The 97th NY Volunteer Infantry
Civil War Letter of George H. Bloodough
Contributed by John A. Kingsley
John A. Kingsley contacted me to see if I could help with information about his ancestor George H. Bloodough, who had served in the Civil War. John told me that he had a letter that George had written home but was unsure of his regiment. Coincidentally, that day I had completed typing up the roster and was able to give him very good news. I also asked John if he would be willing to let his ancestor speak for the men of the 97th and let us post George's letter of August 12, 1862 in this section. John's response was:
Amazing response and fabulous luck! Thank you for your fine effort. I'm more than happy to share the Bloodough letter with the GenWeb page. I've often thought it should be shared with someone!!
The original letter is handwritten on light-weight stock with a pre-printed, red and blue graphic depicting a girl in a blue top covered with stars and a red and white striped dress apparently saying farewell to a soldier in a Zouave-like uniform and holding a musket with bayonet. At the top is printed "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and the words to the song are printed beneath it. The content of the letter is as follows:
Aug. 18th / 62
I take the pleasure to write to inform you that I am in good health and I hope this will find you the same. I received your letter on the 16th of this month and was glad to hear from you.
We was on the field of battle a week ago Saturday but we was not called on till in the evening then we marched into a valley to rest for the night but there we found ourselves in sight of the enemies cannons and they opened on us with shell and grape. Then soon our battery opened on them and the shells passed over our heads and looked like the heavens on fire and the deadly missiles rung horror to the stoutest heart. We was posted like stumps besides our arms clutching them as our best friends till our general came and bid us to fall on our bellies which we did and not a man left his post. All determined not to flinch a hair for we expected to have a bloody fight before morning but our battery soon dealt death to the enemy and they soon retreated.
We skirmished all the next day. It was a hard fight and a great many killed on both sides and the rebels had not time to bury their dead so they covered them with leaves. Then a part of them stuck out and since that we have been on a march most of the time not staying but one day in a place. We have got most to Gordonville and soon expect to have another fight. If we do our regiment will be the first in it but there is an awful large force here. Please write as soon as you get this and see the rest of the boys and girls and tell them to write to me if they will. Tell mother to get along as well as she can for I don't expect to see her again in some time but I expect to again before this life is over. That is all at present with my love to you all, I remain
George H. Bloodough
George H. Bloodough wrote his letter nine days after his participation in the 97th's first battle, the Battle at Cedar Mountain, Va, which took place August 9, 1862.
From: John A. Kingsley
Thought you might be interested in what I've turned up on old George Bloodough, author of the letter you posted. Most interesting fellow: apparently went through all the engagements with the 97th NYV's and was wounded and captured on July 1 at Gettysburg. He apparently was paroled, sent to Camp Parole (?) in Westchester, PA (to await exchange, I guess) and then deserted on July 20. Three weeks later, Aug. 12, he was back in Salisbury and enlisted in the 59th Regiment, NYS Veteran Volunteers under an alias, George Hayes. Hayes was his wife's maiden name. At any rate he was honorably discharged at Munson's Hill, VA in June '65 and later in life was pensioned. Apparently their record keeping wasn't computerized at the time since his pension was in the name of George Bloodough.
I've enjoyed these little mysteries a great deal and I thank you for your part in getting me going. I've received the pension and military records from the National Archives and the NYS Archives, quite a lot of family info from the Herkimer County Historical Society and some cemetery and military info from the Town of Salisbury. Kind of neat!!! Regards, John Kingsley.
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