Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy’s Letters

July 11, 2013

Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy's Letters (1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.)

Between Hagerstown And Frederick Junction,
July 11, 1863.

Dear Family:

So far we have received your letters in due time. We are right on the tramp. My last letter I left off rather suddenly; I had no intention of sending it in that mail, but the boy came round and said, mail was going. We started from F. June, on the 7th at 5 P.m., marched through Fred’k and out on the Middletown pike, about 9 miles and turned in for the night. (A band has just struck up Hail Columbia, two yards from here; it stirs me so, I can hardly write!) Have been on the road ever since and are at last at destination. Reserve artillery corps, commanded by Genl. Tyler. We are now in the Fort, are going to have some guns; we expected we should have to go in as infantry. If you will get a map, showing the roads in Maryland and Virginia, I will every time I write, show the route which may be interesting to you; it is very probable we, of this battilion, shall keep with the army of the Potomac the rest of the time. On the way here, we passed where the cavalry passed last Thursday; a great many had horses in the woods and along the road we could see where shot had struck. We are now beginning to see a little service, nothing but hard tack, pork and coffee, which we have to cook ourselves, but still I like it. In fact I like the whole thing. I think I shall fat up on it. Being tough, will eat, drink and sleep together. We have had a chance to see a great deal of the old Army, some regiments have but about 40 men; one Co. went into the fight with 33 men, 27 were shot dead on the spot. Some regts have been consolidated five times and have now but about 200 men, it is awful to think of. There were a great many killed on both sides, in the last battle. We are trying our best to catch Johnny Reb. Don’t know as we shall succeed. Should not be surprised if there was a great battle tomorrow, you know Sundays are the days for big fights. The boys are feeling well, but have no desire to be in a fight but would like to see one. Have seen any quantity of the Johnnies lately, not less than 2000 taken prisoner since the last fight. I wish you could see them, they don’t look as if they belonged to the American Continent; they have a very peculiar look. All of the boys had quite a talk with them, they talk better than they look. I am today the same boy L. B. Jr.; but a few years older than when I left, I am 17 today. The regiment has now been in the service over two years, will soon be nine months more. If you see uncle Frank tell him that George and the rest are well. We dont have much of a chance to write but certainly will once a week. Direct yours to the same as ever, with the exception of the place Washington, D. C. That is the place. Jere is well and sends his love. Much love to all from


[During the Gettysburg campaign a large number of Company B were detached from the regiment and placed in the light batteries of the regular army to make up the losses caused by this severe campaign.—Ed.]

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