To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg, the following is a four-page letter, written by Pvt. Joseph T. Betts, Musician, Anderson Zouaves, 62nd N.Y. Vol. Provided by Historic Vienna Inc. volunteer Jon Vrana.
Gettysburg July 2nd, 1863
Dear Mother & Father,
I am writing you this letter on the Picket line on Round Top, we expect to be called in the fight every moment. The first days fight was tremendous, the men was slaughtered by thousands, and maybe before the day is through I may be numbered among the dead but I hope providence may deal with me more lenient, the fighting is something terrible. Four of my company was killed within five feet of me this morning and I was not harmed. I am at present writing 500 feet of the front line expecting every moment to go to the front. The Louisiana Tigers are devils and they show no mercy when they find a wounded soldier on the field they jab the Bayonett through him so to be sure he is dead. Oh I tell you it is awful dead and dying all around you bullets and shells is hitting like hail all around. The Artillery are doing great damage. I saw one officer after he had his death fire the Cannon off and then drop down dead. I hope the war will soon be over so I can be home with you once more only think Grandfather survived the Revolution. Father the War of 1812 and now I have come through Bull Run Harpers Ferry Fredericksbrugh Chancellorsville Fair Oaks and I could not mention the Battles I have been through out a scratch and have been captured by Mosbys Men and got away again. I tell you I have had a great many narrow escapes, and hope I may come through this one safe and sound. The din and groans of the dying is something terrible. We are now called to advance to the fighting is all along the fields good by from your ever Loving and affectionate Son
Joseph T. Betts – Anderson Zouaves 62nd N.Y. Vol – Battlefield Gettysburgh
This letter is from the Lewis and Lynn Hilder Collection.
Learn more about the Gettysburg Stone Sentinels.