Cold Harbor, Virginia
Sunday, June 1st 1862
Nothing new happened since we wrote you till last night. Yesterday there was hard fighting on our left across the creek & it worked up nearly opposite us. Last night at 9 we were called into line with 3 days rations, 20 rounds extra cartridges & in light marching order—knapsacks left behind. We started & marched ½ mile, about faced, & marched back, laid on our arms till 3 this morning, then we marched down to the creek & laid about 3 hours. They put a pontoon bridge—or partly put it on, but the water was high or some other cause [and] we came back to camp & are now waiting further orders.
There was a hard fight yesterday. Have not heard the particulars. You will before this reaches you. The Rebs showed their heads & we should have seen more if we had gone over, But we some expect to go over tomorrow. After we left the creek, the Rebels showed their heads from the woods so that our Batteries opened & gave them a few shots which made them skedaddle a bit. We have had a very hard shower & rain within a few days. Therefore the creek is high. But we have since learned that we was not expected to go over for there was no other Brigade out but we supposed we had some fighting to do & don’t know but we should had circumstances been favorable.
2 P.M. The camp is wild with excitement at the news of the repulse of the enemy yesterday. No particulars about the fight. I watched the fight for about 2 hours & I thought the Rebs was getting the worst of it. We have two balloons up today & will watch their movements. If they try to run, we are after them. If not, can take our time.
It don’t seem like Sunday today. Some of the boys are rather tight & disposed to fight our boys as well as the Rebs. We went our orders in our last letter of $14.00 each & $9.00 by Express by the way of Fisk. You can take a dollar & pay for those stamps & send us the balance in stamps for we can’t get them here. Write soon. Tell mother that we are well & not to worry. Love to all. Goodbye, — Edson
7 P.M. I have been to church & the cannon only a few rods off were booming their shells pretty fast. It took the parson off his feet almost every shot.
The Rebels have not replied much yet today. This shelling is to keep them away from the bridge. There is over 100 cannon ready to open on them from this hill if they show signs not minding their own business. Please send those stamps in your next & give the news. Goodbye. — Edson
[a different hand]
Sunday night, June 1st.
I thought I would write a few lines. It is very pleasant tonight but the day has been warm & one of great excitement. Our Batteries have shelled the side hill over the creek all day. Our Brigade got back from the creek at 11 o’clock. We had whiskey when we got back. The boys were pretty drunk before but this afternoon they are pretty savage fighting with everybody. The Captain is afraid of them but you need not mention it.
We have thrown a bridge across today. The Rebs are in plain sight. The fighting yesterday on our left was terrible. It was a perfect roar of cannon & musketry from 10 o’clock until 8 in the evening. We could see the smoke. It hung like a cloud over the hills.
Edson & I have sent our vests to Brookfield. Write often. Mother must have good courage & not worry. — Philo