Camp Sigel on Cedar Creek near Middletown, Va.
June 29th 1862
My Dear Mother,
I will now try to pen a few lines to you to let you know that I am still alive though in very poor health. I got the Reporter you sent to me yesterday and was glad to get a note from home. My courage is as good as ever but my health is getting very poor. If there was ever hard times seen in the army, it has been seen in the 111th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. I do not weigh as much as I did when I left Camp Dix into 30 pounds. Ben—you wouldn’t know him. He is as poor as a snake. It has been 11 days since I drew a ration from the company funds and within that time I have eaten 1½ loaf of bread and 1/3 pounds of butter which costs 50 cents. There was an order given by the Colonel not to buy of the citizens so we can’t get anything only off the sutler. Everything is quiet here. The rebels are perfectly easy just now.
This regiment [company] is not what it was when it was in Camp Reed. We then had 100 men able to do duty. Now we have got 8 that drills. There is one commissioned [officer, 2 sergeants, 2 corporals and 8 privates on duty out of 3 officers, 5 sergeants, 8 corporals and 100 privates. The balance is in the hospital. You can guess how we are getting along by that. Those in the hospital are treated more like brutes than like soldiers. They are fairly starved to death. They get one half cup of coffee and one hard bread 2 times a day.
The other day there was a large box of wines and jellies came to the hospital for the sick. the old doctor looked at it and said that it was too rich for them so he he had it taken into his tent and that is the last that has been seen of them. But the Orderly Sergeant went there the other day and saw some currant wine and jelly on the box they were eating from. I don’t know anything about it but think it looks dark. I have but little more to write. I have made a mistake in folding my paper but I don’t care. You can find it so it is all the same in dutch.
Mother, I got your letter of the 22d and was glad to hear from you but am sorry that you are sick. As for Mike, he was left with the baggage train because he couldn’t walk with the rest when we left Harpers Ferry. He is with us now but you wouldn’t know him, he is so altered.
I can’t say I regret the loss of Owen Fee ¹ for no soldier should be wept after. The wounded are to be pitied—they suffer more than the glorious dead. I am sorry that my friends are not as lucky as I am but I suppose they can’t help it. I am glad that father is going west. I think he will do well.
Well, I don’t think of anything more to write at present so I may as well bring this to a close. I am so tired I can hardly write.
Sol is about the same.
I am very glad you sent that post stamp but as for paper, I can get lots of that but the stamp is for my salvation. I will close for this time. So goodbye for this time.
— Edwin M. Whipple
¹ Owen Free was killed in action during the fighting at Fair Oaks, Virginia on 1 June 1862. He served in Co. K, 64th New York Infantry.