#L12-13 & 26-62PA

The Battle of Fredericksburg – Letters by William B. Glass Co. F, 155th Pa. Infantry



Offered are two letters the first written right on the field from Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The second letter is headed, “Camp near Fredericksburg”.  The first is written on paper taken out of a ledger book and is in pencil. Length 2 ½ pages.  The second, is written in nice dark ink on regular 8 ½ x 10 ½ inch stationery and is 3 full pages in length.  William B. Glass was a resident of Allegheny County, Pa. and enlisted on 8/22/1862 as a Corporal.  Prior to our two letters, he was promoted to Comm. Sergt. on Sept. 11th, 1862. 

LETTER NUMBER ONE:

  • Saturday, Dec. 13th, 1862 1/2 Mile from Fredericksburg, Va.  My Dear Aunts, We have stopped by the road just over the River from the city in the street of the town they are fighting. OUR BOYS HAVE GONE OVER AND THE “REBS” ARE PLAYING ON THEM AS THEY CROSS THE PONTOON BRIDGE WITH SHELL & CANISTER.
  • FROM THE HILL I AM ON, I CAN SEE THE SHELLS BURSTING OVER & AROUND THEM & THEY KEEP UP A CONTINUAL RATTLE OF MUSKETRY FROM THEIR RIFLE PITS & FROM THE WINDOWS & CELLARS OF THE HOUSES.
  • THE REBEL SHARP SHOOTERS ARE PICKING OFF OUR BRAVE BOYS. BUT WAIT UNTIL OUR BOYS GET OVER. THEY ARE OVER AND HARD AT IT, AMID THE SHELLS & BALLS, THEY CHARGE & FIRE & DRIVE THEM FROM THE HOUSES. BULLY FOR THEM!
  • IT IS GETTING DARK AND ALL IS ENVELOPED IN SMOKE, AND AS WE ARE A GOOD PIECE FROM THEM, ALL IS SHUT OUT FROM OUR SIGHT.
  • AS FOR THE SIGHTS I HAVE SAW TODAY, I PRAY I MAY NEVER SEE SUCH AGAIN. IT WAS AWFULLY GRAND. I CAN GIVE YOU NO IDEA AT ALL OF IT. THE CONFUSION, THE CLATTER, THE CANNONS ROARING, THE MUSKET RATTLING, OUR BALLOON OVER OUR HEADS. WOUNDED MEN PASSING US. THE SIGNAL CORPS GIVING SIGNALS AND EVERYTHING TO MAKE ONE THINK HE IS DREAMING OF SOMETHING TOO HORRIBLE TO BE REAL.
  • IT IS SAID THAT TONIGHT WE HAVE ONE HALF OF THE TOWN & THE SECESH THE OTHER, AND WE ONLY WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TO HAVE THE BALL COMMENCED AGAIN. GOOD NIGHT.
  • Sunday 14th.  This morning at one o’clock our Regt. came back into town (for they had drove the Rebs up to their first rifle pits, so one of our boys tells us) and then went back (after getting ammunition) to the hill & slept to their arms.
  • At day light this morning, the Rebs opened on them and they fell back under cover of the rifle pits and ON THEIR FACES THEY LAY ALL DAY, THE REB SHARP SHOOTERS PICKING THEM OFF ONE BY ONE.
  • For some reason they don’t fight any today and after the racket, you think the quiet is strange and all are uneasy about it. I don’t know what it indicates but BURNSIDES & HIS OFFICERS ARE HOLDING A COUNCIL OF WAR & THIS IS THOUGHT TO BE THE CAUSE.
  • Today father & I went up on the hill that over looks the city and had a sight at the city. Father is over to see me every day. He is not up with the Regt. who went over the River below the city on Saturday. So I can give you no news today, but I am going over to the lines tonight & will give you the news about the boys. I am uneasy about “our family” and cannot hope that they all escaped.
  • MONDAY 15TH –  THIS MORNING I WRITE YOU TROUBLED & FEELING SAD AND SORRY AS I FOUND OUR LITTLE CIRCLE HAS NOT ESCAPED. SOME OF THE BOYS CARRY HORRIBLE WOUNDS FOR GALLANT DEEDS DONE BY THEM, AND I AM HAPPY TO SAY NOT ONE OF THEM FLINCHED OR TURNED THEIR BACKS ON THE ENEMY.
  • So you can say that although we suffered some, WE SUSTAINED THE REPUTATION OF OUR NAMES, FAMILIES AND WORD.
  • Tell Jim Taylor this and tell all that A BRAVE SET OF BOYS NEVER FOUGHT FOR A CAUSE SO GLORIOUS. I can give you a list of the wounded that you can rely on. First, Will J. Dickson is wounded inwardly BY A HORSE FALLING ON HIM ON THE BATTLE FIELD. He is seriously hurt but could walk down to the hospital with a little help. Will Clotworthy is shot in the leg & is not badly wounded but with care will soon recover. DOCTOR BARDEEN (ONE OF OUR BOYS) IS MORTALLY WOUNDED. POOR FELLOW. WE ALL THOUGHT SO MUCH OF HIM. Geo. Bradley is wounded in the leg. Frank Martin in the hand and arm, not badly however. McKeever, Grisbly, Homer, McDowell are wounded & Tom Goff is missing. Lieut. Clapp (Edward E. Clapp) who has just got up with us after a long sick spell was wounded badly in the body and had to be carried in from the field as had Clotworthy, Bradley, etc. (Boyds would like to hear about Clapp, etc. let Bob tell them.) This is all in our Company (Co. F).
  • John Ralston is now with me safe & sound. GEO. MCCLELLAND HAD HIS GUN SHATTERED IN PIECES IN HIS HANDS BUT ESCAPED UNHURT, AND BILL HILL HAD HIS CARBINE KNOCKED FROM HIS SIDES, AND MY FRIEND TOM DICKSON HAS HONORABLE MARKS IN HIS COAT TO SHOW HOW NEAR HE WAS TO HIS LAST LONG HOME.
  • Little Billy Adams stood up like a man, and he too did honor to our family. As for “Big” Billy – I need only say he is all right & eager to try his hand again etc., and I could give you any amount of instances of the bravery but cannot. As for myself I am all right as yet.
  • The run into still is going on and until I can see some ginger, I don’t look for relief. If I can get this off today, I will do so. If not I will add some thing to it soon. I have had no word from home for two weeks. I will say nothing about how I feel about this. Every boy gets something every mail but poor me & I have to do without.  Billy

Top of front page: I have no stamps.

Since Glass was Commissary Sergeant, he had a perfect opportunity to see the battle.  A great firsthand account. 

#L12-13-62PA – Price $1,100


LETTER NUMBER TWO: 

  • Camp near Fredericksburg Va. Dec. 26th (1862).  Dear Eliza: Christmas is gone & a very dull one it was.
  • We did nothing all (day) and only eat. Would you like to know what we had for dinner? Well, Hard Tac, roast beef & potatoes. and our “ARMY APPLE PIE.” You don’t know what that is. Well we take a camp kettle and place a layer of pieces of crackers, then sliced apples & so on up to the top, then fill it with water & cook, dry & brown. This is the best thing I have had since I came out. We had mustard, pepper & etc. and this is the best dinner we have had since we come out to this forsaken country.
  • Father will tell you this was an extra good dinner. The sun was out all day & it was warm & very agreeable. Billy Adams & the boys did the best they could under the circumstances & we all enjoyed our first Christmas in the Army & we all hope it is the last.
  • You must send me the papers of the 27th & write me all the news. Tell me if father is home & do tell me the news. I read yours & sister’s letters dated Sunday after the battle, & this was the last I had from home. It was three weeks before that since I had a letter & now it is two & I have none. I write you & Ellie one every week & whenever I have time.
  • The only thing us poor fellows have to think about is will the mail bring us a letter? & if I don’t, we go to bed down in the mouth. I know Johnnie gets three to my one & so with Billy Adams. Much & etc. Lizie do write. You & Ellen has time in the evenings.
  • We are going to move camp in a day or two. The Colonel says to go in to winter quarters & we will lay inactive all winter.
  • EVERYBODY THAT I TALK TO THINKS THE WAR IS ABOUT ENDED. THE OLD SOLDIERS ARE SICK OF IT & THE NEW TROOPS DO NOT RELISH THE IDEA OF BEING PUSHED FORWARD INTO ANY MORE TRAPS LIKE FREDERICKSBURG.
  • GENL. HOOKER SAID LAST NIGHT THAT “THE ARMY HAD SAW ITS LAST BATTLE.” THE UNION ARMY APPEARED TO HIM “TO BE IN A DEEP WELL & THE REBS ARE KEEPING GUARD AT THE TOP. Before next spring something must be done or the contest will not be ended by arms.” This he was heard to say by a Lieut. last night when responding to the toast “Success to the Union Army.”
  • They had a great time at Headquarters last night & the wine, etc. suffered badly. HOOKER IS A GOOD MAN & HE SAID LAST NIGHT “THAT INSTEAD OF THE OFFICERS LAUGHING, THEY SHOULD ALL BE WEEPING FOR THE CONDITION OF THE UNION.”
  • I am a great deal better now that I have been for some time, but McClelland (George P. McClelland) is still under the weather. He says he feels better today. Adams and Case (Willis B. Case) very well.
  • By the way, you could get a small bottle filled with ginger & send it to me by mail. Get a 1/2 oz. & fill & send it. It won’t cost much. We often get bottles for boys in the Regt. in this way.
  • That list in the Chronicle of the 18th of the wounded in our Regt. is right. Tell father Adj. Montooth (Edward A. Montooth) is in Pitts & Col. Allen (Edward J. Allen) is in Washington & will perhaps get to Pittsburgh.
  • Give my love to friends. Write soon. Did you get a letter dated Sunday from me? I sent Bob 21 cents in it. All I could scrape up for him. Tell him or he would have got more. Tell him to write me an account of his doings on Christmas. Good Night. In Haste, Yours Aff. Will B. Glass. 
  • Another mail just in & no letter in it for me, but there is two for Ralston (John G. Ralston), two for Billy Adams, two for Billy Levine, one for McClelland. But poor me has to go to bed knowing that I will have to go without any hopes for any until the next mail & that will be four days from now. My goodness but I am mad.  “Billy”

#L12-26-62PA – Price $395

Price for the pair $1,395

LETTER ONE:








LETTER TWO:










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