May 19, 1864 letter to Luke Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

May 19, 1864

To: Charles Luke Keith Jr., Galesburg, MI

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Spotsylvania, VA

Hiram has received four letters, three from Galesburg and one from Cousin Carrie Crawford. General war news about Grant’s assault on the rebel positions in Virginia. Captured 600-1,000 Rebel prisoners. Today is the 15th day of fighting and so far he has escaped without a scratch.

1864-05-19 1864-05-19B 1864-05-19env

_________, lst Brig, 3d Div, 2d Corps

Spotteselvania C H Va[1]

May 19/64

Dear Luke,

We have been deprived of mail for two weeks up to last night when I received four letters three from Galesburg and one from Cousin Carrie Crawford[2], N.Y. City. I will state that I ____________ the letter last evening just as the Enemy made an attack on our sight with the intention of getting at our trains. Our Div immediately moved to the front, engaged them and drove them back. We had a brisk fight. This morning we advanced down then across the River Ny and captured from six hundred to a thousand prisoners. It was a complete success. We returned to our old position today noon. Today closes the fifteenth day of our fighting which for blood and courage is unparalleled either in modern or ancient history.[3] The result has been successful on our side and although I have been engaged every day I have the pleasure of saying that up to this date I have escaped without a scratch. How long I will remain so remans to be seen. The enemy shows a strong front and the number is not down by a great deal. Grant says he will fight them all summer on this line but what he will annihilate them. He is a brick. Any other man but him and we would have been on the north side of the Rappahannock. Give sister Sarah[4] twenty dollars (20) oblige out of that amount I sent you. My love to mother[5], Sarah and family and believe me to be yours.


C.L. I have been detailed as Aide-de-Camp in Brig Staff. The duties are arduous but it gives me a horse to ride.

[1] Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia

[2] Hiram’s cousin and the only daughter of Nathaniel Crawford

[3] During the period from May 5 to May 20, the 20th Infantry lost 223 men, including 7 officers. Only 192 men survived. In all, Grant suffered more than 36,000 casualties, compared to only 17,000 for the Confederate army. Source: “Harvestfields of Death – The Twentieth Indiana Volunteers of Gettysburg”, Craig L. Dunn

[4] Sarah (Crawford) Keith

[5] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: May 19, 1864 letter to Luke Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr. – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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