Letter, Lewis Josselyn, 38th Mass. Port Hudson

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Dec 13, 2017
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#1
Have this original in my collection. Thought somebody might find it interesting. H

Dear Mother and Father Port Hudson June 15

I am once more able to write to you but yesterday things looked rather dubious as to my being able to do so for we soldiers were in rather a tight fix. We made --- ----- ------ - --- ------ - - -- (words are in the fold and are illegible) early in the morning, and as far as I can learn as I am sorry to say sadly beaten at every point, but I as well as the rest of the boys our way was lucky enough to get out of it with a whole hide. Without it (referring to a whole hide) is Bill Phillips, he was wounded in the hip, but not very badly I think it took the skin of(f) of his hip near the top of the bone but did not enter it any, it is more of a bruise than anything, it lames him some but he is able to be about with us. We have had some hard times since I wrote you last, which is while I was at Semsport, but I have passed through it all, and well and hearty still, as I am glad to hear that you all are end page 1

by your letters, which I received today. The next day after I wrote we left Semport not knowing where we were going, but rather suspecting it was Port Hudson, three weeks ago yesterday, I may say the battle commenced that morning, our regt. was about three miles from the fort, I was on picket at the time about noon the regt started forward, and I with the rest of the picket were left behind. Near night we followed on to the regt. And found there had been some fighting, two or three being killed. That night we had trouble times we were routed up two or three times by an old mules getting loose and some commenced to hollow which scared the rest, and we all rushed for the guns expecting the rebel cavalry was upon us. I was asleep at the time the panic commenced and someone stepped on my wrist and almost killed me, no one was killed at the time, although some shots was fired, the next day we went into it and had some fighting which resulted more seriously, early in the morning we end page 2

started taking another road toward the fort going at the double quick for about a mile. We got up within a little short of half a mile of the fort, and ordered to support a battery, about noon our regiment and the 12th Maine were ordered to charge bayonets on the rebel works, the ground that lay between us was all hills and gullies or ravines as we call them , and trees were fell in all directions over the whole space, excepting in one place where there was a kind of road, the road we afterwards learned the rebels had got a cannon mounted so as to rake it, so up the road we went at the double quick the rebs pouring a perfect torrent of bullets upon us. They saw it was no use for us to go up, for every one of us would be killed so they ordered us to lay down, it was here that our Colonel was killed as you probably have heard, he had just got an order from the General when he was shot and died almost instantly

end page 3

There were many others killed but it was a wonder that there was not more, for there was bullets flying by the bushel, we got in the best place we could until dark and then retreated, it was during this day that Edmund was wounded as you must also have heard before this, he being armorer he no need to have come up to put his life in danger, but the temptation to see how the battle got on was to great for him and so he lost his hand. I do not know as I blame him for coming up near enough to look on we may all have done the same, as he did. but it is a pity it happened so, seeing he could have kept clear of it. I have not seen him since he was wounded, he was taken right back to Baton Rouge I suppose he has someone to write to his wife before now, if he is not able to do so himself, perhaps he can for he was wounded in the left hand, for several days after the day the Colonel was killed we lay in some of those ravines in the sun without anything to keep the sun off we almost died with the heat, day and night the battery would fire at the rebels every little while they would fire back the shells passing over our heads, the skirmishers which was ahead of us was firing also most of the time.

End page 4

We lay in the ravine four days and nights and then we were relieved one day and one night and then went back again. We stayed back one day and then we commenced our old business again marching. The story was that there was a large force of rebels in our rear at Clinton and our division was sent out there to meet, and defeat them if possible. Our Div. is commanded now by General Paine since General Emory is away at New Orleans. the first day we started was an awful hot day, along in the afternoon a quarter of the troops fell out of the march and could go no further. some fell as if they were dead or dying, being sun stroke it was awful I tell you. The Gen. saw he was like to lose all of his men if he marched them in the heat of the day so we did the rest of our marching in the night or early in the morning. the third day out we got up a little after 12 at night and marched till sunrise ad then halted, we were within two miles of Clinton. End page 5

Some of the cavalry which was ahead came back and said the rebels had left Clinton so we started on our way back. our troops burned the place before they left after they had taken what they wanted of the things they found there, we got back here in the rear of Port Hudson after four days from the time we started from here. We have been staying since then back here in the woods and out of range of the reb guns untill night before last we were then moved up a little with the rest of the regts. That was to make the attack with us early in the morning. we were then told the program for the next day. the 8th NH Regt. and the 4th Wisconsin were to be deployed out as skirmishers in front and then came two or three regts with hand grenades which they were to throw over the rebel works in amongst the rebs, and then came more troops with bags filled with cotton which they were to fill up the ditches in front of the breastworks, and the rest of the troops were to charge bayonets and mount the works, but during the night the program was changed a little and in the

End page 6

Morning our regiment was deployed as skirmishers excepting four cos. ours amongst the rest were as a reserve to support the colors, almost the first of the firing Corporal Noyes of our Co. was wounded in the hand, he is a tip top fellow, and we are all glad that he was not wounded worse than he was. on we advanced but the fire was to hot for us, the rebels mowing us down as with a scithe, some got up to the works but could not do anything, General Paine was wounded the first part of the day and lay on the field till night. at night we retreated, and here we are in our old position. the loss of our regt. in killed wounded and missing is 89. our co none killed three wounded and one missing, these are none that you know, our co has been mighty lucky I think. It seems strange to us that a charge was ever made, for they have been mounting large siege guns the last fortnight and we expected a regular siege. I hear that there is not to be another charge made, and that we are going to starve them out, anyway I hope we shall not have to go up as did the other day for it was an awful slaughter. Mark

End page 7


George and Eli have not been very well of late. Mark especially they were all three in the fight. Though Bill Henry he is sick at New Orleans and I hear he is going to have his discharge George Oldham he is in the hospital sick. I am in hopes when we go into camp again, if we ever do where we can rest, an doctor up a little, that our sick will soon get better, I want to tell you one thing and that is, I do not want you to worry so about me as you say you do for I am as tough as an injin, you must not think strange if the boys do not mention me in all of there letters for they cant anyway I cant them. they have all they can attend to, to write how they get along themselves, you must not expect us to write very often for we are so we cannot nor very long either. Mr. Brook as you say is a very nice man. he is thought a great deal by all of the Co., there is nothing but what he would do for anyone that he could, he has favored me a great deal but you must not expect him, or any of us to write every little incident that happens for it would keep us writing all the time. I am glad to hear that there is going to be such a flourishing business carried on in our part of the town. Hanover will get to be quite a place finally won’t it. Loime (sp?) tells me that George Warren has got to be 1st Lieutenant, he has done nobly, I should think, you write that you and Hannah sent me some papers. I have not got them yet, you sent a little love I wish it was ginger. I want you to send me a little in the news papers if you do anything hankerchiefs I have got enough of I wish you would send me a pair of

End of page 8. Writing becomes more tiny and squeezed on this page. Last page is really cramped as he is writing on the back of the envelope that brought him the letter from his family.

Suspenders, a pair without any rubber in, you can send them in a small newspaper I am so that I cannot get them now, you write that you thought some of having a new set of teeth if you did not worry so about me I do not see what difference that makes but if it does stop worrying by all means and get the teeth it wo8uld please me much more I wish you would get them I am glad you sent me the pencil it is the only good one I have since I left home If you send me any envelopes back them (I think he means for them to provide the return address) for I have not got any ink with me now so that I can do so now. Well I have written you a long letter this time and you must not expect me to write very often now don’t worry about me for I shall be all right, we may not see any more fighting. My love to all your LJ.



The lack of distinct punctuation and capitalization has left unsure of any marks I found on the pages of the letter. Where there seemed to be a curve I assumed a comma. Likewise anything resembling a period was taken as such. Obviously things in red are my own interpretation and/or correction for clarity.


Picture of Lewis Josselyn. Googled him with 38th Mass and found a web page/blog with one of his letters and bio info.
 
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Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
77
#3
Thanks so much for the additional information. The letter I have was a Christmas present from my parents when I was 14 or so (71 now). It was so very interesting to have the information in the letter expanded and reinforced by the regimental history. H
 
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Jan 9, 2016
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Blue Grass, KY
#4
Greetings,

I thought that you might enjoy seeing a photo of Lewis Josselyn's Civil War frock coat, trousers, 4 buttons from his sack coat, his wallet and the Confederate money that he brought home. This grouping was originally acquired by renowned Civil War collector and dealer Jim Stamatelos at the Josselyn estate auction. I subsequently picked up 4 of Josselyn's letters in the ensuing years. If you should ever consider parting with your Josselyn letter, I can assure you that it will be in good company.

Best wishes,
Dr. Mike
Lewis Josselyn grouping.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
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#5
I will alert my son as to your interest. He will be the one selling off the old man's ****. :wink: Thanks for the views of Lewis's uniform H
 



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