This letter was written by Edward J. Hindmarch (1843-1895) who enlisted at age 18 on 14 August 1862 to serve three years in Co. E, 126th New York Infantry. Edward was with his regiment when they were surrendered and paroled at Harpers Ferry in September 1862. He was also with his regiment at Gettysburg when, at 7 pm on 2 July 1863, they were advanced on the Union left to drive the Rebels from Plum Run, pushing them back toward the Emmitsburg Road. On the afternoon of July 3rd, they took their position on the Union line and helped turn back Pickett’s charge, capturing three stars of colors. Edward survived the war and mustered out of the regiment on 3 June 1865 near Alexandria, Virginia.
Edward wrote the letter to his mother, Elizabeth HIndmarch (b. 1825 in England) of Geneva, Ontario county, New York.
We learn from this letter that Edward was detailed to bury the dead Confederates left on the field at Gettysburg. “It was the ofly site I ever saw in my life,” he told his mother.
[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Jim Doncaster and is published by express consent.]
Camp in the mountains
Tuesday, July 21, 1863
I received your letter about a week ago and I was very glad to hear from you and hear that you was well. I suppose you worried yourself half to death about me when you heard that I was in Gettysburg Battle. After the battle was over, me and Herm Fox ¹ and Charley Wheeler ² had to go down and help bury the Rebs. It was the awfullest sight I ever saw in my life. Some was shot in the head but the most of them was shot in the stomach.
Ever since we left Centreville, we have been on the march. I just got time to write a few lines this morning. The letter I got was dated the 25th of June.
You wanted to know how much pay I got. I will tell you. I got 26 dollars and I bought a watch. I was very sorry I didn’t get the box. If I had stayed at Centerville two days longer, I would [have] got my box. We had a fine Fourth of July when we was a fighting all day. I don’t want to see another Fourth of July like that again. I would like to be home to smell of some of the roses you spoke about in the letter.
I can’t think of anything more at present. So goodbye.
From your son, — Edward J. Hindmarch
126 Regiment N. Y. V., Co. E
Washington, D. C.
¹ Herman Fox was 19 years old when he enlisted at Geneva on 11 August 1862. Herm was captured in action on 14 October 1863 at Brostoe Station, Virginia, and paroled on 23 March 1864. We was wounded in action on 2 April 1865 at Sutherland Station, Virginia.
² Charles Wheeler was 18 years old when he enlisted on 9 August 1862 at Geneva. He was killed in action on 31 May 1864 at Totopotomy, Virginia.