More Letters To Share

All of the letters this month are part of the collection of letters belonging to my husband Ben McCormick, but first, I'm presenting Lincoln's Gettysburg Address since November 19th is the 139th Anniversary of the, probably the most poignant, speech in the United States, if not the world.

I have not altered the punctuation, spelling or wording of the letters, in order to preserve the original content of them.  


Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on to this continent a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
We are met on a great battle field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field
as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--
we can not hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,
have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who have fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to task remaining before us
-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead
shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth.

from Levi McCormick - 4-18-1863 

I got Nathans letter last eve
April 18th 1863
Co A

Glousester point  Yorktown

Dear wife  this is Saturday afternoon  I received your letter last evning and find you all wel we are all wel but J. Worrall and C Fell  Samuel is prety wel again but he is weak yet and Cort is able to walk out again  but he is at the Hospitel yet  wel we hav bin busey this weak or two back and the rebs think that we are bad fellows   we hav took prety nearly all they hav to liv on  they went out to old Cornel Hoises and the men was catching their ducks and 2 of the girls shot at them and the men burnt their house and all that was in it and then brought the two girls in to camp as prisoners of war and our cornel sent them over to Yorktown to the generel to hav their trial  they say they only shot to scair the men but our men dont scair at trifles  the girls was dresed verry coman  they hav to doe their own work for their nigars has all left them and they cried about their nice cloes being all burnt they say that we are Yankey Devils but they can say what they please but hands off when they shoot  they get in troble rite away  they was boath of the girls was verry well educated  we took 2 rebs the other night and they say that their provisions is verry scairse  our men has gon out on a scout this afternoon  I got ready to go but I had my bread and meet to draw for Sunday and I was excused   this is the first time that I hav staid when the compney has gon  I think we will all hav to go tomorow  the weather is verry fine hear but it is cool at night yet but the people say that it is a verry cold spring about hear  some of the rebels that we took had a horse that he said he paid four hundred dollars for  one of our gunboats took a vessel the day and got three thousand bushels of corn and 4 head of horses  the finest ones that has bin in Yorktown sence the war has be going on  the rebels is geting poor  they wont get to plant eney corn in this part of the cuntry  they hav nothing to farm with  their was a old dark plaid his master a trick that he will remember  he told him to get every thing ready to go to richmond the next morning and he got ready and loaded his wagon in the night with chickens and meet and other things and started and he come to our lines about sunrise  he brought 2 yoak of oxen  they would bring tree hundred if they was in Delaware  he had some sence  he brought in 20 nigars with him  it is imposible for me to giv you a full history of all of our events   on last Sunday we was coled out to drive the rebels away and we soon done it but we could not get up with them for all of the houses out side of our lines are spyes for the rebels and they send word on a head but you hav no idia of this war for I find things every day that opens my eyes on the subject  we burnt 2 grists mills last Sunday and one saw mill   after we set the first one on fire we marched 1-1/2 miles in 12 minets by the cornels watch  he told them for no man to speak   the rebels was said to be at the hickrey forks whitch is a small place like cornerketch but the rebels had left before we come up  we had 8 miles to come into camp   the night was dark and cloudy and we travled in water a foot deep in plaices but we got in about 11 oclock to camp safe but last night they shot at our pickets and we was called out  we went into the fort it was 1 oclock and we staid out until 4 this morning but the rebs did not come in to see us and if they ever come they will  roo the day for we are ready for them  they wont fight fair  you think that yong men can get home and men who hav familey hav to stay  Mr Heald  is a cleaver fellow but he is one of the men that said he did not want to come home until the war was over but it has lasted two long for him but when him and George Lackland comes back I going to try for one to come home  Lea Puseys wife is hear again but I think she would be better off at home but she come down to get the money  if the war lasts over  July the rebels can keep it up a whill longer but I think they cant stand it mutch longer for they say that they cant stand it   meet is bringing in the south 50 cts to a dollar  1/2 per pound  I must stop writing for this time  Josey sais that he wants me to write to him  I send my love to you all from your afectinate Husband  Levi McCormick

my Dear little boys  this is for Josey and Hary  he must read this to Henrieta and  tel hur that I sean a little girl with hur mother last Sunday with hur mother and  she was bear  footed  and hur pap was in the rebel armey and he had run off an is in side of our lines and hur mother was down to see him

            for Joseph W. McCormick

from J. Worrall - 5-27-1863 

Camp Gilpen

May 27th 1863

My Sister in Del

                                                I receved your kind and welcom letters last Sunday night, the reason i did not write to you before, i thought levi did tell you all the news there not beeing much, but i thought i ought to now   the news about the old place  i would write to you to let you now that i  am well at presant and hope i may keep so  Albin Buckingham and William Eastburn arrived here sunday and found us all enjoying good time of it as you will find out when they arrive at home  they appear to think we have a very nice camp here    they soldiering is bully work  i think so to as long as we stay here  we still four hours away from half pas six in the morning till half past eight  then we have nothing to do till five in the evening, but it is the worst for Uncle Sam to keep so many men boarding on him and paying good wages  i dont now weather it will allways last it reckon we will now before a nother year rolls around  we had a nice little raid last weak  we had a fine time of it  we made our selves at home wear ever we went  i got in a fine parlor window were it was richly furnished and tuck out a straw hat  it comes very handy down here for the sun is getting pretty warm down here,  we captured and distroyed a great deal of property and burned two mills and several barns full of wheat I saw some prety (   ?  ) girls they are (  ?  ) to talk  they dont fear small rifles  they talk (  ?  ) wate out we got a  (  ?  ) flag out of a house it was hung over the mantle peace and when we tuck it they told us there was a flag waving that we could not tare down - they ment down at Richmond  we will show them better some of these days befor long  we got good news yesterday from the western states  they say we have got vixburg and several prisnors and captured several cannons  if we did get drove back at fredexburg we can lick them in other places  the fourth Del boys was not there else i think we would of stold richmond if the 129th did get drove back they were only nine months men  we could not expect nothing else  i reckon you have not seen westly sense he got home  tell him for me i want to now wat he left the rebles lick them for  tell him to come down and see us befor he goes to work again  i hope he may have a pleasant time of it amongst the girls  he can try the wagon if he nont get it durty  he must keep it wioped of clean, how are the folks getting along in the neigberhood  is the boys doing any good for the girls or does the boy pitch in any if they wate to the fourth Del boys gets home they can get enough of pitchen in but i dont expect there will bee any left for us  i hav not heard from any them sense last winter  i have not wrote to any of them  i got tired writing  i thought i would quit as they got to publishing the after i wrote to the, how does the queen like there new home  i guess she wont find it quite so nice times as she used to at oure house wat kind of people is there that lives down on Jack Balls house  is there any grown up girls or they all little things  I heard they had several children, i reckon the fall mating is slim now  sense the boys has all left and that is all the girls went for to meet them.  i got a letter from Lizzie and pap the same day i got the one from you  wot does the copper heads think of the draft by this time  i hope it may bring them  how many potatoes did John plant and how does he use the horses  how many cows does he keep  does his wife keep a girl does John keep a boy  how does he like farming does Joe go to school, is the children all well, has John R a (  ?  ) yet or any likely to write soon, Good By, I remain your brother             J. Worrall  

i send my love to the children  tell them there pape is laying  asleep now in his bunck, we can get to take a noons nap nowdays when we were home we could not always get that privlage  good by  excuse the writing         J. Worrall       Camp Gilpen  Gloucester Point Va

            May 27  To my sister  Tamer McCormick     Pleasant Hill  Newark Del

from J. S. Mote - 6-2-1863

Mower Hospital
Our adoped home
June 2nd 1863

Friend Mac

                        How cheerfull the thought come up in our mind when we cast our mind back to days that are passed by and the gay old time we chums have shared too gether.  In our camp life Oh the pleasant moments that we have passed so delightfully away together are yet bright to our memory.  But scene and times as were as circumstancs have altered cases consideable and you and I have been called from one anothers moments yet I am thankful while we have not the high privalidge of conversing to one another this mornig in some gay old spot in the field or  stand of cotton  The time of communication by pen and ink is still keep open so we may have free access to tell to each other our hope and fear as well as a way to pass an hours of time very profitable away.  Well Sergent when I wrote to Capt Buck I told him to tell you I would comply the same favor toward you  In a few day so I thought this morning I thought I had better be about my work to make my promise good as you know I am always puntual to promices (self-prais is not very good  recommodating  Well again you will be often knowing how a poor old played out  Hospital Bainmer is making out in the way of health  Well I must tell you the fact for about five week I have been clean of taking any medicine and felt pretty good  But never felt like a well man  I gained  but little in flech and have been growing weak by degree yet bearing with it living in hopes that my day of releece would soon arrive and then a week or two of Del fresh air would give vigor and strength to my poor aold bone which are tired and sore laying around.  Here I have notice the Doctor for the past week is so have been keeping his eye on me and yesterday morning he again ordered medicin for me.  I  must say as the fresh air pushes through the ward this morning  It feels cheerfull as yesterday was so awfull but here it is now nearly 9 oclock and the hours for the Doctor morning visit is at hand  But the boys dont care much wheather he comes or not as there are now very few in the hospital who does not feel well enough for their buzzards in they could only get them   The  weather for the past week has been tolerable favourable and now soom will open the busy season of the year harvest which I am told will yield from apperance  a good crop and will  the soldier boys be home to carry in canteens the jug out into the feild or not  I think on my side prospect are dark and I cannot see half way through them, yesterday was first day I think it was  But time seems greatly dull all day at this place to be shure  Ther was church at the chaple but you may talk about each day.  But every day seems to me a just day or a day in prison pen  I gess they hav got us fast enough here for awhile yet to come by pressnt apperance.  Oh I tell you they, I mean those who are suppose to be U. S. contractors and his friend if they aint at this time doing thing up Brown at this place then I dont know any thing.  Well I am still a prisoner of hope and must not say to much yet I tell you my mind does some pretty strong thinking and when if the providence of God I get home and I judge by the feeling of my mind there will be some pretty heavy lick struck  Well the work of discharging goes on  disgracefully to my county which it is done in   I really was so disgusted at eash thing since I have been in the service to think they have ordered the speedy discharge of all soldiers and they fail to carry the order into practice  But are carry the greenbacks into them (  ?  ) off (  ?  ) the soldiers will let them work out their own salvation at the expenses of the soldier deprivement from home and the interesting scenes that call to them now the war is over this kind of work calls my mind to letter from the Christian Commisson after the Weldon raid just full if the hous is days of eternity would only serve the amount of good their coffee maker did the soldiers on the raid  I dont know for my past what will become of the govement contract at present day. 

Since last Monday week they have discharged from our ward one man only so you see our change is pretty good for to remain here for many days to come.  I dont think they average 25 men a day  More went yesterday  or today and about 3000 are here.  Men remain here whose times is out 4 week ago and those men who are here belong to Pa Reg gone home to Harrisburgh and other patients are growing anxious to join them but cannot be privaledge to do so  Well the could not receive them any how not being marked on their rolls  I am daily searching the paper for news I see goodly number of troops have left the capture for home.  I the other day heard that you were that day in Baltimore on your home by the March as it was unpersetable at the present time to get transportation all the cars being used  you used to talk about marching home last winter and I was just thinking wheather it would becom a fact or not  Let this be as it may I would love to be with you wherever your lot may be cautious as I have share with you in the past I would  love at the present to again be one in your midst as this is not my lot we will have to fixed things all straight the day we meet in Stanton.  I believe that was to be one of our day of Jubilee,  Capt B gave a list of casualitys of the Reg.  in his letter the first I have saw since to camphaign opened.  While I am sorry for those who have fallen I thnk the crowd from Pleasant Hill and around Milford has been amongst the lucky indeed  poor Maguire and Cush it seems fell in amidst the eleventh hours how sudden is the change of life he's a mans future joy and and prospect may all fade during a day.  I suppose Sergnt Major Dick is again with you when I received his last letter he told me his furlough was out May 25th  I hope he is not detained at  a miserable place called the hospital.  I have seen men who came here about a week ago from Fairfax Seminary Hospital they were in sight of their Reg but could not have the privalidge of joining them  But was sent up here and no desceptive list and old Joe will be in no great  (  ?  ) is looking after them, that is the one thing shure they are mostly men from Shermans army and tell us letter from home tell them hospital in the western department have discharged their patents and on Mon closing them up,  Sergt is the noted Captain (  ?  ) as good a hospital  bent as I am on here he like a man come back now  danger is over but I gess he is still absent (  ?  )  Capt Dave told me when you sent my descriptive list that (  ?  ) was in  (  ?  ) the company that but was absent if the times probable you would be glad to know of my list have arrive.  I have been told so.  But have not saw it my self  I tell you a private has to take the back seat at this place and wait till officers are ready to act   two more days and it will be one month since I was marked for mustering out.  I had no idea I would be detained this long but I gess I will be lucky if another month end does not find me  (unable to read the rest because of deteriorated paper)    goverment hardly likely we will remain here that long that would not be military  The other day my name  with a lot more  from the ward  was taken and they say it was in case of any grumbling at the  slow work  going on here we would be transfered some where else and the hospital cleaned out of all men but from Pa and New York other report say that a great many men paper are made out but we retained  for time of imergancy more if their should be one ordered.  Well Sergnt the grand  servic has come off and I suppose the soldier are not at the least army it over  Did you fellows all have to draw new clothes to show off on that day or not or did you take it with the same apparal that you stored  before the army on the day of noted Lee on the day of his serender  They will not allow (   ?    ) back at the hospital who are marked  for discharge to draw any more clothing.  Well this dont affect me at the least as long as my old duds stick together.  I think the (    ?     ) will be there laid aside by me  well Sergnt what to do think they will do with old Jeff any way  it seems they have not correctly concluded where he shall stand his trail  I see Genl Grant has come on the (   ?   ?    ) around Washington for (cannot read most of line because paper is deteriorated)  I was just under the office made out in that  (  ?    ?    ) I gess Lewis C every I gess if they ave any off the sides for they will just off it anyway two or have they been payed off since I left you  Oh Levi does Lewis C ever bring up his canteen full now a day and Jim get some (  ?  ) cookies and mench pie as did  (  ?  )  to the furlough of (  ?  ?  ) Oh I bet you have often heard y pleasant smile since I left you when I have thought over our gay old (  ?  ) times in days gone by, but I hope brighter days will be on the way.  Well I am favoured with a visit the other day from my brother but did not stay long as he was business at the city  He tells me he intends to leave home on Monday next to travel throught  (  ?  ) of Penn probable he has and object in view  he tell me things are prospering (   ?   ) about how some of the boys are getting (   ?   ) yet many of the girls are waiting till the soldiers come but I gues they dono’t know we allow to go out where them are  plenty game - musk rats  oh how is the chaplain making out selling land  I suppose the boys are pick sight in for it when them are payed off  it will if they (   ?   )   P.A. Coates was telling me that Chaplain Finis is now preaching on the Ebenezer Circuit  Well Sergnt I dont know what more I will tell you  It will only be taking up your time reading my fool ishness  I want you to give my best wishes to all the boys  tell them I wish them a speedy and safe arrival home to their anxious friends  tell Corpl Heald he must not let me slip his mind when you are all pertaking of his Lager Beer if it makes as jolly a crowd as did at fairfax  time will force me to close - give my best wishes to all hand and the cook and I remain your friend & well wisher 

J. S. Mote
Mower Hospital
Ward 17
Chestnut Hill

Return  to the Main Page