The 57th Regiment PA Volunteer Infantry was organized in Harrisburg, PA, beginning October 1861 and mustered in December 14, 1861, for a three-year command under Col. William Maxwell. The Regiment was engaged in 25 major battles, including Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, Wilderness, Second Bull Run, Sieges of Petersburg, Yorktown, Williamsburg and the Appomattox Campaign.
HIRAM HESS enlisted on October 4, 1864, into the 57th Regiment and was discharged on June 27, 1865.
In pencil and pen, Hess writes to his wife 4 7/8 x 7 7/8, Nov. 25, 1864 from camp.
“...We left Carlisle last Monday at 2 o’clock and went to Baltimore on a truck car and it leaked. It rained all night and was very cold. We did not get to Baltimore til daylight the next morning. We then marched about 1 ½ miles in the city to the soldier’s retreat where we got our breakfast and dinner and went to the boat and laid there til 10 o’clock the next morning...Got at Fortress Monroe at mid night and laid an anchor til morning and we started from there about 10 in the morning and landed at City Point on Friday evening, which is where we left the boat in the morning and marched out in camp and got our rations.
“...We came here about 12 miles from City Point where we stopped for winter quarters. If the rebs don’t charge us, but our boys think there is no danger of that for we have a good line of breast works here and a very nice place and good water and they think there will not be much fighting. This fall there might be one more try to take Petersburg yet this fall...Our boys here think we have the best place on this line around Petersburg. The pickets has been shooting at each other nights but there has been no one hurt since the last fight 2 or 3 weeks ago and no one was killed in our regiment [a likely reference to the Bristoe Campaign]...
“We are fixing to put up our tents today. They are put up with poles 3 or 4 feet high and daubed with mud and covered with tent clothes with a chimney...They are very warm. Last night we laid against the breastworks and a fire before us so that we slept better than we did some nights on the road. We have the same privilege here and usage that the volunteers has and get the same bounty as one-year volunteers...
“18 of the subs run away before we got here. The regt is chiefly drafted and the most of them old men. The 8th Regt. lays close by us where Fred Hess...is...”
In ink and pencil. Folds, toning, light soiling. Punctuation added and spelling corrected in the transcription for clarity.
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