Letter from Noah E. Stump Company E, 25th OVI - 1863
All five brothers survived the war, to my knowledge, although three received wounds during their service. John and Alfred were both wounded in Chancellorsville – John so severely that it ended his military service. William was wounded at Gettysburg, and both William and Alfred at Deveaux’s Neck. Alfred was also taken prisoner in September of 1861 during an independent expedition deep into Rebel territory."
Transcribed text of letter:
Camp of the 25th, near Brookes Station, VA
February the 26th, 1863
I read your letter yesterday of Dec. the 21st, which you had written to me and directed to Portage Ohio after I left there. My wife has also left there and lives near Prairie Depot. She went to Portage in a visit about ten days ago and found your letter there and had it forwarded to me and it came to hand yesterday. I was very glad to hear from you once more as I have not heard from you for a long time. It appears you did not get my last letter to you. I wrote to you about the first of Oct from Centerville, VA but I think that I made a mistake in directing my letter. My Brother read a letter from you and I answered it the next day. This was about the first of October and I directed it to East illegible Boston. I enlisted and came to the army in the fare part of last August. I got with the Regt ten days before the second battle of Manasses at Bull Run. Our Regt (25th) lost many men in the fight in killed, wounded and prisoners. It is not necessary for me to tell you the particulars of the fight as I suppose you have learned through the papers most all the particulars of the battle and you well know that we got badly whipped there. After the battle we fell back to the fortifications in front of Washington where we remained until the 22nd day of Sept when we again marched to Centerville within four miles of Bull Run battle field. We camped at Centerville and vicinity over two months, in this time I prayed over the battle field several times and you can take my word for it, that the battle field or the sight of a battle field is not a very pleasant place. Our soldiers were not buried, they were left lay on top of the ground where they fell and were shovels full of earth thrown on them. They are now all uncovered and their bones are now bleaching in the sun on Manasses Island. Dead horses and mules, broken wagons and ambulances, dismounted cannon, broken muskets with the dead men that are scattered over the fields are the marks of a hard fought battle. We remained near Bull Run until the tenth day of December when we took up our line of march for Fredericksburg. This was a few days before the fight at that place. By marching almost day and night we reached Falmouth as Burnsides and his army were recrossing the river at Fredericksburg. But we where too late, the battle was fought and we were again repulsed as a portion of our army. We were now ordered back to Stafford Court House where we went into camp. The twenty fifth Regiment is in the reserve corps commanded by General Sigel. We camped at Stafford Court House until the 20th of Jan. When the whole Army of the Potomac again moved for Fredericksburg. The roads were very bad and as soon as the Army got barely started it commenced raining very fast and by marching ten miles the whole Army of the Potomac found themselves stuck in the mud, there was now no other remedy but to give up the job of attacking the Rebels and to hunt for a convenient place to camp. We had got as far as Belle Plains. We stayed there ten days and then moved to Brookes Station where we now are. Since we came here it has either been snowing or raining every day. The roads are almost impassable and it is now impossible to move from here at the present time but I think as soon as the roads dry up we will move and as soon as we move we will have another fight. The enemy is only one days march from here. The army is ready to move at any time. They have been shipping troops from here to South Carolina but there is still a large force here. The health of the troops is very good and has been ever since I came to the Army. I am in better health than I have been in four years before I came to the Army. My brothers are all well. My folks at home are all well or were when I heard from them last. I get a letter from them once a week. Mother still keeps well and lives on the old place near Bowling Green, Wood Co., Ohio. My cousin Jeremiah J. Halin[?] of Stark Co., Ohio is also in the Army. He is in the same Brigade that I am. He is in the 107 Ohio Regt. He told me yesterday that he saw the 6th Mich. Cavalry. I believe you say you have a brother in that Regt. Please tell me if you know what General he is under. Perhaps I will get to see him. I have seen several Cavalry Regt from Michigan. It appears that you think this war that is now carried on in our nation is one of the most disgusting and unholy wars that ever was on Earth and that there is too much speculation being carried on to put down the Rebellion. You are right, there is a great speculation being carried on since the war broke out but let me tell you that it is not carried on by the Army nor by the Government, but by contractors, sutlers, quarter-masters and all outsiders that are supplying our Government or Army with horses, mules, wagons, provisions, arms - all which they are selling to the Government for double their value and our Government have got men engaged to get those articles of war from the contractors and send them to the Army. These men are incompetent of doing the duty assigned to them and therefore the Government is swindled and the men in the Army make no speculation but it is all made by men that take no part in the war in putting down the Rebellion. I must leave off the subject and bring my letter to a close. If I live to get out of this war I intend to come out into Michigan to see the folks and the country. Some of my neighbors moved to Michigan before I came to the Army. They appear to like the country very well, better than they do Ohio. Are you and your husband going to make any sugar this spring? I understand Ionia Co. is a great sugar country. If you do I should like to be with you. I am a big hand at making sugar but not very profitable[?]. I wrote a letter to Aunt Mary Halin[?], she wanted to know your father’s address. I told her to direct her letters to Muir, Ionia Co. I don’t know whether that was correct or not but I thought so at the time. My Mother talks of writing you folks if she did she directed to the same place. Perhaps you would like to know what I think of the war coming to an end: things look very gloomy at times but we can’t expect to gain a victory in every fight we have with the Rebels, but I think we will whip them in our next battles and I am not in the least bit discouraged and feel confident that the war will end the coming summer. Well cousin, I must bring my letter to a close by sending to you and your husband much happiness, joy and a little illegible.
Noah E. Stump
Co. E. 25th Ohio Regt
Via Washington D.C.
P.S. I forgot to tell you that I am in the same regiment that my brothers are in. They are all well. - N.E.S.
Please write illegible and I will do the same.
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