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Joseph Curwin
Company I, PA 126th Infantry

"This Army of the Potomac filled with troops armed and equipped the best ever an army was In the world and with McClellan, Burnside and Hooker at the head--ought it not to do something? We will—we will!" Joseph Curwin 10 Nov. 1862


Jefferson Virginia, November 10, 1862

Dear Sister Mary…

This is the first time I have had to reply to your letter since its receipt. We have been on the March for the last ten days—yes ‘tis two weeks since we left Pleasant Valley. [We] crossed the Potomac at Berlin the first day and encamped near Lovettsville [Va.]. Thence we advanced to Wheatland, a distance of about ten miles from L[ovettsville]. There we spent three days. From there we have been continually on the move, sometimes marching in the night, until yesterday or rather Saturday we got to this place and encamped and surprised us with one and ever two days of rest.

Have been pursuing the Rebs all the time. Our Batteries driving them from hill to hill—often we would on the ground used by the rebs only the night before. We heard cannonading in incessantly for many days, but the enemy have got tired erecting batteries and skedadle [sic] now without any resistance. Let them go, we are after them about as fast as the like. I think all indications point toward a severe fight at Gordonsville. We think they will make a stand there and if they do we shall rain hot shot and shell into them for one long time. I tell you more—this Army of the Potomac filled with troops armed and equipped the best ever an army was I nthe world and with McClellan, Burnside and Hooker at the head--ought it not to do something? We will—we will!

My health is perfect at the present time. Last week while we were on the march, one or two nights I got so tired, I threw myself on the ground and slept without any protection or shelter contracting thereby a severe cold which gave me a touch of Rheumatism making me miserable for a couple of days. However, am well out of it now and will endeavor to take more care in the future.

This war business is rough! War! Rough! Rough!—much harder than anything I ever did. But I am getting well used to it and like it first rate. Money would not lure me to go home for good now with our present prospect of falling (?) this Rebellion—I may seem too sanguine but I think this war is near its close. If you could only see the tremendous Army in this advance, the immense amount of artillery and cavalry we have you would not wonder at what I say. America has never before seen the like—brass cannon of the best caliber go by us almost daily and rifled guards siege guns. Siege guns and field pieces are in abundance.

But enough of this--my time is very limited and must cut this short very soon. Hardly can I find time for writing this. [At] least Patten is well again and is in command of th company [Curwin is referring to William Patton who was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, VA on May 3, 1863. He died two days later from his wounds on May 5, 1863.] and your humble servant is detailed in command of Provost Guard. This division has a guard stationed in the rear of my Regiment to pick up stragglers and cowards. Also they guard the houses of citizens along the route of the Army to prevent soldiers from entering and destroying property. A section of this Guard is under my control. [I] like the business very much—get good living for the people are obliged to furnish the Provost with their meals. It’s quite a relief from hard tack and cold water which I lived on more than a week.

But must hasten—When get time will write you, but don’t expect letters while we are on the march. Please write me as often as you possible can. Letters are of such value here.

Address—2nd Brigade—2nd Division—9th Army Corps—Army of the Potomac.

All letters there will come straight to me….closing…Your Aff Brother J. C. Curwin.

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Submitter: Sherri Cawley Notes: Curwin mustered into Company I on August 13, 1862

Brian Brown, author of In the Footsteps of the Blue and Gray: A Civil War Research Handbook which can be purchased from ABE Books kindly sends the following information: Joseph Curwin of the 126th Pa served from August, 1862 until his discharge on May 20, 1863.

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