Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]
I suppose you are feeling very anxious for us indeed. You of course know that there has been a severe engagement at Gettysburg & you probably think that we are in it. I have written you every day & have mailed the letters as often as I have had an opportunity. This afternoon I sent a letter to Baltimore by the chaplain which will probably reach you about as early as any. The mails do not run very regularly in this vicinity, for, some days our cavalry occupy a town & the next the rebs. They were in here three days before we came here & robbed the stores & some houses. - I have tried to telegraph you but there is no office here - & I forgot to send a dispatch to Baltimore by the Col. or Chaplain as I ought to have done - & it is too late now.
We hear nothing definite as yet from the battle. The Adjt. has not yet returned.
He will probably bring the latest
news. We are undoubtedly victorious but it is at the expense of many valuable lives - Genl. Reynolds who commanded our Corps was killed early the first day & Genl. Doubleday who commands our Division was wounded. I believe I have already written you the reason we were not in the fight, but I will tell you again. When we left Emmetsburgh our Regt. & the 15th., Col. Proctor, were sent to guard the Supply & Ammunition train of the First Corps while the other three Regts, went directly forward. When we were within less than five miles of Gettysburg we were ordered to halt. The trian was parked & at first the train master supposed we were to stay there. The cannonading was then going on & while we were halted Genl. Sickles & his Corps passed us on their way into the fight. Genl. Sickles came into our Regt. & ordered both regts forward, but soon returned & ordered both regts forward, but soon returned & ordered one forward & the other to guard the train which was to fall back to this place. Our boys had already got a days rations of hard bread, eight crackers each, served out to them, when the order was given that one Regt, go forward & the other guard the train, the weakest in numbers remain with the train. The Adjts. soon numbered the men in the Regts & ours fell under the 15th. We numbered 515 guns &
the 15th. 529. They were ordered forward to stop stragglers from the front & we started at once with the train. We marched a few miles that night & encamped but the train was so large & it was so difficult to get at a waggon that we had no tents. The men carry their shelter tents with them so they got along the same as usual. I made my supper on raw ham & hard bread & some of the most villainous tea ever compounded, without sugar or milk. The next day we came here.
The night we left the 15th. it was drawn up in line of battle on the field, but left early the next morning. The other regts. were not much, if any, in the fight, except the little skirmishing done by the 13th.
July 5th. Sunday P. M. The Adjt. & Qr. Mr. have
returned & they bring the news that the Vt. Brigade was engaged in the fight
- the 13th. 14th. & 16th. They fought hard & well. They lost 45 men
killed & 310 wounded & missing. Genl. Stannard was wounded in the thigh,
not seriously, Capt. Foster in the thigh, probably fatal, Lieut. Lawton lost an
arm & is not expected to live. Col. Randall had his horse shot under him
& Lt. Col. Cummings. Col. R. with five companies retook a battery of 6 guns
& two rebel guns.
The new brigade did well.
The Adjt. brought back an order for our regt. to go home immediately, & those who do not go with the prisoners today will go tonight. The prisoners did not get away till noon today. Col. Blunt has gone with them.
The two companies that we left with the ammunition train & the band have come up & are now down in town.
I have sent a telegraph message into Baltimore by the Chaplain that you will probably get tonight, so that you will have no more alarms about us.
I will write no more now as I hope soon to see you all.
Yours affectionatelyRoswell Farnham
P. S. We except to leave here at 7 o'clk this evening for Baltimore but shall
not get away from there before Tuesday mroning as we shall have to stop for
the boys in Washington. If we leave at that time we shall probably reach
home, Brattleboro, by Wednesday morning - I hope to see you there that
P. P. S. Our folks are said to have whipped the rebs. out & out.