Jacob’s Ford, VA

Henry Trowbridge Civil War Letter #2

This next letter of Henry Augustine Trowbridge’s was written on Thursday, November 12, 1863, from Brandy Station, Virginia. This was 15 days before the battles occurred in which the 14th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers, Company C, first participated: 27 November 1863, Locust Grove, VA, and Jacob’s Ford, VA. This letter was written to nephew William Woodruff who would have been 14 at the time. The letter is in bad shape–faded and hard to read, so I am not scanning it for insertion here. His spelling and punctuation are retained. Note: the abbreviation “inst.” is short for instante mense (Latin for “this month”).

Dear Willey,

I received your letter of the 8th inst. last evening and was very glad to hear from you once more. it found me as well as ever and sitting by my camp fire warming my shins which I hope this may find you. I sat by the fire and read your letter then I wished I had more to read for yours was so short but how some ever. not withstanding never the less I was very glad to get it and hope you will continue in writing often. this is quite a pleasant morning. the sun shines on us once more. we have just eaten our breakfast and am sitting in my tent writing to you. I wish you were here to eat with us. we had fried hard tack, pork, and coffee. and when we get hard of that, we have coffee, pork and hard tack.  when I wrote you last we were near Warrenton Junction on the north side of the river we were there one week. and on Saturday last we pulled stakes at day light and at sun rise the Coloms were on the move toward the river which was 12 miles off. our company was deployed as skirmishes on both sides of the advancing lines. we marched untill in the afternoon and till we came near the river. then our bull dogs began to bark. as we advanced they barked louder and faster. there was a small force of rebels entrenched on the north side of the river. but as the 1st Division of our Corps was on the advance they made a charge on the rebels and drove them over the river through the water 3 or 4 feet deep. they were followed up by the 1st Division and with the help of our baterys on the hill drove them back 2 miles. we layed in the reserve and could see them git up and git 3 shells A mimet wherled in amongst them bursting and scattering them in every direction. we had some 32 pounders at worke on them they throwed some shells near 3 miles we could hear them move over our head like steam from a locomotive. then we would stand up and see them strike and burst throwing the dirt in evry direction. when our boys made a charge on them we could hear them give a yell that would scare anyone. you would laugh to have seen the gray backs run with our black 32 pounders a [?] into them. they captured 400 prisoners and these armies. at dark the firing cleared. then they went to worke at the pontoons and soon got them over in 2 places. then the rest of the 3rd corps crossed went a short distance from the river and halted for the night. the rebels was then in front so we could not have any fire to make our coffee so we had to lay down without our hot suppers. we spread our blankets on the cold and lousy ground and layed down to rest our sore and weary bones. but i was so tired that i could not sleep for the wagons were crossing all night. the Army was all night getting over the river on two bridges. and such a noys you never heard on a Sunday morning. when we got up and found that the rebels had all skedaddled and we could make all the fire we wished to. then we went to the fences and such a chopping and such a noys I never heard. we soon made our coffee and got thawed out. Then we had to storm off after them on the double quick. we went 8 miles when there rebel coloms were seen 2 miles distent we formed a line along the soil and rested for an hour while our batterys went on to give them a few more shells. our batery got in position on the hill in front near the railroad while we layed in the valley they soon opened on the rebels and after they fired 18 or 20 shells at them they were out of sight. then we would advance 2 or 3 miles then halt while they gave them some more iron pills, so we advanced and so we spent sunday untill 3 oclock in the afternoon when we got here to Brandy Station where we are yet. we are within 4 miles of Culpeper the railroad that the rebels tore up is nearly rebuilt to the river. they had no time to distroy the track here. when the track is finished to the Rappahannock then I expect we will advance on to Culpeper to the Rapidan and we may get as far as gordonsville. the weather is getting cold. I had the watter in my canteen freeze solid the other night. we expect the paymaster here soon. you must to have had a good time up to the swamp a hunting. I wished I had been with you. You say that if I was [?] at Washington and you a little older you would be with me. well I would like to have you but you may bee glad that you cannot come for I tell you you are better off home. I got a letter from Hatt (I’m not sure but Hatt may be Hattie, Henry’s sister Harriet Trowbridge) before we crossed the river and wrote one to her and sent it off the same day so I will not answer it. I wrote to Emma [William’s sister] yesterday. so I will close for this time. give my kind regards to all the boys. good by all. You must excuse me for sending with no stamp for I cannot help it. I cant get them. 

Categories: Brandy Station, VA, Civil War, Culpeper, VA, Gordonsville, VA, Jacob's Ford, VA, Locust Grove, VA, Rapidan, VA, Rappahannock, VA, Trowbridge, Warrenton Junction, VA, Woodruff | 2 Comments

Henry A. Trowbridge & Company C, 14th Infantry New Jersey Volunteers

As per the previous post, Henry Trowbridge entered the war in August 1862, serving in Company C of the Fourteenth Infantry New Jersey Volunteers. Of interest is the regimental history found in Vol. 3 of The Union Army published in 1908 by Federal Publishing Company:

Fourteenth Infantry.–Col., William S. Truex; Lieut.-Cols., Caldwell K. Hall, Jacob J. Janeway; Majs., Peter  Vredenburgh, Jr., John C. Patterson. This regiment was mustered into the service of the United States on Aug. 26, 1862, and left Freehold for the field, 950 strong, on Sept. 2. At Monocacy Junction, Md., the regiment remained inactive for 9 months, but on July 9, 1863, it joined the main army, whose fortunes it shared from that time forward to the close of the war. On Oct. 30, it moved forward with its corps, encamping near Bealeton Station, Va., until Nov. 7, when it advanced to the Rappahannock, along which the enemy was constructing formidable works, and with the other troops engaged effected a crossing, driving the enemy from the river with considerable loss. But the first actual engagement of the regiment was at Locust Grove, where it fought with great steadiness throughout, and suffered a loss of 16 killed and 58 wounded–its first losses in battle. At the Wilderness the 14th was engaged for several hours, fighting gallantly and losing heavily. Upon emerging from the Wilderness, Warren’s corps became actively engaged on May 8 with Longstreet’s veterans, who sought to delay its progress, and the 6th corps going to its relief late in the afternoon, the 14th again went into action, the enemy being driven back with a loss of 1,500 men. During the engagement at Hanover Court House the regiment was on the skirmish line, and lost several in killed and wounded–Orderly Black, of Co. I, being shot through the heart and instantly killed, while Col. Truex was slightly wounded in the hand, but did not leave the field. At Cold Harbor the regiment suffered severely, losing in 2 hours 240 in killed and wounded–Lieuts. Stults of Co. H, and Tingley of Co. E, being among the former. In the operations before Petersburg, on June 23, a large force of the enemy suddenly appeared on the scene and struck the corps a heavy blow on the flank, inflicting considerable loss, the 14th, which became actively engaged, losing some 40 men in killed and prisoners. Being sent with other troops into Maryland to resist Early, it took part in the battle of Monocacy the whole number of casualties in the 14th as returned to the adjutant-general, being 10 killed, 69 wounded and 5 missing. At the battle of the Opequan the 3d division of the 6th corps lost heavily, the 14th alone losing 7 killed, 62 wounded and 1 missing. At Fisher’s hill the casualties in the 14th numbered 10 killed and 30 wounded. In the fight at Cedar creek the regiment, which was commanded by Capt. Janeway, again lost heavily–Adjt. Ross being among the killed. In the final engagement at Petersburg, April 2, 1865, the regiment from first to last fought with the greatest bravery and to it, equally with the most efficient regiment of the corps, belongs the credit of the magnificent success of that glorious day. Sailors’ creek was the last engagement in which the 14th, now reduced to about 100 men, participated. On June 8 the corps was reviewed at Washington and on the 19th the 14th was formally mustered out, proceeding on the following day to Trenton, where, on the 29th, the men who had shared so many perils together, and for nearly three years had “endured hardness like good soldiers” for the Nation’s sake, received their final pay, exchanged farewells and separated into the old familiar paths of peace, wherefrom their feet had been lured only at the call of solemn and imperious duty. The total strength of the regiment was 1,384, and it lost during its term of service, by resignation 20, by promotion 46, by discharge 159, by transfer 303, by death 248, by desertion 97, by dismissal 1, mustered out, 510.

Battles Fought by the Fourteenth Regiment
27 November 1863, Locust Grove, VA
27 November 1863, Jacob’s Ford, VA
6 May 1864, Wilderness, VA
9 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA
12 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA
13 May 1864, Spotsylvania Court House, VA

30 May 1864, Hanover Court House, VA
31 May 1864, Hanover Court House, VA

1 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA
3 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA
6 June 1864, Cold Harbor, VA

23 June 1864, Rock Point, VA
9 July 1864, Monocacy, MD
19 September 1864, Winchester, VA
22 September 1864, Fisher’s Hill, VA
19 October 1864, Cedar Creek, VA
2 April 1865, Petersburg, VA

Categories: Cedar Creek, VA, Civil War, Cold Harbor, VA, Fisher's Hill, VA, Hanover Court House, VA, Jacob's Ford, VA, Locust Grove, VA, Monacacy, MD, Petersburg, VA, Rock Point, VA, Spotsylvania Court House, VA, Trowbridge, Wilderness, VA, Winchester, VA, Woodruff | Leave a comment

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