In Camp 25 miles from Williamsburg on the Road to Richmond. May 11th 1862.
Dear Ma, your kind and allways welcome letter of the 6th was received by me last night and I having time I take this opportunity of answering it. I am rejoyced to hear that you are regaining your health and hope by the time you receive this you will be intirely restored to good health. I wrote a letter to John write after the Battle of the 5th at Williamsburg in which our Regiment bore a very active part and although we were in the thickest of the Fight we came out of it with the loss of 3 killed and 5 wounded. Dear Ma it is nothing to go into battle but after the battle it is orfull to look around and see so many dead lying in all shapes ho a few hours before was full of life and as active as I am but such is War. I passed over the Battle field on the morning of the 6th. I volunteered to go and look up the dead and wounded if thear was eny and such a site me my eyes I hope and pray I may never see again. We wiped the Enemy but we had know cowardly fose to deal with and many a man was made to bite the dust before they gave way it was night when we silenced thear fire but we had no idea we had wiped them and we made big calculations to go into it early next morning but when morning came the Enemy had retreated leaving thear dead & wounded on the field we captured a quite a number of priserners ho was unable to git a way. I saw about 350 of them they are dressed in all kind of Clothing and all of them says they calculate to be murdered before they reach thear desternation. I saw a Capt. Lee* of the 5th North Carolina Regiment he says all he has left out of 89 men is 5 and they are wounded with himself Our Regiment cutting them down like Grass. The fight took place two miles from Williamsburg the Enemy having strong fortification there which they had to abandon. Williamsburg is quite a place containing I suppose about 5 to 6 thousand people the Enemy tried hard to burn it but they was followed so close they had no chance they left the Town full of wounded and dead the Dead was berried by our men and the wounded will be taking care of. we are about 25 miles apast Williamsburg and only 35 miles from Richmond the Southern army is so broke up I hardly think they will make much of a stand. Although it is hard to tell what they calculate to do this thing I do know that those that was in the fight of the 5th is compleatly demoralized and will take a long time to make them fight again and by all accounts General McClellan will not give them time to recrute thear army as he has said he would push them to the wall and eather make them fight or serrender but inuff you nead not feal uneasey about one for so far I am well and in good spearits. You say you have heard that the Union Army is but half fed such is not the case as far as we are consurned tis true sometimes we haff to go hungry but it is seldom the case as for our Clothing they are good and if we had more we would have to through them away So dear Ma you need not wory your self about me in regards to Clothing or what kind of fare I have but yet I thank you a thousand times for offering to give me whatever I want. I wish this war was over for thear has been blud enuff shed and homes enuff left desertate Oh dear Ma iff you could only see the Country I have traveled over in poor old Virginia see the houses burned the land with no one left to till it it is all most to hard to think of but such is Scecesion and I believe Scecesion means deserlation & distruction. We are encamped on a Union mans farm he left every thing behind him and went and joyned our army I suppose the Rebels has confiscated his property but now he has got it back again and I do not believe all the Rebels in the Seceeding States can rench it from us. thear is no backwood movements know and if nothing happens to us we will be in Richmond before next week thear is a Rumer that Norfolk is in our possession but I do not poot much relience in the Report as New Papers is very scarce we can tell very little what is going on. We have not got our money yet and I do not believe we will git it in some time I will then give you some mony not to keep for me but you can youse it for yourself As for the mony that John has got of mine I suppose he has spend it and that is the last of it. So I will not say eny thing about it untill I return I will say more about this in my next. Give my love to Pa Edmund Ann Louisa Henry & Clarra not forgetting to retain a share for yourself tell Anna Louisa I thank her for her letter and them papers in them. I will try and answer as soon as I can do so. I hope this will find you all well I will close
P.S. thanks for the stamps
Write soon as you git this
Papers, 1861-1864. Earl Gregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Letters of William Peck Allcot, Company “D”, Anderson Zouaves.
J Teirney notes: * John Willis Lea was the captain of Company “I” of the 5th North Carolina Regiment. He resided in Caswell County NC at the time he enlisted at the age of 23. Lea enlisted on May 16, 1861 at Caswell County, NC as a Captain. He received his commission the same day. The 5th NC were engaged with Hancock on the extreme left of the Confederate line and yet it appears that Captain Lea was actually captured by members of the 62nd NY. A similar conversation with Lea is recorded by the Anderson Zouaves regimental chaplain, John Harvey, in his letter of May 7, 1862. Despite his capture, Lea was paroled and went on to eventually become the Colonel of the 5th North Carolina.
Contributed by J. Tierney