Three letters, currently in my possession, are missing in the sense that they were not included in the book, “Infantryman Pettit: The Civil War Letters of Corporal Frederick Pettit, late of Company C, 100th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the Roundheads, 1862-1864”, edited by William G. Gavin, 1990. The letters in the book were from a collection of typed copies, the location of the originals being unknown at the time.
The “missing” letters, had they been available, would have filled some gaps and given further insight into the soldier’s character. They are hand written with pen and ink on simple lined paper, folded in half. The soldier must have taken care as there are no smudges and his penmanship is very legible. You can make your own conclusions about him, considering his grammar and introspections.
Off to Join the Roundheads
This letter was written from the farm of Fred Pettit’s family in Hazel Dell in Pennsylvania on August 19, 1862, the day before the twenty year old was sworn into the 100th Pennsylvania Regiment (referred to as the “Roundheads”) at New Castle, Pennsylvania. Recognized as a “Fighting Regiment,” they were to suffer many casualties during the war.
Hazel Dell August 18th ’62
Miss M. A. Pettit
It is now some time since I wrote to you, and having a little spare time this morning I thought I would write you a few lines. In my last letter I told you I intended to enlist in the army as soon as we finished harvesting. We have finished harvesting & I have enlisted in the 100th (Roundhead) Reg’t Co. C, Captain Cornelius. Cap Hamilton is in New Castle recruiting. He sends a squad to the Reg. this week and I have been ordered to report at New Castle tomorrow. From there I will go to Harrisburg where we will be equipped and forwarded immediately to the Reg’t. I do not know any person that is going with me. i have heard there are 8 going from Perry T/s but I do not know who they are. The Roundheads are in Burnside’s Division. The last time we heard from them they were at Fredericksburg, VA. J. Shoemaker, J. Leech, P. Clinefelter, Rob. Breckinridge & Joe Morehead went in the 9 months one (illegible) week before last. Three Co. have gone from Laurence Co. They are still at Harrisburg. Some persons here are very much scared about the draft. Some are sick some lame, some almost blind. So I have enlisted to serve the time of the Reg’t about 2 years. Do not be troubled about my going. I believe I go in the discharge of duty. I believe the rebels are not only fighting against our country but also against the truth of the Almighty. And I farther believe that if we go forth to battle trusting in His strength we shall conquer. Give my respects to Professors Thompson & family & to all inquiring friends. Good by Mary until we meet above.
Your affectionate brother F. Pettit
P.S. Grandfathers and the rest of the folks are all well F.P.
photograph from Find A Grave website
— to be continued