Written by Captain Clark S. Edwards, future Colonel of the regiment
He commanded the 5th Maine Infantry during the battle of Gettysburg!
Promoted to Brevet Brigadier General for gallant conduct during the Civil War!
1861 letter with excellent references to the 1st Battle of Bull Run, Virginia
(1824-1903) Edwards was 37 years old when the news of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter reached the small town of Bethel, Maine. He was high on a ladder shingling his roof and he immediately climbed down, obtained permission from the appropriate authorities to form a company of volunteers, and set out to gather recruits from Bethel and the surrounding towns. This group of men became Company I, of the 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry, with Edwards commissioned as their captain on June 24, 1861. He rose through the ranks and was appointed colonel of the regiment, on January 8, 1863, commanding the 5th Maine Infantry from that date forward. He was promoted to brevet brigadier general, on March 13, 1865, for his gallant and meritorious Civil War service record.
The 5th Regiment Maine Volunteer Infantry was one of the first Maine regiments to be mustered into the Union Army. They fought in many battles from 1st Bull Run to Petersburg. During the battle of Rappahannock Station the regiment is credited with capturing 4 Confederate battleflags and 1,200 prisoners. Known as one of Maine's best fighting regiments, it captured more prisoners than the entire number of men who served in the regiment, and three times the number of battle flags than any other Maine regiment. After three long years of hard fought service only 193 men were mustered out of the regiment when their term of service expired. Among their battle honors are written the names of 1st Bull Run, Gaines' Mill, 2nd Bull Run, Crampton's Gap, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Rapidan Crossing, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.
4 pages, 7 1/4 x 9 1/8, in ink, written by Captain Clark S. Edwards, to his wife.
Clarmount, Va., July 30/61
I have wrote you some three or four times since I rec. a letter from you the last letter I rec. from you was dated July 17th. I have been looking for a letter from you the last week. All the letters I have sent you of late was in frank[ed] envelope[s] and I begin to think you do not receive my letters. I sent Frank a letter and papers not long since. I think you are at Waterfall or Hayesburg or you would have written before now. Write me as soon as you receive this. Has Kate got home. Why cannot she write me if you cannot. We are now at Clarmount about four miles from Alexandria and about thirteen miles to Washington. We have the mail received to W.[ashington] every day after it is written. I am now writing on a box in my little tent, not the tent we had at Camp Preble, one not more than half as long. John B. Walker  is not very well. I think he will have to go to Washington or some place and have the best of care to stand this climate and still I think it is a beautiful climate, but we are on a low piece of land that a good many will have the shakes or fever ague as it is [a] common disease in this part of the country. I am well as I was when I left Camp Preble, but not so heavy. Tell Monroe’s wife that he is well and tuff. J.B. Hammond  is pretty smart. David is in good health and the most of the boys, some of them have got colds, but will be better after they get where the Bull Run fight. I see some of the Portland papers. I have not seen a true account of it in any eastern paper, yet I see by the E. Augus[ta] that there was not but two or three officers on the field of battle, but it was a great mistake about all of [the] officers was on the field from one to two hours. I want you to write me all of the news, write about the children, if they go to school, if they learn well, how they get along.
Wednesday Morning, July 31/61
I find myself well this morning and I hope you and all of the children are the same. It is a beautiful morning here in old Va. The country is beautiful but the Army make everything look bad where it goes. There is not a garden in this vicinity. The Boys are up to all sort of depredations. I would say that I have not heard a word from W.B. Robertson,  C. Freeman,  and I do not think either one of them are killed. Robertson & Charley was seen by our Regt. after the battle was over so the folks need not be alarmed about them as they will turn up by & by. I would say that I am a going out on guard duty tonight and hope I shall have a good time. It is a little risky business sometimes. Our Regt. is in rather bad condition. We have not more than quarter tents enough as our tents was with the teams at Bull Run. We also loss about all of our cooking ware, but are expecting the tents and ware of the First Regt. They leave for home today by R.[ail] Road. Some of them I think will be back in a few weeks again. That is the way they talk. They have had an easy time compared with our Regt. They went into camp at Meridian Hill and have been there ever since. Our Regt. has been on the move ever since we left Camp Preble. Freeman is going home soon. I do not know but what he goes today with the First Maine Regt. He is quite unwell and has been for some time. There is quite a number of this Regt. that is going home with the First Regt. Some of them are sick and some of them are afraid they will have to go to Bull Run again, but some of them are really sick. John Winship  is one of that number. He is a going home today. I must close as the mail leaves soon. I cannot think of much to write as I have written you all of the news from day to day. There was a man in the Saco Co. [Co. C, 5th Maine Infantry] that had a finger shot off by his pistol, but we think nothing of a man getting his finger or hand shot as it is so common a thing. If you do [not] answer this I shall stop writing as I have not received but five letters from home since I came from Portland. I write to C. & C.H. Mason a day or two ago and hope they will answer it soon. Give my love or best respects to the people of Bethel. Tell them I am alive and doing well and shall go home sometime between this and Dec. I think Frank, Nellie, Waldo and Mason be good little children, and kiss the baby for me.
Good By for this time,
Light staining. Very fine. Excellent content with references to the recently fought 1st battle of Bull Run which the 5th Maine Infantry had participated in. Signed with nice full signature.
 John B. Walker, was a 27 year old resident from Bethel, Maine when he enlisted as a 1st lieutenant, on June 24, 1861, and was commissioned into Co. I, 5th Maine Infantry. He was promoted to captain in 1862, and discharged for disability on January 18, 1863.
 J.B. Hammond, was a 36 year old resident of Bethel, Maine, when he enlisted as a sergeant, on June 24, 1861, and was mustered into Co. I, 5th Maine Infantry. He was discharged on September 27, 1861.
 Washington B. Robertson, was a 33 year old resident from Bethel, Maine, when he enlisted as a private on June 24, 1861, and was mustered into Co. I, 5th Maine Infantry. He was captured on July 21, 1861, at the 1st battle of Bull Run, and confined in prison in Richmond, Va. He was then sent to Alabama. He deserted on June 15, 1862, and was discharged from the service on September 12, 1862.
 Charles Freeman, a 14 year old resident of Bethel, enlisted on July 24, 1861, as a drummer boy, and was mustered into the 5th Maine Infantry. He was captured on July 21, 1861, at the 1st battle of Bull Run, Va., and confined in prison in Richmond, Va. He was released on November 15, 1861, at Richmond, and was discharged for disability on Christmas Day, December 25, 1861.
 John O. Winship, was a 22 year old resident of Gorham, Maine, when he enlisted on June 24, 1861, as a sergeant, and was mustered into Co. A, 5th Maine Infantry. He was promoted to 1st sergeant, June 1, 1861, and was discharged on July 28, 1861.