Eyewitness to War – Letters: Jan. ’97 America’s Civil War Feature

9/23/1996 • America's Civil War

Charles Town, West Virginia
September 26, 1862

Dear Father and Wife,

I take the present opportunity of writing to you all one more time thinking that you would be glad to hear from me. But I amsorry that I am a little poorly. I am wounded in my left leg between my ankle and knee, but it is a flesh wound and I am somebetter than I have been. I hope when these few lines come to hand they may find you all well and doing well. I have nothing ofany importance to write to you all at this time. But I thought I would tell you all something about our long tramp we took fromRichmond to Harpers Ferry. I tell you we had a hard time of it. The fight I was in was on the Blue Ridge in about five miles ofthe Ferry. I got wounded before I shot the first time. Our Regiment got shot up very badly. The Yankees took about half theregiment prisoners. The reason that we got shot up so bad was we were on the side of the mountain next to the ferry and theenemy was in our rear. They ran us over the other side of the mountain clear down to the foot of the mountain right among theenemy and they fought us on both sides. We had to retreat back to the top of the mountain and they had a good shot at us.

I would be glad to see you all and I could tell you all about it and could tell you a great deal more than I could tell you with apen and ink. I would be more than glad for you to send after me. I am here in the hospital and out of money. I could go homeon furlough if I had the money to pay my way. The government has not payed me anything yet. I had very bad luck. TheYankees got all of our knapsacks and clothes except what we had on. The next day after I got wounded, I lost all the moneythat I had. If it had not been for that I would’ve had a plenty to pay my way home. The Yankees got every knapsack thatbelonged to the regiment that I was in. Just before we went into the fight we pulled off our knapsacks and piled them up on theside of the road. We had to retreat back and did not have time to get them. If you will fix some arrangements to send or comeafter me, I can prepare myself to be able for service again. It won’t take much money to pay my way home. I can go half price.If you do send after me come to Charles Town, West Virginia. I am here in the hospital in the old hotel close to thecourthouse.

I will tell you the Yankees had us in the bag before we took the ferry. But we took the ferry the next morning and fifteenthousand prisoners and all of their small arms, artillery and wagons. The fight I was in was on Sunday. Last Sunday was aweek. The ferry was taken the next morning. They have had two fights since then, but I do not know how they came out. Isuppose there were heavy losses on both sides. So nothing more at this time.

Only yours truly until death,
D.R. Chandler

Next Letter

Back to Cover Story