26 April 1862: “…it always seemed to me that I was not destined to die here.”

Item description: Letter, 26 April 1862, from Union soldier Stephen Tippet Andrews to his beloved, Margaret (Maggie) Little.

For an introduction to the correspondence between Andrews and Little, please see our post of 11 February 1862.

[Transcription available below images.]

Item citation: From the Stephen Tippet Andrews Letters #5324, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp near Lees Mill Va April 26, 1862

Dear Maggie

Eight months ago to day I enterd the servace of Uncle Sam; eight months ago I agreed to work for government for three years unless they got sick of the bargan and turned me off. And it has been the most eventful period of my life – but it has passed the quickest that the same time ever seemed to in my life; how it will be with the next eight months no one but the Almighty can forsee. How well do I remember your telling me that I would get killed; how that prophecy may turn out none know, At present it looks as so I should stand a pretty good chance to shuffle of this mortal coil for we are at cannon range of the rebel batteries; but if it is my fate to fall so be it – but I think I am coming home again; it always seemed to me that I was not destined to die here.

We are encamped along the rebil lines about midway between Warwick Court House and Yorktown, and are expecting every day to get orders to attack their batteries but McClellan seems to be in no hurry to make the assault; when it does commence there will be fighting all along the lines from the York to the James river. Day before yesterday we were out reconnoitering we went within about a hundred rods of the rebil Forts and lay in the woods for several hours while our Brigadier went forward to examine the location; but we were disappointed for they did not molest us and we had orders not to open the ball. This morning a regiment along side of us had a little tussel with some rebils who were trying to plant a battery so as to bear on their camp in which several were killed on both sides.

I have not received a letter from you or from anybody else for a long time. This morning we had the first mail that we have had in a week; and how anxious[ly] I ran the letters over to find one from you[r] own dear self but I was doomed to disappointment – you can not imagine how a person would feel to be away off here in an enemies country and not to hear from the dear ones at home for weeks and how I feel not to hear from you of whom my minds eye sees every day looking just as you did when I used to spend so many plesant hours last summer – how little did I then think that I should be debared from hearing from you even if I was absent but the fates seem to be against me.

If I could but see you and spend another evening as I have done before I could tell you so much that I cannot find time or place to write.

Now Maggie do write often so that I may get some of your letters at least I

[rest of letter torn off and missing]


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