One mile North of Culpeper Va.
9 P. M. Sunday evening May 1, 1864
We reached this place at 4 o’clock yesterday—having marched from Warrenton Junction that day. It was a hard march—very fatiguing—for the boys have not been exercising much during the winter. Many a poor fellow blistered his feet and went limping along with his gun and knapsack. As I told you day before yesterday, our Division was relieved by Negro troops—some of Burnside’s Army. The Second and First Divisions of our Corps have been moving up from Rappahannock today. The Army is concentrating—a blow is soon to be struck which will be felt by the bogus Confederacy. From a reliable source I have obtained the strength of our Army here, which is about as follows: 2nd Corps 39,000; 5th Corps 31,800; 6th Corps 30,000; Cavalry Corps 18,200 making an aggregated of 119,000 men. Burnside has 42,000 with him which will make a total of 161,000 men—which is a large Army. This force is ready to strike at Lee at any moment, while Sigel in the Shenandoah Valley and West Va. is said to be moving south with 27,000 men. I heard it asserted today by those who seemed to know that [Major General Benjamin F.] Butler has over 100,000 in his Dept. If this be so we will certainly do something for Eastern Virginia this Spring. It is thought that we will cross the Rapidan about next Tuesday or Wednesday. General Crawford came back today. I guess there is no doubt but that our Division will see Pennsylvania before July. A telegram was received last night from the War Dept, that we would be released in three years from the date of muster into the State Service, which with my company was on the 14th of June. A rumor says that we are to be taken to the State on the 15th of this month for the purpose of recruiting and reorganizing but I think this is only a rumor. I received short note from Frank about an hour since—all were well at home. I saw Henry Herpst this evening—he is 1st Lieut. of Co. A 121st Regt. Pa. Vols. I saw many Venango boys—they are all well. I wish you were here to see this country—it has been a perfect garden at one time. The grass is now quite green and the leaves are getting larger than a Squirrel’s ear”. A sunset at this place is a magnificent sight to one who appreciates the beauties of nature. The mountains are visible for fifty miles, and you can scarcely determine their dim outlines from dark storm-clouds in the western horizon.
I expected to hear from you today but nothing came for me. I hope you will write often where your mail facilities are so good. I get your letters the day after they are mailed. I think of nothing more tonight so will close for this time.
I am, as ever
J. D. Chadwick
Next posting: May 11, 2064
Jonathan E. Helmreich
Meadville, PA 16335