Records | Julie's Family
Photo Album main page |
Surnames | Julie's Family
Tree Main Page | Home |
Civil War Letters
from William Fitting
to George Washington Shellenhamer
William Fitting was born 16 April 1838 in Dauphin Co., PA. He enlisted as a corporal 22 April 1861 in Co. G 35th Infantry Regiment Pennsylvania. (William lists his regiment as 6th Regiment, so apparently the regiment was renamed at some point.) William was eventually promoted to Sergeant, because he signed the majority of his letters as such. William's regiment (but not necessarily his company G) participated in the following battles during his service up until his death at the Battle of Fredericksburg, VA 13 December 1862. Only the Battle of Dranesville, VA is mentioned in his letters. Another battle was mentioned in one of the letters, but it is not on this list. It was probably just a small skirmish.
at Dranesville, Virginia on 20 December 1861
Battle at Dranesville, Virginia on 21 December 1861
Battle at Nashville, Tennessee on 17 April 1862
Battle at Gaines' Mill, Virginia on 27 June 1862
Battle at 2nd Bull Run, Virginia on 28 August 1862
Battle at 2nd Bull Run, Virginia on 29 August 1862
Battle at 2nd Bull Run, Virginia on 30 August 1862
Battle at South Mountain, Maryland on 14 September 1862
Battle at Antietam, Maryland on 17 September 1862
Battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia on 13 December 1862
The above information was taken from the American Civil War Research Database at Ancestry.com
William wrote these 10 letters to his friend and likely half-brother George Washington Shellenhamer (Julie's great-great-grandfather) who was 17 and then 18 years old at the time of the letters and still at home. The last letter is undated but believed to be in the summer of 1862. George Shellenhamer enlisted in the Union Army on 1 Aug 1862 in the 127th Pennsylvania and William was killed four months later at Fredericksburg.
These letters were transcribed by Julie Wollard Trout August 1999 to the best of my ability with all punctuation, spelling, and capitalization left as written. Click on the links to see some actual images of the letters and envelopes. You may scroll down the page to read the letters or jump to a particular one by clicking on the link.
Images of the letters and envelopes
| Letter 1, 6 Aug 1861 | Letter 2, 16 Sep 1861 | Letter 3, 14 Oct 1861 |
| Letter 4, 9 Nov 1861 | Letter 5, 19 Nov 1861 | Letter 6, 23 Dec 1861 |
| Letter 7, 8 Jan 1862 | Letter 8, 1 Mar 1862 | Letter 9, 25 Apr 1862 |
| Letter 10, summer of 1862 |
Camp Clover August
Friends I take this opportunity to let you no that I am well at present, & hope this will find you all the same. We left Washington City last Week & we have Encampt. at Camp Clover that is Ten Miles from Washington that is five miles from the Battlefield. We have fine times--Last night som of the Boyes went out to hunt Som of the Enemy but they did not find one man. We will leave here in a few dayes - & I will not Write for Three or Four Weeks. I have good Times, Sleap & Eat. I am going to Georgetown this afternoon on my black horse -- I expect to have a fine time of it no more at Present.
Tell George to write to me Soon or I will give him Hell when I get home.
(Two page letter with a picture of a cannon and USA flag on the front. The following poem is next to the cannon picture: “And conquer we must, when our cause is just, And this be our motto--”In God is our trust. And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.)
Back to Top
Camp Tennelly Sep
I take this opportunity to let you no that I am well at present, & further I let you no that the boyes hat a fight lasts week they shot 81= men of the Enemy they ar fine looking men I tell you the Enemy has Som fine looking men in the Battle field I Saw about Ten Thousand, last ,Week, & our force got after them, but they did not get one man. they Run like Hell, George I hat to take the pencil to Write this morning--
The Capt. Reher Broke the Ink Bottle, it fell off the Desk, that is a mate of
a Trunk, that is the kind
a Desk we use. We have Three miles to the Store I Bot a Chicken
last ,Week, & I hat to pay 3 0 (?) & 1/2 cts. for it. I
Bought a 1(?) lb Butter & I payd 45 cts a lb
& it was as Strong as Hell -- We have plenty of Watter
here. I got Sick Eating the dam mellons I was
Sick for about Three dayes. I am as as harty
a Bull Dog. We have fine times, Plenty to Eat &
& no ,Work,. Our 2nd Lieutenant we ar going to Send
home next ,Week for geting drunk, his name is John
Yentzer the Major Would not have him in our Regiment. he
married man he has a Family of five children he is from
Middletown Pa. he got a Hundred and Forty Dollars a month.
Last night their was Three Regiments of Horse men came to
Washington In Each Regiment has One Thousand men & Horses, Their Was Three Thousand in one line O. I tell you it was a Splentid Sight - They ar from California and fine looking men they ar. George do you Ever receive Any Papers I have Send you Som. I Send Som last ,Week, George I gess I have to Stop writing for I have to go to Dinner We Expect to here of a hart fight in about a ,Week I Would like to See a good fight. George, if you write give me all the news I got a fine lot of cakes from Mrs. Ramler last Week & I got a Box of cakes from Harrisburgh O, I live fine, Some of the boyes Say, Why the Hell is it that ,Fitting, gets all the cakes and we get nun- no more at present I will write after the boyes get in a goode Fight & win the Battle. Write Soon
Wm Fitting 6th Regiment
P. R. V. Co. G
(Four page letter, only three pages are used, however. At the top of the first page is a picture of a woman by the flag, which says “For the Union.” Next to the picture is a seal and under it says, “California.”)
Back to Top
Camp Peir Point Oct 14th 61
Fairfax Co., VA
Dear Sir, I take this opportunity to let you know that I am Still alive yet & do not Expect to get Killed in this woar I got this likeness taken this morning and he could not take a good one. it ruined like forty but I will get one taken when I get to Washington. We ar now Ten miles from the City of Washington. this likeness I got, taken, in the State of Virginia, one mile from the Enemys Camp it was taken in the Woods
We hat no fight this ,Week, yet but the boyes look for one Every day. Their will be, one hell of a fight, one of thoes dayes but let them rip = Our Company G & Company F ar out on picket. I Expect they will bring Som good news in when they come from the field of the Enemy. George, dount you wish you hat a pair of Whiskers & Mastash like mine. I will show you a pair of Whiskers when I get home - I have no news for you this time I want you to write to me, as Soon as you get this. I will rewrite to you when when I get more news. no more at present.
Sargt. W. Fitting
P. R. V. C.
---- Co. G.
(Two page letter. Picture of a soldier holding the USA flag on from left corner of paper. Underneath is written, “The Spirit of ‘76 Revived”)
Back to Top
Headquarters Langly(?) 6th Reg’t Co. G Camp Pier point 1861
I have not received a letter from you for three weeks. Why is it that you do not write to me. but it may be that your letter was lost, our mail was lost for Three dayes, it may be that I will get it yet.
George did you get my likeness. I send it, to you, in a letter, it was a poor, one. & Further I must, tell you that I am well & money plenty & plenty to Eat & Drink. & Further I - I must tell you about the Fight Last Week. We lost Seven Hundred & Seventy Three men. 7:73 and the Enemy lost about, one Hundred & fifty 150 they cut up a Whol Regiment. the Regiment was from Main, it was, one of the best Regiments in the the battle field. They hat bin on picket & fell in Hands of about Ten Thousand Rebels = the fight was about Thirty miles from our camp. The news came to the Camps, & they hat orders to Rush Sixty Thousand
Men to help the Regiment but when they got their - the Enemy hat left. I did not go, out, to the battle their is no telling how Soon their will be a large battle. I would like to hear from my bolt Fredrick & wife I would like to know how, it, is about the Baby. if he has not Started one yet Why. I will be home in a Short time & I will help him. I have now Seventeen Started in Virginia I have not given them names yet but, one I will name Jeff Davis - one I am going to name after you George Washington. I have to Stop Writing - for it, is Raining like hell & news is Scarce I will Write to you - in about Three Weeks
Agan times is dull give me all the news When you Write to me - The Manada Furnace Boyes ar in the State of Maryland They ar about fifty miles from us ----- no more at present
Sargt. Wm. Fitting
Washington D. C.
(Four page letter. At the top of the first page it says “ONWARD TO VICTORY” and there is a picture of a lady holding the Union flag and standing on a cannon ball. On each side of her are years, the left side is 1776 and the right side is 1861)
Back to Top
Headquarters 6th Regt. Co. G
Camp Pier Point 1861
Dear Sir, I take this opportunity to let you no that I am Still in the land of the living, & am getting along fine. I received a letter from you last ,week, & was glad to hear from you. & Further I let you no that I hat Intented to come home Soon, but I think I will come home before Jenuary, & then I will Stay for about Three Weeks, I do not feel like coming home yet, it is rather Soon yet. I have fine times here to-day I was out to help, to
Hunt som Rebels, but We did not find Eny. We hat no fight of late, We Just got orders, to get rashings for Four dayes -- march. the orders is this. that Sixty Thousand men ar to march to Morrow morning at five o'clock to take leesburg it is a fine Town Their is about Twenty five Hundred Houses in that place. It will cost more then one life. I would like to go along with the party but I will have to Stay at home to take care of Som goods - George I wish you could See the army that is in the field. I tell you it is the right Stripe for the times. This morning I saw five Thousand Horse Men drill, Oh = George you aught to See them drill etc. George you will get a paper I send on this day
by mail I have no news this time of Important. I will write to you after the Town of Leesburg is taken, & then I can give you more news. Tell Mr. Cline that I am geting along fine & hope he is the same. Tell him That we have not as much Whiskey here as we hat in Linglestown & I think it is all for the better George I Baught a pair of Gum Boots this ,Week, that cost me Ten dollars they come up to my a-- you no what I mean- We have a Store in our Regiment. We can get Enathing we want. George you have to Excuse bad Writing & Spelling this letter I wrote it in about one c.- for I have to get the rashings for the men to march to night I have no time to Spare. I have to Weigh about Three tons of pork
For the army no more at present. Write Soon
P. R. V. C.
Washington, D. C.
(Four page letter, lined. The first page has a picture of a woman holding the USA flag.)
Back to Top
Head-Quarters 6th Pennsylvania
Camp Peir Point
Dec. -23d 1861
I take this opportunity to let you know that I am well at present & hope this will find you all the same. & further I let you know that we hat a small Fight on Friday after Noon. our regiment was in the fight. Their was about Ten Thousand Engaged in the fight. We lost in our Company one man. His name was Smith In the Regiment, we lost about 36.) men. in all, The fight was at Drainesville, about fifteen miles from our Camp. I did not get to the Battle field till the Battle was over. I left our Camp
In the after noon for the Battle field. I wrote fifteen miles in about 3/4 of an hour. I got to the Battle field at (4) o'clock but when I got their the Battle was over I got off my horse & Took my Gun, & then marched in among the dead. Their was about Three Hundred lying dead in the field (264) Rebels & 36 of our men. Som of them hat their Heads bload off with Canons Balls & Som of them hat no legs & Som no A--. you cant form an Idea how it did look it was one awefull Sight to See, Some of the Dam Rebels was peaying like Hell before they died but the boyes did give them Hell this time. We got to Camp that night at 10 o'clock, We hat as meneye Blankets &
Over Coats & Guns & Sords & Etc. As We could bring along to Camp. Some of the ,Rebels, hat as high as a Thousand Dollars in their Pockets in their money and that is not of much account. I have Three over coats. I wish you hat Two of them at home. I have more then I want. George if I was to give you all the news of this Battle, it Would take me one ,Week, I will give you the news when I get home. George I wish you could be in our Camp on Christmas We have a Turkey that We Stole about Three Weeks ago & the Regiment is going to Roast a large Stear that Will Weigh about 11=00 lbs. We Will Have a fine time. We have good Winter Quarters Now good Stoves & plenty to Eat & Drink but they can not all Say So.
George I hat Som Notion to come home on Christmas but it is most to Soon yet I think I will not be home not till I get to See another Battle. George, I Saw young Rimehart from Linglestown and young Hicks. They ar in the 12th Regiment P. R. V. C. they ar all well and Sends their best Respects to you. George do you get my papers, that I Send you. no more at Present. Write Soon. Excuse bad Writing (Bill)
(Four page letter, the paper is edged in blue and red. The letter is written in pencil.)
Back to Top
Camp Peir Point Jan = 8th/62
I take this opportunity to let you know that I am well at present & hope this will find you all the same I Received your kind letter last ,Week, & was glad to hear from home. & further I Must give you the Woar news., their is nothing of Important going oan, at present but, I think their will be a fight in less then ten dayes for Gen McClellen Said that
This Woar has got to End till Spring for it Costs the Goverment daily Two Million of Dollars. I tell you their will be one awful Tax to be paid to make up all this money. George I have know news to give you this time but you can look for me to be home this Pay-day - they ar going to pay off the men next ,Week, then I will be home but not, to Stay I am going to Stant to the Stars and Stripes till this Woar is over George I would have bin home before this but I would like to be in the Service one year before I come home -- their is so meny Married men that want to get home to See their Wiefs & Children & We Want to give them the first opportunity I must tell you how kind Mr. John Martin is geting. last
night young Barst from Union Deposit Receivd a Box of Cakes & pies etc. & Martin he hat a letter in the box for me. it was Wrote in this manner, William I Want you to Write to me & give me your address for we have a large Box of Pies & Cakes & Chickens, & Pudding etc. that We Want to Send to you do not fail to Write to me Soon & let me Know how to Direct the Box --. I Say Bulley for John Martin, I think he must be geting rich I would Send for the Box but I am afraid that they Might Say that I hat nothing to Eat in Camp & I know that Would be a dam Lye - for I plenty to Eat & Drink. George you hat a fiew lines in your letter from ,Mother, about not Writing Sooner & more,
I tell you that one half of the time I do not think of Home & the other half We Sleep & Eat & agan I think that When I do Write you ar rather Slow In Writing to me. tell mother that I will be home Soon and I will give you all the news. no more at Present
Mr. J.V. Cammeron from Middletown Pa Was out in Camp to Se us he looks Well & Samuel Mummau from Highspire he staid With me all night in my tent & we hat a fine time.
Your Brother (Bill)
I Send you a paper this ,Week, by mail -
(Four page letter, written in ink. The first page has a USA flag along the left side of the paper.)
Back to Top
Head-Quarters 6th Pennsylvania
Camp Pier Point
March 1st 1862
George I received your letter last Night & was glad to hear from home. This was the first letter that I receivd from you in Three Weeks. I would have Wrote to you Sooner But I hat Some Notion of Coming home Soon, but their Is no Show at Present We Have orders to have Every Thing Packed up & get ready for a March We Will take Manasses this time & that Will Ent the Woar. on the Rebel Side, that is their Strongest Poast that they hold yet.
George I have not time to Write much to you this time but I wish you could hear the Boyes Yelling in Camp & the Band Playing oh - We have a grand time here We all Expect to be home agan the 4th July. George I was told that Jos. B. Early was in the Rebel Army if he is we will give Him a fiewe hart Pills. that will do him good how is my Bolt Fredrick geting along & his Wife. young Ben. Early told me that Jos. B. Early is a Brig= General under Jeff Davis he was in the fight at Bull Run he hat charge of ,5000, Rebels - We Will give him hell if we get to See him. George tell (P Abraham),
If he will come to Washington I will pay all the Exspences. I will Send the Money to him, if he will come, he could See more in one half hour then he Ever saw in his life time. I will have to bring my letter to a close for it is time to go to Bed the Wether is fine here. We have no Snow here, but Plenty of Rain. George if we will not move I will be home Soon & if We March it will be Impossible for me to get Home for a Short time. George do you get my papers that I Send to you. no more at present. Write Soon & give me all the news.
(Four page letter, written in pencil. Only three of the pages have writing on them. The paper is edged in red and blue.)
Back to Top
Camp Near Catlett Station
April 25 / 62
Friend George I take this opportunity to Inform you that I am Still in the land of the liveing yet, & hope to remain their for Som time. George I Receivd your letter Wednesday Evening and was glad to hear from you that you ar all well. I Expect you want to know Some thing about the Woar, I Expect you get the news Daily. We have drove the Rebels in front of us for the Last Three Weeks but they will not Stand the fire. We have now run the dam Rebels out of their homes they hat & we will run them to Hell Next or Som other Sea Port.
George I am Writing this letter on Board of the Steamer George Washington. We ar going up the Rappahannock River our Destination is for York Town. Their We will make them fight or give up their Guns. We have fine times here. the Wether is fine here & woarm, I saw John Rimeart last Week & he is well. But he is mad they have to gard the Rail Road from Manasses to Catlett Station and he told me they hat nothing to Eat but Salty Pork & Crackers but he told me he would kill the first Sheep or Pig he gets his Eye on. They have a poor Regiment, their officers ar Drunk one half of their time. So you can Judge for your Self. I have not Seen Earlys boyes yet, but I Expect to See them
Every day. They ar about five miles from our Camp. I do not know how they ar geting along. George I must tell you that I Saw the House that Jos. B. Early hat his Winter quarters he is a Brig= Genel= in the Rebel Army. George I wish you would find out Wether it is him or not, ,Moses, Early might tell you. their was a Virginia farmer told me that he spoke to a Brigadier General by that name. And he took me to the house. Wheir he hat his Winter Quarters. he is now at York town George I want you to write Soon & give me all the news it takes one Week before we get the mail from your plase. no more at present but Write Soon & give all the news.
You must Send your letter to Washington D.C. We have no office here.
6th Regt. P.R.V.C.
(Four page letter, written in ink. There is a small hole in the top of pages one and two.)
Back to Top
[First two pages seem to have
To Draft the men that is If the will not Enlist. You will find that to be the Case Before long - But they can onely take one young man out of a family So you ar all right you can tell them that you have one fighting Brother In the army now. You Will See Some fun among Some of the Country Jakes They have to go to Woar in Spite of Hell - let them be Rich or Poor and that is what I would like to See. Geo. tell Abrh” that he Would better go as a Capt. of a Company I think he would like it over the left. George dount you be fool Enoft to Enlist if I hat Fifty Brothers I would not advise one man to Enlist in a
Cause of this kind for this Woar might have bin Settled Long a go But their is a party that Want to Make a little more money Before they Bring it to a Close. but let them Rip - I am Satisfied. George - to day the Rebels have bin fireing on our Steam Boats they killed five of our men. The Rebels ar about Three & a half mile from our camp But the ar afraid to attact us & We ar afraid to Attact them. Our officers Say that the Rebel Privets in ranks was all Drunk in all the fights - And the Rebel officers Say Our Privets in Ranks was all Sober But the Officers of the Yankee Army was all Drunk. So the
Rebels got the Joke on our Officers. Well I gess I have to bring my letter to an Ent.--------Tell Mary to Write to me & when I come home I will bring her a fine looking young officer ,along.
Write soon & give my best
Respects to all,
6th Regiment P. R. C.
In Care of Capt. Reher
George their is Some talk of Stoping all the letters from this Point. they Say that the men Write Home Such Bad news that Thoes
at home get Discouraged and Will not Enlist - So it might be that you will not receive a letter from me for Some time, but they will not Stop letters that ar Send to us from home or Eny other place. But they will not let us Send them home Because they no their is dam little good news that is Send hom.
George Burn this letter after you read it. (Young Ben Early from Palmyra Pa. was Shot in his hip - In the Battle before Richmond he will get over it. I saw him to day He sayes he will give them Hell the next time.
(Four page letter, written in ink on blue-lined paper. Page one has a brown stain at the top.)
Back to Top
Back to Transcribed
Records | Julie's Family
Photo Album main page
| Julie's Surnames | Julie's Family Tree Main Page | Julie's Five-Generation Pedigree Chart | Home |