June 1862 Letter by Lieutenant Peter C. Doyle, 21st New York - Chasing Stonewall Jackson in Shenandoah Valley


June 1862 Letter by Lieutenant Peter C. Doyle, 21st New York - Chasing Stonewall Jackson in Shenandoah Valley


Item No. 1763126

An interesting June 1862 letter written by Lieutenant Peter C. Doyle of the 21st New York Volunteers, a regiment that had been rushed to the Shenandoah Valley to help contain Stonewall Jackson’s Confederates, who had been defeating Union armies up and down the Valley. Doyle describes the regiment’s journey from Fredericksburg to Catlett’s Station to Manassas Junction to Front Royal. “Genl. Shields, Banks & Fremont & Ord are after him,” Doyle wrote. Within days of writing this letter, Jackson would earn additional Rebel victories at Cross Keys and Port Republic, and within two weeks the Confederates were marching east to join the Rebel forces gathering outside Richmond to force McClellan’s army off the Peninsula. Doyle’s letter reads:

Camp 21st Regt. N. Y. Vols
Haymarket Va June 4 1862

Dear brother
The tattoo has just sounded and I thought you would like to find out where we was, though we have had no mail since last Wednesday, yet thinking this may get through. Last Thursday we left camp at Massaponax Valley, 8 miles south of Fredericksburg, with the understanding that we were to go to Strasburg & try & capture Jackson’s forces. We commenced our march back for Catlett’s which place we arrived at last Saturday morning & took the cars via Manassas Junction and went to Front Royal. Arriving there Sunday afternoon, found that Genl Shields had shelled his rear guard out of there and that there was force enough there. Our division (King’s) returned to this station to await, I suppose, the direction that he (Jackson) had taken. Genl. Shields, Banks & Fremont & Ord are after him. I don’t know when we shall leave here. At any hour almost. Everyone is well. It has rained since last Saturday continually, awfully, and is still raining hard. We expect a mail tomorrow & I expect lots of letters from you & will then write you long answers.


Write soon. I am writing on the head of my trunk and we want to make our bed up.

The letter was written on one side of of a stationery sheet measuring about 7 1/2” x 9 3/4”. It is in very good condition with minor foxing and toning, as well as remnants of previous album mounting on the reverse. Creased where originally folded.

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