#L5-20-62NY

34th Regiment New York Infantry – Letter from Philip Crewell – “ALL YOU CAN HEAR A SOLDIER SAY IS ONWARD TO VICTORY AND STRIKE THE DEATHBLOW TO THIS CURSED REBELLION.”, “AND ALL THE SOLDIER WANTS IS REVENGE. THAT’S ALL HE LOOKS FOR.”, “WE ARE HERE LIKE CLOUDS ON THE SKY, AND OUR CAMPFIRES ARE LIKE STARS IN THE HEAVENS.”



This 4-page letter is written in nice dark ink.  Philip Crewell enlisted early in the war May 1st, 1861.  The 34th was called the “Herkmer Regiment” because 5 of the companies were raised in that county.  At the time this letter was written the 34th served in the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac.  The regiment was heavy hit at Yorktown and Fair Oaks.  Headed south the regiment as he writes was just 15 miles from Richmond.  Here is the content:

  • Camp near Cumberland Gap Fifteen miles from Richmond Or near what they call the White House May 20, 1862.
  • Brother, It is once more that I set down to write a few lines to you all. I am in good health now, but I have been sick for fifteen days or ever since the picketing we done at Yorktown.
  • WE HAD TO LAY OUT ALL NIGHT FLAT ON THE GROUND, AND ONE NIGHT IT RAINED ALL NIGHT and I caught a heavy cold which stuck in my head, and I had the measles as bad in my head, and when I got so that I could eat anything, it cost me .80 a day for to live here. Cheese $1.00 a pound, and cakes two cents apiece, eggs .75 cents a dozen, so you can think how a soldier fairs.
  • I could have had my disease listed and went to some hospital until I got well, but then I never would see my Regiment again, but I can say that I am well once more.
  • After my head broke, I was well in two days. Well now, I hope these few lines may find you all as well as it leaves us.
  • Now about the war. We are within fifteen miles of Richmond, and tomorrow morning we march at six o’clock towards that place. OUR GUNBOATS HAVE BEEN FIRING YESTERDAY AND TODAY UP THERE SOMEWHERE.
  • WE CAN HEAR THEM VERY PLAIN. EVEN NOW I CAN HEAR THEM. THEY ARE WITHIN SEVEN MILES OF THE PLACE. THE REBELS SEEM TO MAKE A STAND ABOUT THAT DISTANCE THIS SIDE OF THE PLACE.
  • IF WE DRIVE THEM OUT OF THAT SWAMP, THEY ARE GONE. THEIR LAST EARTHLY HOPE IS LOST, AND I THINK THAT OUR SIEGE GUNS CAN DRIVE THE FOX OUT OF THE SWAMP WITH ALL HIS ANGER.
  • Now you don’t hear from us as often as I would like to have you, but if you keep as good courage as we do, I think that it will all go right.
  • ALL YOU CAN HEAR A SOLDIER SAY IS ONWARD TO VICTORY AND STRIKE THE DEATHBLOW TO THIS CURSED REBELLION.
  • AND ALL THE SOLDIER WANTS IS REVENGE. THAT’S ALL HE LOOKS FOR.
  • WE ARE HERE LIKE CLOUDS ON THE SKY, AND OUR CAMPFIRES ARE LIKE STARS IN THE HEAVENS.
  • There are thousands of us marching on to this great victory that soon shall crown ourselves with honor and glory, and not disgrace the grey hairs of those fathers that has tread the battlefields before us.
  • IT IS MORE DISGRACE FOR TO HAVE ONE COWARDLY SON WHO HAS LEFT THE BATTLEFIELD IN GOOD HEALTH THAN TO HAVE A DOZEN FILL A SOLDIER’S GRAVE.
  • Now Brother, I have not much more to write. As for there being a large battle here, there isn’t any signs of it, for ALL THE PRISONERS THAT HAS BEEN TAKEN SAYS THAT THE SOLDIERS ARE DISCOURAGED SINCE THE EVACUATION OF YORKTOWN AND NORFOLK. THEY SAY THAT YORKTOWN WAS THEIR PLACE FOR THEM TO TRY THE STRENGTH OF NORTHERN SOLDIERS, but never mind that.
  • Ten days will tell a different story. The talk is that we soon will get paid off again. Let me know if you got the money safe that we sent, and how the old mares get along. Read this to yourself if you can. Get anything over 75 dollars for Pam. Sell her and tell father that you got 100 for. If I want any more than the tiger, I can buy a good horse for ten dollars as ever need to work on a farm. They are selling them by the hundreds for eight dollars apiece at Washington. Now do as I tell you. If the mares have good luck, I will buy one of you. If the dol has a horse colt, keep it, and I will see that the mare is sold, if you don’t do as I say. You have the money for the little farm, and I want to see less stock so that you can make something this year. Write soon. From your brother, Philip Crewell

Condition:  Some staining/aging, overall fine.  Philip has some great colorful “lines”.  

#L5-20-62NY – Price $135


















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