June 1862

Letter from the Sixth Regiment

Camp Opposite Fredericksburg
June 23, 1862

Friend cover:-On looking over my papers, I find, to my astonishment, that one year of my enlistment will soon be gone and all is well with me, while many have gone to "that bourn from which no traveler returns".

Our good old Grant had not been left unaffiliated. Even our company, which is C of the 6th, Capt. Hooe, had not been unnoticed by the grim monster-death. Sylvester Tussel, while encamped on Arlington Heights was seized by disease taken to the hospital, and soon after carried to his final resting place. Albert Frisk, a noble comrade while at the same encampment, was suddenly released by his Great Commanding Ruler, and taken to a more quiet and happier encampment. And now I am called upon to record the loss of another worthy member of our company-another good soldier. He was drowned! Homer Lillie, while bathing in the Rappahannock river was seized with a "cramp" when a current of the ocean tide hurried him beneath the swift ro'ling water. We heard a shriek, and when the words:-We heard a shriek, and when the words:-"Boys, O boys," struck our oars, Horder was beyond help. Had I been in possession of the great earth I could have given it all to bring him back alive; but his body had gone lifeless down the stream, and his clothes only were left to gaze upon as we carried them back to camp. No painter could ever give the solemn look of the astounded comrades in camp as they beheld the clothes of their departed fellow solder; and no poet could ever described our feelings as we bore such sad tidings to the soldiers and officers all of whom sharing equally in the deep regret that so worthy a member of company C had been so suddenly snatched from us. Yesterday two of the 2nd Wis discovered his remains, and rescued them from a watery grave. He was dressed in his uniform placed in a neat coffin, procured by our esteemed Captain Hooe, and taken to the company, camped close by, and from thence to the grove, the place of his grave over which six volleys were fired as a mark of military honor.

A wooden slab on which may be read "Homer Lillie, Co. C, 6th Reg. Wis. Vol.-Aged 19 years. Drowned near Fredericksburg, Va." marks his last resting place. We left him to sleep until the resurrection morn, when we shall  be "drafted" to fight no more, and in a world of heavenly liberty and eternal peace, sing songs of freedom and salvation forever.

All is quiet about camp save the reports of the artillery which is now drilling: the weather is almost intolerable there are never ending days of rain and them incessant heat. The roads are either covered with a cloud o dust or engulfed in unfathomable mud. Disease visits every camp and frowns upon every soldier. Sickness or death threatens us all, and really . Life is script of nearly all its beauties and charms. But the love of county and the prospect of victory prompts us to endure all.

This brigade, Gen. Gibbons, is now encamped on the banks of the Rappahannock. The water of this river presents, owing to the color of the soil a muddy appearance. It has a swift current and a tide from the ocean. The wrecks of steamers burned to the water's edge, loaded with grain, is really a curiosity to behold. the bridge is 70 feet high and 600 feet long. One week's hard labor made the bridge, formerly so worthless capable of bearing up the immense weight of long loaded trains that daily cross it.

Hoping that our army will be successful in quelling regellion and restoring peace. and that we shall be permitted to return to our sweet homes, I remain,

Yours, &c.

Luke Parsons