|April 4, 1862, Camp in the field one
mile inside of the Rebel batteries at Wynnís Mills- a little
nearer Yorktown Va.
My dear Wife,
I have to inform you of the retreat of the rebels from their first line of fortifications early this morning- they shelled us at intervals all night but so far as we have heard not even scratching one of our men. They left in a great hurry for some reason unknown to us, as everything indicates. Some left many tents & cooking utensils some flour, sugar, bacon & c_ at one camp there as a whole tub of dough all mixed ready for the oven. The 19th regt Mass vol were the first body of troops to occupy their works, as Danaís Brigade of which they were part, were on picket. Gormanís Brigade relieved Dana on picket & were ordered to hold the works & we have advanced a mile or more beyond.
We have heard they have evacuated Yorktown but of course the force on the extreme right will occupy that place first. We have not learned yet where they have gone to - there is a difference of opinion in regard to it. You will of course hear of all this before this reaches you, but I have taken the first opportunity to notify you officially of it. I will give you further particulars at some future time. We feel bad to think we could not bag them, but I must say we should have had bloody work to have carried this work by storm - they were stronger were (sic) than we had though for & everyone was satisfied they were strong. They have been busy as well as ourselves since our arrival here & have strengthened their works by trenches & pits far in the rear of their front works. It has seemed little like Sunday today I assure you - we were going to have services, but of course have had something else to attend to. I am tired & must close with love to all, the boys are all well & in good spirits.
Good bye with much love & a kiss
Ever Your husband
P.S. I came near forgetting to tell you that I am now acting adjít of the Regt. Was detached by Maj Kimball yesterday Morning. Adjít Baldwin is soon to join general Devens & today the Quartermaster recd a letter from him saying he wanted him also. Maj says if I want either position (if he is left to appoint) I can have it & he will use his influence for me if it is not left entirely to him. I am half inclined to take the adjít provided I can get it - if I cannot have it I would not take it of course.