May 25, 1864

                                                                                         Wright’s Tavern, Caroline Co. Va.

                                                                                                                               May 25, 1864 

Dear Parents,

                I will again drop you a line to let you know that I am well and alive. I will not attempt to give you any special army news—as I have told you in previous letters, you will get that in the newspapers. Our advance is not far from Hanover C. H. Meade has been chasing Lee for several days and is pouncing upon his rear-guard every now and then. We are taking many prisoners as a great number cannot keep up and straggle behind—thus being taken by our advance. A great portion of the Army trains is about six miles South of Bowling Green. We are sending wagons to Port Royal for supplies, for it is expected that Lee will make a desperate effort to keep us from making the White House a base of supplies.[1] Meade and Grant are a strong team. Hancock is winning laurels. The next fortnight will see some desperate fighting in all probability.
                Wm. Patton of Emlenton, lately promoted to be a Lieut. in Co. C. 10th was captured a week ago last Sunday with about four hundred more, but Genl. Sheridan with his Cavalry recaptured the whole party at Beaver Dam Station, as they were on their way to “Libby”.[2]  Patton went with the Cavalry in their Raid near enough to see the gaslights in the City of Richmond. He crossed the battle fields of the Peninsula and shipped at Bermuda Hundred for Washington. He gives a very interesting description of the sights he saw while on the trip.
                Affairs are so exciting here that I almost would consent to stay a week or two after my time is out to see the solution of this great problem. Will Lee enter the fortifications of Richmond and allow Grant to come his Vicksburg strategy on him or will he fight outside the defences of the City? Most likely the latter, He may fall back still further South and abandon Richmond to its fate—if so the Confederacy will have “gone up” abroad. We ought to have at least 50,000 more troops. Our total losses now amount to over 50,000! This includes the missing, many of whom are prisoners and will return again. The expiration of our term of service is drawing nigh. I wrote to you last week and requested you not to write to me any more as I might not get your letter.
                Evrill is in Finley Hospital in Washington—is getting along quite well.
                I think of nothing more but remain, as ever
                                                Your dutiful son

                                                                J. D. Chadwick

                Orders relieving the term of enlistment of Company I of the Pennsylvania 10th  were delivered just as a large Confederate force launched a major attack on the Pennsylvania men as they defended Bethesda Church. Replacement troops were not available, so Captain E. H. Henderson, Allegheny class of 1863, pocketed the order, the Union troops including Company I charged, were checked, then prevailed. More than 300 Confederates were killed and many more taken prisoner. Chadwick, thanks to his staff position, missed participation in this action. The 10th Regiment returned to Pennsylvania and was duly mustered out in Pittsburgh on …. James Chadwick returned home to visit with his family. But he did not stay long. Plans for a legal career were set aside, as he was persuaded to travel to Chattanooga to serve as a clerk in the office of Captain George  Norris, his college classmate. Though a civilian, Chadwick continued to serve the military as he had for much of the three previous years. Only a few letters from his Chattanooga  stay have survived;  as they comment on the war and the location, they are of some interest.

Next posting:  July 25, 2014

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

[1] White House landing was located on the south bank of the Pamunkey River in Virginia.

[2] Libby Prison was located in Richmond.