Monday, October 1, 2007

Letters Home: Private Jesse Springer, Co. A, 10/5/1862

The following, heartbreaking letter was written by Private Jesse Springer, of Company A, 48th Pennsylvania, on October 5, 1862. A year and a half earlier, on September 17, 1861, Jesse and his older brother, John, were both mustered into service as privates in Company A. John was 24 years old at the time of his enlistment, and his brother Jesse was 20. Both were farm laborers from Hecla, a small community in southern Schuylkill County. At the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, John was struck down, mortally wounded. He died on October 3. Jesse wrote the following letter to his father two days later.
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Mouth of the Antietam
October 5th 1862

Dear Father
This I am happy to state leaves me well, but I am grieved beyond descritpion to announce the death of my dear brother John. He departed this life on the 3rd in Georgetown of disease. His disease I could not tell you as the the Official Notice gave it in Latin. Lieut Henry Boyer received Official notice from the Doctor today. I am very sorry I could not attend to him in his last hours but this was impossible He died a patriotic Soldier.
Dear parents he was a brave soldier and done his whole duty That consulation you have and I hope you will make up your mind that the loss of your son and my brother the country has lost one that endured the battlefield boldly and fearlessly; not in anngry passion, but cooly and reservedly, to put rebellion down. Dear Parents, think of me and pray for me so if I fall, my soul may enter the kingdom of heaven Although brother is no more with us in person he is in spirit. If I am killed my spirit will guide them on to victory and glory. . . .
I don't think we will enter Virginia this fall, as it is getting cold and we will have to prepare for winter. . . .Lieut [Abiel H.] Jackson commanding our company resigned and went home last Wednesday. We have been lying here very near three weeks and there is no intimation of a forward [inellegible]. . . . As I have nothing more to day I will close hoping to hear from you soon my love to all

Your aff Son
Jesse Springer
Company A 48th Regiment P.V. 1st Brigade 2nd Division Burnside's Army
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Jesse Springer remained in the army, and reenlisted in the early spring of 1864. He survived the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, and on July 17, 1865, he was mustered out of service, still a private, but proudly as a "veteran." He returned to Hecla. . .

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