This is the last letter I have that was written by Henry A. Trowbridge, 14th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers. Thankfully I can read his letters knowing full well that he survived the war and went on to get married and have children. William Earl Woodruff, his nephew, who was the recipient of the letter and just 14 at the time, did not have that luxury. Note: the abbreviation “inst.” is short for instante mense (Latin for “this month”).
Camp of the 14th Regt. NJV
Near Culpeper, Viriginia
Friday morning, April 8, 1864
I received your Welcom letter letter of the 8th inst. last evening and was glad to hear from you once more. It found me well and a kicking as usual. and I hope this may find you the same. I came in from picket yesterday we had the hardest time and have had all winter for it rained, hailed and snowed for two days and one night we got soaking wet through. we layed on the soft side of some split logs the first night. but when it stopped raining we went outside of the line to a secesh farmer and got some straw to lay on them. we could sleep as well as on a feather bed. The smoke nearly smoked my eyes out. oh who would not be a snoger. we are cooking some beans and pork for dinner. don’t you wish you was here to take some with us? you could enjoy yourself down here for some time very well. you could go out on picket with us for 3 days. and stand your post and watch for the rebels as a cat watches a mouse. They cannot get in without we see them. the Company have been out playing ball all the morning but I stayed in and boilt dinner. there is a theater [?] on near here by the soldiers those who have went say it is very good for the army. I have not had a chance to go yet. if the weather keeps dry we will move soon but where or how we cannot tell. grant will make the rebel army open their eyes I tell you he is the man to do it. they will tremble in there shoes when they see the army of the Potomac moving on them. he will have one solid corps of artillery to open on them at once. how the earth will tremble when they begin to fire. you say that you wish me to tell you about the furlough. Well Willy I have have applyed for one but it has not been sent in yet. nor is there any use to send it in for they all come back disapproved. so there is no chance all furloughs and all passes have been stoped. so I will not get home this time. But the time is comming when I can come if spared and stay there and let them go to thunder with their furloughs. that cracker of yours must have been good was it not. who sent do you know I would like to have some. Can’t you send some down? I should like very well to be there to dig your garden and hall out the manure but I rather think as how I can’t this year. for Uncle Sam has got a large grave to dig then I will come I hope. It will be as the fortune teller said. In 1860 the war was begun. In 1862 the war was half through. In 1863 the slaves was set free. In 1864 the war will be oer. With this I must close and get ready for batallion drill this afternoon at two o’clock. We have 5 [?] regts in our brigade now. They look like a small army so good bye to you all from your Uncle Henry A. Trowbridge