mr Hapgood? Good by for this time. God bless you.