January 26, 1862. Letter written by a Union soldier at Fort Jackson Virginia, in January 1862 describing the author's frustration at the slow pace of action, the heavy southern fortifications at Bull Run, McClellan's inaction, and the endless mud.
The author provides a good analysis of the stalemate in battle: "our Company has had nothing but guard duty to do for four months ... we keep hearing every day that thear is agoing to be something done but I am afraid they are never agoing to commence. It has got to be an old story so I shant belive what I hear until I see them start. ... we was agoing to burn them out of thear holes but that would be imposibel. they are to well fortified for that. at Bulls Run they have got 26 forts so that they could play on our army from all sides at once. Genl. McClellan knows better than to put his army in front of thear musket batteres. he is agoing to let fleets do the buisness on the coast. that is all the way we shall ever conquer them. they are so well fortified on the land an the land being so hilley they have every advantage of ous in Virgina. but when Genl. Wool goes on to Norfolk it will cut of all thear supplies. then they will have to retreat or starve ..."
The letter is signed F. A. Woodman. Woodman makes reference to his and a fellow soldier's company, identifying it as the Essex Cadets at Fort Jackson, Virginia. He also refers to officers of the 14th Mass going to Washington to be promoted. The Essex Cadets were from Essex County Mass., and were mustered in at Fort Warren in July 1861, and ordered to Washington.
The 14th Mass. Volunteer Infantry served in the defenses of Washington, DC. Fort Jackson protected the end of the Long Bridge, which connected Northern Virginia and Washington DC and was a critical transportation route for the Union Army. On Jan. 1, 1862, the 14th Mass became the 1st regiment Mass. heavy artillery. In August 1862, the end of the year in which Woodman describes his frustration, the regiment finally was sent to the front, and was present at the Second Battle of Bull Run, but it didn't participate.
Woodman concludes the letter with best wishes to his sister, and writes that he is enclosing a gold dollar for "Lady". It is not present, but the strip of paper and the mark where the coin was anchored are still present at the top of the first page. 10 1/2 x 8", folds to 5 1/4 x 8, written on 4 sides. Very good condition. Item #22761