This letter was written by Pvt. George Murdough (1819-1882) of Co. H, 3rd New Hampshire Infantry. George enlisted at age 42 in August 1861. He mustered out of the service in August 1864. In the regimental history, The Third New Hampshire and all about it, George is frequently mentioned as serving as a nurse or hospital assistant. He is also identified as the cook for the band.
George was a native of Acworth, Sullivan County, New Hampshire. He was the son of Thomas Murdough (1791-1863) and Catharine McPherson (1784-1860).
George wrote the letter to Edwin R. Walker who presumably was employed by the Burrage Brothers of Boston who manufactured woolen goods.
Addressed to Mr. E. R. Walker, Boston, Massachusetts
Care of Messrs. Burrage Bro’s & Co., No. 35 Franklin Street
June 14, 1864
I will improve upon moments in scribbling a few hearty lines to you. It is about eight weeks since we with the rest of the tenth army have left Florida and South Carolina for the sacred soil of Virginia. We landed here some six weeks ago and have been with General Butler since. Of his doings, you have seen through the papers quite as well as I can tell you. We have had hard marches, hard fighting, & hard fare, I can assure you, and we [are] still having them. Neither can I see the end yet but of one thing I hope & pray that God will, in His good Providence, bless this effort and that Richmond may be taken and this cruel war be closed up.
You cannot describe nor imagination picture what I have seen since I came here. When the army goes into a fight, there is a place selected at some safe and convenient place where a hospital is established for each Army Corps and surgeon appointed to operate and dress the wounds. Our surgeon was one of the operators for this care and I was detailed to assist him and when I tell you that I have seen wounded men by the thousand or that I have seen them laying around by the H____, I am only telling you as it is. It were enough to make an angel weap but I have to harden my heart and go to work. At these times, we have to work day and night. I have only had my clothes off to change them for six weeks — only my coat and shoes. [I] lay down anywhere and get rest whenever I can.
Our regiment has lost heavily both in officers and men. Perhaps you may have seen some account of the (Fighting Third). We have lost some four hundred in killed, wounded, and missing — only a small number are amongst the missing. We are now laying in front of the enemy where they can throw shells into our camp, any time liable to be called out any moment. The men have either been on picket outside of our entrenchments or laying in the trenches with their arms in their hands every night but two for the last fourteen. It is telling on all of us, I think, and unless we get some rest soon, we shall get worn out.
I hope in ten weeks from today — if the good Providence of God spares my life — to get out of the army. I shall be very thankful, I can assure you, hoping to see this war nearly closed up by that time.
I must close. Please remember me to your father, Frank, & all my old friends there when you see them. Write soon. Direct to me, 3rd Regiment New Hampshire Vols., 10th Army Corps, Virginia, and it will come alright and accept this from your friend and brother as ever, — Geo. Murdough