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Joseph E. Shaw Collection
38th New York Volunteer Infantry
joseph Shaw Letter 22
Donated by Robert Gritman

Head Quarters 38th Regt. N.Y.V.
Camp near Fair Oaks June 16th, 1862

Dear Ed,

                        I received your letter today and by it I see that neither you nor Gus have received the letters I sent to you some time ago.  In them I told you of a few of the incidents of the fight and of Ike Lockwood deserting.  He left Camp on the 3rd of June & we had not heard from him since until today I see by your letter that he is in New Haven.  Things are rather quiet here now except that occasionally we have an alarm & sometimes we have quite a skirmish.  Yesterday on the 15th it rained very heavy for about 2 hours and just in the heaviest part of the shower there was an alarm & the Brigade was ordered out but did not go into action as the Sickles’ Brigade was out in front and after a short skirmish succeeded in driving the “Rebs” back into the woods.  We stood by our arms for about half an hour & then we were dismissed.  We hear that McDowell & our right wing have effected a junction, if such is the case there will be a grand ball here in a few days.  We also hear that our siege guns that we left at Yorktown are on the way here.  In the skirmish of yesterday the Assistant Adjutant General of General Sickles’ staff was shot. He was shot in the head and it looked as though you could lift the whole side of his head off.  He was sent to the White House yesterday.  I suppose you have heard of Birney’s removal.  Col. Ward is now commanding the Brigade & I think very likely he will be made a Brigadier General.  As regards myself I am well & hearty as ever and am still with the Adjutant of my Regiment.  We get along first rate together.  The rest of the boys are all well I guess Charley and Dave will not find soldiering as pleasant as they thought it would be that is provided they get into active service.  Of course no one would object to being in Washington and parading around for two or three months with plenty to eat & drink, but when they come to one hard cracker a day and drink their water from under roots of trees & out of the road and in many cases so muddy that it feels like mush & milk going down, they will think then that Soldiering is no fun.  I am glad to hear Gus is better. I wrote him a letter  the a day or two after I wrote one to you.  Tell him he must mind his eye and not get enthusiastic and enlist for if he does he will say with fully appreciate the saying “Hard times come again no more”.  And you, although you are a printer will not disdain to take the same advice from an old and war-worn veteran.  Give my love to Mother & tell her not to feel alarmed about me for I will come out on top of the heap yet.

                                    Your Afft. Brother
                                    J. E. Shaw

Give my respects to Julia and Lucinda and tell them if it was possible, I would box up a couple of little wenches & send them up for there are any quantity of them here.  I have received two or three “Couriers” & find them very interesting.  I suppose you would like to see the position of this Brigade the days of the Battle of Fair Oaks.  I here send you a rough sketch of the same as near as I can.  Direct your letter as before.  As regards the non-receipt of my other letter I suppose they are detained in Washington in order to prevent the movements of the Army being made known, as much as possible.  Hoping this may be more fortunate than its predecessors.
                                    I have the honor
                                    To be
                                    Very Respectfully
                                    Your Obedt. Servt.
                                    J. E. Shaw

            Please excuse Orthography, Chirography & Autograph-ography, Exomology, & Prosody
                                    J. E. Shaw Esq.
                                    Co. F 38th Regt N.Y.V.
                                    Col. Ward
                                    Kearny’s Division
                                    Near Richmond

Letter also includes a sketch of the Fair Oak’s battlefield and narrative of 38th NY involvement



New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: October 17, 2011

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