From Jerome to Abbie, December 22, 1862

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Abbie, December 22, 1862


Peirce, Jerome
Falmouth VA


From Jerome to Abbie


Jerome Peirce


Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Donald Pfanz


For educational purposes with no commercial use. Courtesy of National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, FRSP 16095-16102 (FRSP-00904).


5.88 X 7.15
11.62 X 7.20
5.88 X 7.15






Letter #53


Camp at Falmouth VA

Text Item Type Metadata


Monday Eve, 22d Dec 1862
My dear sister, my very dear Abbie:
Tis a mild, fine evening, with scarce a sound to disturb--a most favored hour, something of the olden time, when I sat in my chamber in the Corner house years ago, and dreamed away the hours, knowing little or nothing of Care or anxiety. Am all alone in my tent with a cheerful fire burning, in a fireplace, made of sods by own hand! The Brigade is on picke[t] duty, my tentmate gone. Have just finished supper, and by my candle have read over you[rs] of last Tues. and also one from Allie written at Foster’s[.] But to your letter. Your estimate of my nature, and deeds I feel most sensibly are are [sic] undeserved. I have indeed seen little of this world’s wealth¸but, a certain leisure from real care, and a most bountiful feast of intellectual enjoyment, “beyond Compare” has been mine, and how my mind has lived upon it in my wandering experience here in the army!
But what shall I say, my Sister? The fiery ordeal, which has doomed so many to an honored grave, or languishing pain, has passed, and I am still saved! There was a time indeed when, it seemed the “waves had gone over me” but now, I exclaim “Bless the Lord oh my soul” Thou has been our refuge, a very present help in trouble[.]” Dear Abbie, the past week seems like some strange dream, when a certain fearful vagueness baffles all attempts to relate it. You have seen some account of the battle. The first bombardment, and burning of the City was on Thurs 11th. We we[re] in line all day near our Camp, waiting for the Pontoon bridges to be laid, which the enemy tried to prevent, and it was that, that drew the fire of Artillery and the ruin of the City. Of course we witnessed it all, never to be forgotten, a mile of batteries raining shot and shell for hours, creating a peculiar smoky lurid appearance, of an indescribable kind, while a bright sunlight Contended with the “rolling din”, like an angel face trying to conceal, or appease the wrath of man. But Friday, what a day! Passed into the City in the A.M. and remained all day, massed with a whole division, on the Levee by the river. There was firing from our batteries more or less, thro’ the day, and in the P.M. the rebel artillery open upon us for a short time causing some huddling, and running. several shell exploded near us, wounding several, and one shot struck in a garden near me while I was looking over the scenes in the houses, when I made, more than a “double quick” movement for my post nearby, but found them taking it “very cool”, as indeed they did, which Called forth a remark to that effect from Col Lesuire [sic] whose Regt lay near us.
A stormed and sacked City is a thing to be seen, not described! Such bewildering confusion, such a chaos of all things pertaining to house, or shop keeping! Houses riddled in all possible directions, furniture smashed, books, bedding, crockery, keepsakes, scattered in and out of doors, while the soldiers were each trying to carry off some memento of the scene. books were the favorite item with many, but many were compelled to return them, on trying to pass the bridge. Our Capt lost a Copy of “Hyperion” (from Mayor Slaughter’s house) which his waiter tried to bring away, not thinking to conceal it.
It was horrible to see the destruction and pillage. Scarcely a house escaped the ruin, the finest and highest suffering most, while the large warehouses for storing tobacco, in the Central part of the City, were burned. Sat early we were marched out of the City about a mile, on a ravine, and still near the river, with bluff protecting us, and there we waited, with anxious thought, while the battle raged, first on the Right nearest to the City. Soon the enemy began to reply, and soon the Centre and Left joined, while the heavy guns from the other bank of the river, added to the thunder, the shot passing over us. This was the great day, near us, and we learned the sound of battle. If I could only sit and tell you, but I cannot write all that passed without, and within, those long hours. That night, just before dark, were [sic: we] were marched to the top of the bluff where we remained till early (3 oclk) in the

[Page or pages missing]

Love to all Jerome
This letter is included with Letter #54

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1862, From Jerome to Abbie, December 22, 1862, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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