Alfred P. Rockwell, 19 January 1865

Near Fort Fisher, N. C.
January 19th 1865

Dear Kate,

I am perfectly hungry for letters and news from home. Not a word since I left our old camp before Richmond and my last date from you was December 28th. We are however looking hourly for the arrival of a mail from Fortress Monroe and then I hope to be gratified and made happy.

Since the taking of the fort and my establishment on this line, I have not done or seen anything of consequence. Immediately on our landing a line of works was thrown up across the peninsula about two miles above Fort Fisher where it is only about a mile from the ocean to the river. This was our defense against an attack upon our rear while operating against the fort. As soon as the fort was taken, this line them became our front toward Wilmington. My regiment holds the right of this line directly on the sea—rather a good camping ground as a temporary matter. Now you know my position. I have not been away from camp for the past three days though very desirous, as you may suppose, of seeing by daylight the ground over which we fought by moonlight.

January 21st

A steamer came in yesterday from Fortress Monroe bringing newspapers of the 17th but no mail. Imagine my state of mind. Then on top of this came on a tremendous North Eastern—rain and wind and cold—and it blew a gale last night and our tent leaked and sprinkled us from above, and the water from outside came in under us as we laid upon the ground and but for the solidity of my character (probably) I should have floated off to sea. Now don’t you think we pay for our glory?

Well I sat grumbling and growling in my tent at everything in general and this army life in particular, eating my crust of hard bread and drinking ,y tea (Oh! what team what a luxury it has been and is!) when the General ordered me out in the rain to see to the strengthening of our line. And now I am just in from the work and find that hard work is the best antidote to all this and have concluded that it’s not so bad after all as Virginia mud [and] not so cold either—and that even if it does rain now, the storm has held off remarkably and that Heaven certainly smiled upon our undertaking. The weather from our landing for a week was perfect and sea uncommonly smooth. The night of the attack the may be said to have given us the fort, for I really think it would have been impossible for our Brigade to have carried it and found our way in the darkness. No, I will grumble no more, but be thankful for the good we have received. And then if the mail is so long in coming, there will be more letters when it does come.

We do not move at once on Wilmington but seem to be waiting orders from Grant. Indeed, our force here is much too small for any forward movement, should the enemy oppose us, as they probably would do, for we know they have from 5,000 to 1[0],000 men entrenched not far from our line, while we do not number of 8,000. Whether or not we shall try for Wilmington now, I am in doubt. I have an idea that this movement here has something to do with Sherman’s against Charleston. When he takes that city as he certainly will do, he will probably come north.

Everything seems favorable. The spring campaign will open with our armies reinforced and strengthened and flushed with success. The enemy cannot fill his thinned ranks and must become weaker. I feel very strongly that the war is nearly over, but it may not end suddenly as a war with foreign powers by a treaty of peace. The work of subjugation is a more gradual process.

Now I ask myself when I can get away. My three years expire today. I must wait till I can learn something of our future movements. I dreamed of you last night in London. It was a very common place dream however. I remember it was only on a two day’s leave—rather short for a foreign tour.

Goodbye. Yours, — Alfred


Next Letter

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Spared & Shared 21

Saving history one letter at a time.

Spared & Shared 20

Saving history one letter at a time

Notes on Western Scenery, Manners, &c.

by Washington Marlatt, 1848

Spared & Shared 19

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Recollections of Army Life

by Charles A. Frey

The Civil War Letters of William Kennedy

Co. B, 91st New York Infantry

The Glorious Dead

Letters from the 23rd Illinois Infantry, the 111th Pennsylvania Infantry, the 64th New York Infantry, and the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Cornelius Van Houten

1st New Jersey Light Artillery

Letters of Charley Howe

36th Massachusetts Volunteers

Sgt. Major Fayette Lacey

Co. B, 37th Illinois Volunteers

"These few lines"

the pocket memorandum of Alexander C. Taggart

The Civil War Letters of Will Dunn

Co. F, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Henry McGrath Cannon

Co. A, 124th New York Infantry & Co. B, 16th New York Cavalry

Civil War Letters of Frederick Warren Holmes

Co. H, 77th Illinois Volunteers

"Though distant lands between us be"

Civil War Letters of Monroe McCollister, Co. B, 6th OVC

"Tell her to keep good heart"

Civil War Letters of Nelson Statler, 211th PA

Building Bluemont

The Origin of Bluemont Central College

"May Heaven Protect You"

14th Connecticut drummer boy's war-time correspondence with his mother

Moreau Forrest

Lt. Commander in the US Navy during the Civil War

Diary of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry

Fighting with the Irish Brigade during the Peninsula Campaign

"Till this unholy rebellion is crushed"

Letters of Dory & Morty Longwood, 7th Indiana

"I Go With Good Courage"

The Civil War Letters of Henry Clay Long, 11th Maine Infantry

"This is a dreadful war"

The Civil War Letters of Jacob Bauer, 16th Connecticut, & his wife Emily

Spared & Shared 16

Saving History One Letter at a Time

Lloyd Willis Manning Letters

3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Co. I

The Yankee Volunteer

A Virtual Archive of Civil War Likenesses collected by Dave Morin

William Henry Jordan

Co. K, 7th Rhode Island Infantry

No Cause to Blush

The Bancroft Collection of Civil War Letters

William A. Bartlett Civil War Letters

Company D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry

The John Hughes Collection

A Virtual Archive of his Letters, 1858-1869

The Civil War Letters of Rufus P. Staniels

Co. H, 13th New Hampshire Volunteers

This is Indeed A Singular War

The Civil War Letters of Henry Scott Murray, 8th New York Light Artillery

Create your website at
Get started
%d bloggers like this: