April 6, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

April 6, 1862

To: Sarah Keith 

From: Hiram Crawford, Newport News, VA

Soldiers have been assembling for the past two weeks — it is one large encampment of over 100,000 men and 360 pieces of artillery stretching over nine miles long. The Rebels have about 40,000 men. He has to be ready to march at a moment’s notice. He received a letter from Prosper but hadn’t received any answer to his letters to David. Didn’t know what to think. Henry wrote that they had lost their baby.

1862-04-06 1862-04-06B 1862-04-06C

Newport News Virginia

April 6th 1862

Dear Sister

Your kind and sisterly letter was received, some three days since. And as things and events are transpiring in these parts, that, at any moment may make it very uncertain about me writing, for some time to come. Therefore I will do the job to night.

The news has been pretty exciting for the last two days, in fact, some so, for the past two weeks — I will explain: For some time past, rumors have been circulated, that Gen. McClelland was going to concentrate a large part of the Army of the Potomac, at this Point, and then March directly through to Richmond.

True enough, about two weeks ago, they commenced comeing – have kept up a perfect stream until day before yesterday. I guess they have all got here now at least judging by the number. I should thought to be so. Sarah you cant imagine what a sight of men there is (or was) here. From the Fortress to this place about 9 miles it is one continual encampment, estimated at One Hundred Thousand (100,000) men, three hundred and sixty (360) piecies of artillery. Horses, Waggons, Pontoon Bridges and every thin else to match.

Thursday. Gen. McClellan arrived day before yesterday morning, two divisions of the Army took up this march for the enterior. Yesterday morning we heard very heavy cannonading in the direction of Yorktown which kept up all day. We was in great suspence and mad as thunder to think that we couldn’t be there. Gen. Mansfield and the Brigade Surgeon went out there in the forenoon about 20 miles, came back in the evening, bringing the news that our troop had taken several of the enemies number this side of Yorktown would attack that place tomorrow morning.

The General thinks that it will be severe fight for the Rebels have received a reinforcement of twenty one thousand (21,000) men making their force about forty thousand (40,000) and the place strongly fortified, but then we have no fear of the results. We have received Orders to be ready to march at a moments notice. It may be to night, tomorrow, next day and perhaps we will stay here. We are decidedly set against that. I am going to observe that in case we do go you may not hear from me very soon so if you don’t, you needn’t be surprised. I must, and am willing to take the chances of war.

I received a letter from Prosper[1] last week. He has received that money. Mother[2] was regaining her health slowly and Robt[3] and family were well. They have not herd from David[4] since last winter. I have never had any answer to my letters, dont know what to think, but hope he is all right. Received a letter from Henry[5] stating that they had lost their Baby[6].

My love to the folks. Write me often. I remain as ever.

Your Brother,

H Crawford

P.S. I hope you will see the 20th in the papers soon


[1] Brother, Prosper Crawford

[2] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[3] Brother, Robert Crawford

[4] Brother, David (D.C.) Crawford

[5] Brother, Henry Crawford

[6] See letter of 10-11-1861 stating that Henry’s wife had another boy


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: April 6, 1862 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr. – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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