Special Collections. train going over bridge on hucklebery trail from Imagebase image number NWALIFF0005

William Latham Candler

Papers, 1861-63, Ms1997-007

June 24, 1862; letter written from Headquarters Hooker's Division near Fair Oaks, VA

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Head Quarters Hookers Div.
Camp near Fair Oaks Va
June 24th 1862

My dear Brother
I have but a few moments to write you. I recd your letter about Ned Wild yesterday and saw Major Chandler in the afternoon, he had also heard from you and intends to see Genl. Hooker tonight I had not much time to talk with him as we were making a reconnaisance, which kept me rather actively employed. Major looks at it that Ned + Capt. Carruth, being the senior officers in the Regt. should receive the promotions they are both good soldiers and his idea is to have one made Major in the 1st and the other in one of the new Regiments. So far as he is personally concerned he would prefer Ned, but both are good officers and gentlemen. I can't be too glad that I'm out of the Regt for they are getting a lot of new line officers, none of whom I am very partial to and old Cowdin is growing more and more of a lunatic. I could get a Captaincy very shortly there, but should I take it I should feel in duty bound to return to the Regiment. There is an act now pending before Congress, with regard to the organization of the Staffs which if it passes will give me at least a captaincy and make me independent of the Regt. I hope it will pass for I would much rather be commissioned on the staff. Then I can resign very easily, now there are so many hands to pass thro' that it is almost impossible. I do not anticipate getting into Richmond before the middle of July, and we must fight hard to get there even then; the enemy have a very heavy force and although not so well disciplined and armed as our troops, they feel that the taking of Richmond by us would be a terrible blow to them, and they will make a desperate stand.

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They fell back all along the lines yesterday, and the order was given to advance the pickets from right to left; we knew they were strong enough in our front resist any advance we might make, but MacClellan thought he knew more about our position then we did; and sent us word that their pickets had been withdrawn along the whole line, and we must advance ours. We don't pretend to know much but, we have eyes, and when we can see their picket, within fifty yards of ours, and a Brigade in reserve, we rather conclude that some one is there. However we attempted to advance our pickets and after two or three hours trial skirmishing, we reformed our line of pickets on exactly the same line they had at the commencement. The rebels were up to something tho' and they either had not the large force in our front which has been there for two weeks past, or they were trying to draw us out and open on us with a heavy fire. The General's opinion is that all but one or two Brigades had been drawn to some other point. We only lost a few men-I understand that on other portions of the line our pickets advanced some distance with no opposition; but there is no certainty about it. McClellan thinks he knows everything but sometimes finds out that he don't get correct ideas of some of the most important points in his line. He sent us word one day to advance our line of pickets to the other edge of a piece of woods, which would bring them within two hundred yards of the Enemy's redoubts; his idea was to send one Regiment in to drive back their pickets and establish the line. One Regiment would be more than sufficient. Genl H sent him backward that he could form the line there, but his whole Division couldn't keep them there two days. Then Mac must have a Regt go in to connoitre and find out about a swamp; they went in a few hundred yards and were driven

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back with a loss of fifty eight men. And as near I can find and they found out nothing that they did not know before. Well, I suppose it is all right, and we will get to Richmond sometime. They have been talking about relieving our Division and letting us go to the rear to recruit for two weeks or so, but, I don't think there is much chance of it. Hooker's Div. has held the most exposed point in the line since the 2nd of June, and I'm inclined to think it will continue to hold it. Kearny + Heintzelman say that Genl. Hooker is the only man in the army who could hold this point a week, that the enemy would attack any one else who might be placed here + what success they might have, of course, can only be conjectured. Three nights ago they dashed in on us to capture an advanced redoubt we have built but I notice they went back again without accomplishing their desired object. We have lost a number of men but we hold our position and intend to do it. I am in a pretty fair state of health, altho' just at present a tremendous cough and cold and pretty severe work has rather played me out, two or three days rest will I hope bring me into fighting trim again. Johnny Rebel don't seem much inclined to shoot me; I have to get into his way enough, but he is remarkably considerate. I had yesterday to ride beyond our pickets as they were advancing to find out where the enemy were. Genl. Grover went with me, we rode up the road to within fifty yards of where a Regt or two lay behind a little bank watching to give our pickets another volley if they should advance a second time; Grover stopped very cooly in the middle of the road and pointed out to me the state of things we then turned round and drove back. They must have seen us but they didn't fire a shot after we left; but before I got to Genl Hooker, they

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were going in strong. They act very curiously; some says they'll fire at any mounted man they see outside our works and at other times they will let one drive round anywheres. I only hope they'll always have the same consideration for me; we are all too old soldiers to be anxious to get into a fight; but we know too much about bullets to make any fuss about them when they are buzzing about. A skirmish doesn't make us lose our appetite now, as it did a year ago; but I assure you the bloodthirstyness of the men has very much disappeared. I am sorry to say that we had to give up both my horses, when I took them one was a little lame, but it was only supposed to be from bad shoeing, but after keeping them ten days and having them examined carefully, I decided it was in his shoulder and the officer who had the selling of them agreed with me, and as he had been ordered to sell them without a blemish, he would not take the responsibility of selling the lame one, and could not sell one without the other. I am very sorry for they were splendid animals. I have found another which I bought for $175.- he is a fine, large powerful horse, and very good stock. I rode him yesterday on the fields and was very much pleased. A cannon don't worry him as much as a fly. I have drawn on you (C.C. + Co) for the above amount, favor Josiah Bradlee + Son at three days sight. I will wite again in a day or two. Love to all at home.
In haste Your Aff Bro

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