Frederick Tomlinson Peet.

Civil war letters and documents of Frederick Tomlinson Peet online

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their retreat from fifty to seventy-five guns,
many of them of large calibre, one as I
stated in my letter of yesterday was found
burst. The Sergeant Major who gave me
the facts, then strolled around the deserted
town, & picked up many little souvenirs.
He found at a general's head-quarters
(supposed to be Gen Rains) a general's
cap, from which he took some gold trim-
mings — a part of which I send you — I wish


it cut in half, & one piece sent to Fred
Terry for his collection. I also learned
that as our men were about to enter the
entrenchments, a deserter who was skulk-
ing about the premises, on whom some of
the Sharp Shooters had drawn a bead,
came forward— and disclosed the fact, that
the ground on all sides near the entrance
was mined, also the magazine. The dis-
covery was well timed, but not soon
enough, to save the lives of some half-
dozen of our men (not Sharp Shooters
however) — Guards were immediately
placed over the torpedoes. I understand
that Gen Joe Johnston commanded at
Yorktown. The reason for the evacua-
tion, as given by the deserters, was that
they had heard, that their much loved
Merrimac had been blown up and gone to
thunder. Also that on learning the fall of


New Orleans, the Louisiana and other
Carolina troops had become mutinous, and
wanted to go home. The times of many
having expired, mutiny seemed the order
of the day ; all were more or less infected.
The army generally complained of want of
food— so nothing remained but to fall back,
which accordingly they did. There was a
rumor this morning that General Heyes
has captured 8000 prisoners.— When we
first arrived it is said but 8000 men garri-
soned the fortifications of Yorktown— I
hardly credit this. They tell us, they had
no idea, when we arrived, that we would
go to work in such a systematic way, but
expected a dash or something of that sort
—This fact comes to prove, that Gen Mc-
Clellan by his superior management, has
driven the enemy from their strong hold,
and scarcely with the loss of a man. I
suppose the croakers will make this an-


other cause for their grumbling, but we are
satisfied, that the young Napoleon— is all
O. K. in the fighting line — One more piece
of news & 1 end. A rebel cavalry officer,
reported that during the first day's fight,
when we occupied the peach orchard
(April 5th) our men shot all but eight of one
company, and our bullets fell so thick
upon a camp half a mile beyond the en-
trenchments, that they wei e obliged to
move off; also that the Sharp Shooters are
regarded with the utmost fear & horror by
the chivalry.

Hurrah ! for the Sharp Shooters !

We expect to march soon— are all packed
up & ready.— To day is Sunday, and a
more beautiful day, I never saw. — Last
night the rebels kept up a continuous fire,
as a parting salute.

With love to all

I remain your affectionate brother
Frederick T. Feet.


Camp West Point Va.

1st Rgt US Sharp Shooters

May 10th, 1862.
Dear Mother

I think I wrote my last letter or note to
Mr. Taft enclosing the piece of Gen Mc-
Gruders flag. Before I forget I wish you
would ask Wm to buy a wormer for my
rifle and with it extract the flannel from the
barrel then oil the inside of the barrel
carefully with some canton flannel after-
wards dry it and leave the rammer with a
piece of flannet in it oiled. Also ask him
once in the weeks when he comes to our
home to have a new piece put in. On one
end of the rammer is a notch cut, which
keeps the rag on. When home I pulled
out the rod but left the flannel inside. If
Wm will do this it will save my rifle if not
it will rust and soon be utterly useless as a
target rifle.


We left Camp Winfield Scott on the 8th
all armed with Sharps rifles ; the men were
in the hest of spirits all eager to try their
new rifles on the traiters. We embarked
on the State of Maine; before it was
bought by Uncle Sam it used to run to Fall
River. Gen Porter & Staff were on board.
I sat on the deck until near ten P. M. lis-
tening to the different bands on shore and
viewing the scene generally. The moon
was out ; each vessel of which there must
have been two hundred displayed a light
on her bow, all helped to make the scene
one of the most beautiful I have yet seen.

I turned in at ten, and when I arose the
next morning I found myself at West
Point. We landed at eleven and en-
camped near the river. Gen Franklyns
division left us last night for a new ground
some four miles farther up. I am today


officer of the Guard, and now am in the
Guard tent writing.

I have just this moment heen informed
that we have been ordered to cook 3 days
rations, which amounts to marching orders.
It seems there was quite a fight here when
Gen. Franklyns Division attempted to land
some three days ago. The Enemy under
Wade Hampton & another general with
two divisions attempted to stop the landing,
when our troops, in all amounting to but
one division, after a fight of several hours
drove the enemy from the woods and since
then have been unmolested.

Our gun boats are here, the enemy seem
to have the greatest possible fear of them.

Some of our men were found after the
fight with their throats cut, reported to
have been done by the negroes one or two
of the latter were hung yesterday, and


some more will be executed soon for their
crimes. This is but rumor but I guess
most of it is true. Last night just as we
were going to bed, a voice was heard
screaming out that he was being murdered;
it came from the woods where the enemy
had fought on the first day of Franklyns
landing. Some men went off" and found
that a negro had stabbed one of the sol-
diers, the reason of which is not known.
Our men say that they will give no quarter
to the negroes if they are caught in arms.
It is also said that two regiments of Niggers
were engaged on the rebel side. Should
the enemy stand this side of Richmond it
will be, it is expected, at Bottom Bridge
where the Yorktown & West Point road
crosses the Chickahomiony River.

The weather here is very hot. I went in
swimming yesterday and will do so again
to day.


I am not as lucky as Henry Hubbell for
with me coolness is an impossibility.

I hope soon to write from Richmond ;
with much love to all I remain,

Your affectionate Son

Unless 1 am paid off before my appt ar-
rives I will not be able to go home as I am
out of funds.

Camp at White House Va

1st Rgt U S Sharp Shooters
May 18th 1862
Dear Father & Wm

I direct to you Wm but send it to Father
when it is read for of all disagreeable
things the writing letters on a hot day is
the top of the notch.

I think I wrote from West Point last ; at
all events I will take up my narration from


that place I will also set aside dates as I
am so hot I cant remember the true num-
bers. We left West Point at 5 O Clock
A. M. travelled all day through the hot
sun and brought up by night at Cumber-
land. 1 carried my heavy over coat and a
part of a tent besides my haversack and

Our journey was much longer than need
have been as we took the wrong road, an
unexcusable mistake when there are so
many here who know the country.

We encamped about 1-4 mile from the
Pomonkey River. As soon as Camp was
arranged Mr Winthrop & myself took a
swim in it which I enjoyed to the fullest

We remained there one day during
which time it ceased not to rain. Rain
being the order of the day — we made our-


selves as comfortable as possible in our lit-
tle powder tent about 4 feet high & six feet
long. The Sec'y of State reviewed our di-
vision so we were obliged to turn out, went
half an hour, got wet, gave three cheers
and double quick back to camp.

McGlellan & Mr Seward rode side by
side followed by Gen Porter with his &
McClellans staff.

The next morning the men were up at 3
A. M. expecting to start at 5, two hours
later, but owing to the tardiness of Gen
Franklyns Div— we did not go until 11.30
—all the time our men were standing in
line of battle ready to move, with rifles
stacked and the rain coming down drench-
ing them to the skin.

When we did start the roads were in an
awful condition. Mud was generally ancle
deep and sometimes up to our knees ; we


stumbled along & at last by walking
through woods and cutting of roads we
reached White House.

It rained that night and a part of the day
following— but since then has been as warm
as they get it up in even this miserable
portion of Dixie. I have been twice bath-
ing since I arrived and intend to go again
to night. We get the papers here sooner
than they can be sent by you so I would
advise you thanking you for what you sent
me not to send more. I received some
letters from you and two from Father. I
hope you all will write every day for I
never enjoyed them so much as I do now.
We may start to night & we may not start
for a day or two but when any of you are
not certain abt my address write to Fort
Monro and it will be forwarded.

You all seem to think that we have noth-


ing to do but march in and take possession
of Richmond. Why it may be weeks be-
fore we attack the rebels. Gen. McClel-
lan does nothing in a hurry ; besides we
can not move until every thing is in perfect
order, ammunition, baggage wagons must
arrive first ; even then we must wait until
we know exactly the purposes of the
enemy, so dont be in a hurry. I think
that the fight will come off soon — in a very
few days— still we can not tell. We are en-
camped on the bank of the Pomonkey on
one of the large and beautiful plains which
are common in this part of Virginia. It is
almost square with but one or two trees on
it. It is bounded on three sides by Woods
and this fourth by the river. Gen McGlel-
lans head quarters— at the White House-
formerly the property of Gen Lee situated
on the banks of the river. He is always


up in the head of his army and not behind
as the Tribune has it.

Don't forget to send my rifle.

Your affectionate


The Gapt & Mr Winthrop wish to be
remembered to you all, but I generally
forget to tell you.

Mr Winthrop met his cousins Mrs Hol-
and & Miss Woolsey to day, they return
to Fortress Monroe immediately or I
would go and see them. F

Dont stop writing. I received a letter
from Rebekah which I enjoyed.


In Camp at Barkers Mills

12 M from Richmond

1st Rgt U S Sharp Shooters
May 24, 1862.
Dear Father

I have just received your letter of the
19th, which I have read with pleasure.
Why dont you all at home write oftener.
I enjoy them much more than formerly :
the reason why I cant tell, unless it is that
at any moment we may be called upon to
fight, and its pleasant to hear from you all
then My last letter was written from
White House which we left on Tuesday as
near as I can make out, for here Sunday is
the only day I keep any track of.

We left there about 5 A. M. and arrived
at Tunstalls station at 12 M here we en-
camped for the night in a dismal rain
storm. We remained here two nights and


one day. The country about there is per-
fectly enchanting. Instead of the even
prarie like flats of the Peninsula there are
little hills deep ravines and rich meadows
stretching away for hundreds of acres.
The foliage is very thick and green, and
formes a pleasant shelter from the hot sun.
You would be surprised if you could see a
Rgt marching along seemingly in good or-
der and on the word "halt" being given,
see them disappear in the woods to obtain
a moments rest and coolness. For when
marching the hot sun is perfectly scorch-
ing, it seems to almost knock one down.

I will go back to where I left off march-
ing from Tunstalls Station, we marched
some five miles that day and encamped at
Cyrus Hill. Next day we struck tents
and after a very though days work pitched
our camp where we now are. Strawber-


ries are only 12 cents a quart, and very
good ones at that ; sweet potatoes never
were better than these, they make up for
our want of beef & pork. Our servants
this morning eat up every thing we had fit
to eat and so we sent and bought a few
eggs, which with some coffee constituted
our breakfast. All day we have heard can-
non firing in the direction of Bottom bridge.
I dont suppose it amounts to much, at most
but the shelling out of some rebels over the
Ghickahom (as the contrabands say).
Bottom Bridge is some three or four miles
from us also Newbridge about the same
distance in another direction. Gen Porter
now commands a Corps Gen Martindale
has taken his place, commanding the divi-
sion. Col Berdan has been quite unwell
and was left behind at a house in Cumber-
land ; he returned yesterday. Did Mr
Taft receive the piece of flag, and did Re-


bekah receive her gold braid, and did
Fred Terry receive a piece of each. If
they did why dont they write and let me
know; tell Fred I want to hear from him,
if he has received the several little memen-
toes I from time to time have sent. If he
dont think enough of them to let me know
of their safe arrival, I will send them to
somebody else.

It seems queer why the Marine Appoint-
ment dont come ; however I have as much
as I can now well attend to.

When we get to Richmond I shall expect
it certainly. I am very happy to know
that you are none the worse. Why dont
you keep quiet ; its no wonder you dont
improve if you keep continually moving.
Give my best love to Mother and the rest
of the family.

and I remain Your affectionate Son



Camp near Chickahominy Va
1st Berdans U S Sharp Shooters
May 30th 1862
Dear Hattie & Rebekah

Since I wrote my last letter our camp
has been moved once or twice. We ar-
rived here at noon on Monday last and en-
camped in the rain. That night at 9 or 10
orders came to cook two days rations and
be ready to start at 5 next morning each
man to have 60 rounds of cartridges.

I was up Tuesday morning at 3 A. M.
and at 5 we all started in a dismal rain

Our march was through such a series of
small puddles and bad roads that I never
hope to see such another day. It seems
that we were ordered to proceed to Han-
over Ct. House and break up the railway
or burn bridges, thus destroying the con-


nections between Fredericksburg and Gor-
donsville with Richmond. We arrived at
the C. H. at one P. M. met the enemy and
had quite a battle. Our Rgt had some 8
men wounded one or two severely. None
were hurt in Go. H. We did not take as
active a part as some of the other Rgts
namely 25 & 14 & 44 N. Y also 2 & 4
Maine. I suppose before this reaches you
a full account will be given by the papers.
It seems that the enemy were some North
Carolina troops on the way to Richmond.
Our forces consisted of about ten thousand
men under Gen Porter. We slept at night
on secesh blankets which the "Butternuts"
had thrown away. Their blankets guns
and in fact everything they had were
thrown away in their efforts to skedaddle.
I was near the 25th N. Y when Lt Col
Savage (formerly a member of N Y 7th


Rgt) was wounded also the Col, Major,
and I believe, the Adjutant, & Doctor.
This Rgt lost more than any other, they
lost one half of their men.

Our march and its effect was perfectly
satisfactory, and we returned to camp last
night. We left at 2.30 P M and reached
here at 9. O Clock, the roads were dry
our march being about the cool of the after-
noon we were not as fagged out as when
we reached the C H. from here. I am
well, never was better although marching
some 14 or 16 miles is pretty tough on a
hot day. On our march from here I met
and had a moments talk with Lt Spaulding
6 Reg Gav.

I received Mr Tafts letter and was glad
he wrote. I shall write to him when I get
some more time. We were ordered but
about an hour ago to see that each man


had his 60 rounds of cartridges and be
ready to start at a moments notice — so I
will wait until I see if we are to march be-
fore I again write. I received a letter from
you two this morning, which I read with
pleasure. You must not be afraid that my
letters will miscarry. Just put Sharp
Shooters, Gen Porters Corps, Gen Morells
Div, on the envelope and it will reach me
wherever I may be.

Tell Mother she must not be worried
about me. I dont think I shall be killed
and if I am slightly wounded I will be sent
to N. Y. I have been taken care of so far
and I doubt not that it will be so all
through this war. Also tell Mother not to
be frightened if after a battle she does not
get a letter, for should I be hurt the Capt
& Lt. will let you all know of it immedi-
ately. If I am all right 1 wont get time to


write, so keep up spirits until you know I
am gone. I have not the slightest fear.

With my best love to Mother, Father
and you all I remain affectionately

Your brother

Ask Wm to send me some money as I
have not one cent. also some postage

Gamp at Gaines Mills Va

1st Berdans U S Sharp Shooters

June 10. 62
Dear Libby

I am indebted to you for two letters, the
last one I received but a few minutes pre-

I received one from Fred a day or two
ago and will answer it soon. How delight-
ful it must be at Pinkstone now. I wish


Richmond was taken, and my Marine ap-
pointment confirmed so as to give me a few
days with you on the Hudson.

In your letter you seem to imagine that
my diet consists of strawberries & sweet
potatoes, delicious thought Oh! that it
were true. I have eaten berries but once
and potatoes are very hard to obtain even
at one dollar a peck.

For two weeks we have had scarcely
anything but fried rice and fresh beef,
still I am as strong and well as ever. My
weight is 8 lbs less than when at York-
town. Fred tells me that he weighs now
123 lbs. What a terrible fellow he must
be, tell him he must get the gloves ready,
for when I return I shall give him a chance
to thrash me.

Gen Prim the Spanish General reviewed
our division to day. I being officer of the


Guard did not see him. Cousin Ned
Wright was his interpreter for Gen Porter.
Several of Gen McGlellans staff were with

Some days ago I think that I misin-
formed you as to the Commandant of our
Div. Gen Morrell not Martindale took
Gen Porters place, who now commands a
provisional corps.

It requires some patience to get along
with these rain storms although I suppose
it is all for the best.

I was not engaged in the battle of Satur-
day or Sunday but could distinctly hear
the firing from our Camp.

You speak of McClellans superior force,
if you mean in numbers we are superior to
the enemy, you must be mistaken.

I cant think of any thing to tell you so I
will say good bye, with love to Mr. Terry,
Fred, Erick, and Johnny,


I remain Your affectionate brother


Tell Fred & Erick that our Pickets (S.

S.) have to stand in water up to their

waists all day, and then come home with

rheumatism. F.

Gamp Near New Bridge, Va.
1st Rgt Berdans U S. S. S.
June 15th 62
Dear Father Mother & Sisters,

I have this afternoon received six letters,
consequently I feel gay.

Dont let the above news of six stop your
writing for I would like as many every

You must not be troubled about your
letters not reaching me wherever I am, as
I am with Gen McClellan they will be
forwarded all right.


It is amusing to see the way my letters
& papers are directed one came a day or
two ago, with "Capt Martindales Div." on
it. I hope Gen Martindale did not see it.

My direction is this,

1st Rgt Berdans U. S. S. S.
Gen Morells Div.

Gen Porters Corps

Near Richmond Va

Mother writes she was glad to hear that
our Company was not in the Hanover
fight, but with the reserves. Our Com-
pany was but about one hundred feet from
the line of skirmishers on the battle field :
there is not much reserve about that I
should judge. I was not off the field all
day. I intended sending a piece of a dead
rebels ear to Wm but when I saw the poor
fellows, I gave up the idea so suddenly that
it almost made my hair curl.


If you all were here I would tell you of
sights that would make Aunty shut herself
up in her room for a week. Tell Aunty
that segars are so hard to get that I have
hardly smoked a dozen in a long time.

Wm & Libby sent me papers.

To day is Sunday ; a thunder storm has
just passed over us, and cooled the atmos-
phere making our tent now a paradise to

what it was this hot, hot morning, when I
almost expected to evaporate and "vanish
into thin air" as some of Virgils heroes
were in the habit of doing when excited.

I was on picket again yesterday but was
not allowed to cross the bridge in my uni-
form as the rebs have orders to shoot only
officers so I put on a privates coat & cap
shouldered my rifle and went over.

There was no picket firing during the


day ; the enemy opened on the bridge with
the concealed battery, but were silenced
by our battery which was stationed on the
right of the bridge.

One of the Officers of this battery (4th
R. I.) was a member of the 7th and tented
next to me ; his name is Buckley, he asked
after Charley. He, with another of his
Lieutenants, is coming to my tent at 7 to
night, and we three are going down to

Tell Mother that we were to have divine
service this evening at 7 or before. We
have no meeting now as there is no tent
but what is full of stores.

I have spent the Sabbath reading some
from my testament and in the interim try-
ing to keep cool. It is very hard for me to
keep my thoughts pinned down to any sub-
ject five consecutive minutes— in the midst


of my thoughts I will find my mind wan-
dering in Brooklyn or New York or
Bridgeport. I like to write to you all on
Sundays and it is right I should. I would
like to hear something from Washington
relative to my Marine appointment. Tell
Wm that Col (now Act. Gen) McQuade
wished to be remembered to him.

I will now say good bye. It is wonder-
ful how I keep so well. I hope we will be
in Richmond soon then possibly I will be
ordered to Washington, after which time I
will get a furlough.

Your affectionate Son

Fred T. Peet.
To Father Mother Rebekah & Hattie Peet.

*slbrah(im Lincoln,


KNOW YE, that reposing special Trust and Confidence in the
Patriotism, Valour, Fidelity and Abilities of Frederick C7. 1*eet, *9
hai'e nominater/, and by and with the advice and consent
of the Senate, do appoint him a Second /Lieutenant in the
~/ilarine (Borps, from the tfyth June fS62 in the service of the
United States. He is therefore carefully and diligently, to discharge
the Duties of a Second (lieutenant in said corps, by doing and
performing all Manner of Things thereto belonging.

And 1 do strictly charge and require, all Officers, Seamen and Ma-
rines under his Command to be obedient to his Orders as a Second
lieutenant in said corps. And he is to observe and follow such
Orders and Directions from time to time as he shall receive from me;
or the future PRESIDENT of the United States of America, or his
Superior Officer set over him : according to the Rules and Discipline


This COMMISSION to continue in force during the pleasure of the
President of the United States for the time being.

Given under my Hand at WASHINGTON,

BY lr >is fourteenth day of June in the year of

our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and

THE PRESIDENT v . „ , . • ,. &. * . .. .

■jtzty-two and in the Qjighty-strth year or

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Online LibraryFrederick Tomlinson PeetCivil war letters and documents of Frederick Tomlinson Peet → online text (page 5 of 9)