Potomac Creek May 11th 63 Dear Sister we broke camp
the last day of last month about 4pm and after
a quick halted about 2 miles below
Fredricksburg where we stoped untill we where
ordered up the river about 15 miles where
we crossed the Pontoon bridge and advanced on
the enemy We where full of hope and enthusiasm
O never where troops in beter condition
we had eight days rations and of course our
load was heavy many threw away their
nap sacks and the weak fell out
we advanced down the plank road
and quartered for the night
the next day was satureday and we arose
ready to atack the enemy evry one bore the
couternance of hope for we thaught we
had got a position eaqual to that
of the enemy long huzars fill the
are up the road it is ocationed
by the presences of Gen. Hooker
and as he pases our lines we swing
our hats in wild enthusiasm
The 11 Corps is buisy throwing up fortycations
wile the news reaches us that the enemy
in front is retreating now let me tell
that we are in a vast forest and it
is very dificult to assertain wither
the enemy is going wich you will see was
the case here, Our Division (Berneys)
was ordered to follow up their retreat
it was our buisnes to surport the
sharp shooters and baterys we were
sucsfull as we thaghaughtas we captured
the 3rd Georgy regiment numbering about 300
[page 2]
that night about 9 we got partly back and
(We felt like conkering heroes) to learn
the sad truth that the enemy instead
of retreating had merely squarmed around
our right flank got in our rear and
driven the 11 Corps from the plank
road with but little dificulty I am
not going to tell you how we felt
but I could see but two things ahead
one was death the other a free pasage
to richmond, I wish to tell you how
fulish some of our ofisers talked they
they was very loud and busy in telling
the soldiers that it was all a hoax
about our forces being driven from
the road and we where in no dificulty
what ever the next thing they talk
is the rebs are in position and you
have got to drive them out with
The Bayonet, I do not know how others
like such talk But I took it as a deep
insult first they consider you a skedadal [er?]
so they lie that you will not run away
the next they call you a coward by suposeing
you will not folow where ever others lead
I may be sensitive if I am I think most
of soldiers are afected the same way,
And I believe that a comander who treats
troops as though he has no confidence
in them, they sun learn to place but
litle reliance in him and sun loose that
enthusiasm wich is so advantagous in
[page 3]
We got into position and charged up the
road that run right angle with the Plank road
we where 10 companys deep and it was
dark enough I will asure y[ou] the 40th new york
Lead and as we came upon the enemy
they poured a voley of muskety into us wich
caused the new yourkers to turn and such
a confusion I never saw I[t] was hard work
to keep from being trampled to peases
we ralyed again and again got repulsed
We was not aloud to fire but there was
some that did. Capt [??] Wm Barker and
myself where the last to leave the
second time so we discharged our peases
into darknes and turned away
In this scrape Paul Litle got taken
Prisoner or shot I think the former
for strange to say there was
no one came out wounded and if he
had been shot I think some one would
have known it we ralied again and
went up and laid down beside
the road when we was ordered back
and took a position between the road
and our forces Royal Band Wm Barber and
my self stood guard in front of our camp
in the wods to prevent a surprise We where
poor sleepy Boys for all the sleep we
had had since starting was only cat
naps, and the next days prospect
was poor in deed for our whole forse
was in a bag and it olly remained
to tie it up to have us fast but this it
seems was two big a job for the rebs
[page 4]
there was nothing of intrest transpired that nyt
and at early dawn the forces got into lives and
sung out for us and we darted in quick
time to free ourselves from the bag. The enemy folowed
in close persuit seting up their wild yells
and pouring voleys of musketry in our rear
we took shelter behind a hill upon
wich we had a few guns planted and
they where sune thundering forth
from their read mouth death and destruction
we retreated on untill we took position
up on a hill where we lay down to protect
our batery wich had now become
very active wile far in front was
a line of men pouring musketry
into the enemy we had not stoped
here long when the enemy opened
on our left flank raking the ground
the whole length of our lines our
baterys became dismounted, horses
brakeng away and fling in wild
confution men leaving the feald
with the read blug [1] streaming from,
outhers killed instantly our
cassions are hit in the senter
by an exploding shell and hundreds
of shell explode at one eaqual
in wilds to the explotion of a powder
mill the enemy advance and our
amunition is a bout gorn we fly
from the field and If we had ben
ten minutes later our pasage would
have ben closed we take our position
where we are joined by rearenforsements
[written on right margin]
and repell the advancing enemy with aufull slaugher

  1. blug = blood
May 11, 1863


Co. H, 17th Maine Infantry
Residence (County): 
Cumberland County, ME


Residence (County): 
Cumberland County, ME


From State: 
From Note: 
Potomac Creek


To State: 
To County: 

Transcription/Proofing Info

Kelly Baker
Transcription Date: 
April, 2015
M. Ellis
Proof Date: 
May, 2016

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