1861: Whitman Worthington Bosworth to Stillman Whitman Bosworth

This letter was written by Whitman Worthington Bosworth (1839-1912), the son of Stillman Whitman Bosworth (1809-1895) and Nancy Moulton (1804-1843). Whitman enlisted as a corporal in April 1861 in Co. I, 15th Massachusetts Volunteers. He was taken a prisoner at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff on 21 October 1861 and sent to Richmond. He was later exchanged and spent some time at the Hammond General Hospital in Point Lookout, Maryland, the Fairfax Seminary Hospital near Alexandria, Virginia, and the Armory Square Hospital in Washington D. C. before returning to his regiment. He served with the 15th Massachusetts until August 1864 when he mustered out as a sergeant. He was a painter by occupation.

Addressed to Mr. S. W. Bosworth, Webster, Worcester county, Mass.

[Near Potomac in Maryland]
September 15, 1861

Dear Parents,

I once again resume my pen to write a few lines to you. I am enjoying first rate good health now and hope this will find you enjoying the same. I received your letter without date yesterday and was glad to hear from you. I am now on picket duty about three-fourths of a mile from the Potomac river and five from Poolesville. We shall probably be here about two weeks.

Our company are situated in a very pleasant place at the foot of a hill and woods—a beautiful stream of water running through our quarters. Good water is rather a scarce article out here. Only a few rods from our quarters from a high hill we can see a large rebel encampment.

Today I have been down to the river in charge of a squad of men to go in bathing. I saw on the opposite side three Rebel pickets. They occasionally shoot at our men. There was one of our pickets shot through the arm yesterday by the rebels. He belonged to the New York 2nd Regiment. There is detachments from several regiments here on picket duty. The [river] is covered all the way up and down with pickets.

The 19th & 20th Massachusetts came into our camp yesterday. They will remain here for the present. I have not much more war news to write you this time. You get the news first. When we get a paper, it is sent us from Webster. If you get a newspaper of much interest, please send me one.

There is some very good corn fields out here from fifty to one hundred and twenty-five acres. I have not seen but one field of potatoes since we left Connecticut.

I will now close. Please write a little oftener. I have watched the mail for two weeks without any consolation until last night.

Yours &c., I remain — W. W. Bosworth

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