Camp near the Rapidan River, Virginia
August 4, 1863
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present, hoping when these few lines come to hand, they will find you in the same state of good health. I received a letter from you that was wrote on the 26th of June.
I will inform you that we have been at this place a week and I was tired and I felt for a rest. We may stay here for a week or two yet. I was down at the river yesterday and I took a good wash and I feel first rate. I will inform you that we get plenty of potatoes. We draw them [right] out of the [potato] patch seeing we are in Virginia.
I willl inform you that we had a very hard march since the 16th of June. We have been almost everywhere since that time. Our Corps was in a little fight in the Manassas Gap. I seen shooting for several hours and the Rebs retreated and our troops followed them up. We were within three hundred yards of their cannonading. We had no cannons there. Our troops charged their battery and they run like forty. There was only a blue streak of them left. I will inform you that I heard the shells whistle in the air & saw thousands of Rebel prisoners since we are down here.
On the first of his month, there was a fight at Culpeper Court House with Stewart’s Cavalry. The whipped the Rebs complete. The Union troops got into them with artillery, infantry and cavalry. They knocked them higher than a kite.
I will inform you that I was with the 84th Regiment and seen the boys [in Co. A]—David Benton, Joseph Ickes, Joseph Weyant, and John H. Walter—and they are all well. I was glad to see them all. They are in our care. I will inform you that we get news daily here. I think that Fort Wagner and Sumter, [and] Charleston will soon fall. Our troops are within two hundred and fifty yards of Fort Wagner in rifle pits and they will fall some of these days. And when them three points are gone, I would not give a chew of tobacco for the South.
The boys are all of good heart and spirit that the war will soon be over. I will inform you that this is the meanest [place I] ever was in. There is mountains and hills, rocks and stones, for God’s sake, but we have good water here and plenty of it. I will inform you that I haven’t much to write this time. Nothing more at present but remember your “dear husband.”
— Jacob C. Claar
to Christina Claar
Direction: Washington D. C., Co. E, 138th Regt. P. V. in care of Captain M. R. McClennan, Commanding