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A soldier's account of the Gettysburg campaign. Letter from George W. Beale (son of General R. L. T. Beale

four miles Northwest of Williamsport, Md. July 13th, 1863.
Dearest mother,—My last letter to you was written in Loudoun county, and so hurriedly and under such circumstances as to render it very brief and unsatisfactory, I have no doubt. In that letter I informed you of the many trials and dangers we had passed through, and how the tender mercy of our indulgent Heavenly Parent had so wonderfully attended us, and how through it we had been spared in health and soundness. How few and trivial the sufferings and dangers I then referred to, compared with those through which we have since passed; and if such were possible, how more boundless and vast the compassionate love and care displayed towards us by Him who ordaineth all things! We, are yet alive and well! Surely our hearts should melt in gratitude to God, for the privilege of being able to say so. I am this morning lying flat upon the ground under a very low-pitched, leaky shelter, our horses saddled and bridled, and we in momentary expectation of being called upon to fight.

Meanwhile the rain is descending in torrents, so dampening my paper as to render it almost useless to attempt to use ink upon it. Under these circumstances, I am sure I will not be able to write you such a letter as our long silence should lead you to expect. Upon the very day I wrote to you last, our brigade, with General F. Lee's and Hampton's, started from Lovdon in a southerly direction, encamping at night, for a few hours, near Salem, in Fauquier. This move, considering the direction our army was marching, filled us all with astonishment, and was one, the mystery of which, none of us could understand. The fact that General Stuart headed the expedition led many of us to believe that our journey southward would not continue long.

Leaving Salem at 3 o'clock A. M., Thursday morning, June ——, we moved against Thoroughfare Gap, and crossing the rugged mountains, attacked a wagon train, but did nothing more than throw some shells in among them. That night was rainy and disagreeable, and we spent it without shelters or fires. Next day we moved to attack the Yankees at Bristoe Station, but they had fled before we got

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J. E. B. Stuart (1)
Fitz Lee (1)
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George W. Beale (1)
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