Monday, January 9, 2012

January 8, 1862: Thomas Knox's letter from 4th PA Veteran Infantry Regt.

On January 8, 1862, Corporal Thomas A. H. Knox, of Belvidere, wrote a letter to Franklin Pierce Sellers, publisher of the Belvidere Intelligencer, from Camp Pierpont in Fairfax County, Virginia.  Knox and his lifelong friend Andrew A. Neal, of Belvidere, enlisted in the Pennsylvania Militia in April 1861. After the first Battle of Manassas (or Bull Run), Knox and Neal mustered out of the militia on July 30, 1861 and enlisted in the 4th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania Veteran Reserve Corps.  [Knox was killed in action on June 30, 1862 near Charles City Crossroads, VA at Frazier's Farm.]  

Knox wrote, "Thinking a line from one of the P.R.V Corps might interest your readers, therefore I attempt to drop a line to your paper of Belvidere.  About the 20th of December last, we had a long and forced march, expecting to have a hand in the Drainesville fight, but the rebels rather dislike the square-toed Penn's Yankees, therefore took to their heels and went double quick faster than they came - just thirty-five minutes too soon, as we had about fourteen miles to tramp before we could reach the battleground.  The Fourth Regiment considers that they are the boys to whip any two of the secesh regiments.  They can send in the field and out march anything they can put before us, as we march just twenty-eight miles in just seven hours time.

"Our winter quarters are now complete, and the boys are snugly housed up against the inclemency of the cold and dreary winter before us.  But should any forward movement be made, we are ready at a moment's notice to sacrifice our comfortable quarters to wipe out the Southern rebellion.  The notice of Sergt. J. W. Burnett's death in the last issue of the Warren Journal was an error for he was in camp at the time of the issue, and I must say that the Journal published what was not true.  My friend Corporal A. A. Neal is in blooming health and in fine spirits, and stands the cold weather and toils of a camp well.  From yours &c., Corporal T. A. H. Knox, Co.F, 4th Reg. P.R.V.C."

Sergeant John W. Burnett, mentioned in Knox's letter, enlisted as a sergeant in Captain Keller's Company F in the Pennsylvania Veteran Reserve Corps at age 17 in Stroudsburg, PA on June 8, 1861.  The Warren Journal, of Belvidere, erroneously listed Burnett as dying of typhoid fever in December 1861.  On March 1, 1863, Burnett was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant of Company F.  He mustered out of service on June 17, 1864 and became a watch maker in Belvidere.

Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards 

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