Friday, April 5, 2013

The 48th/150th: "Quite A Jolly Time:" Lt. Pollock Describes The Journey West To Lexington

150 years ago, the 48th Pennsylvania were settling in at Lexington, Kentucky, where, for the next five months they were stationed as provost guards. Thus, while missing out in the major campaigns and battles that spring and summer of 1863, the soldiers enjoyed a much-needed and much deserved respite.

Main Street
Lexington, KY

In this letter, written 150 years ago today (April 5, 1863), 2nd Lieutenant Curtis C. Pollock, lets his mother know that he has arrived safe and sound in Lexington:

My Dear Ma
                I guess you will think it very strange that I have not written for so long a time, but the reason (and I know it is a poor one) that we have been in so unsettled a state that I had no opportunity.  And I do not feel a bit like writing now but I know that you will be anxious about me so I will write a few lines to let you know that I am in good health and spirits.  Col. Sigfried is Provost Marshal of the City and the Regt. is doing Provost duty in it.  I am on guard to day and have been kept pretty busy all day.  I will write a long letter in a few days giving you an account of our journey here. We had a very pleasant trip.  If we can only stay here it will be also the most comfortable quarters we ever had.  The Regt. is quartered in two houses and we have a room with the officers of Co. B. We were paid the day before we left camp to come into town and I received $426.  I will not send any home as I am going to try and get there myself as soon as possible.  No more at present
                                                                                Your affec son
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A week later, on April 13, Pollock had more time to relate the journey of the regiment from Newport News, Virginia, to Lexington:
Lexington Ky.

April 13th 1863

Dear Ma

                I received the letters sent by Flanagan and Evans, but have not received any by mail, except one from Mary.  We are getting along very well and like our new duties.  I am on guard to night and it is 1 o’clock A.M.  I am sitting in the Provost Marshal’s office writing. We had a splendid trip from Newport News here and we all enjoyed it very much.  We saw plenty of pretty girls along the road and we would get out at the stations where the train would stop and talk to them and when we came across any while train was going, we had notes prepared and would throw them out the window, kiss our hands to them and wave our handkerchiefs.  Indeed we had quite a jolly time.  The scenery along the Juniata is beautiful, and going across the plains from Altoona to Pittsburg the scenery is said to be perfectly beautiful but as it was very foggy we did not get to see much.  We had four engines attached to our train crossing the Alleghanies and they had tough work to get us up.  I was very much taken with Ohio.  Every town we passed through the depots were thronged with pretty girls and there were so many of them.  It was on Sunday when we passed through and every body was dressed up in their Sunday go to meeting clothes and looked well.  There was one particular young lade who was down at the cars and with whom I fell desperately in love, her name I found out to be Sue Sterling and she kissed her hand to me.  We passed through Columbus about 12 o’clock at night and we did not get to see much of it.  I was nearly left behind here.  Capt. & I got out to get our coffee pot full of coffee and before we got to the place where they were dishing it out the train started and Capt. he got right aboard but I was not going to loose the coffee so I took the pot and ran to the place but it was almost all gone so that I could only get a few tin cups full, and when I started for the train it was about a hundred yards ahead of me and going very fast.  well I did some tall running about that time with the old coffee pot in one hand. I just managed to get up to the last car and get aboard.  They all thought I had been left. I met a gentleman in Pittsburg by the name of Whitney and he took me around and treated me first rate and I had quite a jolly time.  We arrived in Cincinata about 11 o’clock Monday morning and were marched to the Market House where a table was set for the men, one of the Hotel keepers then invited the officers down to take dinner at his hotel and it was there I ate the first buckwheat cakes I had tasted the last winter, they were very good and we had some of the best sausage I ever ate.  After dinner we crossed over to Covington got on the train and after waiting until nearly dark we started for Lexington.  We rode all night and when I got awake the next morning I found myself here, and a very fine city it is though they are a great many Secesh. about. I have become aquainted with some Union ladies and spent a very pleasant evening with them and last night I escorted one home from church.  I saw on the street to day a daughter of the Rebel General Preston she is rather a fine looking girl but not pretty.  I expect to get aquainted with quite a number of ladies this week and I now have the photographs to two very pretty young ladies here. One of them is a namesake of Sallie Brights, he name is Bell Bright.  The town clock has just struck two and I am very sleepy so I hope you will excuse this hastily written letter.  We have been quartered I town for some time, but to day we moved out to the outskirts, and send our details in ever day.  Col. Sigfried commands this post and Gen. Wilcox has relieved Gen. Gilmour who has been here and commanded the central district of Kentucky.  I do not know whether I shall be able to get home or not but as soon as I think there is any show, I will try it.  Your affec Son




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