Delavan Bates, letter
September 22, 1862
“We are now about 10 miles north of Sharpsburgh. Saturday night we commenced marching at midnight, the report being received that the rebels had crossed into Maryland again. We were hurried right through, I was officer of the guard that day and had to bring up the rear. I guess there was as many as 10 or 15 fell out of every company, could not stand it marching so fast. We marched till 5 o'clock Sunday morning and I think I could have kept up till noon at the same gait. The rebels had crossed and drove in our advance but the report is now they have crossed back again. I think they do it on purpose to bother McClellan, first crossing here and then there, keeping his troops running up and down the river to drive them back.
You see by the papers that they were terribly defeated in the great fight last week, perhaps they were but they took their time crossing the river and the next day one of our brigades crossed in their rear and were driven back on a double quick. Both armies suffered severely and what advantage was gained was on our side as they were compelled to fall back but the papers as usual will be about everything in regard to the war.
The 121st has been very fortunate thus far for a number of new regiments have been rushed right into the thickest of the fighting. The 126th was at Harper's Ferry during that fight and were all killed or taken prisoners. Orange (?) Wright is lieutenant in his company and has command of it now, there being no other officer in the company. Orlando Bruce is wounded in the head, not dangerous, John Wilting died in the hospital a short time ago. That company has but 21 men fit for duty now. There is no telling when we will be called into action and for my part I don't care how soon but I do not think we shall until we are better drilled unless the army is badly cramped. If I get shot I don't want you to -go to the trouble of sending for my body. It is all nonsense. It will do no good. It can return to its native dust as easy and as well in Dixie as anywhere.
If I get shot I don't want you to go to the trouble of sending for my body. It is all nonsense. It will do no good. It can return to its native dust as easy and as well in Dixie as anywhere.”
Name: Delavan Bates
Unit: 121st Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry (Slocum’s Division, Franklin’s Corps), Co. I
- Soldier Reactions/Opinions
Event Location: Williamsport, Washington Co., MD
Document Origin: Williamsport, Washington Co., MD
Delavan Bates to Alpheus Bates. September 22, 1862. Transcribed by William S. Saint. Obtained from http://www.soldierstudies.org. Accessed on February 8, 2010.