53rd PA were in many battles including Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Gaines
Mill, Peach Orchard, Savage Station White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, Antietam,
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Mine Run,
Wilderness, Po River, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg,
Appomattox Court House. A number of
these battles comprised the so-called Seven Days Battles, which ended poorly for
Gen. George McClellan.
McClellan’s army was forced to retreat. He and his men did so in relative safety to Harrison’s Landing next to the James River, having suffered almost 16,000 casualties during the retreat. Lee’s Army, which had been on the offensive, lost more than 20,000.
Our Private THOMAS TRACY, a member of the “G” Co. PA 53rd Infantry, writes to his brother on July 25, 1861, while he and the rest of his infantry find themselves in retreat, where they remained until August 16.
Tracy enlisted as a private on October 29, 1861 and was mustered into “G” Co. PA 53rd Infantry.
4 pp, 5” x 8”, July 25, 1862, in Camp near Harrison’s Landing.
“I received your letter today and glad to hear that you was well and your family and your little Soul. I have but little news at present to rite to you but today the Army of the Potomac had a large review before General McClellan but we did not enjoy it much because if was so warm here…I wish you would tell Rufus that he had better volunteer. If they went to drafting, you had better if you have to come you had join…in to E. P. Pelets company for he is a good fellow for he belonged to our company once but tell him not to be afrade…for they may not draft at all…He will not find it play at all in the army. Edward is in the hospital sick but is better now but he never will be tuf as I am. Don’t let Mother know he is very sick for she will feel bad. But I think he will get better…as soon as the hot weather is over. I should have riten before but in the field I lost all of my paper and stamps you sent me and my clothes to and your picture and now the rebels are looking at you now but I have got some of their things to in exchange. I have got a very nice blanket that they used to have…burnt lots of guns and took lots of them…We don’t expect to have any more fighting to do before October but I hope not for I have seen enough of it at present…We have not got enough men here in front of Richmond. We have to drill an hour and a half a day and then we go down to the river and swim a while but we can’t all be gone at a time. But we have some fun…I was on guard at a Sutter Tent the other night and battery fellows tore down the tent and I got about a dollars worth of stuff I sold for the cash…from your Brother T. R. Tracy”
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