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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Henry Cunningham Transcript

Henry Cunningham Transcript

Camp near Falmouth Va.
Jan. 6th 1863

Dear Sir,
I have no news of our movements to give you as we are in complete ignorance of where we are going even when we get orders to march.  You have without doubt received the detailed account of our sad fate before & at Fredericksburg but you cannot realize the appearance of the battlefield without being present.  I had a full view of the whole fight.  Gen’l Howard ordered me to take two companies & support Capt. Benjamin’s Battery of 6 20 Pound Rifled Cannon.  I took the Belfast Company Commanded by Lieut. Cunningham & Company B Commanded by Capt. Noyes of Belfast and if you could have seen how snug they could get their heads to the ground when the shells were passing over it would have pleased you, but we all got out of the fight without being injured.

When all six of those guns was brot to bear on any one object the effect was terable. The Rebs run a gun up from behind a hill and fired three shots at us when the whole battery directed fire on it and in two minutes the gun and carriage was stove all to pieces & never seen by us again.

I am very busy.  Soon after the return from Fredericksburg Gen’l Howard ordered me to take 100 men & build two bridges.  I done it in four days and gave verry good satisfaction. Two days after he gave me Orders to reconstruct our picket line which I did and today I received an Order detailing me on a Court Martial in the 3rd Brigade of this Div. which will probably last ten days.  Col Heath or myself is detailed on extra duty nearly every day, and as the Col. has not been able to do much of any duty (has only attempted to drill the regiment four times since we have been in service, it makes it hard for us when so many Regiments in this Division is destitute of officers.  Col. Sewall has gone home on sick leave for 20 days & says he shall resign at the expiration of that time.  Some of the Gen’l Officers here is verry severe on the Col.

I hope the Col. will not go to Augusta and attempt to influence the Governor in any appointments that will be made in consequence of his resigning.  The Regiment is now in fair condition and the best of feelings exist & I hope it will remain so. If Colonel Sewall resigns I expect Col. Heath to be appointed Col. and Myself Lieut .Col. (if the Gov. cannot appoint me Col. of some other Reg.) and Capt. Fogler is the best qualified and is the ranking Capt. in the Regiment, the rank was determined by lot and fell in the right place. Lieut. E. R. Cummings is 1st Lieut. of Captain Fogler’s Company and has had charge of the Company most of the time for 5 or 6 weeks, Capt. Fogler having been sick for some time and since he got well was appointed Judge Advocate General of a court martial in the 2nd Brigade & 2nd Division which will last for some time.  I have no doubt but the Gov. will appoint Lieut. Cunningham Captain if Capt. Fogler is promoted.

I am happy in being able to inform you that I have not been sick one minute since I entered the army, although our march from Harpers Ferry to this place was verry severe.  I have not been so well for ten years and I think that I yet retain much of the vigor of younger days.  God grant that it may continue until this unholy war is ended. Please see the Governor and give him my best respects.

From your friend,
H.W. Cunningham

P.S. What I say of our Col. is between you & me and not for the public.  If the Gov. has a chance to appoint me as Col. in some other Regiment I would be much obliged and would endeavor to so conduct myself that the State nor the Governor should be disgraced by the appointment. H.W.C.

Gen’l John .L. Hodsdon.