James Powers:

A Union Letter


This letter was written by Private James Powers to his sister, on December 23rd, 1861. He was a member of Company D, 5th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Note: This letter is transcribed as James has written it. I believe the battle he refers to is the Battle of Dranesville, VA, which took place on Friday, December 20, 1861.

The letter was written on a letter sheet published by Charles Magnus of New York. One side of the letter sheet has three maps, including a Military Map of Virginia, and a vignette of the Capitol Building. The following is written on one of the folds:

To Miss Mary Powers

This map is a present from your brother James Powers. Co D 5th Regt Wis Volunteers. Camp Griffon Virginia December 23rd, 1861

Submitted by Russ Thompson


Camp Griffon, VA

Dec. 23rd, 1861

Dear Sister Mary

    I take this opportunity of writing these few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you and all the rest are the same. We are still at the same place and not doing much in the fighting line. A part of McCalls division next to us on our right had a Battle with the enemy last friday and the rebels were routed with severe loss. It was not our luck to be in the muss we were drawn up in line of Battle impatiently listening to the cannonading and waiting for our General who was at Washington he came back on full gallop but the fight was then over however he was highly pleased to see us out so ready and such good numbers we gave him three cheers and says he boys you turn out some when there is a prospect of a fight if you dont on drill says he I thought you were a whole Division. The fact is so much drilling is about played out and we play the old Soger(?) all ways to get rid of it.

    We ran out 3 or 4 miles yesterday expecting a fight but we came across no rebels the Majors Orderly saw fifteen rebel Cavalry thats generally our luck we go out cheering and in the best of spirits and come back cussing and swearing we have had very fine weather but to day it is pretty rough and a little snow falling no more at present but remain your Affectionate Brother

James Powers

write soon


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