L89 34th NY Soldier's Letter

L89 Bailey.jpeg
L89 Bailey.jpeg

L89 34th NY Soldier's Letter

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Written from camp near Falmouth, VA 16 April 1863, Frank Bailey writes to his sister just as they have received word that they are about ready to march, once again, into battle. “We got orders day before yesterday to have five days rations in our knapsacks and three days rations in our haversacks and be ready to march at a moments notice.” He is close to the end of his tour and hopes to be able to live to come home once again. He is glad to hear that most of the discharged soldiers have returned to good health once they got home, but has some rather unkind words for a man named “Pearl” whom he describes as “too d—m mean to get well.” He notes that several of the girls at home have got married and hopes there will be someone left for him if and when he makes it home. Bailey enlisted as a private on the first of May 1861at the age of 24. The 34th was a two-year unit known as the "Herkimer Regiment" and was composed of five companies from Herkimer county. It was engaged in the Peninsula Campaign, the siege of Yorktown, sustained heavy losses at Fair Oaks and lost heavily again during the Seven Days' battles. It lost over 13% of its men at Antietam, then fought at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville before returning home for muster out on 30 June 1863. The battle they were anticipating was most probably Chancellorsville. This is a good letter for content, six pages in very fine condition, but a bit faint in places. I have transcribed it to make reading easier. I have Bailey's history to include, plus the regimental history, a Herkimer report and an Antietam "after battle" report.