from The Worcester Spy, June 1, 1864, (Volume 93 # 22), 

Washington, May 25

Dear Spy:---We have had a hard day’s work, and witnessed sights that we trust we shall never behold again. Imagine three large steamboats actually filled with sick, wounded, dying and dead soldiers. Every variety of wounds were seen, and it is astonishing how much a human being can endure.

The steamer “Connecticut” was unloaded about dark, and at nine o’clock another, called the “Winonah” was about half discharged. On the latter boat, several of the Worcester boys were found, and we send a list as far as could be made. Of officers there were, Lieuts. Bowman, Cook, and Dewey of the 57th, who are on the sick list, Lieut. Ward, wounded, and the following enlisted men: Co. A, sergt. Augustus Trussell, corp. Albert S. Allen (sick with chronic diarrhea), privates H. A. Sawtell, J. Payne, Geo. Lawson, John Davis, John Fregan. Co. C, sergt. Charles F. Kellog, private W. D. Welton. Co. D, sergt H. L. May, corps Ward, Ober and Gallipeaux. Undoubtedly there are many others on the way, and all the men who were in Fredericksburg will be here today. Reports are numerous that the town will be laid in ashes before leaving, though some say it is not worth that trouble.

We found men who were suffering terrible pain, and the boats were so crowded it was almost suffocating. Many have been neglected, as was readily seen by a glance at their wounds, and numbers tell woeful stories regarding the treatment received. Some had to be moved beds and all, as it was dangerous to transfer them to stretchers. We made it our particular aim to attend personally to the movement of some, and much to their gratification.

The color bearer of the 15th Sergt. Lafayette Warden, Sergt Henry J. Ball, and private Henry R. Dawson of Co. D, 15th, all badly wounded, were attended by us.  Sergt. Henry Houghton of Co. D, from Worcester, was badly wounded in three places---right thigh broken, and had to be handled very carefully. We learn from the latter that Lieut. Hastings and 1st Sergt Barnard, were all right at last accounts, and spoken of in the highest terms. Sergt McFarland of Co. I  was unhurt and called a perfect salamander against bullets.

Many of our boys speak of Rev. Francis LeBaron, who was constant in his attentions and rendering every assistance in his power. Mr. Edward Barton of Worcester, connected with the sanitary commission, left Fredericksburg yesterday. he has been quite sick, caused by overexertion, but is improving slowly. Chronic diarrhea has been very prevalent, and some of the boys are just shadows. As far as we know ten died on the passage up to this city, and as the bodies be on stretchers, covered with blankets, they make solomn impressions. sergt. John Crosby, Co. G, 57th, died yesterday at Fredericksburg.

If it was possible to tell to what hospitals men are to be sent we would gladly send the information, but when the wounded are placed in the ambulances the drivers know not where they are going till ordered by the surgeon, and to find out would consume more time than we could spare. Quite a number of the rebel wounded came up this afternoon, and one entire ward at Lincoln hospital was filled with them. There is a sameness in the appearance of them---long hair scraggy beards, thin faces, and in their ground colored cloths confirm the statements made as to their not being readily seen in woods or thickets. Some of our boys make complaints that the rebel wounded are better taken care of than they are, but we can hardly credit these statements in the broadest sense. Occasionally a rebel may have a bed, where on of our boys has a board, but such cases must be few.

Hon. J. D. Baldwin has rendered great assistance to our men and through his kind interest, we, as well as other persons who have come here on the same errand, have received much information. he constantly receives letters from soldiers desiring to know certain things, and he attends to them with a willingness that is commendable,

A. B.

J.. S. B.

Washington, May 28,1864

Dear Spy;---Two boats filled with wounded arrived about thee o’clock this morning, having been almost three days on the way from Fredericksburg, making a long and tedious journey. Major Parker came on one of these, and to the surprise of friends in attendance, endured the trip remarkably well, and he now lies at the Clarendon hotel in this city. He is very low, and there is a narrow chance for his recovery, as the loss of blood renders him weaker and weaker.

Some of the very worst cases arrived this morning, and the scene presented was terrible. A constant stream of wounded men poured from the steamers. They were handled as carefully as possible by those who bore them, but even that carefulness seemed rough. With all the sadness that the appearance of these men creates, there was still a painfully pleasing association connected with it. Those who have bled for our country, who are willing to die for us, have returned to give their tribute either through painful suffering or death.

Six steamers filled with troops left yesterday afternoon for Port Royal.   Quite different was the spectacle they presented as they marched on the boats, cheering shouting and full of life, from that of the wounded returning home.

We visited Alexandria yesterday afternoon and found several of our boys in hospitals there, who were glad to receive assistance. The town is anything but pleasant in appearance, and yet it is said to be a paradise to what it was. Some of the old barricades still remain in the streets, and barracks are scattered about the town, in which are quartered soldiers of the invalid corps, who perform guard duty.

As an instance of the villainy there is in this world, the following came under our observation. A being in the shape of a man came up with the wounded in one of the boats in then capacity of a volunteer surgeon, and who pretended to care for the soldiers. from one he stole eighty three dollars, and from others five watches. Detectives were at the wharf, who afterwards informed us they had ascertained who we were and for what business we were there, and then stated the facts. the fiend stated to the soldiers that he was a Massachusetts man, but he could not have been one long. that there are persons who would rob wounded soldiers, under the garb of friendship, shows that all the villains have not all disappeared from the earth.

We could find but one Massachusetts man among the wounded this morning, and he was Sergt. Tanner, Co. H, 15th Mass, one of the old veterans, who stated that he had lost but one week since he entered the service. He was very cheerful and believed in ”taking things just as they came.” Other boats are expected here every hour.

Thirteen died on the passage, and six bodies were left at Front Royal for interment. The steamer Jefferson came up yesterday, bringing about one hundred and thirty rebel prisoners, most wounded, one colonel, three captains, and five lieutenants. Some of them were guerrillas, who made an attack on our trains beyond Fredericksburg.

The wounded were sent to hospitals, and the rest to the Old Capitol. As a wounded rebel was walking slowly down the gangway plank from one of the steamers, two soldiers bearing one of our boys on a stretcher, came in contact with him, who delayed their progress. The one in the stretcher, noticing the delay, raised up his head and seeing the cause, called out, “Come, hurry up Johnnie Reb; you ain’t going as fast as you was.”

Possibly you may not hear from us again before we return, as we consider that all that can be, has been done by us. we shall endeavor to bring with us a correct list of all in hospitals about here, thinking it will benefit some friends at home. Yours,

A. B.,

J. S. B.


15th Massachusetts VI