Item description: Letter, dated 14 May 1863, from George Washington Baker to his mother. Baker, a lieutenant in Company K, 123rd New York Volunteers, hailed from Washington County, NY. In this letter he describes the battle of Chancellorsville and his attempt to locate several comrades.
I hear Howard is delireous this morning but time will tell
nothing heard from G bowen or J Williams
David Humphry is quite sick with fever and was wounded slightly
Camp 123rd N.Y.V.
May 14th 63 Near S.C.H.
My Dear Mother
Although you are all owing me letters, I thought I would write a few lines as I have nothing to do at present. We have just had a fine rain and it is cool and pleasent as you could wish. We have just heard from Howard & Doane but have not seem them yet. The report is that Doane is dead and Howard very badly off he being wounded in the leg and his leg mortifying so it will have to be cut off. It seems they were brought over the river last night and arrived at Acquia Landing this morning I was down there yesterday in hopes of hearing something from them but nothing had been heard then I saw 5 brought in while I was there 2 with arms off and 3 with legs off all from our division. I see the papers give Sickels Corpse the most praise but there was no Regiment under a hotter or longer fire than our Regiment and none stood fire better. I see General Williams division is well spoken of and well it might be as there were a number of Rebel divisions thrown against ours. We were in the 2nd Brigade commanded by Col Ross acting Brigadier. H was wounded early in the action by a ball in the foot so we were without a Brigadier during the fight. Perhaps we done better on that account. We were on the left of the Plank Road our right resting on the road and you will see by the description that there was where the heaviest fighting was done. One Col from the 145 New York is under arrest for cowardice and I understand Col Ross of the 20th acting Brigadier is under arrest for shirking on Saturday night. The heavy artillery and musketry firing was one of the grandest things I ever saw. I mean on Saturday night. There was a bright moon and the cannon were within 10 rods of us so we had a fine view of the whole transaction I think if the 11 corpse had done anything or held their ground we could have ruined the whole Rebel army. I see by the papers that General Jackson was dead. if so they have lost a great deal. I see by looking over the account of the battle a great many things that are not so and a great many things that are. We the 123rd opened the Battle on Friday night and had 4 killed and our Lieut Col wounded who I understand has since died. He was a gallant officer and a first rate millitary man. We had an awful battle Sunday morn but the bullits did not begin to whistle around me as they did on Friday afternoon. When I left there were only 4 or 5 with me Doane among the rest. I told them there was no use of staying any longer so we started to follow the Regt that had fallen back into the woods, the boys run back and I started and if the bullits did not whistle around me then I am no judge. I stoped and picked up four muskets and walked deliberately away. I made up my mind that there was no use of running. It seems as if something was gone and it seems rather lonesome past the boys being gone. You need not say anything about Doane or Howard until I find out for certain which I shall do in a day or so. Capt Wily will go down in the morning to see who is there and hear what he can from the boys. Let me hear from you often
Yours aff. George Love to all