May 18, 1864

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Near Fredericksburg Va.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  May 18, 1864

Dear Father,

                Your letter written while at Philadelphia was duly received. I wrote you a hasty note a few days ago directing it to Rockland. Since that time nothing of importance has transpired here. Genl. Meade holds all he had previously gained. But little fighting has been going on for three days, but we are expecting it to begin this afternoon or tomorrow as about fifteen or twenty thousand reinforcements have been received. All of the available troops from Baltimore and Washington have been sent here and arrived last night. The heavy artillery were sent out with muskets—to act as Infantry, the hundred-day-men taking their places in the Forts about those places. I think Lee will be compelled to beat a hasty retreat soon.  He can not stand before our Army. I will not attempt to give you any of the particulars of this campaign as you will see a detailed account in the papers. I wrote you about Coop Cochran’s being dismissed—he did not go home but is now in the Sanitary Commission. The City of Fredericksburg is now one vast Hospital and nearly all of the patients are those very badly wounded. Those who were not so severely injured were sent to Washington. Our lost is estimated at 30,000 killed, wounded and missing. Tell Miles that Ben Topping and Hoover Shannon are both wounded but not mortally.
                I sw Jno . Solinger yesterday—he was on his way to join his Regiment—he said he saw you in Philadelphia. He looks fat and hearty. Jess Pryer was wounded in the fleshy part of the side or abdomen—the ball did not penetrate into the intestines so he is not seriously injured. My Company lost four killed and a number seriously wounded and missing.[1] As I wrote you before the 9th Regiment left for home on the 4th inst.—the 8th left yesterday. The 2nd goes in about ten days and the 10th about the 20th of next month. I can hardly realize that I am to be a free man so soon. I presume you need not write to me again after you receive this for again [when?] your letter would reach here I might be on my way home.
                I sent Bingham two or three papers yesterday. Tell him I shall hold him to his bargain about studying the Constitution so as to pass an examination on it. If any letters come to Rockland for me please take care of them until I come home.
                I think of nothing more at present. Expecting to see you all, and join the family circle once again,
                                I am, your dutiful son

                                                J. D. Chadwick

Next posting: May 25, 2014

Jonathan E. Helmreich
College Historian
Allegheny College
Meadville, PA 16335

[1]Though Chadwick, a good record keeper, states four of Company I were killed in the Wilderness and Spotsylvania battles, Bates in his History of Pennsylvania Volunteers lists only one as dying in these conflicts.