Cornelius Gold, 6th C.V.I., June 19, 1864

Title

Cornelius Gold, 6th C.V.I., June 19, 1864

Subject

United States. Army. Connecticut Infantry Regiment, 6th (1861-1865)
Siege of Petersburg (Virginia : 1864-1865)
Grant, Ulysses S. -- (Ulysses Simpson), -- 1822-1885 -- Public opinion
Soldiers’ writings
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African Americans

Description

Cornelius Gold writes to his friend Amy about the previous day's combat, the dangers of the picket lines, and his opinion of Gen. Grant.

Date

1864-06-19

Identifier

2-35

Text

Bermuda Hundred Va. June 19, 1864
My dear Amy
“My heart is inditing a good matter,”
that will never appear to your waiting eyes, but since
you are more than usual in my thoughts tonight I
must say just a word before lying down to rest, telling
you this if nothing more. I have had a whole Sunday
+ expect a night to come, in my own tent, an almost
unheard of privilege in these days; for which I am
indebted to a slight indisposition that forced me back
from the Picket line this morning. I left just before
day-break as to have come later had been at risk of life.
Sharp shooting begins with light + ends only at dusk.
It hurt my pride severely being the first time I have
asked excuse from duty but it is only by avoiding the
small ailments that one avoids the great in this
country. “A stitch in time saves nine” you know.
I shall be right side up tomorrow + really none the
worse for an evening of quiet enjoyment “at home”.
Sitting in front of my tent this afternoon I caught my
first sight of Lieutenant General Grant. He rode past
(Page 2)
within a rod of me accompanied by Gen Butler, two
Brigadiers + two or three orderlies himself in
appearance most unpretending of all. His presence
here is significant of the new phase of affairs about
Richmond, a change quite palpable to us. Our duty
of standing by the defenses of Bermuda Hundred has
grown suddenly to one of great importance, as the nearest
position to Richmond + holding the right of Grant’s Army
which, if turned, would cut his communications + force
him to “get out o’ this” the quickest way possible.
So an attempt by Lee to break through here is watched
against carefully but expected any moment.
Our regiment had a slight taste of his unfriendly
disposition day before yesterday. While advancing
occupying a new + more advanced picket line
than before, a heavy force of rebels charged on us
at “double quick” + drove us back in most indecent
haste to our old rifle pits.
Since the affair at Drury’s Bluff on our first
advance toward Richmond, the 10th corps has fought
no heavy battles,+ our division done nothing
sufficiently brilliant to merit public notice. But
(Page 3)
if debarred from a share in the grand achievements
of our Potomac brothers, we glory in their spunk.
Our own ranks are being rapidly thinned by the
petty but incessant warfare of the Picket line.
Our last day resulted in a loss of 5 killed, 16 wounded
+ Captain Nichols of Stamford with 17 men taken
prisoners. The 7th Connecticut was posted with us + lost
about the same in killed and wounded.
Jay Nettleton came to see me today. He is alone
now – all the Washington boys gone from the
regiment. Fritz Green Hollister was killed while
skirmishing before Petersburg on Wednesday last.
He was a noble fellow. The 2nd Conn Heavy
Artillery have started today toward Petersburg.
Theodor Vaill called on me yesterday + I went with
him to see my other acquaintances in his regiment.
I never realized so fully the meaning of “war”
before nor do I now, with any faint heartedness
in view of the cause for which we fight, but I do
abhor it more and more. To me there is something
more terrible in the deliberate shooting of men,
picking them off as one would kill a squirrel, as we
(Page 4)
daily and hourly witness it here, than in the
wholesale carnage of a battle. I do pray earnestly
that the end may come, + come quickly. I
like Grant’s way of working, sharp + bloody
but short and life-saving in the long run.
How much under God depends on him.
The Black troops are winning laurels here. Every
victory gained by them over the enemy has its reflex
in the conquest of our wicked northern prejudice.
You have no idea of the animosity of our own white troops
toward “n*****s”, but this will fast vanish under
such assaults as that of the “Colored Division” on the
outer works at Petersburg. They won the admiration
+ open praise of the soldiers fighting beside them.
Their noble conduct must soon compel us, perhaps
make us proud to call them “brothers in arms”.
What are you doing? I dream of a sweet re-union
at Gray rock, + happy mid-summer migration
to our dear Washington, + wish you much joy in
it all. Will the two M’s of the P.G. Club meet + give
two thirds of a mournful grip over the absence of the
one “hi” present in spirit? Here’s my hand to you
both.
Cornelius

Original Format

ALS

Files

gold18640619rs.pdf

Citation

“Cornelius Gold, 6th C.V.I., June 19, 1864,” Linda Lear Center Digital Collections and Exhibitions, accessed March 6, 2021, http://lc-digital.conncoll.edu/items/show/1722.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.