Uncle Gus Diary and Letters
Sunday April 2 Wrote a letter to wife. Clear and cool, high wind. a heavy battle agoing on this morning many miles long the rebs drove at all points all the hospitals moved at 5 PM and stoped near Petersburg at 11. Petersburg surrendered.
April 2/65 Ever remembered companion, this Sabbath morning i am permited through the goodness of God to sit up and that on my rubber blanket on the wet gound with my napsack and haversack for a writing desk, trying to pencil a few to whare my thoughts are sentered (to my little family) i feel first to thank God for his care for me for the condision i am in it sometimes seems wonderful to me that i kept my strength so well.
for to tell you as it is my cronick dierea is very bad. the first days marching set me agoing verry bad for i nearly melted down and that night it set in to rain and a stidy rain for about 4 hours and i had only my rubber blanket for a shelter and a part of the time we had to lay flat on the ground to avoid the rebs bullets and got verry mudy and wet. we have here a canvas tent to cover us. the sick in one tent and the wounded in others, and there is a great many wounded men here for there has been a great battle agoing on for 4 days. about all of grants and Sherodens army combined is engaged and there is good news this morning of true that our armys are having success at every point. they say that it is positive that we have 19 thousand prisoners. i wrote you a line last friday night in a hurry for a man said he would wait a few minutes for me to do so and git it into the mail for me. which i was glad to have done. the fight that i was in last Wedensday only lasted about 2 hours and the regt that Norman O Wheeler was in had the most of the fighting to do. but when we swong into axion (action) we soon made a charge and such a scadadling i never see. we took some prisoners and killed quite a number. we had no chance to know exactly. i see Norman the next morning and he come out all rite. and Thursday we were in 3 lines of battle, our regt was 2nd and a good many shells went over our heads and the sharp shooters kept sending balls at us all day. Our flag barrer had the end of his nose cliped a little and one man that lay near me had his thumb shot off. The regt Norman is in lay jest to our left and one rolled shot killed 4 and wounded 2 just a little ways from Norman. (the next morning Friday the last day of March i was sent to the rear) Electa it is impossible for me to discribe the horrors of war. Our men has jest drove in about 4 hundred head of cattle they look well. Electa you can't tell how glad i was to git your letters especialy that full one. Silas B wrote me a good one. don't send anything to me now until i ask you to. i was thinking i wrote you in regard to those blankets. if Mr Bozard wants the 2 i sent home for 8 dollars let him have them. You will -?- it out of his store, They are worth 7 dollars a piece here. them shirts when we drawed them at Elmira cost $3.30 a piece. let Byron have 2 for 6 dollars if he wants them. and i guess you better keep the rest yourself. those pants you may work up for Meritt (his son) and the drawers too for they are not large enough for me and i guess you can manage all well enough and well here comes the word git ready to move so we have all got to go to some other quarters. i hope you and the children are well may God bless us still as a family and spare me to meet again. let this be our prayer if consistant with his will. Electa keep good courage. yours truely AW
Monday 3 Mostly clear. we moved back with wagon train and crossed the south side railroad 12 miles from Petersburg and encamped. verry tired. see the most of Sherodens cavelry pass and a great ma(ny) other troops.
Tuesday 4 mostly clear and cool. my health quite poor, help make bunks for wounded soldiers to lay on. scant 2 hardtacks and a little coffy for a meal.
Wedensday 5 Some cloudy and warm. feel quite sick, lay in a barn most all day
Thursday 6 Cloudy and rain some. feel a little better today. write a letter to my wife
Saturday 8 Clear and high wind. still at the rear and i feel some better. a great many wounded brought in, piles of amputated limbs. A.W.
Petersburg April 11/65 Ever remembered Companion. I am this morning at mount pleasant Hospital jest out side of Petersburg and I feel to thank God for his care for unworthy me. yet my bowel trouble hangs on to me and some days I feel quite bad but my appitite is pretty good and that keeps me up
I have had no chance to send the letter i wrote you Sunday but i hope to git a chance to send today. We left our camp on the railroad about 4 oclock yesterday(monday) with about 40 others on foot. we had but one hardtack in the morning and a cup of coffee and i tell you we were a hungry bunch. We traveled until dark and we came to whare a few ridgements had jest broke up camp and we found a number of hardtack boxes that had not been opened and I tell you we filled our haversacks in a hurry. and we turned a little one side from the road and took up our quarters in a large nice house for the night (our boys had been through the house and stove the inside of it) and this morning we come here and we got a pretty good brakefast, soft bread coffee and beefstake. We went into an eating house and sit down to a table and partook of it like Gentlemen although we were a dusty and muddy set for it has rained the most of the time since sunday night and is pretty muddy. Well the talk is that the fighting is over. Lee has surrendered and they expect him here today. I wish i could see him but i don't expect i can. Soldiers that have been sick of a long time are all well now and to say the least they all seem to feel pretty well. I may stay here a number of days and i may soon be sent to my rigment. I dont expect to git a letter from you untill i get to my rigment so if you dont write more than once a week or so it will be as well perhaps. I will write as often as i can but how i wish i could hear from home. Electa I shall think that every thing is agoing rite at home and pray God care for us as a family. I have jest been to dinner. we have Negros for waiters and all seems to go well. The men that is able to be up and around have to stop in cloth tents. I am in a tent with 7 others all strangers. Electa I thought I would not tell you how hard the rebs tried to get me and skiped over this when i have written to you but I guess I will write it here.
(the battle i was in only lasted about an hour or so) The first they sent a ball along and i thought it hit my left ear but found it did not. and a few minutes after a ball come in contact with an oak bush a few feel ahead of me and it had jest force enough to go through the bush and come to me and as my boosom was all open (it was so warm) the ball hit me jest about the pit of my stomack jest hard enough to nick a little of the hide off and then it went down my pant leg into my boot and i picked it out and have got it and if i ever live to git home i shall fetch the ball home with me so you see a miss is as good as a mile. no more this time. I hope and pray that my lettle family is all well. A. Wilcox
Thursday 13 rainy this morning cleared up in the afternoon. Still at the hospital at Petersburg. a very good place. do not feel verry well today
United States Sanitary commission
Petersburg April 13/65 Dear companion, this is the third day since I come here and I wrote you a letter the first day that I came here and this rainy day I find myself again trying to write to you and thank God the fair (fare) is so much better that I am getting so that I feel quite well. I think if I could have vegitables nurishment I would git well in a few weeks. They talk of sending some of us to City point. I may be sent there but I would rather go to my rigment if they would not have any long marching to do. I could enjoy myself better in the rigment. as near as i can learn my ridgment is about 70 miles west of here towards Lynchburg. there was about 8 thousand prisoners past here yesterday and one could look at them till his eyes would ake and not see the half of them. some of them are clothed pretty well and some are miserable clad. some seem to be bitter against us yet but the most of them seem to be glad that they are prisoners. Lee was here yesterday and quite a number of other reb officers. i did not see them. I expect all the letters you send to me now will go to my ridgment and i am afraid that some of my tent mates will take them and read them for some of them are up to such things but perhaps I shall be there soon.
Electa I hope you will git a chance to git some warm sugar to eat and if so you must eat some for me. it seems to me that it would taste good this spring.
Friday morning the 14th I do not feel so well this morning. my bowles ran off so last night. opium pills does me good for a day or so and thin everything seems to brake loose and runs me down pretty weak
There was about a hundred guns fired to Richmond last night and they say it was on the account of the news of the surrender of Johnsons army. if he has surrendered thare is no forces to contend with in this part of rebeldom and i think that the fighting is over. The boys are talking a considerable about going home but i think it will be a good while before they can git around to send many home. but the news seems to make us think more about going home than ever. i think of nothing more to write this time. i will write soon again. I hope and pray that my little family is well, keep good cheere and except (accept) this from your unworthy husband A. Wilcox
Friday 14 Clear and warm. took the ambulance to the boat landing in the morning, took the boat from City point. went about half way and run aground and lay there for the night. this is Appomatox river.
Saturday 15 Rainy all day. I lay in the sed boat until afternoon then a boat came along and took us off. arive to City point at night. went to 5th Corps Hospital pleasant place and good --?-- i call it whare there is so many.
Sunday morning 15th I did not git a chance to put this in the mail before. I was called to start for City point. took the ambulance wagon and rode through the City of Petersburg to the boat landing about 2 miles. Nice big block along the way but our balls and shells have made a great many holes through them and there is hardly a hole (whole) window in the city. the boat started out about 10 AM and we went about half way to city point and run on to a sand bar and we lay there until Saturday PM and another boat come along and took us off and we arived to the point about dark. we have good quarters here and good beds to sleep in. this seems good to me for last night is the first night that i have had a bed to sleep in since i was at home. for brakefast we had mush and molasses, coffee and bread and everything seems to move in good order. There is any number of sick and wounded here. I am not any better of my trouble and i may stay here some time and if i can find out my address i would have you send a letter to me here for i am very anxious to heare from home. I got a nurse to write my address. now write as soon as you git this and maile it as soon as you can. This is a pleasant sabbath morning. I hope my little family is well. A Wilcox
Sunday 16 A pleasant day some summer clouds flying. Wrote a letter and mailed it to my wife. heard the sad news that President Abraham Lincoln was stabed and killed in a theater. flags half mast. sad news.
Monday 17 Clear and a verry pleasant day. Learning the fact in regard to the Sasanation of our president. he was shot through the head while in the theater.
Tuesday 18 Brisk south wind and clouds flying. warm. write a letter to my wife.
April 19 through May 12 missing