This letter was written by George W. Glidewell (1841-1905), the son of William James Glidewell (1808-1870) and Mary Little (1805-1887) of Elkland, Sullivan county, Pennsylvania. George served as a corporal in Co. B, 58th Pennsylvania Infantry. He enlisted in late February 1864 and was not discharged late January 1866.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Headquarters 58th Regt. Pa. Vols
in the field before Richmond, Va.
December 10th 1864
It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well at present and hope and trust that these few lines will find you all the same. I received them gloves the other night. I thought that I would write a few lines and let you know that I got them but have got no letter from home this week. We have moved our camp to the right about a mile and to the rear a little but we have picket duty to do yet. We have about 2 miles to go to the picket lines. we do picket duty both sides of the New Market road. It is in the woods where we do picket duty now. ¹
Was on picket the evening that I got the gloves. It rained real hard the morning that I went on picket and it cleared off cool and it made me think of the gloves. I had began to think that they was lost but they come just in the right time for there is about 2 inches of sleet this evening. Just come off of picket last night. Was on 36 hours.
There — the long roll is beating and we will have to fall in right immediately. There has been some picket firing this morning to the right. I presume that the Rebs are making a charge.
Well we have fallen in and stacked our arms and will have to go in a little time. There — the drum is beating so here goes until I return.
December 11th 1864 — Well sister, I have got back all right — only all mud. The roads are awful. We was gone about 24 hours but did not get in any fight but we had the pleasure of hearing the balls whistle. We are in a reserve brigade now. They thought that we had been in the front long enough and are in the 24th Army Corps. The 10th and 18th [Army Corps] are [now] consolidated — the white troops in both — and I believe the 3rd Division and 3rd Brigade and we still keep the the old badges only it will be blue instead of red. ²
Well, about this raid, I presume that you would like to know a little about it. The rebs advanced on our lines to the right and drove in our cavalry pickets and wounded a few. Don’t know whether they was any killed or not. Our men took some prisoners — one officer and some privates — and there was some deserters. There is some come in our lines every day, more or less.
There is some snow here yet and it is rather cool. We have got a little house built about 6 by 12 feet and there is 7 of us in it. A thousand times obliged to you folks for the gloves until you are better paid. No more at present. Give my best respects to all inquiring friends. Your brother, — George W. Glidewell
¹ The New Market Road ran between Richmond and Williamsburg on the north side of and roughly paralleling the James River.
² The reorganization was official on 3 December 1864. Bvt. Brig. Gen. Guy V. Henry was placed in command of the 3rd Brigade of which the 58th Pennsylvania was a part. Joining the 58th Penn. was the 21st Conn., 40th Mass., 2d New Hampshire, and the 188th Penn. The black infantry units were separated and placed into a corps of their own — the 25th Army Corps.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
October 1st 1865
I received your ever kind & welcome letter of the 24th ult. on the 29th. It found me enjoying good health & was glad to hear that you was all enjoying good health & hope & trust that these few lines will find you all enjoying good health.
We are having pretty good times here among the Sesech. Was on guard last night at the Court House — the provost marshal’s office. The rebels hate the sight of the blue boys. We are within 14 miles of the natural bridge. I have some notion to go some of these days if nothing happens. The reason there is so many rebels here, almost every one in this town was an officer of some kind. Here is where Stonewall Jackson lived. He is buried here in the town & the rebel Governor [John] Letcher of Virginia lives here. He is here now. I have seen him several times. Gen’l [David] Hunter burnt his residence down when he was here & there has been a splendid Military College here & he burnt that too. And there is a splendid college here too — I think they call it the Washington College. It is a splendid building but the Military College was the splendedist one but Hunter drove the cadets out and burnt it.
I answered Lydia’s letter the other day. I presume she is home before this time. You folks need to look for me until you see me coming for there is lots of government property here to gather up & the Major just came from Staunton last evening & said that the Colonel said that we was good for all winter but I can’t see it in that light for there is a lot to be discharged this week & next month the privates all go out but about 90 men & I don’t think the government will pay Col., Major, & 6 or 7 Captains & about the same of 1st Lieutenants for as few men as that for there won’t be certain more than 100 non-commish & 90 or 95 privates. And I don’t think that the government is a going to keep such a regiment as this.
Well, I don’t think of anything more that will interest you so I will close by sending my best respects to all who may inquire. Tell Father I wish him good success with his fall work for it is all that I can do this time.
Write soon. As ever, your affectionate absent brother, — George W. Glidewell