Samuel Russel Letter

Civil War Letters / Battle of Gettysburg Letters

This Captain Samuel Russel letter serves to offer another fine example of the fighting at the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. He was a member of the 96th Pennsylvania Regiment and this letter written to his mother appeared in the Miner's Journal on July 12, 1863. Some information is considered to be inaccurate yet it still holds value nonetheless. For example, the Union army did not capture General James Longstreet as he stated.

My Dear Mother

The last letter I mailed you, was, I think, from Barnsville, Md. Since then we have had very long and rapid marched. Our Corps arrived here on the afternoon of the 2d after a hard march of 32 miles, and just in time to save our army from a total defeat, as it appeared at the time. Our Corps went into it splendidly, driving the rebels in every direction and recapturing the artillery that the 5th Corps had lost. Our regiment had but one man wounded. We were right in were the balls flew thick and fast, and how we got off so well I do not see.

Yesterday we were opened on several times by the rebel artillery and sharpshooters. We had built a barricade which protected us from their fire. Our success yesterday was most complete. We repulsed the rebels at every attack. I suppose we captured 8000 prisoners and also General Longstreet. The portion of the field we occupy is strewn with mostly with our dead. Very few of the rebels are to be seen, but I am told a short distance beyond here they lay thick. Last evening our line was advanced and we captured between two and three regiments. The men are in splendid spirits. The smell of the dead is awful. we have not have time to bury them. We will wind up the rebel army before they reach the Potomac. We have all got sixty-five crackers to celebrate the day with. I must close.

Samuel R. Russel. Captain Co. H 96th PVI

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