Rain (April 25, 1863)

The 110th PA on April 24. According to a regimental history, "Due to reduced numbers, the regiment was consolidated early in 1863 into a battalion of six companies. The 110th, now assigned to the 2nd Brigade (Bowman), 3rd Division (Whipple) of the III Corps (Sickles) moved with Hooker's Army to Chancellorsville. Shifted about several times, on May 3, 1863 the 110th found itself engaged in furious battle near the Chancellor House opposing succeeding waves of Rebel troops. Here the division commander (General Whipple) and Colonel Crowther of the 110th were killed, and the regiment lost almost half its strength on this terrible field." (Library of Congress)

The 110th PA on April 24. According to a regimental history, “Due to reduced numbers, the regiment was consolidated early in 1863 into a battalion of six companies. The 110th, now assigned to the 2nd Brigade (Bowman), 3rd Division (Whipple) of the III Corps (Sickles) moved with Hooker’s Army to Chancellorsville. Shifted about several times, on May 3, 1863 the 110th found itself engaged in furious battle near the Chancellor House opposing succeeding waves of Rebel troops. Here the division commander (General Whipple) and Colonel Crowther of the 110th were killed, and the regiment lost almost half its strength on this terrible field.” (Library of Congress)

The rain that would delay the start of Hooker’s Chancellorsville campaign has begun. As I write in the book, “It seems as though it were never to stop
raining; the longer it rains the harder it seems to come down,” noted one of Hooker’s aides on April 24 as the army waited to move. “Could you come into Headquarters at any time during the day you would see that something was wrong; every one is moving around in an aimless, nervous way, looking at the clouds and then at the ground, and in knots trying to convince themselves that it is going to clear off and they will be able to move day after to-morrow.”

George’s panniers arrived yesterday. They are certainly very elegant affairs and I presume Master George got his pay in Washington to enable him to indulge in such luxuries. I have for my use two champagne baskets covered with canvas, but young lieutenants are far ahead of generals now-a-days.

The extraordinarily bad weather continues. It seems as if it would never stop raining, and until it does, we must remain quiet. I cannot hear anything of the movements of the cavalry. The last I heard they were up the Rappahannock, detained by the rains, and I take it for granted they are there still.

I join most heartily with you in prayers and wishes for this terrible war to be brought to a close; but I fear our prayers and wishes will avail but little. If I could only see the country alive to the magnitude of the war, and efforts being made to exert and use the superior resources in the way they should be employed, I might have some hopes that the war might be terminated by our success. Let us hope matters will turn out better than we have a right to expect. War is a game of chances and accidents. A little success on our part will have a great influence to bring things to a right condition, and I think the spirit of this army is to try hard to be successful.

Meade’s letter taken from The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Major-General United States Army, Vol. 1, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913), p. 369. Available via Google Books.

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