13 May [18]62. N[athaniel] V. W[atkins], New Kent County, [Va.] to Nannie [V. Watkins].

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13 May [18]62. N[athaniel] V. W[atkins], New Kent County, [Va.] to Nannie [V. Watkins].


Now in the Army of the Peninsula, the Grand
Army; describes various activities such as listening to sermons, visiting acquaintances in surrounding camps, bathing, and drilling; says his company has been divided into two - one half, including our boys, to be light artillery, the other armed with muskets; mentions 18th Virginia [Company] and 23rd N.C. [Company]; describes sight of six or seven thousand men on drill; reports that they are having an easier time in Light Artillery than the infantry have; knows nothing about whereabouts of army.


Watkins, Nathaniel V.


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[Marginalia – Top of page – continuation from page 4]

Kiss charley & Minnie for me – Much love to all – will
try & write in less haste to-morrow or next day and have
a letter ready to send by every opportunity – May God bless
you [and?] [?] – y[ou]r aff[ectionate] husband N[athaniel] V. W[atkins]

New Kent County [Virginia] May 13th [18]62

My dear Nannie – We are now in the Army
of the Peninsula – in the Grand Army, -
somewhere in New Kent County – in a nice
old field – doing finely. We staid at
Hanover C[ourt] H[ouse] [Virginia] one day to rest and get
orders from R[ich]mond [Virginia], expecting to go to
Richmond & stay a week to drill on
field pieces. Our company has been tem-
porarily divided one half (including
our boys) being detailed to take charge
of four field pieces which were left at
Glo[uce]ster P[oin]t [Virginia] by the Glo[uce]ster militia, and
the other half being armed with mus-
kets. We were ordered on Sunday
morning to march to [General Joseph E.] Johnston’s Army,
and after hearing a fine sermon
at Hanover Church started at [?]
and marched [?] 15 miles & Monday
after a long dusty march reached
this place. We dont know what
will be done with us, but our


officers are making efforts, with
some prospect of success, to get
us again into a heavy battery near
R[ich]mond – I hope I can hear again
from you – dont know now where to
have my letters directed, and can
write only when I accidentally find
someone going to R[ich]mond. We have
all kept very well during the
march, and I have improved a
good deal – am getting fat & hard,
but until to-day was as dirty &
black as you ever saw me af-
ter a weeks threshing of wheat.
To-day I took a nice bath, & put
on a full set of clean clothes
& had my hair cut short, and
my friends scarcely knew me.
Yesterday I fell in with a detachment
of the 18th V[irgini]a having in it a company
from Charlotte, [County] & walked 100 y[ar]ds or more
talking with old acquaintances, before
we found out each other we had


been so much charged by the dust
& service. After getting here yesterday
Sam [?] & I stared off to look a-
round for acquaintances – We soon saw
a man with 23[r]d N[orth] C[arolina] on his cap – in-
quired for Capt[ain] Baskerville & found them
camped about 1/2 miles from us, but
on drill – this evening we went down
to make them a visit (though during
to-day we have been moved 3 miles
from them) Spent a pleasant time with
Capt[ain] B[askerville] Bob Hicks, [?], D[octo]r [Sims?]
who is elected L[ieutenan]t in Tom Covington’s
place – adjoining them was the regiment
in which Jonny Watkins was, but we
were disappointed in seeing him, as he
had gone home. I saw yesterday from
my camp six or seven thousand men
on drill at one time – it was a
grand sight – but to-day we are
moved out where we have only one
regiment near us – this was a fine
change, as we get much better
water, are more quiet, and


have a much cleaner place – I regre[t]ted
to say the [Captain] Baskerville was very well &
stands the service finely – he told me that
I came in two or three minutes yesterday
of seeing Mr. [Foneette?] (the preacher).
We are having a much easier time in
light artillery, than the infantry have,
and are getting on as well as soldiers
could be expected to do. We get no
news, & know nothing of the where-
abouts of the Enemy –There are about 65,000
men on the Peninsula. I have this from good
authority & Have seen & heard nothing from
Bro[ther] Dick. I write in great haste, as I can
send this to R[ich]mond to-morrow. If you could
inclose a letter to Mr.How[son & get him
to direct is to me, in Capt[ain] Bagleys K[ing] & Q[ueen] artillery
care of Col[onel] Cha[rle]s A. Crump, I might get
it. He might find some way of sending it
to Col[onel] Crump, or I might get some friend
going to R[ich]m[on]d to call at Mr. H[owison]’s for it – Oh
precious you dont know how much I would give
for a few lines from you – I shall write whenever
I can get a way of sending off a letter.

[continues on Page 1 Marginalia]

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  1. Mss. 39.1 W32.019.pdf