Camped Near Pig Point Va. Jan 2nd 1863 Dear Brother & Sister I rec. your kind and good letter of the 20th the 27th and was I assure you very happy to hear from you. I am very thankful to you for those Stamps. They came just in time, for I had nearly out, but Rachel has sent me one Dollars worth since then so I have enough to last a Month or two more. I have never complained because you have not written to me before I have heard before what a hard time Emily was having. I am glad to hear now she is geting along so well. I have ever felt that I had your Sympathys and your Strongest Friendship, and knowing that I have many good Friends in N H. it has helped to keep up my Spirets when otherwise I might of felt low Spireted. You ask me to give you an account of the Battle. I hardly can not give you so good an account of it as you have seen in the papers, for I did not see any _____________________________________________ 2 of it only on the extreme Left of our Armey where we were Stationed, and did not see much of it there. that is the Infantry fighting, that was done mostly in the Centre of the Left Wing. (Franklins Grand Division). The extreme left where we were it was mostly Artillery Fighting, and our Battery took a very active part in it, from Friday PM (when we first Crossed) till Saturday at Dark resting only Friday Night. As you already know the Armey crossed the River on a Friday Dec 12th, our Battery did not get across till a little Past Noon. We crossed and went up on to the Flat on the other sided about 1/4 of a Mile from the river and were just going in to Park (that is taking a position a Battery does when they go in to Camp and do not unlimber their Guns) when a Rebel Battery opned on us and I believe it was the first Gun (Cannon) the Rebes had fired on our Forces since they commenced the attack on the Rebes, so you see we were the first to get in to the Fight as usual. We imediatly advanced to _____________________________________________ 3 a better position nearer the Rebes and opned on them, so we were about the first to opne fire on them from the other Side of the River, (so we were the first to opne the the Fight at Antietam). Well we Blaised away for a couple of hours and finding that they could do us no harm nor we them as far as we could see, we ceased fireing for the rest of the Day, firing a Shot occasionly to keep the Rebes stured up. We Stoped in this Position all Night, it came my turn to go on Guard that Night, in the fore part of the Night the Rebes (a few of them) advanced most half Way betwen our Pickets and theirs and Set Fire to a House two Barnes and Several Stacks of (what seemed to be) Hay and Straw, and such a beautiful fire as that made I never saw I believe, it set nearly in the Centre of a Large Plain, and it threw its light around for two or three Miles, it was beautiful I tell you. Why they burned it I have never yet learned. The next morning we moved further down ___________________________________________ 4 to the extreme Left where our Division (Gen Doubledays) had gone, soon after we got there we opned fire and keped it up all day long changeing our Position two or three time to get a better Position, it was here that we lost 3 Men killed and 4 wounded. 8 others were hit but the Skin was not brokned, only brused, at Night we took a new Position (not far from where we had been Fireing all day) near a Road which had a high embankment thrown up to answer the purpos of a Stone wall they not having many Stone here. We made this embankment serve the Purpos of a Brest Work and it is well we done so, for there must of been some of our men hit by the Reb. Sharp Shooters. The next two days (Sunday & Monday) that we Stoped there behind it we had one man hit as it was, but the ball did not break the Skin, it passed through the bank so it lost its force by the time it Struck him. One of our horses however had his leg Broken by their Sharp Shooters while we were in this Position, and we had to kill him. We Stoped in this position Sunday & Monday not fireing a Gun but ready to opne on the Rebes should fire on us, but they did not do so, and we did not on them. One of our Batterys fired a few rounds at the Rebes; but they did not see fit to reply so our Guns ceased firing Monday Eve. We were Ordered to be ready to move or opne fire at a Seconds notice. We knew not what was to take __________________________________________________ 5 place till about 9 OClock at Night Gen Reynolds and Staff rode by our Battery to the left of us, and then those of us who were awake see what was up. Soon after he passed us a Battery that was on our Left was seen to move off one Gun at a time, after that got of the Gen rode up to our Battery and Wanted to see our Cammander. We were then got off the Same way the other Battery was, and so it was with all the Batterys also the Infantry. We were all got off without the loss of a Gun or a Man except Straglers. Whatever may be said about the Battle of Fredericksburg, the ___________________________________ 6 Crossing and recrossing of the Rappahannock was a Skilful manover, and reflects the highest credit on the Militery Skill of the Cammanding General, especily the recrossing of the River. The fight was a bad thing, but I shall not Blame Burnside for the failure of his plan. There are other causes that worked against him. I am as willing to fight under him to day as ever. I believe next time he will meet with better Success and think he will, as to the removal of McClellan I have nothing to Say. I do not know whether it was best. I think Burnside as well but can not tell ______________________________________ 1X McClellan is a good Gen but awful Slow, perhaps Sometimes it is best to be so, but I must draw to a close for this time as you already know. Through the Providence of God I have again escaped the Dangers of the Battle Field for which I feel very thankful to
. You ask if I am in the want of a nother Pair of Gloves such as you let me have before. I am not, those are good yet. As to any thing else, perhaps there are some things if I had at this time would be very acceptable and make me a litttle more Comfort- able, but it is most to expencive to get them here. I expect a Box from Rachel in a week or two. I have sent to her for some things, but I do not like to Draw on her to hard, having her self and two Children to Clothe for Winter. David you are willing to do any thing for me you can. I have already experianced the kindness of your heart towards me and mine, but I will not at this time draw on you for any thing, but wait and see what Rachel sends me, if we Stop where we now are all Winter perhaps I will let you send something. You and Emily. We expect to stop all winter where we now are, but can not tell. We may move tomorrow if the Stormy Season sits we can not move. You have a pretty view of the Potomac River from where we _________________________________________________________ 2X Camp. We can see its winding course for miles doted thickly with Steam Boats and Sailing Craft. it is some 2 miles from our Camp, but there is a bay from it that comes up to within 1/4 of a Mile of our Camp. We have Built us Log Houses with fire places, so we are very well situated for Winter. I have not seen Charles Paige since the Battle, but have heard from him, he came out all right, for which I feel very thankful to ; my health first rate and Spirets good, and I trust that the War will soon be at an end, and I again home with my Dear Family and Friends. I would like much to see see Emilys little boy. I hope he will grow and do well. Give my love to Laura and Family. I will now close Praying that God will Bless you both and little one that you may be Successful in all your just undertak -ings and we all once more meet on Earth and finaly in Heaven. This from your affectionate Brother Thomas C Cheney.