WILL TO JENNIE, JUNE 3rd
Cold Harbor Virginia June the 3rd 1864
I am not at all certain when I may send this, we have had another brutal day’s battle, and I am writing from within a trench that has just been dug by mine own 2 hands. We are in a place called Cold Harbor, or perhaps Cold Basin. It is intolerable hot though nearly nightfall, there has been no rain since the last of May.
Yesterday we struck our tents at daybreak & did not cease our labors until night fell. Our Brigade fought in the 2nd line, horrible, advancing through considerable fire & cannonading, but made it over two ridges & gained a hill that we held for a good 6 hours. We lost 48 men, including our Commander, Lt. West, fallen in battle. They are saying that it is not so much a battle but a slaughter. Many men are being taken prisoner, which may indeed be the saving of them. I do not know how to bear this, after all. I have now seen hundreds of men shot dead, have walked over their bodies strewn 2 and 3 deep in straight lines trying not to look into their eyes. But when I close mine own that is all that I can see.
Though we may never again meet on earth I want you to know that I will always be with you.
There is little light to see by so I fear I must close.