December 16, 1862, 1862 Letter from Private Robert Dawson to sister, Rebecca Dawson while camped near Fredericksburg, VA after the Battle of Fredericksburg

(transcribed by granddaughter, Ms. Clara Warner)   

Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va, Dec. 16th, 1862


Dear Sister

It is with great pleasure that I seat myself down to answer your letters of Nov. 26th & Dec. l0th which I received yesterday & day before, we was laying on the other side of the river when I got them but thank the lord we have got back to this side of the river safe again without being engaged at a11. the canonading commenced on thursday morning

& our men got the pontoon bridge nearly over when the rebels opened on our men with musketry from out of the houses in town (for they laid the bridge down under cover of the town) & our men could not get the bridge finished until near evening when a regiment or twoo crossed in boats & held the shore until the engineers got it finished & while that was going on our batteries that was on this side of the river (of which the banks was lined) was playing on the town & such another looking town as it is I never saw in my life before, it is just completely riddled to pieces, some of the houses caught fire & burnt down & to help it the men broke & burnt the furniture for wood& all the garden fences was tore up & burnt, there was a good bit of flour& the boys made way with it pretty fast baking cakes, we crossed over friday morning & lay in town until saturday morning & then we marched down the river a piece & kept marching up & down the river & was not in at all g I am very thankful that we was not. on saturday there was very hard fighting our men drove the rebels a little on the left but on the right our men could not gain anything, the rebels had their batteries on a hill & our men charged up several times but could not make it. the rebs had a cross fire on our men when they advanced up the hill. sunday & monday there was nothing but a little skirmishing & artillery fighting & we got of firstrate last night, they got a good many straglers that wanted to be taken. I dont know whether there will be any other move made now or not. the 134th was badly cut up. Scroggs Dawson & Jim Caughey are in it I dont know whether they was hurt or not. hugh Barnes was killed.   the boys are all well but andy & dave Mcrea are grunting a little but there ant much wrong andy says for his folks to send him a couple of shirts in my box you need not send it until I write again, no more at present but remain your


R D Dawson

Dec. 17th, 1862

P.S. it is reported that we lost 13,000 men in the fight.


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