A Quite Amazing 27th Connecticut Battle Letter from the Battle of Fredericksburg – George S. Hill Describes being Hit there 3 Times & with a Piece of Shell Still Stuck Between his Eyes. His Overcoat had 9 Bullet Holes in it!
This letter 6 ½ pages in ink was written on patriotic stationery with a large picture of the United States capitol. The letter is headed, “Camped at Falmouth, December 25th, 1862”. George S. Hill was a resident of Madison, CT., who was mustered into Company I of the 27th Connecticut Infantry on October 22nd, 1862. Just 2 months later, the 27th was hard hit at the battle of Fredericksburg. Hill although wounded 3 times would continue on until May 3rd, 1863 when most of the 27th would be captured at the battle of Chancellorsville. Apparently, Hill’s wounds would eventually catch up to him as he died on June 14th, 1863.
Here are some of the great lines from this letter (spelling corrected):
• “Dear Sister, I now take my pen to write to you to let you know that I am still in the land of the living in spite of the bloody Rebels, but have not been well since the battle, so as to do any duty, but today I am a good deal better. I heard today that in old Connecticut peace flags were floating. Is it so or not?”
• “You have probably heard of the fight we had at Fredericksburg, and how we got whipped. I will tell you a little more about it. I must tell you the rude news that Nelson Thomas was killed. He singing “tis noble thus to die on the battle field,” and he was also saying “there is better days a coming” when a ball struck him in the head and killed him on the spot.”
• “I hope what he was singing will prove true to him. I got hit 3 times, once right between the eyes, but it was a spent piece of shell, I expect, for it only went through the skin and is in there now.”
• “It hit me while I was firing at them. I dropped down and before I could load up again, I got hit in the thick part of my leg, which I thought had took my leg off, but it only badly bruised it and tore the flesh. It is now almost well…”
• “…and then I got hit in the side, but only bruised me and tore off a little hide, but that was near enough, I tell you.”
• “My overcoat sleeves, how near the bullets came, for it has got 9 bullet holes in it. The bullets flew like hailstone.”
• “How is mother? I know what she is saying. It is “I wonder we don’t hear from George,” but you must excuse me for not writing before. I have been so down in the dumps that I have not done anything, but now I am well again. I went over to where they was butchering and got a head yesterday and cut off what meat I could, and today I am having my Christmas out of it.”
• “If I had some good mince pies made out of one, I could eat them. I reckon you must send me some stamps, or I cannot write you any more, for I have got to borrow one to send this with. Send me some new ones, 25 or 50 cents worth without fail. Direct your letter the same as before. Write as soon as you get this.”
• “Captain Wilcox heard word in his letter last night, and in it was a few lines inquiring about me. I am very sorry I did not write before, for I might know that Mother as well as the rest of you would feel anxious to hear from me. Do you write to Ichabod as soon as you get this letter. Tell him as soon as I can or as soon as you send me some stamps.”
• “Sam Field got shot in the finger and he is not very well. He has got a lame back. The talk today is we all a going to move back to Washington, and I hope we shall. Baldwin Hart, S. H. Scranton, and Chuckie have been here to see us today. Mr. Hart said that Mother came down to his house before he came away, worried almost to death and wanted him to find out about me, and then I felt bad to think that I did not try to write before, but I am all right now.”
• “I showed them my overcoat, and Mr. Scranton said he wished anything that he had an overcoat to give me for it, for he said if he had it, he would take it right straight to Governor Buckingham and show it to him. I must close this from your affectionate Brother, George S. Hill”
Wonder if Hill eventually died from lead poisoning from what was still in his head… perhaps further research would tell. Don’t think we have heard of any soldier being hit more times! Condition: Written in nice dark ink. The second sheet has staining, but all readable… hey, maybe they are blood stains!
#L724CT.12.25.62 – Price $950