December 1862 Letter by Private Henry C. Rice, 14th Vermont - "fired a volley at them and killed one horse, but the rider they could not find as it was so dark"

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letter-14th-vermont.jpg

December 1862 Letter by Private Henry C. Rice, 14th Vermont - "fired a volley at them and killed one horse, but the rider they could not find as it was so dark"

150.00

Item No. 6559488

An interesting December 1862 letter written by Private Henry C. Rice of the 14th Vermont Infantry, a regiment that had enlisted in the summer of 1862 for a nine-month term. The regiment was then serving as part of the defenses of Washington and was encamped at Fairfax Station. Rice described going out on picket, and when word came that a body of Rebel cavalry was inside Union lines, the regiment “marched about two miles from here and was drawn up in line of battle and stayed all night.” The rumor was that the 12th Vermont had “fired a volley at them and killed one horse, but the rider they could not find as it was so dark.” At several points Rice mentions a relative, Private Samuel B. Rice, likely a brother, who ordinarily adds his own words to letters home, but “says he will omit writing this time.” The letter reads:

Monday Dec 29th / 62
Camp new Fairfax Station.

Respectful parent I received your letter last Friday. [I] was glad to hear that you were all well. I am well at present. You seemed to think that I was worse than I wrote but I was not. I have got rid of my cold and dysentery so I feel first rate now. It is [not] a good place to catch cold here being up nights. Sam has had a pretty hard cold but it is better now. I just got in from picket last night. I was gone five days from camp, had a very good time. I did not have to stay on post only eight hours in the five days. I do not know how long we will stay here. We may stay all winter but cannot tell for certain. We had a little excitement here last night. We was ordered to get ready to march. Light marching order. The [regiment] marched about two miles from here and was drawn up in line of battle and stayed all night. It was reported that there was quite a large force of rebel cavalry inside of our lines, but I don’t think it will amount to much. I understand that the 12th [Vermont] fired a volley at them killed one horse, but the rider they could not find as it was so dark. I did not go with them, nor Sam. The rule is here to get rid of duty when you can, with me especially. The boys have all got back again this morning. It is very warm here today. We have had very nice weather here for two weeks. I don't think of anymore to write this time. We have not received our box yet but expect it in a day or two. Sam says he will omit writing this time. We will write again soon so good bye for this time.
H C Rice

P.S. received you letter that you wrote the 5 of April. Was glad to hear that you were all well. It found us in good health. The boys are all in good spirits. We have been on the move so much that it is not very hard to break up camp. I don’t know where we will go yet. The orders may be countermanded before morning. All we can do is wait and see. Tell Amy I have not time to write to her this time, I will before long. Give my love to Grandmother and all the rest of the friends around there. I must close for this time. I will write as soon as I can.
From your son
H.C. Rice

Ask Libb how she likes the nine month men.

The letter spans five pages written on three different sheets of lined paper, each measuring about 4 3/4” x 7 1/2”. It is in excellent condition with light toning. Creased where originally folded. Includes the original stamped cover postmarked Washington, DC.

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