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Fredericksburg Battle Letter Written by Ellis C. Strouss, Co. K, 57th Pa. Infantry
Strouss enlisted on November 1st, 1861 in Company K of the 57th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was a resident of Crawford County, Pa. He is pictured in Volume 17 of the Gettysburg Magazine. On June 30th, 1862 Ellis was wounded at Charles City Crossroads. He would be wounded again on May 5th, 1864 in the battle of Wilderness, Virginia. In May of 1863, he was promoted to Sergeant and eventually to Lieutenant and Captain. Writing home to his mother Captain Strouss gives an excellent description just 6 days after the battle of Fredericksburg fought on December 13th. The letter is 7 pages written in nice dark ink and is headed, “Camp Opposite Fredericksburg, Va., 57th Regt. Pa. Vols. Dec. 19th 1862”.

•  "It was the hottest fight our Regt. has ever been in. Our Division was commanded by Gen. Birney and acted as a support to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps.”

• “The Reserves were fighting the Enemy and were obliged to fall back when our Division was ordered to go to their support. This we done in double quick time.”

• “Our Regt. formed line on the edge of a ditch and then jumped in the ditch and commenced firing on the Rebels. But owing to the nature of the ground, the Rebels had a great advantage over us.”

• “They were in the woods about 20 rods in front of us, and the ground at the edge of the woods was about 50 feet higher than it was where we were stationed.”

• “They had two lines firing on us. One in the edge of the woods, and another about half way between us and the woods. We were ordered to fall back.”

• “As soon as we commenced falling back, the Rebels came towards us at a charge. They thought they could take a battery which was a few yards in our rear.”

• “But they missed it most splendidly for as soon as we got abreast of the Battery, the Battery opened on them with grape and canister shot. It slaughtered them most awfully. Some of our men did not leave the ditch when we fell back, and the Rebels jumped into the ditch and told our men that they were their prisoners. But the Rebels were afraid to leave the ditch for fear that our Battery would open on them again, and our men were afraid to leave for fear the Rebels would fire on them.”

• “At dark, however, we sent another Regt. down, and rescued our men and took the Rebels prisoners. They belonged to the 61st Georgia Regt.”

• “On Sunday and Monday there was not much fighting, and on Monday night we recrossed the river and are now again in our old camp. I think that the winter campaign is over, but I do not know whether we will remain here.”

• “Our Brigade is not as large as a full Regt. The position the Rebels held is a strong one and cannot be carried in the way we made the attack. I am well and hearty and in good spirits, notwithstanding our defeat. I still believe as I ever have that we will be successful in the end. We are in the right, and God is with the right.”

• “You say you want to send me a box of provisions. I would (like) it very well, but as we are at present, I would advise you not to send me anything by Express, for I would not be apt to get it if you did. As soon as there is an opportunity to get a box through, I will let you know. But to Peter you can easy send as he is in Washington and could easy get one if sent to him. You can (send) me a pair of woolen mittens or gloves by mail. The postage will be about 18 cents. I would like a pair of them. I want you to send me a dictionary by mail. My old one is lost. Get one about the size of the one I had got. Webster's. You can get it in Titusville, I guess. And I want you to send me my History of the United States, if you have got it. The postage will be a cent an ounce. You need not send them both at once. Send the Dictionary as soon as you can get it. Send me these and I will like it as well as if it was something to eat. If I could get them carried, I would have a cart load of books.”

• “I will try and write another letter to the Gazette (his hometown Newspaper) as soon as possible. I must bring this to a close, as I must get ready for inspection, and I want this to go out to day. My love to you all. Hoping this will find you all well. I must close. From your affectionate Son, Ellis C. Strouss. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”



An excellent battle letter in fine condition.

#L727PA - Price $950



































































Transcription:

Camp Opposite Fredericksburg Va.
57th Regt. Pa. Vols.
Dec. 19th 1862

Dear Mother,

         I received your letter of the 7th inst. yesterday. I also received one from Mat last week which I answered on the 17th inst. It was wrote with a pencil. In it I stated that we had been in a fight and gave you the number of killed and wounded. We knew nothing yet of the missing. It was the hottest fight our Regt. has ever been in. Our Division was commanded by Gen. Birney and acted as a support to the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. The Reserves were fighting the Enemy and were obliged to fall back when our Division was ordered to go to their support. This we done in double quick time. Our Regt. formed line on the edge of a ditch and then jumped in the ditch and commenced firing on the Rebels. But owing to the nature of the ground, the Rebels had a great advantage over us. They were in the woods about 20 rods in front of us, and the ground at the edge of the woods was about 50 feet higher than it was where we were stationed. They had two lines firing on us. One in the edge of the woods, and another about half way between us and the woods. We were ordered to fall back. As soon as we commenced falling back, the Rebels came towards us at a charge. They thought they could take a battery which was a few yards in our rear. But they missed it most splendidly for as soon as we got abreast of the Battery, the Battery opened on them with grape and canister shot. It slaughtered them most awfully. Some of our men did not leave the ditch when we fell back, and the Rebels jumped into the ditch and told our men that they were their prisoners. But the Rebels were afraid to leave the ditch for fear that our Battery would open on them again, and our men were afraid to leave for fear the Rebels would fire on them. At dark, however, we sent another Regt. down, and rescued our men and took the Rebels prisoners. They belonged to the 61st Georgia Regt. On Sunday and Monday there was not much fighting, and on Monday night we recrossed the river and are now again in our old camp. I think that the winter campaign is over, but I do not know whether we will remain here. Our Brigade is not as large as a full Regt. The position the Rebels held is a strong one and cannot be carried in the way we made the attack. I am well and hearty and in good spirits, not withstanding our defeat. I still believe as I ever have that we will be successful in the end. We are in the right, and God is with the right. You say you want to send me a box of provisions. I would (like) it very well, but as we are at present, I would advise you not to send me anything by Express, for I would not be apt to get it if you did. As soon as there is an opportunity to get a box through, I will let you know. But to Peter you can easy send as he is in Washington and could easy get one if sent to him. You can (send) me a pair of woolen mittens or gloves by mail. The postage will be about 18 cents. I would like a pair of them. I want you to send me a dictionary by mail. My old one is lost. Get one about the size of the one I had got. Webster's. You can get it in Titusville, I guess. And I want you to send me my History of the United States, if you have got it. The postage will be a cent an ounce. You need not send them both at once. Send the Dictionary as soon as you can get it. Send me these and I will like it as well as if it was something to eat. If I could get them carried, I would have a cart load of books. If you get this before Mat goes to Saegertown, tell her when she goes to give my respects to all my friends there. I will try and write another letter to the Gazette as soon as possible. I must bring this to a close, as I must get ready for inspection, and I want this to go out to day. My love to you all. Hoping this will find you all well. I must close.

         From your affectionate Son
                                                  Ellis C. Strouss

I wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy new year.

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