Sep 25th 1862
My Dear Wife
I had thought that I should not again have to write to you from this place, but the fortunes of war have once more brought me here and like a good soldier I must, I suppose take this as well as everything else, cheerfully, although it is sometimes hard to do so.
We left our camp at the battlefield of Antietam a day or two after my last letter and we marched to this place. We had to ford the Potomac River, the rebels having destroyed the bridge at Harper's Ferry. I suppose that you would like me to give you some account of the battle, but I hardly know how to begin. We left our camp on the South side of Antietam Creek about 8 o'clock on the morning of the 17th, and we marched rapidly towards the scene of action where Gen. Hooker was hotly engaged with the enemy. When we got on the battle ground, the rebels had fallen back, leaving the ground covered with their dead and wounded. I have heard of men being laid out in heaps and winnows, but never did I see it until now. Three different lines of dead men showed where they had formed their shattered line and had been forced to fall back. In all 3 lines where they lay as closely together as men would stand in rank.
We pressed by all these dead with the enemy shelling us hotly from batteries posted on a hill. One of these shells exploded in our ranks killing two men in Co. D and wounding several others. We advanced rapidly through the woods and came suddenly upon the enemy at the foot of a hill. We immediately became engaged hotly and a brisk and deadly fire was kept up on both sides for nearly three-fourths of an hour. Then the enemy, taking advantage of an opening between 2 of our regiments, made a sudden flanking movement and brought us under 3 lines of fire to the front, flank, and rear. The men fell like grass before the scythe, and we were forced to retire being closely followed by the enemy who kept up a hot fire on us until Kirby's Battery opened up on them at short range with grape and canister. This forced the rebs to halt and soon to fall back.
Our men began to rally in a comparatively secure place in the woods. It was here that Capt. Simmonds was killed by a shell. Our brigade did not go into action again, but lay supporting a battery for the rest of the day.
The next day citizens began to come from Maryland and Pennsylvania to visit the battle field, and there have been thousands there since. Yesterday, AP Kimball and several other gentlemen from Fitchburg visited us.
I am on guard duty today and therefore have little time to write other than to send me love to all.
Your Affectionate Husband,
Walter A. Eames