Sid Anderson sat down to write a letter.  He was in the army a long way from home and like any soldier in any war he wanted to assure his family that he was safe and in good spirits.  His parents had just sent him some stamps and news of his neighbors in home town of Liverpool New York.       

  The date was May 17, 1862, and Sidney C. Anderson's unit was camped "in a nice clover patch" at White House, a New Kent County Plantation owned by the family of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  He was in Company H, 12th New York Volunteer Infantry, a part of McClellan's Army, and had just marched on the muddy road from Cumberland Plantation to White House.

  Sid had joined the army a year before with other young men from New York's Onondaga County.  The unit first fought at Blackburn's Ford, a few days before the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run).  For the next year the 12th saw little action and suffered few casualties.  Now they were 22 miles from Richmond.  The Rebels were retreating, and ahead lay the conquest of the Confederate Capitol.  The next letter, he said, would be written from Richmond.

  Sid Anderson never reached Richmond.  On June 27, 1862, forty days after writing the letter, Sidney C. Anderson, age 25, was killed at Gaines' Mill in Hanover County, miles away from his home and family.

  The letter is full of positive images and news about camp life and his friends from home.  It contains nothing of the horrors of war, and no hint of his fate.  It's a snapshot of a moment in time, full of the present and ignorant of the future.  It's a part of our history. 

White House Va May 17th 1862


Father
We are on the road to Richmond + only twenty-two miles from there + will soon be there
Lord willing We had one of the hardest marches coming from Cumberland here we have had yet   We left Cumberland Thursday morning the rain coming down as hard as it could pour The mud clear up to the seat of our unmentionables  We came about 2 miles + camped in the woods.  Friday morning commenced the march again + mud: mud is no name for it.  The road is through the woods all the way.. We had not marched over 100 Rods before we got orders to string out in Single file + marched on All the way.  Wagons + ambulances stuck in the mud Horses down some dead others dying Teamsters swearing Wagons broken down + Canon stuck in the mud met(?) ___eeys(?) at every step.  We traveling along in a path side of the road across(?) it, in the bushes some fences we would almost have to crawl through the brush.  With(?) our knapsacks on our Backs + gun in every position imaginable.  In wading ditches it would be over our heads + then down at a trail as we crawled through the bush(?) + then used as a pry to push out of the mud.  Virginia Roads Whew It was the toughest pull I have seen but we worried it through + are now camped on Genl Lees plantation in a nice clover patch + I am all right + ready for another pull for Richmond. How the old Nick the Rebels go so fast is more than I can tell They travel faster than we did from Bull Run + that was about as tall walking as I ever saw Q:40(?) cant commence with the Rebels on a Skadaddle But they will have to stop sometime + then look out for Breakers  This army with McClellan at its head will walk through them like a fox among a flock of geese.  I am as well as usual and in tip top spirits + I think shall soon have the pleasure of writing you from Richmond in a very few days.  I received your letter a few days since containing some stamps I had begun to despair of hearing from home.  I received a call last night from Mercer(?) Brown of Ellicotts Mills He brought me a letter from Carrie the folks are all well Barney Fish(?) from there also came to se me today  He was one of my old chums at the mills He is in the Qr Masters Dept at Annapolis + was sent here aboard a transport with army stores We have several Gun Boats lying here in the river + transports + schooners innumerable.  I have not time to write much  Give my love to all Tell Maria Wells I have answered her letter + mailed it this morning.  Write soon and I will now bid you good day for the present.

Yours(?) + (?)
                          Sid. C. Anderson

PS
All the Liverpool Boys
are well + in good spirits We passed Pecks Brigade the other day the other side of cumberland  I see(?) the Gen
l He look well + has a fine Brigade

S.   

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