July 24, 1863
I avail my self of a few moments of time to tell you of our March an fight in Pennsylvania but as I was wounded [torn] first of the ingagement I may fail in [torn] it interesting. I would have writen sooner but was in hopes of a furlough & could tell you of it without writing but I have failed & therefore I have come back to my pen. I wrote a letter to Father as soon as I came to the Hospital which I trust he got, as it gave him and family gratifying inteligence.
I guess it has been a serious time in Chatham & I would have written immediatly after the fight if I could have got it threw. But when I left Gettysburg I never stopt till I got to this place. I marched 180 miles threw mud an rain & I suffered a grate deel with my wound boils & for something to eat I only drew rations for one meal during the march.
As I came threw Pennsylvania & Md I had to straggle from the road an beg something to eat some times I found friendly people an a gane I was turned off with nothing. Some days I marched all day without anything to eat at all but [torn]. I have been hungry in my life [torn] [never] was I so near perished. I even picked up the bread from the wounded Soldiers who would go to sleep and drop it I would trim off the blood and eat it hearty. I longed to seea the day when I could get as much bread as I could eat & thank god that day has come & proud am I to see it. Some may dout this but I give it as my exspriance & I take the responsibility. But as it will give no good feelings to you or those who hear it I will say something about the fight as it probly will be more interesting. On the last day of June our Regiment was on reserve Picket the day was wet and mudy at night I went to a barn & got a turn of Straw which I L. B. Welch & Capt Brewer slep on the folowing night. not knowing that the next days would be the end of so many of our brave boys. the morning come [torn] off we moved evry man and [torn] promply to his name & evry man paying pertickular attention to keeping his file closed. But a few miles had we gon when we hird the sound of Artillery just before us on the turn pike Road we soon come to the place whear it was when it first fired & as I was aquainted with artillery I new exacly how things was managed. It then advanced & commensed a gane when the Yankees replyed with shell which wonded some of our men.
Our Brigade moved on and formed line of battle in about 300 yds of the Yankees line threw out skirmishes & commensed fighting we lay in line of battle some two hours when the Yankees was driven back on our left we was then mooved forward an hear my feelings wear such [torn] they never was before not [torn]ing on my bravry for I have but little but I was as anxious to go as I ever was to do any thing in my life & as we went in I could heardly keep from crying I was so proud to see our boys go in so well. We had got but little ways when the Yankees pord a dedly fire in to our boys and with out orders our boys returned the fire but maide no halt but fired an loaded advancing untill we got in 30 yds of them when they run though they did not go off fast but slow testing evry inch of the ground as they went
By this time I was wounded an went to the rear. I there found my comrades lying almost in piles some ded some dying & others mortally and slightly wounded. Some would halt me and tell me they was bound to die. My feelings was much hirt but of corse I could not help them. I had not gon fare when I come a cross Isaac wounded in the left hip so he could not walk so I give him my assistance to the ambulance where we both got in it an went to Hospital. We staid there some two days with some ten or twelve of our boys. I will say for Dan Hackny he will long be remembered by us for he waited on us like a brother. Saturday morning we got orders for all to make ther way to Winchester that could walk
So I left them all there that could not walk. Ikes wound was on the hip though the bone was not hirt the Scar was about 3 inches long going just ball deep leaving a place of 1 inch not tore out I am shure by this time he is improveing. Our wounds are both about the same his on the left mine on the right though his is some worse than mine being on the bone. I would have got a furlough if I could have got to the hospital sooner but I never got to go before the board till yesterday and my wound had comensed getting better. Jas McMath & E. H. McManos will be at home soon it hirts me to see them start and I cant go. if it had been so you or Father could have been hear I could have gone too but let it all pass away I can Stay till the war is ended or till I am wounded a gane or killed far from home without ever seeing those loved ones whos soft hand would seeme so good to a soldiers bleeding wound.
I guess it will be a month before I can do duty though I shal return immediately as soon as I get able. Though I go with a sad heart finding but few of my boys that was with me on the first of July no officer to comand & some of the boys that I use to spend the most of my leasure time with now lies beneath the green clover in Pennsylvania & after a few rains it will wash the soil away & the ground will no them no more.
for the want of space and something interesting to write I will have to close I have wrote a grate deal and I fear it will be almost a burden to you to read it but I will say look over it all & look to the futur for better.
I have hird nothing from Ike. ECP is at Winchester Va. very porley Mr Lambert was hear yesterday I was glad to see him, I expect I shal be transfeared to Danville to morrow if I do you will hear from me a gane I would be glad to see you all but it is impossible
Abram Vestal is hear – he is a good soldier. My best love to my folks and yours trusting and hopeing that this blamed war will soon end either to our everlasting happyness or or ever lasting disstruction.
I am as ever yours W. W. Edwards
Source: Civil War Collection, Locke W. Smith collection, North Carolina State Archives and http://cdm16062.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15012coll8/id/11247
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