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Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: Antietam, Maryland; Bull Run, Virginia Historical Figures: Abraham Lincoln, Ambrose E. Burnside, Fitz J. Porter, George B. McClellan, Orlando B. Willcox
Camp at Blackfords Ford Md. Sept. 25th 1862 My Dear Florence Two of your letters came this morning. The first mail I have received since leaving Washington. I know you must have written. The letters for the [ ? ] date of the one that came today was the 13th [ ? ]. You did mistake when you directed to [ ? ] [ ? ] Corps but the letter came. We have ever been in Fitz John Porters Corps + though newspapers have placed him under arrest he has ever been at the lead of his command so far as we know. We do not ask to be under brown + nobles Generals than McClellen + Porter [ ? ]. Mc has never lost the confidence of those rebs formed the “Army of the Potomac” + his manly conduct through the embarrassing + humiliating circumstances which surrounded him when ordered to send his command away from the Jones has only tended to increase the love + confidence of his army loved him. We are laying quiet + resting from the severe fatigue of last week. We send reconnortering parties across the river almost every day but they do not meet the warm reception our Brigade did last Saturday. This P.M. a Brigade of Cavalry have gone over. I watched them cross + take up their position a half mile or so out there they massed in close column + sent out a few squadrons. What the result of the recon- nuisance will be we cannot tell. I think the army have treated a few miles at least. This position was such that they could be surrounded [ ? ] that Harpers Ferry is in our position. What a disgraceful cowardly act was the surrender of the latter place. Col Miles memory cannot be reverned very lightly by the American people. Had be but held our with ordinary firmners, help would have reached him but the abandon ment of so strong a position with so little loss can [ ? ] be over looked. We [ ? ] that the world moves + that Abe Lincoln is one great man. He dethroned Mc. Wrote Gr[ ? ] a letter reinstated Mc + issued his proclamation. We think all will yet be well + that [ ? ] long. We were visited by Gen Wilcox a few days since. You remember he was our Col in the [ ? ] service + was taken prisoner at the battle of Bull Run. Was held a prisoner until Aug of this year. He has command of a Division in Burnsides Corps + did [ ? ] fighting at the left in the battle of Anbitam [ ? ] of the 21st I had just written “ane” on the other page, when an orderly darkened the door of my tent + announced that I was detailed for picket + the guard would be mounted immediately. So I left unfinished this interesting document + went to take my position beside the Potomoc for the night to amuse myself as best I chose provi- ded I attended to my business. You have strange + incorrect ideas regarding duty. You ask “do I have to pace back + forth?” An officer on guard is expected to be awake to visit his sentinels frequently to notice all strange sight + noises + to see that his men are active in the perfor mance of this duties. While the enlisted men are divided into 3 “reliefs” + only one is on duty at a time thus allowing 2/3 of the time for rest I think nothing of being deprived of a nights rest. Our position last night + today was at the dam below Sheppardstown. Our duty to allow none to pass from this to the other side but to allow persons from the other Va, side to come over-one by one- We do not allow picket firing unless first fired upon. We have a good position, in the O +C Canal, which forms a complete [ ? ] breastwork + protection against musketry, but we are very careless + hardly at any time could an enemies sharpshooter fail of getting “good shots” if he were so inclined. The The vision is about 400 yds across + voices can be heard + distinguished easily. There is good fishings existing [ ? ] the pickets + some interesting skirmishes-vocal-occur. I am so glad you write me so often. I know I do not deserve it, but consider that at times tis impossible for me to write. In this life unless one makes extra efforts the friends at home must want for intelligence. Since our battle of Aug 30th I have been in command of two companies + after an en- gagement especially so severe a one as that. We receive very many letters of inquiry which should be answered. But amid all thear little affair I do not [ ? ] forget you. Were it not for you to cheer me + frighten me I should grow heartsick + weary of such toil, now I am assured that I am only in the line of duty + I must not falter. I fear you have not estimated me rightly think me far more than I am + that you do not see me as I am with many, many faults perhaps vices. I try to do right so hard + tis so right I should so do. You are with one ever. Last Saturday when going into action I thought not of the loved ones. My whole mind seemed centered on military points but no sooner had we got into position [ ? ] some cause a piece of shell on my shoulder thanks to a heavy rubber blanket I was hardly scratched. My first thoughts were, I am wounded the next was of you. Was it wrong? but I soon found that I was all right + opened my R eye which was retreating with face toward the enemy. Write me as often as “propriety” will allow. Tell me all of yourself, your thoughts. Just as you always do. I must close merely for want of time for a great “stack” of unanswered correspondence waits + tis a little late. Direct your letter as when I was on the Pennisla Always darling Your Will Byrns I [ ? ] this to [ ? ]. Do not know how long you intended to try then Inform me Doolittle bro in law of the Parsons’ is Col of the 18th Mich. [On Envelope:] Miss Florence Clark Yalva Henry Co Illinois Lieut Byrns No 97 Sept 25’’ 1862 Blackfords Ind.