June 7, 1863 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

June 7, 1863

To: Sarah Keith 

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Belle Plaines, VA

Was surprised to hear Mother had gone to Canada for a visit. Jennie wrote that Ed had given up farming and that Pros was running the farm. “Mary always thought more of him [Pros] than the rest of the family.” The fight on May 3 was the hardest. He believes no battle on record shows a musketry fight of so lengthy a duration.

1863-06-07 1863-06-07B 1863-06-07C 1863-06-07D

Camp 20th Ind Vol near Belle Plains

June 7th, 1863

Dear Sister

Your welcome letter was received last night. I had almost despaired of hearing from you or Mother[1]. I wrote Mother twice, one just before the fight and one since and thought it very singular, for Mother is much more prompt than I be (and that you know is saying a good deal for her). Thought that the twenty dollars had stopped somewhere on the road and am glad to hear that it is all right. The first knowledge that I had of Mother being in Canada was by a letter from Jennie[2] received the 4th. I was much astonished. Mother had written something about such a journy in some of her letters but I hadnt any idea that she seriously entertaind any such an idea, much less going. Well I hope she will have a good time generally, and come back satisfied with everything and everybody.

Jennie wrote me that Ed[3] was running on the Burlington and Quincy R R and that Pros[4] was running the farm. I guess that Ed has made up his mind that the old Gentleman[5] will out live him[6], and that it aint going to pay to punish himself any longer by hoeing corn and potatoes. Well I dont think the farm will suffer any by the change for I guess that Pros is the best farmer and Mary[7] always thought more of him than she did of all of the rest of the family. I should have written to Pros if I had known where he was. He will hear from me soon.

That was a tough old week that we spent across the River[8]. I was as near used up when arrived back to camp as I ever was. The fight on Sunday (May the 3d) was the hardest on record. A continual roar of musketry was kept up from sunrise to 12 Oclock am. I believe no battle on record shows a musketry fight of so lengthy a duration. The Artilly was not idle although not quite as heavy as at Malvern Hill[9], it was enough so to make it very interesting. I might with propiety say decidedly interesting. Our supported Batteries for five days, in fact all the time most, which account for our small loss. One shell struck in my Company, knocking the arm off from one and severely wounding two others. We was very much surprised when we received the order to retreat. We supposed that we was whipping the Rebs all the time.

Everything has went on quietly since we returned up to the lst of this month when we received orders to be ready to march at short notice, sent off all our superfluous baggage, got ready and are quietly awaiting the final order. Which way where or when remains to be seen.

My love to Luke[10] and the children. Answer and oblig.

Your Brother

Hiram C

P.S. Please accept the enclosed note and oblige.

Hiram

[1] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[2] Virginia (Worley) Crawford, his brother Henry Crawford’s wife

[3] His brother, Edwin Crawford

[4] His brother, Prosper Crawford

[5] Edwin’s father-in-law, Patrick Hamilton

[6] Ironically, Edwin died in 1866 and Patrick Hamilton outlived him by almost four years

[7] Edwin Crawford’s second wife, Mary (Hamilton) Crawford

[8] Probably the Rappahannock River, returning from Chancellorsville

[9] A defensive battle fought in June 1862 as the Army of Potomac retreated following its failed attempt to march on Richmond, VA

[10] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith Jr

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: June 7, 1863 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr. – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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